141Again, one preparing himself to sail, and about to pass through the raging waves, calleth upon a piece of wood more rotten than the vessel that carrieth him.
2For verily desire of gain devised that, and the workman built it by his skill.
3But thy providence, O Father, governeth it: for thou hast made a way in the sea, and a safe path in the waves;
4Shewing that thou canst save from all danger: yea, though a man went to sea without art.
5Nevertheless thou wouldest not that the works of thy wisdom should be idle, and therefore do men commit their lives to a small piece of wood, and passing the rough sea in a weak vessel are saved.
6For in the old time also, when the proud giants perished, the hope of the world governed by thy hand escaped in a weak vessel, and left to all ages a seed of generation.
7For blessed is the wood whereby righteousness cometh.
8But that which is made with hands is cursed, as well it, as he that made it: he, because he made it; and it, because, being corruptible, it was called god.
9For the ungodly and his ungodliness are both alike hateful unto God.
10For that which is made shall be punished together with him that made it.
11Therefore even upon the idols of the Gentiles shall there be a visitation: because in the creature of God they are become an abomination, and stumblingblocks to the souls of men, and a snare to the feet of the unwise.
12For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and the invention of them the corruption of life.
13For neither were they from the beginning, neither shall they be for ever.
14For by the vain glory of men they entered into the world, and therefore shall they come shortly to an end.
15For a father afflicted with untimely mourning, when he hath made an image of his child soon taken away, now honoured him as a god, which was then a dead man, and delivered to those that were under him ceremonies and sacrifices.
16Thus in process of time an ungodly custom grown strong was kept as a law, and graven images were worshipped by the commandments of kings.
17Whom men could not honour in presence, because they dwelt far off, they took the counterfeit of his visage from far, and made an express image of a king whom they honoured, to the end that by this their forwardness they might flatter him that was absent, as if he were present.
18Also the singular diligence of the artificer did help to set forward the ignorant to more superstition.
19For he, peradventure willing to please one in authority, forced all his skill to make the resemblance of the best fashion.
20And so the multitude, allured by the grace of the work, took him now for a god, which a little before was but honoured.
21And this was an occasion to deceive the world: for men, serving either calamity or tyranny, did ascribe unto stones and stocks the incommunicable name.
22Moreover this was not enough for them, that they erred in the knowledge of God; but whereas they lived in the great war of ignorance, those so great plagues called they peace.
23For whilst they slew their children in sacrifices, or used secret ceremonies, or made revellings of strange rites;
24They kept neither lives nor marriages any longer undefiled: but either one slew another traiterously, or grieved him by adultery.
25So that there reigned in all men without exception blood, manslaughter, theft, and dissimulation, corruption, unfaithfulness, tumults, perjury,
26Disquieting of good men, forgetfulness of good turns, defiling of souls, changing of kind, disorder in marriages, adultery, and shameless uncleanness.
27For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.
28For either they are mad when they be merry, or prophesy lies, or live unjustly, or else lightly forswear themselves.
29For insomuch as their trust is in idols, which have no life; though they swear falsely, yet they look not to be hurt.
30Howbeit for both causes shall they be justly punished: both because they thought not well of God, giving heed unto idols, and also unjustly swore in deceit, despising holiness.
31For it is not the power of them by whom they swear: but it is the just vengeance of sinners, that punisheth always the offence of the ungodly.
151But thou, O God, art gracious and true, longsuffering, and in mercy ordering all things,
2For if we sin, we are thine, knowing thy power: but we will not sin, knowing that we are counted thine.
3For to know thee is perfect righteousness: yea, to know thy power is the root of immortality.
4For neither did the mischievous invention of men deceive us, nor an image spotted with divers colours, the painter’s fruitless labour;
5The sight whereof enticeth fools to lust after it, and so they desire the form of a dead image, that hath no breath.
6Both they that make them, they that desire them, and they that worship them, are lovers of evil things, and are worthy to have such things to trust upon.
7For the potter, tempering soft earth, fashioneth every vessel with much labour for our service: yea, of the same clay he maketh both the vessels that serve for clean uses, and likewise also all such as serve to the contrary: but what is the use of either sort, the potter himself is the judge.
8And employing his labours lewdly, he maketh a vain god of the same clay, even he which a little before was made of earth himself, and within a little while after returneth to the same, out when his life which was lent him shall be demanded.
9Notwithstanding his care is, not that he shall have much labour, nor that his life is short: but striveth to excel goldsmiths and silversmiths, and endeavoureth to do like the workers in brass, and counteth it his glory to make counterfeit things.
