51Nevertheless as coming the tokens, behold, the days shall come, that they which dwell upon earth shall be taken in a great number, and the way of truth shall be hidden, and the land shall be barren of faith.
2But iniquity shall be increased above that which now thou seest, or that thou hast heard long ago.
3And the land, that thou seest now to have root, shalt thou see wasted suddenly.
4But if the most High grant thee to live, thou shalt see after the third trumpet that the sun shall suddenly shine again in the night, and the moon thrice in the day:
5And blood shall drop out of wood, and the stone shall give his voice, and the people shall be troubled:
6And even he shall rule, whom they look not for that dwell upon the earth, and the fowls shall take their flight away together:
7And the Sodomitish sea shall cast out fish, and make a noise in the night, which many have not known: but they shall all hear the voice thereof.
8There shall be a confusion also in many places, and the fire shall be oft sent out again, and the wild beasts shall change their places, and menstruous women shall bring forth monsters:
9And salt waters shall be found in the sweet, and all friends shall destroy one another; then shall wit hide itself, and understanding withdraw itself into his secret chamber,
10And shall be sought of many, and yet not be found: then shall unrighteousness and incontinency be multiplied upon earth.
11One land also shall ask another, and say, Is righteousness that maketh a man righteous gone through thee? And it shall say, No.
12At the same time shall men hope, but nothing obtain: they shall labour, but their ways shall not prosper.
13To shew thee such tokens I have leave; and if thou wilt pray again, and weep as now, and fast even days, thou shalt hear yet greater things.
14Then I awaked, and an extreme fearfulness went through all my body, and my mind was troubled, so that it fainted.
15So the angel that was come to talk with me held me, comforted me, and set me up upon my feet.
16And in the second night it came to pass, that Salathiel the captain of the people came unto me, saying, Where hast thou been? and why is thy countenance so heavy?
17Knowest thou not that Israel is committed unto thee in the land of their captivity?
18Up then, and eat bread, and forsake us not, as the shepherd that leaveth his flock in the hands of cruel wolves.
19Then said I unto him, Go thy ways from me, and come not nigh me. And he heard what I said, and went from me.
20And so I fasted seven days, mourning and weeping, like as Uriel the angel commanded me.
21And after seven days so it was, that the thoughts of my heart were very grievous unto me again,
22And my soul recovered the spirit of understanding, and I began to talk with the most High again,
23And said, O Lord that bearest rule, of every wood of the earth, and of all the trees thereof, thou hast chosen thee one only vine:
24And of all lands of the whole world thou hast chosen thee one pit: and of all the flowers thereof one lily:
25And of all the depths of the sea thou hast filled thee one river: and of all builded cities thou hast hallowed Sion unto thyself:
26And of all the fowls that are created thou hast named thee one dove: and of all the cattle that are made thou hast provided thee one sheep:
27And among all the multitudes of people thou hast gotten thee one people: and unto this people, whom thou lovedst, thou gavest a law that is approved of all.
28And now, O Lord, why hast thou given this one people over unto many? and upon the one root hast thou prepared others, and why hast thou scattered thy only one people among many?
29And they which did gainsay thy promises, and believed not thy covenants, have trodden them down.
30If thou didst so much hate thy people, yet shouldest thou punish them with thine own hands.
31Now when I had spoken these words, the angel that came to me the night afore was sent unto me,
32And said unto me, Hear me, and I will instruct thee; hearken to the thing that I say, and I shall tell thee more.
33And I said, Speak on, my Lord. Then said he unto me, Thou art sore troubled in mind for Israel’s sake: lovest thou that people better than he that made them?
34And I said, No, Lord: but of very grief have I spoken: for my reins pain me every hour, while I labour to comprehend the way of the most High, and to seek out part of his judgment.
35And he said unto me, Thou canst not. And I said, Wherefore, Lord? whereunto was I born then? or why was not my mother’s womb then my grave, that I might not have seen the travail of Jacob, and the wearisome toil of the stock of Israel?
36And he said unto me, Number me the things that are not yet come, gather me together the dross that are scattered abroad, make me the flowers green again that are withered,
37Open me the places that are closed, and bring me forth the winds that in them are shut up, shew me the image of a voice: and then I will declare to thee the thing that thou labourest to know.
38And I said, O Lord that bearest rule, who may know these things, but he that hath not his dwelling with men?
39As for me, I am unwise: how may I then speak of these things whereof thou askest me?
40Then said he unto me, Like as thou canst do none of these things that I have spoken of, even so canst thou not find out my judgment, or in the end the love that I have promised unto my people.
41And I said, Behold, O Lord, yet art thou nigh unto them that be reserved till the end: and what shall they do that have been before me, or we that be now, or they that shall come after us?
42And he said unto me, I will liken my judgment unto a ring: like as there is no slackness of the last, even so there is no swiftness of the first.
