4 Maccabees 13 (Conclusion: righteous reasoning conquers the passions)

4 Maccabees Chapter 13

Conclusion: righteous reasoning conquers the passions
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1 If then, the seven brethren despised troubles even unto death, it is confessed on all sides that righteous reasoning is absolute master over the passions. 2 For just as if, had they as slaves to the passions eaten of the unholy, we should have said that they had been conquered by them; 3 now it is not so: but by means of the reasoning which is praised by God, they mastered their passions.

4 And it is impossible to overlook the leadership of reflection: for it gained the victory over both passions and troubles. 5 How, then, can we avoid according to these men master of passion through right reasoning, since they drew not back from the pains of fire? 6 For just as by means of towers projecting in front of harbours men break the threatening waves, and thus assure a still course to vessels entering port, 7 so that seven-towered right-reasoning of the young men, securing the harbour of religion, conquered the intemperance of passions.

8 For having arranged a holy choir of piety, they encouraged one another, saying, 9 Brothers, may we die brotherly for the law. Let us imitate the three young men in Assyria who despised the equally afflicting furnace. 10 Let us not be cowards in the manifestation of piety. 11 And one said, Courage, brother; and another, Nobly endure. 12 And another, Remember of what stock ye are; and by the hand of what father Isaac endured to be slain for the sake of piety.

13 And one and all looking on each other serene and confident, said, Let us sacrifice with all our heart our souls to God who gave them, and employ our bodies for the keeping of the law. 14 Let us not fear him who thinketh he killeth; 15 for great is the trial of soul and danger of eternal torment laid up for those who transgress the commandment of God. 15 Let us arm ourselves, therefore, in the abnegation of the divine reasoning. 16 If we suffer thus, Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob will receive us, and all the fathers will commend us. 17 And as each one of the brethren was haled away, the rest exclaimed, Disgrace us not, O brother. nor falsify those who have died before you.

18 Now you are not ignorant of the charm of brotherhood, which the Divine and all-wise Providence was imparted through fathers to children, and has engendered through the mothers womb. 19 In which these brothers having remained an equal time, and having been formed for the same period, and been increased by the same blood, and having been perfected through the same principle of life, 20 and having been brought forth at equal intervals, and having sucked milk from the same fountains, hence their brotherly souls are reared up lovingly together; 21 and increase the more powerfully by reason of this simultaneous rearing, and by daily intercourse, and by other education, and exercise in the law of God.

22 Brotherly love being thus sympathetically constituted, the seven brethren had a more sympathetic mutual harmony. 23 For being educated in the same law, and practising the same virtues, and reared up in a just course of life, they increased this harmony with each other. 24 For a like ardour for what is right and honourable increased their fellow-feeling toward each other. 25 For it acting along with religion, made their brotherly feeling more desirable to them.

26 And yet, although nature and intercourse and virtuous morals increased their brotherly love, those who were left endured to behold their brethren, who were ill used for their religion, tortured even unto death.

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