THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS
VOL. XIII RELIGION PHILOSOPHY
Copyright, MCMX MCKINLAY, STOKE & MACKEKZU
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
AUGUSTINE, ST. City of God
BAXTER, RICHARD Saints' Everlasting Rest
BOOK OF THE DEAD
BRAHMANISM, BOOKS OF
BROWNE, SIR THOMAS Religio Medici
CALVIN, JOHN Institution of the Christian Religion
COLERIDGE, S.T. Aids to Reflection
FENELON Existence of God
GALILEO GALILEI Authority of Scripture
HEGEL, G.W.F. Philosophy of Religion
HINDUISM, BOOKS OF
KEMPIS, THOMAS A Imitation of Christ
NEWMAN, CARDINAL Apologia pro Vita Sua
PAINE, THOMAS Age of Reason
PASCAL, BLAISE Letters to a Provincial
PENN, WILLIAM Some Fruits of Solitude
RENAN, ERNEST Life of Jesus
SWEDENBORG, EMANUEL Heaven and Hell
AURELIUS, MARCUS Discourses with Himself
BACON, FRANCIS Advancement of Learning
BERKELEY, GEORGE Principles of Human Knowledge
DESCARTES Discourse on Method
EMERSON, RALPH WALDO Nature
EPICTETUS Discourses and Encheiridion
A COMPLETE INDEX OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS WILL BE FOUND AT THE END OF VOLUME XX.
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Apocrypha is a Greek word, signifying "secret" or "hidden," but in the sixteenth century it came to be applied to a list of books contained in the Septuagint, or Greek translation of the Old Testament, but not in the Palestinian, or Hebrew Canon. Hence, by theological or bibliographic purists, these books were not regarded as genuine Scripture. That view was adopted by the early Greek Church, though the Western Church was divided in opinion. They appeared as a separate section in Coverdale's English Bible in 1538, and in Luther's German Bible in 1537. The Council of Trent in 1546 admitted them as canonical, except the First and Second Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses—a view rejected after the Reformation by Protestants, who recognised only the Palestinian Record as canonical. The Westminster Confession declared that they were only to be made use of as "human writings," and the Sixth Article of the Church of England states that they are "to be read for example of life and instruction of manners, but not to establish doctrine." As the result of a violent controversy in Scotland and America between 1825 and 1827, the Apocrypha was deleted from the copies of the Holy Scriptures issued by the British and Foreign Bible Society. The controversy was revived in 1862 when a quotation was engraved on the Prince Consort's Memorial in Kensington Gardens from the Wisdom of Solomon: "He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time. For his soul pleased the Lord: Therefore hasted He to take him away from among the wicked." All the books bear evidence of having been written long after the date to which they are ascribed.
And Josias held the feast of the Passover in Jerusalem unto his Lord, the 14th day of the first month of the 18th year of his reign, and ordered the Levites, the holy ministers of Israel, to hallow themselves unto the Lord, and set the Holy Ark of the Lord in the house that King Solomon had built. And there were offered in sacrifices to the Lord on the altar 37,600 lambs and kids, and 4,300 calves. And they roasted the Passover with fire: as for the sacrifices, they sod them in brass pots and pans with a good savour, and set them before all the people. And such a Passover was not kept in Israel since the time of the Prophet Samuel. And the works of Josias were upright before his Lord with an heart full of godliness.
Now, after all these acts of Josias, it came to pass that Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, came to raise war at Carchamis upon Euphrates; and Josias, not regarding the words of the Prophet Jeremy, spoken by the mouth of the Lord, went out against him and joined battle with him in the plain of Magiddo. Then said the king unto his servants: Carry me away out of the battle; for I am very weak. And being brought back to Jerusalem he died and was buried in his father's sepulchre. And in all Jewry the chief men, with the women, yea Jeremy the prophet, made lamentation for him unto this day.
And the people took Joachaz, the son of Josias, and made him king; but the King of Egypt deposed him, and made Joacim, his brother, King of Judea and Jerusalem, who did evil before the Lord. Wherefore, against him, Nabuchodonosor, King of Babylon, came up and bound him with a chain of brass, and carried him into Babylon. Nabuchodonosor also took of the holy vessels of the Lord and carried them away, and set them in his own temple at Babylon, and made Zedechias king. Zedechias reigned eleven years, but did evil also in the sight of the Lord.
The governors of the people and of the priests did likewise many things against the Lord, and defiled the Temple of the Lord, who, being wrath with his people for their great ungodliness, commanded the Kings of the Chaldees to come up against them. This they did, and slew and spared neither young man nor maid, old man nor child, among them. And they took all the holy vessels of the Lord, both great and small, with the vessels of the Ark of God and the king's treasures, and carried them away into Babylon. As for the House of the Lord, they burnt it, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem and set fire upon her towers. And the people that were not slain with the sword were carried unto Babylon, who became servants to Nabuchodonosor, till the Persians reigned, to fulfil the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremy.
In the first year of Cyrus, King of the Persians, the Lord raised up his spirit, and he made proclamation through all his kingdom, saying: The Lord of Israel, the most high Lord, hath made me king of the whole world, and commanded me to build him an house at Jerusalem in Jewry. If there be any of you that are of his people, let the Lord, even his Lord, be with him; let him go up to Jerusalem and build the house of the Lord of Israel.
Then the chief of the families of Judea and of the tribe of Benjamin, the priests also, and the Levites moved up to Jerusalem to build an house for the Lord there. And they were helped in all things with silver and gold, with horses and cattle, and with very many free gifts. King Cyrus also brought forth the holy vessels which Nabuchodonosor had carried away from Jerusalem and had set up in his temple of idols. The vessels of gold and of silver which were brought back by Sanabassar, together with them of the captivity from Babylon to Jerusalem, were, in number, five thousand four hundred three score and nine.
But in the time of Artaxerxes, the building of the Temple ceased. Now, when Darius reigned, he made a great feast unto all the governors and captains that were under him from India unto Ethiopia, of an hundred and twenty-seven provinces. And when they had eaten and drunken, three young men that were of the guard that kept the king's body strove to excel each other in wise speeches. Every one wrote his sentence and referred the writings to the judgment of the king. The first declareth the strength of wine; the second declareth the power of a king; the third the force of women and of truth. The third, who was Zorobabel, was judged to be wisest; and all the people then shouted: Great is Truth, and mighty above all things.
Then said the king unto him: Ask what thou wilt, and we will give it to thee, because thou art found wisest. Then Zorobabel said unto the king: Remember thy vow which thou hast vowed to build Jerusalem in the day when thou camest into thy kingdom, and to build up the Temple, which the Edomites burned when Judea was made desolate by the Chaldees.
Then Darius the king stood up and kissed him, and wrote letters for him unto all the treasurers and governors that they should safely convey on their way both him and all those that went with him to build Jerusalem. He also wrote letters unto the lieutenants in Celosyria, Phenice, and Libanus, that they should bring cedar wood from Libanus to Jerusalem; and that they should build the city. Then the families and tribes with their men-servants and maid-servants and singing men and women, escorted by a thousand horsemen which Darius sent with them, were brought back to Jerusalem.
On the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come back to Jerusalem, the foundation of the House of God was laid; and the Temple was finished in the three and twentieth day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of Darius, and dedicated with a great feast and sacrifices.
After these things, when Artaxerxes, the King of the Persians, reigned, came Esdras of the family of Aaron, the chief priest, from Babylon, and with him certain priests, Levites, holy singers and ministers of the Temple unto Jerusalem. He brought commission from the king to look into the affairs of Judea and Jerusalem, agreeably to that which is in the Law of the Lord, and gifts of vessels of gold and silver for the use of the Temple of the Lord.
Then Esdras made proclamation in all Jewry and Jerusalem to all them who were of the captivity, that they should be gathered together at Jerusalem. Three days after all the multitude gathered in the broad court of the Temple, and they gave their hands to put away their heathen wives and children, and to offer rams to make reconcilement for the errors they had committed. And Esdras stood up upon a pulpit of wood, which was made for that purpose, and opened the Law of Moses to the people.
So Esdras blessed the Lord God, most High, the God of Hosts, Almighty. And all the people answered: Amen; and, lifting up their hands, they fell to the ground and worshipped the Lord, saying: This day is holy unto the Lord; for they all wept when they heard the Law. So the Levites published all things to the people, saying: This day is holy to the Lord; be not sorrowful. Then went they their way every one to eat and drink, and make merry and to give to them that have nothing, and to make great cheer.
The word of the Lord came unto the prophet Esdras, saying: Go thy way, and show my people their sinful deeds which they have done against me, for they have forgotten me, and have offered unto strange gods. I gathered you together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings: But now I will cast you out from my face. Then Esdras willed to comfort Israel, but they refused, and despised the commandments of the Lord; therefore he announced that the heathen were called to the heavenly kingdom. After that, Esdras saw upon the Mount Sion a great people who praised the Lord with songs; and the angel said unto him: These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God. Now are they crowned, and receive palms in their hands from the Son of God in their midst.
