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Wisdom 13

 
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1 μάταιοι μὲν γὰρ πάντες ἄνθρωποι φύσει οἷς παρῆν θεοῦ ἀγνωσία καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὁρωμένων ἀγαθῶν οὐκ ἴσχυσαν εἰδέναι τὸν ὄντα οὔτε τοῖς ἔργοις προσέχοντες ἐπέγνωσαν τὸν τεχνίτην 2 ἀλ{L'} ἢ πῦρ ἢ πνεῦμα ἢ ταχινὸν ἀέρα ἢ κύκλον ἄστρων ἢ βίαιον ὕδωρ ἢ φωστῆρας οὐρανοῦ πρυτάνεις κόσμου θεοὺς ἐνόμισαν 3 ὧν εἰ μὲν τῇ καλλονῇ τερπόμενοι ταῦτα θεοὺς ὑπελάμβανον γνώτωσαν πόσῳ τούτων ὁ δεσπότης ἐστὶ βελτίων ὁ γὰρ τοῦ κάλλους γενεσιάρχης ἔκτισεν αὐτά 4 εἰ δὲ δύναμιν καὶ ἐνέργειαν ἐκπλαγέντες νοησάτωσαν ἀ{P'} αὐτῶν πόσῳ ὁ κατασκευάσας αὐτὰ δυνατώτερός ἐστιν 5 ἐκ γὰρ μεγέθους καὶ καλλονῆς κτισμάτων ἀναλόγως ὁ γενεσιουργὸς αὐτῶν θεωρεῖται 1 What folly it argues in man’s nature, this ignorance of God! So much good seen, and he, who is existent Good,[1] not known! Should they not learn to recognise the Artificer by the contemplation of his works? 2 Instead, they have pointed us to fire, or wind, or to the nimble air, wheeling stars, or tempestuous waves, or sun and moon, and made gods of them, to rule the world! 3 Perhaps the beauty of such things bewitched them into mistaking it for divinity? Ay, but what of him who is Master of them all; what excellence must be his, the Author of all beauty, that could make them! 4 Or was it power, and power’s exercise, that awoke their wonderment? Why then, how many times greater must he be, who contrived it! 5 Such great beauty[2] even creatures have, reason is well able to contemplate the Source from which these perfections came. 1

Vani autem sunt omnes homines
in quibus non subest scientia Dei;
et de his quæ videntur bona,
non potuerunt intelligere eum qui est,
neque operibus attendentes agnoverunt quis esset artifex:
2
sed aut ignem, aut spiritum, aut citatum aërem,
aut gyrum stellarum, aut nimiam aquam, aut solem et lunam,
rectores orbis terrarum deos putaverunt.
3
Quorum si specie delectati, deos putaverunt,
sciant quanto his dominator eorum speciosior est:
speciei enim generator hæc omnia constituit.
4
Aut si virtutem et opera eorum mirati sunt,
intelligant ab illis quoniam qui hæc fecit fortior est illis:
5
a magnitudine enim speciei et creaturæ
cognoscibiliter poterit creator horum videri.
6 ἀλ{L'} ὅμως ἐπὶ τούτοις μέμψις ἐστὶν ὀλίγη καὶ γὰρ αὐτοὶ τάχα πλανῶνται θεὸν ζητοῦντες καὶ θέλοντες εὑρεῖν 7 ἐν γὰρ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ ἀναστρεφόμενοι διερευνῶσιν καὶ πείθονται τῇ ὄψει ὅτι καλὰ τὰ βλεπόμενα 8 πάλιν {D'} οὐ{D'} αὐτοὶ συγγνωστοί 9 εἰ γὰρ τοσοῦτον ἴσχυσαν εἰδέναι ἵνα δύνωνται στοχάσασθαι τὸν αἰῶνα τὸν τούτων δεσπότην πῶς τάχιον οὐχ εὗρον 10 ταλαίπωροι δὲ καὶ ἐν νεκροῖς αἱ ἐλπίδες αὐτῶν οἵτινες ἐκάλεσαν θεοὺς ἔργα χειρῶν ἀνθρώπων χρυσὸν καὶ ἄργυρον τέχνης ἐμμελέτημα καὶ ἀπεικάσματα ζῴων ἢ λίθον ἄχρηστον χειρὸς ἔργον ἀρχαίας 6 Yet, if we find fault with men like these, their fault is little by comparison; err they may, but their desire is to find God, and it is in that search they err. 7 They stop short in their enquiry at the contemplation of his creatures, trusting only in the senses, that find such beauty there. 8 Excuse them, then, we may not; 9 if their thoughts could reach far enough to form a judgement about the world around them, how is it they found, on the way, no trace of him who is Master of it? 10 But there are men more wretched yet, men who repose all their confidence in a world of shadows. They give the name of god to what is made by human art, gold and silver that human workmanship has turned into the likeness of living things, blocks of senseless stone that human hands have carved, long ago. 6
Sed tamen adhuc in his minor est querela;
et hi enim fortasse errant,
Deum quærentes, et volentes invenire.
7
Etenim cum in operibus illius conversentur inquirunt,
et persuasum habent quoniam bona sunt quæ videntur.
8
Iterum autem nec his debet ignosci.
9
Si enim tantum potuerunt scire
ut possent æstimare sæculum,
quomodo hujus Dominum non facilius invenerunt?
10

