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The Fourth Book of Esdras

“help” from the Hebrew

 

Chapters 1-8 | 9-end | Next Book


 

Chapter 1

      The second book of the prophet Esdras ( the son of Saraias, the son of Azarias the son of Neichia, the son of Sallum, the son of Sadoc, the son of Achitou, the son of *Amerias, the son of Azarias, the son of Maraioth, the son of Sahias, the son of Uzi, the son of Boccus, the son of Abisu, the son of Phineas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi ) which was prisoner in the land of the Meedes, in the reign of Artaxerses king of Persia.      
      And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying : go thy way, and show my people their sinful deeds, and their children their wickednesses, which they have done against me, that they may tell their childerns children the same: for the sins of their fathers are increased in them. And why they have forgotten me, and have offered unto strange gods. Am not I even he, that brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage: But they have provoked me unto wrath, and despised my counsels. Pull thou out then the heart of thy head, and call all evil over them, for they have not been obedient to my law.
      This is a people with out learning and nurture. How long shall I forebear them, unto whom I have done so much good: Many kings have I destroyed for their sakes: Pharo with his servants and all his power have I smitten down and slayen: All the nations have I destroyed and rooted out before them, and in the East I brought two lands and people to nought, even Tyre and Sidon, and have slayen all their enemies. Speak thou therefore unto them, saying: Thus sayeth the Lord: I lead you through the sea, and have given you sure streets since the beginning. I gave you Moses to be your captain, and Arron to be the priest: I gave you light in a pillar of fire, and great wonders have I done among you: yet have ye forgotten me, sayeth the Lord.
      Thus sayeth the almighty Lord: I gave you quails to eat, and tents for your succor: Nevertheless ye murmured, and ascribed not the victory of your enemies unto my name: yee this same day do ye murmur. Where are the benefits, that I have done for you: when ye were hungry in the wilderness, did ye not cry unto me: Why hast thou brought us unto this wilderness, to kill us: It had been better for us, to have served the Egyptians, then to die in this wilderness. Then had I pity upon your mournings, and gave you manna to eat. Ye are angels food. When ye were thirsty, did not I hew the hard stone, and cause water to flow thereout? For the heat I covered you with the leaves of the trees. And good pleasant fat land gave I you: I cast out the Canaanites, the Pheresites, and the Philistines before you. What shall I do more for you, sayeth the Lord?
      Thus sayeth the almighty Lord: When ye were in the wilderness, in the water of the Amorites, being a thirst, and blaspheming my name, I gave you not fire for your blasphemes, but cast a tree into the water, and made the river sweet. What shall I do unto thee, O' Jacob? Thou Juda wouldest not obey me: I will turn me to another people, and unto those I will give my name, that they may keep my statutes. Seeing ye have forsaken me, I will forsake you also. When ye desire me to be gracious unto you, I shall have not mercy upon you. When ye call upon me, I will not hear you. For ye have defiled your hands with blood, and your feet are swift to commit manslaughter. Ye have not forsaken me ( in a manner ) but your own selves, sayeth the Lord.
      Thus sayeth the almighty Lord: have I not prayed you, as a father his sons, as a mother her daughters, and as a nurse her young babes, that ye would be my people, and I should be your God: that ye would be my children, and I should be your own father: I gathered you together, as an hen gathereth her chickens under her wings. But now what shall I do unto you? I shall cast you out from my face: When ye offer unto me, I shall turn my face from you: for your solemn feast days, your new moons, and your circumcisions have I forsaken. I sent unto you my servants the Prophets, whom you have taken and slayen, and torn their bodies in pieces, whose blood I will require of your hands, sayeth the Lord.
       Thus sayeth the almighty Lord: your house must be desolate. I will cast you out as the wind doeth the straw: your children shall not be fruitful, for they have despised my commandment, and done the thing that is evil before me. Your houses will I give unto a people that shall come, and they that never heard me shall believe in me: and they unto whom I never showed token, shall do the thing that I command them. They have seen no Prophets, yet shall they call their sin to remembrance, and knowledge them. I report me unto the grace, that I will do for that people which is to come, whose childern rejoice in gladness: and though they have not seen me with bodily eyes, yet in spirit they believe: the things that I say. And now brother, behold what great worship, and see the people that cometh from the East, unto whom I will give the dukedom of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of *Dseas, Amos, and Micheas, of Joel, Abdy, Jonas, Naum, and Abacuc, of Sophony, Aggeus, Zachary, and Malachi; which is called also an angel (or messenger ) of the Lord.

 

*Amerias later see the Eagle whose wings cover the earth: note. RN      
*Dseas =Hosea, Micheas =Micah, Abdy =Obadiah, Jonas = Jonah, Naum =Nahum, Abacuc =Habakkuk, Sophony =Zephanaih, Aggeus = Haggai, Zachary =Zechariah,

 

