4 Maccabees Chapter 01 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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CONTAINING REFLECTIONS ON RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLE:

Likewise an Account of Heliodorus’ Attempt to Plunder the Temple : and the History of Eleazar and the Seven Brethren Persecuted even to Death for their Adherence to Religion.

P. 219 – 224 Book 4 B.C. XXX [PDF: 269/274 of p.524]

CHAPTER 1

(i) On the power of Religious Principle.

1 As I am about to discuss a most philosophical subject, namely, whether religious principle[1]P. 219 Foot Note a. This book is commonly spoken of as a treatise ” on the government of Reason:” on consideration, I have judged it best to distinguish as under, the four following … Continue reading be perfect master of the Passions ; I should be advising you well by desiring that with all readiness 2 of mind you give attention to philosophy. For in truth, Reason is necessary to every person, as a preliminary step to Science : and moreover it contains within itself the recommendation of excelling in the highest virtue, I mean, in Prudence. Now 3 if Principle appears to have dominion over those passions which are impediments to Temperance, such as gluttony and sensual desire : it also 4  appears to lord it over those which stand in the way of Justice, such as habitual depravity((P. 220 Foot Note b. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].)) ; and likewise over those which interfere with Fortitude, namely, Anger, and Pain, and Fear.

5 How happens it then, perhaps some may say, that if Principle is superior to the passions, it does not obtain the sovereignty over Forgetfulness and Ignorance ? This their attempt at argument is ridiculous. For Principle does not prevail against 6 those passions which belong to itself[2]P. 220 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]., and are dejects of its own nature; but against such as are opposed to Justice, and Fortitude, and Temperance, and Prudence[3]P. 220 Foot Note d. These words arc omitted by Josephus. (edit. Haverkamp.). : and even against these it prevails not in such degree as to destroy them, but only so as not to yield to, or be guided by them.

This fact indeed I might prove to you by 7 arguments from many other sources, that Principle is absolute sovereign of the Passions : but I may 8 demonstrate it with much greater effect, from the magnanimity of those persons who suffered death in defence of virtue, namely, Eleazar, and the seven brethren and their mother. For all these, 9 by their contempt of sufferings even unto death[4]P. 220 Foot Note e. After these words Josephus adds, ” in defence of the laws of God, and by despising even their own lives for the sake of religion.”have given demonstration that Principle does possess controul over the Passions. For their virtues, 10 

11 For they, having obtained admiration for their fortitude and patience, not only from men in general, but even from those who had shamefully ill treated them[5]P. 221 Foot Note f. Compare ch. xvii. 16., became the means of putting a stop to that tyranny which was exercised against their nation ; having conquered the tyrant by their patient endurance, so that their country was purged and cleansed by the expiatory sacrifice which they offered.

12 But I may now proceed at once to discuss the point in question, commencing by speaking generally to the argument, as is our custom ; and then will go on to discourse concerning these persons in particular, giving glory to the all-wise God.

13 The question, then, which we have to determine, is, ” whether Principle be complete master 14 ” of the Passions.” Let us define, therefore, and explain, what is Principle, and what is Passion. Also, how many sorts of Passions there are ; and whether Principle extends its dominion to all of these.

15 Principle then is, ” Intellect accompanied and guided by sound reason, chusing and ordering 16 aright[6]P. 221 Foot Note g. details here Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] (var. lect. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]). a life directed by wisdom. And Wisdom is, The knowledge of affairs both divine and 17 human, and of their causes.” But this is attained by the discipline and instruction of the law : p. 222 by which instruction we learn to receive divine matters with becoming reverence, and human affairs agreeably to their apparent utility. Now of 18 wisdom there are four species, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance; and the most 19 influential[7]P. 222 Foot Note h. So Cicero pronounces of it, that, of the four virtues, this LATIN:”maxime naturam attingit humanam.”  English Translation: “especially to the type and … Continue reading of them all is Prudence ; by means of which indeed Principle obtains that mastery which it exercises over the Passions.

20 Of the Passions [or affections] the two most comprehensive are Pleasure and Pain : and each of these affects [both the body and[8]P. 222 Foot Note i. The words within brackets are wanting in the Oxford Septuagint, 8vo. 1817, but they are necessary to complete the sense, as may appear from ver. 27, 28. infra. Grabe’s … Continue reading] the mind. There are also numerous affections which 21 accompany and follow these leading passions, of Pleasure and Pain. Before Pleasure goes Desire : and after 22 Pleasure comes Joy. Before Pain is Fear : and 23 after Pain comes Sorrow. Anger[9]P. 222 Foot Note k. The same account of Anger is given by Aristotle, in the second book of his Rhetoric. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.222-4.Macca_.1-FN-k-01-00-20m-h.fw_-300x11.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.222-4.Macca_.1-FN-k-01-00-20m-h.fw_-500x19.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 535px) 100vw, 535px" />  click on image to enlarge]. is an affection 24 which partakes both of pleasure and pain, as will be perceived if anyone carefully observes it whenever it comes upon him. There exists also in 25 Pleasure a malignant evil habit, which is the most various and versatile of all the affections. In the 26 mind it exhibits itself under the form of arrogance, and avarice, love of vainglory, love of quarrelling, want of good faith, and envy. And in 27 the body it is greediness, and gluttony, and selfish enjoyment[10]P. 222 Foot Note l. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Though this substantive is not found (perhaps) in classic authors, p.223 yet both the verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and the … Continue reading.

