FOR THE CHRISTIANS
ADDRESSED TO THE ROMAN SENATE
ROMANS, the things which have recently(1) happened in your city under Urbicus,(2) and the things which are likewise being everywhere unreasonably done by the governors, have compelled me to frame this composition for your sakes, who are men of like passions, and brethren, though ye know it not, and though ye be unwilling to acknowledge it on account of your glorying in what you esteem dignities.(3) For everywhere, whoever is corrected by father, or neighbour, or child, or friend, or brother, or husband, or wife, for a fault, for being hard to move, for loving pleasure and being hard to urge to what is right (except those who have been persuaded that the unjust and intemperate shall be punished in eternal fire, but that the virtuous and those who lived like Christ shall dwell with God in a state that is free from suffering,--we mean, those who have become Christians), and the evil demons, who hate us, and who keep such men as these subject to themselves, and serving them in the capacity of judges, incite them, as rulers actuated by evil spirits, to put us to death. But that the cause of all that has taken place under Urbicus may become quite plain to you, I will relate what has been done.
CHAP. II.--URBICUS CONDEMNS THE CHRISTIANS TO DEATH.
A certain woman lived with an intemperate(4) husband; she herself, too, having formerly been intemperate. But when she came to the knowledge of the teachings of Christ she became sober-minded, and endeavoured to persuade her husband likewise to be temperate, citing the teaching of Christ, and assuring him that there shall be punishment in eternal fire inflicted upon those who do not live temperately and conformably to right reason. But he, continuing in the same excesses, alienated his wife from him by his actions. For she, considering it wicked to live any longer as a wife with a husband who sought in every way means of indulging in pleasure contrary to the law of nature, and in violation of what is right, wished to be divorced from him. And when she was overpersuaded by her friends, who advised her still to continue with him, in the idea that some time or other her husband might give hope of amendment, she did violence to her own feeling and remained with him. But when her husband had gone into Alexandria, and was reported to be conducting himself worse than ever, she--that she might not, by continuing in matrimonial connection with him, and by sharing his table and his bed, become a partaker also in his wickednesses and impieties--gave him what you call a bill of divorce,(5) and was separated from him. But this noble husband of hers,--while he ought to have been rejoicing that those actions which formerly she unhesitatingly committed with the servants and hirelings, when she delighted in drunkenness and every vice, she had now given up, and desired that he too should give up the same,--when she had gone from him without his desire, brought an accusation against her, affirming that she was a Christian. And she presented a paper to thee, the Emperor,(6) requesting that first she be permitted to arrange her affairs, and afterwards to make her defence against the accusation, when her affairs were set in order. And this you granted. And the Divine has become a drama; and what is sacred you have acted in comedies under the masks of demons, travestying true religion by your demon-worship[superstition].
"But he, striking the lyre, began to sing beautifully."(1)
Sing to us, Homer, that beautiful song
"About the amours of Ares and Venus with the beautiful crown:
How first they slept together in the palace of Hephaestus
Secretly; and he gave many gifts, and dishonoured the bed and chamber of king Hephaestus."
Stop, O Homer, the song! It is not beautiful; it teaches adultery, and we are prohibited from polluting our ears with hearing about adultery for we are they who bear about with us, in this living and moving image of our human nature, the likeness of God,--a likeness which dwells with us, takes counsel with us, associates with us, is a guest with us, feels with us, feels for us. We have become a consecrated offering to God for Christ's sake: we are the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people, who once were not a people, but are now the people of God; who, according to John, are not of those who are beneath, but have learned all from Him who came from above; who have come to understand the dispensation of God; who have learned to walk in newness of life. But these are not the sentiments of the many; but, casting off shame and fear, they depict in their houses the unnatural passions of the demons. Accordingly, wedded to impurity, they adorn their bed-chambers with painted tablets(2) hung up in them, regarding licentiousness as religion; and lying in bed, in the midst of their embraces, they look on that Aphrodite locked in the embrace of her paramour. And in the hoops of their rings they cut a representation of the amorous bird that fluttered round Leda,--having a strong predilection for representations of effeminacy,--and use a seal stamped with an impression of the licentiousness of Zeus. Such are examples of your voluptuousness, such are the theologies of vice, such are the instructions of your gods, who commit fornication along with you; for what one wishes, that he thinks, according to the Athenian orator. And of what kind, on the other hand, are your other images? Diminutive Pans, and naked girls, and drunken Satyrs, and phallic tokens, painted naked in pictures disgraceful for filthiness. And more than this: you are not ashamed in the eyes of all to look at representations of all forms of licentiousness which are portrayed in public places, but set them up and guard them with scrupulous care, consecrating these pillars of shamelessness
