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Wisdom 14

 
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1 πλοῦν τις πάλιν στελλόμενος καὶ ἄγρια μέλλων διοδεύειν κύματα τοῦ φέροντος αὐτὸν πλοίου σαθρότερον ξύλον ἐπιβοᾶται 2 ἐκεῖνο μὲν γὰρ ὄρεξις πορισμῶν ἐπενόησεν τεχνῖτις δὲ σοφία κατεσκεύασεν 3 ἡ δὲ σή πάτερ διακυβερνᾷ πρόνοια ὅτι ἔδωκας καὶ ἐν θαλάσσῃ ὁδὸν καὶ ἐν κύμασι τρίβον ἀσφαλῆ 4 δεικνὺς ὅτι δύνασαι ἐκ παντὸς σῴζειν ἵνα κἂν ἄνευ τέχνης τις ἐπιβῇ 5 θέλεις δὲ μὴ ἀργὰ εἶναι τὰ τῆς σοφίας σου ἔργα διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐλαχίστῳ ξύλῳ πιστεύουσιν ἄνθρωποι ψυχὰς καὶ διελθόντες κλύδωνα σχεδίᾳ διεσώθησαν 6 καὶ ἀρχῆς γὰρ ἀπολλυμένων ὑπερηφάνων γιγάντων ἡ ἐλπὶς τοῦ κόσμου ἐπὶ σχεδίας καταφυγοῦσα ἀπέλιπεν αἰῶνι σπέρμα γενέσεως τῇ σῇ κυβερνηθεῖσα χειρί 7 εὐλόγηται γὰρ ξύλον δ{I'} οὗ γίνεται δικαιοσύνη 8 τὸ χειροποίητον δέ ἐπικατάρατον αὐτὸ καὶ ὁ ποιήσας αὐτό ὅτι ὁ μὲν ἠργάζετο τὸ δὲ φθαρτὸν θεὸς ὠνομάσθη 9 ἐν ἴσῳ γὰρ μισητὰ θεῷ καὶ ὁ ἀσεβῶν καὶ ἡ ἀσέβεια αὐτοῦ 10 καὶ γὰρ τὸ πραχθὲν σὺν τῷ δράσαντι κολασθήσεται 11 διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἐν εἰδώλοις ἐθνῶν ἐπισκοπὴ ἔσται ὅτι ἐν κτίσματι θεοῦ εἰς βδέλυγμα ἐγενήθησαν καὶ εἰς σκάνδαλα ψυχαῖς ἀνθρώπων καὶ εἰς παγίδα ποσὶν ἀφρόνων 1 Nay, here is one that will go a-voyaging, the wild waves for his pathway, and perishable wood to carry him, yet he makes his prayer to a piece of wood more perishable yet! 2 As for the ship’s timbers, it was man’s covetousness that made the need for them, and man’s skill that fashioned them; 3 but it is thy fatherly Providence that brings her safe to port; thou hast made the sea into a high road men may travel by without harm, 4 as if thou wouldst prove to us how strong is thy protection, though the sailor have little skill. 5 So careful art thou that the gifts thy wisdom affords us should not go unused; man ventures his life on a few planks, and the frail barque gives him safe conduct across the waves. 6 And what marvel? At the beginning of all, when the giants perished in their pride, was not such a barque the refuge of all the world’s hopes? Yet thy hand was at the helm, and the seed of life was saved for posterity. 7 A blessing on the wood that can so procure salvation! 8 But yonder idol is accursed, no less than the man who made it; he for his wicked design, and the lifeless thing for the legend of divinity that was attached to it. 9 Sinner and sin, God hates both; 10 pardon is none for deed or doer. 11 Thus it is that a time of reckoning will come for these idols the Gentiles make; part of God’s creation though they be, he detests them, so have they entangled men’s souls, and laid a trap for fools. 1

Iterum alius navigare cogitans,
et per feros fluctus iter facere incipiens,
ligno portante se, fragilius lignum invocat.
2
Illud enim cupiditas acquirendi excogitavit,
et artifex sapientia fabricavit sua.
3
Tua autem, Pater, providentia gubernat:
quoniam dedisti et in mari viam,
et inter fluctus semitam firmissimam,
4
ostendens quoniam potens es ex omnibus salvare,
etiam si sine arte aliquis adeat mare.
5
Sed ut non essent vacua sapientiæ tuæ opera,
propter hoc etiam et exiguo ligno credunt homines animas suas,
et transeuntes mare per ratem liberati sunt.
6
Sed et ab initio cum perirent superbi gigantes,
spes orbis terrarum ad ratem confugiens,
remisit sæculo semen nativitatis quæ manu tua erat gubernata.
7
Benedictum est enim lignum per quod fit justitia;
8
per manus autem quod fit idolum,
maledictum est et ipsum, et qui fecit illud:
quia ille quidem operatus est,
illud autem cum esset fragile, deus cognominatus est.
9
Similiter autem odio sunt Deo impius et impietas ejus;
10
etenim quod factum est, cum illo qui fecit tormenta patietur.
