4 Maccabees Chapter 14 (from The Five Books of Maccabees)


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P. 260 – 262 Book 4 B.C. 167 [PDF: 310/312 of p.524]

CHAPTER 14

(i) Reflections on the noble conduct of the youths, and on their mother’s sufferings.

1 And more than this, they were even encouraging them on to the cruel treatment : so that they not only disregarded those pains, but likewise overcame the affections of brotherly love. 2 O principles, more kingly than a king ! more liberal than the liberal minded[1]P. 260 Foot Note a. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.260-4.Macca_.14-FN-a-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x13.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px" /> click on image to enlarge]. ! O sacred and harmonious agreement of the seven brethren in religion ! Not 3 one of the seven youths shewed cowardice, nor p. 261 shrank back from death. But all, as if they were running the road to immortality, hastened to the 4 death by torture. For, as the hands and feet move in accordance with the directions of the mind : so these holy youths, being moved by religion[2]P. 261 Foot Note b. The Greek text here is not quite clear., as by one immortal soul, joined in undergoing death for its sake.

5 O most holy sevenfold band[3]P. 261 Foot Note c. There is a degree of obscurity about the Greek text of  this passage : Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] L’Estrange paraphrases it thus : ” For as the seven days … Continue reading of accordant brothers ! 6 For, as the seven days of creation revolving formed the circle of the week : so these youths formed a circling band of piety, overcoming 7 the fear of the tyrants torments. Now we, even at hearing the affliction of those young men, are struck with horror ; but they, not only seeing, and not only hearing the threatening words on the spot, but also suffering the effect of those threats, endured it ; and this, through the pains 8 of fire. Than which, what can be more painful ? for the power of fire, being sharp and rapid, quickly consumes the bodies.

9 And think it not marvellous, that the principle of those men prevailed amidst their torments ; when even a woman’s mind despised pains still 10 more varied. For the mother [4]P. 261 Foot Note d. Augustin thus expresses himself on the subject of this verse : LATIN” Isti in se singuli sentiendo, illa videndo in omnibus passa est. Facta mater septem … Continue reading of those seven young men endured equal rackings over every one of her children. And consider now, how 11  extensive and variously entwined[5]P. 262 Foot Note e. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] there is a various reading, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but the former is to be preferred. is the ardour of parental affection, drawing every creature to a sympathy with its own offspring. Since even 12 irrational animals entertain towards their young the same sympathy and affection as human beings. For instance, among birds, those which are 13 domesticated and wander about our houses, defend their young. And those which make nests and 14 hatch young on the tops of mountains, and in the crags of valleys, and the hollows and tops of trees, hinder any one from approaching them. And 15 even if they are unable to prevent this ;—flying around[6]P. 262 Foot Note f. Thus, in that line simile in the second book of the Iliad, it is said, Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.262-4.Macca_.14-FN-f-02-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x17.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 348px) 100vw, 348px" /> click on image to enlarge]. them, in agony of affection, calling out in their peculiar note, they succour their offspring in whatever manner they are able. And why need 16 we shew by example of irrational animals the sympathy which exists towards our children? when even bees, at the season of making honey, 17 drive away those who approach them ; and pierce with their sting, as with a sword, those who go near to their hive, and defend themselves even unto death.


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. 260 Foot Note a. Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.260-4.Macca_.14-FN-a-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x13.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 480px) 100vw, 480px" /> click on image to enlarge].
2 P. 261 Foot Note b. The Greek text here is not quite clear.
3 P. 261 Foot Note c. There is a degree of obscurity about the Greek text of  this passage : Gr. [
https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.260-4.Macca_.14-FN-c-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x5.png 300w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.260-4.Macca_.14-FN-c-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-768x12.png 768w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.260-4.Macca_.14-FN-c-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-1024x16.png 1024w, https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.260-4.Macca_.14-FN-c-01-00-20mm-h.fw_-500x8.png 500w" sizes="(max-width: 1300px) 100vw, 1300px" />
 click on image to enlarge] L’Estrange paraphrases it thus : ” For as the seven days in which the world was created give us the idea of God, and shew the perfection of his majesty and goodness; so do these seven renowned martyrs, by running the whole circle of pains and tortures, compose one finished piece of constancy and courage and teach us that perfection of fortitude which banishes the slavish fear of death.”
4 P. 261 Foot Note d. Augustin thus expresses himself on the subject of this verse :
LATIN” Isti in se singuli sentiendo, illa videndo in omnibus passa est. Facta mater septem martyrum, septies martyr.
(English Translation: These in themselves, every man by realizing that, by seeing that is in all things decreed against her. There mother of seven witnesses times a martyr.) (Angustini Serino de Maccabieis, Op. tom.V.p.851.ed.Benedictin.).
5 P. 262 Foot Note e. details here Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] there is a various reading, Gr. [ click on image to enlarge] but the former is to be preferred.
6 P. 262 Foot Note f. Thus, in that line simile in the second book of the Iliad, it is said, Gr. [https://fourcornerministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/P.262-4.Macca_.14-FN-f-02-00-20mm-h.fw_-300x17.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 348px) 100vw, 348px" /> click on image to enlarge].

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