1Yes, natural y stupid are all who are unaware of God, and who, from good things seen, have not beenable to discover Him-who-is, or, by studying the works, have not recognised the Artificer. 2Fire, however, or wind, or the swift air, the sphere of the stars, impetuous water, heaven's lamps, arewhat they have held to be the gods who govern the world. 3If, charmed by their beauty, they have taken these for gods, let them know how much the Master ofthese excels them, since he was the very source of beauty that created them. 4And if they have been impressed by their power and energy, let them deduce from these how muchmightier is he that has formed them, 5since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author. 6Small blame, however, attaches to them, for perhaps they go astray only in their search for God andtheir eagerness to find him; 7familiar with his works, they investigate them and fal victim to appearances, seeing so much beauty. 8But even so, they have no excuse: 9if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge to be able to investigate the world, how have theybeen so slow to find its Master? 10But wretched are they, with their hopes set on dead things, who have given the title of gods to humanartefacts, gold or silver, skilfully worked, figures of animals, or useless stone, carved by some hand long ago. 11Take a woodcutter. He fel s a suitable tree, neatly strips off the bark al over and then with admirableskil works the wood into an object useful in daily life. 12The bits left over from his work he uses for cooking his food, then eats his fil . 13There is stil a good-for-nothing bit left over, a gnarled and knotted bil et: he takes it and whittles itwith the concentration of his leisure hours, he shapes it with the skill of experience, he gives it a human shape 14or perhaps he makes it into some vile animal, smears it with ochre, paints its surface red, coats overal its blemishes. 15He next makes a worthy home for it, lets it into the wal , fixes it with an iron clamp. 16Thus he makes sure that it will not fal down -- being wel aware that it cannot help itself, since it isonly an image, and needs to be helped. 17And yet, if he wishes to pray for his goods, for his marriage, for his children, he does not blush toharangue this lifeless thing -- for health, he invokes what is weak, 18for life, he pleads with what is dead, for help, he goes begging to total inexperience, for a journey,what cannot even use its feet, 19for profit, an undertaking, and success in pursuing his craft, he asks skil from something whosehands have no skil whatever.
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