Vatican Saying 80

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There is little doubt that this Saying is a clear admonition to abstinence from sex at an early age. A young man's "share of salvation", tells us Epicurus (in extraordinarily religious-sounding phrasing) lies in keeping with what is appropriate for his age (presumably chastity), and in guarding against all those things that can "pollute everything", dragging him by the force of sexual desire. (His choice of word, oistros, is very specifically the rush to sexual consummation. Poets may use it metaphorically for "inspiration", but there is no doubt that Epicurus meant it here quite literally.)

This admonition is on a par with Epicurus' view, expressed in Vatican Saying 51, that sex never did anyone any good, and that one ought to count oneself fortunate if it didn't do one any harm, either. Particularly for the young, Epicurus words his warning strongly.

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