11
Propter hoc et in idolis nationum non erit respectus,
quoniam creaturæ Dei in odium factæ sunt,
et in tentationem animabus hominum,
et in muscipulam pedibus insipientium.
12 ἀρχὴ γὰρ πορνείας ἐπίνοια εἰδώλων εὕρεσις δὲ αὐτῶν φθορὰ ζωῆς 13 οὔτε γὰρ ἦν ἀ{P'} ἀρχῆς οὔτε εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἔσται 14 κενοδοξίᾳ γὰρ ἀνθρώπων εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον καὶ διὰ τοῦτο σύντομον αὐτῶν τὸ τέλος ἐπενοήθη 15 ἀώρῳ γὰρ πένθει τρυχόμενος πατὴρ τοῦ ταχέως ἀφαιρεθέντος τέκνου εἰκόνα ποιήσας τόν ποτε νεκρὸν ἄνθρωπον νῦν ὡς θεὸν ἐτίμησεν καὶ παρέδωκεν τοῖς ὑποχειρίοις μυστήρια καὶ τελετάς 16 εἶτα ἐν χρόνῳ κρατυνθὲν τὸ ἀσεβὲς ἔθος ὡς νόμος ἐφυλάχθη 17 καὶ τυράννων ἐπιταγαῖς ἐθρησκεύετο τὰ γλυπτά οὓς ἐν ὄψει μὴ δυνάμενοι τιμᾶν ἄνθρωποι διὰ τὸ μακρὰν οἰκεῖν τὴν πόρρωθεν ὄψιν ἀνατυπωσάμενοι ἐμφανῆ εἰκόνα τοῦ τιμωμένου βασιλέως ἐποίησαν ἵνα ὡς παρόντα τὸν ἀπόντα κολακεύωσιν διὰ τῆς σπουδῆς 18 εἰς ἐπίτασιν δὲ θρησκείας καὶ τοὺς ἀγνοοῦντας ἡ τοῦ τεχνίτου προετρέψατο φιλοτιμία 19 ὁ μὲν γὰρ τάχα κρατοῦντι βουλόμενος ἀρέσαι ἐξεβιάσατο τῇ τέχνῃ τὴν ὁμοιότητα ἐπὶ τὸ κάλλιον 20 τὸ δὲ πλῆθος ἐφελκόμενον διὰ τὸ εὔχαρι τῆς ἐργασίας τὸν πρὸ ὀλίγου τιμηθέντα ἄνθρωπον νῦν σέβασμα ἐλογίσαντο 21 καὶ τοῦτο ἐγένετο τῷ βίῳ εἰς ἔνεδρον ὅτι ἢ συμφορᾷ ἢ τυραννίδι δουλεύσαντες ἄνθρωποι τὸ ἀκοινώνητον ὄνομα λίθοις καὶ ξύλοις περιέθεσαν 12 When idols were first devised, then began unfaithfulness; there was death in the invention of them. 13 For indeed they were no part of man’s life from the first, nor shall be at the last; 14 it was but man’s folly brought them into the world, and there shall be a short way with them yet. 15 Here was some father, bowed with sorrow before his time, his child untimely lost; the likeness of those features once made, to mortal man (that was dead besides) he would pay divine honours, and with that, rites of initiation must become the tradition of his clan. 16 As time went on, impious habit grew into impious custom. A king would have his own likeness adored, 17 and his subjects, living far away, so that they could not do obeisance to him in person, would have his present image set up in their view, eager to pay his absent royalty their adulation. 18 And if any spur were needed yet for their ignorant superstition, the rivalry of craftsmen afforded it; 19 each of these sought to please his master by improving the portrait, with the utmost abuse of his skill, 20 till at last the vulgar, carried away by so much grace of art, would account him a god whom yesterday they reverenced as mortal man. 21 So, unawares, the world was caught in the ambush; under the stress, now of bereavement, now of royal policy, men imparted to stocks and stones the incommunicable name of God. 12
Initium enim fornicationis est exquisitio idolorum,
et adinventio illorum corruptio vitæ est:
13
neque enim erant ab initio,
neque erunt in perpetuum.
14
Supervacuitas enim hominum hæc advenit in orbem terrarum,
et ideo brevis illorum finis est inventus.
15

Acerbo enim luctu dolens pater,
cito sibi rapti filii fecit imaginem;
et illum qui tunc quasi homo mortuus fuerat,
nunc tamquam deum colere cœpit,
et constituit inter servos suos sacra et sacrificia.
16
Deinde interveniente tempore, convalescente iniqua consuetudine,
hic error tamquam lex custoditus est,
et tyrannorum imperio colebantur figmenta.
17
Et hos quos in palam homines honorare non poterant
propter hoc quod longe essent,
e longinquo figura eorum allata,
evidentem imaginem regis quem honorare volebant fecerunt,
ut illum qui aberat, tamquam præsentem colerent sua sollicitudine.
18
Provexit autem ad horum culturam
et hos qui ignorabant artificis eximia diligentia.
19
Ille enim, volens placere illi qui se assumpsit,
elaboravit arte sua ut similitudinem in melius figuraret.
