171For great are thy judgments, and cannot be expressed: therefore unnurtured souls have erred.
2For 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.
3For while they supposed to lie hid in their secret sins, they were scattered under a dark veil of forgetfulness, being horribly astonished, and troubled with strange apparitions.
4For 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.
5No power of the fire might give them light: neither could the bright flames of the stars endure to lighten that horrible night.
6Only there appeared unto them a fire kindled of itself, very dreadful: for being much terrified, they thought the things which they saw to be worse than the sight they saw not.
7As for the illusions of art magick, they were put down, and their vaunting in wisdom was reproved with disgrace.
8For they, that promised to drive away terrors and troubles from a sick soul, were sick themselves of fear, worthy to be laughed at.
9For though no terrible thing did fear them; yet being scared with beasts that passed by, and hissing of serpents,
10They died for fear, denying that they saw the air, which could of no side be avoided.
11For wickedness, condemned by her own witness, is very timorous, and being pressed with conscience, always forecasteth grievous things.
12For fear is nothing else but a betraying of the succours which reason offereth.
13And the expectation from within, being less, counteth the ignorance more than the cause which bringeth the torment.
14But they sleeping the same sleep that night, which was indeed intolerable, and which came upon them out of the bottoms of inevitable hell,
15Were partly vexed with monstrous apparitions, and partly fainted, their heart failing them: for a sudden fear, and not looked for, came upon them.
16So then whosoever there fell down was straitly kept, shut up in a prison without iron bars,
17For whether he were husbandman, or shepherd, or a labourer 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.
18Whether it were a whistling wind, or a melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches, or a pleasing fall of water running violently,
19Or 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 to swoon for fear.
20For the whole world shined with clear light, and none were hindered in their labour:
21Over them only was spread an heavy night, an image of that darkness which should afterward receive them: but yet were they unto themselves more grievous than the darkness.