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Wisdom 15

 
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1 σὺ δέ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν χρηστὸς καὶ ἀληθής μακρόθυμος καὶ ἐλέει διοικῶν τὰ πάντα 2 καὶ γὰρ ἐὰν ἁμάρτωμεν σοί ἐσμεν εἰδότες σου τὸ κράτος οὐχ ἁμαρτησόμεθα δέ εἰδότες ὅτι σοὶ λελογίσμεθα 3 τὸ γὰρ ἐπίστασθαί σε ὁλόκληρος δικαιοσύνη καὶ εἰδέναι σου τὸ κράτος ῥίζα ἀθανασίας 4 οὔτε γὰρ ἐπλάνησεν ἡμᾶς ἀνθρώπων κακότεχνος ἐπίνοια οὐδὲ σκιαγράφων πόνος ἄκαρπος εἶδος σπιλωθὲν χρώμασιν διηλλαγμένοις 5 ὧν ὄψις ἄφροσιν εἰς ὄρεξιν ἔρχεται ποθεῖ τε νεκρᾶς εἰκόνος εἶδος ἄπνουν 6 κακῶν ἐρασταὶ ἄξιοί τε τοιούτων ἐλπίδων καὶ οἱ δρῶντες καὶ οἱ ποθοῦντες καὶ οἱ σεβόμενοι 1 For us, thou art God; thou, beneficent and truthful, thou, always patient and merciful towards the world thou governest. 2 Sin we, still we are thy worshippers; have we not proof of thy power? Sin we not, of this, too, we have proof, that thou wilt count us for thy own. 3 To know thee as thou art, is the soul’s full health; to have proof of thy power, is the root whence springs immortality. 4 Not for us to be led astray by foolish tales of man’s imagining, by the sculptor’s barren art, as he picks out some image with motley colours, 5 to set fools gaping at the sight of a lifeless shadow, all seeming and no breathing. 6 Lovers they are of their own ruin, worthy of the fond hopes they cherish, that make such things, or sigh after them, or do them reverence. 1

Tu autem, Deus noster, suavis et verus es,
patiens, et in misericordia disponens omnia.
2
Etenim si peccaverimus, tui sumus,
scientes magnitudinem tuam;
et si non peccaverimus,
scimus quoniam apud te sumus computati.
3
Nosse enim te, consummata justitia est;
et scire justitiam et virtutem tuam, radix est immortalitatis.
4
Non enim in errorem induxit nos
hominum malæ artis excogitatio,
nec umbra picturæ labor sine fructu,
effigies sculpta per varios colores:
5
cujus aspectus insensato dat concupiscentiam,
et diligit mortuæ imaginis effigiem sine anima.
6
Malorum amatores digni sunt qui spem habeant in talibus,
et qui faciunt illos, et qui diligunt, et qui colunt.
7 καὶ γὰρ κεραμεὺς ἁπαλὴν γῆν θλίβων ἐπίμοχθον πλάσσει πρὸς ὑπηρεσίαν ἡμῶν ἓν ἕκαστον ἀλ{L'} ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ πηλοῦ ἀνεπλάσατο τά τε τῶν καθαρῶν ἔργων δοῦλα σκεύη τά τε ἐναντία πάντα ὁμοίως τούτων δὲ ἑτέρου τίς ἑκάστου ἐστὶν ἡ χρῆσις κριτὴς ὁ πηλουργός 8 καὶ κακόμοχθος θεὸν μάταιον ἐκ τοῦ αὐτοῦ πλάσσει πηλοῦ ὃς πρὸ μικροῦ ἐκ γῆς γενηθεὶς με{T'} ὀλίγον πορεύεται ἐξ ἧς ἐλήμφθη τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀπαιτηθεὶς χρέος 9 ἀλ{L'} ἔστιν αὐτῷ φροντὶς οὐχ ὅτι μέλλει κάμνειν οὐ{D'} ὅτι βραχυτελῆ βίον ἔχει ἀλ{L'} ἀντερείδεται μὲν χρυσουργοῖς καὶ ἀργυροχόοις χαλκοπλάστας τε μιμεῖται καὶ δόξαν ἡγεῖται ὅτι κίβδηλα πλάσσει 10 σποδὸς ἡ καρδία αὐτοῦ καὶ γῆς εὐτελεστέρα ἡ ἐλπὶς αὐτοῦ πηλοῦ τε ἀτιμότερος ὁ βίος αὐτοῦ 11 ὅτι ἠγνόησεν τὸν πλάσαντα αὐτὸν καὶ τὸν ἐμπνεύσαντα αὐτῷ ψυχὴν ἐνεργοῦσαν καὶ ἐμφυσήσαντα πνεῦμα ζωτικόν 12 ἀλ{L'} ἐλογίσαντο παίγνιον εἶναι τὴν ζωὴν ἡμῶν καὶ τὸν βίον πανηγυρισμὸν ἐπικερδῆ δεῖν γάρ φησιν ὅθεν δή κἂν ἐκ κακοῦ πορίζειν 13 οὗτος γὰρ παρὰ πάντας οἶδεν ὅτι ἁμαρτάνει ὕλης γεώδους εὔθραυστα σκεύη καὶ γλυπτὰ δημιουργῶν 7 Despise we not the potter’s toil, that works the pliant earth between his fingers, and makes a cup here, a dish there for our use. Serve they noble ends or base, all alike come from the same clay, and what employment each of them shall find, it is the potter’s right to determine. 8 But very ill is that toil bestowed, when he uses the same clay to fashion some god that is no god. Bethink thee, potter, that it is but a little while since thou thyself wast fashioned out of the same earth, and ere long, when the lease of thy soul falls due, to that earth thou shalt return. 9 But no, he never looks forward to the day when he will be past work; how short life is, he recks not; he must vie with goldsmith and silversmith, he must be even with his neighbour that works in bronze; in puppet-making[1] all his hope lies of winning fame. 10 O heart of dust, O ambition worthless as the sand, life than his own clay more despicable! 11 No thought for the God that was his own fashioner, quickened him with the pulse of energy, breathed into him a living spirit! 12 Existence, for him, only a toy to be played with; our life here, only a market-place, where a man must needs get his living by fair means or foul! 13 Such a man, as no other, sins with his eyes open; from the same earthenware he will make you fragile pot or carved effigy as you will. 7

