1 For great are Thy judgments and cannot be expressed; therefore unnurtured souls have erred.
2 For 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.
3 For while they supposed in their secret sins to lie hid, they were scattered under a dark veil of forgetfulness, being horribly astonished and troubled with strange apparitions.
4 For 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.
5 No power of the fire might give them light; neither could the bright flames of the stars endure to lighten that horrible night.
6 Only there appeared unto them a fire kindled by itself, very dreadful; for, being much terrified, they thought the things which they saw to be worse than the sight they saw not.
7 As for the illusions of magic art, they were put down, and their vaunting in wisdom was reproved with disgrace.
8 For those, who promised to drive away terrors and troubles from a sick soul, were sick themselves from fear, worthy to be laughed at.
9 For though no terrible thing did fear them, yet, being scared with beasts that passed by and hissing of serpents,
10 they died from fear, denying that they saw the air, which could from no side be avoided.
11 For wickedness, condemned by her own witness, is very timorous, and, being pressed by conscience, always forecasteth grievous things.
12 For fear is nothing else but a betraying of the succors which reason offereth.
13 And the expectation from within, being less, counteth the ignorance more than the cause which bringeth the torment.
14 But they, sleeping the same sleep that night which was indeed intolerable and which came upon them out of the bottoms of inevitable hell,
15 were partly vexed by monstrous apparitions and partly fainted, their heart failing them; for a sudden fear, and not looked for, came upon them.
16 So then whosoever there fell down was securely kept, shut up in a prison without iron bars.
17 For whether he were husbandman or shepherd or a laborer 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.
18 Whether it were a whistling wind, or a melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches, or a pleasing fall of water running violently,
19 or 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 swoon from fear.
20 For the whole world shined with clear light, and none were hindered in their labor.
21 Over them only was spread a heavy night, an image of that darkness which should afterward receive them. But yet were they unto themselves more grievous than the darkness.