1For your imperishable spirit is in everything! 2And thus, gradual y, you correct those who offend; you admonish and remind them of how they havesinned, so that they may abstain from evil and trust in you, Lord. 3The ancient inhabitants of your holy land 4you hated for their loathsome practices, their acts of sorcery, and unholy rites. 5Those ruthless murderers of children, those eaters of entrails at feasts of human flesh and of blood,those initiates of secret brotherhoods, 6those murderous parents of defenceless beings, you determined to destroy at our ancestors' hands, 7so that this land, dearer to you than any other, might receive a worthy colony of God's children. 8Even so, since these were human, you treated them leniently, sending hornets as forerunners of yourarmy, to exterminate them little by little. 9Not that you were unable to hand the godless over to the upright in pitched battle or destroy them atonce by savage beasts or one harsh word; 10but, by carrying out your sentences gradual y, you gave them a chance to repent, although you knewthat they were inherently evil, innately wicked, 11and fixed in their cast of mind; for they were a race accursed from the beginning. Nor was it from aweof anyone that you let their sins go unpunished. 12For who is there to ask, 'What have you done?' Or who is there to disagree with your sentence? Whoto arraign you for destroying nations which you have created? Who to confront you by championing the wicked? 13For there is no god, other than you, who cares for every one, to whom you have to prove that yoursentences have been just. 14No more could any king or despot chal enge you over those whom you have punished. 15For, being upright yourself, you rule the universe uprightly, and hold it as incompatible with yourpower to condemn anyone who has not deserved to be punished. 16For your strength is the basis of your saving justice, and your sovereignty over al makes you lenientto al . 17You show your strength when people will not believe in your absolute power, and you confound anyinsolence in those who do know it. 18But you, control ing your strength, are mild in judgement, and govern us with great lenience, for youhave only to wil , and your power is there. 19By acting thus, you have taught your people that the upright must be kindly to his fel ows, and youhave given your children the good hope that after sins you wil grant repentance. 20For, if with such care and indulgence you have punished your children's enemies, though doomed todeath, and have given them time and place to be rid of their wickedness, 21with what exact attention have you not judged your children, to whose ancestors, by oaths andcovenants, you made such generous promises? 22Thus, you instruct us, when you punish our enemies in moderation, that we should reflect on yourkindness when we judge, and, when we are judged, we should look for mercy. 23And this is why people leading foolish and wicked lives were tortured by you with their ownabominations; 24for they had strayed too far on the paths of error by taking the vilest and most despicable of animalsfor gods, being deluded like sil y little children. 25So, as to children with no sense, you gave them a sentence making fools of them. 26Those, however, who would not take warning from a mocking reproof were soon to endure asentence worthy of God. 27The creatures that made them suffer and against which they protested, those very creatures that theyhad taken for gods and by which they were punished they saw in their true light; and he whom hitherto they hadrefused to know, they realised was true God. And this is why the final condemnation fell on them.
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