In the thirtieth year after the ruin of the city, Esdras was in Babylon and troubled because of the desolation of Sion. He acknowledged to God the sins of the people, yet complained that the heathen who were lords over them were more wicked than they. Uriel, the angel, then said that when Adam transgressed God's statutes the way was made narrow, and the days few and evil; but, behold, the time shall come when my son Jesus shall be revealed and shall die, and all men that have life. And after seven days of silence, the earth shall restore those that are asleep, and the most High shall appear upon the seat of judgment; and misery shall pass away but judgment shall remain; truth shall stand; and faith wax strong.
Then Esdras said: I know the most High is called merciful, and he pardoneth; for if he did not so that they which have committed iniquities might be eased of them, the ten thousandth part of men should not remain living; there should be very few left, peradventure, in an innumerable multitude. And the angel answered: There be many created, but few shall be saved. Every one that shall be saved shall be able to escape by his works and by faith, and then they shall be shown great wonders. And it came to pass that a voice out of a bush called Esdras, which prophesied that God would take vengeance upon Egypt, Syria, Babylon, and Asia; that the servants of the Lord must look for troubles, and not hide their sins but depart from evil, and they would be delivered because God is their guide.
This is the Book of Tobit, of the tribe of Nephthali, who in the time of Enemessar, King of the Assyrians, was led captive to Nineve. Tobit in captivity still remembered God with all his heart, and was deprived of his goods under King Sennacherib for privily burying fellow-captives who had been killed. Then Tobit, who became blind, remembered that he had in the days of his prosperity committed to Gabael in Rages of Media the sum of ten talents; and he called his son Tobias to go forth and seek Gabael, giving him handwriting. Tobias sought a guide and found Raphael, who was an angel though Tobias knew it not, and who said he knew and had lodged with Gabael. So they went forth both.
When Tobias and Raphael came to the River Tigris, a fish leaped out of the water and would have devoured him, but the young man laid hold of it, and drew it to land. The Angel bade Tobias open the fish, and take the heart and the liver and the gall, and put them up safely. The young man said to the Angel: To what use are these? And the Angel said: Touching the heart and the liver, if an evil spirit trouble any, we must make a smoke thereof, and the party shall be no more vexed. As for the gall: it is good to anoint a man that a whiteness in his eyes shall be healed.
When they came near to Rages, the Angel said: To-day we shall lodge with Raguel, who is thy cousin and hath an only daughter named Sara. The maid is fair and wise, and I will speak that she may be given thee as a wife. Then the young man answered the Angel, that he had heard that this maid had been given to seven men who all died in the marriage chamber, and he feared lest he should also die. But the Angel said: Fear not, for she is appointed unto thee from the beginning.
Now they came to the house of Raguel, and Sara met them and brought them therein. Raguel and Edna his wife recognised Tobias as a kinsman, and kissed and blessed him. Tobias and Raphael were entertained cheerfully; and after Raphael had communicated with Raguel, Edna, his wife, was called and an instrument of covenants of marriage between Sara and Tobias were written and sealed. And a chamber was prepared for them by Edna, who blessed Sara and asked the Lord of Heaven and Earth to give her joy. And when they had all supped, Tobias was brought in unto Sara. And, as he went he remembered the words of Raphael, and put the heart and liver of the fish upon the ashes of the perfume, and made a smoke therewith. When the evil spirit had smelled the smoke he fled into the utmost parts of Egypt, where an angel bound him. Then Tobias and Sara arose and prayed that God would have pity upon them, and bless them, and mercifully ordain that they might become aged together. So they slept both that night.
Raguel praised God because the Lord had had mercy upon two that were the only begotten children of their fathers, and prayed that they might finish their life in health and joy. Raphael then went to Rages to Gabael for the money, and the two returned to Raguel's house with the bags sealed up.
Now Tobit and his wife longed for their son, and Tobias said to Raguel: Let me go, for my father and mother look no more to see me. Then Raguel gave him Sara, his wife, and half his goods, servants, cattle and money. And he and Edna blessed them and sent them away.
After a prosperous journey, they drew near unto Nineve. Then Raphael told Tobias to make haste before his wife to prepare the house, and to take in his hand the gall of the fish. Now Anna sat looking about toward the way for her son, and when she espied him coming, she said to his father: Behold, thy son cometh and the man that went with him. And Anna ran forth, and fell upon the neck of her son and said: From henceforth I am content to die. Tobias met his father at the door, and strake of the gall on his father's eyes, saying: Be of good hope, my father. And Tobit recovered his sight. When he saw his son, he fell upon his neck and wept, and blessed God. Then Tobit went out to meet his daughter-in-law at the gate of Nineve, and welcomed and blessed her; and there was joy among all his brethren which were at Nineve.
Tobit offered to Raphael half of all that had been brought from Rages; but Raphael called him and Tobias apart and exhorted them to praise and magnify the Lord for all the things which he had done unto them; and told them that he, Raphael, was one of the seven holy angels which present the prayers of the saints, and which go in and out before the glory of the Holy One. Then they were both troubled and fell upon their faces; but he said: Fear not, for it shall go well with you. I go up to him that sent me; but write all the things which were done in a book. And when they arose they saw him no more.
Tobit wrote a prayer of rejoicing, saying: In the land of my captivity do I praise thee, O Lord, and declare thy might and majesty to a sinful nation. For Jerusalem shall be built up, her walls and towers and battlements restored. And all her streets shall say: Alleluia.
And when he was very aged, Tobit called his son and the six sons of his son, and bade them go into Media, for he was ready to depart out of this life, and he surely believed that which Jonas the prophet spake of Nineve, that it should be overthrown. When he had said these things he gave up the ghost. Tobias departed with his wife to Media, and died there; but before he died he heard of the destruction of Nineve, which was taken by Nabuchodonosor.
In the days of Arphaxad, which reigned over the Medes in Ecbatane, he fortified Ecbatane with great stone walls, and towers and gates, for the going forth of his mighty armies. Nabuchodonosor, who reigned in Nineve, made war with King Arphaxad, and sent ambassadors to Cilicia, Damascus and Syria, and the land of Moab and Ammon and Judea and all Egypt asking aid; but the inhabitants thereof made light of the commandment, and sent away his ambassadors with disgrace. Therefore, Nabuchodonosor was very angry, and sware by his throne that he would be avenged upon all the inhabitants of these countries, and would slay them with the sword. Nabuchodonosor, in the seventeenth year of his reign, marched in battle array against Arphaxad and overthrew his power and, all his horsemen and chariots, and took his cities even unto Ecbatane, and spoiled the streets thereof, and turned the beauty of the city into shame. He also took Arphaxad in the mountains of Ragau and smote him. So he returned to Nineve with all his company of sundry nations and feasted. In the eighteenth year, Nabuchodonosor called the chief captain of his army, Holofernes, and commanded him to take one hundred and twenty thousand footmen and twelve thousand horsemen and go against all the west country because they had disobeyed his commandment. He charged also Holofernes to spare none that would not yield, and put them to the slaughter, and spoil them. And the army went forth with a great number of allies like locusts into Cilicia, and destroyed Phud and Lud, and all the children of Rasses and Ishmael. Then the army went over Euphrates and went through Mesopotamia, and destroyed all the high cities on the river Arbonai to the sea, and then to Japheth over against Arabia, and Media and Damascus, and burned up their tabernacles, destroyed their flocks and herds, utterly wasted their countries, and smote all their young men with the edge of the sword. Then fear fell upon the inhabitants of Tyrus and Sidon, on the sea coasts, who sent ambassadors unto Holofernes, and made submission. He received them, yet he cast down their frontiers, cut down their groves, destroyed all the gods of the land, and decreed that all the nations should worship Nabuchodonosor only, and call upon him as God.
Now, the children of Israel that dwelt in Judea, who were newly returned from captivity, were exceedingly afraid for Jerusalem and for the Temple of the Lord their God. Therefore, they possessed themselves of all tops of the high mountains, and fortified the villages, and laid up victuals for the provision of war. And Joacim and all the priests ministered unto the Lord in the Temple, and offered sacrifices and prayed that he would not give the children of Israel for a prey, their wives for a spoil, the cities of their inheritance to destruction, and the sanctuary to profanation.
Holofernes was very angry when he heard this. And Achior, captain of the sons of Ammon, told Holofernes what the Jews were, their history, and what their God had done for them; and advised Holofernes not to meddle with them. There was then tumult in the council of the Assyrian host, and Holofernes despised the God of the people of Israel, and sent Achior to the children of Israel that were in Bethulia, in the hill country. Then Holofernes with all his army besieged Bethulia, and took possession of the fountains of water, so that the inhabitants fainted for thirst, and there was no longer any strength in them. They murmured against the governors, and called upon them to deliver the city to Holofernes and his army. Ozias, the chief of the city, said: Brethren, be of good courage; let us yet endure five days, in which space the Lord our God may turn his mercy towards us; for he will not forsake us utterly.
