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Chapter 8 2 I will tell thee a similitude, Esdras; As when thou askest the earth, it shall say unto thee, that it giveth much mould whereof earthen vessels are made, but little dust that gold cometh of: even so is the course of this present world.3 There be many created, but few shall be saved.4 So answered I and said, Swallow then down, O my soul, understanding, and devour wisdom.5 For thou hast agreed to give ear, and art willing to prophesy: for thou hast no longer space than only to live.6 O Lord, if thou suffer not thy servant, that we may pray before thee, and thou give us seed unto our heart, and culture to our understanding, that there may come fruit of it; how shall each man live that is corrupt, who beareth the place of a man?7 For thou art alone, and we all one workmanship of thine hands, like as thou hast said.8 For when the body is fashioned now in the mother's womb, and thou givest it members, thy creature is preserved in fire and water, and nine months doth thy workmanship endure thy creature which is created in her.9 But that which keepeth and is kept shall both be preserved: and when the time cometh, the womb preserved delivereth up the things that grew in it.10 For thou hast commanded out of the parts of the body, that is to say, out of the breasts, milk to be given, which is the fruit of the breasts,11 That the thing which is fashioned may be nourished for a time, till thou disposest it to thy mercy.12 Thou broughtest it up with thy righteousness, and nurturedst it in thy law, and reformedst it with thy judgment.13 And thou shalt mortify it as thy creature, and quicken it as thy work.14 If therefore thou shalt destroy him which with so great labour was fashioned, it is an easy thing to be ordained by thy commandment, that the thing which was made might be preserved.15 Now therefore, Lord, I will speak; touching man in general, thou knowest best; but touching thy people, for whose sake I am sorry;16 And for thine inheritance, for whose cause I mourn; and for Israel, for whom I am heavy; and for Jacob, for whose sake I am troubled;17 Therefore will I begin to pray before thee 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 judge which is to come.19 Therefore hear my voice, and understand my words, and I shall speak before thee. This is the beginning of the words of Esdras, before he was taken up: and I said,20 O Lord, thou that dwellest in everlastingness which beholdest from above things in the heaven and in the air;21 Whose throne is inestimable; whose glory may not be comprehended; before whom the hosts of angels stand with trembling,22 Whose service is conversant in wind and fire; whose word is true, and sayings constant; whose commandment is strong, and ordinance fearful;23 Whose look drieth up the depths, and indignation maketh the mountains to melt away; which the truth witnesseth:24 O hear the prayer of thy servant, and give ear to the petition of thy creature.