10His heart is ashes, his hope is more vile than earth, and his life of less value than clay:
11Forasmuch as he knew not his Maker, and him that inspired into him an active soul, and breathed in a living spirit.
12But they counted our life a pastime, and our time here a market for gain: for, say they, we must be getting every way, though it be by evil means.
13For this man, that of earthly matter maketh brittle vessels and graven images, knoweth himself to offend above all others.
14And all the enemies of thy people, that hold them in subjection, are most foolish, and are more miserable than very babes.
15For they counted all the idols of the heathen to be gods: which neither have the use of eyes to see, nor noses to draw breath, nor ears to hear, nor fingers of hands to handle; and as for their feet, they are slow to go.
16For man made them, and he that borrowed his own spirit fashioned them: but no man can make a god like unto himself.
17For being mortal, he worketh a dead thing with wicked hands: for he himself is better than the things which he worshippeth: whereas he lived once, but they never.
18Yea, they worshipped those beasts also that are most hateful: for being compared together, some are worse than others.
19Neither are they beautiful, so much as to be desired in respect of beasts: but they went without the praise of God and his blessing.
161Therefore by the like were they punished worthily, and by the multitude of beasts tormented.
2Instead of which punishment, dealing graciously with thine own people, thou preparedst for them meat of a strange taste, even quails to stir up their appetite:
3To the end that they, desiring food, might for the ugly sight of the beasts sent among them lothe even that, which they must needs desire; but these, suffering penury for a short space, might be made partakers of a strange taste.
4For it was requisite, that upon them exercising tyranny should come penury, which they could not avoid: but to these it should only be shewed how their enemies were tormented.
5For when the horrible fierceness of beasts came upon these, and they perished with the stings of crooked serpents, thy wrath endured not for ever:
6But they were troubled for a small season, that they might be admonished, having a sign of salvation, to put them in remembrance of the commandment of thy law.
7For he that turned himself toward it was not saved by the thing that he saw, but by thee, that art the Saviour of all.
8And in this thou madest thine enemies confess, that it is thou who deliverest from all evil:
9For them the bitings of grasshoppers and flies killed, neither was there found any remedy for their life: for they were worthy to be punished by such.
10But thy sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame: for thy mercy was ever by them, and healed them.
11For they were pricked, that they should remember thy words; and were quickly saved, that not falling into deep forgetfulness, they might be continually mindful of thy goodness.
12For it was neither herb, nor mollifying plaister, that restored them to health: but thy word, O Lord, which healeth all things.
13For thou hast power of life and death: thou leadest to the gates of hell, and bringest up again.
14A man indeed killeth through his malice: and the spirit, when it is gone forth, returneth not; neither the soul received up cometh again.
15But it is not possible to escape thine hand.
16For the ungodly, that denied to know thee, were scourged by the strength of thine arm: with strange rains, hails, and showers, were they persecuted, that they could not avoid, and through fire were they consumed.
17For, which is most to be wondered at, the fire had more force in the water, that quencheth all things: for the world fighteth for the righteous.
18For sometime the flame was mitigated, that it might not burn up the beasts that were sent against the ungodly; but themselves might see and perceive that they were persecuted with the judgment of God.
19And at another time it burneth even in the midst of water above the power of fire, that it might destroy the fruits of an unjust land.
20Instead whereof thou feddest thine own people with angels’ food, and didst send them from heaven bread prepared without their labour, able to content every man’s delight, and agreeing to every taste.
21For thy sustenance declared thy sweetness unto thy children, and serving to the appetite of the eater, tempered itself to every man’s liking.
22But snow and ice endured the fire, and melted not, that they might know that fire burning in the hail, and sparkling in the rain, did destroy the fruits of the enemies.
23But this again did even forget his own strength, that the righteous might be nourished.
24For the creature that serveth thee, who art the Maker increaseth his strength against the unrighteous for their punishment, and abateth his strength for the benefit of such as put their trust in thee.
25Therefore even then was it altered into all fashions, and was obedient to thy grace, that nourisheth all things, according to the desire of them that had need:
26That thy children, O Lord, whom thou lovest, might know, that it is not the growing of fruits that nourisheth man: but that it is thy word, which preserveth them that put their trust in thee.
27For that which was not destroyed of the fire, being warmed with a little sunbeam, soon melted away:
28That it might be known, that we must prevent the sun to give thee thanks, and at the dayspring pray unto thee.
29For the hope of the unthankful shall melt away as the winter’s hoar frost, and shall run away as unprofitable water.