Fourth Maccabees Chapters (English Bible : World English Bible – British Edition – WEBBE)
1 And what wonder? if the lusts of the soul, after participation with what is beautiful, are frustrated,
2 on this ground, therefore, the temperate Joseph is praised in that by reasoning, he subdued, on reflection, the indulgence of sense.
3 For, although young, and ripe for sexual intercourse, he abrogated by reasoning the stimulus of his passions.
4 And it is not merely the stimulus of sensual indulgence, but that of every desire, that reasoning is able to master.
5 For instance, the law says, You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.
6 Now, then, since it is the law which has forbidden us to desire, I shall much the more easily persuade you, that reasoning is able to govern our lusts, just as it does the affections which are impediments to justice.
7 Since in what way is a solitary eater, and a glutton, and a drunkard reclaimed, unless it be clear that reasoning is lord of the passions?
8 A man, therefore, who regulates his course by the law, even if he be a lover of money, immediately puts force upon his own disposition; lending to the needy without interest, and cancelling the debt of the incoming Sabbath.
9 And should a man be parsimonious, he is ruled by the law acting through reasoning; so that he does not glean his harvest crops, nor vintage: and in reference to other points we may perceive that it is reasoning that conquers his passions.
10 For the law conquers even affection towards parents, not surrendering virtue on their account.
11 And it prevails over marriage love, condemning it when transgressing law.
12 And it lords it over the love of parents towards their children, for they punish them for vice; and it domineers over the intimacy of friends, reproving them when wicked.
13 And think it not a strange assertion that reasoning can in behalf of the law conquer even enmity.
14 It allows not to cut down the cultivated herbage of an enemy, but preserves it from the destroyers, and collects their fallen ruins.
15 And reason appears to be master of the more violent passions, as love of empire and empty boasting, and slander.
16 For the temperate understanding repels all these malignant passions, as it does wrath: for it masters even this.
17 Thus Moses, when angered against Dathan and Abiram, did nothing to them in wrath, but regulated his anger by reasoning.
18 For the temperate mind is able, as I said, to be superior to the passions, and to transfer some, and destroy others.
19 For why, else, does our most wise father Jacob blame Simeon and Levi for having irrationally slain the whole race of the Shechemites, saying, Cursed be their anger.
20 For if reasoning didn’t possess the power of subduing angry affections, he would not have spoken thus.
21 For at the time when God created man, He implanted within him his passions and moral nature.
22 And at that time He enthroned above all the holy leader mind, through the medium of the senses.
23 And He gave a law to this mind, by living according to which it will maintain a temperate, and just, and good, and manly reign.
24 How, then, a man may say, if reasoning be master of the passions, has it no control over forgetfulness and ignorance?