Sed et figulus mollem terram premens,
laboriose fingit ad usus nostros unumquodque vas;
et de eodem luto fingit quæ munda sunt in usum vasa,
et similiter quæ his sunt contraria:
horum autem vasorum quis sit usus,
judex est figulus.
8
Et cum labore vano deum fingit de eodem luto
ille qui paulo ante de terra factus fuerat,
et post pusillum reducit se unde acceptus est,
repetitus animæ debitum quam habebat.
9
Sed cura est illi non quia laboraturus est,
nec quoniam brevis illi vita est:
sed concertatur aurificibus et argentariis;
sed et ærarios imitatur,
et gloriam præfert, quoniam res supervacuas fingit.
10
Cinis est enim cor ejus,
et terra supervacua spes illius,
et luto vilior vita ejus:
11
quoniam ignoravit qui se finxit,
et qui inspiravit illi animam quæ operatur,
et qui insufflavit ei spiritum vitalem.
12
Sed et æstimaverunt ludum esse vitam nostram,
et conversationem vitæ compositam ad lucrum,
et oportere undecumque etiam ex malo acquirere.
13
Hic enim scit se super omnes delinquere,
qui ex terræ materia fragilia vasa et sculptilia fingit.
14 πάντες δὲ ἀφρονέστατοι καὶ τάλανες ὑπὲρ ψυχὴν νηπίου οἱ ἐχθροὶ τοῦ λαοῦ σου καταδυναστεύσαντες αὐτόν 15 ὅτι καὶ πάντα τὰ εἴδωλα τῶν ἐθνῶν ἐλογίσαντο θεούς οἷς οὔτε ὀμμάτων χρῆσις εἰς ὅρασιν οὔτε ῥῖνες εἰς συνολκὴν ἀέρος οὔτε ὦτα ἀκούειν οὔτε δάκτυλοι χειρῶν εἰς ψηλάφησιν καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἀργοὶ πρὸς ἐπίβασιν 16 ἄνθρωπος γὰρ ἐποίησεν αὐτούς καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα δεδανεισμένος ἔπλασεν αὐτούς οὐδεὶς γὰρ αὐτῷ ὅμοιον ἄνθρωπος ἰσχύει πλάσαι θεόν 17 θνητὸς δὲ ὢν νεκρὸν ἐργάζεται χερσὶν ἀνόμοις κρείττων γάρ ἐστιν τῶν σεβασμάτων αὐτοῦ ὧν αὐτὸς μὲν ἔζησεν ἐκεῖνα δὲ οὐδέποτε 18 καὶ τὰ ζῷα δὲ τὰ ἔχθιστα σέβονται ἀνοίᾳ γὰρ συγκρινόμενα τῶν ἄλλων ἐστὶ χείρονα 19 οὐ{D'} ὅσον ἐπιποθῆσαι ὡς ἐν ζῴων ὄψει καλὰ τυγχάνει ἐκπέφευγεν δὲ καὶ τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἔπαινον καὶ τὴν εὐλογίαν αὐτοῦ 14 Fools all, and doomed to misery beyond the common doom of tyrants,[2] were the enemies that from time to time have lorded it over thy people. 15 Gods, for them, were all the idols of the heathen, with their sightless eyes, their nostrils that never drew breath, deaf ears, unfeeling hands, and feet that still would walk, yet still tarry; 16 gods man-made, gods of his fashioning that is a debtor for the very breath he draws. For indeed, the gods man fashions are less than himself; 17 vain his impiety, since he is but mortal, they already dead; better he than they, since he lived once, and they never. 18 And what beasts are these they worship? Of all beasts, the most hateful; such models they have foolishly chosen as cannot vie with the others;[3] 19 as have no beauty, even beast-fashion, to make them desirable; the least honourable of God’s creatures and the least blessed. 14
Omnes enim insipientes,
et infelices supra modum animæ superbi,
sunt inimici populi tui, et imperantes illi:
15
quoniam omnia idola nationum deos æstimaverunt,
quibus neque oculorum usus est ad videndum,
neque nares ad percipiendum spiritum,
neque aures ad audiendum,
neque digiti manuum ad tractandum,
sed et pedes eorum pigri ad ambulandum.
16
Homo enim fecit illos;
et qui spiritum mutuatus est, is finxit illos.
Nemo enim sibi similem homo poterit deum fingere.
17
Cum enim sit mortalis, mortuum fingit manibus iniquis.
Melior enim est ipse his quos colit,
quia ipse quidem vixit, cum esset mortalis, illi autem numquam.
18

Sed et animalia miserrima colunt;
insensata enim comparata his, illis sunt deteriora.
19
Sed nec aspectu aliquis ex his animalibus bona potest conspicere:
effugerunt autem Dei laudem et benedictionem ejus.
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Copyright © 2013 by Kevin Knight. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.