4 Maccabees 7Common English Bible (CEB)
7 Our father Eleazar’s godly thinking was like a skilled captain, steering the ship of godly living over the sea of the emotions. 2 Although the tyrant’s storms beat against the ship and the powerful waves of torture crashed over its decks, 3 Eleazar kept the rudder of godly living straight until he sailed into the harbor of immortal victory. 4 No city under siege and attacked by every kind of cleverly devised machine has ever held out like that completely holy man did. Torture and racks ravaged his holy soul, but he conquered his opponents by using godly thinking to protect his commitment to godliness. 5 Our father Eleazar made his mind up so it was like an overhanging cliff that broke the raging waves of the emotions.
6 Eleazar, you are a priest who is worthy of the office. You didn’t pollute your teeth; you didn’t contaminate your stomach by eating the forbidden foods. Your stomach had room only for godly behavior and purity. 7 How you were in harmony with the Law and a philosopher of the divine life! 8 Whoever has the occupation of administering public affairs in line with the Law should be a person like you. They should protect the Law with their own blood and with genuine tears, and suffer to the point of death! 9 Father, you confirmed our commitment to obey the Law through your endurance that brought you honor. You didn’t desert the holy way of life that you had praised so sincerely. Your actions made your words about divine philosophy convincing. 10 Old man, you had greater force than torture! Elder, you are more powerful than fire! Eleazar, you are supreme ruler over passions! 11 Our father Aaron ran into the midst of the people, armed with a container of burning incense, and had the victory over a fiery angel. 12 In the same way, Aaron’s descendant Eleazar, though eaten up by fire, kept his thinking straight. 13-14 The most remarkable thing is that he became young again in spirit through clear thinking, though he was an old man whose body was no longer hard and strong—his muscles were soft, and his joints were weak. He made the many devices of torture ineffective with clear thinking, such as Isaac had shown. 15 How honorable is old age, respected gray hair, and a law-abiding life that the faithful seal of death made complete!
16 So if an old man thought nothing of being tortured to death for the sake of showing God proper respect, without question godly thinking is the commander of the emotions. 17 Some people might object, “Not everyone has command of the emotions, since not everyone uses wisdom.” 18 But the people who are fully committed to give God proper respect from the heart are alone able to control the sensations of the body. 19 This is because they believe that they don’t die to God but rather continue to live for God like the ancestors of our nation, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 20 So there is no contradiction in the fact that some people seem to be completely controlled by their emotions because of weak thinking. 21 If a person lives by the complete rule of philosophy, trusts God, 22 and knows that it is a privilege to suffer anything for the sake of their moral character, that person will be able to control the emotions through godly practice. 23 Only the wise and courageous rule their emotions.