171For great are thy judgments, and cannot be expressed: therefore unnurtured souls have erred.
2For when unrighteous men thought to oppress the holy nation; they being shut up in their houses, the prisoners of darkness, and fettered with the bonds of a long night, lay there exiled from the eternal providence.
3For while they supposed to lie hid in their secret sins, they were scattered under a dark veil of forgetfulness, being horribly astonished, and troubled with strange apparitions.
4For neither might the corner that held them keep them from fear: but noises as of waters falling down sounded about them, and sad visions appeared unto them with heavy countenances.
5No power of the fire might give them light: neither could the bright flames of the stars endure to lighten that horrible night.
6Only there appeared unto them a fire kindled of itself, very dreadful: for being much terrified, they thought the things which they saw to be worse than the sight they saw not.
7As for the illusions of art magick, they were put down, and their vaunting in wisdom was reproved with disgrace.
8For they, that promised to drive away terrors and troubles from a sick soul, were sick themselves of fear, worthy to be laughed at.
9For though no terrible thing did fear them; yet being scared with beasts that passed by, and hissing of serpents,
10They died for fear, denying that they saw the air, which could of no side be avoided.
11For wickedness, condemned by her own witness, is very timorous, and being pressed with conscience, always forecasteth grievous things.
12For fear is nothing else but a betraying of the succours which reason offereth.
13And the expectation from within, being less, counteth the ignorance more than the cause which bringeth the torment.
14But they sleeping the same sleep that night, which was indeed intolerable, and which came upon them out of the bottoms of inevitable hell,
15Were partly vexed with monstrous apparitions, and partly fainted, their heart failing them: for a sudden fear, and not looked for, came upon them.
16So then whosoever there fell down was straitly kept, shut up in a prison without iron bars,
17For whether he were husbandman, or shepherd, or a labourer in the field, he was overtaken, and endured that necessity, which could not be avoided: for they were all bound with one chain of darkness.
18Whether it were a whistling wind, or a melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches, or a pleasing fall of water running violently,
19Or a terrible sound of stones cast down, or a running that could not be seen of skipping beasts, or a roaring voice of most savage wild beasts, or a rebounding echo from the hollow mountains; these things made them to swoon for fear.
20For the whole world shined with clear light, and none were hindered in their labour:
21Over them only was spread an heavy night, an image of that darkness which should afterward receive them: but yet were they unto themselves more grievous than the darkness.
181Nevertheless thy saints had a very great light, whose voice they hearing, and not seeing their shape, because they also had not suffered the same things, they counted them happy.
2But for that they did not hurt them now, of whom they had been wronged before, they thanked them, and besought them pardon for that they had been enemies.
3Instead whereof thou gavest them a burning pillar of fire, both to be a guide of the unknown journey, and an harmless sun to entertain them honourably.
4For they were worthy to be deprived of light and imprisoned in darkness, who had kept thy sons shut up, by whom the uncorrupt light of the law was to be given unto the world.
5And when they had determined to slay the babes of the saints, one child being cast forth, and saved, to reprove them, thou tookest away the multitude of their children, and destroyedst them altogether in a mighty water.
6Of that night were our fathers certified afore, that assuredly knowing unto what oaths they had given credence, they might afterwards be of good cheer.
7So of thy people was accepted both the salvation of the righteous, and destruction of the enemies.
8For wherewith thou didst punish our adversaries, by the same thou didst glorify us, whom thou hadst called.
9For the righteous children of good men did sacrifice secretly, and with one consent made a holy law, that the saints should be like partakers of the same good and evil, the fathers now singing out the songs of praise.
10But on the other side there sounded an ill according cry of the enemies, and a lamentable noise was carried abroad for children that were bewailed.
11The master and the servant were punished after one manner; and like as the king, so suffered the common person.
12So they all together had innumerable dead with one kind of death; neither were the living sufficient to bury them: for in one moment the noblest offspring of them was destroyed.
13For whereas they would not believe any thing by reason of the enchantments; upon the destruction of the firstborn, they acknowledged this people to be the sons of God.
14For while all things were in quiet silence, and that night was in the midst of her swift course,
15Thine Almighty word leaped down from heaven out of thy royal throne, as a fierce man of war into the midst of a land of destruction,
16And brought thine unfeigned commandment as a sharp sword, and standing up filled all things with death; and it touched the heaven, but it stood upon the earth.
17Then suddenly visions of horrible dreams troubled them sore, and terrors came upon them unlooked for.
18And one thrown here, and another there, half dead, shewed the cause of his death.
19For the dreams that troubled them did foreshew this, lest they should perish, and not know why they were afflicted.
20Yea, the tasting of death touched the righteous also, and there was a destruction of the multitude in the wilderness: but the wrath endured not long.
21For then the blameless man made haste, and stood forth to defend them; and bringing the shield of his proper ministry, even prayer, and the propitiation of incense, set himself against the wrath, and so brought the calamity to an end, declaring that he was thy servant.
22So he overcame the destroyer, not with strength of body, nor force of arms, but with a word subdued him that punished, alleging the oaths and covenants made with the fathers.
23For when the dead were now fallen down by heaps one upon another, standing between, he stayed the wrath, and parted the way to the living.
24For in the long garment was the whole world, and in the four rows of the stones was the glory of the fathers graven, and thy Majesty upon the diadem of his head.
25Unto these the destroyer gave place, and was afraid of them: for it was enough that they only tasted of the wrath.
191As for the ungodly, wrath came upon them without mercy unto the end: for he knew before what they would do;
2How that having given them leave to depart, and sent them hastily away, they would repent and pursue them.
3For whilst they were yet mourning and making lamentation at the graves of the dead, they added another foolish device, and pursued them as fugitives, whom they had intreated to be gone.
4For the destiny, whereof they were worthy, drew them unto this end, and made them forget the things that had already happened, that they might fulfil the punishment which was wanting to their torments:
5And that thy people might pass a wonderful way: but they might find a strange death.
6For the whole creature in his proper kind was fashioned again anew, serving the peculiar commandments that were given unto them, that thy children might be kept without hurt:
7As namely, a cloud shadowing the camp; and where water stood before, dry land appeared; and out of the Red sea a way without impediment; and out of the violent stream a green field:
8Wherethrough all the people went that were defended with thy hand, seeing thy marvellous strange wonders.
9For they went at large like horses, and leaped like lambs, praising thee, O Lord, who hadst delivered them.
10For they were yet mindful of the things that were done while they sojourned in the strange land, how the ground brought forth flies instead of cattle, and how the river cast up a multitude of frogs instead of fishes.
11But afterwards they saw a new generation of fowls, when, being led with their appetite, they asked delicate meats.
12For quails came up unto them from the sea for their contentment.
13And punishments came upon the sinners not without former signs by the force of thunders: for they suffered justly according to their own wickedness, insomuch as they used a more hard and hateful behaviour toward strangers.
14For the Sodomites did not receive those, whom they knew not when they came: but these brought friends into bondage, that had well deserved of them.
15And not only so, but peradventure some respect shall be had of those, because they used strangers not friendly:
16But these very grievously afflicted them, whom they had received with feastings, and were already made partakers of the same laws with them.
17Therefore even with blindness were these stricken, as those were at the doors of the righteous man: when, being compassed about with horrible great darkness, every one sought the passage of his own doors.
18For the elements were changed in themselves by a kind of harmony, like as in a psaltery notes change the name of the tune, and yet are always sounds; which may well be perceived by the sight of the things that have been done.
19For earthly things were turned into watery, and the things, that before swam in the water, now went upon the ground.
20The fire had power in the water, forgetting his own virtue: and the water forgat his own quenching nature.
21On the other side, the flames wasted not the flesh of the corruptible living things, though they walked therein; neither melted they the icy kind of heavenly meat that was of nature apt to melt.
22For in all things, O Lord, thou didst magnify thy people, and glorify them, neither didst thou lightly regard them: but didst assist them in every time and place.