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MACCABEES IV - APPENDIX / ΜΑΚΑΒΑΙΩΝ Δ - ΠΑΡΑΡΤΗΜΑ

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1 The reasoning of our father Eleazar, like a first-rate pilot, steering the vessel of piety in the sea of passions, 2 and flouted by the threats of the tyrant, and overwhelmed with the breakers of torture, 3 in no way shifted the rudder of piety till it sailed into the harbour of victory over death. 4 Not so has ever a city, when besieged, held out against many and various machines, as did that holy man, when his pious soul was tried with the fiery trial of tortures and rackings, move his besiegers through the religious reasoning that shielded him. 5 For father Eleazar, projecting his disposition, broke the raging wabves of the passions as with a jutting promontory. 6 O priest worthy of the priesthood! thou didst not pollute thy sacred teeth; nor make thine appetite, which had always embraced the clean and lawful, a partaker of profanity. 7 O harmonizer with the law, and sage devoted to a divine life! 8 Of such a character ought those to be who perform the duties of the law at the risk of their own blood, and defend it with generous sweat by sufferings even unto death. 9 Thou, father, hast gloriously established our right government by thy endurance; and making of much account our service past, prevented its destruction, and, by thy deeds, hast made credible the words of philosophy. 10 O aged man of more power than tortures, elder more vigorous than fire, greatest king over the passions, Eleazar! 11 For as father Aaron, armed with a censer, hastening through the consuming fire, vanquished the flame-bearing angel, 12 so, Eleazar, the descendant of Aaron, wasted away by the fire, did not give up his reasoning. 13 And, what is most wonderful, though an old man, though the labours of his body were now spent, and his fibres were relaxed, and his sinews worn out, he recovered youth. 14 By the spirit of reasoning, and the reasoning of Isaac, he rendered powerless the many-headed instrument. 15 O blessed old age, and reverend hoar head, and life obedient to the law, which the faithful seal of death perfected. 16 O If, then, an old man, through religion, despised tortures even unto death, confessedly religious reasoning is ruler of the passions. 17 But perhaps some might say, It is not all who conquer passions, as all do not possess wise reasoning. 18 But they who have meditated upon religion with their whole heart, these alone can master the passions of the flesh; 19 they who believe that to God they die not; for, as our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, they live to God. 20 This circumstance, then, is by no means an objection, that some who have weak reasoning, are governed by their passions: 21 since what person, walking religiously by the whole rule of philosophy, and believing in God, 22 and knowing that it is a blessed thing to endure all kinds of hardships for virture, would not, for the sake of religion, master his passion? 