First Week of October
Before the I Sunday in October
℣. Let our evening prayer come up before thee, O Lord. ℟. And let thy mercy come down upon us.
Ant. on Mag. The Lord † open your hearts in his law and command-
ments, * and send you peace in your days.
FIRST SUNDAY OF OCTOBER
September 28th or one of the next six days thereafter
If this Scripture cannot be read on this day, it with the ℟℟ of this day should be transferred to
the first ensuing day upon which the Scripture of the Season can be read, the Lessons of which day are then omitted; or they may be joined to Lesson iii of this Sunday.
Here beginneth the Former Book of Maccabees
|Lesson i||Chap. 1. i.|
AND it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chittim, had smitten Darius King of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece, and made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth, and went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him ; whereupon he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. And he gathered a mighty strong host, and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him. And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he should die. Wherefore he called his servants, such as were honourable, and had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive.
℟ 1 from Table 5. The Lord open.
SO Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died. And his servants bare rule, every one in his place. And after his death they all put crowns upon themselves ; so did their sons after them many years : and evils were multiplied in the earth. And there came out of them a wicked root, Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the King, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.
℟. 2 The Lord hear.
IN those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us : for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the King, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen : whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the customs of the heathen : and made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy Covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief.
℟. 3 Our enemies.
From the Treatise on Duties by St. Ambrose the Bishop
|Lesson iv||Lib. I, cap. 40|
THERE may perchance be some who are so infatuated by the glory of war as to think there is no valour except in war ; and that the reason why I have thus far, in this book, avoided a discussion of valour is that among us there is no warlike valour whereof to speak. But consider the valour of Joshua the son of Nun, when in one battle he laid low five nations, and took prisoners their kings. Then, when he was fighting against the Gibeonites, and feared lest the closing in of night should cut short his victory, he cried aloud in the greatness of his courage, and of his faith : Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ajalon! And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the peo-
ple had avenged themselves upon their enemies. How valiant also was Gideon who, with three hundred men, won the victory over a vast people, and a savage enemy! How valiant was Jonathan who as a youth proved himself mighty in battle!
℟. 4 Fear ye not.
AND what shall I say of the Maccabees? But before I speak of them, I will speak of their fathers, even of them who, when they were ready to fight for the Temple of God and for their own rights, were assailed by a trick of their enemies upon the Sabbath Day, and were willing rather to offer their bodies naked to the sword than to fight back, lest they violate the Sabbath ; and so they gave themselves up gladly to death. But the Maccabees, considering that on this wise the whole nation might perish, avenged the innocent blood of their brethren even upon the Sabbath Day, when they were provoked to battle ; and afterward, when King Antiochus had been stirred up to make war on them by his generals, Lysias and Nicanor and Gorgias, he and his Eastern and Assyrian forces were so crushed that forty and eight thousand were laid low on the field by three thousand.
℟. 5 Lo, our enemies.
OF the valour of Judas the Maccabean leader we may judge by the type of his men. When Eleazar saw an elephant bigger than the rest, adorned with the King's harness, he thought that the King was riding thereon ; and therefore he rushed forward, and dashed into the midst of the legion ; and having cast away the encumbrance of his shield, he fought with his sword ; and so the
beast fell upon Eleazar and crushed him, and he died. What was the valour of his soul! To begin with, he feared not to die ; and when the enemy surrounded him he cast himself into the midst of their ranks, and penetrated their line ; and becoming all the fiercer from his contempt of death, he threw away his shield, and fought with both hands that he might come unto the huge bulk of the monster ; beneath which he crawled, that he might there strike a more effective blow. And so, when he died thereunder, he might well have been said not so much to have been crushed, as to have been swallowed up in victory.
℟. 6 Thine, O Lord.
For the III Noct., Lessons from Part 2 of this section, with ℟℟ from Table 5, as follows;
℟. 7 The sun shone.
℟. 8 The two Seraphim.