Now Judith heard thereof. She was a widow and was of a goodly countenance and very beautiful to behold, and she feared God greatly. Judith sent for the ancients of the city, and blamed them for provoking the Lord to anger by their lack of trust, and she promised that she would do a thing within the days before the city was to be delivered to their enemies which should go throughout all generations to the children of the nation. Then Judith went to the House of the Lord and fell upon her face and called upon the Lord who breakest the battles to bless her purpose. She went thereafter to her house, put off the garments of widowhood and of sackcloth, and bathed, and anointed herself with precious ointment, and put on the garments of gladness, with bracelets and chains and rings and ornaments to lure the eyes of all the men that should see her. Then she went forth with her maid out of the city of Bethulia into the camp of the Assyrians, and was taken by the guard to the tent of Holofernes, who marvelled at her beauty. Holofernes asked Judith the cause of her coming, and she declared that if he would follow her words, he and his army would be led by her through the midst of Judea unto Jerusalem wherein he would set op his throne.
Holofernes and all his servants were pleased, and said there was not such a woman in all the earth for beauty of face and wisdom of words. Judith would not eat of the meats and wine which Holofernes offered her, but partook only of the provisions which her maid had brought with her in a bag. Then she was brought into a tent and abode in the camp three days, going out every night into the valley of Bethulia to pray. In the fourth day Holofernes made a feast, and said to Bagoas, the eunuch, to go and persuade the Hebrew woman to come and eat and drink with him and his officers. Judith arose and decked herself, and went in and sat on the ground on soft skins over against Holofernes, whose heart was ravished with her, and his mind moved, and he desired greatly her company.
Now Judith took and ate and drank what her maid had prepared, and Holofernes was greatly delighted with her, and drank much more wine than he had drunk at any time in one day since he was born. Judith, when the evening was come, was left alone with Holofernes, and the servants were dismissed. Then she came to the pillar of the bed, which was at Holofernes's head, took down his fauchion, seized hold of the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, this day. And she smote twice upon his neck with all her might, and took away his head from him.
She put the head in her bag of meat and gave it to her maid, and the twain went forth together, according to their custom, as unto prayer, and passed the camp. Then came they to Bethulia, and were admitted into the city; and the people were astonished wonderfully and worshipped God, and said: Blessed be thou, O our God, which hast this day brought to nought the enemies of thy people. The head of Holofernes was hanged up on the highest place of the city walls, and the men of Israel went forth by bands into the passes of the mountain. When the Assyrians saw this, they sent to Holofernes's tent, and said that the slaves of Israelites had come forth against them in battle. Then Bagoas went into the tent and found the body of Holofernes cast upon the ground and his head taken away. When also he found not Judith, he leaped out to the people and told them; and great fear and trembling fell upon them, and they fled, being chased until past Damascus and the borders thereof by the children of Israel, who gat many spoils. Then Judith sang a song of thanksgiving in all Israel, and the people sang after her. She dedicated the spoil of Holofernes, which the people had given her, for a gift unto the Lord; and when she died in Bethulia, a widow of great honour, all Israel did lament.
THE BOOK OF ESTHER
These are the chapters of the Book of Esther, which are found neither in the Hebrew nor in the Chaldee.
In the second year of the reign of Artaxerxes the Great, Mardocheus, who was a Jew and dwelt in the city of Susa, had a dream. And the same night he overheard two eunuchs plotting to lay hands on Artaxerxes, and he, being a servitor in the king's court, told the king; and the eunuchs, after examination, were strangled. Aman, because of this, induced Artaxerxes to write to all the princes and governors from India unto Ethiopia to destroy all the Jews, with their wives and children, without pity, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar. Mardocheus and Queen Esther, being in the fear of death, resorted unto the Lord, and prayed for deliverance, and for the preservation of the children of Israel. On the third day, Queen Esther cometh unto the king's presence; and she was ruddy through the perfection of her beauty, but her heart was in anguish for fear. The king looketh angrily at her as she stood before his royal throne, and she fainteth. Then God changed the spirit of the king, who leaped from his throne, took her in his arms, saying: Be of good cheer, thou shalt not die, though our commandment be general. As he was speaking, she fell a second time for faintness, and the king was troubled and all his servants comforted her.
Artaxerxes then wrote a letter to all the princes wherein he taxed Aman, the Macedonian, with having by manifold and cunning deceits sought the destruction of Mardocheus, who had saved the king's life, and also of the blameless Esther, partaker of his kingdom, with their whole nation. The king revoked the decree procured by Aman, who, with all his family, was hanged at the gates of Susa. And the king commanded the day of their deliverance to be kept holy.
THE WISDOM OF SOLOMON
Love righteousness, ye that be judges of the earth, for into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter. The spirit of the Lord filleth the world: therefore he that speaketh unrighteous things cannot be hid. Seek not death in the error of your life: for God made not death, and righteousness is immortal. The ungodly reason, but not aright: life is short and tedious, which, being extinguished, our bodies shall be turned into ashes, and our spirit vanish as the soft air. Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that are present. Their own wickedness hath blinded them, for God created man to be immortal.
Nevertheless, through envy of the devil came death into the world. The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God, and there shall no torments touch them. Having been a little chastised they shall be greatly rewarded. Better to have no children and to have virtue; for children begotten of unlawful beds are witnesses against their parents. Honourable age is not measured by number of years. He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time. For his soul pleased the Lord: Therefore, hasted he to take him away from among the wicked. This the people saw and understood it not, neither laid they up this in their minds. That his grace and mercy are with his saints, and that he hath respect unto his chosen. The wicked wonder at the godly, and say: What hath pride profited us? And what good hath riches, with our vaunting, brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow. The hope of the ungodly is like dust that is blown away: but the righteous live for evermore: their reward is a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand. Wisdom is easily found of such as seek her, therefore princes must desire her; for a wise prince is the stay of his people. He that hath Wisdom hath every good thing. Moreover, by her means man shall obtain immortality, and leave behind him an everlasting memorial.
THE WISDOM OF JESUS THE SON OF SIRACH; OR ECCLESIASTICUS.
There are two prologues to this book. The first is by an uncertain author, stating that the book is the compilation of three hands and is in imitation of the Book of Solomon. The second prologue is by Jesus, the son of Sirach and grandchild to Jesus of the same name, who had read the law and the prophets and other books of the fathers, and had been drawn himself to write something pertaining to wisdom and learning. Coming into Egypt when Euergetes was king, Jesus, son of Sirach, found a book of no small learning and bestowed diligence and travail to interpret it, and to bring it to an end. The following are among the precepts given:
All wisdom cometh from the Lord: she is with all flesh according to his gift. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and driveth away sins. My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation. Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure. Woe be to fearful hearts; but they that fear the Lord shall be filled with the law. Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins. He that honoureth his mother layeth up treasure. Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee: profess not the knowledge that thou hast not. Defraud not the poor of his living: and be not fainthearted when thou sittest in judgment. Set not thy heart upon thy goods, for the Lord will surely revenge thy pride. Winnow not with every wind, and let thy life be sincere. Do not extol thy own conceit: if thou wouldst get a friend, prove him first. A faithful friend is a strong defence. Seek not of the Lord preeminence: humble thy soul greatly. Fear the Lord, and reverence his priests. Stretch thine hand unto the poor, and mourn with them that mourn. Strive not with a mighty man: kindle not the coals of a sinner. Lend not unto him that is mightier than thyself: be not surety above thy power. Go not to law with a judge: consult not with a fool. Judge none blessed before his death. He that toucheth pitch shall be denied therewith: like will to like. Say not thou: it is through the Lord that I fell away: He has caused me to err. The Lord made man from the beginning and left him in the hand of his counsel. He has commanded no man to do wickedly, neither has he given any man licence to sin. The knowledge of wickedness is not wisdom: neither at any time the counsel of sinners prudence. Whoso discovereth secrets loseth his credit and shall never find friend to his mind. Health and good estate of body are above all gold. There is no joy above the joy of the heart. Give not over thy mind to heaviness: the joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days. Envy and wrath shorten life: carefulness bringeth age before the time.
[Then follow praises of a good householder, a good physician, a wise interpreter of the law, and injunctions as to how a man should bear the miseries of life, and face the approach of death. And the book concludes with praises of the Patriarchs and the Prophets.]
