Another of the Stoic meditations from Seneca: First, he asserts:
“No proof of virtue is ever mild.” – Seneca, De Providentia, IV.12
“Numquam virtutis molle documentum est.”
Seneca elaborates at length, but this pithy phrase sums up his contention that apparent misfortunes that befall the good merely give proof to the character of the good - and that the proving itself is likely to be brutal.
Secondly, Seneca explains that the sage cannot be compelled or forced, since he makes it his will to do what must be done. Furthermore, most of the things that befall that one might wish to avoid are part of the unbreakable and irrevocable chain of cause-and-effect; one cannot logically wish that something had not happened without wishing to undo the entire chain of causality leading up to that (i.e., negating the universe itself) - the world follows set and strict laws of causality, and the Stoic believes that this is to the good (set in motion by the hand of Providence):
“I am under no compulsion, I suffer nothing against my will, and I am not God’s slave but his follower, and the more so, indeed, because I know that everything proceeds according to law that is fixed and enacted for all time.” – Seneca, De Providentia, V.6
“Nihil cogor, nihil patior invitus nec servio deo sed assentior, eo quidem magis, quod scio omnia certa et in aeternum dicta lege decurrere.”
Reposted from "Florilegium Sapientiae"
a.d. III Idus Iunias anno A.U.C. MMDCCLXV (Cn. Caesare C. Tullio consulibus)