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4 Maccabees 13

Reason’s Sovereignty in the Seven

13Since, then, the seven brothers despised sufferings even unto death, everyone must concede that devout reason is sovereign over the emotions. 2For if they had been slaves to their emotions and had eaten defiling food, we would say that they had been conquered by these emotions. 3But in fact it was not so. Instead, by reason, which is praised before God, they prevailed over their emotions. 4The supremacy of the mind over these cannot be overlooked, for the brothers* mastered both emotions and pains. 5How then can one fail to confess the sovereignty of right reason over emotion in those who were not turned back by fiery agonies? 6For just as towers jutting out over harbours hold back the threatening waves and make it calm for those who sail into the inner basin, 7so the seven-towered right reason of the youths, by fortifying the harbour of religion, conquered the tempest of the emotions. 8For they constituted a holy chorus of religion and encouraged one another, saying, 9‘Brothers, let us die like brothers for the sake of the law; let us imitate the three youths in Assyria who despised the same ordeal of the furnace. 10Let us not be cowardly in the demonstration of our piety.’ 11While one said, ‘Courage, brother’, another said, ‘Bear up nobly’, 12and another reminded them, ‘Remember whence you came, and the father by whose hand Isaac would have submitted to being slain for the sake of religion.’ 13Each of them and all of them together looking at one another, cheerful and undaunted, said, ‘Let us with all our hearts consecrate ourselves to God, who gave us our lives,* and let us use our bodies as a bulwark for the law. 14Let us not fear him who thinks he is killing us, 15for great is the struggle of the soul and the danger of eternal torment lying before those who transgress the commandment of God. 16Therefore let us put on the full armour of self-control, which is divine reason. 17For if we so die,* Abraham and Isaac and Jacob will welcome us, and all the fathers will praise us.’ 18Those who were left behind said to each of the brothers who were being dragged away, ‘Do not put us to shame, brother, or betray the brothers who have died before us.’

19 You are not ignorant of the affection of family ties, which the divine and all-wise Providence has bequeathed through the fathers to their descendants and which was implanted in the mother’s womb. 20There each of the brothers spent the same length of time and was shaped during the same period of time; and growing from the same blood and through the same life, they were brought to the light of day. 21When they were born after an equal time of gestation, they drank milk from the same fountains. From such embraces brotherly-loving souls are nourished; 22and they grow stronger from this common nurture and daily companionship, and from both general education and our discipline in the law of God.

23 Therefore, when sympathy and brotherly affection had been so established, the brothers were the more sympathetic to one another. 24Since they had been educated by the same law and trained in the same virtues and brought up in right living, they loved one another all the more. 25A common zeal for nobility strengthened their goodwill towards one another, and their concord, 26because they could make their brotherly love more fervent with the aid of their religion. 27But although nature and companionship and virtuous habits had augmented the affection of family ties, those who were left endured for the sake of religion, while watching their brothers being maltreated and tortured to death.


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v 2.2.8
14 July 2018

From the oremus Bible Browser http://bible.oremus.org v2.2.8 14 July 2018.