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MACCABEES IV - APPENDIX / ΜΑΚΑΒΑΙΩΝ Δ - ΠΑΡΑΡΤΗΜΑ

15

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1 O reasoning of the sons, lord over the passions, and religion more desirable to a mother than progeny! 2 The mother, when two things were set before here, religion and the safety of her seven sons for a time, on the conditional promise of a tyrant, 3 rather elected the religion which according to God preserves to eternal life. 4 O in what way can I describe ethically the affections of parents toward their children, the resemblance of soul and of form engrafted into the small type of a child in a wonderful manner, especially through the greater sympathy of mothers with the feelings of those born of them! 5 for by how much mothers are by nature weak in disposition and prolific in offspring, by so much the fonder they are of children. 6 And of all mothers the mother of the seven was the fondest of children, who in seven childbirths had deeply engendered love toward them; 7 and through her many pains undergone in connection with each one, was compelled to feel sympathy with them; 8 yet, through fear of God, who neglected the temporary salvation of her children. 9 Not but that, on account of the excellent disposition to the law, her maternal affection toward them was increased. 10 For they were both just and temperate, and manly, and high-minded, and fond of their brethren, and so fond of their mother that even unto death they obeyed her by observing the law. 11 And yet, though there were so many circumstances connected with love of children to draw on a mother to sympathy, in the case of none of them were the various tortures able to pervert her principle. 12 But she inclined each one separately and all together to death for religion. 13 O holy nature and parental feeling, and reward of bringing up children, and unconquerable maternal affection! 14 At the racking and roasting of each one of them, the observant mother was prevented by religion from changing. 15 She beheld her children’s flesh dissolving around the fire; and their extremities quivering on the ground, and the flesh of their heads dropped forwards down to their beards, like masks. 16 O thou mother, who wast tried at this time with bitterer pangs than those of parturition! 17 O thou only woman who hast brought forth perfect holiness! 18 Thy first-born, expiring, turned thee not; nor the second, looking miserable in his torments; nor the third, breathing out his soul. 19 Nor when thou didst behold the eyes of each of them looking sternly upon their tortures, and their nostrils foreboding death, didst thou weep! 20 When thou didst see children’s flesh heaped upon children’s flesh that had been torn off, heads decapitated upon heads, dead falling upon the dead, and a choir of children turned through torture into a burying ground, thou lamentedst not. 21 Not so do siren melodies, or songs of swans, attract the hearers to listening, O voices of children calling upon your mother in the midst of torments! 