Chapter 2

      Thus sayeth the Lord: I brought this people out of bondage, I gave them my commandments by my servants the Prophets, whom thou wouldest not hear, but despised my counsels. The mother that bear them, sayeth unto them: Go your way ye children, for I am a widow and forsaken: I brought you up with gladness, but with sorrow and heaviness have I lost you: for ye have sinned before the Lord your God, and done the thing that is evil before him. But what shall I now do unto you? I am a widow and forsaken: go your way, O my children, and ask mercy of the Lord. As for me, O' father, I call upon thee for a witness over the mother of these children, which would not keep my covenant: that thou bring them to confusion, and their mother to a spoil, that she bear no more. Let their names be scattered abroad among the heathen, let them be put out of the earth, for they have thought scorn of my covenant.
      Woe be unto the Assur, thou that hidest the unrighteous by thee. Thou wicked people, remember what I did unto Sodom and Gomorha, whos land is turned to pitch and ashes. Even so also I will do unto all them, that hear me not, sayeth the almighty Lord. Thus sayeth the Lord unto Esdras: Tell my people, that I will give them the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which I would have given unto Israel. Their glory also will I take unto me, and give them the everlasting tabernacles, which I had prepared for those.
      The tree of life shall be unto them a sweet smelling ointment: they shall neither labor or be weary. Go ye your way, and ye shall receive it. Pray for yourselves a few days, that they may dwell therein. Now is the Kingdom prepared for you, therefore watch. Take heaven and earth to witness for I have broken the evil in pieces, and created the good, for I live sayeth the Lord. Mother embrace thy children, and bring them up with gladness: make their feet as fast as a piler, for I have chosen them, sayeth the Lord.
      And those that be dead will I raise up again from their places, and bring them out of their graves, for I have known my name in Israel. Fear not thou mother of the children, for I have chosen thee, sayeth the Lord. And for thy help I will send thee my servants Isaie and Jeremy, after whos counsel I have sanctioned and prepared for the twelve trees with diverse fruits, and as many wells, flowing with milk and honey, and seven mountains, where upon there grow roses and lilies, wherein I will fill my children with joy. Execute justice for the widow, be judge for the fatherless: give to the poor: heal the wounded and the sick: laugh not a lame man to scorn: defend the cripple, and let the blind come into the light of my clearness. Keep the old and the young within thy walls: wheresoever thou findest the dead, take them, and bury them, and I shall give you thee, the first place in my resurrection. Hold still (O' my people) and take thy rest, for thy quietness is come. Feed thy children O' thou good nurse, establish their feet: As for the servants whom I have given thee, there shall not be one of them perish, for I will seek them from thy number, vex not thy self.
      For when the day of trouble and heaviness cometh, others shall weep and be sorrowful, but thou shall be merry and plenteous. The heathen shall be jealous, but they shall be able to do nothing against thee, sayeth the Lord. My hands shall cover thee, so that thy children shall not see the fire everlasting. Be joyful O' thou mother with thy children, for I will deliver thee, sayeth the Lord. Remember thy dead children, for I shall bring them out of the earth, and show mercy unto them, for I am merciful, sayeth the Lord almighty.
      Embrace thy children, until I come, and show mercy unto them, for my wells run over, and my grace shall not fail.
      I Esdras received a charge of the Lord upon the mount Oreb, that I should go unto Israel. But when I came unto Israel they set me at naught, and destroyed the commandment of the Lord. And therefore I say unto you, O' ye Heathen that hear and understand: Look for your shepherd, he shall give you everlasting rest: for he is nigh at hand, that shall come in the end of the world. Be ready to the reward of the Kingdom, for the everlasting light shall shine upon you for evermore. Flee the shadows of this world, receive the joyfulness of your glory. I testify my favor openly: O' receive the gift that is given you, and be glad, giving thanks unto him, that hath called you to the heavenly Kingdom.
      Arise up! and stand fast: behold the number of those that be sealed in the feast of the Lord, which are departed from the shadow of the world, and have received glorious garments of the Lord. Take thy number O' Sion, and shut up thy purified, which have fulfilled the law of the Lord. The number of thy children that thou longest for, is fulfilled: beseech the power of the Lord, that thy people which have been called from the beginning, may be hallowed.
      I Esdras saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs of thanksgiving. And in the mist of them was a young man of high stature, more excellent that all they, and on every one of their heads he set a crown, and was ever higher and higher, which I marveled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said: Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me: These be they that have put off the mortal clothing and put on the immortal, and have testified and knowledged the name of God. Now are they crowned and receive the reward.
      Then said I unto the angel: what young person is it, that crowneth them, and giveth them the palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me: It is the son of God, whom they have knowledged in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them, that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. And so the angel said unto me: Go thy way, and tell my people, what manner of things and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen!

 

 

 

