Seneca the Younger, Epistles

LCL 76: 112-113

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The Epistles Of Seneca

ipsum hic unus usus pertinet, quod utendi omnibus causa est. Sapiens tam aequo animo omnia apud alios videt contemnitque quam Iuppiter et hoc se magis suspicit, quod Iuppiter uti illis non potest, 15sapiens non vult. Credamus itaque Sextio monstranti pulcherrimum iter et clamanti: “hac ‘itur ad astra,’ hac secundum frugalitatem, hac secundum temperantiam, hac secundum fortitudinem.”

Non sunt di fastidiosi, non invidi; admittunt et 16ascendentibus manum porrigunt. Miraris hominem ad deos ire? Deus ad homines venit, immo quod est propius, in homines venit; nulla sine deo mens bona est. Semina in corporibus humanis divina dispersa sunt, quae si bonus cultor excipit, similia origini prodeunt et paria iis, ex quibus orta sunt, surgunt; si malus, non aliter quam humus sterilis ac palustris necat ac deinde creat purgamenta pro frugibus. Vale.

LXXIV. Seneca Lvcilio svo salvtem

1Epistula tua delectavit me et marcentem excitavit, memoriam quoque meam, quae iam mihi segnis ac lenta est, evocavit.

Quidni tu, mi Lucili, maximum putes instrumentum

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Epistle LXXIV.

them to others; the only use of them which belongs to him is this: he is the cause of their use to all men. The wise man surveys and scorns all the possessions of others as calmly as does Jupiter, and regards himself with the greater esteem because, while Jupiter cannot make use of them, he, the wise man, does not wish to do so. Let us therefore believe Sextius when he shows us the path of perfect beauty, and cries: “This is ‘the way to the stars’a; this is the way, by observing thrift, self-restraint, and courage!”

The gods are not disdainful or envious; they open the door to you; they lend a hand as you climb. Do you marvel that man goes to the gods? God comes to men; nay, he comes nearer,—he comes into men.b No mind that has not God, is good. Divine seeds are scattered throughout our mortal bodies; if a good husbandman receives them, they spring up in the likeness of their source and of a parity with those from which they came. If, however, the husbandman be bad, like a barren or marshy soil, he kills the seeds, and causes tares to grow up instead of wheat. Farewell.

LXXIV. On Virtue as a Refuge from Worldly Distractions

Your letter has given me pleasure, and has roused me from sluggishness. It has also prompted my memory, which has been for some time slack and nerveless.

You are right, of course, my dear Lucilius, in deeming the chief means of attaining the happy life

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-epistles.1917