4 Maccabees Chapter 07 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 241 – 243 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 291/ 293 of p.524]

CHAPTER 7

(i) Reflections on the sufferings and constancy of Eleazar.

1 For the principle of our father Eleazar, as an excellent pilot, steering the ship of piety through 2 the stormy sea of passions ;—though ill-used by the tyrant’s threats, and overwhelmed by the 3 tempestuous waves of tortures ;—by no means turned aside the rudder of piety, until it sailed in safely 4 to the harbour of immortal victory. No city ever so held out, when besieged by numerous and varied engines of war, as did that holy man, while his sacred life was assailed with scourgings and racks ; and he conquered his besiegers, through 5 the principle of piety which shielded him. For father Eleazar, stretching out his firm determination as a rocky promontory[1]P. 241 Foot Note a. See a somewhat similar figure of speech below, at ch. xiii. 6., broke to pieces around it the raging billows of the passions

6 O Priest worthy of the priesthood ! thou didst not pollute thy holy teeth, nor defile with polluted meat thy stomach[2]P. 241 Foot Note b. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.241-4.Macca_.7-FN-b-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x18.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 339px) 100vw, 339px" /> click on image to enlarge]. which admitted only that which was holy and clean. O thou harmonizer[3]P. 241 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which does not well admit a close translation into English. with the law, and disciple[4]P. 241 Foot Note d. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]. of a divine 7 philosophy ! Such ought those to be, who put in practice[5]P. 241 Foot Note e. The Greek text varies, between Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]. the law at the cost of their own life, and p. 242 with generous exertions defend it by sufferings even unto death. You, O father, by your 8 endurance have gloriously established[6]P. 242 Foot Note f. Gr.
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 our adherence to the law; and by your correct behaviour have magnified our sanctity ; and by your deeds have added credit to our profession of divine philosophy.

9 O aged man, of more strength than the tortures ! O old man of more energy than the fire ! Eleazar, thou greatest monarch of the passions !

10 For, as our father Aaron, armed with a censer, running through the midst of the congregation[7]P. 242 Foot Note g. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] But there is a various reading, which as to sense seems preferable, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]  ” through the lire, which … Continue reading, vanquished the angel who was consuming them with fire: so Eleazar, a descendant of Aaron, 11 though he was being devoured by fire, yet swerved not aside from his principle. And, what is most 12 to be admired, being an old man, the energies of his body being now weakened, and his flesh now hanging loosely about him, and his nerves also spent with exertion, he became young again in spirit through principle ; and by the principle[8]P. 242 Foot Note h. This last clause is wanting in some MSS. which animated Isaac, he defeated the many headed torture. O happy old age ! venerable gray 13 hairs, and life obedient to the law! which the sure seal of death has consummated ! Wherefore, 14 if an old man through religion has despised torments even unto death, beyond all dispute religious Principle is governor of the passions.

p. 243 15 But perhaps some persons may say, that all men do not subdue their passions[9]P. 243 Foot Note i. It seems that the supposed objection terminates here, and that the remainder of the sentence comprises the author’s answer to such an argument. ; because all 16 indeed do not possess this prudent principle. But as many as pay regard to piety with all their heart, these alone are able to overcome the affections 17 of the flesh. Who believe that to God they do not die : for, even as our forefathers 18 Abraham[10]P. 243 Foot Note k. See Exodus iii. 6. and St. Matthew xxii. 32 ; Mark xii. 26., Isaac, and Jacob, they live to God. It does not therefore contradict our assertion, if that some men through weakness of principle appear to be governed by their passions. For who, that piously follows the whole rule of philosophy, and trusts in God, and knows that it is a blessed thing to endure every pain for virtue’s sake, would not overcome his passions, in the cause of 19 religion? For the wise and temperate man alone is the brave controller of the passions.


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

1 P. 241 Foot Note a. See a somewhat similar figure of speech below, at ch. xiii. 6.
2 P. 241 Foot Note b. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.241-4.Macca_.7-FN-b-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x18.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 339px) 100vw, 339px" /> click on image to enlarge].
3 P. 241 Foot Note c. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] which does not well admit a close translation into English.
4 P. 241 Foot Note d. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
5 P. 241 Foot Note e. The Greek text varies, between Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] and Gr. [ click on image to enlarge].
6 P. 242 Foot Note f. Gr.
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click on image to enlarge].
7 P. 242 Foot Note g. Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] But there is a various reading, which as to sense seems preferable, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge]  ” through the lire, which was consuming the congregation.” See Numbers xvi. 44.
8 P. 242 Foot Note h. This last clause is wanting in some MSS.
9 P. 243 Foot Note i. It seems that the supposed objection terminates here, and that the remainder of the sentence comprises the author’s answer to such an argument.
10 P. 243 Foot Note k. See Exodus iii. 6. and St. Matthew xxii. 32 ; Mark xii. 26.

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