Baruch, the son of Nerias, wrote a book in Babylon what time the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and burnt it with fire. Baruch read the words of his book in the hearing of Jechonias, the son of the King of Juda, and in the ears of all the people. The Jews wept at the reading of it, by the river Sud, and made a collection of money to send to Jerusalem, unto the High Priest Joachim, to buy burnt offerings and sin offerings and incense, and to prepare manna to be offered upon the altar of the Lord. The people at Jerusalem are asked also to pray for the life of Nabuchodonosor, King of Babylon, and his son Balthasar, and for those who sent the gifts and the book. The book begins with a prayer and confession which the Jews at Babylon make, acknowledging that they are yet this day in captivity for a reproach and a curse, and to be subject to payments according to all the iniquities of their fathers which departed from the Lord our God. Then beginneth the book:
Hear, Israel, the commandments of life: give ear to understand wisdom. Let them that dwell about Sion come, and remember the captivity of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting hath brought upon them. Be of good cheer, O my children, crying unto the Lord, and He shall deliver you from the power and hand of the enemies. I sent you out with mourning and weeping: but God will give you to me again with joy and gladness for ever. Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever; for behold, thy children gathereth from the west and from the east and return out of captivity with glory.
[With this book of Baruch there is an Epistle of Jeremy, which he sent unto them that were to be led captive into Babylon because of their sins. The prophet describes the idols and the conduct of the priests and those who attend the heathen temples and warns the captives not to worship the false gods in Babylon.]
SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN
[This Song is not in the Hebrew of the Book of Daniel.]
They walked in the midst of the fire praising God and blessing the Lord. Azarias opened his mouth in the midst of the flame and made confession of sins, and prayer for deliverance to the confusion of their enemies. Whereupon, the king's servants that put them in ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood, so that the flame passed through and burned those Chaldeans it found about the furnace. But the Angel of the Lord came down into the oven and made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched Azarias and his fellows not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them. Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying: The Lord hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death: for his mercy endureth for ever.
THE HISTORY OF SUSANNA
There dwelt a man in Babylon called Joacim. And he took a wife whose name was Susanna, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord. The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the people to be judges; and they saw Susanna walking in her husband's garden, and their lust was inflamed towards her. Now, Susanna went into the garden to bathe, for it was hot, and dismissed her maids. The two elders, who had hidden in the garden, rose up and said: Consent and lie with us. If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee that a young man was with thee, and therefore thou didst send thy maids away. Then Susanna cried with a loud voice, and the two elders cried out against her, and declared their matter. The servants rushed in at the privy door and were greatly ashamed, for there was never such a report made of Susanna. It came to pass the next day when the people were assembled to her husband Joacim, with the two elders full of mischievous imagination against Susanna, these wicked men commanded Susanna to uncover her face that they might be filled with her beauty, and her friends and all that saw her wept. Then the elders made their charge which they had agreed upon against Susanna, and the assembled people believed them: so they condemned her to death. Then Susanna cried to the Everlasting God, saying: Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me, and that I never did such things as these men have maliciously invented against me. And the Lord heard her voice.
When she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a youth named Daniel, who said: Are ye such fools, ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel? Then Daniel put the two elders aside, one far from the other, to examine them. To the first he said: If thou hast seen her, under what tree sawest thou them companying together? He answered: Under a mastic tree. Daniel said: Very well; and he put him aside and commanded the other to be brought. Tell me, he said, under what tree didst thou take them companying together? He answered: Under an holm tree. Then Daniel said: These men have lied against their own heads, for even now the Angel of God waiteth with the sword that he may destroy them. Then all the assembly arose against the two elders, for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth; and they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the same day; and from that time forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the sight of the people.
THE HISTORY OF THE DESTRUCTION OF BEL AND THE DRAGON
When Cyrus of Persia received his kingdom, Daniel conversed with him, and was honoured above all his friends. Now, the Babylonians had an idol called Bel, which the king worshipped, but Daniel worshipped his own God. The king said unto him: Why dost thou not worship Bel? Daniel answered: Because I may not worship idols made with hands, but the living God. Then the king said: Thinkest thou not that Bel is a living god? Seest thou not how much he eateth and drinketh every day? Then Daniel smiled and said: O king, be not deceived; for this is but clay within and brass without, and it never eateth or drinketh anything. Then trial was made by order of the king, and meat and wine were set in the temple, the door made fast, and sealed with the king's signet. The priests of Bel were three score and ten, besides their wives and children, and they little regarded the trial, for under the table they had made a privy entrance, whereby they entered the temple continually and consumed the meat and the wine. But Daniel had commanded his servants to strew the temple floor with ashes, before the door was shut and sealed. Now, in the night came the priests with their wives and children, as they were wont, and did eat and drink up all.
In the morning betimes the king arose, and Daniel with him. As soon as the door was opened, the king looked upon the table, and cried with a loud voice: Great art thou, O Bel, and with thee is no deceit at all. Then laughed Daniel, and said: Behold the pavement, and mark well whose footsteps are these. And the king saw the footsteps of men, women, and children, and was angry when he was shown the privy doors where they came in and consumed such things as were upon the table. Therefore the king slew them, and delivered Bel into Daniel's power, who destroyed the idol and the temple.
In the same place there was a great dragon, which they of Babylon worshipped. The king said to Daniel: Lo! this dragon liveth, eateth, drinketh; thou canst not say that he is no living god; therefore worship him. Then said Daniel: I will worship the Lord, for he is the living God. But give me leave, O king, and I shall slay this dragon without sword or staff.
The king gave him leave, and Daniel took pitch, and fat, and hair, and did seethe them together, and made lumps thereof. These he put in the dragon's mouth, and the dragon burst in sunder. Then Daniel said: Lo, these are the gods ye worship!
When they of Babylon heard that, they conspired against the king, saying: The king is become a Jew. So they came to the king, and said: Deliver us Daniel, or else we will destroy thee and thine house. Being sore constrained, the king delivered Daniel unto them, and they cast him into the lions' den, where he was six days, during which the seven lions were given no carcases, to the intent that they might devour Daniel.
Now, there was in Jewry a prophet called Habakkuk who made pottage and broken bread to take to the reapers in the field. An Angel of the Lord said unto Habakkuk: Go, carry the dinner that thou hast into Babylon unto Daniel, who is in the lions' den. And Habakkuk said: Lord, I never saw Babylon; neither do I know where the den is. Then the Angel of the Lord took Habakkuk by the crown, and bare him by the hair of his head, and through the vehemency of his spirit set him in Babylon over the den. And Habakkuk cried: O Daniel, take the dinner which God has sent thee. And Daniel said: Thou hast remembered me, O God: neither hast thou forsaken them that seek thee and love thee. So Daniel arose, and did eat: And the Angel of the Lord set Habakkuk in his own place immediately. Upon the seventh day the king went to bewail Daniel; and when he came to the den, behold, Daniel was sitting. Then cried the king with a loud voice, saying: Great art thou, O Lord God of Daniel, and there is none other besides thee. And he drew Daniel out, and cast those that were the cause of his suffering into the den; and they were devoured by the lions in a moment before his face.
THE PRAYER OF MANASSES
The Prayer of Manasses, King of Juda, when he was holden captive in Babylon, is an enumeration of the attributes of the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of their righteous seed; a general confession of sins; and an entreaty that God would show him great mercy and goodness, forgive him, and condemn him not into the lower parts of the earth. Therefore, he would praise the Lord for ever, all the days of his life.
THE FIRST BOOK OF THE MACCABEES
Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, reigned in the hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days certain wicked men of Israel went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen. Whereupon, they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the custom of the heathen. Now, Antiochus made war against Egypt, and when he had smitten the strong cities, and taken the spoils thereof, he returned in the hundred forty and third year and went up against Israel and Jerusalem, and captured the city with great massacre and spoiled the Temple, and took away the vessels of gold and silver and hidden treasures which he found therein. Therefore, there was great mourning in Israel. Two years after, the king sent his chief collector of tribute unto the cities of Juda, and he fell suddenly upon Jerusalem, set fire to it, and pulled down the houses and walls thereof. And the women and children he took away captive, and defiled the sanctuary.
But the enemy builded the city of David, with a great and strong wall and mighty towers, and stored it with armour and victuals and the spoils of Jerusalem, so that it became a sore snare against the sanctuary and an evil adversary to Israel. Moreover, King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and sent letters unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda commanding that the Israelites should abandon their own worship, cease to circumcise their children, and adore his idols. Then was the abomination of desolation set up in the Temple, and idol altars were builded throughout the cities of Juda, and the books of the law were burned. Howbeit many in Israel chose rather to die that they might not be defiled with meats and profane the Holy Covenant. In those days arose Mattathias, a priest of the sons of Joarib. He dwelt in Modin, and had five sons—Joannan, Simon, Judas who was called Maccabeus, Eleazar, and Jonathan. The king's officers came to Modin and asked Mattathias to fulfil the king's commandment; but Mattathias said: Though all the nations consent, yet will I and my sons walk in the covenant of our fathers. And he slew a Jew that did sacrifice to idols in his presence, and the king's messenger also. So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and, being joined by a company of mighty men of Israel, went round about, and pulled down idol altars and circumcised the children valiantly. And the work prospered in their hands, and they recovered the law out of the hands of the Gentiles. When Mattathias came to die he appointed Simon as a man of counsel, and Judas Maccabeus, who had been mighty and strong in battle even from his youth up, to be their captain to avenge the wrongs of their people. So he died in his hundred forty and sixth year, and was buried in the sepulchre of his fathers at Modin, and all Israel made great lamentation for him.
