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Chapter VI.

Moreover, I shall exhibit in discourse the ill-fortune that most of all prevails among men. While God may supply a man with all that is according to his mind, and deprive him of no object which may in any manner appeal to his desires, whether it be wealth, or honour, or any other of those things for which men distract themselves; yet the man, while thus prospered in all things, as though the only ill inflicted on him from heaven were just the inability to enjoy them, may but husband them for his fellow, and fall without profit either to himself or to his neighbours. This I reckon to be a strong proof and clear sign of surpassing evil. The man who has borne without blame the name of father of very many children, and spent a long life, and has not had his soul filled with good for so long time, and has had no experience of death meanwhile,7777    θάνατον πεῖραν οὐ λαβών, for which we must read probably θανάτου, etc.—this man I should not envy either his numerous offspring or his length of days; nay, I should say that the untimely birth that falls from a woman’s womb is better than he. For as that came in with vanity, so it also departeth secretly in oblivion, without having tasted the ills of life or looked on the sun. And this is a lighter evil than for the wicked man not to know what is good, even though he measure his life by thousands of years.7878    The text gives, ἤπερ τῷ πονηρῷἀναμετρησαμένῳ ἀγαθοτητα μὴ ἐπιγνῳ, for which we may read either ἤπερ τῷ πονηρῷἀναμετρησάμενοςἐπιγνῷ, or better,…ἀναμετρησαμένῳἐπιγνῶναι. And the end of both is death. The fool is proved above all things by his finding no satisfaction in any lust. But the discreet man is not held captive by these passions. Yet, for the most part, righteousness of life leads a man to poverty. And the sight of curious eyes deranges7979    ἐξίστηαι. many, inflaming their mind, and drawing them on to vain pursuits by the empty desire of show.8080    τοῦ ὀφθῆναι. Moreover, the things which are now are known already; and it becomes apparent that man is unable to contend with those that are above him. And, verily, inanities have their course among men, which only increase the folly of those who occupy themselves with them.


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