Sensible person (Sir 32:18-32:23)

“A sensible person

Will not overlook

A thoughtful suggestion.

An insolent proud person

Will not be deterred

By fear.

Do nothing

Without deliberation.

But when you have acted,

Do not regret it!

Do not go on a path

Full of hazards!

Do not stumble

On stony ground!

Do not stumble

At an obstacle twice!

Do not be overconfident

On an unexplored smooth way!

Give good heed

To your paths!

Guard yourself

In every act!

This is the keeping of the commandments.”

Sirach says that a sensible person will not overlook thoughtful suggestions. At the same time, the insolent and proud person is not deterred by fear, so that they do not fear the Lord. You should deliberate before you act. After your action, you should not regret it. Stay away from hazardous paths. Be careful on stony ground. Don’t stumble on the same obstacle twice. Don’t be overconfident on unexplored smooth paths. Be careful in all that you do. Then you will be keeping the commandments of the Lord.

False presumption (Sir 5:4-5:7)

“Do not say.

‘I sinned.

Yet what has happened to me?’

The Lord is slow to anger.

Do not be so confident of forgiveness.

Thus you add sin to sin.

Do not say.

‘His mercy is great.

He will forgive the multitude of my sins.’

Both mercy and wrath are with him.

His anger rests on sinners.

Do not delay

To turn back to the Lord.

Do not postpone it from day to day.

Suddenly the wrath of the Lord

Will come upon you.

At the time of punishment,

You will perish.”

Here are some more directives about false presumption. Do not say that you have sinned and nothing has happened to you. Remember that the Lord is slow to anger. You should not be overconfident of his forgiveness because you are only adding to your sinful state. Do not say that he is merciful and therefore he will forgive a multitude of sins. He has both mercy and anger, especially towards sinners. Do not delay your return to the Lord. Do not put it off because the wrath of the Lord will come upon you suddenly. You may perish as a punishment.