131Surely vain are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is: neither by considering the works did they acknowledge the workmaster;
2But deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heaven, to be the gods which govern the world.
3With whose beauty if they being delighted took them to be gods; let them know how much better the Lord of them is: for the first author of beauty hath created them.
4But if they were astonished at their power and virtue, let them understand by them, how much mightier he is that made them.
5For by the greatness and beauty of the creatures proportionably the maker of them is seen.
6But yet for this they are the less to be blamed: for they peradventure err, seeking God, and desirous to find him.
7For being conversant in his works they search him diligently, and believe their sight: because the things are beautiful that are seen.
8Howbeit neither are they to be pardoned.
9For if they were able to know so much, that they could aim at the world; how did they not sooner find out the Lord thereof?
10But miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who call them gods, which are the works of men’s hands, gold and silver, to shew art in, and resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, the work of an ancient hand.
11Now a carpenter that felleth timber, after he hath sawn down a tree meet for the purpose, and taken off all the bark skilfully round about, and hath wrought it handsomely, and made a vessel thereof fit for the service of man’s life;
12And after spending the refuse of his work to dress his meat, hath filled himself;
13And taking the very refuse among those which served to no use, being a crooked piece of wood, and full of knots, hath carved it diligently, when he had nothing else to do, and formed it by the skill of his understanding, and fashioned it to the image of a man;
14Or made it like some vile beast, laying it over with vermilion, and with paint colouring it red, and covering every spot therein;
15And when he had made a convenient room for it, set it in a wall, and made it fast with iron:
16For he provided for it that it might not fall, knowing that it was unable to help itself; for it is an image, and hath need of help:
17Then maketh he prayer for his goods, for his wife and children, and is not ashamed to speak to that which hath no life.
18For health he calleth upon that which is weak: for life prayeth to that which is dead; for aid humbly beseecheth that which hath least means to help: and for a good journey he asketh of that which cannot set a foot forward:
19And for gaining and getting, and for good success of his hands, asketh ability to do of him, that is most unable to do any thing.
141Again, one preparing himself to sail, and about to pass through the raging waves, calleth upon a piece of wood more rotten than the vessel that carrieth him.
2For verily desire of gain devised that, and the workman built it by his skill.
3But thy providence, O Father, governeth it: for thou hast made a way in the sea, and a safe path in the waves;
4Shewing that thou canst save from all danger: yea, though a man went to sea without art.
5Nevertheless thou wouldest not that the works of thy wisdom should be idle, and therefore do men commit their lives to a small piece of wood, and passing the rough sea in a weak vessel are saved.
6For in the old time also, when the proud giants perished, the hope of the world governed by thy hand escaped in a weak vessel, and left to all ages a seed of generation.
7For blessed is the wood whereby righteousness cometh.
8But that which is made with hands is cursed, as well it, as he that made it: he, because he made it; and it, because, being corruptible, it was called god.
9For the ungodly and his ungodliness are both alike hateful unto God.
10For that which is made shall be punished together with him that made it.
11Therefore even upon the idols of the Gentiles shall there be a visitation: because in the creature of God they are become an abomination, and stumblingblocks to the souls of men, and a snare to the feet of the unwise.
12For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and the invention of them the corruption of life.
13For neither were they from the beginning, neither shall they be for ever.
14For by the vain glory of men they entered into the world, and therefore shall they come shortly to an end.
15For a father afflicted with untimely mourning, when he hath made an image of his child soon taken away, now honoured him as a god, which was then a dead man, and delivered to those that were under him ceremonies and sacrifices.
16Thus in process of time an ungodly custom grown strong was kept as a law, and graven images were worshipped by the commandments of kings.
17Whom men could not honour in presence, because they dwelt far off, they took the counterfeit of his visage from far, and made an express image of a king whom they honoured, to the end that by this their forwardness they might flatter him that was absent, as if he were present.
18Also the singular diligence of the artificer did help to set forward the ignorant to more superstition.
19For he, peradventure willing to please one in authority, forced all his skill to make the resemblance of the best fashion.
20And so the multitude, allured by the grace of the work, took him now for a god, which a little before was but honoured.
21And this was an occasion to deceive the world: for men, serving either calamity or tyranny, did ascribe unto stones and stocks the incommunicable name.
22Moreover this was not enough for them, that they erred in the knowledge of God; but whereas they lived in the great war of ignorance, those so great plagues called they peace.
23For whilst they slew their children in sacrifices, or used secret ceremonies, or made revellings of strange rites;
24They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traiterously, or grieved him by adultery.
25So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury,
26Disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness.
27For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.
28For either they are mad when they be merry, or prophesy lies, or live unjustly, or else lightly forswear themselves.
29For insomuch as their trust is in idols, which have no life; though they swear falsely, yet they look not to be hurt.
30Howbeit for both causes shall they be justly punished: both because they thought not well of God, giving heed unto idols, and also unjustly swore in deceit, despising holiness.
31For it is not the power of them by whom they swear: but it is the just vengeance of sinners, that punisheth always the offence of the ungodly.
151But thou, O God, art gracious and true, longsuffering, and in mercy ordering all things,
2For if we sin, we are thine, knowing thy power: but we will not sin, knowing that we are counted thine.
3For to know thee is perfect righteousness: yea, to know thy power is the root of immortality.
4For neither did the mischievous invention of men deceive us, nor an image spotted with divers colours, the painter’s fruitless labour;
5The sight whereof enticeth fools to lust after it, and so they desire the form of a dead image, that hath no breath.
6Both they that make them, they that desire them, and they that worship them, are lovers of evil things, and are worthy to have such things to trust upon.
7For the potter, tempering soft earth, fashioneth every vessel with much labour for our service: yea, of the same clay he maketh both the vessels that serve for clean uses, and likewise also all such as serve to the contrary: but what is the use of either sort, the potter himself is the judge.
8And employing his labours lewdly, he maketh a vain god of the same clay, even he which a little before was made of earth himself, and within a little while after returneth to the same, out when his life which was lent him shall be demanded.
9Notwithstanding his care is, not that he shall have much labour, nor that his life is short: but striveth to excel goldsmiths and silversmiths, and endeavoureth to do like the workers in brass, and counteth it his glory to make counterfeit things.
10His heart is ashes, his hope is more vile than earth, and his life of less value than clay:
11Forasmuch as he knew not his Maker, and him that inspired into him an active soul, and breathed in a living spirit.
12But they counted our life a pastime, and our time here a market for gain: for, say they, we must be getting every way, though it be by evil means.
13For this man, that of earthly matter maketh brittle vessels and graven images, knoweth himself to offend above all others.
14And all the enemies of thy people, that hold them in subjection, are most foolish, and are more miserable than very babes.
15For they counted all the idols of the heathen to be gods: which neither have the use of eyes to see, nor noses to draw breath, nor ears to hear, nor fingers of hands to handle; and as for their feet, they are slow to go.
16For man made them, and he that borrowed his own spirit fashioned them: but no man can make a god like unto himself.
17For being mortal, he worketh a dead thing with wicked hands: for he himself is better than the things which he worshippeth: whereas he lived once, but they never.
18Yea, they worshipped those beasts also that are most hateful: for being compared together, some are worse than others.
19Neither are they beautiful, so much as to be desired in respect of beasts: but they went without the praise of God and his blessing.