4 Maccabees Chapter 02 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 224 – 227 Book 4 B.C. XXX [PDF: 274/277 of p.524]

CHAPTER 2

(i) Particular illustrations of the strength of Principle.

1 And where is the wonder of all this ? if even the desires of the soul are disappointed, when brought into competition with the pursuit of that which is honourable and right ? Yet on this 2 , ground the self-controuling Joseph[1]P. 224 Foot Note a. See Genesis xxxix. is extolled; that through the Principle which ruled in his mind, he overcame the temptation to sensual indulgence. For he, being youthful and fully ripe 3 for sexual intercourse, quelled through Principle the impetuous ardour of his passions.

4 And not only does Principle seem to vanquish the stimulus of sensual indulgence, but also that of desire of every kind. For instance, the Law 5 says[2]P. 224 Foot Note b. Namely, at Exodus xx. 17., ” Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor any thing which is thy neighbour’s.” And now, since the Law has enjoined us not to 6 covet, I may the more easily persuade you that Principle is able to overcome the desires, even as it masters those passions which are preventive of Justice. For how is a man reclaimed, who through 7 parsimony habitually lives by himself[3]P. 224/225 Foot Note c. The sordid baseness of this habit is alluded to and reproved by Job, who thus imprecates on himself: ” If I have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless … Continue reading, and is a p. 225 glutton and a drunkard[4]P. 225 Foot Note d. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.225-4.Macca_.2-FN-d-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x13.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 448px) 100vw, 448px" /> click on image to enlarge]. ; unless it be evident 8 that Principle is lord over the passions ? But as soon as any man regulates his life by the Law, — although he be a miser, he does violence to his own disposition ; lending money without interest to those who are in need, and forfeiting[5]P. 225 Foot Note e. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.225-4.Macca_.2-FN-e-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x14.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 427px) 100vw, 427px" /> click on image to enlarge] The allusion seems to be to the sabbatical year, or year of jubilee, the provisions of which are detailed in Leviticus, ch. xxv. the money lent when the weeks of the sabbatical year 9 come on. And though a man be naturally parsimonious, he becomes obedient to the Law through Principle; neither gathering up[6]P. 225 Foot Note f. See Leviticus xix. 9, 10 ; xxiii. 22; Deut. xxiv. 19,21. the last ears of his harvest, nor gleaning the remnant of his vineyards : and in other points of his conduct it is easy to see that it is Principle which conquers his 10 passions. For the Law prevails even over affection towards parents ; not surrendering the cause 11 of Virtue even on their account. It also prevails over conjugal affection; condemning it whenever 12 it seems contrary to law. It controuls likewise the affection of parents towards their children, punishing them for any vice. And it is master over the intercourse between friends, reproving them for any evil doings.

13 And do not think this to be incredible, when Principle is able to overcome even enmity, by 14 means of the Law: not permitting us to cut down the fruit-trees[7]P. 225/226 Foot Note g. See this injunction laid upon the Israelites at Deut. xx. 19, where they are called ” trees for meat.” Josephus, in his second book against p.226 Apion, has a … Continue reading belonging to the enemies, but p. 226 preserving their property from those who were destroying it, and helping to build up again the things which had fallen.

15 And even over the more violent passions Principle appears to bear rule ; namely, the love of empire, and vain-glory, and boasting, and ostentation, and envy. For all these malignant passions 16 a sober mind subdues and repels, as likewise it behaves towards anger ; for even this it masters. For example ; Moses, when enraged with Dathan 17 and Abiram, did nothing against them in anger[8]P. 226 Foot Note h. See this verified (in Numbers xvi.) of the man who ” was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”, but disciplined his mind under Principle. For 18 the sober mind, as I observed, is able to prevail against the passions : and some of them it can change, and others utterly annul[9]P. 226 Foot Note i. These two verses (17, 18.) do not occur in Josephus’ text.. For on what 19 other ground does our most wise father Jacob[10]P. 226 Foot Note k. See Genesis xxxiv. and xlix. reprove Simeon and Levi, for having slain the whole tribe of the Sichemites contrary to good Principle ; saying, ” Cursed be their anger ?” For, 20 if Principle had not possessed the power of subduing Anger, he would not have spoken thus. For 21 when God formed man, He planted around him a variety both of passions and of moral feelings. And then over all He set the intellectual Mind as 22 on a throne[11]P. 226 Foot Note l. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-l-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x9.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-l-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x15.png 500w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-l-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-640x20.png 640w" sizes="(max-width: 662px) 100vw, 662px" /> click on image to enlarge]., for a holy director by means of the p. 227 23 internal sensations. And to this Mind He imparted a law ; by which if it guide itself, it will continue to support an empire, sober, and just, and virtuous, and brave.


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. 224 Foot Note a. See Genesis xxxix.
2 P. 224 Foot Note b. Namely, at Exodus xx. 17.
3 P. 224/225 Foot Note c. The sordid baseness of this habit is alluded to and reproved by Job, who thus imprecates on himself: ” If I have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof, — then let mine arm fall from my shoulder-blade, p.225 and mine arm be broken from the bone.” Job xxxi. 17, 23. See above, ch. i. 27.
4 P. 225 Foot Note d. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.225-4.Macca_.2-FN-d-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x13.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 448px) 100vw, 448px" /> click on image to enlarge].
5 P. 225 Foot Note e. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.225-4.Macca_.2-FN-e-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x14.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 427px) 100vw, 427px" /> click on image to enlarge] The allusion seems to be to the sabbatical year, or year of jubilee, the provisions of which are detailed in Leviticus, ch. xxv.
6 P. 225 Foot Note f. See Leviticus xix. 9, 10 ; xxiii. 22; Deut. xxiv. 19,21.
7 P. 225/226 Foot Note g. See this injunction laid upon the Israelites at Deut. xx. 19, where they are called ” trees for meat.” Josephus, in his second book against p.226 Apion, has a parallel passage: Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x6.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-768x15.png 768w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-g-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x10.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 1014px) 100vw, 1014px" /> click on image to enlarge].
8 P. 226 Foot Note h. See this verified (in Numbers xvi.) of the man who ” was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”
9 P. 226 Foot Note i. These two verses (17, 18.) do not occur in Josephus’ text.
10 P. 226 Foot Note k. See Genesis xxxiv. and xlix.
11 P. 226 Foot Note l. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-l-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x9.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-l-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x15.png 500w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.226-4.Macca_.2-FN-l-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-640x20.png 640w" sizes="(max-width: 662px) 100vw, 662px" /> click on image to enlarge].

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