1And this is the false argument they use, 'Our life is short and dreary, there is no remedy when our endcomes, no one is known to have come back from Hades. 2We came into being by chance and afterwards shal be as though we had never been. The breath in ournostrils is a puff of smoke, reason a spark from the beating of our hearts; 3extinguish this and the body turns to ashes, and the spirit melts away like the yielding air. 4In time, our name wil be forgotten, nobody wil remember what we have done; our life will pass awaylike wisps of cloud, dissolving like the mist that the sun's rays drive away and that its heat dispels. 5For our days are the passing of a shadow, our end is without return, the seal is affixed and nobodycomes back. 6'Come then, let us enjoy the good things of today, let us use created things with the zest of youth: 7take our fil of the dearest wines and perfumes, on no account forgo the flowers of spring 8but crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither, 9no meadow excluded from our orgy; let us leave the signs of our revelry everywhere, since this is ourportion, this our lot! 10'As for the upright man who is poor, let us oppress him; let us not spare the widow, nor respect oldage, white-haired with many years. 11Let our might be the yardstick of right, since weakness argues its own futility. 12Let us lay traps for the upright man, since he annoys us and opposes our way of life, reproaches us forour sins against the Law, and accuses us of sins against our upbringing. 13He claims to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. 14We see him as a reproof to our way of thinking, the very sight of him weighs our spirits down; 15for his kind of life is not like other people's, and his ways are quite different. 16In his opinion we are counterfeit; he avoids our ways as he would filth; he proclaims the final end of theupright as blessed and boasts of having God for his father. 17Let us see if what he says is true, and test him to see what sort of end he wil have. 18For if the upright man is God's son, God wil help him and rescue him from the clutches of hisenemies. 19Let us test him with cruelty and with torture, and thus explore this gentleness of his and put hispatience to the test. 20Let us condemn him to a shameful death since God wil rescue him -- or so he claims.' 21This is the way they reason, but they are misled, since their malice makes them blind. 22They do not know the hidden things of God, they do not hope for the reward of holiness, they do notbelieve in a reward for blameless souls. 23For God created human beings to be immortal, he made them as an image of his own nature; 24Death came into the world only through the Devil's envy, as those who belong to him find to their cost.
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