at home, as if, forsooth, they were the images of your gods, depicting on them equally the postures of Philaenis and the labours of Heracles. Not only the use of these, but the sight of them, and the very hearing of them, we denounce as deserving the doom of oblivion. Your ears are debauched, your eyes commit fornication, your looks commit adultery before you embrace. O ye that have done violence to man, and have devoted to shame what is divine in this handiwork of God, you disbelieve everything that you may indulge your passions, and that ye may believe in idols, because you have a craving after their licentiousness, but disbelieve God, because you cannot bear a life of self-restraint. You have hated what was better, and valued what was worse, having been spectators indeed of virtue, but actors of vice. Happy, therefore, so to say, alone are all those with one accord,--
"Who shall refuse to look on any temples
And altars, worthless seats of dumb stones,
And idols of stone, and images made by hands,
Stained with the life's-blood, and with sacrifices
Of quadrupeds, and bipeds, and fowls, and butcheries
of wild beasts."(3)
For we are expressly prohibited from exercising a deceptive art: "For thou shalt not make," says the prophet, "the likeness of anything which is in heaven above or in the earth beneath."(4)
For can we possibly any longer suppose the Demeter, and the Core, and the mystic Iacchus of Praxiteles, to be gods, and not rather regard the art of Leucippus, or the hands of Apelles, which clothed the material with the form of the divine glory, as having a better title to the honour? But while you bestow the greatest pains that the image may be fashioned with the most exquisite beauty possible, you exercise no care to guard against your becoming like images for stupidity. Accordingly, with the utmost clearness and brevity, the prophetic word condemns this practice: "For all the gods of the nations are the images of demons; but God made the heavens, and what is in heaven."(5) Some, however, who have fallen into error, I know not how, worship God's work instead of God Himself,--the sun and the moon, and the rest of the starry choir,--absurdly imagining these, which are but instruments for measuring time, to be gods; "for by His word they were established, and all their host by the breath of His mouth."(6)
Human art, moreover, produces houses, and ships, and cities, and pictures. But how shall I tell what God makes? Behold the whole universe; it is His work: and the heaven, and the sun, and angels, and men, are the works of His fingers.(1) How great is the power of God! His bare volition was the creation of the universe. For God alone made it, because He alone is truly God. By the bare exercise of volition He creates; His mere willing was fob lowed by the springing into being of what He willed. Consequently the choir of philosophers are in error, who indeed most nobly confess that man was made for the contemplation of the heavens, but who worship the objects that appear in the heavens and are apprehended by sight. For if the heavenly bodies are not the works of men, they were certainly created for man. Let none of you worship the sun, but set his desires on the Maker of the sun; nor deify the universe, but seek after the Creator of the universe. The only refuge, then, which remains for him who would reach the portals of salvation is divine wisdom. From this, as from a sacred asylum, the man who presses after salvation, can be dragged by no demon.
CHAP. V.--THE OPINIONS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS RESPECTING GOD.
Let us then run over, if you choose, the opinions of the philosophers, to which they give boastful utterance, respecting the gods; that we may discover philosophy itself, through its conceit making an idol of matter; although we are able to show, as we proceed, that even while deifying certain demons, it has a dream of the truth. The elements were designated as the first principles of all things by some of them: by Thales of Miletus, who celebrated water, and Anaximenes, also of Miletus, who celebrated air as the first principle of all things, and was followed afterwards by Diogenes of Apollonia. Parmenides of Elia introduced fire and earth as gods; one of which, namely fire, Hippasus of Metapontum and Heraclitus of Ephesus supposed a divinity. Empedocles of Agrigentum fell in with a multitude, and, in addition to those four elements, enumerates disagreement and agreement. Atheists surely these are to be reckoned, who through an unwise wisdom worshipped matter, who did not indeed pay religious honour to stocks and stones, but deified earth, the mother of these,--who did not make an image of Poseidon, but revered water itself. For what else, according to the original signification, is Poseidon, but a moist substance? the name being derived from posis(drink); as, beyond doubt, the warlike Ares is so called, from arsis(rising up) and anoeresis(destroying). For this reason mainly, I think, many fix a sword into the ground, and sacrifice to it as to Ares. The Scythians have a practice of this nature, as Eudoxus tells us in the second book of his Travels. The Sauromatae, too, a tribe of the Scythians, worship a sabre, as Ikesius says in his work on Mysteries.