Infelices autem sunt,
et inter mortuos spes illorum est,
qui appellaverunt deos opera manuum hominum:
aurum et argentum, artis inventionem,
et similitudines animalium, aut lapidem inutilem,
opus manus antiquæ.
11 εἰ δὲ καί τις ὑλοτόμος τέκτων εὐκίνητον φυτὸν ἐκπρίσας περιέξυσεν εὐμαθῶς πάντα τὸν φλοιὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ τεχνησάμενος εὐπρεπῶς κατεσκεύασεν χρήσιμον σκεῦος εἰς ὑπηρεσίαν ζωῆς 12 τὰ δὲ ἀποβλήματα τῆς ἐργασίας εἰς ἑτοιμασίαν τροφῆς ἀναλώσας ἐνεπλήσθη 13 τὸ δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀπόβλημα εἰς οὐθὲν εὔχρηστον ξύλον σκολιὸν καὶ ὄζοις συμπεφυκός λαβὼν ἔγλυψεν ἐν ἐπιμελείᾳ ἀργίας αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐμπειρίᾳ συνέσεως ἐτύπωσεν αὐτό ἀπείκασεν αὐτὸ εἰκόνι ἀνθρώπου 14 ἢ ζῴῳ τινὶ εὐτελεῖ ὡμοίωσεν αὐτὸ καταχρίσας μίλτῳ καὶ φύκει ἐρυθήνας χρόαν αὐτοῦ καὶ πᾶσαν κηλῖδα τὴν ἐν αὐτῷ καταχρίσας 15 καὶ ποιήσας αὐτῷ αὐτοῦ ἄξιον οἴκημα ἐν τοίχῳ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἀσφαλισάμενος σιδήρῳ 16 ἵνα μὲν οὖν μὴ καταπέσῃ προενόησεν αὐτοῦ εἰδὼς ὅτι ἀδυνατεῖ ἑαυτῷ βοηθῆσαι καὶ γάρ ἐστιν εἰκὼν καὶ χρείαν ἔχει βοηθείας 11 What would you? Here is a craftsman in wood has been to the forest and sawed off a fine straight branch; deftly he strips off the bark, and fashions, with patient skill, some piece of carpentry apt for man’s needs. 12 As for the chips in his workshop, they cook his meal for him, to eat and take his fill. 13 But one more piece of refuse wood is left, that is fit for nothing; so crooked is it and so gnarled. See him, in an idle moment, pick it up and spend his leisure carving it! A master craftsman this; ere long it has taken shape, made into a man’s likeness; 14 or it may be he gives it the form of a senseless beast. And now he paints it with ochre; ruddled it must be till all its native colour is lost, all its faults hidden away. 15 That done, he must find a suitable room to house it, and there lets it into the wall, making it fast with iron clamps. 16 No pains does he spare to keep it from falling; fall if it does, it shall find no remedy; please you, this is but an image, and cannot shift for itself! 11
Aut si quis artifex faber de silva lignum rectum secuerit,
et hujus docte eradat omnem corticem,
et arte sua usus
diligenter fabricet vas utile in conversationem vitæ;
12
reliquiis autem ejus operis
ad præparationem escæ abutatur,
13
et reliquum horum quod ad nullos usus facit,
lignum curvum et vorticibus plenum
sculpat diligenter per vacuitatem suam,
et per scientiam suæ artis figuret illud,
et assimilet illud imagini hominis,
14
aut alicui ex animalibus illud comparet:
perliniens rubrica, et rubicundum faciens fuco colorem illius,
et omnem maculam quæ in illo est perliniens;
15
et faciat ei dignam habitationem,
et in pariete ponens illud,
et confirmans ferro
16 ne forte cadat,
prospiciens illi:
sciens quoniam non potest adjuvare se:
imago enim est, et opus est illi adjutorium.
17 περὶ δὲ κτημάτων καὶ γάμων αὐτοῦ καὶ τέκνων προσευχόμενος οὐκ αἰσχύνεται τῷ ἀψύχῳ προσλαλῶν καὶ περὶ μὲν ὑγιείας τὸ ἀσθενὲς ἐπικαλεῖται 18 περὶ δὲ ζωῆς τὸ νεκρὸν ἀξιοῖ περὶ δὲ ἐπικουρίας τὸ ἀπειρότατον ἱκετεύει περὶ δὲ ὁδοιπορίας τὸ μηδὲ βάσει χρῆσθαι δυνάμενον 19 περὶ δὲ πορισμοῦ καὶ ἐργασίας καὶ χειρῶν ἐπιτυχίας τὸ ἀδρανέστατον ταῖς χερσὶν εὐδράνειαν αἰτεῖται 17 And so, unashamed, for home and children and wife he utters his prayer, addressing himself all the while to a senseless thing. 18 A weak, foolish thing, and for health he asks it; dead, and he will have life of it; shiftless, and he will have aid of it. 19 How should it set forward his journeyings, that cannot walk? What service should it do, if trade he want, or skill, or good fortune, that is every way unserviceable? 17
Et de substantia sua, et de filiis suis,
et de nuptiis votum faciens inquirit:
non erubescit loqui cum illo qui sine anima est.
18
Et pro sanitate quidem infirmum deprecatur,
et pro vita rogat mortuum,
et in adjutorium inutilem invocat.
19
Et pro itinere petit ab eo qui ambulare non potest;
et de acquirendo, et de operando,
et de omnium rerum eventu,
petit ab eo qui in omnibus est inutilis.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.