43So I answered and said, Couldest thou not make those that have been made, and be now, and that are for to come, at once; that thou mightest shew thy judgment the sooner?
44Then answered he me, and said, The creature may not haste above the maker; neither may the world hold them at once that shall be created therein.
45And I said, As thou hast said unto thy servant, that thou, which givest life to all, hast given life at once to the creature that thou hast created, and the creature bare it: even so it might now also bear them that now be present at once.
46And he said unto me, Ask the womb of a woman, and say unto her, If thou bringest forth children, why dost thou it not together, but one after another? pray her therefore to bring forth ten children at once.
47And I said, She cannot: but must do it by distance of time.
48Then said he unto me, Even so have I given the womb of the earth to those that be sown in it in their times.
49For like as a young child may not bring forth the things that belong to the aged, even so have I disposed the world which I created.
50And I asked, and said, Seeing thou hast now given me the way, I will proceed to speak before thee: for our mother, of whom thou hast told me that she is young, draweth now nigh unto age.
51He answered me, and said, Ask a woman that beareth children, and she shall tell thee.
52Say unto her, Wherefore are unto they whom thou hast now brought forth like those that were before, but less of stature?
53And she shall answer thee, They that be born in the strength of youth are of one fashion, and they that are born in the time of age, when the womb faileth, are otherwise.
54Consider thou therefore also, how that ye are less of stature than those that were before you.
55And so are they that come after you less than ye, as the creatures which now begin to be old, and have passed over the strength of youth.
56Then said I, Lord, I beseech thee, if I have found favour in thy sight, shew thy servant by whom thou visitest thy creature.
61And he said unto me, In the beginning, when the earth was made, before the borders of the world stood, or ever the winds blew,
2Before it thundered and lightened, or ever the foundations of paradise were laid,
3Before the fair flowers were seen, or ever the moveable powers were established, before the innumerable multitude of angels were gathered together,
4Or ever the heights of the air were lifted up, before the measures of the firmament were named, or ever the chimneys in Sion were hot,
5And ere the present years were sought out, and or ever the inventions of them that now sin were turned, before they were sealed that have gathered faith for a treasure:
6Then did I consider these things, and they all were made through me alone, and through none other: by me also they shall be ended, and by none other.
7Then answered I and said, What shall be the parting asunder of the times? or when shall be the end of the first, and the beginning of it that followeth?
8And he said unto me, From Abraham unto Isaac, when Jacob and Esau were born of him, Jacob’s hand held first the heel of Esau.
9For Esau is the end of the world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth.
10The hand of man is betwixt the heel and the hand: other question, Esdras, ask thou not.
11I answered then and said, O Lord that bearest rule, if I have found favour in thy sight,
12I beseech thee, shew thy servant the end of thy tokens, whereof thou shewedst me part the last night.
13So he answered and said unto me, Stand up upon thy feet, and hear a mighty sounding voice.
14And it shall be as it were a great motion; but the place where thou standest shall not be moved.
15And therefore when it speaketh be not afraid: for the word is of the end, and the foundation of the earth is understood.
16And why? because the speech of these things trembleth and is moved: for it knoweth that the end of these things must be changed.
17And it happened, that when I had heard it I stood up upon my feet, and hearkened, and, behold, there was a voice that spake, and the sound of it was like the sound of many waters.
18And it said, Behold, the days come, that I will begin to draw nigh, and to visit them that dwell upon the earth,
19And will begin to make inquisition of them, what they be that have hurt unjustly with their unrighteousness, and when the affliction of Sion shall be fulfilled;
20And when the world, that shall begin to vanish away, shall be finished, then will I shew these tokens: the books shall be opened before the firmament, and they shall see all together:
21And the children of a year old shall speak with their voices, the women with child shall bring forth untimely children of three or four months old, and they shall live, and be raised up.
22And suddenly shall the sown places appear unsown, the full storehouses shall suddenly be found empty:
23And the trumpet shall give a sound, which when every man heareth, they shall be suddenly afraid.
24At that time shall friends fight one against another like enemies, and the earth shall stand in fear with those that dwell therein, the springs of the fountains shall stand still, and in three hours they shall not run.
25Whosoever remaineth from all these that I have told thee shall escape, and see my salvation, and the end of your world.
26And the men that are received shall see it, who have not tasted death from their birth: and the heart of the inhabitants shall be changed, and turned into another meaning.
27For evil shall be put out, and deceit shall be quenched.
28As for faith, it shall flourish, corruption shall be overcome, and the truth, which hath been so long without fruit, shall be declared.
29And when he talked with me, behold, I looked by little and little upon him before whom I stood.
30And these words said he unto me; I am come to shew thee the time of the night to come.
31If thou wilt pray yet more, and fast seven days again, I shall tell thee greater things by day than I have heard.
