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whose sayings change not; whose commandment is strong, and ordinance fearful; whose look drieth up the depths, and whose indignation maketh the mountains to melt away, and whose truth endureth for ever: O hear the prayer of thy servant, and give ear to the petition of thy creature. For while I live I will speak, and so long as I have understanding I will answer. Look not upon the sins of thy people, but on them that serve thee in truth.
2 ESDRAS viii. 20-26.
§ 5. The Book of Commandments, wherein
is Wisdom. This is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endureth for ever; all they that keep it shall live, but such as forsake it shall die. Turn thee, my people, and take hold of it; walk in the presence of the light thereof, that the light may shine in
thee. Be of good cheer, O my children; cry unto the Lord, and he shall deliver you from the power and hand of the enemy. For my hope is in the Everlasting that he will save you, and joy is come unto me from the Holy One. I sent you out with mourning and weeping, but God will give you to me again with joy and gladness for ever. For like as now they that dwell about Zion have seen your captivity, so shall they see shortly your salvation from God, which shall come upon you with great glory, and brightness of the Everlasting.
1 BARUCH iy. 1-2, 21-24.
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§ 6. The Return from the Captivity. Put off, 0 Jerusalem, the garments of thy mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever. Cast about thee the mantle of the righteousness that cometh from God; set a diadem on thy head of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will show thy brightness unto every country under heaven; for thy name shall be called of God for ever the peace of righteousness, and the glory of the fear of God.
Arise, O Jerusalem; stand upon the height, and look toward the east, and behold thy children gathered from the going down of the sun unto the rising thereof at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the remembrance of God. For they departed from thee on foot, being led away of their enemies; but God bringeth them unto thee exalted with glory, as on a royal throne. For God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of his glory, with the mercy and righteousness that cometh from him.
1 BARUCH V.
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§ 7. The Prayer of Manasses. O Lord Almighty, God of our fathers, who hast made heaven and earth with all the host thereof; who hast bound the sea by the word of thy commandment; who hast shut up the deep and sealed it by thy terrible and glorious name; whom all things fear, yea, tremble before thy power, because the majesty of thy glory cannot be borne, and the anger of thy threatening against sinners is insupportable; but thy merciful promise is immeasurable and unsearchable; for thou art the most high Lord, of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful, and dost not willingly afflict men. Thou, O Lord, according to thy great goodness hast promised repentance and forgiveness to them that have sinned against thee, and in the multitude of thy tender mercies hast appointed repentance unto sinners, that they may be saved. Thou, therefore, O Lord, the God of the righteous, hast not appointed repentance to the righteous, but for me that am a sinner; for I have sinned above the number of the sands of the sea. My transgressions are multiplied, and I am not worthy to behold the height of heaven for the multitude of mine iniquities. I am bowed down with many an iron band, so that by reason of my sins I cannot lift up my head; neither have I any rest, because I have provoked thy wrath and done evil before thee. Now, therefore, I bow the knee of my heart, craving the grace that cometh from thee.
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I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge my transgressions; wherefore, I humbly beseech thee, forgive me, and destroy me not with mine iniquities. Be not angry with me for ever, reserving the evil day, neither condemn me to the lowest depths. For thou art the God of them that repent, and in me thou wilt show all thy goodness; for thou wilt save me, unworthy though I am, according to thy great mercy. And I shall praise thee for ever all the days of my life, for all the host of heaven doth sing thy praise, and thine is the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
§ 8. Tobit instructs his Son. My son, be mindful of the Lord all thy days, and let not thy will be set to sin or to transgress his commandments; do uprightly all thy life long, and follow not the ways of unrighteousness. For if thou deal truly, thy doings shall prosper. To all them that live justly, give alms of thy substance; and when thou givest, let not thine eye be grudging; turn not thy face from any poor man, and the face of God shall not be turned away from thee. If thou hast abundance, give alms according to thine abundance; if thou have little, be not afraid to give according to that little; for so thou layest up good treasure for thyself against the day of necessity. For alms is a good offering in the sight of the most High unto all that give it.
My son, love thy brethren, and despise not in thy heart thy brethren; for in pride is destruction and much trouble, and in idleness is decay and great want; for idleness is the mother of famine.
Let not the wages of any man that worketh for thee tarry overnight, but pay it unto him out of hand; and if thou serve God, he will also recompense thee. Be circumspect, my son, in all thy doings, and be wise in thy conversation. What thou thyself abhorrest, do not to any man; give of thy bread to the hungry, and of thy garments to the naked. Ask counsel of them that have understanding, and scorn not any counsel that is profitable. Bless the Lord thy God alway, and desire of him that thy ways be made straight, and that all thy paths and counsels prosper; but the Lord himself giveth all good things, and he humbleth whom he will, as he will.
Now, therefore, my son, remember my commandments, and let them not be blotted out of thy mind. And fear not, because we are made poor, for thou hast much wealth if thou fear God, and depart from sin, and do that which is well pleasing in his sight.
TOBIT iv 5-end.
§ 9, Tobit’s Thanksgiving Prayer. Blessed be God that liveth for ever, and blessed be his kingdom. For he scourgeth and showeth mercy; he leadeth down to the grave and bringeth up again, neither is there any that can avoid his hand. Confess him before the nations, ye sons of Israel: for he hath scattered us among them. There declare his greatness, and extol him before all the living; for he is our Lord; he himself is our father for ever. If ye turn to him with your whole heart and with your whole mind, to deal righteously before him, then will he turn unto you, and will not hide his face from you.
In the land of my captivity, give him thanks, and declare his might and majesty to a sinful nation. O ye sinners, turn and do righteousness before him; who knoweth if he will accept you and have mercy upon you ? 0 Jerusalem, the holy city, give praise to the Lord, for he is good, and bless the everlasting King, that his tabernacle may be builded in thee again with joy.