On Benefits

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L. ANNAEUS SENECA

ON BENEFITS

ADDRESSED TO

AEBUTIUS LIBERALIS


TRANSLATED BY

AUBREY STEWART, M.A.

LATE FELLOW OF TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE



LONDON GEORGE BELL AND SONS YORK STREET

COVENT GARDEN

1887


CONTENTS.

Translator's Preface

Book I. The prevalence of ingratitude--How a benefit ought to be bestowed--The three Graces--Benefits are the chief bond of human society--What we owe in return for a benefit received--A benefit consists not of a thing but of the wish to do good--Socrates and Aeschines--What kinds of benefits should be bestowed, and in what manner--Alexander and the franchise of Corinth.

Book II. Many men give through weakness of character--We ought to give before our friends ask--Many benefits are spoiled by the manner of the giver--Marius Nepos and Tiberius--Some benefits should be given secretly--We must not give what would harm the receiver--Alexander's gift of a city--Interchange of benefits like a game of ball--From whom ought one to receive a benefit?-- Examples--How to receive a benefit--Ingratitude caused by self- love, by greed, or by jealousy--Gratitude and repayment not the same thing--Phidias and the statue

Book III. Ingratitude--Is it worse to be ungrateful for kindness or not even to remember it?--Should ingratitude be punished by law?-- Can a slave bestow a benefit?--Can a son bestow a benefit upon his father?--Examples

Book IV. Whether the bestowal of benefits and the return of gratitude for them are desirable objects in themselves? Does God bestow benefits?--How to choose the man to be benefited--We ought not to look for any return--True gratitude--Of keeping one's promise--Philip and the soldier--Zeno

Book V. Of being worsted in a contest of benefits--Socrates and Archelaus--Whether a man can be grateful to himself, or can bestow a benefit upon himself--Examples of ingratitude--Dialogue on ingratitude--Whether one should remind one's friends of what one has done for them--Caesar and the soldier--Tiberius.

Book VI. Whether a benefit can be taken from one by force-- Benefits depend upon thought--We are not grateful for the advantages which we receive from inanimate Nature, or from dumb animals--In order to lay me under an obligation you must benefit me intentionally--Cleanthes's story of the two slaves--Of benefits given in a mercenary spirit--Physicians and teachers bestow enormous benefits, yet are sufficiently paid by a moderate fee-- Plato and the ferryman--Are we under an obligation to the sun and moon?--Ought we to wish that evil may befall our benefactors, in order that we may show our gratitude by helping them?

Book VII. The cynic Demetrius--his rules of conduct--Of the truly wise man--Whether one who has done everything in his power to return a benefit has returned it--Ought one to return a benefit to a bad man?--The Pythagorean, and the shoemaker--How one ought to bear with the ungrateful.