1But you, our God, are kind and true, slow to anger, governing the universe with mercy. 2Even if we sin, we are yours, since we acknowledge your power, but we wil not sin, knowing we countas yours. 3To know you is indeed the perfect virtue, and to know your power is the root of immortality. 4We have not been duped by inventions of misapplied human skil , or by the sterile work of painters, byfigures daubed with assorted colours, 5the sight of which sets fools yearning and hankering for the lifeless form of an unbreathing image. 6Lovers of evil and worthy of such hopes are those who make them, those who want them and thosewho worship them. 7Take a potter, now, laboriously working the soft earth, shaping each object for us to use. Out of theself-same clay, he models vessels intended for a noble use and those for a contrary purpose, al alike: but whichof these two uses each wil have is for the potter himself to decide. 8Then -- il -- spent effort!-from the same clay he models a futile god, although so recently made out ofearth himself and shortly to return to what he was taken from, when asked to give back the soul that has beenlent to him. 9Even so, he does not worry about having to die or about the shortness of his life, but strives to outdothe goldsmiths and silversmiths, imitates the bronzeworkers, and prides himself on model ing counterfeits. 10Ashes, his heart; more vile than earth, his hope; more wretched than clay, his life! 11For he has misconceived the One who has model ed him, who breathed an active soul into him andinspired a living spirit. 12What is more, he looks on this life of ours as a kind of game, and our time here like a fair, ful of bargains. 'However foul the means,' he says, 'a man must make a living.' 13He, more than any other, knows he is sinning, he who from one earthy stuff makes both brittle potsand idols. 14But most foolish, more pitiable even than the soul of a little child, are the enemies who once playedthe tyrant with your people, 15and have taken al the idols of the heathen for gods; these can use neither their eyes for seeing northeir nostrils for breathing the air nor their ears for hearing nor the fingers on their hands for handling nor theirfeet for walking. 16They have been made, you see, by a human being, modelled by a being whose own breath isborrowed. No man can model a god to resemble himself; 17subject to death, his impious hands can produce only something dead. He himself is worthier thanthe things he worships; he wil at least have lived, but never they. 18And they worship even the most loathsome of animals, worse than the rest in their degree ofstupidity, 19without a trace of beauty -- if that is what is attractive in animals- and excluded from God's praisesand blessing.
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