On the Firmness of the Wise Person VIII

Moreover, justice can suffer nothing unjust, because contraries cannot coexist; but an injury can only be done unjustly, therefore an injury cannot be done to the wise man.

Nor need you wonder at no one being able to do him an injury; for no one can do him any good service either.

The wise man lacks nothing which he can accept by way of a present, and the bad man can bestow nothing that is worthy of the wise man’s acceptance; for he must possess it before he can bestow it, and he possesses nothing which the wise man would rejoice to have handed over to him.

Consequently, no one can do either harm or good to the wise man, because divine things neither want help nor are capable of being hurt; and the wise man is near, indeed very near to the gods, being like a god in every respect save that he is mortal.

As he presses forward and makes his way towards the life that is sublime, well-ordered, without fear, proceeding in a regular and harmonious course, tranquil, beneficent, made for the good of mankind, useful both to itself and to others, he will neither long nor weep for anything that is grovelling.

He who, trusting to reason, passes through human affairs with godlike mind, has no quarter from which he can receive injury.

Do you suppose that I mean merely from no man?

He cannot receive an injury even from Fortune, which, whenever she contends with virtue, always retires beaten.

If we accept with an undisturbed and tranquil mind that greatest terror of all, beyond which the angry laws and the most cruel masters have nothing to threaten us with, in which Fortune’s dominion is contained⁠—if we know that death is not an evil, and therefore is not an injury either, we shall much more easily endure the other things, such as losses, pains, disgraces, changes of abode, bereavements, and partings, which do not overwhelm the wise man even if they all befall him at once, much less does he grieve at them when they assail him separately.

And if he bears the injuries of Fortune calmly, how much more will he bear those of powerful men, whom he knows to be the hands of Fortune.