This was also the case with Heraclitus and his followers, who worshipped fire as the first cause; for this fire others named Hephaestus. The Persian Magi, too, and many of the inhabitants of Asia, worshipped fire; and besides them, the Macedonians, as Diogenes relates in the first book of his Persica. Why specify the Sauromatae, who are said by Nymphodorus, in his Barbaric Customs, to pay sacred honours to fire? or the Persians, or the Medes, or the Magi? These, Dino tells us, sacrifice beneath the open sky, regarding fire and water as the only images of the gods.
Nor have I failed to reveal their ignorance; for, however much they think to keep clear of error in one form, they slide into it in another.
They have not supposed stocks and stones to be images of the gods, like the Greeks; nor ibises and ichneumons, like the Egyptians; but fire and water, as philosophers. Berosus, in the third book of his Chaldaics, shows that it was after many successive periods of years that men worshipped images of human shape, this practice being introduced by Artaxerxes, the son of Darius, and father of Ochus, who first set up the image of Aphrodite Anaitis at Babylon and Susa; and Ecbatana set the example of worshipping it to the Persians; the Bactrians, to Damascus and Sardis.
Let the philosophers, then, own as their teachers the Persians, or the Sauromatae, or the Magi, from whom they have learned the impious doctrine of regarding as divine certain first principles, being ignorant of the great First Cause, the Maker of all things, and Creator of those very first principles, the unbeginning God, but reverencing "these weak and beggarly elements,"(2) as the apostle says, which were made for the service of man. And of the rest of the philosophers who, passing over the elements, have eagerly sought after something higher and nobler, some have discanted on the Infinite, of whom were Anaximander of Miletus, Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, and the Athenian Archclaus, both of whom set Mind
CHAP. VI.--BY DIVINE INSPIRATION PHILOSOPHERS SOMETIMES HIT ON THE TRUTH.
A great crowd of this description rushes on my mind, introducing, as it were, a terrifying apparition of strange demons, speaking of fabulous and monstrous shapes, in old wives' talk. Far from enjoining men to listen to such tales are we, who avoid the practice of soothing our crying children, as the saying is, by telling them fabulous stories, being afraid of fostering in their minds the impiety professed by those who, though wise in their own conceit, have no more knowledge of the truth than infants. For why(in the name of truth!) do you make those who believe you subject to ruin and corruption, dire and irretrievable? Why, I beseech you, fill up life with idolatrous images, by feigning the winds, or the air, or fire, or earth, or stones, or stocks, or steel, or this universe, to be gods; and, prating loftily of the heavenly bodies in this much vaunted science of astrology, not astronomy, to those men who have truly wandered, talk of the wandering stars as gods? It is the Lord of the spirits, the Lord of the fire, the Maker of the universe, Him who lighted up the sun, that I long for. I seek after God, not the works of God. Whom shall I take as a helper in my inquiry? We do not, if you have no objection, wholly disown Plato. How, then, is God to be searched out, O Plato? "For both to find the Father and Maker of this universe is a work of difficulty; and having found Him, to declare Him fully, is impossible."(1)
Why so? by Himself, I beseech you! For He can by no means be expressed. Well done, Plato! Thou hast touched on the truth. But do not flag. Undertake with me the inquiry respecting the Good. For into all men whatever, especially those who are occupied with intellectual pursuits, a certain divine effluence has been instilled; wherefore, though reluctantly, they confess that God is one, indestructible, unbegotten, and that somewhere above in the tracts of heaven, in His own peculiar appropriate eminence, whence He surveys all things, He has an existence true and eternal.
"Tell me what I am to conceive God to be,
Who sees all things, and is Himself unseen,"
Euripides says. Accordingly, Menander seems to me to have fallen into error when he said:--
"O sun! for thou, first of gods, ought to be worshipped,
By whom it is that we are able to see the other gods."
