Benefits of Worshiping the True God
1But thou, our God, art kind and true,
patient, and ruling all thingsa in mercy.
2For even if we sin we are thine, knowing thy power;
but we will not sin, because we know that we are accounted thine.
3For to know thee is complete righteousness,
and to know thy power is the root of immortality.
4For neither has the evil intent of human art misled us,
nor the fruitless toil of painters,
a figure stained with varied colors,
5whose appearance arouses yearning in fools,
so that they desireb the lifeless form of a dead image.
6Lovers of evil things and fit for such objects of hopec
are those who either make or desire or worship them.
The Foolishness of Worshiping Clay Idols
7For when a potter kneads the soft earth
and laboriously molds each vessel for our service,
he fashions out of the same clay
both the vessels that serve clean uses
and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner;
but which shall be the use of each of these
the worker in clay decides.
8With misspent toil, he forms a futile god from the same clay-
this man who was made of earth a short time before
and after a little while goes to the earth from which he was taken,
when he is required to return the soul that was lent him.
9But he is not concerned that he is destined to die
or that his life is brief,
but he competes with workers in gold and silver,
and imitates workers in copper;
and he counts it his glory that he molds counterfeit gods.
10His heart is ashes, his hope is cheaper than dirt,
and his life is of less worth than clay,
11because he failed to know the one who formed him
and inspired him with an active soul
and breathed into him a living spirit.
12But hed considered our existence an idle game,
and life a festival held for profit,
for he says one must get money however one can, even by base means.
13For this man, more than all others, knows that he sins
when he makes from earthy matter fragile vessels and graven images.
14But most foolish, and more miserable than an infant,
are all the enemies who oppressed thy people.
15For they thought that all their heathen idols were gods,
though these have neither the use of their eyes to see with,
nor nostrils with which to draw breath,
nor ears with which to hear,
nor fingers to feel with,
and their feet are of no use for walking.
16For a man made them,
and one whose spirit is borrowed formed them;
for no man can form a god which is like himself.
17He is mortal, and what he makes with lawless hands is dead,
for he is better than the objects he worships,
sincee he has life, but they never have.
Serpents in the Desert
18The enemies of thy peoplef worship even the most hateful animals,
which are worse than all others, when judged by their lack of intelligence;
19and even as animals they are not so beautiful in appearance that one would desire them,
but they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing.