The Real Resistance

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Homer Ulysses Sirens Odyssey Resisting TemptationResisting Temptation to Sin

There is an old Greek book called The Odyssey. It was written by an old blind poet whose name was Homer. It is one of the oldest books in the world, next to the Bible. It contains an account of the wanderings of a wise old Grecian king, whose name was Ulysses. Well, this book tells about the voyages of Ulysses, as he went sailing all up and down the Mediterranean sea, trying to get back to his own country. He passed through a great many dangers. One of these I want to tell you about, because it shows that Ulysses was keen on resisting temptation and made it through victorious.

The story is that Ulysses, in his voyage, had to pass by a certain island which was very dangerous. Three females lived on that island, who were excellent musicians. They were called Sirens. They could sing and play delightfully; and their music had such a bewitching effect on those who heard it, that they would never go away from the island, but would stay there till they died. The shores of the island were covered all over with the bones of multitudes of people who had been destroyed by listening to the music of those dangerous women. Now, Ulysses didn’t want to be destroyed himself, or have his men destroyed, in this way. So, before they came in sight of the island, he told the men about the danger they had to pass through, and what he was going to do in order to avoid it. Then he got some beeswax, and softened it in the sun. With this he filled up the ears of all his men, so that they could not hear the song of the Sirens. Then he told them to bind him fast to the mast with chains, and not to undo the chains till they got out of sight of the island again, however much he might want them to do it.

When the ears of the men were stopped up, and Ulysses was chained to the mast, they came in sight of the island, and sailed by it. The women came down to the rocks and began to sing and play. They expected to see the vessel come straight to shore, as others had done. But, instead of this, it kept directly on its way. The sailors couldn’t hear a single note of the music. Ulysses heard it, and wanted very much to stop and go ashore. He motioned to the men to come and unfasten him. But, instead of this, as he had told them before to do, they only came and made the chains tighter about him. And so they sailed past that dangerous island without receiving any injury. The story says that when the Sirens found that Ulysses was going by without stopping, they sang all the very sweetest songs they knew, and, finding it all had no effect, they were so vexed that they took to fretting till they died. What a lesson for us today in resisting temptation.

Read the full account here.

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