Quotes by Seneca the Philosopher

Marble bust of Lucius Annaeus Seneca.
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The Renaissance Philosopher, Seneca, had many ideas about what makes a good man and the following quotes come from The Stoic's Bible, by Giles Laurén. He based the book on the Loeb edition of the relevant text by Seneca.

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Gods, Nature, and the Good Man

Nature does not permit good men to be harmed by what is good. Virtue is the bond between good men and the Gods. The good man is given trials so as to harden himself.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia.

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The Good and Unhappiness

Never pity a good man; though he may be called unhappy, he can never be unhappy.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia.

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Evil Can't Happen to the Good Man

It is not possible that any evil can befall a good man, unperturbed and serene he turns to meet every sally, all adversity he regards as exercise, a test, not punishment. Adversity is exercise. It matters not what you bear, but how you bear it.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia.

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Pampered bodies grow sluggish through sloth, movement and their own weight exhausts them. Is it strange that a God who loves good men should want them to train for their betterment?
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia

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Rewards for the Good Man

Prosperity can come to any man, but triumph over adversity only belongs to the good man. For a man to know himself, he must be tested; no one finds out what he can do except by trying. Great men rejoice in adversity.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia.

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Good Men Work Hard

The best men are conscripts of toil, for all good men toil and are not pulled by fortune, they only follow her and keep in step.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia.

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Keeping Your Eye on the Prize

Evil does not happen to good men who don't have evil thoughts. Jupiter shelters good men by keeping away sin, wicked thoughts, greedy schemes, blind lust and the avarice which covets another's property. Good men release God from this care by despising externals. The good is within and good fortune is to not need good fortune.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Providentia.

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The wise man lacks nothing that can be received as a gift, while the evil man can bestow nothing good enough for the good man to desire.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Constantia.

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You Won't Be Injured by a Good Man

A good man has done you injury? Don't believe it. A bad man? Don't be surprised. Men judge some events to be unjust because they did not deserve them, others because they did not expect them; what is unexpected we count for undeserved. We decide we ought not to be harmed even by our enemies, each one in his heart takes the king's point of view and is willing to use license but unwilling to suffer from it. It is either arrogance or ignorance that makes us prone to anger.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Ira.

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Taking Criticism

Avoid encounters with ignorant people, those who have never learned do not want to learn. You reproved that man more frankly than you ought and have rather offended than mended him. Consider not only the truth of what you say, but also if the man you are addressing can endure the truth. A good man accepts reproof gladly; the worse a man is the more bitterly he resents it.
—Seneca. Mor. Es. I. De Ira.


Seneca. Moral Essays. Epistles. Loeb Classical Library. 6 vols.

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Gill, N.S. "Quotes by Seneca the Philosopher." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/quotes-from-seneca-120979. Gill, N.S. (2020, August 26). Quotes by Seneca the Philosopher. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/quotes-from-seneca-120979 Gill, N.S. "Quotes by Seneca the Philosopher." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/quotes-from-seneca-120979 (accessed February 8, 2023).