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Wisdom of Solomon 13

13For by nature all men were foolish, and had no perception of God,

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;

But either fire, or wind, or swift air,

Or circling stars, or raging water, or luminaries of heaven,

They thought to be gods that rule the world.

And if through delight in their beauty they took them to be gods,

Let them know how much better than these is their Sovereign Lord;

For the first author of beauty created them:

But if through astonishment at their power and influence,

Let them understand from them how much mightier is he that formed them;

For from the greatness and beauty of created things

Does man correspondently form the image of their first maker.

But yet for these men there is but small blame,

For they too peradventure do but go astray

While they are seeking God and desiring to find him.

For living among his works they make diligent search,

And believe their sight, because the things that they look upon are beautiful.

But again even they are not to be excused.

For if they had power to know so much,

That they could explore the course of things,

How is it they did not sooner find the Sovereign Lord of these works?

But some men are without excuse because they worship objects which they themselves have made.

10 But miserable were they, and in dead things were their hopes,

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.

11 Yea, and if some woodcutter, having sawn down a tree he can handle,

Skilfully strippeth away all its bark,

And fashioning it handsomely maketh a vessel for the service of life;

12 And with that which is left he prepareth his food and is filled;

13 And taking that which is left again, for which no use can be found,

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,

14 Or maketh it like some paltry animal,

Smearing it with vermilion, and with paint colouring it red,

And smearing over every stain that is therein;

15 And having made for it a chamber worthy of it,

He setteth it in a wall, and maketh it fast with iron.

16 In order therefore that it may not fall, he taketh thought for it;

Knowing that it is unable to help itself;

(For verily it is an image, and hath need of help;)

17 And when he maketh his prayer for his goods and for his marriage and children,

He is not ashamed to speak to that which hath no life;

18 Yea for health he calleth upon that which is weak,

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,

19 And for gaining and getting and good success of his hands

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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