For the sun never could show me the true God; but that healthful Word, that is the Sun of the soul, by whom alone, when He arises in the depths of the soul, the eye of the soul itself is irradiated. Whence accordingly, Democritus, not without reason, says, "that a few of the men of intellect, raising their hands upwards to what we Greeks now call the air (
Of the same sentiments is Plato, who somewhere alludes to God thus: "Around the King of all are all things, and He is the cause of all good things." Who, then, is the King of all? God, who is the measure of the truth of all existence. As, then, the things that are to be measured are contained in the measure, so also the knowledge of God measures and comprehends truth. And the truly, holy Moses says: "There shall not be in thy bag a balance and a balance, great or small, but a true and just balance shall be to thee,"(2) deeming the balance and measure and number of the whole to be God. For the unjust and unrighteous idols are hid at home in the bag, and, so to speak, in the polluted soul. But the only just measure is the only true God, always just, continuing the selfsame; who measures all things, and weighs them by righteousness as in a balance, grasping and sustaining universal nature in equilibrium. "God, therefore, as the old saying has it, occupying the beginning, the middle, and the end of all that is in being, keeps the straight course, while He makes the circuit of nature; and justice always follows Him, avenging those who violate the divine law."
Whence, O Plato, is that hint of the truth which thou givest? Whence this rich copiousness of diction, which proclaims piety with oracular utterance? The tribes of the barbarians, he says, are wiser than these; I know thy teachers, even if thou wouldst conceal them. You have learned geometry from the Egyptians, astronomy from the Babylonians; the charms of healing you have got from the Thracians; the Assyrians also have taught you many things; but for the laws that are consistent with truth, and your sentiments respecting God, you are indebted to the Hebrews,(1)
"Who do not worship through vain deceits
The works of men, of gold, and brass, and silver, and ivory,
And images of dead men, of wood and stone,
Which other men, led by their foolish inclinations, worship;
But raise to heaven pure arms:
When they rise from bed, purifying themselves with water,
And worship alone the Eternal, who reigns for ever more."
And let it not be this one man alone--Plato; but, O philosophy, hasten to produce many others also, who declare the only true God to be God, through His inspiration, if in any measure they have grasped the truth. For Antisthenes did not think out this doctrine of the Cynics; but it is in virtue of his being a disciple of Socrates that he says, "that God is not like to any; wherefore no one can know Him from an image." And Xenophon the Athenian would have in his own person committed freely to writing somewhat of the truth, and given the same testimony as Socrates, had he not been afraid of the cup of poison, which Socrates had to drink. But he hints nothing less; he says: "How great and powerful He is who moves all things, and is Himself at rest, is manifest; but what He is in form is not revealed. The sun himself, intended to be the source of light to all around, does not deem it fitting to allow himself to be looked at; but if any one audaciously gazes on him, he is deprived of sight." Whence, then, does the son of Gryllus learn his wisdom? Is it not manifestly from the prophetess of the Hebrews? who prophesies in the following style?--
"What flesh can see with the eye the celestial,
The true, the immortal God, who inhabits the vault of heaven?
Nay, men born mortal cannot even stand
Before the rays of the sum"
Cleanthes Pisadeus,(3) the Stoic philosopher, who exhibits not a poetic theology, but a true theology, has not concealed what sentiments he entertained respecting God:--
"If you ask me what is the nature of the good, listen:
That which is regular, just, holy, pious.
Self-governing, useful, fair, fitting,
Grave, independent, always beneficial;
That feels no fear or grief; profitable, painless,
Helpful, pleasant, safe, friendly;
Held in esteem, agreeing with itself, honourable;
Humble, careful, meek, zealous,
Perennial, blameless, ever-during:
Mean is every one who looks to opinion
With the view of obtaining some advantage from it."
Here, as I think, he clearly teaches of what nature God is; and that the common opinion and religious customs enslave those that follow them, but seek not after God.
We must not either keep the Pythagoreans in the background, who say: "God is one; and He is not, as some suppose, outside of this frame of things, but within it; but, in all the entireness of His being, is in the whole circle of existence, surveying all nature, and blending in harmonious union the whole,--the author of all His own forces and works, the giver of light in heaven, and Father of all,--the mind and vital power of the whole world,--the mover of all things." For the knowledge of God, these utterances, written by those we have mentioned through the inspiration of God, and selected by us, may suffice even for the man that has but small power to examine into truth.
CHAP. VII.--THE POETS ALSO BEAR TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH.
Let poetry also approach to us(for philosophy alone will not suffice): poetry which is wholly occupied with falsehood--which scarcely will make confession of the truth, but will rather own to God its deviations into fable. Let whoever of those poets chooses advance first. Aratus considers that the power of God pervades all things:--
"That all may be secure,
Him ever they propitiate first and last,
Hail, Father I great marvel, great gain to man."
