Treatise of Zera Yacob, Chapter X

May 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

The prayers I said in the morning and in the evening were usually as follows: “O my creator and guardian! I worship you and I love you with all my heart, and I praise you for the kindness you have shown me this night”—in the evening I would say “this day,”—”Protect me for the coming day”—in the evening I would say: “during this night.”—”Make me wise this day and all the days of my life, that I may know your will and accomplish it; forgive me my sin. Give me each day what I need to satisfy the necessities of life, always strengthen me in your own strength, O my Lord, through your mercy, power and greatness, save me from poverty, from the hands and the tongue of men, from bodily sickness and sorrow of the soul.” In addition I was praying Psalm XXX: “In you I take shelter.” I meditated further and said to myself: “I ought to work to the best of my ability for the things necessary for my life—prayer alone is not enough. Though I am not skilled, I shall undertake work relying on the power of God; my work without your blessing, O Lord, is of small importance. You bless my thoughts, my work and my life; give me goods and happiness in the measure that you know and will. Change the heart of men who live with me that they behave well with me; for everything is fulfilled by your blessed will; in my old age stay close to me with your goodness.”

I know that our heart is always in the hand of God; it is possible for God to make us happy and content if we are in difficulties, poverty and sickness; again it is possible for him to make us miserable even if we live in wealth and all the luxuries of this world. Hence we see every day poor and wretched people enjoying the bliss of their heart; but the rich and the kings are sad and depressed in their riches, because of their limited desire. Sadness springs in our heart, without our willing it and without our knowledge of the cause of its beginning. We need to pray God that he grant us joy and felicity and keep us happy on earth. God makes his light to dawn for the just and his joy dawn for upright hearts; he knows and governs all the ways of our heart; he can make us happy when we are in trouble, and when we are happy. For happiness and sorrow do not come to us as it pleases men, but as God grants it to us. And I said: “My lord and my creator, give me joy and felicity, and keep me happy as long as I am on earth; after my death draw me to you and satisfy me fully.”

With these words was I praying day and night: I was admiring the beauty of God’s creatures according to their orders, the domestic animals and the wild beasts. They are drawn by the nature of their creation towards the preservation of their life and the propagation of their species. Moreover trees in the fields and plants which are created with great wisdom grow, bloom, flourish, produce the fruit of their respective seed according to their orders and without error; they seem to be animated. Mountains, valleys, rivers, springs, all your works praise your name, O Lord; highly praised is your name on earth and in heaven. Great are the works of your hands! Behold the sun, source of light and source of the light of the world, and the moon and the stars which you made and which do not deviate from the paths you prescribed for them; who can know the number, the distance and the size of the stars which, because of their remoteness, appear so small; clouds give out showers of rain to make plants green. All things are great and admirable, and all are created with great wisdom.

Thus did I remain for two years admiring and praising the creator. I thought within myself: “The work of God is splendid and the thought of him whose wisdom is ineffable is deep indeed. How then can man who is small and poor lie by saying, ‘I am sent by God to reveal to men his wisdom and his justice?’ But man reveals to us nothing but vain and contemptible things, or things whose nature is by far inferior to the reason that the creator gave us that we may understand his greatness.” And I said: “I am little and poor in your sight, O Lord; make me understand what I should know about you, that I may admire your greatness and praise you every day with a new praise.”

COMMENT

As with chapter IX, I haven’t much to add here. But it’s been about six months since I posted anything (I started a new job) so I though I should just pup up the next chapter. I’ll probably (hopefully) get around to adding some comments eventually.

Update: I have added some comments on this chapter.

Back to chapter IX; proceed to chapter XI.

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