Surely vaine are all men by nature, who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seene, know him that is: neither by considering the workes, did they acknowledge the worke-master;
But deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift aire, or the circle of the stars, or the violent water, or the lights of heauen to be the gods which gouerne the world:
With whose beautie, if they being delighted, tooke them to be gods: let them know how much better the Lord of them is;
for the first Author of beautie hath created them.
But if they were astonished at their power and vertue, let them vnderstand by them, how much mightier he is that made them.
For by the greatnesse and beautie of the creatures, proportionably the Maker of them is seene.
But yet for this they are the lesse to bee blamed: for they peraduenture erre seeking God, and desirous to finde him.
For being conuersant in his workes, they search him diligently, and beleeue their sight: because the things are beautifull that are seene.
Howbeit, neither are they to bee pardoned.
For if they were able to know so much, that they could aime at the world;
how did they not sooner finde out the Lord thereof?
But miserable are they, and in dead things is their hope, who called them gods which are the workes of mens hands, golde and siluer, to shewe arte in, and resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, the worke of an ancient hand.
Now a carpenter that felleth timber, after hee hath sawen downe a tree meet for the purpose, and taken off all the barke skilfully round about, and hath wrought it handsomely, & made a vessell thereof fit for the seruice of mans life:
And after spending the refuse of his worke to dresse his meat, hath filled himselfe:
And taking the very refuse among those which serued to no vse (being a crooked piece of wood, and ful of knots) hath carued it diligently when hee had nothing else to doe, and formed it by the skill of his vnderstanding, and fashioned it to the image of a man:
Or made it like some vile beast, laying it ouer with vermilion, and with paint, colouring it red, and couering euery spot therein:
And when he had made a conuenient roume for it, set it in a wall, and made it fast with yron:
For he prouided for it, that it might not fall: knowing that it was vnable to helpe it selfe, (for it is an image and hath neede of helpe:)
Then maketh hee prayer for his goods, for his wife and children, and is not ashamed to speake to that which hath no life.
For health, hee calleth vpon that which is weake: for life, prayeth to that which is dead: for aide, humbly beseecheth that which hath least meanes to helpe: and for a good iourney, hee asketh of that which cannot set a foot forward:
And for gaining and getting, and for good successe of his hands, asketh abilitie to doe, of him that is most vnable to doe any thing.