First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Now having related the history, which in the Sixth Age of the World extended into the 53rd year of the reign of Frederick III and into the 7th year of the reign of his illustrious son, Maximilian, at which we have arrived with the assistance and power of divine grace, it is fitting that we now say something of the last age and of the end of the world, so that this work may be complete and have a commendable conclusion.

In the beginning of this work we said, as the Holy Scriptures instruct us, that the world will have an end. Although Plato, the prince of philosophers, was enlightened with great wisdom and understanding of that which had, been written, and more particularly in natural philosophy, yet this heavenly and hidden interpretation, which can be learned only from the prophets and from God, was unknown to him. Consequently he said that the world was created for eternity. But it is otherwise; for that which has a concrete and physical body must necessarily have an end, just as it had a beginning. But as Aristotle could not conceive how a thing so immense could perish, yet would not entirely concede Plato’s a view, he held that the world always had existed, and would continue to exist, although earth, water, and fire, which are a part of the world, may perish, be consumed, or extinguished; and so the matter is considered entirely from a mortal viewpoint. All things are considered mortal, whose parts or members are mortal; and that which is born may perish. Everything that may be seen is corporeal, and (as Plato says) is subject to dissolution. Therefore the master, Epicurius, (as Demitritus states) uttered the truth in this matter when he said that the world at one time had a beginning, and therefore will come to an end sometime. When the end of the world approaches, a change must necessarily take place in the human status, and when evil gains the ascendancy, that status must decay; so that our present time, in which sin and evil have reached the highest stage, will be regarded as blessed and golden in comparison to that unhallowed time. Righteousness will be a stranger; unkindness, greed, avarice and licentiousness will multiply and spread, so that the just (if any be found) will be a prey to the evil ones, and be intimidated by them. The wicked alone will prosper, while the pious will be dishonored and suffer want. Justice, law, and equity will find no refuge. No one will be able to acquire or retain possession of anything, except by force, wickedness, or greed. There will be no faith in humanity, no peace, no good will, no mercy, no shame, no virtue, no truth, no fidelity, and consequently no security; no order, no government, and no rest or repose from the wicked. The whole world will be in revolt, and the people will take up arms and rage against one another. States will war against each other to extermination. The sword will force its way through the world, devastating everything, reducing all to refuse. And finally will come such a period of horror and. cruelty that no man will find pleasure in life. The cities will be razed to the ground and perish, not by fire and sword alone, but by constant earthquakes, floods, manifold plagues, famine and death. The air will be charged with rain-storms, followed by drought, then frost, and finally by excessive heat; and the soil, and the trees and vineyards will bring forth no fruit. Although their blossoms may give promise thereof, they will deceive us in the harveSt. The springs and rivers will subside and dry up, and the water will be turned to blood and bitterness, and in consequence the beasts of the earth, the fowls in the air, and the fish in the sea will perish; and wonders and signs will appear in the sky, to the great fear and consternation of the people. O you exalted rulers, you prelates, you emperors, you kings, you princes, you lords, you knights, you superiors, you subjects, you aged, you youthful, you rich, you poor, you mortals, open your eyes and your ears, and think of the departed, and consider the future so that the sleep of death may not seize you, nor sudden changes of fortune ruin you; for no human suggestion or counsel can protect you against the same. Children of the world, consider how slippery is the path upon which you tread, and temper your avarice, your impurity, your wrath, your boasting, and your vainglory. And therefore, O you mortals, as you observe the approach of the day on which you must depart from hence, honor God on high and love him with all your heart; be wise and accept virtue; honor the worthy; hold your friends in great fidelity and faith; follow the advise of the learned and the sensible, and let virtue, mercy and righteousness manifest itself in you, so that you may appear in innocence at the judgment, and attain the reward promised to the just and virtuous by God, the just judge.