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A Prologue made by an uncertain Author

This Jesus was the son of Sirach, and grandchild to Jesus of the same name with him: this man therefore lived in the latter times, after the people had been led away captive, and called home a again, and almost after all the prophets. Now his grandfather Jesus, as he himself witnesseth, was a man of great diligence and wisdom among the Hebrews, who did not only gather the grave and short sentences of wise men, that had been before him, but himself also uttered some of his own, full of much understanding and wisdom. When as therefore the first Jesus died, leaving this book almost perfected, Sirach his son receiving it after him left it to his own son Jesus, who, having gotten it into his hands, compiled it all orderly into one volume, and called it Wisdom, intituling it both by his own name, his father’s name, and his grandfather’s; alluring the hearer by the very name of Wisdom to have a greater love to the study of this book. It containeth therefore wise sayings, dark sentences, and parables, and certain particular ancient godly stories of men that pleased God; also his prayer and song; moreover, what benefits God had vouchsafed his people, and what plagues he had heaped upon their enemies. This Jesus did imitate Solomon, and was no less famous for wisdom and learning, both being indeed a man of great learning, and so reputed also.

The Prologue of the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach.

Whereas many and great things have been delivered unto us by the law and the prophets, and by others that have followed their steps, for the which things Israel ought to be commended for learning and wisdom; and whereof not only the readers must needs become skilful themselves, but also they that desire to learn be able to profit them which are without, both by speaking and writing: my grandfather Jesus, when he had much given himself to the reading of the law, and the prophets, and other books of our fathers, and had gotten therein good judgment, was drawn on also himself to write something pertaining to learning and wisdom; to the intent that those which are desirous to learn, and are addicted to these things, might profit much more in living according to the law. Wherefore let me intreat you to read it with favour and attention, and to pardon us, wherein we may seem to come short of some words, which we have laboured to interpret. For the same things uttered in Hebrew, and translated into another tongue, have not the same force in them: and not only these things, but the law itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language. For in the eight and thirtieth year coming into Egypt, when Euergetes was king, and continuing there some time, I found a book of no small learning: therefore I thought it most necessary for me to bestow some diligence and travail to interpret it; using great watchfulness and skill in that space to bring the book to an end, and set it forth for them also, which in a strange country are willing to learn, being prepared before in manners to live after the law.

11All wisdom cometh from the Lord, and is with him for ever.

2Who can number the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of eternity?

3Who can find out the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the deep, and wisdom?

4Wisdom hath been created before all things, and the understanding of prudence from everlasting.

5The word of God most high is the fountain of wisdom; and her ways are everlasting commandments.

6To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed? or who hath known her wise counsels?

7Unto whom hath the knowledge of wisdom been made manifest? and who hath understood her great experience?

8There is one wise and greatly to be feared, the Lord sitting upon his throne.

9He created her, and saw her, and numbered her, and poured her out upon all his works.

10She is with all flesh according to his gift, and he hath given her to them that love him.

11The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of rejoicing.

12The fear of the Lord maketh a merry heart, and giveth joy, and gladness, and a long life.

13Whoso feareth the Lord, it shall go well with him at the last, and he shall find favour in the day of his death.

14To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and it was created with the faithful in the womb.

15She hath built an everlasting foundation with men, and she shall continue with their seed.

16To fear the Lord is fulness of wisdom, and filleth men with her fruits.

17She filleth all their house with things desirable, and the garners with her increase.

18The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom, making peace and perfect health to flourish; both which are the gifts of God: and it enlargeth their rejoicing that love him.

19Wisdom raineth down skill and knowledge of understanding standing, and exalteth them to honour that hold her fast.

20The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord, and the branches thereof are long life.

21The fear of the Lord driveth away sins: and where it is present, it turneth away wrath.

22A furious man cannot be justified; for the sway of his fury shall be his destruction.

23A patient man will tear for a time, and afterward joy shall spring up unto him.

24He will hide his words for a time, and the lips of many shall declare his wisdom.

25The parables of knowledge are in the treasures of wisdom: but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.

26If thou desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord shall give her unto thee.

27For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and instruction: and faith and meekness are his delight.