Now, Judas Maccabeus fought the battles of his people with great valiance, captured the cities of Juda, drove Apollonius and a great host out of Samaria, slew Apollonius, took their spoils, and Apollonius's sword also, and therewith he fought all his life long. Judas also overthrew Seron and the great army of Syria. Then Judas was renowned unto the utmost parts of the earth, and an exceeding great dread fell upon the nations round about. Now, when King Antiochus heard these things he was full of indignation; wherefore he sent and gathered together all the forces of his realm. And the king sent Lysias, one of the blood royal, with a great army to go into the land of Juda and destroy it. Judas and his brethren, when he heard this, assembled the Israelites at Maspha, over against Jerusalem, where they fasted; and Judas organised and armed them to battle, and camped at Emmaus. Gorgias, the lieutenant of Lysias, attempted to surprise Judas, but Judas joined him in battle and discomfited him, putting his host to flight and gaining great spoil. Next year Lysias gathered another army, that he might subdue the Israelites, and came into Idumea, and pitched tents at Bethsura. But Judas joined him in battle, and put Lysias and his army to flight. After this, Judas and his brethren came to Jerusalem, pulled down the altar which the heathen had profaned, and set up a new altar. He also builded up Mount Sion with strong towers and high walls. After that Judas smote the children of Esau, Bean, and Ammon, and sent Simon into Galilee, while he, with his brother Jonathan, went over Jordan, and captured the cities of Galaad. About that time Antiochus was in Persia, and heard of the doings of Judas. He was astonished and sore moved, and fell sick of grief and died. Lysias set up Antiochus, his son, as king, and called him Eupator, and brought a great army into Juda. The number of his army was an hundred thousand footmen, twenty thousand horsemen, and two and thirty elephants. Judas went out from Jerusalem and pitched in Bathzacharias over against the king's camp. Then a great battle was fought, when Judas was defeated. There being a famine in the city, he made peace with Eupator, who, however, ordered the wall round about Sion to be pulled down.
Demetrius came from Rome and attacked Eupator in Antioch, captured the city, and slew Eupator and Lysias. Alsimus, who wished to be high priest, complained to Demetrius of Judas, and the king sent Nicanor, a man that bare deadly hate unto Israel, to destroy the people; but he was defeated by Judas at Capharsalama with great slaughter, and in a second battle Nicanor's host was discomfited and he himself was slain, and his head and right hand were hanged up on the tower at Jerusalem. This was a day of great gladness to Israel, and the victory was kept holy every year after.
Now, Judas, being informed of the power and policy of the Romans, made a league with them of mutual help. Notwithstanding, Demetrius sent Bacchides and Alcimus a second time into Judea with a great host, and camped at Berea. Now, Judas had pitched his tent at Eleasa, where, seeing the multitude of the other army to be so great, his men began to desert him, whereupon Judas said: God forbid that I should flee away from the enemy; if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our honour.
The armies came to battle, and the earth shook at the noise thereof, and the fight continued from morning to night. Judas discomfited the right wing of the enemy under Bacchides and pursued them to Mount Azotus, but the left wing followed upon Judas and a sore battle took place, insomuch that many were slain on both sides. Judas was killed also, and the rest of his army fled. The body of Judas was taken to the sepulchre of his fathers at Modin by Jonathan and Simon, his brothers, and all Israel made lamentation for him, and mourned many days, saying: How is the valiant man fallen that delivered Israel!
Jonathan took command of the Israelites in the room of Judas, and made peace with Bacchides. Thereafter, Demetrius made large offers to have peace with Jonathan, including freedom of worship and release of tribute, together with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem and the towers thereof, and the repairs of the sanctuary; but Jonathan and the people gave no credit to these words because they remembered the great evil Demetrius had done in Israel. Jonathan made peace with Alexander, and joined him in battle against Demetrius, whose host fled, and he himself was slain.
After that Demetrius the younger came out of Crete, and sent a great host to Azotus. Here Jonathan attacked him, and with the help of Simon, his brother, defeated the enemy and set fire to Azotus, and the temple of Dagon therein. There were burned and slain with the sword eight thousand men. Now, King Alexander honoured Jonathan and sent him a buckle of gold such as is given to those of the king's blood. After these days, Jonathan did many wonderful exploits in Galilee and Damascus, and then returned to Jerusalem. Now, when Jonathan saw that the time served him, he renewed his league with the Romans and Lacedemonians, and pursued the Arabians unto Damascus. He strengthened the cities of Juda, but he was captured by fraud by Tryphon at Ptolemais. Simon was made captain in his brother Jonathan's room, and prepared to attack Tryphon and, rescue his brother, but Tryphon slew Jonathan, and returned into his own country.
The land of Juda was quiet all the days of Simon, and every man sat under his own vine and fig-tree. When Simon was visiting the cities that were in the country, Ptolemeus, son of Abubus, the captain of Jerico, invited Simon and his two sons into his castle, called Docus. There a great banquet was given, at which Simon and his sons drank largely, and Ptolemeus and his men came into the banqueting place and slew them.
THE SECOND BOOK OF THE MACCABEES
The brethren, the Jews that were at Jerusalem and in the land of Judea, wrote a letter to the Jews that were throughout Egypt to thank God for the death of Antiochus. In his letter are recounted all the sayings of Jeremy, and the great deeds of Judas Maccabeus and his brother Simon, as recorded in the books of Jason, until Nicanor the blasphemer was killed, and his head hanged upon the tower at Jerusalem, from which time forth the Hebrews had the city in their power.
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THE CITY OF GOD
A French critic has said of Augustine's "City of God" that it is the earliest serious attempt to write a philosophy of history, and another has spoken of it as the encyclopaedia of the fifth century. These two remarks together characterise the work excellently. It is a huge treatise in twenty-two books, begun in the year 413, and finished in 426, and was given to the public in sections as these were completed. Augustine (see LIVES AND LETTERS) himself explains the origin of the work. The fall of Rome by Alaric's invasion in 410 had been ascribed to the desertion of the old gods of Rome and to the wide extension of Christianity, or the City of God, throughout the empire. It was to refute this calumny that the learned African bishop elaborated his great defense of Christ's kingdom, the "Catholic Church, which should include all nations and speak in all tongues." In Books 1-5 St. Augustine shows that the catastrophe of Rome was not due to the neglect of the old mythological superstitions; and in Books 6-10 that the heathen cult was helpless for the life after death. Books 11-14 deal with the origin of the two cities, namely, of God and the World; Books 15-18 with their respective histories, and Books 19-22 with their respective ultimate destinies.
I.—THE ORIGIN OF THE TWO CITIES
I write, dear Marcellinus, of that most glorious City of God, both in her present pilgrimage and life by faith, and in that fixed and everlasting seat which she awaits in patience. I write to defend her against those who place their gods above her Founder—a great and arduous work, but God is my aid. I well know what power a writer needs who would show the proud how great is the virtue of humility. For the law of our King and Founder is this: "God is against the proud but gives grace to the humble"; but the swollen and insolent soul loves herein to usurp the divine Majesty, and itself "to spare the subject and subdue the proud." Wherefore I may not pass over in silence that earthly city also, enslaved by its lust of empire.
For it is from this City of the World that those enemies have arisen, against whom we have to defend the City of God; Romans, spared by the barbarians on Christ's account, are haters of the name of Christ. The shrines of the martyrs and the basilicas of the apostles received, in the devastation of the city, not their own people only, but every fugitive; and the fury and greed of the invaders were quenched at these holy thresholds. Yet with thankless arrogance and impious frenzy these men, who took refuge under that Name in order that they might enjoy the light of fugitive years, perversely oppose it now, that they may languish in sempiternal gloom.
Never has it been known, in so many wars as are recorded from before the foundation of Rome to the present day, that an enemy, having reduced any city, should have spared those who had fled to the temples of their gods; not even the Romans themselves, whose moderation in victory has so often been justly praised, have respected the sanctuary of vanquished deities. The devastation and massacre and pillage and conflagrations of the sack of Rome were nothing new. But this one thing was new and unheard of—these savages became suddenly so mild as to set apart spacious basilicas and to fill them with people on whom they had mercy; no one might be killed therein nor any dragged from thence. Who does not see that this is due to the name of Christ and to a Christian age? Who can deny that these sanguinary hordes were bridled by Him Who had said: "I will visit their sins with the rod, but will not take my mercy from them"?
All natures, because they exist and therefore have their manner and species and a certain peace with themselves, are good; and when they are in the places belonging to the order of nature, they preserve the being which they have received.
