Second Esdras Chapters (English Bible : World English Bible – British Edition – WEBBE)
1 And he answered me, and said, The Most High has made this world for many, but the world to come for few.
2 I will tell you now a similitude, Esdras; As when you asks the earth, it shall say to you, that it gives very much mould whereof earthen vessels are made, and little dust that gold comes of: even so is the course of the present world.
3 There be many created, but few shall be saved.
4 And I answered and said, Swallow down understanding then, O my soul, and let my heart devour wisdom.
5 For you are come here without your will, and depart when you would not: for there is given you no longer space than only to live a short time.
6 O Lord, that are over us, suffer your servant, that we may pray before you, and give us seed to our heart, and culture to our understanding, that there may come fruit of it, whereby every one shall live that is corrupt, who bears the likeness of a man.
7 For you are alone, and we all one workmanship of your hands, like as you have said.
8 Forasmuch as you quicken the body that is fashioned now in the womb, and give it members, your creature is preserved in fire and water, and nine months does your workmanship endure your creature which is created in her.
9 But that which keeps and that which is kept shall both be kept by your keeping: and when the womb gives up again that which has grown in it,
10 you have commanded that out of the parts of the body, that is to say, out of the breasts, be given milk, which is the fruit of the breasts,
11 that the thing which is fashioned may be nourished for a time, and afterwards you shall order it in your mercy.
12 Yes, you have brought it up in your righteousness, and nurtured it in your law, and corrected it with your judgement.
13 And you shall mortify it as your creature, and quicken it as your work.
14 If therefore you shall lightly and suddenly destroy him which with so great labour was fashioned by your commandment, to what purpose was he made?
15 Now therefore I will speak; touching man in general, you know best; but touching your people I will speak, for whose sake I am sorry;
16 and for your inheritance, for whose cause I mourn; and for Israel, for whom I am heavy; and for the seed of Jacob, for whose sake I am troubled;
17 therefore I will begin to pray before you for myself and for them: for I see the falls of us that dwell in the land;
18 but I have heard the swiftness of the judgement which is to come.
19 Therefore hear my voice, and understand my saying, and I will speak before you. The beginning of the words of Esdras, before he was taken up. And he said,
20 O Lord, you who remain forever, whose eyes are exalted, and whose chambers are in the air;
21 whose throne is inestimable; whose glory may not be comprehended; before whom the army of angels stand with trembling,
22 at whose bidding they are changed to wind and fire; whose word is sure, and sayings constant; whose ordinance is strong, and commandment fearful;
23 whose look dries up the depths, and whose indignation makes the mountains to melt away, and whose truth bears witness:
24 hear, O Lord, the prayer of your servant, and give ear to the petition of your handiwork;
25 attend to my words, for so long as I live I will speak, and so long as I have understanding I will answer.
26 O look not upon the sins of your people; but on those who have served you in truth,
27 Regard not the doings of those who deal wickedly, but of those who have kept your covenants in affliction.
28 Think not upon those that have walked feignedly before you; but remember them which have willingly known your fear.
29 Let it not be your will to destroy them which have lived like cattle; but look upon those who have clearly taught your law.
30 Take you no indignation at them which are deemed worse than beasts; but love those who have always put their trust in your glory.
31 For we and our fathers have passed our lives in ways that bring death: but you because of us sinners are called merciful.
32 For if you have a desire to have mercy upon us, then shall you be called merciful, to us, namely, that have no works of righteousness.
33 For the just, which have many good works laid up with you, shall for their own deeds receive reward.
34 For what is man, that you should take displeasure at him? or what is a corruptible race, that you should be so bitter towards it?
35 For in truth there is no man amongst those who are born, but he has dealt wickedly; and amongst them that have lived there is none which have not done amiss.
36 For in this, O Lord, your righteousness and your goodness shall be declared, if you be merciful to them which have no store of good works.
37 Then answered he me, and said, Some things have you spoken aright, and according to your words so shall it come to pass.
38 For indeed I will not think on the fashioning of them which have sinned, or their death, their judgement, or their destruction;
39 but I will rejoice over the framing of the righteous, their pilgrimage also, and the salvation, and the reward, that they shall have.
40 Like therefore as I have spoken, so shall it be.
41 For as the husbandman sows much seed upon the ground, and plants many trees, and yet not all that is sown shall come up in due season, neither shall all that is planted take root: even so those who are sown in the world shall not all be saved.
42 I answered then and said, if I have found favour, let me speak before you.
43 Forasmuch as the husbandman’s seed, if it come not up, seeing that it has not received your rain in due season, or if it be corrupted through too much rain, so perishes;
44 likewise man, which is formed with your hands, and is called your own image, because he is made like to you, for whose sake you have formed all things, even him have you made like to the husbandman’s seed.
45 Be not angry with us, but spare your people, and have mercy upon your inheritance; for you have mercy upon your own creation.
46 Then answered he me, and said, Things present are for those who now be, and things to come for such as shall be hereafter.
47 For you come far short that you should be able to love my creature more than I. But you have brought yourself full near to the unrighteous. Let this never be.
48 Yet in this shall you be admirable to the Most High;
49 in that you have humbled yourself, as it becomes you, and have not judged yourself worthy to be amongst the righteous, so as to be much glorified.
50 For many grievous miseries shall fall on those who in the last times dwell in the world, because they have walked in great pride.
51 But understand you for yourself, and of such as be like you seek out the glory.
52 For to you is paradise opened, the tree of life planted, the time to come is prepared, plenteousness is made ready, a city is built, and rest is allowed, goodness is perfected, wisdom being perfect beforehand.
53 The root of evil is sealed up from you, weakness is done away from you, and death is hidden; hell and corruption are fled into forgetfulness:
54 sorrows are passed away, and in the end is showed the treasure of immortality.
55 Therefore ask you no more questions concerning the multitude of them that perish.
56 For when they had received liberty, they despised the Most High, thought scorn of his law, and forsook his ways.
57 Moreover they have trodden down his righteous,
58 and said in their heart, that there is no God; yes, and that knowing they must die.
59 For as the things aforesaid shall receive you, so thirst and pain which are prepared shall receive them: for the Most High willed not that men should come to nothing:
60 but they which be created have themselves defiled the name of him that made them, and were unthankful to him which prepared life for them.
61 And therefore is my judgement now at hand,
62 which I have not showed to all men, but to you, and a few like you. Then answered I and said,
63 Behold, O Lord, now have you showed me the multitude of the wonders, which you will do in the last times: but at what time, you have not showed me.