The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Blessed the man whose lips have never betrayed him into a fault, who has never known the sting of remorse,
never felt conscience condemning him, and the hope he lived by, his no more!
Vain is that store the miser cherishes; wasted on his distrustful nature, the bright gold!
See how he wrongs himself to hoard up goods for others; to let his heirs keep high revel when he is gone!
Whose friend is he, that is his own enemy, and leaves his own cheer untasted?
This is the last villainy of all, that a man should grudge himself his own happiness;
fit punishment for his poverty of soul that never did good except by oversight, and to his manifest remorse!
Diseased eye of the niggard, that will turn away and let hunger go unsatisfied;
and restless eye of the covetous man, that craves ever more than his due, till his very nature dries up from continual pining;
an eye jaundiced with its own passions, and never a full meal, but always he must sit hungry and pensive at his own table, and ill content!
My son, if wealth thou hast, regale thyself, and make thy offering to God proportionable.
Bethink thee that death waits not; there is no putting off thy tryst with the grave; nothing in this world, but its death-warrant is out already.
While life still holds, make thy friends good cheer, and to the poor be open-handed as thy means allow thee;
stint not the feast, nor any crumb put by of the blessings granted thee;
wouldst thou have thy heirs wrangling over the fruits of thy bitter toil?
Much give, much take, set thy soul at ease;
while life still holds, do thy duty of almsgiving; feasting there shall be none in the grave.
No living thing but fades as the grass fades; as the leaves fade, that burgeon on a growing tree,
some sprouting fresh and some a-dying; so it is with flesh and blood, one generation makes room for the next.
All the works of man are fugitive, and must perish soon or late, and he, the workman, goes the same way as the rest.
Yet shall their choicest works win favour, and in his work he, the workman, shall live.
Blessed the man that dwells on wise thoughts, musing how to acquit himself well, and remembering the all-seeing eye of God;
that can plan out in his heart all wisdom’s twists and turns, fathom her secrets! Like a spy he follows her, and lingers in her tracks,
peers through her window, listens at her doors,
by her house takes up his abode, driving his nail into the walls of it, so as to build his cabin at her very side, cabin that shall remain for ever a home of blessing!
Wisdom shall be the shade under which his children find their appointed resting-place; her spreading boughs
shall protect them from the noon-day heat; wisdom shall be the monument of his glorious repose.
The Holy Bible