Chapter 3

      In the third year of the fall of the city, I was at Babylon, and lay troubled upon my bed, and my thoughts came up over my heart: for I saw the desolation of Sion, and the plenteous wealth of them that dwelt at Babylon: and my spirit was sore moved, so that I began to speak fearful words to the most highest, and said: O' Lord, Lord, thou spakest at the beginning, when thou planted the earth ( and that thyself alone) and gavest commandment unto the people, and a body unto Adam, which was a creature of thy hands, and hast breathed in him the breath of life: and so he lived before thee, and thou leadest him into paradise, which garden of pleasure thy right hand had planted, or ever the earth was made. And unto him thou gavest the commandment to love thy ways, which he transgressed, and immediately thou appointedest death in him, and in his generations. Of him came nations, tribes, people and kindreds out of number. And every people walked after their own will, and did nice things before thee: and as for thy commandments, they despised them.
      But in process of time thou broughtest the water flood, upon those that dwelt in the world, and destroyed them. And like as the death was in Adam, so was the water flood also in these. Nevertheless one of them thou leftest: namely Noe with his household, of whom came all righteous men. And it happened that when they that dwell upon the earth, began to multiply, and had gotten many children, and where a great people, they began to be more ungodly than the first.
      Now when they all lived so wickedly before thee, thou chose thee a man from among them, whos name was Abraham. Him thou lovest, and unto him only thou showest thy will, and made an everlasting covenant with him, promising him, that thou wouldest never forsake his seed. And unto him thou gavest Isaac, unto Isaac also thou gavest Jacob and Esau. As for Jacob thou didest choose him, and put back Esau. And so Jacob became a great multitude.
      And it happened that when thou leadest his feet out of Egypt, thou broughtest them up to the mount Sion, bowing down the heavens, setting fast the earth, moving the ground, making the depths to shake, and troubling the world: And thy glory went through four ports of fire, and earthquakes, and winds, and cold: that thou mayest give the law unto the seed of Jacob, and diligence unto the generation of Israel.
      And yet tookest thou not away from them that wicked heart, that thy law might bring forth fruit in them. For the first Adam bear a wicked heart, transgressed, and was overcome, and so be all that were born of him. Thus remained weakness with the law in the heart of the people, with the wickedness of the root: so that the good departed away, and the evil abode still. So the times past and fled away, and the years were brought to an end. Then didest thou raise up a servant called David, whom thou commandest to build a city unto thy name, and to offer up incense and sacrifice unto thee therein. This was done now many years. Then the inhabitors of the city forsook thee, and in all things did even as Adam and all his generations had done: for they also had a wicked heart.
      And so thou gavest the city over into the hands of thine enemies. Are they of Babylon then better and more righteous then thy people, that they shall therefore have the dominion of Sion: For when I came there, and saw their ungodliness, and so great wickedness, that it could not be numbered: yee when my soul saw so many evil doers ( in the thirty year) my heart failed me, for I saw, how thou sufferest them in such ungodliness, and spareth the wicked doers: but thy own people thou hast routed out, and preserved thine enemies, and this thou hast not showed me.
      I cannot perceive how this happeneth. Do they of Babylon then better, then they of Sion: Or is there any other people, that knoweth thee, saving the people of Israel? Or what generation hath so believed thy covenants, as Jacob? And yet their reward appeareth not, and their labor hath no fruit. For I have gone here and there through the Heathen, and I see that they be rich and wealthy, and think not upon thy commandments. Weigh thou therefore our wickedness in the balance, and theirs also that dwell in the world, and so shall your name be no where found but in Israel. Or where is there a people upon earth, that has not sinned before thee? Or what people hath so kept thy commandments? Thou shalt find, that Israel by name hath kept thy precepts, but not the other people and the Heathen.

 

 

 

Chapter 4

      And the angel that was sent unto me ( whos name was Uriel ) gave me an answer, and said: Thy heart has taken to much upon it in this world, and thou thinkest to comprehend the way of the Highest. Then said I: Yee my Lord: And he answered me, and said: I am sent to show thee these ways, and to set forth these similitudes, before thee: whereof if thou canst declare me one , I will show thee also the way, that thou desirest to see: and I shall show thee from whence the wicked heart cometh. And I said: Tell on my Lord. Then said he unto me: Go thy way, weigh me the weight of the fire, or measure me the blast of the wind, or call me again the day that is past. Then answered I and said: What man born is able to do that? Why requirest thou such of me? And he said unto me: If I should ask thee, how deep dwellings are in the sea? Or how great water springs are upon the firmament: Or how great water springs are in the firmament of the deep? Or which are the out goings of paradise? Peradventure thou wouldest say unto me: I never went down into the deep nor hell, neither did I ever climb up in to heaven. Nevertheless now have I asked thee but only of fire and wind and of the day, where through thou hast traveled, and from the which thou canst not be separated: and yet canest thou give me no answer of them.