20
Multitudo autem hominum, abducta per speciem operis,
eum qui ante tempus tamquam homo honoratus fuerat,
nunc deum æstimaverunt.
21
Et hæc fuit vitæ humanæ deceptio,
quoniam aut affectui aut regibus deservientes homines,
incommunicabile nomen lapidibus et lignis imposuerunt.
22 εἶ{T'} οὐκ ἤρκεσεν τὸ πλανᾶσθαι περὶ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ γνῶσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν μεγάλῳ ζῶντες ἀγνοίας πολέμῳ τὰ τοσαῦτα κακὰ εἰρήνην προσαγορεύουσιν 23 ἢ γὰρ τεκνοφόνους τελετὰς ἢ κρύφια μυστήρια ἢ ἐμμανεῖς ἐξάλλων θεσμῶν κώμους ἄγοντες 24 οὔτε βίους οὔτε γάμους καθαροὺς ἔτι φυλάσσουσιν ἕτερος {D'} ἕτερον ἢ λοχῶν ἀναιρεῖ ἢ νοθεύων ὀδυνᾷ 25 πάντα {D'} ἐπιμὶξ ἔχει αἷμα καὶ φόνος κλοπὴ καὶ δόλος φθορά ἀπιστία τάραχος ἐπιορκία 26 θόρυβος ἀγαθῶν χάριτος ἀμνηστία ψυχῶν μιασμός γενέσεως ἐναλλαγή γάμων ἀταξία μοιχεία καὶ ἀσέλγεια 27 ἡ γὰρ τῶν ἀνωνύμων εἰδώλων θρησκεία παντὸς ἀρχὴ κακοῦ καὶ αἰτία καὶ πέρας ἐστίν 28 ἢ γὰρ εὐφραινόμενοι μεμήνασιν ἢ προφητεύουσιν ψευδῆ ἢ ζῶσιν ἀδίκως ἢ ἐπιορκοῦσιν ταχέως 29 ἀψύχοις γὰρ πεποιθότες εἰδώλοις κακῶς ὀμόσαντες ἀδικηθῆναι οὐ προσδέχονται 30 ἀμφότερα δὲ αὐτοὺς μετελεύσεται τὰ δίκαια ὅτι κακῶς ἐφρόνησαν περὶ θεοῦ προσέχοντες εἰδώλοις καὶ ἀδίκως ὤμοσαν ἐν δόλῳ καταφρονήσαντες ὁσιότητος 31 οὐ γὰρ ἡ τῶν ὀμνυμένων δύναμις ἀλ{L'} ἡ τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων δίκη ἐπεξέρχεται ἀεὶ τὴν τῶν ἀδίκων παράβασιν 22 Nor were they content with these false notions of God’s nature; living in a world besieged by doubt, they misnamed its innumerable disorders a state of peace. 23 Peace, amidst their rites of child-murder, their dark mysteries, their vigils consecrated to frenzy! 24 Peace, while there is no respect for life, or for wedlock undefiled; always the murderous ambush, the jealous pangs of a husband betrayed! 25 All is a welter of bloodshed and murder, theft and fraud, corruption and disloyalty, sedition and perjury; 26 honest men are assailed, kindnesses forgotten, souls defiled, breeds confused, marriages unsettled; adultery reigns and wantonness. 27 Name we all these, name we never the idols whose worship is the cause, the beginning and end, of all these! 28 Their ecstasies are but raving, their prophecies are but lies; ill live their worshippers, and lightly forswear themselves. 29 And no marvel; what hurt should they take from the oath falsely sworn, since all their faith is in dead gods? 30 But indeed they shall pay both scores, idolaters that thought so ill of God, and perjurers that by their treason slighted all honour; 31 not the power he swore by, but the justice that keeps watch over sinners, walks ever close on the heels of ill-doing. 22

Et non suffecerat errasse eos circa Dei scientiam,
sed et in magno viventes inscientiæ bello,
tot et tam magna mala pacem appellant.
23
Aut enim filios suos sacrificantes,
aut obscura sacrificia facientes,
aut insaniæ plenas vigilias habentes,
24
neque vitam, neque nuptias mundas jam custodiunt:
sed alius alium per invidiam occidit,
aut adulterans contristat,
25
et omnia commista sunt: sanguis, homicidium,
furtum et fictio, corruptio et infidelitas,
turbatio et perjurium, tumultus bonorum,
26
Dei immemoratio, animarum inquinatio,
nativitatis immutatio, nuptiarum inconstantia,
inordinatio mœchiæ et impudicitiæ.
27
Infandorum enim idolorum cultura
omnis mali causa est, et initium et finis.
28
Aut enim dum lætantur insaniunt,
aut certe vaticinantur falsa,
aut vivunt injuste, aut pejerant cito.
29
Dum enim confidunt in idolis quæ sine anima sunt,
male jurantes noceri se non sperant.
30
Utraque ergo illis evenient digne,
quoniam male senserunt de Deo, attendentes idolis,
et juraverunt injuste,
in dolo contemnentes justitiam.
31
Non enim juratorum virtus,
sed peccantium pœna,
perambulat semper injustorum prævaricationem.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.