1Or someone else, taking ship to cross the wild waves, loudly invokes a piece of wood frailer than thevessel that bears him. 2Agreed, the ship is the product of a craving for gain, its building embodies the wisdom of theshipwright; 3but your providence, Father, is what steers it, you having opened a pathway even through the sea, anda safe way over the waves, 4showing that you can save, whatever happens, so that, even without experience, someone may put tosea. 5It is not your will that the works of your Wisdom should be sterile, so people entrust their lives to thesmal est piece of wood, cross the waves on a raft, yet are kept safe and sound. 6Why, in the beginning, when the proud giants were perishing, the hope of the world took refuge on araft and, steered by your hand, preserved the seed of a new generation for the ages to come. 7For blessed is the wood which serves the cause of uprightness 8but accursed the man-made idol, yes, it and its maker, he for having made it, and it because, though perishable, it has been called god. 9For God holds the godless and his godlessness in equal hatred; 10both work and workman wil alike be punished. 11Hence even the idols of the nations wil have a visitation since, in God's creation, they have becomean abomination, a scandal for human souls, a snare for the feet of the foolish. 12The idea of making idols was the origin of fornication, their discovery corrupted life. 13They did not exist at the beginning, they will not exist for ever; 14human vanity brought them into the world, and a quick end is therefore reserved for them. 15A father afflicted by untimely mourning has an image made of his child so soon carried off, and nowpays divine honours to what yesterday was only a corpse, handing on mysteries and ceremonies to his people; 16time passes, the custom hardens and is observed as law. 17Rulers were the ones who ordered that statues should be worshipped: people who could not honourthem in person, because they lived too far away, would have a portrait made of their distant countenance, tohave an image that they could see of the king whom they honoured; meaning, by such zeal, to flatter the absentas if he were present. 18Even people who did not know him were stimulated into spreading his cult by the artist's enthusiasm; 19for the latter, doubtless wishing to please his ruler, exerted all his skill to surpass the reality, 20and the crowd, attracted by the beauty of the work, mistook for a god someone whom recently theyhad honoured as a man. 21And this became a snare for life: that people, whether enslaved by misfortune or by tyranny, shouldhave conferred the ineffable Name on sticks and stones. 22It is not enough, however, for them to have such misconceptions about God; for, living in the fiercewarfare of ignorance, they call these terrible evils peace. 23With their child-murdering rites, their occult mysteries, or their frenzied orgies with outlandishcustoms, 24they no longer retain any purity in their lives or their marriages, one treacherously murdering anotheror wronging him by adultery. 25Everywhere a welter of blood and murder, theft and fraud, corruption, treachery, riot, perjury, 26disturbance of decent people, forgetfulness of favours, pol ution of souls, sins against nature,disorder in marriage, adultery and debauchery. 27For the worship of idols with no name is the beginning, cause, and end of every evil. 28For these people either carry their merrymaking to the point of frenzy, or they prophesy what is nottrue, or they live wicked lives, or they perjure themselves without hesitation; 29since they put their trust in lifeless idols they do not reckon their false oaths can harm them. 30But they wil be justly punished for this double crime: for degrading the concept of God by adhering toidols; and for wickedly perjuring themselves in contempt for what is holy. 31For it is not the power of the things by which they swear but the punishment reserved for sinners thatalways fol ows the offences of wicked people.
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