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Chapter XXXV.—Precepts from the Prophetic Books.

The divine law, then, not only forbids the worshipping of idols, but also of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon, or the other stars; yea, not heaven, nor earth, nor the sea, nor fountains, nor rivers, must be worshipped, but we must serve in holiness of heart and sincerity of purpose only the living and true God, who also is Maker of the universe. Wherefore saith the holy law: “Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not desire thy neighbour’s wife.” So also the prophets. Solomon indeed teaches us that we must not sin with so much as a turn of the eye, 619 saying, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thy eyelids look straight before thee.” 620 And Moses, who himself also was a prophet, says, concerning the sole government of God: “Your God is He who establishes the heaven, and forms the earth, whose hands have brought forth all the host of heaven; and He has not set these things before you that you should go after them.” 621 And Isaiah himself also says: “Thus saith the Lord God who established the heavens, and founded the earth and all that is therein, and giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. This is the Lord your God.” 622 And again, through him He says: “I have made the earth, and man upon it. I by my hand have established the heavens.” 623 And in another chapter, “This is your God, who created the ends of the earth; He hungereth not, neither is weary, and there is no searching of His understanding.” 624 So, too, Jeremiah says: “Who hath made the earth by His power, and established the world by His wisdom, and by His discretion hath stretched out the heavens, and a mass of water in the heavens, and He caused the clouds to ascend from the ends of the earth; He made lightnings with rain, and brought forth winds out of His treasures.” 625 One can see how consistently and harmoniously all the prophets spoke, having given utterance through one and the same spirit concerning the unity of God, and the creation of the world, and the formation of man. Moreover, they were in sore travail, bewailing the godless race of men, and they reproached those, who seemed to be wise, for their error and hardness of heart. Jeremiah, indeed, said: “Every man is brutishly gone astray from the knowledge of Him; every founder is confounded by his graven images; in vain the silversmith makes his molten images; there is no breath in them: in the day of their visitation they shall perish.” 626 The same, too, says David: “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; there is none that doeth good, no, not one; they have all gone aside, they have together become profitless.” 627 So also Habakkuk: “What profiteth the graven image that he has graven it a lying image? Woe to him that saith to the stone, Awake; and to the wood, Arise.” 628 Likewise spoke the other prophets of the truth. And why should I recount the multitude of prophets, who are numerous, and said ten thousand things consistently and harmoniously? For those who desire it, can, by reading what they uttered, accurately understand the truth, and no longer be carried away by opinion and profitless labour. These, then, whom we have already mentioned, were prophets among the Hebrews,—illiterate, and shepherds, and uneducated.



Literally, “a nod.”


Prov. iv. 25.


Cf. Deut. iv. 19.


Isa. xlii. 5.


Isa. xlv. 12.


Isa. xl. 28.


Jer. 10:12, 13.


Jer. 51:17, 18.


Ps. 14:1, 3.


Hab. ii. 18.

Next: Chapter XXXVI.—Prophecies of the Sibyl.