32For thy voice is heard before the most High: for the Mighty hath seen thy righteous dealing, he hath seen also thy chastity, which thou hast had ever since thy youth.
33And therefore hath he sent me to shew thee all these things, and to say unto thee, Be of good comfort and fear not
34And hasten not with the times that are past, to think vain things, that thou mayest not hasten from the latter times.
35And it came to pass after this, that I wept again, and fasted seven days in like manner, that I might fulfil the three weeks which he told me.
36And in the eighth night was my heart vexed within me again, and I began to speak before the most High.
37For my spirit was greatly set on fire, and my soul was in distress.
38And I said, O Lord, thou spakest from the beginning of the creation, even the first day, and saidst thus; Let heaven and earth be made; and thy word was a perfect work.
39And then was the spirit, and darkness and silence were on every side; the sound of man’s voice was not yet formed.
40Then commandedst thou a fair light to come forth of thy treasures, that thy work might appear.
41Upon the second day thou madest the spirit of the firmament, and commandedst it to part asunder, and to make a division betwixt the waters, that the one part might go up, and the other remain beneath.
42Upon the third day thou didst command that the waters should be gathered in the seventh part of the earth: six parts hast thou dried up, and kept them, to the intent that of these some being planted of God and tilled might serve thee.
43For as soon as thy word went forth the work was made.
44For immediately there was great and innumerable fruit, and many and divers pleasures for the taste, and flowers of unchangeable colour, and odours of wonderful smell: and this was done the third day.
45Upon the fourth day thou commandedst that the sun should shine, and the moon give her light, and the stars should be in order:
46And gavest them a charge to do service unto man, that was to be made.
47Upon the fifth day thou saidst unto the seventh part, where the waters were gathered that it should bring forth living creatures, fowls and fishes: and so it came to pass.
48For the dumb water and without life brought forth living things at the commandment of God, that all people might praise thy wondrous works.
49Then didst thou ordain two living creatures, the one thou calledst Enoch, and the other Leviathan;
50And didst separate the one from the other: for the seventh part, namely, where the water was gathered together, might not hold them both.
51Unto Enoch thou gavest one part, which was dried up the third day, that he should dwell in the same part, wherein are a thousand hills:
52But unto Leviathan thou gavest the seventh part, namely, the moist; and hast kept him to be devoured of whom thou wilt, and when.
53Upon the sixth day thou gavest commandment unto the earth, that before thee it should bring forth beasts, cattle, and creeping things:
54And after these, Adam also, whom thou madest lord of all thy creatures: of him come we all, and the people also whom thou hast chosen.
55All this have I spoken before thee, O Lord, because thou madest the world for our sakes.
56As for the other people, which also come of Adam, thou hast said that they are nothing, but be like unto spittle: and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop that falleth from a vessel.
57And now, O Lord, behold, these heathen, which have ever been reputed as nothing, have begun to be lords over us, and to devour us.
58But we thy people, whom thou hast called thy firstborn, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover, are given into their hands.
59If the world now be made for our sakes, why do we not possess an inheritance with the world? how long shall this endure?
71And when I had made an end of speaking these words, there was sent unto me the angel which had been sent unto me the nights afore:
2And he said unto me, Up, Esdras, and hear the words that I am come to tell thee.
3And I said, Speak on, my God. Then said he unto me, The sea is set in a wide place, that it might be deep and great.
4But put the case the entrance were narrow, and like a river;
5Who then could go into the sea to look upon it, and to rule it? if he went not through the narrow, how could he come into the broad?
6There is also another thing; A city is builded, and set upon a broad field, and is full of all good things:
7The entrance thereof is narrow, and is set in a dangerous place to fall, like as if there were a fire on the right hand, and on the left a deep water:
8And one only path between them both, even between the fire and the water, so small that there could but one man go there at once.
9If this city now were given unto a man for an inheritance, if he never shall pass the danger set before it, how shall he receive this inheritance?
10And I said, It is so, Lord. Then said he unto me, Even so also is Israel’s portion.
11Because for their sakes I made the world: and when Adam transgressed my statutes, then was decreed that now is done.
12Then were the entrances of this world made narrow, full of sorrow and travail: they are but few and evil, full of perils, and very painful.
13For the entrances of the elder world were wide and sure, and brought immortal fruit.
14If then they that live labour not to enter these strait and vain things, they can never receive those that are laid up for them.
15Now therefore why disquietest thou thyself, seeing thou art but a corruptible man? and why art thou moved, whereas thou art but mortal?
16Why hast thou not considered in thy mind this thing that is to come, rather than that which is present?
17Then answered I and said, O Lord that bearest rule, thou hast ordained in thy law, that the righteous should inherit these things, but that the ungodly should perish.
18Nevertheless the righteous shall suffer strait things, and hope for wide: for they that have done wickedly have suffered the strait things, and yet shall not see the wide.
