Sic loquere, sic vive: vide ne te ulla res deprimat. votorum tuorum veterum licet deis gratiam facias, alia de integro suscipe: roga bonam mentem, bonam valetudinem animi, deinde tunc corporis. quidni tu ista vota saepe facias? audacter deum roga: nihil illum de alieno rogaturus es. sed ut more meo cum aliquo munusculo epistulam mittam, verum est quod apud Athenodorum inveni: “tunc scito esse te omnibus cupiditatibus solutum, cum eo perveneris ut nihil deum roges nisi quod rogare possis palam.” [Athenodorus, De Superstitione fr. 36] nunc enim quanta dementia est hominum! turpissima vota dis insusurrant; si quis admoverit aurem, conticiscent, et quod scire hominem nolunt deo narrant. vide ergo ne hoc praecipi salubriter possit: sic vive cum hominibus tamquam deus videat, sic loquere cum deo tamquam homines audiant. vale.
(Seneca Minor, Ep. ad Luc. 10.4-5)
Speak, and live, in this way; see to it that nothing keeps you down. As for your former prayers, you may dispense the gods from answering them; offer new prayers; pray for a sound mind and for good health, first of soul and then of body. And of course you should offer those prayers frequently. Call boldly upon God; you will not be asking him for that which belongs to another. But I must, as is my custom, send a little gift along with this letter. It is a true saying which I have found in Athenodorus: “Know that thou art freed from all desires when thou hast reached such a point that thou prayest to God for nothing except what thou canst pray for openly.” But how foolish men are now! They whisper the basest of prayers to heaven; but if anyone listens, they are silent at once. That which they are unwilling for men to know, they communicate to God. Do you not think, then, that some such wholesome advice as this could be given you: “Live among men as if God beheld you; speak with God as if men were listening”? Farewell. (tr. Richard M. Gummere)