« AnteriorContinua »
O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things: yea, unto him that is yet able to receive meat! O death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy, and unto him whose strength faileth, that is now in the last age, and is vexed with all things, and to him that despaireth, and hath lost patience! Fear not the sentence of death, remember them that have been before thee, and that come after; for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh. And why art thou against the pleasure of the Most High? there is no inquisition in the grave, whether thou have lived ten, or an hundred, or a thousand years. All flesh waxeth old as a gar ment for the covenant from the beginning is, Thou shalt die the death. As of the green leaves on a thick tree, some fall, and some grow; so is the generation of flesh and blood, one cometh to an end, and another is born. Every work rotteth, and consumeth away, and the worker thereof shall go withal. Remember my judgement for thine also shall be so; yesterday for
me, and to-day for thee.
When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest; and be comforted for him, when his spirit is departed from him. Rejoice not over thy greatest enemy being dead, but remember that we die all.
Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: it stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes; there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth? They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever, without any regarding it. Doth not their excellency which is in them go away; they die even without wisdom.
From the same.
Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; for there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. We are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow. One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.
On charity and compassion for the afflicted.
My son, defraud not the poor of his living, and make not the needy eyes to wait long. Make not a hungry soul sorrowful; neither provoke a man in his distress. Add not more trouble to an heart that is vexed; and defer not to
give to him that is in need. Reject not the supplication of the afflicted; neither turn away thy face from a poor man. Turn not away thine eye from the needy, and give him none occasion to curse thee. Let it not grieve thee to bow down thine ear to the poor, and give him a friendly answer with meekness. Deliver him that suffereth wrong from the hand of the oppressor; and be not fainthearted when thou sittest in judgement. Be as a father unto the fatherless, and instead of an husband unto their mother: so shalt thou be as the son of the Most High, and he shall love thee more than thy mother doth. Fail not to be with them that weep, and mourn with them that mourn. Be not slow to visit the sick: for that shall make thee to be beloved. Reproach not a man that turneth from sin, but remember that we are all worthy of punishment. My son, blemish not thy good deeds, neither use uncom
fortable words when thou givest any thing. Shall not the dew assuage the heat? so is a word better than a gift. Lo, is not a word better than a gift? but both are with a gracious man.
From the same.
When thou wilt do good, know to whom thou doest it; so shalt thou be thanked for thy benefits. Do good to the godly man, and thou shalt find a recompence; and if not from him, yet from the Most High. Help the poor for the commandment's sake, and turn him not away because of his poverty. And stretch thine hand unto the poor, that thy blessing may be perfected. Give unto the Most High according as he hath enriched thee; and as thou hast gotten, give with a cheerful eye. For the Lord recompenseth, and will give thee seven times as much. Lay up thy treasure according to the commandments of the Most High, and it shall bring thee more profit than gold. It shall fight for thee against thine enemies better than a mighty shield and strong spear. Water will quench a flaming
fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sins. And he that requiteth good turns is mindful of