Thus also the Ascraean Hesiod dimly speaks of God:--
"For He is the King of all, and monarch
Of the immortals; and there is none that may vie with Him in power."
Also on the stage they reveal the truth:--
"Look on the ether and heaven, and regard that as
says Euripides. And Sophocles, the son of Sophilus, says:--
"One, in truth, one is God,
Who made both heaven and the far-stretching earth,
And ocean's blue wave, and the mighty winds;
But many of us mortals, deceived in heart,
Have set up for ourselves, as a consolation in our afflictions,
Images of the gods of stone, or wood, or brass,
Or gold, or ivory;
And, appointing to those sacrifices and vain festal assemblages,
Are accustomed thus to practise religion."
In this venturous manner has he on the stage brought truth before the spectators. But the Thracian Orpheus, the son of OEagrus, hierophant and poet at once, after his exposition of the orgies, and his theology of idols, introduces a palinode of truth with true solemnity, though tardily singing the strain:--
"I shall utter to whom it is lawful; but let the doors be closed,
Nevertheless, against all the profane. But do thou hear,
O Musaeus, offspring of the light-bringing moon,
ForI will declare what is true. And let not these things
Which once appeared in your breast rob you of dear life;
But looking to the divine word, apply yourself to it,
Keeping right the seat of intellect and titling; and walk well
In the straight path, and to the immortal King of the universe alone
Direct your gaze."
Then proceeding, he clearly adds:--
"He is one, self-proceeding; and from Him alone all things proceed,
And in them He Himself exerts his activity: no mortal
Beholds Him, but He beholds all."
Thus far Orpheus at last understood that he had
been in error:--
"But linger no longer, O man, endued with varied wisdom;
But turn and retrace your steps, and propitiate God."
For if, at the most, the Greeks, having received certain scintillations of the divine word, have given forth some utterances of truth, they bear indeed witness that the force of truth is not hidden, and at the same time expose their own weakness in not having arrived at the end. For I think it has now become evident to all, that those who do or speak aught without the word of truth are like people compelled to walk without feet. Let the strictures on your gods, which the poets, impelled by the force of truth, introduce in their comedies, shame you into salvation. Menander, for instance, the comic poet in his drama of the Charioteer, says:--
"No God pleases me that goes about
With an old woman, and enters houses
Carrying a trencher."
For such are the begging priests of Cybele. Hence Antisthenes replies appropriately to their request for alms:--
"I do not maintain the mother of the gods,
For the gods maintain her."
Again, the same writer of comedy, expressing his dissatisfaction with the common usages, tries to expose the impious arrogance of the prevailing error in the drama of the Priestess, sagely declaring:--
"If a man drags the Deity
Whither he will by the sound of cymbals,
He that does this is greater than the Deity;
But these are the instruments of audacity and means of living
Invented by men."
And not only Menander, but Homer also, and Euripides, and other poets in great numbers, expose your gods, and are wont to rate them, and that soundly too. For instance, they call Aphrodite dog-fly, and Hephaestus a cripple. Helen says to Aphrodite:--
"Thy godship abdicate!
And of Dionysus, Homer writes without reserve:--
"He, mid their frantic orgies, in the groves
Of lovely Nyssa, put to shameful rout
The youthful Bacchus' nurses; they in fear,
Dropped each her thyrsus, scattered by the hand
Of fierce Lycurgus, with an ox-goad armed."(2)
Worthy truly of the Socratic school is Euripides, who fixes his eye on truth, and despises the spectators of his plays. On one occasion, Apollo,
"Who inhabits the sanctuary that is in the middle of the earth,
Dispensing most certain oracles to mortals,"
is thus exposed:--
"It was in obedience to him that I killed her who brought me forth;
Him do you regard as stained with guilt--put him to death;
It was he that sinned, not I, uninstructed as I was
In right and justice."(3)
He introduces Heracles, at one time mad, at another drunk and gluttonous. How should he not so represent the god who, when entertained as a guest, ate green figs to flesh, uttering discordant howls, that even his barbarian host remarked it? In his drama of Ion, too, he barefacedly brings the gods on the stage:--
"How, then, is it right for you, who have given laws to mortals,
To be yourselves guilty of wrong?