The truest cause of the felicity of the good angels is to be found in this, that they adhere to Him Who supremely is; and the cause of the misery of bad angels lies in this, that they have turned away from Him Who supremely is, to themselves, who have not supreme being. This vice has no other name but pride, which is the beginning of every sin. They refused to preserve their strength for Him, and so threw away that in which all their greatness consisted. It is vain to seek for an efficient cause for the bad will; we have to do, not with anything efficient, but with a deficiency. The mere defection from that which supremely is to things which are on a lower grade of being is to begin to have a bad will.
Now God founded mankind, not as the angels, so that even did they sin they should not die; but in such a way that did they obey, they should enter, without death, on a blessed eternity; but, did they disobey, they should suffer the most just penalty, both of body and of soul. For though the human soul is truly said to be immortal, yet is there a sense in which it dies when God forsakes it.
Only because they had begun inwardly to be evil did the first of mankind fall into overt disobedience. A bad will had preceded the bad action, and of that bad will the beginning was pride, or the appetite for an inordinate rank. To lift oneself up is in itself to be cast down and to fall. Wherefore humility is most highly of all things commended in and to the City of God, and in Christ her King; but the contrary vice of arrogance especially rules her adversary, the devil, and this is unquestionably the great difference by which the two cities are divided, and the society of the pious from the society of the impious. Thus two loves have founded two cities, the love of Self extending to contempt of God has made the City of the World; the love of God extending to contempt of Self has made the Heavenly City.
II.—THE GROWTH OF THE CITIES
This whole universal time or age, in which the dying give way and the newborn succeed them, is the scene and history of those two cities which are our theme. The City of the World, which lasts not for ever, has its good here below, and rejoices in it with such joy as is possible. The objects of its desire are not otherwise than good, and itself is the best of the good things of earth. It desires an earthly peace for lower ends, makes wars to gain this peace, wins glorious victories, and when victory crowns a just cause, who shall not acclaim the wished-for peace? These things are good indeed, and unquestionably are the gifts of God. But if, neglecting the better things, which belong to the supernal city, they covet these lower ends as if there were none higher, misery must inevitably follow.
All men, indeed, desire peace; but while the society which does not live by faith seeks its peace in the temporal advantages of the present life, that which lives by faith awaits the promised blessings, and makes use of earthly and temporal things only as pilgrims do. The earthly city seeks its peace in a harmony of the wills of men with respect to the things of this life. And the heavenly city also, or, rather, that part of it which travels in this mortality, must use that earthly peace while mortality remains. Living a captive life in the midst of the earthly city, it does not hesitate to respect its laws. Since this mortality is common to both cities, there is a concord between them in the things that belong to it. Only, the heavenly city cannot have common laws of religion with the earthly city, but has been forced to dissent, and to suffer hatred and the storms of persecution.
Therefore, this heavenly city, a pilgrim upon earth, calls out citizens from all peoples and collects a pilgrim society of all tongues, careless what differences there may be in manners, laws and institutions by which earthly peace is achieved and maintained, destroying none of these, but rather serving and fulfilling them. Even the celestial city, therefore, uses the earthly peace, and uses it as a means to the heavenly peace; for that alone can be called the peace of a rational creature which consists in a harmonious society devoted to the enjoyment of God and one another in God.
As for that uncertainty with regard to everything, which characterises the New Academy, the City of God detests all such doubting as a form of madness, since she has the most certain knowledge of those things which she understands by mind and reason, however that knowledge may be limited by our corruptible body. She believes also the evidence of the senses, which the mind uses through the body, for he is miserably deceived who regards them as untrustworthy. She believes also the holy Scriptures, which we call canonical.
It is no matter to the City of God what dress the citizen wears, or what manner of life he follows, so long as it is not contrary to the Divine commands; so that she does not compel the philosophers, who become Christians, to change their habit or their means of life, which are no hindrance to religion, but only their false opinions. As for these three kinds of life, the contemplative, the active, and that which partakes of both qualities, although a man living in faith may adopt any of them, and therein reach eternal reward, yet the love of truth and the duties of charity alike must have their place. One may not so give himself to contemplation as to neglect the good of his neighbour, nor be so deeply immersed in action as to neglect the contemplation of God. In leisure we ought to delight, not in an empty inertia, but in the inquisition or discovery of truth, in such a way that each may make progress without envying the attainments of another. In action we ought to seek neither the honours of this life nor power, since all that is under the sun is vanity; but only the work itself, which our situation enables us to do, and to do it rightly and serviceably.
According to the definitions which Scipio used in Cicero's "Republic," there never really existed a Roman republic. For he briefly defines a republic as the estate of the people—"res publica" as "res populi," and defines the people as a multitudinous assemblage, united by consent to law and by community of advantage. So, then, where justice is not, there can be no people; and if no people, then no estate of the people, but only of a confused multitude unworthy of the name of a people. Where no justice is, there is no commonwealth. Now, justice is a virtue distributing unto everyone his due. Where, then, is the justice of the man who deserts the true God and gives himself over to unclean demons? Is this giving everyone his due?
But if we define a people in another way, and consider it as an assemblage of rational beings united by unanimity as to the objects of their love, then, in order to ascertain the character of a people, we must ascertain what things they love. Whatever it loves, so long as it is an assemblage of rational creatures and not a herd of cattle, and is agreed as to the objects of its love, it is truly a people, though so much the better as its concord lies in better things, and so much the worse as its concord lies in inferior things. According to this definition, then, the Roman people is indeed a people, and its estate is a commonwealth. But what things that people has loved in its earlier and later times, and how it fell into bloody seditions and into social and civil wars, breaking and corrupting that concord which is the health of a people—of these things history is witness. Yet I would not on that account deny it the name of a people, nor its estate the name of a republic, so long as there remains some assemblage of rational persons associated by unanimity with regard to the objects of love. But in general, whatever be the nation in question, whether Athens, Egypt, Babylon, or Rome, the city of the ungodly—refusing obedience to the commandment of God that no sacrifice should be offered but to Him alone—is without true justice.
For though there may be an apparent mastery of the soul over the body, and of reason over vices, yet if soul and reason do not serve God as He has commanded, they can have no true dominion over the body and its passions. How can the mind which is ignorant of the true God, and instead of obeying Him is prostituted to impure demons, be true mistress of the body and the vices? Nay, the very virtues which it appears to itself to possess, by which it rules the body and the vices in order that it may obtain and guard the objects which it desires, being undirected to God, are rather vices than virtues. For as that which makes flesh to live is not flesh but above it, so that which enables man to live in blessedness is not of man, but above him.
III.—THE DESTINY OF THE JUST
Who is able to tell of the creation, with its beauty and utility, which God has set before the eyes of man, though here condemned to labour and sorrow? The innumerable loveliness of sky, earth and sea, the abundance and wonder of light, the sun, moon and stars, the shade of trees, the colours and fragrance of flowers, the multitude of birds of varied hue and song, the many forms of animals, of which the smallest are more wonderful than the greatest, the works of bees more amazing than the vast bodies of whales—who shall describe them?
What shall those rewards, then, be? What will God give them whom He has predestined to life, having given such great things to those whom He has predestined to death? What in that blessed life will He lavish upon those for whom He gave His Son to death? What will the state of man's spirit be when it has become wholly free from vice; yielding to none, enslaved by none, warring against none, but perfectly and wholly at peace with itself?
Who can say, or even imagine, what degrees of glory shall there be given to the degrees of merit? Yet we cannot doubt that there will be degrees; and that in that blessed city no one in lower place shall envy his superior; for no one will wish to be that which he has not received, though bound in closest concord with him who has received. Together with his reward, each shall have the gift of contentment, so as to desire no more than he has. There we shall rest and see, we shall see and love, we shall love and praise. For what other end have we, but to reach the kingdom of which there is no end?
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THE SAINTS' EVERLASTING REST
Richard Baxter, the Puritan author of one hundred and sixty-eight volumes, of which "The Saints Everlasting Rest" was, and is, the most popular, was born in 1615 during the reign of James I., and died in 1691, soon after the accession of William III. His lifetime, therefore, was coincident with the troubles of the Stuart House. For fifty years Baxter was one of the best known divines in England. Throughout, his was a moderating influence in politics, the Church, and theology. His best known pastorate, one of extraordinary success, was at Kidderminster, between his twenty-sixth and forty-fifth years, and there, in an interlude of ill-health of more than customary severity—for all his life he was ailing—he wrote, anticipatory of death, "The Saints Everlasting Rest." The book, which was dedicated to his "dearly beloved friends the inhabitants of the Borrough and Forreign of Kederminster," was published in 1650 and had an immediate and almost unparallelled success. Twenty thousand copies were sold in the year after publication, and various editions are now in circulation. The saintliness of this broad-minded divine's character emerges unsullied from an age of contentious bigotry.
I.—THE NATURE OF REST
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." —Heb. iv, 9.
