1 But you, our God, are kind and true, slow to anger, governing the universe with mercy.
2 Even if we sin, we are yours, since we acknowledge your power, but we will not sin, knowing we count as yours.
3 To know you is indeed the perfect virtue, and to know your power is the root of immortality.
4 We have not been duped by inventions of misapplied human skill, or by the sterile work of painters, by figures daubed with assorted colours,
5 the sight of which sets fools yearning and hankering for the lifeless form of an unbreathing image.
6 Lovers of evil and worthy of such hopes are those who make them, those who want them and those who worship them.
7 Take a potter, now, laboriously working the soft earth, shaping each object for us to use. Out of the self-same clay, he models vessels intended for a noble use and those for a contrary purpose, all alike: but which of these two uses each will have is for the potter himself to decide.
8 Then -- ill -- spent effort!-from the same clay he models a futile god, although so recently made out of earth himself and shortly to return to what he was taken from, when asked to give back the soul that has been lent to him.
9 Even so, he does not worry about having to die or about the shortness of his life, but strives to outdo the goldsmiths and silversmiths, imitates the bronzeworkers, and prides himself on modelling counterfeits.
10 Ashes, his heart; more vile than earth, his hope; more wretched than clay, his life!
11 For he has misconceived the One who has modelled him, who breathed an active soul into him and inspired a living spirit.
12 What is more, he looks on this life of ours as a kind of game, and our time here like a fair, full of bargains. 'However foul the means,' he says, 'a man must make a living.'
13 He, more than any other, knows he is sinning, he who from one earthy stuff makes both brittle pots and idols.
14 But most foolish, more pitiable even than the soul of a little child, are the enemies who once played the tyrant with your people,
15 and have taken all the idols of the heathen for gods; these can use neither their eyes for seeing nor their nostrils for breathing the air nor their ears for hearing nor the fingers on their hands for handling nor their feet for walking.
16 They have been made, you see, by a human being, modelled by a being whose own breath is borrowed. No man can model a god to resemble himself;
17 subject to death, his impious hands can produce only something dead. He himself is worthier than the things he worships; he will at least have lived, but never they.
18 And they worship even the most loathsome of animals, worse than the rest in their degree of stupidity,
19 without a trace of beauty -- if that is what is attractive in animals- and excluded from God's praises and blessing.