The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiasticus
Fools are cheated by vain hopes, buoyed up with the fancies of a dream.
Wouldst thou heed such lying visions? Better clutch at shadows, or chase the wind.
Nought thou seest in a dream but symbols; man is but face to face with his own image.
As well may foul thing cleanse, as false thing give thee a true warning.
Out upon the folly of them, pretended divination, and cheating omen, and wizard’s dream!
Heart of woman in her pangs is not more fanciful. Unless it be some manifestation the most High has sent thee, pay no heed to any such;
trust in dreams has crazed the wits of many, and brought them to their ruin.
Believe rather the law’s promises, that cannot miss their fulfilment, the wisdom that trusty counsellors shall make clear to thee.
A man will not learn until he is tested by discipline.✻ That experience gained, he will think deeply, and the many lessons he has learned will make him a wise talker.
Without experience, a man knows little; yet, if he is too venturesome, he reaps a rich harvest of mischief …
A man will not learn until he is tested by discipline … and if he is led astray he will be full of knavery …✻
I myself have seen much in my wanderings, the customs of men more than I can tell.✻
Sometimes, by this means, I have been in danger of death, and only the divine favour has preserved me from it.
The life of such as fear the Lord is held precious, and wins a blessing from his regard;
they have a deliverer they can trust in, and God’s eye watches over them in return for their love.
Fear the Lord, and thou shalt never hesitate; nothing may daunt thee, while such a hope is thine.
Blessed souls, that fear the Lord!
They know where to look for refuge.
Fear the Lord, and his eyes watch over thee; here is strong protection, here is firm support; shelter when the hot wind blows, shade at noon-day;
here is reassurance when a man stumbles, support when he falls; soul uplifted, eyes enlightened, health and life and blessing bestowed.
Tainted is every sacrifice that comes of goods ill gotten; a mockery, this, of sacrifice, that shall win no favour.
For those who wait upon him in loyal duty, the Lord alone is God.✻
Should the most High accept the offerings of sinners, take the gifts of the wrong-doer into his reckoning, and pardon their sins because their sacrifices are many?
Who robs the poor and then brings sacrifice, is of their fellowship that would immolate some innocent child before the eyes of his father.
Poor man’s bread is poor man’s life; cheat him of it, and thou hast slain him;
sweat of his brow, or his life’s blood, what matters?
Disappoint the hireling, and thou art own brother to a murderer.
Build while another pulls down, and toil is its own reward.
Pray while another curses, and which of you shall find audience with God?
Cleanse thyself from dead body’s contamination, and touch it again, what avails thy cleansing?
So it is when a man fasts for his sins, yet will not leave his sinning; vain is the fast, the prayer goes unanswered.
The Holy Bible