1 As I am going to demonstrate a most philosophical proposition, namely, that religious reasoning is absolute master of the passions, I would willingly advise you to give the utmost heed to philosophy. 2 For reason is necessary to every one as a step to science: and more especially does it embrace the praise of prudence, the highest virtue. 3 If, then, reasoning appears to hold the mastery over the passions which stand in the way of temperance, such as gluttony and lust, 4 it surely also and manifestly has the rule over the affections which are contrary to justice, such as malice; and of those which are hindrances to manliness, as wrath, and pain, and fear. 5 How, then, is it, perhaps some may say, that reasoning, if it rule the affections, is not also master of forgetfulness and ignorance? They attempt a ridiculous argument. 6 For reasoning does not rule over its own affections, but over such as are contrary to justice, and manliness and temperance, and prudence; and yet over these, so as to withstand, without destroying them. 7 I might prove to you, from may other considerations, that religious reasoning is sole master of the passions; 8 but I shall prove it with the greatest force from the fortitude of Eleazar, and seven brethren, and their mother, who suffered death in defence of virtue. 9 For all these, contemning pains even unto death, by this contempt, demonstrated that reasoning has command over the passions. 10 For their virtues, then, it is right that I should commend those men who died with their mother at this time in behalf of rectitude; and for their honours, I may count them happy. 11 For they, winning admiration not only from men in general, but even from the persecutors, for their manliness and endurance, became the means of the destruction of the tyranny against their nation, having conquered the tyrant by their endurance, so that by them their country was purified. 12 But we may now at once enter upon the question, having commenced, as is our wont, with laying down the doctrine, and so proceed to the account of these persons, giving glory to the all wise God. 13 The question, therefore, is, whether reasoning be absolute master of the passions. 14 Let us determine, then, What is reasoning? and what passion? and how many forms of the passions? and whether reasoning bears sway over all of these? 15 Reasoning is, then, intellect accompanied by a life of rectitude, putting foremost the consideration of wisdom. 16 And wisdom is a knowledge of divine and human things, and of their causes. 17 And this is contained in the education of the law; by means of which we learn divine things reverently, and human things profitably. 18 And the forms of wisdom are prudence, and justice, and manliness, and temperance. 19 The leading one of these is prudence; by whose means, indeed, it is that reasoning bears rule over the passions. 20 Of the passions, pleasure and pain are the two most comprehensive; and they also by nature refer to the soul. 21 And there are many attendant affections surrounding pleasure and pain. 22 Before pleasure is lust; and after pleasure, joy. 23 And before pain is fear; and after pain is sorrow. 24 Wrath is an affection, common to pleasure and to pain, if any one will pay attention when it comes upon him. 25 And there exists in pleasure a malicious disposition, which is the most multiform of all the affections. 26 In the soul it is arrogance, and love of money, and vaingloriousness, and contention, and faithlessness, and the evil eye. 27 In the body it is greediness and gormandizing, and solitary gluttony. 28 As pleasure and pain are, therefore, two growth of the body and the soul, so there are many offshoots of these passions. 29 And reasoning, the universal husbandman, purging, and pruning these severally, and binding round, and watering, and transplanting, in every way improves the materials of the morals and affections. 30 For reasoning is the leader of the virtues, but it is the sole ruler of the passions. Observe then first, through the very things which stand in the way of temperance, that reasoning is absolute ruler of the passions. 31 Now temperance consists of a command over the lusts. 32 But of the lusts, some belong to the soul, others to the body: and over each of these classes the reasoning appears to bear sway. 33 For whence is it, otherwise, that when urged on to forbidden meats, we reject the gratification which would ensue from them? Is it not because reasoning is able to command the appetites? I believe so. 34 Hence it is, then, that when lusting after water-animals and birds, and fourfooted beasts, and all kinds of food which are forbidden us by the law, we withhold ourselves through the mastery of reasoning. 35 For the affections of our appetites are resisted by the temperate understanding, and bent back again, and all the impulses of the body are reined in by reasoning.