It was not only our interest in God and actual fruition of Him which was lost in Adam's covenant-breaking fall, but all spiritual knowledge of Him, and true disposition towards such a felicity. Man hath now a heart too suitable to his low estate—a low state, and a low spirit. And when the Son of God comes with tenders of a spiritual and eternal happiness and glory, He finds not faith in man to believe it; but, as the poor man would not believe that any one man had such a sum as a hundred pounds—it was so far above what he possessed—so no man will hardly now believe that there is such a happiness as once he had, much less as Christ hath now procured.
The Apostle bestows most of his epistle against this distemper, and clearly and largely proves that the rest of Sabbaths and Canaan should teach men to look for further rest, which indeed is their happiness. What more welcome to men under personal afflictions, tiring duty, successions of sufferings, than rest? What more welcome news to men under public calamities, unpleasing employment, plundering losses, sad tidings, than this of rest?
Now let us see what this rest is. Though the sense of the text includes in the word "rest" all that ease and safety which a soul hath with Christ in this life—the rest of grace—yet because it chiefly intends the rest of eternal glory I shall confine my discourse to this last.
Rest is the end and perfection of motion. The saints' rest, here in question, is the most happy estate of a Christian having obtained the end of his course.
May we show what this rest containeth. Alas! how little know I of that whereof I am about to speak. Shall I speak before I know? If I stay till I clearly know I shall not come again to speak. Therefore will I speak that little which I do know of it rather than be wholly silent.
There is contained in this rest a cessation from motion or action. When we have obtained the haven we have done with sailing; when we are at our journey's end we have done with the way. There shall be no more prayer because no more necessity, but the full enjoyment of what we prayed for. Neither shall we need to fast and weep and watch any more, being out of the reach of sin and temptations. Nor will there be use for instructions and exhortations; preaching is done; the ministry of man ceaseth; sacraments useless; the labourer called in because the harvest is gathered, the tares burned, the work done.
This rest containeth a perfect freedom from all the evils that accompany us through our course, and which necessarily follow our absence from the chief good. Doubtless there is not such a thing as grief and sorrow known there; nor is there such a thing as a pale face, a languid body, feeble joints, unable infancy, decrepit age, peccant humours, dolorous sickness, griping fears, consuming care, nor whatsoever deserveth the name of evil. Indeed, a gale of groans and sighs, a stream of tears accompanied us to the very gates, and there bid us farewell for ever.
This rest containeth the highest degree of the saints' personal perfection, both of soul and body. This necessarily qualifies them to enjoy the glory and thoroughly to partake the sweetness of it. This is one thing that makes the saints' joy there so great. Here eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived what God hath laid up for them that wait for Him; but there the eye and ear and heart are made capable, else how do they enjoy it? The more perfect the appetite the sweeter the food; the more musical the ear the more pleasant the melody; the more perfect the soul the more joyous those joys, and the more glorious to us is that glory.
This rest containeth, as the principal part, our nearest fruition of God, the chiefest good. And here, wonder not if I be at a loss. When I know so little of God, I cannot know how much it is to enjoy Him. When it is so little I know of mine own soul—either its quiddity or quality, while it is here in this tabernacle—how little must I needs know of the infinite majesty, or the state of this soul when it is advanced to that enjoyment. Nay, if I never saw that creature which contains not something unsearchable, nor the worm so small which afforded not matter for questions to puzzle the greatest philosopher that ever I met with, no wonder if mine eye fail when I look at God, my tongue fail me in speaking of Him, and my heart in conceiving. What strange conceivings hath a man born blind of the sun of its light; or a man born deaf of the nature of music; so do we want that sense by which God must be clearly known. But this we know, the chief good is for us to be near to God.
II.—HOW THE SAINTS WILL BE EMPLOYED
This rest containeth a sweet and constant action of all the powers of the soul and body in this fruition of God. It is not the rest of a stone which ceaseth from motion when it attains the centre. Whether the external senses, such as now we have, shall be continued and employed in this work is a great doubt. For some of them, it is usually acknowledged, they shall cease, because their being importeth their use, and their use implieth our state of imperfection—as there is no use for eating and drinking, so neither for taste. But do not all senses imply our imperfection? As the ore is cast into the fire a stone, but comes forth so pure a metal that it deserves another name, so far greater will the change of our body and senses be—even so great as now we cannot conceive. And, doubtless, as God advanceth our sense and enlargeth our capacity, so will He advance the happiness of those senses, and fill up with Himself all that capacity.
And if the body shall be thus employed, oh, how shall the soul be taken up! As the bodily senses have their proper aptitude and action, so doth the soul in its own action enjoy its own object—by knowing, by thinking, by remembering, by loving. This is the soul's enjoying.
Knowledge of itself is very desirable, even the knowledge of some evil, though not the evil itself. As far as a rational soul exceeds the sensitive, so far the delights of a philosopher in discovering the secrets of Nature, and knowing the mysteries of science, exceed the delights of the glutton, the drunkard, the unclean, and of all voluptuous sensualists whatsoever—so excellent is all truth. What, then, is their delight who know the God of truth! What would I not give so that all the uncertain, questionable principles in logic, natural philosophy, metaphysics, and medicine were but certain in themselves and to me, that my dull, obscure notions of them were but quick and clear. Oh, what then should I not either perform or part with to enjoy a clear and true apprehension of the most true God!
How noble a faculty of the soul is this understanding! It can compass the earth; it can measure the sun, moon, stars, and heaven; it can foreknow each eclipse to a minute many years before; yea, but the top of all its excellency is that it can know God, who is infinite, who made all these—a little here, and more, much more, hereafter. Oh, the wisdom and goodness of our blessed Lord! He hath created the understanding with a natural bias and inclination to truth as its object, and to the prime truth as its prime object; and lest we should turn aside to any creature, He hath kept this as His own divine prerogative, not communicable to any creature, namely, to be the prime truth.
And, doubtless, memory will not be idle or useless in this blessed work, if it be but by looking back to help the soul to value its enjoyment. Our knowledge will be enlarged, not diminished; therefore the knowledge of things past shall not be taken away. And what is that knowledge but a remembrance? Doubtless, from that height the saint can look behind him and before him; and to compare past with present things must needs raise in the blessed soul an unconceivable esteem and sense of its condition. To stand on that mount whence we can see the wilderness and Canaan both at once; to stand in heaven and look back on earth, and weigh them together in the balance of a comparing sense and judgment, how must it needs transport the soul and make it cry out: Have the gales of grace blown me into such a harbour! O, blessed way, and thrice blessed end!
And now if there be such a thing as indignation left how will it here let fly: O vile nature that resisted so much and so long such a blessing! Unworthy soul, is this the place thou camest so unwillingly towards? Was duty wearisome? Was the world too good to lose? Didst thou stick at leaving all, denying all, and suffering anything for this? Wast thou loth to die to come to this? O false heart, that had almost betrayed me and lost me this glory!
But oh, the full, the near, the sweet enjoyment is that of the affections—love and joy! It is near, for love is of the essence of the soul; love is the essence of God, for God is love. Oh, the high delights of this love! The content that the heart findeth in it! Surely love is both work and wages.
But, alas! my fearful heart scarce dares proceed. Methinks I hear the Almighty's voice saying to me, as to Job, "Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?" But pardon, O Lord, Thy servant's sin. I have not pried into unrevealed things, nor with audacious wits curiously searched into Thy counsels; but, indeed, I have dishonoured Thy Holiness, wronged Thine Excellency, disgraced Thy saints' glory by my own exceeding disproportionate pourtraying. I bewail that my conceivings fall so short, my apprehensions are so dull, my thoughts so mean, my affections so stupid, expressions so low, and unbeseeming such a glory. But I have only heard by the hearing of the ear. Oh, let Thy servant see Thee and possess these joys, and then I shall have more suitable conceivings, and shall give Thee fuller glory!
III.—HOW THE ETERNAL REST IS REACHED
Having thus opened to you a window towards the temple, and showed you a small glimpse of the back parts of that resemblance of the saints' rest which I had seen in the Gospel-glass, it follows that we proceed to view a little the adjuncts and blessed properties of this rest, and first consider the eminent antecedents, the great preparations, the notable introduction to this rest; for the porch of this temple is exceeding glorious, and the gate of it is called beautiful. And here offer themselves to our observation as the four corners of this porch the most glorious coming and appearing of the Son of God; His wonderful raising of our bodies from the dust, and uniting them again with the soul; His public and solemn proceedings in their judgment; His solemn celebration of their coronation, and His enthronising of them in their glory.
