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59. Of the idols which the Gentiles think to be gods.

In the Wisdom of Solomon: “All the idols of the nations they counted gods, which neither have the use of their eyes for seeing, nor their nostrils to receive breath, nor their ears for hearing, nor the fingers on their hands for handling; but their feet also are slow to walk. For man made them; and he who has borrowed his breath, he fashioned them. But no man will be able to fashion a god like to himself. For since he is mortal, he fashioneth a dead thing with wicked hands. But he himself is better than they whom he worships, since he indeed lived, but 549they never.”44824482    Wisd. xv. 15–17. On this same matter:  “Neither have they who have regarded the works known who was the artificer, but have thought that either fire, or wind, or the rapid air, or the circle of the stars, or the abundant water, or the sun and moon, were the gods that rule over the world; and if, on account of the beauty of these, they have thought thus, let them know how much more beautiful than these is the Lord; or if they have admired their powers and operations, let them perceive from these very things that He who has established these mighty things is stronger than they.”44834483    Wisd. xiii. 1–4. Also in the cxxxivth Psalm: “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have a mouth, and speak not; they have eyes, and see not; they have ears, and hear not; and neither is there any breath in their mouth. Let them who make them become like unto them, and all those who trust in them.”44844484    Ps. cxxxv. 16–18. Also in the ninety-fifth Psalm: “All the gods of the nations are demons, but the Lord made the heavens.”44854485    Ps. xcvi. 5. Also in Exodus:  “Ye shall not make unto yourselves gods of silver nor of gold.”44864486    Ex. xx. 23. And again: “Thou shalt not make to thyself an idol, nor the likeness of any thing.”44874487    Ex. xx. 4. This section closes here, according to the Oxford text. The Leipzic edition continues as in the above reading. Also in Jeremiah:  “Thus saith the Lord, Walk not according to the ways of the heathen; for they fear those things in their own persons, because the lawful things of the heathen are vain. Wood cut out from the forest is made the work of the carpenter, and melted silver and gold are beautifully arranged: they strengthen them with hammers and nails, and they shall not be moved, for they are fixed. The silver is brought from Tharsis, the gold comes from Moab. All things are the works of the artificers; they will clothe it with blue and purple; lifting them, they will carry them, because they will not go forward. Be not afraid of them, because they do no evil, neither is there good in them. Say thus, The gods that have not made the heaven and the earth perish from the earth, and from under this heaven. The heaven hath trembled at this, and hath shuddered much more vehemently, saith the Lord. These evil things hath my people done. They have forsaken the fountain of living water, and have dug out for themselves worn-out wells, which could not hold water. Thy love hath smitten thee, and thy wickedness shall accuse thee. And know and see that it shall be a bitter thing for thee that thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord thy God, and thou hast not hoped in me, saith thy Lord. Because of old time thou hast resented my yoke, and hast broken thy bonds, and hast said, I will not serve, but I will go upon every lofty mountain, and upon every high hill, and upon every shady tree: there I will be confounded with fornication. To the wood and to the stone they have said, Thou art my father; and to the stone, Thou hast begotten me: and they turned to me their back, and not their face.”44884488    Jer. x. 2–5, 9, 11; ii. 12, 13, 19, 20, 27. In Isaiah: “The dragon hath fallen or is dissolved; their carved works have become as beasts and cattle. Labouring and hungry, and without strength, ye shall bear them bound upon your neck as a heavy burden.”44894489    Isa. xlvi. 1, 2, 5. And again: “Gathered together, they shall not be able to be saved from war; but they themselves have been led captive with thee.”44904490    Migne refers this to Jer. li. 15–18, but there is nothing corresponding to it in the passage. And again: “To whom have ye likened me? See and understand that ye err in your heart, who lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, bringing it up to the weight.  The workmen have made with their hand the things made; and, bowing themselves, they have adored it, and have raised it on their shoulders: and thus they walked. But if they should place them down, they will abide in their place, and will not be moved; and they will not hear those who cry unto them: they will not save them from evils.”44914491    Isa. xlvi. 6, 7. Also in Jeremiah: “The Lord, who made heaven and earth, in strength hath ordered the world, in His wisdom hath stretched forth the heaven, and the multitude of the waters in the heaven. He hath brought out the clouds from the end of the earth, the lightnings in the clouds; and He hath brought forth the winds from His treasures. Every man is made foolish by his knowledge, every artificer is confounded by his graven images; because he hath molten a falsehood: there is no breath in them. The works shut up in them are made vain; in the time of their consideration they shall perish.”44924492    Jer. li. 16–19. And in the Apocalypse:  “And the sixth angel sounded with his trumpet. And I heard one of the four corners of the golden ark, which is in the presence of God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound upon the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, to slay the third part of men; and the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred thousand of thousand:  I heard the number of them. And then I saw the horses in the vision, and those that sate upon them, having breastplates of fire, and of hyacinth, and of sulphur: and the heads of the horses (as the heads of lions); and out of their mouth went fire, and 550smoke, and sulphur. By these three plagues the third part of men was slain, by the fire, and the smoke, and the sulphur which went forth from their mouth, and is in their tails: for their tails were like unto eels; for they had heads, and with them they do mischief. And the rest of the men who were not slain by these plagues, nor repented of the works of the deeds of their hands, that they should not worship demons and idols, that is, images of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood, which can neither see nor walk, repented not also of their murders.”44934493    Rev. ix. 1, 13–21. Also in the same place: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and hath received his mark in his forehead or upon his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of His wrath, and shall be punished with fire and sulphur, under the eyes of the holy angels, and under the eyes of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever.”44944494    Rev. xiv. 9–11.


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