1Yes, your judgements are great and impenetrable, which is why uninstructed souls have gone astray. 2While the wicked supposed they had a holy nation in their power, they themselves lay prisoners of thedark, in the fetters of long night, confined under their own roofs, banished from eternal providence. 3While they thought to remain unnoticed with their secret sins, curtained by dark forgetfulness, theywere scattered in fearful dismay, terrified by apparitions. 4The hiding place sheltering them could not ward off their fear; terrifying noises echoed round them;and gloomy, grim-faced spectres haunted them. 5No fire had power enough to give them light, nor could the brightly blazing stars il uminate that dreadfulnight. 6The only light for them was a great, spontaneous blaze -- a fearful sight to see! And in their terror,once that sight had vanished, they thought what they had seen more terrible than ever. 7Their magical il usions were powerless now, and their claims to intel igence were ignominiouslyconfounded; 8for those who promised to drive out fears and disorders from sick souls were now themselves sick withludicrous fright. 9Even when there was nothing frightful to scare them, the vermin creeping past and the hissing ofreptiles filled them with panic; 10they died convulsed with fright, refusing even to look at empty air, which cannot be eluded anyhow! 11Wickedness is confessedly very cowardly, and it condemns itself; under pressure from conscience italways assumes the worst. 12Fear, indeed, is nothing other than the failure of the help offered by reason; 13the less you rely within yourself on this, the more alarming it is not to know the cause of yoursuffering. 14And they, al locked in the same sleep, while that darkness lasted -- which was in fact quite powerlessand had issued from the depths of equal y powerless Hades- 15were now chased by monstrous spectres, now paralysed by the fainting of their souls; for a sudden,unexpected terror had attacked them. 16And thus, whoever it might be that fel there stayed clamped to the spot in this prison without bars. 17Whether he was ploughman or shepherd, or somebody at work in the desert, he was stil overtakenand suffered the inevitable fate, for al had been bound by the one same chain of darkness. 18The soughing of the wind, the tuneful noise of birds in the spreading branches, the measured beat ofwater in its powerful course, the headlong din of rocks cascading down, 19the unseen course of bounding animals, the roaring of the most savage of wild beasts, the echorebounding from the clefts in the mountains, all held them paralysed with fear. 20For the whole world shone with the light of day and, unhindered, went about its work; 21over them alone there spread a heavy darkness, image of the dark that would receive them. Butheavier than the darkness was the burden they were to themselves.
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