From the Former Book of Maccabees
|Lesson i||Chap. 1. 16.|
NOW when the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Egypt, that he might have the dominion of two realms. Wherefore he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy, and made war against Ptolemy King of Egypt : but Ptolemy was afraid of him, and fled ; and many were wounded to death. Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt, and he took the spoils thereof.
℟. 10 Judas said.
AND after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jeru-
salem with a great multitude, and entered presumptuously into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, and the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the bowls, and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornaments that were on the walls of the temple, all which he pulled off.
℟. 11 They decked.
HE took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels : also he took the hidden treasures which he found. And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very presumptuously. Therefore there was great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were ; so that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young men were made feeble, and the beauty of women was changed. Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she that sat in the marriage chamber was in heaviness. The land also was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all the house of Jacob was covered with confusion.
℟. 12 They praised.
From the Former book of Maccabees
|Lesson i||Chap. 2. I.|
IN those days arose Mattathiah the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin. And he had five sons, John, called Gaddis ; Simon, called Thassi : Judas, who was called Maccabeus : Eleazar, called Avaran : and Jonathan, whose surname was Apphus.
AND when he saw the blasphemies that were committed in Judah and Jerusalem, he said, Woe is me! wherefore was I born to see this misery of my people, and of the holy city, and to dwell there, when it was delivered into the hand of the enemy, and the sanctuary into the hand of strangers? Her temple is become as a man without glory. Her glorious vessels are carried away into captivity, her infants are slain in the streets, her young men with the sword of the enemy. What nation hath not had a part in her kingdom, and gotten of her spoils?
THEN Mattathiah and his sons rent their clothes, and put on sackcloth, and mourned very sore. In the meanwhile the King's officers, such as compelled the people to revolt, came into the city Modin, to make them sacrifice. And when many of Israel came unto them, Mattathiah also and his sons came together.
From the Former Book of Maccabees
|Lesson i||Chap. 2. 19.|
THEN Mattathiah answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the King's dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments ; yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the Covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the Law and the Ordinances. We will not hearken to the King's words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left.
NOW when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the King's commandment. Which thing when Mattathiah saw, he was inflamed with zeal, and his reins trembled, neither could he forbear to shew his anger according to judgement : wherefore he ran, and slew him upon the altar. Also the King's commissioner, who compelled men to sacrifice, he killed at that time, and the altar he pulled down. Thus dealt he zealously for the law of God, like as Phinehas did unto Zimri the son of Salu.
AND Mattathiah cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, Whosoever is zealous of the Law, and maintaineth the Covenant, let him follow me. So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left all that ever they had in the city. Then many that sought after justice and judgement went down into the wilderness, to dwell there : both they, and their children, and their wives, and their cattle ; because afflictions increased sore upon them.
From the Former Book of Maccabees
Lesson i Chap. 2. 49.
NOW when the time drew near that Mattathiah should die, he said unto his sons, Now hath pride and rebuke gotten strength, and the time of destruction, and the wrath of indignation : now therefore, my sons, be ye zealous for the Law, and give your lives for the Covenant of your fathers. Call to remembrance what acts our fathers did in their time ; so
shall ye receive great honour and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful in temptation, and it was imputed unto him for righteous ness? Joseph in the time of his dis tress kept the commandment, an was made lord of Egypt. Phinehas our father in being zealous and fer vent obtained the Covenant of an everlasting priesthood.
JOSHUA for fulfilling the word was made a judge in Israel. Caleb for bearing witness before the congregation received the heritage of the land David for being merciful possesses the throne of an everlasting kingdom Elijah for being zealous and fervent for the Law was taken up into heaven. Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, by believing were saved out of the flame. Daniel for his innocency was delivered from the mouth of lions. And thus consider ye throughout all ages, that none that put their trust in him shall be overcome. Fear not then the words of a sinful man : for his glory shall be dung and worms. Today he shall be lifted up, and tomorrow he shall not be found, because he is returned into his dust, and his thought is come to nothing
WHEREFORE, ye my sons, be valiant, and shew yourselves men in the behalf of the Law ; for by it shall ye obtain glory. And, behold, I know that your brother Simon is a man of counsel, give ear unto him alway : he shall be a father unto you. As for Judas Maccabeus, he hath been mighty and strong, even from his youth up : let him be your captain, and fight the battle of the people. Take also unto you all those that observe the Law, and avenge ye the wrong of your people. Recom-
pense fully the heathen, and take heed to the commandments of the Law. So he blessed them, and was gathered to his fathers.