      He said moreover unto me: Thine own things, and such as are grown up with thee, canest thou not know: how should thy vessel then be able to comprehend the way of the Highest, and now outwardly in the corrupt world, to understand the corruption that is evident in my sight: Then said I unto him: It were better that we were not at all, then that we should live in wickedness, and to suffer, and not to know wherefore. He answered me, and said: I went in a wood, and the trees took such a device and said: Come let us go, and fight against the sea, that it may depart away from us, and that we may make us yet more woods.
      The floods of the sea in like manner took this device, and said: Come, let us go up, and fight against the trees of the wood, that we may make our land wider. The thought of the wood was but vain and nothing worth, for the fire came and consumed the wood: The thought of the floods of the sea came likewise to naught also, for the sand stood up and stopped them.
      If thou were judge now between these two, whom wouldest thou justify, or whom wouldest thou condemn? I answered and said: Shurly it is a foolish thought that they both devised. For the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea also has his place to bare his floods. Then answered he me, and said: Thou hast given a right judgement, why judgest thy self also? For like as the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea to his flood: even so they that dwell upon the earth, may understand nothing, but that which is upon the earth: and he that dwelleth above the heavens, may only understand the things that are above the heavens. Then answered I, and said: I beseech thee, O' Lord, let me have understanding: for it was not my mind to be curious of thy high things, but of such as we meddle with all, namely, wherefore that Israel is blasphemed of the Heathen, and for what cause the people ( whom thou ever hast loved ) is given over, to be punished of ungodly nations: and why the law of our fathers is brought to nought, and the written covenants come to none effect, and we pass away out of the world as the grasshoppers, and our life is very fear, and we are not worthy to obtain mercy. What will he do unto his name, which is called upon over us? Of these things have I asked question.
      Then answered he me, and said: The more thou searchest, the more thou shalt marvel, for the world hasteth fast to pass away, and can not comprehend the things, that are promised for the righteous in time to come, for this world is full of unrighteousness and weakness.
      But as concerning the things whereof thou asked me, I will tell thee. The evil is sown, but the destruction thereof is not yet come. If the evil now that is sown, be not turned upside down, and the place where the evil is sown, pass not away, then can not the thing come that is sown with good. For the corn of evil seed hath been sown in the heart of man from the beginning, and how much ungodliness hath he brought up unto this time? and how much shall he yet bring forth, until he come into the barn?
      Ponder now by thy self, when the corn of the evil seed is cut down, how great a barn it shall fill: I answered and said: How and when shall these things come to pass? Wherefor are our years few from evil? And he answered me, saying: Ask not thou too much upon the Highest, for thy hastiness to be above him is but vain, thou makest to much a do. Did not the souls also of the righteous ask question of these things in their holiness:* How long shall I hope of this fashion? When cometh the fruit of my barn, and my reward? And upon this Jeremiel the Archangel gave them answer, and said: Even when the number of the seeds is filled in you: for he hath weighed the world in the balance: in measure and number hath he measured the time, and moveth it not, until the same measure be fulfilled. Then answered I and said: O' Lord, Lord, now are we all full of sin, and for our sake peradventure is it not, that the barn of the righteous shall not be filled, because of the sins of them that dwell upon the earth.
      So he answered me., and said: Go thy way to a woman with children, and ask of her, when she hath fulfilled her nine months, if her childbed may keep the birth any longer within her. Then said I: No Lord, that can she not. And he said unto me: In hell the secret places of souls are like the privy chamber of a woman. For like as a woman that travaileth, maketh haste, when the time and necessity of the birth is at hand: Even so doth she hast to deliver it that is committed unto her. Look what thou desirest to see, it shall be shown thee from the beginning. Then answered I , and said: If I have found favor in thy sight, and if it be possible, and if I be meet therefore, show me then, whether there be more to come than is past, or more past then there is for to come. What is past, I know: but what is for to come, I know not.
      And he said unto me: Stand up upon the right side, and I shall expound the similitude unto thee. So I stood, and behold, an hot burning oven went over before me: and it happened when the flame was gone by, the smoke had the upper hand. After this there went over before me a watery cloud, and sent down much rain with a storm: and when the stormy rain was past the drops remained still. Then said he unto me: like as the rain is more than the drops, and as the fire exceedeth the smoke, even so the measure of the things that are past, hath the upper hand. Then went the drops and the smoke above: and I prayed and said: May I live (thinkest thou) until that time? Or what shall happen in those days? He answered me, and said: As for the tokens whereof thou ask me, I may tell thee of them in a part: but as touching thy life, I may not show thee, for I am not sent therefore.

