The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Wisdom
Chapter 12
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Thy kindly influence, Lord, thy gracious influence is all about us.
Tender, at the first false step, is thy rebuke; thou dost remind and warn us that we have gone astray, to make us leave our sinning and have faith in thee.
So it was with the former inhabitants of this thy holy land. Good reason thou hadst to be their enemy;
of what detestable practices were they not guilty, with those sorceries and unhallowed rites of theirs!
Murderers that would not spare their own children, that feasted on human flesh, human entrails and blood, they must have no share in thy covenant.
Thy will was that our fathers should root them out, these unnatural murderers of their own defenceless children;
and this land, dear to thee as no other, should be more worthily peopled by the sons of God.
Yet they, too, were men, and thou wouldst deal gently with them; thou wouldst send hornets as the vanguard of thy invading host, to wear them down gradually.
Not that it was beyond thy power to give piety the mastery over godlessness by victory in battle, by some plague of ravening monsters, or by one word of doom.
But no, their sentence should be executed by degrees, giving them opportunity to repent; though indeed thou knewest well that theirs was a worthless breed, of a malice so ingrained, that they would turn aside from their ill devices never;
from its beginnings, an accursed race.

Nor, if thou wast patient with the sinner, was it human respect that persuaded thee to it.
Thy acts who shall question, thy doom who shall gainsay? Will some champion arise to challenge thee on behalf of these rebels, tax thee with unmaking the peoples thou hast made?
God there is none save thou, that hast a whole world for thy province; and shall thy justice abide our question?
Punish thou mayst as punish thou wilt; king nor emperor can be bold to outface thee.
So high beyond our censure, and therewithal so just in thy dealings! To condemn the innocent were unworthy of such majesty as thine;
of all justice, thy power is the true source, universal lordship the ground of universal love!
Only when thy omnipotence is doubted wilt thou assert thy mastery, their rashness making manifest, who will not acknowledge thee;
elsewhere, with such power at thy disposal, a lenient judge thou provest thyself, riding us with a light rein, and keeping thy terrors in reserve.

Two lessons thy people were to learn from these dealings of thine; ever should justice and mercy go hand in hand, never should thy own children despair of forestalling thy justice by repentance.
What, so patient, so unhurrying, in thy vengeance on the doomed enemies of thy chosen race; always delay, always the opportunity given them to repent of their misdeeds;
and wouldst thou shew less anxious care in trying the cause of thy own children, bound to thee from of old by a sworn covenant so rich in mercies?
It is for our instruction, then, that thou usest such exquisite care in the punishing of our enemies; judge we, let us imitate thy clemency, abide we judgement, let us ever hope for pardon.

And so it was that thou didst plague the Egyptians, that were knaves and fools both; their own false gods should be the undoing of them.
This was the worst error of all their erring, that they worshipped the meanest of beasts as gods; silly children had been no more credulous.
Why then, these silly children should have play-time penalties first;
of those play-time penalties if they took no heed, then at last they should feel how a God can punish.
Humiliated they well might be at those sufferings of theirs, the very gods they worshipped the instruments of their distress; a sight enough to convince them that he was the true God, whom all this while they had rejected! But no, they must needs bring upon themselves the full rigours of justice.