From the Former Book of Maccabees
Lesson i Chap. 2. 70.
AND he died in the hundred forty and sixth year, and his sons buried him in the sepulchres of his fathers at Modin, and all Israel made great lamentation for him. Then his son Judas, called Maccabeus, rose up in his stead. And all his brethren helped him, and so did all they that held with his father, and they fought with cheerfulness the battle of Israel. So he gat his people great honour, and put on a breastplate as a giant, and girt his warlike harness about him, and he made battles, protecting the host with his sword.
IN his acts he was like a lion, and like a lion's whelp roaring for his prey. For he pursued the wicked, and sought them out, and burnt up those that vexed his people. Wherefore the wicked shrunk for fear of him, and all the workers of iniquity were troubled, because salvation prospered in his hand. He grieved also many kings, and made Jacob glad with his acts, and his memorial is blessed for ever. Moreover, he went through the cities of Judah, destroying the ungodly out of them, and turning away wrath from Israel : so that he was renowned unto the utmost part of the earth, and he gathered together such as were ready to perish.
THEN Apollonius gathered the Gentiles together, and a great
host out of Samaria, to fight against Israel. Which thing when Judas perceived, he went forth to meet him, and so he smote him, and slew him : many also fell down slain, but the rest fled. Wherefore Judas took their spoils, and Apollonius' sword also, and therewith he fought all his life long.
From the Former Book of Maccabees
Lesson i Chap. 3. 42.
NOW when Judas and his brethren saw that miseries were multiplied, and that the forces did encamp themselves in their borders, (for they knew how the King had given commandment to destroy the people, and utterly abolish them,) they said one to another, Let us restore the decayed estate of our people, and let us fight for our people, and the sanctuary. Then was the congregation gathered together, that they might be ready for battle, and that they might pray, and ask mercy and compassion. Now Jerusalem lay void as a wilderness, there was none of her children that went in or out : the sanctuary also was trodden down, and aliens kept the strong hold ; the heathen had their habitation in that place ; and joy was taken from Jacob, and the pipe with the harp ceased.
WEREFORE the Israelites assembled themselves together, and came to Mizpah, over against Jerusalem ; for in Mizpah was the place where they prayed aforetime in Israel. Then they fasted that day, and put on sackcloth, and cast ashes upon their heads, and rent their clothes, and laid open the Book of the Law, concerning which the Gentiles were seeking in order to write
upon them the likenesses of their idols. They brought also the priests' garments, and the firstfruits, and the tithes : and the Nazarites they stirred up, who had accomplished their days. Then cried they with a loud voice toward heaven, saying, What shall we do with these, and whither shall we carry them away? For thy sanctuary is trodden down and profaned, and thy priests are in heaviness, and brought low. And, lo, the heathen are assembled together against us to destroy us : what things they imagine against us, thou knowest. How shall we be able to stand against them, except thou, O God, be our help?
THEN sounded they with trumpets, and cried with a loud voice. And after this Judas ordained captains over the people, even captains over thousands, and over hundreds, and over fifties, and over tens. But as for such as were building houses, or had betrothed wives, or were planting vineyards, or were fearful, those he commanded that they should return, every man to his own house, according to the Law. So the camp removed, and pitched upon the south side of Emmaus. And Judas said, Arm yourselves, and be valiant men, and see that ye be in readiness against the morning, that ye may fight with these nations, that are assembled together against us to destroy us and our sanctuary : for it is better for us to die in battle, than to behold the calamities of our people and our sanctuary. Nevertheless, as the will of God is in heaven, so let him do.