Well may the coming of Christ be reckoned into His people's glory and enumerated with those ingredients that compound this precious antidote of rest, for to this end it is intended, and to this end it is of apparent necessity. Alas, fellow Christians, what should we do if our Lord should not return? What a case are we here left in! It cannot be; never fear it, it cannot be. And O, fellow-Christians, what a day will that be when we, who have been kept prisoners by sin and the grave, shall be fetched out by the Lord Himself! It will not be such a coming as His first was—in meanness and poverty and contempt. He will not come, O careless world, to be slighted and neglected by you any more. To think and speak of that day with horror doth well beseem the impenitent sinner, but ill the believing saint. How full of joy was that blessed martyr Mr. Glover, with the discovery of Christ to his soul, after long doubting and waiting in sorrow, so that he cries out: "He is come! He is come!" If thou have but a dear friend returned, that hath been far and long absent, how do all run out to meet him with joy! "Oh," said the child, "My father is come!" Saith the wife, "My husband is come!" And shall not we, when we behold our Lord in His majesty returning, cry out: "He is come! He is come!"
The second stream that leadeth to Paradise is that great work of Jesus Christ in raising our bodies from the dust and uniting them again unto the soul. A wonderful effect of infinite power and love. "Yea, wonderful indeed," saith unbelief, "if it be true." "What," saith the Atheist and Sadducee, "shall all these scattered bones and dust become a man? A man drowned in the sea is eaten by fishes, and they by men again, and these men by worms. What is to become of the body of that first man? Shall it rise again?" Thou fool—for so Paul calls thee—dost thou dispute against the power of the Almighty? Wilt thou pose him with thy sophistry? Dost thou object difficulties to infinite strength? Thou blind mole, thou silly worm; thou little piece of creeping, breathing clay; thou dust, thou nothing, knowest thou who it is whose power thou dost question? If thou shouldst see Him, thou wouldst presently die. If He should come and dispute His cause with thee, couldst thou bear it? If thou shouldst hear His voice, couldst thou endure?
Come then, fellow-Christians, let us contentedly commit these carcasses to the dust, knowing that prison shall not long contain them. Let us lie down in peace and take our rest; it will not be an everlasting night or endless sleep. As sure as we awake in the morning when we have slept out the night, so sure shall we then awake. What if our carcasses become as vile as those of the beasts that perish, what if our bones are digged up and scattered about the pit brink, and worms consume our flesh, yet we know that our Redeemer liveth, and shall stand at the last on earth, and we shall see Him with these eyes.
The third part of this prologue to the saints' rest is the public and solemn process at their judgment. O terrible, O joyful day! Then shall the world behold the goodness and the severity of the Lord—on them who perish, severity; but to His chosen, goodness. Then, fellow-Christians, let the terror of that day be never so great, surely our Lord can mean no ill to us.
The fourth antecedent and highest step to the saints' advancement is their solemn coronation, enthronising and receiving into the kingdom. They that have been faithful unto death shall receive the crown of life, and according to the improvement of their talents here so shall their rule and dignity be enlarged.
IV.—EXCELLENCES OF THE ETERNAL REST
A comfortable adjunct of this rest is the fellowship of the blessed saints and angels of God. Oh, when I look in the faces of the precious people of God, and believing, think of this day, what a refreshing thought is it! Shall we not there remember, think you, the pikes which we passed through here; our fellowship in duty and in sufferings; how oft our groans made as it were one sound, our conjunct tears but one stream, and our conjunct desires but one prayer. And now all our praises shall make up one melody, and all our churches one church; and all ourselves but one body; for we shall be one in Christ, even as He and the Father are one.
It is a question with some whether we shall know each other in heaven or no. Surely there shall no knowledge cease which we now have, but only that which implieth imperfection! And what imperfection can this imply? Nay, our present knowledge shall be increased beyond belief. It shall be done away, but as the light of candles and stars is done away by the rising of the sun, which is more properly a doing away of our ignorance than of our knowledge. Indeed, we shall not know each other after the flesh; nor by stature, voice, colour, complexion, visage, or outward shape, but by the image of Christ and spiritual relation, and former faithfulness in improving our talents we shall know and be known.
Again, a further excellence is this—it will be unto us a seasonable rest. When we have passed a long and tedious journey, and that through no small dangers, is not home then seasonable? When we have had a long and perilous war, and have lived in the midst of furious enemies, and have been forced to stand on a perpetual watch, and received from them many a wound, would not a peace with victory be now seasonable? Some are complaining under the pressure of the times—weary of their taxes, weary of their quarterings, weary of plunderings, weary of their fears and dangers, weary of their poverty and wants, and is not rest yet seasonable? Some of us languish under continual weakness, and groan under most grievous pains, weary of going, weary of sitting, weary of standing, weary of lying, weary of eating, weary of speaking, weary of waking, weary of our very friends, weary of ourselves. Oh, how oft hath this been mine own case—and is not rest yet seasonable?
A further excellence is that this is a suitable rest. Gold and earthly glory, temporal crowns and kingdoms could not make rest for saints. Such as their nature and desire such will be their rest.
It will, too, be absolutely perfect and complete—as there is no mixture of our corruption with our graces, so there will be no mixture of our sufferings with our solace. We shall know which was the right side and which the wrong. Then shall our understandings receive their light from the face of God, as the full moon from the open sun when there is no earth to interpose betwixt them. It is a perfect rest from perplexing doubts and fear, from all sense of God's displeasure, from all the temptations of Satan, the world, and the flesh. And it is an eternal rest. This is the crown of our crown. Mortality is the disgrace of all sublunary delights. But, O blessed eternity, where our lives are perplexed by no such thoughts, nor our joys interrupted by any such fears! Our first paradise in Eden had a way out, but none in again; but this eternal paradise hath a way in, but no way out again. The Lord heal our carnal hearts lest we enter not into His eternal rest because of our unbelief.
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BOOK OF THE DEAD
This is probably the oldest religious book in the world. Properly speaking, indeed, it is no book at all, but rather a collection of hymns and litanies which have no more connection with each other than the Psalms. Like the Psalter, too, this so-called book has grown by degrees to the magnitude which it now usually assumes in European and other libraries—175 chapters of varying sizes. Its Egyptian name is "The Book of the Coming Forth by Day" (Renouf), or "The Coming Out of the Day" (Naville); the latter being probably more correct, "day" in this connection denoting man's life with its morning and evening. The hymns in this collection are supposed to be recited by the deceased person with whose body they were commonly buried, and by the recital of these and other sacred texts the departed was believed to be protected against injury in his journey to the underworld, and also to have secured for him a safe return in the form of a resurrection. It was Lepsius, the great German Egyptologist, who gave this compilation the name "Book of the Dead." Even this name, however, though more correct than any other, gives by no means an adequate account of that for which it stands. This, and other summaries of the sacred books of the East appearing in THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS present in quite original ways the systems and philosophies of the great non-Christian religions.
The Book of the Dead may be described as the soul's vade mecum in the journey from this world. It prescribes the forms the soul must have at command in order to ward off the dangers on the way to the underworld, during residence in the world, and on the journey back.
The ancient Egyptians considered this book as inspired by the gods, who caused their scribe, Thoth, to write it down. Every chapter is supposed to exist for the sake of persons who have died. Sometimes chapters had to be recited before the body was put down out of sight. Often a chapter, or more than one, was inscribed on the coffin, or sarcophagus, or mummy wrappings, this being thought a sure protection against foes of every kind.
This collection has been chiefly found written on papyrus in hieroglyphic or hieratic characters on coffins, mummies, sepulchral wrappings, statues, and on the walls of tombs. Complete copies have been found written on tombs of the time of the 26th Dynasty (about 800 B.C.).
There are many recensions, or editions, in the various libraries of Europe and also in the East, and no two of them are identical in the text. Lepsius translated from the Turin papyrus; Budge bases his translations on what is called the Theban recension. But in all the text is exceedingly corrupt, and translation is often no more than a guess. Owing to the number of proper names and technical terms which we have no means of understanding, it is often quite impossible to know the drift of large paragraphs, and even of whole chapters. Since many of the chapters were treated merely as having a magical efficacy either when recited or when inscribed on something buried with the body, it was of small consequence whether or not the words were understood. The bare recital or writing of names of gods, etc., had a magical efficacy according to the people who counted the Book of the Dead their sacred scriptures.
As regards date, the greater number of the hymns and prayers were recited by the people of Egypt on behalf of their deceased friends before the first dynasty had begun to reign. Birch says before 3000 B.C. The hymns and prayers were first of all preserved in the memory only, and their number was at an early time but small. They were written down when the priests had doubts with regard to the meaning of certain terms, and wished to hand them on unimpaired to posterity, being influenced by the belief that the words of this sacred book were, as such, magically potent. The oldest extant papyrus containing the Book of the Dead belongs to the 18th Dynasty, i.e., about 1500 B.C.; but we do not come across a complete copy, with the chapters collected and set in order much as they are to-day, until the 26th Dynasty (about the 7th century B.C.). Previous to this the chapters seem to have been put together with no regard to order; probably they existed on different papyri, which were used as occasion required. Commonly they would be sold, and for that purpose stored up.