Φιλοσοφώτατον λόγον ἐπιδείκνυσθαι μέλλων, εἰ αὐτοδέσποτός ἐστι τῶν παθῶν ὁ εὐσεβὴς λογισμός, συμβουλεύσαιμ’ ἂν ὑμῖν ὀρθῶς, ὅπως προθύμως προσέχητε τῇ φιλοσοφίᾳ. 2 καὶ γὰρ ἀναγκαῖος εἰς ἐπιστήμην παντὶ ὁ λόγος καὶ ἄλλως τῆς μεγίστης ἀρετῆς, λέγω δὴ φρονήσεως, περιέχει ἔπαινον. 3 εἰ ἄρα τῶν σωφροσύνης κωλυτικῶν παθῶν ὁ λογισμὸς φαίνεται ἐπικρατεῖν, γαστριμαργίας τε καὶ ἐπιθυμίας, 4 ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν τῆς δικαιοσύνης ἐμποδιστικῶν παθῶν κυριεύειν ἀναφαίνεται, οἷον κακοηθείας, καὶ τῶν τῆς ἀνδρείας ἐμποδιστικῶν παθῶν, θυμοῦ τε καὶ πόνου καὶ φόβου. 5 πῶς οὖν, ἴσως εἴποιεν ἄν τινες, εἰ τῶν παθῶν ὁ λογισμὸς κρατεῖ, λήθης καὶ ἀγνοίας οὐ δεσπόζει; γελοῖον ἐπιχειροῦντες λέγειν· 6 οὐ γὰρ τῶν ἑαυτοῦ παθῶν ὁ λογισμὸς κρατεῖ, ἀλλὰ τῶν τῆς δικαιοσύνης καὶ ἀνδρείας καὶ σωφροσύνης καὶ φρονήσεως ἐναντίων, καὶ τούτων οὐχ ὥστε αὐτὰ καταλῦσαι, ἀλλ’ ὥστε αὐτοῖς μὴ εἶξαι. 7 πολλαχόθεν μὲν οὖν καὶ ἀλλαχόθεν ἔχοιμ’ ἂν ὑμῖν ἐπιδεῖξαι ὅτι αὐτοκράτωρ ἐστὶ τῶν παθῶν ὁ εὐσεβὴς λογισμός. 8 πολὺ δὲ πλέον τοῦτο ἀποδείξαιμι ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνδραγαθίας τῶν ὑπὲρ ἀρετῆς ἀποθανόντων, ᾿Ελεαζάρου τε καὶ τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀδελφῶν καὶ τῆς τούτων μητρός. ἅπαντες γὰρ οὗτοι τοὺς ἕως θανάτου πόνους ὑπεριδόντες, ἐπεδείξαντο ὅτι περικρατεῖ τῶν παθῶν ὁ λογισμός. 10 τῶν μὲν οὖν ἀρετῶν ἔπεστί μοι ἐπαινεῖν τοὺς κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν ὑπὲρ τῆς καλοκἀγαθίας ἀποθανόντας μετὰ τῆς μητρὸς ἄνδρας, τῶν δὲ τιμῶν μακαρίσαιμ’ ἄν. 11 θαυμασθέντες γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι οὐ μόνον ὑπὸ πάντων ἀνθρώπων ἐπὶ τῇ ἀνδρείᾳ καὶ τῇ ὑπομονῇ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν αἰκισαμένων, αἴτιοι κατέστησαν τοῦ καταλυθῆναι τὴν κατὰ τοῦ ἔθνους τυραννίδα, νικήσαντες τὸν τύραννον τῇ ὑπομονῇ, ὥστε δι’ αὐτῶν καθαρισθῆναι τὴν πατρίδα. 12 ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τούτου νῦν αὐτίκα δὴ λέγειν ἐξέσται ἀρξαμένῳ τῆς ὑποθέσεως, ὥσπερ εἴωθα ποιεῖν, καὶ οὕτως εἰς τὸν περὶ αὐτῶν τρέψομαι λόγον δόξαν διδοὺς τῷ πανσόφῳ Θεῷ.
13 Ζητοῦμεν δὴ τοίνυν, εἰ αὐτοκράτωρ ἐστὶ τῶν παθῶν ὁ λογισμός. 14 διακρίνομεν δὲ τί ποτέ ἐστι λογισμὸς καὶ τί πάθος, καὶ πόσαι παθῶν ἰδέαι, καὶ εἰ πάντων ἐπικρατεῖ τούτων ὁ λογισμός. 15 λογισμὸς μὲν δὴ τοίνυν ἐστὶ νοῦς μετὰ ὀρθοῦ λόγου προτιμῶν τὸν σοφίας βίον. 16 σοφία δὴ τοίνυν ἐστὶ γνῶσις θείων καὶ ἀνθρωπίνων πραγμάτων καὶ τῶν τούτων αἰτίων. 