Chapter XII.—Idols Unprofitable.
“But others say, God does not care for us. This also is false. For if really He did not care, He would neither cause His sun to rise on the good and the evil, nor send His rain on the just and the unjust. But others say, We are more pious than you, since we worship both him and images. I do not think, if one were to say to a king, I give you an equal share of honour with that which I give to corpses and to worthless dung,—I do not think that he would profit by it. But some one will say, Do you call our objects of worship dung? I say Yes, for you have made them useless to yourselves by setting them aside for worship, whereas their substance might perhaps have been serviceable for some other purpose, or for the purpose of manure. But now it is not useful even for this purpose, since you have changed its shape and worship it. And how do you say that you are more pious, you who are the most wicked of all, who deserve destruction of your souls by this very one incomparable sin, at the hands of Him who is true, if you abide in it? For as if any son having received many benefits from his father, give to another, who is not his father, the honour that is due to his father, he is certainly disinherited; but if he live according to the judgment of his father, and so thanks him for his kindnesses, he is with good reason made the heir.