p. 223 28 As therefore there are two direct main shoots of the body and mind, namely, Pleasure and Pain ; so are there many side-shoots springing up from 29 these affections. Each of which shoots Principle, that universal husbandman, pruning on every side((P. 223 Foot Note m. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] The text of the Oxford edition, 181 7, 8vo. is extremely faulty here, and indeed in very many other passages.)), and scraping off, and tying up, and watering, and changing about in every way, cultivates and improves the materials both of the morals and 30 affections. For Principle truly is the leader of the Virtues ; but of the Passions it is the monarch.

31 Observe now, first of all, from those acts which are obstructive to Temperance, how completely 32 Principle is ruler over the Passions. For instance, Temperance is “The conquering of our desires. 33 Of the desires, some have reference to the mind, and some to the body ; and over both of these, 34 Principle appears to bear sway. For from what cause is it, that, when we are urged on to forbidden kinds[11]P. 223 Foot Note n. The author of this book is here speaking as a Jew, to Jews. See the particulars of the prohibitions to which he alludes, at Leviticus, ch. ill. vii. xi. and Deuter. ch. xiv. of food, we turn away from the pleasures which these are calculated to afford? Is it not, that Principle is able to restrain and rule 35 these appetites? such at least is my opinion. And therefore, when we long for fishes, and fowls, and four footed animals, and every kind of food which is forbidden to us by the law, it is through the mastery of Principle that we abstain from them. p. 224 For the affections of our appetites are restrained 36 and turned into another direction by sobriety of mind; and all the movements of the body are kept in check[12]P. 224 Foot Note o. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] are led as by a halter. by Principle.


Original Source: Transcribed from PDF copy of Book "The Five Books of Maccabees in English. With Notes and Illustrations", by HENRY COTTON, D.C.L.(Sir) Archdeacon of Cashel, and Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. Publication date 1832 | PDF


References

References
1 P. 219 Foot Note a. This book is commonly spoken of as a treatise ” on the government of Reason:” on consideration, I have judged it best to distinguish as under, the four following words, which are of constant occurrence throughout the work, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] I translate, Reason : Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Principle : Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Religious Principle : Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Rectitude of Principle.
2 P. 220 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
3 P. 220 Foot Note d. These words arc omitted by Josephus. (edit. Haverkamp.).
4 P. 220 Foot Note e. After these words Josephus adds, ” in defence of the laws of God, and by despising even their own lives for the sake of religion.”
5 P. 221 Foot Note f. Compare ch. xvii. 16.
6 P. 221 Foot Note g. details here Gr. [  click on image to enlarge] (var. lect. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]).
7 P. 222 Foot Note h. So Cicero pronounces of it, that, of the four virtues, this
LATIN:”maxime naturam attingit humanam.”
 English Translation: “especially to the type and nature” De Officiis, I. c. 6.
8 P. 222 Foot Note i. The words within brackets are wanting in the Oxford Septuagint, 8vo. 1817, but they are necessary to complete the sense, as may appear from ver. 27, 28. infra. Grabe’s edition, taken from the Alexandrian MS., contains them.
9 P. 222 Foot Note k. The same account of Anger is given by Aristotle, in the second book of his Rhetoric. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.222-4.Macca_.1-FN-k-01-00-20m-h.fw_-300x11.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.222-4.Macca_.1-FN-k-01-00-20m-h.fw_-500x19.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 535px) 100vw, 535px" />  click on image to enlarge].
10 P. 222 Foot Note l. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] Though this substantive is not found (perhaps) in classic authors, p.223 yet both the verb Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and the adjective Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] occur in Athenæus : and in Aristophanes (Vesp. 923), we have a person styled Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.223-4.Macca_.1-FN-l-04-00-20mm-h.fw_-269x20.png 269w" sizes="(max-width: 273px) 100vw, 273px" /> click on image to enlarge].
11 P. 223 Foot Note n. The author of this book is here speaking as a Jew, to Jews. See the particulars of the prohibitions to which he alludes, at Leviticus, ch. ill. vii. xi. and Deuter. ch. xiv.
12 P. 224 Foot Note o. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] are led as by a halter.

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