And from the good things to be seen had not power to know him that is,
Neither by giving heed to the works did they recognize the artificer;
Or circling stars, or raging water, or luminaries of heaven,
They thought to be gods that rule the world.
Let them know how much better than these is their Sovereign Lord;
For the first author of beauty created them:
Let them understand from them how much mightier is he that formed them;
Does man correspondently form the image of their first maker.
For they too peradventure do but go astray
While they are seeking God and desiring to find him.
And believe their sight, because the things that they look upon are beautiful.
That they could explore the course of things,
How is it they did not sooner find the Sovereign Lord of these works?
Who called them gods which are works of men’s hands,
Gold and silver, wrought with careful art, and likenesses of beasts,
Or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.
Skilfully strippeth away all its bark,
And fashioning it handsomely maketh a vessel for the service of life;
A crooked piece of wood and full of knots,
Carveth it with the diligence of his idleness,
And shapeth it by the skill of his indolence;
Then he giveth it the semblance of the image of a man,
Smearing it with vermilion, and with paint colouring it red,
And smearing over every stain that is therein;
He setteth it in a wall, and maketh it fast with iron.
Knowing that it is unable to help itself;
He is not ashamed to speak to that which hath no life;
And for life he beseecheth that which is dead,
And for aid he supplicateth that which hath no experience,
And for a good journey that which cannot so much as use its feet,
He asketh power of that which with its hands is quite powerless.
Folly of the navigator who for safety prays to a useless piece of wood.
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