23 For the wise and brave man only is lord over his passions. Ωσπερ γὰρ ἄριστος κυβερνήτης ὁ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν ᾿Ελεαζάρου λογισμὸς πηδαλιουχῶν τὴν τῆς εὐσεβείας ναῦν ἐν τῷ τῶν παθῶν πελάγει 2 καὶ καταικιζόμενος ταῖς τοῦ τυράννου ἀπειλαῖς καὶ καταντλούμενος ταῖς τῶν βασάνων τρικυμίαις, 3 κατ’ οὐδένα τρόπον μετέτρεψε τοὺς τῆς εὐσεβείας οἴακας, ἕως οὗ ἔπλευσεν ἐπὶ τὸν τῆς ἀθανάτου νίκης λιμένα. 4 οὐχ οὕτως πόλις πολλοῖς καὶ ποικίλοις μηχανήμασιν ἀντέσχε ποτὲ πολιορκουμένη, ὡς ὁ πανάγιος ᾿Ελεάζαρος· τὴν ἱερὰν ψυχὴν αἰκισμοῖς τε καὶ στρέβλαις πυρπολούμενος ἐνίκησε τοὺς πολιορκοῦντας διὰ τὸν ὑπερασπίζοντα τῆς εὐσεβείας λογισμόν. 5 ὥσπερ γὰρ πρόκρημνον ἄκραν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ διάνοιαν ὁ πατὴρ ᾿Ελεάζαρος ἐκτείνας, περιέκλασεν τοὺς ἐπιμαινομένους τῶν παθῶν κλύδωνας. 6 ὦ ἄξιε τῆς ἱερωσύνης ἱερεῦ, οὐκ ἐμίανας τοὺς ἱεροὺς ὀδόντας οὐδὲ τὴν θεοσέβειαν καὶ καθαρισμὸν νόμιμον χωρήσασαν γαστέρα ἐκοινώνησας μιαροφαγίᾳ. 7 ᾦ σύμφωνε νόμου καὶ φιλόσοφε θείου βίου. 8 τοιούτους δὴ δεῖ εἶναι τοὺς ἱερουργοῦντας τὸν νόμον ἰδίῳ αἵματι καὶ γενναίῳ ἱδρῶτι τοῖς μέχρι θανάτου πάθεσιν ὑπερασπίζοντας. 9 σὺ πάτερ, τὴν εὐνομίαν ἡμῶν διὰ τῶν ὑπομονῶν εἰς δόξαν ἐκύρωσας καὶ τὴν ἁγιστείαν σεμνολογήσας οὐ κατέλυσας καὶ διὰ τῶν ἔργων ἐπιστοποίησας τοὺς τῆς θείας φιλοσοφίας λόγους, 10 ὦ βασάνων βιαιότερε γέρον, καὶ πυρὸς εὐτονώτερε πρεσβῦτα, καὶ παθῶν μέγιστε βασιλεῦ ᾿Ελεάζαρε. 11 ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ᾿Ααρὼν τῷ θυμιατηρίῳ καθωπλισμένος διὰ τοῦ ἐθνοπλήθους ἐπιτρέχων τὸν ἐμπυριστὴν ἐνίκησεν ἄγγελον, 12 οὕτως ὁ ᾿Ααρωνίδης ᾿Ελεάζαρος διὰ τοῦ πυρὸς ὑπερτηκόμενος οὐ μετετράπη τὸν λογισμόν. 13 καίτοι τὸ θαυμασιώτατον, γέρων ὤν, λελυμένων μὲν ἤδη τῶν τοῦ σώματος τόνων, περικεχαλασμένων δὲ τῶν σαρκῶν, κεκμηκότων δὲ καὶ τῶν νεύρων, ἀνενέασε 14 τῷ πνεύματι διὰ τοῦ λογισμοῦ καὶ τῷ ἰσακίῳ λογισμῷ τὴν πολυκέφαλον στρέβλαν ἠκύρωσεν. 15 ὦ μακαρίου γήρως καὶ σεμνῆς πολιᾶς καὶ βίου νομίμου, ὃν πιστὴ θανάτου σφραγὶς ἐτελείωσεν. 16 εἰ δέ τοίνυν γέρων ἀνὴρ τῶν μέχρι θανάτου βασάνων περιεφρόνησε δι’ εὐσέβειαν, ὁμολογουμένως ἡγεμών ἐστι τῶν παθῶν ὁ εὐσεβὴς λογισμός. 17 ῎Ισως δ’ ἂν εἴποιέν τινες· τῶν παθῶν οὐ πάντες περικρατοῦσιν, ὅτι οὐδὲ πάντες φρόνιμον ἔχουσι τὸν λογισμόν. 18 ἀλλ’ ὅσοι εὐσεβείας προνοοῦσιν ἐξ ὅλης καρδίας, οὗτοι μόνοι δύνανται κρατεῖν τῶν τῆς σαρκὸς παθῶν, 19 πιστεύοντες, ὅτι Θεῷ οὐκ ἀποθνήσκουσιν, ὥσπερ οὐδὲ οἱ πατριάρχαι ἡμῶν ῾Αβραάμ, ᾿Ισαάκ, ᾿Ιακώβ, ἀλλὰ ζῶσι τῷ Θεῷ. 20 οὐδὲν οὖν ἐναντιοῦται τὸ φαίνεσθαί τινας παθοκρατεῖσθαι διὰ τὸν ἀσθενῆ λογισμόν. 21 ἐπεὶ τίς πρὸς ὅλον τὸν τῆς φιλοσοφίας κανόνα εὐσεβῶς φιλοσοφῶν 22 καὶ πεπιστευκὼς Θεῷ καὶ εἰδὼς ὅτι τὸ διὰ τὴν ἀρετὴν πάντα πόνον ὑπομένειν μακάριόν ἐστιν, οὐκ ἂν περικρατήσειεν τῶν παθῶν διὰ τὴν θεοσέβειαν; 23 μόνος γὰρ ὁ σοφὸς καὶ σώφρων ἀνδρεῖός ἐστι τῶν παθῶν κύριος.

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