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Wisdom - Chapter 14

Wisdom Chapters

1 Or someone else, taking ship to cross the wild waves, loudly invokes a piece of wood frailer than the vessel that bears him.

2 Agreed, the ship is the product of a craving for gain, its building embodies the wisdom of the shipwright;

3 but your providence, Father, is what steers it, you having opened a pathway even through the sea, and a safe way over the waves,

4 showing that you can save, whatever happens, so that, even without experience, someone may put to sea.

5 It is not your will that the works of your Wisdom should be sterile, so people entrust their lives to the smallest piece of wood, cross the waves on a raft, yet are kept safe and sound.

6 Why, in the beginning, when the proud giants were perishing, the hope of the world took refuge on a raft and, steered by your hand, preserved the seed of a new generation for the ages to come.

7 For blessed is the wood which serves the cause of uprightness

8 but accursed the man-made idol, yes, it and its maker, he for having made it, and it because, though perishable, it has been called god.

9 For God holds the godless and his godlessness in equal hatred;

10 both work and workman will alike be punished.

11 Hence even the idols of the nations will have a visitation since, in God's creation, they have become an abomination, a scandal for human souls, a snare for the feet of the foolish.

12 The idea of making idols was the origin of fornication, their discovery corrupted life.

13 They did not exist at the beginning, they will not exist for ever;

14 human vanity brought them into the world, and a quick end is therefore reserved for them.

15 A father afflicted by untimely mourning has an image made of his child so soon carried off, and now pays divine honours to what yesterday was only a corpse, handing on mysteries and ceremonies to his people;

16 time passes, the custom hardens and is observed as law.

17 Rulers were the ones who ordered that statues should be worshipped: people who could not honour them in person, because they lived too far away, would have a portrait made of their distant countenance, to have an image that they could see of the king whom they honoured; meaning, by such zeal, to flatter the absent as if he were present.

18 Even people who did not know him were stimulated into spreading his cult by the artist's enthusiasm;

19 for the latter, doubtless wishing to please his ruler, exerted all his skill to surpass the reality,

20 and the crowd, attracted by the beauty of the work, mistook for a god someone whom recently they had honoured as a man.

21 And this became a snare for life: that people, whether enslaved by misfortune or by tyranny, should have conferred the ineffable Name on sticks and stones.

22 It is not enough, however, for them to have such misconceptions about God; for, living in the fierce warfare of ignorance, they call these terrible evils peace.

23 With their child-murdering rites, their occult mysteries, or their frenzied orgies with outlandish customs,

24 they no longer retain any purity in their lives or their marriages, one treacherously murdering another or wronging him by adultery.

25 Everywhere a welter of blood and murder, theft and fraud, corruption, treachery, riot, perjury,

26 disturbance of decent people, forgetfulness of favours, pollution of souls, sins against nature, disorder in marriage, adultery and debauchery.

27 For the worship of idols with no name is the beginning, cause, and end of every evil.

28 For these people either carry their merrymaking to the point of frenzy, or they prophesy what is not true, or they live wicked lives, or they perjure themselves without hesitation;

29 since they put their trust in lifeless idols they do not reckon their false oaths can harm them.

30 But they will be justly punished for this double crime: for degrading the concept of God by adhering to idols; and for wickedly perjuring themselves in contempt for what is holy.

31 For it is not the power of the things by which they swear but the punishment reserved for sinners that always follows the offences of wicked people.


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