1 But you, our God, are gracious and true,
patient, and in mercy ordering all things.
2 For even if we sin, we are yours, knowing your dominion;
but we will not sin, knowing that we have been accounted yours.
3 For to be acquainted with you is* Gr. entire. perfect righteousness,
and to know your dominion is the root of immortality.
4 For we weren’t led astray by any evil plan of men’s,
nor yet by painters’ fruitless labor,
a form stained with varied colors,
5 the sight of which leads fools into† Some authorities read reproach. lust.
Their desire is for the breathless form of a dead image.
6 Lovers of evil things, and worthy of such hopes,
are those who make, desire, and worship them.
7 For a potter, kneading soft earth,
laboriously molds each article for our service.
He fashions out of the same clay
both the vessels that minister to clean uses, and those of a contrary sort,
all in like manner.
What shall be the use of each article of either sort,
the potter is the judge.
8 Also, laboring to an evil end, he molds a vain god out of the same clay,
he who, having but a little before been made of earth,
after a short space goes his way to the earth out of which he was taken,
when he is required to render back the‡ Or, life soul which was lent him.
9 However he has anxious care,
not because his powers must fail,
nor because his span of life is short;
But he compares himself with goldsmiths and silversmiths,
and he imitates molders in§ Or, copper brass,
and considers it great that he molds counterfeit gods.
10 His heart is ashes.
His hope is of less value than earth.
His life is of less honor than clay,
11 because he was ignorant of him who molded him,
and breathed into him a vital spirit.
12 But‡ Some authorities read they accounted. he accounted our life to be a game,
and our§ Or, way of life lifetime a festival for profit;
for, he says, one must get gain however one can, even if it is by evil.
13 For this man, beyond all others, knows that he sins,
out of earthy matter making brittle vessels and engraved images.
14 But most foolish and more miserable than a baby,
are the enemies of your people, who oppressed them;
15 because they even considered all the idols of the nations to be gods,
which have neither the use of eyes for seeing,
nor nostrils for drawing breath,
nor ears to hear,
nor fingers for handling,
and their feet are helpless for walking.
16 For a man made them,
and one whose own spirit is borrowed molded them;
for no one has power as a man to mold a god like himself.
17 But, being mortal, he makes a dead thing by the work of lawless hands;
for he is better than the objects of his worship,
since he indeed had life, but they never did.
18 Yes, and they worship the creatures that are most hateful,
for, being compared as to lack of sense, these are worse than all others;
19 Neither, as seen beside other creatures, are they beautiful, so that one should desire them,
but they have escaped both the praise of God and his blessing.
*15:3 Gr. entire.
†15:5 Some authorities read reproach.
‡15:8 Or, life
§15:9 Or, copper
*15:11 Gr. a soul that moves to activity.
†15:11 Or, life
‡15:12 Some authorities read they accounted.
§15:12 Or, way of life