22 With what and what manner of torments was the mother herself tortured, as her sons were undergoing the wheel and the fires! 23 But religious reasoning, having strengthened her courage in the midst of sufferings, enabled her to forego, for the time, parental love. 24 Although beholding the destruction of seven children, the noble mother, after one embrace, stripped off [her feelings] through faith in God. 25 For just as in a council-room, beholding in her own soul vehement counsellors, nature and parentage and love of her children, and the racking of her children, 26 she holding two votes, one for the death, the other for the preservation of her children, 27 did not lean to that which would have saved her children for the safety of a brief space. 28 But this daughter of Abraham remembered his holy fortitude. 29 O holy mother of a nation avenger of the law, and defender of religion, and prime bearer in the battle of the affections! 30 O thou nobler in endurance than males, and more manly than men in patience! 31 For as the ark of Noah, bearing the world in the world-filling flood, bore up against the waves, 32 so thou, the guardian of the law, when surrounded on every side by the flood of passions, and straitened by violent storms which were the torments of they children, didst bear up nobly against the storms against religion. Ω λογισμὲ τέκνων παθῶν τύραννε καὶ εὐσέβεια μητρὶ τέκνων ποθεινοτέρα. 2 μήτηρ δυοῖν προκειμένων, εὐσεβείας καὶ τῆς τῶν ἑπτὰ υἱῶν σωτηρίας προσκαίρου κατὰ τὴν τοῦ τυράννου ὑπόσχεσιν, 3 τὴν εὐσέβειαν μᾶλλον ἠγάπησε τὴν σῴζουσαν εἰς αἰώνιον ζωὴν κατὰ Θεόν. 4 ᾦ τίνα τρόπον ἠθολογήσαιμι, φιλότεκνα γονέων πάθη. ψυχῆς τε καὶ μορφῆς ὁμοιότητα εἰς μικρὸν παιδὸς χαρακτῆρα θαυμάσιον ἐναποσφραγίζομεν, μάλιστα διὰ τὸ τῶν παθῶν τοῖς γεννηθεῖσι τὰς μητέρας τῶν πατέρων καθεστάναι συμπαθεστέρας. 5 ὅσῳ γὰρ καὶ ἀσθενόψυχοι καὶ πολυγονώτεραι ὑπάρχουσιν αἱ μητέρες, τοσοῦτον μᾶλλόν εἰσι φιλοτεκνότεραι. 6 πασῶν δὲ τῶν μητέρων ἐγένετο ἡ τῶν ἑπτὰ παίδων μήτηρ φιλοτεκνοτέρα, ἥτις ἑπτὰ κυοφορίαις τὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἐπιφυτευομένη φιλοστοργίαν 7 καὶ διὰ πολλὰς τὰς καθ’ ἕκαστον αὐτῶν ὠδῖνας ἠναγκασμένη τὴν εἰς αὐτοὺς ἔχειν συμπάθειαν, 8 διὰ τὸν πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν φόβον ὑπερεῖδε τὴν τῶν τέκνων πρόσκαιρον σωτηρίαν. 9 οὐ μὴν δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὴν καλοκἀγαθίαν τῶν υἱῶν καὶ τὴν πρὸς τὸν νόμον αὐτῶν εὐπείθειαν μείζω τὴν ἐν αὐτοῖς ἔσχε φιλοστοργίαν. 