28Distrust not the fear of the Lord when thou art poor: and come not unto him with a double heart.

29Be not an hypocrite in the sight of men, and take good heed what thou speakest.

30Exalt not thyself, lest thou fall, and bring dishonour upon thy soul, and so God discover thy secrets, and cast thee down in the midst of the congregation, because thou camest not in truth to the fear of the Lord, but thy heart is full of deceit.

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21My son, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation.

2Set thy heart aright, and constantly endure, and make not haste in time of trouble.

3Cleave unto him, and depart not away, that thou mayest be increased at thy last end.

4Whatsoever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed to a low estate.

5For gold is tried in the fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity.

6Believe in him, and he will help thee; order thy way aright, and trust in him.

7Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy; and go not aside, lest ye fall.

8Ye that fear the Lord, believe him; and your reward shall not fail.

9Ye that fear the Lord, hope for good, and for everlasting joy and mercy.

10Look at the generations of old, and see; did ever any trust in the Lord, and was confounded? or did any abide in his fear, and was forsaken? or whom did he ever despise, that called upon him?

11For the Lord is full of compassion and mercy, longsuffering, and very pitiful, and forgiveth sins, and saveth in time of affliction.

12Woe be to fearful hearts, and faint hands, and the sinner that goeth two ways!

13Woe unto him that is fainthearted! for he believeth not; therefore shall he not be defended.

14Woe unto you that have lost patience! and what will ye do when the Lord shall visit you?

15They that fear the Lord will not disobey his Word; and they that love him will keep his ways.

16They that fear the Lord will seek that which is well, pleasing unto him; and they that love him shall be filled with the law.

17They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and humble their souls in his sight,

18Saying, We will fall into the hands of the Lord, and not into the hands of men: for as his majesty is, so is his mercy.

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31Hear me your father, O children, and do thereafter, that ye may be safe.

2For the Lord hath given the father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons.

3Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins:

4And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure.

5Whoso honoureth his father shall have joy of his own children; and when he maketh his prayer, he shall be heard.

6He that honoureth his father shall have a long life; and he that is obedient unto the Lord shall be a comfort to his mother.

7He that feareth the Lord will honour his father, and will do service unto his parents, as to his masters.

8Honour thy father and mother both in word and deed, that a blessing may come upon thee from them.

9For the blessing of the father establisheth the houses of children; but the curse of the mother rooteth out foundations.

10Glory not in the dishonour of thy father; for thy father’s dishonour is no glory unto thee.

11For the glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and a mother in dishonour is a reproach to the children.

12My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth.

13And if his understanding fail, have patience with him; and despise him not when thou art in thy full strength.

14For the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten: and instead of sins it shall be added to build thee up.

15In the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy sins also shall melt away, as the ice in the fair warm weather.

16He that forsaketh his father is as a blasphemer; and he that angereth his mother is cursed: of God.

17My son, go on with thy business in meekness; so shalt thou be beloved of him that is approved.

18The greater thou art, the more humble thyself, and thou shalt find favour before the Lord.

19Many are in high place, and of renown: but mysteries are revealed unto the meek.

20For the power of the Lord is great, and he is honoured of the lowly.

21Seek not out things that are too hard for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength.

22But what is commanded thee, think thereupon with reverence, for it is not needful for thee to see with thine eyes the things that are in secret.

23Be not curious in unnecessary matters: for more things are shewed unto thee than men understand.

24For many are deceived by their own vain opinion; and an evil suspicion hath overthrown their judgment.

25Without eyes thou shalt want light: profess not the knowledge therefore that thou hast not.

26A stubborn heart shall fare evil at the last; and he that loveth danger shall perish therein.

27An obstinate heart shall be laden with sorrows; and the wicked man shall heap sin upon sin.

28In the punishment of the proud there is no remedy; for the plant of wickedness hath taken root in him.

29The heart of the prudent will understand a parable; and an attentive ear is the desire of a wise man.

30Water will quench a flaming fire; and alms maketh an atonement for sins.

31And he that requiteth good turns is mindful of that which may come hereafter; and when he falleth, he shall find a stay.