Chapter VIII.—No Gods Which are Made with Hands.
“Therefore reduce your gods of gold and silver, or any other material, to their original nature; I mean into cups and basins and all other utensils, such as may be useful to you for service; and those good things which were given you at first shall be able to be restored. But perhaps you will say, The laws of the emperors do not permit us to do this. 1123 You say well that it is the law, and not the power of the vain idols themselves, which is nothing. How, then, have ye regarded them as gods, who are avenged by human laws, guarded by dogs, kept by multitudes?—and that if they are of gold, or silver, or brass. For those of wood or earthenware are preserved by their worthlessness, because no man desires to steal a wooden or earthenware god! So that your gods are exposed to danger in proportion to the value of the material of which they are made. How, then, can they be gods, which are stolen, molten, weighed, guarded?
[This, with the corresponding passage in Recognitions, v. 15, points to an early origin of the literature, under the heathen emperors.—R.]