10 δίκαιοί τε γὰρ ἦσαν καὶ σώφρονες καὶ ἀνδρεῖοι καὶ μεγαλόψυχοι καὶ φιλάδελφοι καὶ φιλομήτορες οὕτως, ὥστε καὶ μέχρι θανάτου τὰ νόμιμα φυλάσσοντας πείθεσθαι αὐτῇ. 11 ἀλλ’ ὅμως καίπερ τοσούτων ὄντων τῶν περὶ φιλοτεκνίαν εἰς συμπάθειαν ἑλκόντων τὴν μητέρα, ἐπ’ οὐδενὸς αὐτῶν τὸν λογισμὸν αὐτῆς αἱ παμποίκιλοι βάσανοι ἴσχυσαν μεταστρέψαι, 12 ἀλλὰ καὶ καθ’ ἕνα παῖδα καὶ ὁμοῦ πάντας ἡ μήτηρ ἐπὶ τὸν ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐσεβείας προετρέπετο θάνατον. 13 ὦ φύσις ἱερὰ καὶ φίλτρα γονέων καὶ γένεσις φιλόστοργε καὶ τροφεῖα καὶ μητέρων ἀδάμαστα πάθη. 14 καθ’ ἕνα στρεβλούμενον καὶ φλεγόμενον ὁρῶσα μήτηρ, οὐ μετεβάλλετο διὰ τὴν εὐσέβειαν. 15 τὰς σάρκας τῶν τέκνων ἑώρα περὶ τὸ πῦρ τηκομένας καὶ τοὺς τῶν ποδῶν καὶ χειρῶν δακτύλους ἐπὶ γῆς σπαίροντας καὶ τὰς τῶν κεφαλῶν μέχρι τῶν περὶ τὰ γένεια σάρκας ὥσπερ προσωπεῖα προκειμένας. 16 ὦ πικροτέρων μὲν νῦν μήτηρ πόνων πειρασθεῖσα ἤπερ τῶν ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς ὠδίνων. 17 ὦ μόνη γύναι τὴν εὐσέβειαν ὁλόκληρον ἀποκυήσασα. 18 οὐ μετέτρεψέ σε πρωτότοκος ἀποπνέων, οὐδὲ δεύτερος εἰς σὲ οἰκτρὸν βλέπων ἐν βασάνοις, οὐδὲ τρίτος ἀποψύχων, 19 οὐδὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἑνὸς ἑκάστου θεωροῦσα ταυρηδὸν ἐπὶ τῶν βασάνων ὁρῶντας τὸν ἑαυτῶν αἰκισμὸν καὶ τοὺς μυκτῆρας προσημειουμένους αὐτῶν τὸν θάνατον, οὐκ ἔκλαυσας. 20 ἐπὶ σαρξὶ τέκνων ὁρῶσα σάρκας τέκνων ἀποκαιομένας καὶ ἐπὶ χερσὶ χεῖρας ἀποτεμνομένας καὶ ἐπὶ κεφαλαῖς κεφαλὰς ἀποδειροτομουμένας καὶ ἐπὶ νεκροῖς νεκροὺς πίπτοντας καὶ πολυάνδριον ὁρῶσα τῶν τέκνων τὸ χορεῖον διὰ τῶν βασάνων, οὐκ ἐδάκρυσας. 21 οὐχ οὕτως σειρήνειοι μελῳδίαι, οὐδὲ κύκνειοι πρὸς φιληκοΐαν φωναὶ τοὺς ἀκούοντας ἐφέλκονται, ὡς τέκνων φωναὶ μετὰ βασάνων μητέρα φωνούντων. 22 πηλίκαις καὶ πόσαις τότε ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν βασανιζομένων τροχοῖς τε καὶ καυτηρίοις ἐβασανίζετο βασάνοις; 23 ἀλλὰ τὰ σπλάγχνα αὐτῆς ὁ εὐσεβὴς λογισμὸς ἐν αὐτοῖς τοῖς πάθεσιν ἀνδρειώσας ἐπέτεινε τὴν πρόσκαιρον φιλοτεκνίαν παριδεῖν. 24 καίπερ ἑπτὰ τέκνων ὁρῶσα ἀπώλειαν καὶ τὴν τῶν στρεβλῶν πολύπλοκον ποικιλίαν, ἁπάσας ἡ γενναία μήτηρ ἐξέλυσε διὰ τὴν πρὸς Θεὸν πίστιν. 25 καθάπερ γὰρ ἐν βουλετηρίῳ τῇ ἑαυτῆς ψυχῇ δεινοὺς ὁρῶσα συμβούλους, φύσιν καὶ γένεσιν καὶ φιλοτεκνίαν καὶ τέκνων στρέβλας, 26 δύο ψήφους κρατοῦσα μήτηρ, θανατηφόρον τε καὶ σωτήριον, ὑπὲρ τέκνων 27 οὐκ ἐπέγνω τὴν σῴζουσαν ἑπτὰ υἱοὺς πρὸς ὀλίγον χρόνον σωτηρίαν, 28 ἀλλὰ τῆς θεοσεβοῦς ῾Αβραὰμ καρτερίας ἡ θυγάτηρ ἐμνήσθη. 29 ὦ μήτηρ ἔθνους, ἔκδικε τοῦ νόμου καὶ ὑπερασπίστρια τῆς εὐσεβείας καὶ τοῦ διὰ σπλάγχνων ἀγῶνος ἀθλοφόρε· 30 ὦ ἀρρένων πρὸς καρτερίαν γενναιοτέρα καὶ ἀνδρῶν πρὸς ὑπομονὴν ἀνδρειοτέρα. 31 καθάπερ γὰρ ἡ Νῶε κιβωτὸς ἐν τῷ κοσμοπληθεῖ κατακλυσμῷ κοσμοφοροῦσα καρτερῶς ὑπήνεγκε τοὺς κλύδωνας, 32 οὕτως σύ, ἡ νομοφύλαξ, πανταχόθεν ἐν τῷ τῶν παθῶν περιαντλουμένη κατακλυσμῷ καὶ καρτεροῖς ἀνέμοις, ταῖς τῶν υἱῶν βασάνοις συνεχομένη γενναίως ὑπέμεινας τοὺς ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐσεβείας χειμῶνας.

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