 

* How long shall I hope of this fashion? (marginal note Revelation 6)

 

Chapter 5

      Nevertheless, as concerning the tokens, mark this: Behold, the days shall come, that they which dwell upon the earth, shall be taken in a great number, and the way of the truth shall be hid, and the land shall be barren from faith: but iniquity will have the upper hand, like as thou have seen now, and as thou hast heard long ago. And the land that thou seest now to have rule, shall thou shortly see waste. But if God grant thee to live, thou shalt see after the third trumpet, that the sun shall suddenly shine again in the night, and the moon three times in the day, and blood shall drop out of wood, and the stone shall give his voice, and the people shall be unquiet: and even shall rule, whom they hope not that dwell upon the earth, and the fowls shall flight, and the *Sodomitish sea shall cast out his fish, and make a noise in the night, which many shall not know, but they shall all hear the voice thereof.
      There shall be a confusion also in many places, and the fire shall be often sent again, and the wild beasts shall go their way, and menstruous women shall bear monsters, and salt waters will be found in the sweat: one friend shall fight against another: then shall all wit and understanding be hid and put into their secret places, and shall be sought of many, and yet not be found: then shall unrighteousness and voluptuousness have the upper hand upon the earth. One land shall also ask another, and say: Is righteousness gone through thee? And it shall say: No, at the same time shall men hope, but nothing obtain: they shall labor but their wages shall not prosper. To show thee such tokens I have leave, and if thou wilt pray again, and weep as now, and fast seven days, thou shalt hear yet greater things. Then I awaked, and a fearfulness went through all my body, and my mind was feeble and careful, so that I almost sounded withal. So the angel that was come to talk with me, held me, comforted me, and set me up upon my feet.
      And in the second night it happened, that Salathielthe Captain of the people came unto me, saying: Where hast thou been? and why is thy countenance so heavy? Knowest thou not, that Israel is committed unto thee, in the land of their captivity? Up then, and eat and forsake us not, as the shepherd that leaveth his flock in the hands of the wicked wolves. Then said I unto him: Go thy way from me, and come not near me: and he heard it, and as I said, so went he his way from me. And so I fasted seven days, mourning and weeping, like as Uriel the angel commanded me. And after seven days it happened, that the thoughts of my heart were very grievous unto me again, and my soul received the spirit of understanding, and I began to talk with the most highest again, and said: O' Lord, Lord, of every wood of the earth and all the trees thereof, thou hast chosen the one only vineyard: and of all the lands of the whole world thou hast chosen the one pit: and of all the flowers of the ground thou hast chosen the one lily: and of all the depths of the sea thou hast filled the one river: and of all the builded cities thou hast hallowed Sion unto thy self: and of all the fowls that are created, thou hast named the one dove: and of all the cattle that are made thou hast provided the one sheep: and among all the multitudes of flocks thou hast gotten the one people, and unto this people whom thou lovest, thou gavest the law, that is proved of all.
      And now, O' Lord, why hast thou given this one people over unto many? And upon the one root thou hast prepared other, and why hast thou scattered thy one only people among many? which tread them down, yee which have ever withstand thy promises, and never believed thy commandments? And though thou werest enemy unto thy people, yet shouldest thou punish them with thine own hands. Now when I had spoke these words, the angel that came to me the night before, was sent unto me, and said unto me : Hear me, and harken unto the things that I say, and I shall tell thee more. And I said: Speak on my Lord. Then said he unto me: Thou art sore vexed and troubled for Israels sake. Lovest thou the people better than him that made thee? And I said: No Lord, but of very grief and compassion have I spoken. For my reigns pain me every hour, because I would have experience of the way of the most highest, and to seek out part of his judgement. And he said unto me: that thou mayest not. And I said: wherefore Lord? Where unto was I born then? Or why was not my mothers childbed then my grave? So I had not seen the misery and trouble of Jacob, and the travail of my people of Israel.
      And he said unto me: Number me the things that are not yet come : gather me together the drops, that are scattered abroad: make me the flowers green again, that are withered: open me the thing that is closed: and bring me forth the winds, that are shut up: Show me the image of a voice, and then I shall declare the thing, that thou laborest to know. And I said: O' Lord, Lord, who may know these things, but he that hath not his dwelling with men? As for me I am unwise: how may I then speak of these things whereof thou asketh me? Then said he unto me: like as thou can do none of these things that I have spoken of, even so canest thou not find out my judgement, or in the end the love that I have promised unto my people. And I said: Behold O' Lord, yet art thou near unto them that have no end: and what shall they do that have been before me, or we that be now, or they that should come after us ? And he said unto me: I will liken my judgement unto a ring. Like as there is no slackness of the last, even so there is no swiftness of the first. So I answered and said: couldest thou not make those ( that have been made, and that be now, and that are for to come ) in one, that thou might show thy judgement the sooner? Then answered he me, and said: The creature may not hasten above the maker, nether my the world hold them at once, that shall be created.
      And I said: Now hast thou said unto thy servant, that thou living maker hast made the creature living at once, and the creature bear it? even so might it now also bear them that be present, at once. And he said unto me: Ask the childbed of a woman, and say unto her: If thou bringest forth children, why doest thou not together, but one after another? Pray her therefore, to bring forth ten children at once. And I said: she can not, but must do it one after the other.
      Then said he unto me: Even so have I given a childbed unto the earth, for those that be sown upon it by process of time. For like as a young child may not bring forth the things that belong to the aged, even so have I ordered the world which I have made.
      And I asked and said: Seeing thou hast now given me the way, I will speak before thee: for our mother whom thou hast told me, is yet young, and now she draweth near unto age. He answered, me and said: Ask a woman that beareth children, and she shall tell thee. Say unto her: wherefore are not they ( whom thou hast now brought forth) like those that were before thee, but less of stature? And she shall answer thee: They that were born in the youth of strength, are of one fashion : and they that are born in the time of age ( when the childbed faileth) are otherwise. Consider now thyself, how that yee are less of stature, then those that were before you, and so are they that come after you, less then you, as the creatures that now begin to be old, and have passed over the strength of youth. Then said I: Lord I beseech thee, if I have found favor in thy sight, show thy servant, by whom doest thou visit thy creature?

 

*Sodomitish sea (*note current events RN) shall cast out his fish

 

 

 

