Wis 141 Again, another, thinking to sail, and beginning to make his voyage through the raging waves, calls upon a piece of wood more fragile than the wood that carries him. 2 For this is what desire has contrived to be acquired, and the craftsman has formed its understanding. 3 But your providence, O Father, governs, because you have provided for both a way in the sea and a very reliable path among the waves, 4 revealing that you are able to save out of all things, even if someone were to go to sea without skill. 5 But, so that the works of your wisdom might not be empty, therefore, men trust their souls even to a little piece of wood, and, crossing over the sea by raft, they are set free. 6 But, from the beginning, when the proud giants were perishing, the hope of the world, fleeing by boat, gave back to future ages a seed of birth, which was governed by your hand. 7 For blessed is the wood through which justice is made. 8 But, through the hand that makes the idol, both it, and he who made it, is accursed: he, indeed, because it has been served by him, and it, because, though it is fragile, it is called ‘god.’ 9 But the impious and his impiety are similarly offensive to God. 10 For that which is made, together with him who made it, will suffer torments. 11 Because of this, and according to the idolatries of the nations, there will be no refuge, for the things created by God have been made into hatred, and into a temptation to the souls of men, and into a snare for the feet of the foolish. 12 For the beginning of fornication is the search for idols, and from their invention comes corruption of life. 13 For they neither existed from the beginning, nor will they exist forever. 14 For by the great emptiness of men they came into the world, and therefore their end is soon discovered. 15 For a father, embittered with the suffering of grief, made an image of his son, who had been suddenly taken away from him, and then, he who had died as a man, now begins to be worshiped as if a god, and so rites and sacrifices are established among his servants. 16 Then, in the course of time, iniquity gains strength within this erroneous custom, so that this error has been observed as if it were a law, and this figment has been worshiped at the command of tyrants. 17 And those, whom men could not openly honor because they were far off, a likeness of them was carried from far off, and from it they made a similar image of the king that they wanted to honor, so that, by their solicitude, they might worship he who was absent, just as if he were present. 18 Yet, it passes into their care, and those whom they did not know, they love because of the excellence of the artist. 19 For he, wishing to please the one who hired him, embellished his art, so as to fashion a better likeness. 20 But the multitude of men, brought together by the beauty of the work, now considered him to be a god, whom they had formerly honored as a man. 21 And this was the deception of human life: that men, serving either their own inclination or their kings, assigned the unutterable name to stones and wood. 22 And it was not enough for them to go astray concerning the knowledge of God, but also, while living in a great war of ignorance, they call so many and such great evils ‘peace.’ 23 For either they sacrifice their own sons, or they make dark sacrifices, or they hold vigils full of madness, 24 so that now they neither protect life, nor preserve a clean marriage, but one kills another through envy, or grieves him by adultery. 25 And all things are mixed together: blood, murder, theft and fraud, corruption and infidelity, disturbances and perjury, disorder within good things, 26 forgetfulness of God, pollution of souls, alteration of procreation, inconstancy of marriage, unnatural adultery and homosexuality. 27 For the worship of unspeakable idols is the cause, and the beginning and the end, of all evil. 28 For they either act with madness while happy, or they insistently speak wild lies, or they live unjustly, or they are quick to commit perjury. 29 For, while they trust in idols, which are without a soul, vowing evil, they hope not to be harmed themselves. 30 Therefore, from both sides it will fittingly happen, because they have thought evil of God, paying attention to idols, and because they have sworn unjustly, in guile despising justice. 31 For swearing is not virtue, but sinning always comes around to a punishment according to the transgression of the unjust.
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