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 righteousnesses shall watch, and the unrighteousnesses 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.