Chapter 6

      And he said unto me: In the beginning when the ground was made: before the world stood, or ever the winds blew, before it thundered and lightened, or ever the foundations of paradise were laid, before the fair flowers were seen, or ever the moveable powers were established, before the innumerable multitude of angels were gathered together, or ever the highness of the air was lifted up, afore the measures of the firmament were named, or ever the chimneys of Sion were hot, and the present years were sought out, and or ever the inventions of those that now sin, were put aside, before they were sealed that now gather faith for a treasure: then did I consider and ponder all these things, and they all were made through me, and through none other: Then answered I and said: which shall be the parting asunder of the times? Or when shall the end of the first, and the beginning of it that followeth? And he said unto me: From Abraham unto Isaac, when Jacob and Esau were born of him, Jacobs hand held first the heel of Esau: for Esau is the end of this world, and Jacob is the beginning of it that followeth. The hand of man between the heel and the hand. Other question ( Esdras ) ask thou not.
      I answered then, and said: O' Lord, Lord, if I have found favor in thy sight, I beseech thee, show thy servant the end of the tokens, whereof thou showest me part the last night. So he answered and said unto me: Stand up upon thy feet, and hear the perfect voice and sound. There shall come a great motion, but the place where thou standest will not be moved. And therefore when thou hearest the words be not afraid: for of the end shall the word and the foundation of the earth be understand. And why? the word thereof trembleth and quaketh, for it knoweth, that it must be changed at the end. And it happened, that when I heard it, I stood up upon my feet, and harkened: And behold there was a voice that spake, and the sound of it was like the sound of many waters, and it said. Behold, the days come, that I will begin to draw near, and to visit them that dwell upon the earth, and will begin to make inquisition of them, what they be that have hurt equity with unrighteousness, and when the low estate of Sion shall be fulfilled: and when the world, that shall vanish away, shall be oversealed, then will I do these tokens.
      The books shall be opened before the firmament, and they shall see altogether, and 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: and suddenly shall the sown places appear as the unsewn, the full store houses shall suddenly be found empty, and the trumpet shall give a sound, which when every man hearth, they shall be hastily afraid. At that time shall friends fight against one another like enemies, and the earth shall stand in fear with them.
      The springs of the wells shall stand still, and in three hours they shall not run. Whosoever remaineth from all these things that I have told thee, shall escape, and see my salvation, and the end of your world. And the men that are received, shall see it, they that have not tasted death from their birth: and the heart of the indwellers shall be changed, and turned into another meaning: for evil shall be put out, and deceit shall be quenched. As for faith, it shall flourish, corruption shall be over come: and the truth, which hath so long been without fruit, shall be declared. And it happened when he talked with me, that I looked demurely upon him, before whom I stood, and these words said he unto me: I am come to show thee, the time of the night for to come.
      If thou will pray yet more, and fast seven days again, I shall tell thee more things, and greater than before: for thy voice is heard before the Highest: for why? the Mighty has seen the righteous dealing, he hath seen also thy chastity, which thou hast had ever since thy youth: and therefore hath he sent me to show thee all these things, and to say unto thee: Be of good comfort, and fear not, and haste not with the times that are past to think vain things, and make not haste of the latter times.
      And it happened after this, that I wept again, and fasted seven days in like manner, that I might fulfill the three weeks, which he told me. In the eighth night was my heart vexed within me again, and I began to speak before the Highest: for my spirit was greatly set on fire, and my soul was in distress, and I said: O' Lord, thou speakest unto thy creature from the beginning ( even the first day ) and sayest: Let heaven and earth be made, and thy word was a perfect work. And then was there the spirit, and the darkness was yet on every side, and silence: there was no mans voice yet from thee. Then commandest thou a fair light to come forth out of thy treasures, that thy work might appear and be seen.
      Upon the second day thou madest the spirit of the firmament, and commandest it to part asunder, and to make a division betwexed the waters, that the one part might remain above, and the other beneath. Upon the third day thou broughtest to pass, that the waters were gathered unto the seventh part of the earth: Six parts hast thou dried up, and kept them, to the intent that men might sew and occupy husbandry therein. As soon as thy word went forth, the work was made. For immediately there was great innumerable fruit, and many diverse pleasures and desires of temptation, flours of changeable color and smell, and this was done the third day.
      Upon the fourth day thou commandest that the Sun should giveth his shine, and the moon her light: the stars didest thou set in order, and gavest them a change to do serve even unto man, that was for to be made. Upon the fifth day, thou sayest unto the seventh part ( where the waters were gathered ) that they should bring forth diverse beasts, souls and fishes. And so it came to pass, that the dumb water and without soul, brought forth living beasts, at the commandment of God, that all people might praise his wondrous works. Then didest thou preserve two souls, the one thou callest *Enoch and the other Leviathan, and did separate the one from the other: for the seventh part ( namely where the water was gathered together ) might not hold them both. Unto 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. But unto Leviathan thou gavest the seventh part, namely the most, and hast kept him to devour what thou wilt, and when. Upon the sixth day thou gavest commandment unto the earth, that before thee it should bring forth beasts, cattle, and all that creep, and ( besides this ) Adam also, who thou madest of all the creatures: Of him come we all, and the people also, whom thou hast chosen specially unto thy self. All this have I said now and spoken before thee, that I might show, how that the world was made for our sakes. As for the other people which also come of Adam thou hast said that they are nothing, but be like spittle, and hast likened the abundance of them unto a drop ( that falleth ) from the roof of the house.
      And now, O Lord, the Heathen which have ever been reputed as nothing, have gone to be lords over us, and to devour us: but we thy people ( whom thou hast called the first born, thy only begotten, and thy fervent lover ) are given into their hands and power. If the world be made now for our sakes, why have we not the inheritance in the possession with the world? How long shall this endure?

 

* Enoch = "dedicated" in root Hebrew

 

 

 