19And he said unto me. There is no judge above God, and none that hath understanding above the Highest.
20For there be many that perish in this life, because they despise the law of God that is set before them.
21For God hath given strait commandment to such as came, what they should do to live, even as they came, and what they should observe to avoid punishment.
22Nevertheless they were not obedient unto him; but spake against him, and imagined vain things;
23And deceived themselves by their wicked deeds; and said of the most High, that he is not; and knew not his ways:
24But his law have they despised, and denied his covenants; in his statutes have they not been faithful, and have not performed his works.
25And therefore, Esdras, for the empty are empty things, and for the full are the full things.
26Behold, the time shall come, that these tokens which I have told thee shall come to pass, and the bride shall appear, and she coming forth shall be seen, that now is withdrawn from the earth.
27And whosoever is delivered from the foresaid evils shall see my wonders.
28For my son Jesus shall be revealed with those that be with him, and they that remain shall rejoice within four hundred years.
29After these years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life.
30And the world shall be turned into the old silence seven days, like as in the former judgments: so that no man shall remain.
31And after seven days the world, that yet awaketh not, shall be raised up, and that shall die that is corrupt.
32And the earth shall restore those that are asleep in her, and so shall the dust those that dwell in silence, and the secret places shall deliver those souls that were committed unto them.
33And the most High shall appear upon the seat of judgment, and misery shall pass away, and the long suffering shall have an end:
34But judgment only shall remain, truth shall stand, and faith shall wax strong:
35And the work shall follow, and the reward shall be shewed, and the good deeds shall be of force, and wicked deeds shall bear no rule.
36Then said I, Abraham prayed first for the Sodomites, and Moses for the fathers that sinned in the wilderness:
37And Jesus after him for Israel in the time of Achan:
38And Samuel and David for the destruction: and Solomon for them that should come to the sanctuary:
39And Helias for those that received rain; and for the dead, that he might live:
40And Ezechias for the people in the time of Sennacherib: and many for many.
41Even so now, seeing corruption is grown up, and wickedness increased, and the righteous have prayed for the ungodly: wherefore shall it not be so now also?
42He answered me, and said, This present life is not the end where much glory doth abide; therefore have they prayed for the weak.
43But the day of doom shall be the end of this time, and the beginning of the immortality for to come, wherein corruption is past,
44Intemperance is at an end, infidelity is cut off, righteousness is grown, and truth is sprung up.
45Then shall no man be able to save him that is destroyed, nor to oppress him that hath gotten the victory.
46I answered then and said, This is my first and last saying, that it had been better not to have given the earth unto Adam: or else, when it was given him, to have restrained him from sinning.
47For what profit is it for men now in this present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for punishment?
48O thou Adam, what hast thou done? for though it was thou that sinned, thou art not fallen alone, but we all that come of thee.
49For what profit is it unto us, if there be promised us an immortal time, whereas we have done the works that bring death?
50And that there is promised us an everlasting hope, whereas ourselves being most wicked are made vain?
51And that there are laid up for us dwellings of health and safety, whereas we have lived wickedly?
52And that the glory of the most High is kept to defend them which have led a wary life, whereas we have walked in the most wicked ways of all?
53And that there should be shewed a paradise, whose fruit endureth for ever, wherein is security and medicine, since we shall not enter into it?
54(For we have walked in unpleasant places.)
55And that the faces of them which have used abstinence shall shine above the stars, whereas our faces shall be blacker than darkness?
56For while we lived and committed iniquity, we considered not that we should begin to suffer for it after death.
57Then answered he me, and said, This is the condition of the battle, which man that is born upon the earth shall fight;
58That, if he be overcome, he shall suffer as thou hast said: but if he get the victory, he shall receive the thing that I say.
59For this is the life whereof Moses spake unto the people while he lived, saying, Choose thee life, that thou mayest live.
60Nevertheless they believed not him, nor yet the prophets after him, no nor me which have spoken unto them,
61That there should not be such heaviness in their destruction, as shall be joy over them that are persuaded to salvation.
62I answered then, and said, I know, Lord, that the most High is called merciful, in that he hath mercy upon them which are not yet come into the world,
63And upon those also that turn to his law;
64And that he is patient, and long suffereth those that have sinned, as his creatures;
65And that he is bountiful, for he is ready to give where it needeth;
66And that he is of great mercy, for he multiplieth more and more mercies to them that are present, and that are past, and also to them which are to come.
67For if he shall not multiply his mercies, the world would not continue with them that inherit therein.
68And he pardoneth; for if he did not so of his goodness, that they which have committed iniquities might be eased of them, the ten thousandth part of men should not remain living.
69And being judge, if he should not forgive them that are cured with his word, and put out the multitude of contentions,
70There should be very few left peradventure in an innumerable multitude.