1Consider, too, that in days gone by and in the generations of old our fathers had to help them 1 Lit. ‘had helpers’. righteous men and holy prophets. 2Moreover, we were in our own land; and they helped us when we sinned, and, relying on their merits, 2 Lit. ‘because they trusted in their works’. interceded for us with our creator, and the Mighty One heard their prayer and forgave us. 3But now the righteous have been gathered to their fathers, and the prophets have fallen asleep, and we also have been exiled from our land: Zion has been taken from us, and nothing is left us now save the Mighty One and his law. 4But if we direct and dispose our hearts aright, we shall retrieve everything that we have lost, and gain many more and much better things than we have lost. 5For what we have lost was subject to corruption, but what we shall receive is incorruptible. 6(And I am writing also to our brothers in Babylon in the same terms, to assure them about these things.) 7Keep everything you have been told constantly in mind, because so long as the breath is in our bodies we are still free to choose. 3 Lit. ‘because we are still in the spirit and the power of our liberty’. 8Once again, the Most High is patient with us here: he has shown us what is to be and has not hidden from us what is to happen in the end. 9Before, then, the judgement demands its own, and the truth what is its due, let us prepare ourselves to take possession, and not be taken possession of, to hope and not be put to shame, and to have rest with our fathers and not be in torment with our enemies. 10For the youth of the world is past, and the strength of the creation already exhausted: the times have run their course and the end is very near: the pitcher is near the cistern, the ship to port, the traveller to the city, and life to its consummation. 11And yet again, prepare yourselves, so that when you have finished your journey and leave the ship, you may find rest and may not be condemned when you go away. 12For when the Most High brings all these things to pass, there will be there no further opportunity for repentance, no set times 4 Lit. ‘no limit to the times’. nor appointed seasons, 5 Lit. ‘no length for the seasons’. no possible change in ways of life, 6 The text is uncertain here owing to variations in the MSS. no place for prayer nor offering 7 Lit. ‘sending’. of petitions, no acquiring of knowledge nor giving of love, no place of repentance for the soul nor supplication for offences, no intercession by the fathers nor prayer by the prophets nor help from the righteous. 13But there will be there the sentence of destruction, the way of fire and the path that leads to Gehenna. 14That is why there is one law, given by one man, one world and an end for all who are in it. 15Then will the Mighty One preserve those he can forgive, and at the same time destroy those who are polluted by their sins.