41And the angel that was sent unto me, whose name was Uriel, gave me an answer,
2And said, Thy heart hath gone too far in this world, and thinkest thou to comprehend the way of the most High?
3Then said I, Yea, my lord. And he answered me, and said, I am sent to shew thee three ways, and to set forth three similitudes before thee:
4Whereof if thou canst declare me one, I will shew thee also the way that thou desirest to see, and I shall shew thee from whence the wicked heart cometh.
5And 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.
6Then answered I and said, What man is able to do that, that thou shouldest ask such things of me?
7And he said unto me, If I should ask thee how great dwellings are in the midst of the sea, or how many springs are in the beginning of the deep, or how many springs are above the firmament, or which are the outgoings of paradise:
8Peradventure thou wouldest say unto me, I never went down into the deep, nor as yet into hell, neither did I ever climb up into heaven.
9Nevertheless now have I asked thee but only of the fire and wind, and of the day wherethrough thou hast passed, and of things from which thou canst not be separated, and yet canst thou give me no answer of them.
10He said moreover unto me, Thine own things, and such as are grown up with thee, canst thou not know;
11How should thy vessel then be able to comprehend the way of the Highest, and, the world being now outwardly corrupted to understand the corruption that is evident in my sight?
12Then said I unto him, It were better that we were not at all, than that we should live still in wickedness, and to suffer, and not to know wherefore.
13He answered me, and said, I went into a forest into a plain, and the trees took counsel,
14And said, Come, let us go and make war against the sea that it may depart away before us, and that we may make us more woods.
15The floods of the sea also in like manner took counsel, and said, Come, let us go up and subdue the woods of the plain, that there also we may make us another country.
16The thought of the wood was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it.
17The thought of the floods of the sea came likewise to nought, for the sand stood up and stopped them.
18If thou wert judge now betwixt these two, whom wouldest thou begin to justify? or whom wouldest thou condemn?
19I answered and said, Verily it is a foolish thought that they both have devised, for the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea also hath his place to bear his floods.
20Then answered he me, and said, Thou hast given a right judgment, but why judgest thou not thyself also?
21For like as the ground is given unto the wood, and the sea to his floods: 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 height of the heavens.
22Then answered I and said, I beseech thee, O Lord, let me have understanding:
23For it was not my mind to be curious of the high things, but of such as pass by us daily, namely, wherefore Israel is given up as a reproach to the heathen, and for what cause the people whom thou hast loved is given over unto ungodly nations, and why the law of our forefathers is brought to nought, and the written covenants come to none effect,
24And we pass away out of the world as grasshoppers, and our life is astonishment and fear, and we are not worthy to obtain mercy.
25What will he then do unto his name whereby we are called? of these things have I asked.
26Then answered he me, and said, The more thou searchest, the more thou shalt marvel; for the world hasteth fast to pass away,
27And cannot comprehend the things that are promised to the righteous in time to come: for this world is full of unrighteousness and infirmities.
28But as concerning the things whereof thou askest me, I will tell thee; for the evil is sown, but the destruction thereof is not yet come.
29If therefore that which is sown be not turned upside down, and if the place where the evil is sown pass not away, then cannot it come that is sown with good.
30For the grain of evil seed hath been sown in the heart of Adam from the beginning, and how much ungodliness hath it brought up unto this time? and how much shall it yet bring forth until the time of threshing come?
31Ponder now by thyself, how great fruit of wickedness the grain of evil seed hath brought forth.
32And when the ears shall be cut down, which are without number, how great a floor shall they fill?
33Then I answered and said, How, and when shall these things come to pass? wherefore are our years few and evil?
34And he answered me, saying, Do not thou hasten above the most Highest: for thy haste is in vain to be above him, for thou hast much exceeded.
35Did not the souls also of the righteous ask question of these things in their chambers, saying, How long shall I hope on this fashion? when cometh the fruit of the floor of our reward?
36And unto these things Uriel the archangel gave them answer, and said, Even when the number of seeds is filled in you: for he hath weighed the world in the balance.
37By measure hath he measured the times; and by number hath he numbered the times; and he doth not move nor stir them, until the said measure be fulfilled.
38Then answered I and said, O Lord that bearest rule, even we all are full of impiety.
39And for our sakes peradventure it is that the floors of the righteous are not filled, because of the sins of them that dwell upon the earth.
40So he answered me, and said, Go thy way to a woman with child, and ask of her when she hath fulfilled her nine months, if her womb may keep the birth any longer within her.
41Then said I, No, Lord, that can she not. And he said unto me, In the grave the chambers of souls are like the womb of a woman:
42For like as a woman that travaileth maketh haste to escape the necessity of the travail: even so do these places haste to deliver those things that are committed unto them.
43From the beginning, look, what thou desirest to see, it shall be shewed thee.
44Then answered I and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, and if it be possible, and if I be meet therefore,
45Shew me then whether there be more to come than is past, or more past than is to come.
46What is past I know, but what is for to come I know not.
47And he said unto me, Stand up upon the right side, and I shall expound the similitude unto thee.
48So I stood, and saw, and, behold, an hot burning oven passed by before me: and it happened that when the flame was gone by I looked, and, behold, the smoke remained still.
49After this there passed by before me a watery cloud, and sent down much rain with a storm; and when the stormy rain was past, the drops remained still.
50Then said he unto me, Consider with thyself; as the rain is more than the drops, and as the fire is greater than the smoke; but the drops and the smoke remain behind: so the quantity which is past did more exceed.
51Then I prayed, and said, May I live, thinkest thou, until that time? or what shall happen in those days?
52He answered me, and said, As for the tokens whereof thou askest me, I may tell thee of them in part: but as touching thy life, I am not sent to shew thee; for I do not know it.
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?