1But thou, our God, art gracious and true, Longsuffering, and in mercy ordering all things.
2For even if we sin, we are thine, knowing thy dominion; But we shall not sin, knowing that we have been accounted thine:
3For to be acquainted with thee is perfect righteousness, And to know thy dominion is the root of immortality.
4For neither were we led astray by any evil device of men’s art, Nor yet by painters’ fruitless labour, A form stained with varied colours;
5The sight whereof leadeth fools into lust: Their desire is for the breathless form of a dead image.
6Lovers of evil things, and worthy of such hopes as these, Are both they that do, and they that desire, and they that worship.
7For a potter, kneading soft earth, Laboriously mouldeth each several vessel for our service: Nay, out of the same clay doth he fashion Both the vessels that minister to clean uses, and those of a contrary sort, All in like manner; But what shall be the use of each vessel of either sort, The craftsman himself is the judge.
8And also, labouring to an evil end, he mouldeth a vain god out of the same clay, He who, having but a little before been made of earth, After a short space goeth his way to the earth out of which he was taken, When he is required to render back the soul which was lent him.
9Howbeit he hath anxious care, Not because his powers must fail, Nor because his span of life is short; But he matcheth himself against goldsmiths and silversmiths, And he imitateth moulders in brass, And esteemeth it glory that he mouldeth counterfeits.
10His heart is ashes, And his hope of less value than earth, And his life of less honour than clay:
11Because he was ignorant of him that moulded him, And of him that inspired into him an active soul, And breathed into him a vital spirit.
12But he accounted our very life to be a plaything, And our lifetime a gainful fair; For, saith he, one must get gain whence one can, though it be by evil.
13For this man beyond all others knoweth that he sinneth, Out of earthy matter making brittle vessels and graven images.
14But most foolish were they all, and of feebler soul than a babe, The enemies of thy people, who oppressed them;
15Because they even accounted all the idols of the nations to be gods; Which have neither the use of eyes for seeing, Nor nostrils for drawing breath, Nor ears to hear, Nor fingers for handling, And their feet are helpless for walking.
16For a man made them, And one whose own spirit is borrowed moulded them; For no one hath power, being a man, to mould a god like unto himself,
17But, being mortal, he maketh a dead thing by the work of lawless hands; For he is better than the objects of his worship, Forasmuch as he indeed had life, but they never.
18Yea, and the creatures that are most hateful do they worship, For, being compared as to want of sense, these are worse than all others;
19Neither, as seen beside other creatures, are they beautiful, so that one should desire them, But they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing.