The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Wisdom
What folly it argues in man’s nature, this ignorance of God! So much good seen, and he, who is existent Good,✻ not known! Should they not learn to recognise the Artificer by the contemplation of his works?
Instead, they have pointed us to fire, or wind, or to the nimble air, wheeling stars, or tempestuous waves, or sun and moon, and made gods of them, to rule the world!
Perhaps the beauty of such things bewitched them into mistaking it for divinity? Ay, but what of him who is Master of them all; what excellence must be his, the Author of all beauty, that could make them!
Or was it power, and power’s exercise, that awoke their wonderment? Why then, how many times greater must he be, who contrived it!
Such great beauty✻ even creatures have, reason is well able to contemplate the Source from which these perfections came.
Yet, if we find fault with men like these, their fault is little by comparison; err they may, but their desire is to find God, and it is in that search they err.
They stop short in their enquiry at the contemplation of his creatures, trusting only in the senses, that find such beauty there.
Excuse them, then, we may not;
if their thoughts could reach far enough to form a judgement about the world around them, how is it they found, on the way, no trace of him who is Master of it?
But there are men more wretched yet, men who repose all their confidence in a world of shadows. They give the name of god to what is made by human art, gold and silver that human workmanship has turned into the likeness of living things, blocks of senseless stone that human hands have carved, long ago.
What would you? Here is a craftsman in wood has been to the forest and sawed off a fine straight branch; deftly he strips off the bark, and fashions, with patient skill, some piece of carpentry apt for man’s needs.
As for the chips in his workshop, they cook his meal for him, to eat and take his fill.
But one more piece of refuse wood is left, that is fit for nothing; so crooked is it and so gnarled. See him, in an idle moment, pick it up and spend his leisure carving it! A master craftsman this; ere long it has taken shape, made into a man’s likeness;
or it may be he gives it the form of a senseless beast. And now he paints it with ochre; ruddled it must be till all its native colour is lost, all its faults hidden away.
That done, he must find a suitable room to house it, and there lets it into the wall, making it fast with iron clamps.
No pains does he spare to keep it from falling; fall if it does, it shall find no remedy; please you, this is but an image, and cannot shift for itself!
And so, unashamed, for home and children and wife he utters his prayer, addressing himself all the while to a senseless thing.
A weak, foolish thing, and for health he asks it; dead, and he will have life of it; shiftless, and he will have aid of it.
How should it set forward his journeyings, that cannot walk? What service should it do, if trade he want, or skill, or good fortune, that is every way unserviceable?
The Holy Bible