Chapter 7

      And it happened after that I had spoke out these words, that there was sent unto me an angel, which had been by me also the nights afore, and he said unto me: Up Esdras, and hear the words that I am come to tell thee. And I said: speak on Lord my God. Then said he unto me: The sea is set in a wide place, that it might be deep and great: but the entrance is narrow and small like a river. For who would go into the sea, to look upon it, and rule it? If he went not through the narrow, how might he come into the broad?
      Item another: A city is builded and set upon a broad field, and is full of all goods: the entrance is narrow and sodden, like as there were a fire at the right hand, and a deep water at the left, and as it were only one straight path betwixt them both, so small that there could be but one man go there.
      If this city were now given to an Liar and he never went through the perilous way, how would he receive his inheritance? And I said: It is so Lord. Then said he: Even so is Israel also a portion. And why? for their sakes I have made the world: And when Adam transgressed my statutes, then was the thing judged that was done. Then were the entrances of the world made narrow, full of sorrow and travail: They are but few and evil, full of perils and labor. For the entrances of the fore world were wide and sure, and brought immortal fruit.
      If they now which are entered into this world, may not comprehend these straight and vain things, much less they comprehend and understand the secrete things: Why disquietest thy self then, seeing thou art but a corruptible man: And what wouldest thou know, where as thou art but mortal? And why hast thou not received in thine heart the thing that is for to come, but that is present?
      Then said I: O' Lord, Lord, thou hast ordered in thy law, that the righteous should inherit these things, but that the unfaithful and ungodly shall perish. Nevertheless the righteous shall suffer straight things, and hope for wide: for they that have lived ungodly and *suffered straight things, shall not see the wide.
      And he said unto me: There is no judge above God, and none that have understanding above the Highest. For there be many that perish, because they despise the law of God that is set before them. For God hath given straight commandment to such as come, that they know what they do, and how they should live: and if they keep this they should not be punished.
      Nevertheless they were not obedient unto him, but spoke against him: and said moreover that there was no God, and that God regarded it not. His ways they have not known, his law they have despised, and denied his promises: in his statutes and ordinances they have not been faithful and steadfast, and have not performed his works.
      And therefore Esdras unto the full, plenty: and to the empty, emptiness. Behold the time shall come, that those tokens which I have told thee, shall come to pass, and the bride shall appear: and the earth that is now passeth away, shall be showed: and whosoever is delivered from the afore said evils, shall see my wonders. For my son Jesus shall be openly declared, with those that be with him: and they that remain, shall be merry in four hundred years.
      After these same years shall my son Christ die, and all men that have life, and the world will be turned into the old silence, seven days, like as in the fore judgements, so that no man shall remain. And after seven days, the world that yet awaketh not, shall be raised up, and shall die corrupt. And the earth shall restore those that have slept in her, and so shall the dust those that dwell in silence, and the secrete places shall deliver those that be committed unto them. And the most highest shall be openly declared upon the seat of judgement, and all mystery shall vanish away, and long suffering shall be gathered together. But the judgement shall continue, the truth shall remain, and faith shall wax strong, the works shall follow, and the reward shall be showed, the righteousness shall watch, and the unrighteous shall bear no rule.
      Then said I: Abraham prayed first for the sodomites, and Moses for the fathers that sinned in the wilderness, and he that came after him for Israel, in the time of Achas and Samuel: and David for the destruction, and Solomon for them that came into the Sanctuary, and Oseas for those that received rain, and for the dead, that he might live: and Ezechias for the people in the time of Sennacherib: and diverse other in like manner, which have prayed for many.
      Even so now seeing the corrupt is grown up, and wickedness increased, and the righteous have prayed for the ungodly, wherefore shall it not be so now also?
      He answered me, and said: This present world is not the end, there remaineth much honor in it, therefore they have prayed for the weak. But the day of dumb shall be the end of this time, and the beginning of the immortality for to come, wherein all corruption vanisheth all voluptuousness is loused and misbelief taken away, righteousness grown, and the verity spring up. Then shall no man be able to save him that is destroyed, nor to oppress him that hath gotten the victory. I 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 keep him that he should not sin. For what profit is it for men now in this present time to live in heaviness, and after death to look for punishment? O' 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. For what profit is it unto us, if there be promised us immortal time, where as we meddle with deadly works? And that there is promised us an everlasting hope, where as we ourselves are evil and vain? And that there are laid up for us dwellings of health and freedom, where as we have lived evil? and that the worship of the Highest is kept to defend them, which have led a patient life, where as we have walked in the most wicked ways of all? And that there shall be showed a paradise, whose fruit endureth forever, wherein is freedom and medicine, where as we shall not go in? for we have walked in unpleasant places: And that the faces of them which have abstained, shall shine above the stars, where as our faces shall be black and dark? For while we lived and died unrighteously, we considered not, that we should suffer therefore after death!
      Then answered he me, and said: This is the consideration and thought of the battle, which man hath upon the earth: That if he be overcome, he shall suffer as thou hast said. But if he get victory, he shall receive the thing that I say. For this is the life, whereof Moses spake unto the people, while he lived, saying: Choose the life, that thou mayest live. Nevertheless they believed him not neither the Prophets after him. No nor me which have spoken unto them, that heaviness should not reach unto them to their destruction like a joy is for to come over those, that have suffered themselves to be informed in salvation.
      I answered then and said: I know Lord, that the Highest is merciful, in that he hath mercy upon them, which are not yet in the world, and upon those also that walk in his law: and that he is patient and long suffering toward those that have sinned in their works: and that he is liberal to give where as it requireth: and that he is of great mercy, for he multiplies his loving kindness toward those that are present, and that are past, and to them which are for to come. For if he multiplied not his mercies, the world shall not be made living, with those that dwell therein: He giveth also, for if he gave not of his goodness, that they which have done evil, might be eased, the ten thousand part of men should not be living. And if the judge forgave not those that be healed with his word, and if he would destroy the multitude that striveth, there should be very few left in an innumerable multitude.

 

*suffered (allowed)

 

 

 

