1Better to have no children yet to have virtue, since immortality perpetuates its memory; for God andhuman beings both recognise it. 2Present, we imitate it, absent, we long for it; crowned, it holds triumph through eternity, having strivenfor untainted prizes and emerged the victor. 3But the offspring of the godless come to nothing, however prolific, sprung from a bastard stock, they willnever strike deep roots, never put down firm foundations. 4They may branch out for a time, but, on unsteady foundations, they will be rocked by the wind anduprooted by the force of the storm; 5their branches, yet unformed, wil be snapped off, their fruit be useless, too unripe to eat, fit for nothing. 6For children begotten of unlawful bed witness, when put on trial, to their parents' wickedness. 7The upright, though he die before his time, will find rest. 8Length of days is not what makes age honourable, nor number of years the true measure of life; 9understanding, this is grey hairs, untarnished life, this is ripe old age. 10Having won God's favour, he has been loved and, as he was living among sinners, has been takenaway. 11He has been carried off so that evil may not warp his understanding or deceitfulness seduce his soul; 12for the fascination of evil throws good things into the shade, and the whirlwind of desire corrupts asimple heart. 13Having come to perfection so soon, he has lived long; 14his soul being pleasing to the Lord, he has hurried away from the wickedness around him. Yet peoplelook on, uncomprehending; and it does not enter their heads 15that grace and mercy await his chosen ones and that he intervenes on behalf of his holy ones. 16The upright who dies condemns the godless who survive, and youth quickly perfected condemns thelengthy old age of the wicked. 17These people see the end of the wise without understanding what the Lord has in store or why he hastaken such a one to safety; 18they look on and sneer, but the Lord wil laugh at them. 19Soon they wil be corpses without honour, objects of horror among the dead for ever. For he wilshatter them and fling them headlong and dumbfounded. He wil shake them from their foundations; they wil beutterly laid waste, a prey to grief, and their memory wil perish. 20When the count of their sins has been drawn up, in terror they wil come, and their crimes, confrontingthem, wil accuse them.
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