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4 Maccabees 7

An Encomium on Eleazar

7For like a most skilful pilot, the reason of our father Eleazar steered the ship of religion over the sea of the emotions, 2and, though buffeted by the stormings of the tyrant and overwhelmed by the mighty waves of tortures, 3in no way did he turn the rudder of religion until he sailed into the haven of immortal victory. 4No city besieged with many ingenious war machines has ever held out as did that most holy man. Although his sacred life was consumed by tortures and racks, he conquered the besiegers with the shield of his devout reason. 5For in setting his mind firm like a jutting cliff, our father Eleazar broke the maddening waves of the emotions. 6O priest, worthy of the priesthood, you neither defiled your sacred teeth nor profaned your stomach, which had room only for reverence and purity, by eating defiling foods. 7O man in harmony with the law and philosopher of divine life! 8Such should be those who are administrators of the law, shielding it with their own blood and noble sweat in sufferings even to death. 9You, father, strengthened our loyalty to the law through your glorious endurance, and you did not abandon the holiness that you praised, but by your deeds you made your words of divine* philosophy credible. 10O aged man, more powerful than tortures; O elder, fiercer than fire; O supreme king over the passions, Eleazar! 11For just as our father Aaron, armed with the censer, ran through the multitude of the people and conquered the fiery* angel, 12so the descendant of Aaron, Eleazar, though being consumed by the fire, remained unmoved in his reason. 13Most amazing, indeed, though he was an old man, his body no longer tense and firm,* his muscles flabby, his sinews feeble, he became young again 14in spirit through reason; and by reason like that of Isaac he rendered the many-headed rack ineffective. 15O man of blessed age and of venerable grey hair and of law-abiding life, whom the faithful seal of death has perfected!

16 If, therefore, because of piety an aged man despised tortures even to death, most certainly devout reason is governor of the emotions. 17Some perhaps might say, ‘Not all have full command of their emotions, because not all have prudent reason.’ 18But as many as attend to religion with a whole heart, these alone are able to control the passions of the flesh, 19since they believe that they, like our patriarchs Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, do not die to God, but live to God. 20No contradiction therefore arises when some persons appear to be dominated by their emotions because of the weakness of their reason. 21What person who lives as a philosopher by the whole rule of philosophy, and trusts in God, 22and knows that it is blessed to endure any suffering for the sake of virtue, would not be able to overcome the emotions through godliness? 23For only the wise and courageous are masters of their emotions.


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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.