And if--what will never take place, yet I will state the supposition--
You will give satisfaction to men for your adulteries,
You, Poseidon, and you, Zeus, the ruler of heaven,--
You will, in order to make recompense for your misdeeds,
Have to empty your temples."(4)
CHAP. VIII.--THE TRUE DOCTRINE IS TO BE SOUGHT IN THE PROPHETS.
It is now time, as we have despatched in order the other points, to go to the prophetic Scriptures; for the oracles present us with the appliances necessary for the attainment of piety, and so establish the truth. The divine Scriptures and institutions of wisdom form the short road to salvation. Devoid of embellishment, of outward beauty of diction, of wordiness and seductiveness, they raise up humanity strangled by wickedness, teaching men to despise the casualties of life; and with one and the same voice remedying many evils, they at once dissuade us from pernicious deceit, and clearly exhort us to the attainment of the salvation set before us. Let the Sibyl(1) prophetess, then, be the first to sing to us the song of salvation:--
"So He is all sure and unerring:
Come, follow no longer darkness and gloom;
See, the sun's sweet-glancing light shines gloriously.
Know, and lay up wisdom in your hearts:
There is one God, who sends rains, and winds, and earthquakes,
Thunderbolts, famines, plagues, and dismal sorrows,
And snows and ice. But why detail particulars?
He reigns over heaven, He rules earth,
He truly is;"--
where, in remarkable accordance with inspiration(2) she compares delusion to darkness, and the knowledge of God to the sun and light, and subjecting both to comparison, shows the choice we ought to make. For falsehood is not dissipated by the bare presentation of the truth, but by the practical improvement of the truth it is ejected and put to flight.
Jeremiah the prophet, gifted with consummate wisdom? or rather the Holy Spirit in Jeremiah, exhibits God. "Am I a God at hand," he says, "and not a God afar off? Shall a man do ought in secret, and I not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth? Saith the LORD."4
And again by Isaiah, "Who shall measure heaven with a span, and the whole earth with his hand?"(5) Behold God's greatness, and be filled with amazement. Let us worship Him of whom the prophet says, "Before Thy face the hills shall melt, as wax melteth before the fire!"(6) This, says he, is the God "whose throne is heaven, and His footstool the earth; and if He open heaven, quaking will seize thee."(7) Will you hear, too, what this prophet says of idols? "And they shall be made a spectacle of in the face of the sun, and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven and the wild beasts of the earth; and they shall putrefy before the sun and the moon, which they have loved and served; and their city shall be burned down."(8) He says, too, that the elements and the world shall be destroyed. "The earth," he says, "shall grow old, and the heaven shall pass away; but the word of the Lord endureth for ever." What, then, when again God wishes to show Himself by Moses: "Behold ye, behold ye, that I AM, and there is no other God beside Me. I will kill, and I will make to live; I will strike, and I will heal; and there is none who shall deliver out of My hands."(9) But do you wish to hear another seer? You have the whole prophetic choir, the associates of Moses. What the Holy Spirit says by Hosea, I will not shrink from quoting: "Lo, I am He that appointeth the thunder, and createth spirit; and His hands have established the host of heaven."(10) And once more by Isaiah. And this utterance I will repeat: "I am," he says, "I am the LORD; I who speak righteousness, announce truth. Gather yourselves together, and come. Take counsel together, ye that are saved from the nations. They have not known, they who set up the block of wood, their carved work, and pray to gods who will not save them."(11) Then proceeding: "I am God, and there is not beside Me a just God, and a Saviour: there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and ye will be saved, ye that are from the end of the earth. I am God, and there is no other; by Myself I swear."(12) But against the worshippers of idols he is exasperated, saying, "To whom will ye liken the LORD, or to what likeness will ye compare Him? Has not the artificer made the image, or the goldsmith melted the gold and plated it with gold?"(13)--and so on. Be not therefore idolaters, but even now beware of the threatenings; "for the graven images and the works of men's hands shall wail, or rather they that trust in them,"(14) for matter is devoid of sensation. Once more he says, "The LORD will shake the cities that are inhabited, and grasp the world in His hand like a nest."(15) Why repeat to you the mysteries of wisdom, and sayings from the writings of the son of the Hebrews, the master of wisdom? "The LORD created me the beginning of His ways, in order to His works."(16) And, "The LORD giveth wisdom, and from His face proceed knowledge and understanding."(17) "How long wilt thou lie in bed, O sluggard; and when wilt thou be aroused from sleep?"(18) "but if thou show thyself no
FOR THE CHRISTIANS