Chapter 8

      And he answered me, saying: The most Highest made this world for many, but the world to come for few. I will tell thee a similitude, Esdras: As when thou asketh the earth, it shall say unto thee, that it giveth much mould, where earthen vessels are made, but little of it that gold cometh of. Even so is it with the works of this world. There be many created, but few shall be preserved. Then answered I and said: Then swallow up the wit ( thou soul ) and devour the understanding, for thou art agreed to harken and to give ear, and willingly to prophesy: for thou hast no longer space given thee, but only to live. O' Lord, wilt thou not give thy servant leaven, that we may pray before thee, and that thou mayest give seed unto our heart, and build our understanding, that there may come fruit of it: and that everyone which is corrupt, and beareth the state and place of man, may live?
      For thou art alone, and we all are one workmanship of thy hands, like as thou hast said, and like as the body is fashioned now in the childbed, and thou givest the members, and thy creature is preserved in fire and water: and nine months doth thy work suffer thy creature, which is fashioned in her: but the thing that is present and the thing that is preserved, shall both be kept together: and when time is, the childbed deliver the thing, that is kept and grown in her.
      For thou hast commanded the breasts to give milk unto the fruit, that the thing that is created and fashioned, may be nourished for a time: and then thou disposest and orderest it with thy mercy, bringest it up with thy righteousness; nurturest it in thy law, and reformest it with thy understanding, mortifiest it as thy creature, and makest it living as thy work. Seeing then that thou destroyest him, which with so great labors is created and fashioned through thy commandment, thou couldest lightly order, also that the thing which is made, might be preserved.
      And this now I speak of all men in general, as thou knowest: but of thy people, for whose sake I am sorry: and of thy inheritance: for whose cause I mourn: and of Israel, for whom I am woeful: and for Jacob, for whos sake I am grieved: therefore begin I to pray before thee, for myself and for them, for I see the fall of us even of us, that dwell upon earth. But I have heard the swiftness of the judge, which is to come: therefore hear my voice, and understand my words, and I shall speak before thee.
      This is the beginning of the words of Esdras before he was received: O' Lord, thou that dwellest in everlastingness, whose eyes are lifted up in the air, whose stool is exceedingly high, whose glory and majesty may not be comprehended, before whom the Host of heaven stand with trembling, whose keeping is turned in wind and fire, whose word is true, whose talking is steadfast, whose commandment is strong, whose ordinance is fearful, whose look drieth up the depths, whose wrath maketh the mountains to melt away, and whose truth beareth witness: O' hear the prayer of thy servant, and mark with thy ears the petition of thy creature.
      For while I live, I will speak, and so long as I have understanding, I will answer. O' look not upon the sins of thy people, which serve in the truth. Have no respect for the wicked studies of the Heathen, but to the desire of those that keep thy testimonies with sorrows. Think not upon those that have walked *feintly before thee, but upon them, which with will have known thy fear.
      Let it not be thy will to destroy them, which have had beastly manners, but to look upon them that have clearly taught thy law. Take thou no indignation at them, which are worse then beasts: but love them, that always put their trust in thy righteousness and glory: for we and our fathers have all the same sickness and disease, but because of our sins thou shalt be called merciful.
      For thou hast mercy upon us thou shalt be called merciful, where as we have no works of righteousness: for the righteous which have laid up many good works together, shall out of their deeds receive reward. For what is a man, that thou shouldest displeasure at him? Or what is the corruptible generation, that thou shouldest be so rough toward him?
      For of truth there is no man among them that be born, but he hath dealt wickedly: and among the faithful there is none, which hath not done amiss. For in this ( O' Lord ) thy righteousness and thy goodness shall be praised and declared, if thou be merciful unto them, which are not rich in good works.
      Then answered he me and said: Some things hast thou spoken right and according unto thy words it shall be. For I will not verily consider the works of them, which have sinned before death, before the judgement, before destruction, but I will rejoice over the work and thought of the righteous, the holy making and the reward. Like as I have spoken now, so shall it come to pass. For as the husband man soweth much seed upon the ground, and planteth many trees, and yet always the thing that is sown or planted is not all kept safe, neither does it all take root: Even so is it of them that are sown in the world, they shall not all be preserved.
      I answered then and said: If I have found grace, then let me speak. Like as the husband man seed perisheth, if it not receive rain in due season, or if there come to much rain upon it: Even so perisheth a man also, which is created with thy hands, and is like unto thine own image and to thy self, for whos sake thou hast made all things, and likened him unto the husband mans seed. Be not wroth at us, O' Lord, but spare thy people, and have mercy upon thine own inheritance: O' be merciful unto thy creature.
      Then answered he me and said: Things present are for the present, and things to come for as such as be to come. For thou wantest yet much, seeing thou may lovest my creature above me: I have often times drawn near unto thee, but never to the unrighteous. In this also thou art marvelous before the Highest, in that thou has humbled thy self, as it becometh thee, and hast not regarded thine own self, that thou art had in such honor among the righteous. Therefore shall great wretchedness and misery come upon them, that in the later time shall dwell in the world, for they have walked in great pride.
      But understand thou for thyself, and seek out glory for such as be like thee: for unto you paradise is opened, the tree of life is planted, the time to come is prepared, plenteousness is made ready: a city is builded for you, and a rest is prepared, yee perfect goodness and wisdom. The root of evil is marked from you, the weakness and moth is hid from you, and into hell flyeth corruption in forgetfulness. Sorrows are vanished away, and in that end is shown the treasure of immortality. And therefore ask no more questions, concerning the multitude of them that perish. For they have taken liberty, despised the Highest, thought scorn of his law, and forsaken his ways.
      Moreover they have trodden down his righteousness, and said in their heart, that their is no God, yee and that wittingly, for they die. For like as the thing that I have spoken of, is made ready for you: Even so is thirst and pain prepared for them. For it was not his will that man should come to naught: but they which be created have defiled the name of him that made them, and are unthankful unto him, which prepared life for them. And therefore is my judgement now at hand. These things have I not showed unto all men, but unto few: namely unto thee, and such as be like thee.
      Then answered I and said: Behold O' Lord, now hast thou showed me the multitude of thy tokens, which thou wilt begin to do at the last but at what time and when thou hast not showed me.

 

*feintly =dodge, maneuver, pose, pretend

 

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