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Chapter 4 2 And said, Thy heart hath gone to far in this world, and thinkest thou to comprehend the way of the most High?3 Then 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:4 Whereof 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.5 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.6 Then answered I and said, What man is able to do that, that thou shouldest ask such things of me?7 And 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:8 Peradventure 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.9 Nevertheless 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.10 He said moreover unto me, Thine own things, and such as are grown up with thee, canst thou not know;11 How 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?12 Then 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.13 He answered me, and said, I went into a forest into a plain, and the trees took counsel,14 And 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.15 The 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.16 The thought of the wood was in vain, for the fire came and consumed it.17 The thought of the floods of the sea came likewise to nought, for the sand stood up and stopped them.18 If thou wert judge now betwixt these two, whom wouldest thou begin to justify? or whom wouldest thou condemn?19 I 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.20 Then answered he me, and said, Thou hast given a right judgment, but why judgest thou not thyself also?21 For 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.22 Then answered I and said, I beseech thee, O Lord, let me have understanding:23 For 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,24 And we pass away out of the world as grasshoppers, and our life is astonishment and fear, and we are not worthy to obtain mercy.