17 αὕτη δὴ τοίτυν ἐστὶν ἡ τοῦ νόμου παιδεία, δι’ ἧς τὰ θεῖα σεμνῶς καὶ τὰ ἀνθρώπινα συμφερόντως μανθάνομεν. 18 τῆς δὲ σοφίας ἰδέαι καθεστήκασι τέσσαρες, φρόνησις καὶ δικαιοσύνη καὶ ἀνδρεία καὶ σωφροσύνη· 19 κυριωτάτη δὲ πασῶν ἡ φρόνησις, ἐξ ἧς δὴ τῶν παθῶν ὁ λογισμὸς ἐπικρατεῖ. 20 παθῶν δὲ φύσεις εἰσὶν αἱ περιεκτικώταται δύο, ἡδονή τε καὶ πόνος· τούτων δὲ ἑκάτερον καὶ περὶ τὸ σῶμα καὶ περὶ τὴν ψυχὴν πέφυκεν. 21 πολλαὶ δὲ καὶ περὶ τὴν ἡδονὴν καὶ τὸν πόνον παθῶν εἰσιν ἀκολουθίαι. 22 πρὸ μὲν οὖν τῆς ἡδονῆς ἐστιν ἐπιθυμία· μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἡδονὴν χαρά. 23 πρὸ δὲ τοῦ πόνου ἐστὶ φόβος, μετὰ δὲ τὸν πόνον λύπη. 24 θυμὸς δὲ κοινὸν πάθος ἐστὶν ἡδονῆς καὶ πόνου, ἐὰν ἐννοηθῇ τις ὅτι αὐτῷ περιέπεσεν. 25 ἐν δὲ τῇ ἡδονῇ ἔνεστι καὶ ἡ κακοήθης διάθεσις, πολυτροπωτάτη πάντων τῶν παθῶν οὖσα. 26 κατὰ μὲν τὴν ψυχὴν ἀλαζονεία, καὶ φιλαργυρία καὶ φιλοδοξία καὶ φιλονικία, ἀπιστία καὶ βασκανία· 27 κατὰ δὲ τὸ σῶμα, παντοφαγία καὶ λαιμαργία καὶ μονοφαγία. 28 καθάπερ οὖν δυοῖν τοῦ σώματος καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς φυτῶν ὄντων ἡδονῆς τε καὶ πόνου, πολλαὶ τούτων τῶν φυτῶν εἰσι παραφυάδες, 29 ὧν ἑκάστην ὁ παγγέωργος λογισμὸς περικαθαίρων τε καὶ ἀποκνίζων καὶ περιπλέκων καὶ ἐπάρδων καὶ πάντα τρόπον μεταχέων ἐξημεροῖ τὰς τῶν ἠθῶν καὶ παθῶν ὕλας. 30 ὁ γὰρ λογισμὸς τῶν μὲν ἀρετῶν ἐστιν ἡγεμών, τῶν δέ παθῶν αὐτοκράτωρ.
᾿Επιθεωρεῖτε τοίνυν πρῶτον διὰ τῶν κωλυτικῶν τῆς σωφροσύνης ἔργων, ὅτι αὐτοδέσποτός ἐστι τῶν παθῶν ὁ λογισμός. 31 σωφροσύνη δὴ τοίνην ἐστὶν ἐπικράτεια τῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν, 32 τῶν δὲ ἐπιθυμιῶν αἱ μέν εἰσι ψυχικαί, αἱ δὲ σωματικαί, καὶ τούτων ἀμφοτέρων ὁ λογισμὸς ἐπικρατεῖν φαίνεται. 33 ἐπεὶ πόθεν κινούμενοι πρὸς τὰς ἀπειρημένας τροφὰς ἀποστρεφόμεθα τὰς ἐξ αὐτῶν ἡδονάς; οὐχ ὅτι δύναται τῶν ὀρέξεων ἐπικρατεῖν ὁ λογισμός; ἐγὼ μὲν οἶμαι. 34 τοιγαροῦν ἐνύδρων ἐπιθυμοῦντες καὶ ὀρνέων καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ παντοίων βρωμάτων τῶν ἀπηγορευμένων ἡμῖν κατὰ τὸν νόμον ἀπεχόμεθα διὰ τὴν τοῦ λογισμοῦ ἐπικράτειαν. 35 ἀνέχεται γὰρ τὰ τῶν ὀρέξεων πάθη ὑπὸ τοῦ σώφρονος νοὸς ἀνακαμπτόμενα, καὶ φιμοῦται πάντα τὰ τοῦ σώματος κινήματα τοῦ λογισμοῦ.
* Τὸ βιβλίον «Μακκαβαίων Δ´», ὡς «ἀπόκρυφον» δὲν συγκατελέχθη ὑπὸ τῆς ᾿Εκκλησίας μεταξὺ τῶν κανονικῶν βιβλίων τῆς Παλαιᾶς Διαθήκης. ᾿Εν τούτοις, λόγῳ τῆς σπουδαιότητος τοῦ περιεχομένου αὐτοῦ καὶ τῆς συμπεριλήψεώς του εἰς ἀρχαῖα χειρόγραφα τῆς Μεταφράσεως τῶν ῾Εβδομήκοντα (Ο´), ἐκδίδεται συνήθως μετὰ τῶν ἄλλων βιβλίων τῶν Μακκαβαίων (Α´-Γ´).