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THE SOUL AFTER DEATH
ACCORDING TO THE 2ND BOOK OF ESDRAS CHAPTER 7 VERSES 75-105

FROM THE APOCRYPHA
TRANSLATED BY EDGAR J. GOODSPEED

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	75	  Then I answered and said, 
		  "If I have found favor in your sight, Sovereign, show this
		also to your slave; whether after death as soon as each one 
		of us gives up his soul, we shall be faithfully kept at rest until 
		those times come when you begin to renew the creation, or 
		shall be tortured at once."
	76	  And  he answered me and said, 
		  "I will show you that also; but you must not associate
		with those who have shown scorn, or count yourself among 
	77	those who are tortured. For you have a treasure of works
		laid up with the Most High, but it will not be shown to you
	78	until the last times. For about death, the teaching is: When
		the final sentence goes forth from the Most High that a man 
		is to die, when the soul departs from the body to return 
		again to him who gave it, first of all it prays to the glory of 
	79	the Most High; if it was one of those who scorned and did
		not observe the way of the Most High, and of those who 
		have despised his law, and of those who hate those who fear
	80	God, such spirits shall not enter dwellings but wander about 
		thenceforth in torment, always grieving and sad, in seven
	81	ways: The first way is that they have scorned the Law of 
	82	the Most High. The second way is that they can no longer
	83	make a good repentance, so that they may live. The third
		way is that they will see the reward destined for those who
	84	have believed the agreements of the Most High. The fourth
		way is that they will consider the torment destined for them
	85	in the last days. The fifth way is that they will see that the 
		dwelling-places of the others are guarded by angels in profound
	86	silence. The sixth way is that they will see that some
		of them will pass over to be tormented henceforth. The
	87	seventh way, which is worse than all the ways that have 
		been mentioned, is that they will waste away in shame and 
		be consumed in disgrace, and wither with fear, at seeing the 
		glory of the Most High before whom they sinned while they 
		lived, and before whom they are destined to be judged in 
		the last times.
	88	  "But of those who have observed the ways of the Most
		High, this is the order, when they shall be separated 
	89	from this fragile jar. In the time when they lived in it,
		they carefully served the Most High, though they were 
		in danger every hour, so as to keep the Law of the Law-giver 
	90	perfectly. Therefore this is the teaching about them:
	91	First of all, they see with great rapture the glory of him who
	92	takes them up, for they will rest  in seven orders. The first
		order is that they have striven with much toil to conquer the 
		wicked thought that was formed with them, so that it should
	93	not lead them away from life to death. The second order
		is that they see the labyrinth in which the souls of the 
	94	ungodly wander, and the punishment that awaits them. The
		third order is that they see the testimony that he who 
		formed them has borne to them, because when they were 
		alive they faithfully observed the Law which was given 
	95	them. The fourth order is that they understand the rest
		which they now enjoy, gathered in their chambers, in great 
		quietness, watched over by angels, and the glory that awaits
	96	them in the last days. The fifth order is that they exult that
		they have now escaped what is corruptible and will possess 
		the future as their inheritance, and besides perceive the 
		narrowness and toilsomeness from which they have been freed 
		and the spaciousness they are destined to receive and enjoy
	97	in immortality. The sixth order is that it is shown to them
		how their face is destined to shine like the sun, and how they 
		are to be made like the light of the stars, and be incorruptible
	98	thenceforth. The seventh order, which is greater than all
		those that have been mentioned, is that they will exult boldly, 
		and that they will trust confidently, and rejoice fearlessly, 
		for they hasten to see the face of him whom they served in 
		life, and from whom they are to receive their reward when
	99	they are glorified. These are the orders of the souls of the 
		upright, as henceforth proclaimed, and the above ways of 
		torture are those which those who would not give heed will 
		henceforth suffer."
	100	  And I answered and said, 
		  "Then will time be given the souls after they are seperated 
		from the bodies, to see what you have told me of?"
	101	  And he said to me,
		  "They have freedom for seven days, to see on the seven 
		days the things you have been told, and afterward they will 
		be gathered in their dwellings."
	102	  And I answered and said, 
		  "If  I have found favor in your sight, show me, your slave, 
		further, whether  on the Day of Judgment the upright will 
		be able to intercede for the ungodly, or to beseech the Most 
	103	High on their behalf, fathers for sons, or sons for parents, 
		brothers for brothers, relatives for their kinsmen, and friends 
		for those who are most dear to them."
	104	  And he answered me and said,
		  "Since you have found favor in my sight, I will show you 
		this also. The Day of Judgment is final and shows to all the 
		stamp of truth. Just as now a father cannot send his son 
		or a son his father or a master his slave or a friend his dearest
	105	friend to be sick for him, or sleep or eat or be cured, so no
		one can pray for another then, or lay a burden on another, 
		for they must all bear everyone his own iniquity or 
		uprightness then."
	
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