IV. (21) But there are some persons who have given gold and silver to sculptors and statuaries, as people able to fashion gods for them. And they, taking the lifeless materials and using a mortal model, have (which is a most extraordinary thing) made gods, as far as appearance went, and have built temples and erected altars, and dedicated them to them, honouring them with excessive pains and diligence, with sacrifices and processions, and all kinds of other sacred ceremonies and purifications; the priests and priestesses exciting themselves to the very extremity of their power to extend this kind of pride and vanity. (22) To whom the Father of the universe thus speaks, saying: “You shall not make to yourselves gods of silver and Gold;”{4}{#ex 20:20.} all but teaching them in express words, “You shall not make to yourselves any gods whatever of this or of any other material, nor shall you worship anything made with hands,” being forbidden expressly with respect to the two most excellent materials; for silver and gold are esteemed the most honourable of all materials. (23) And, besides this distinct prohibition, there is another meaning which appears to me to be intended to be figuratively conveyed under these words, which is one of very great influence as contributing to the formation of the moral character, and which convicts in no slight degree those who are covetous of money and who seek to procure silver and gold from all quarters, and when they have acquired it treasure it up, as though it were some divine image, in their inmost shrines, looking upon it as the cause of all good things and of all happiness. (24) And all the poor men that are possessed of that terrible disease, the love of money, but who, from not having any riches of their own which they can think worthy of their attention, fix their admiration on the wealth of their neighbours, and, for the purpose of offering adoration to it, come the first thing in the morning to the houses of those who have abundance, as if they were noble temples at which they were going to offer prayers, and to entreat blessings from their owners as if from the gods. (25) And to these men, Moses says, in another passage, “You shall not follow images, and you shall not make to yourselves molten Gods.”{5}{#le 19:4.} Teaching them, by figurative language, that it is not right to pay such honours to wealth as one would pay to the gods; for those celebrated materials of wealth, silver and gold, are made to be used, which, however, the multitude follows, looking upon them as the only causes of wealth which is proverbially called blind, and the especial sources of happiness. (26) These are the things which Moses calls idols, resembling shadows and phantoms, and having about them nothing strong, or trustworthy, or lasting; for they are tossed about like the unstable wind, and are subject to all kinds of variations and changes. And the greatest possible proof of this is that, when people have not at all expected it, it suddenly has descended upon them; and, again, when they fancied that they had taken firm hold of it, it has flown away. And when, indeed, it is present, then images appear as in a mirror, deceiving the outward senses and imposing upon them with traps, and appearing as if they would last for a long time, while in reality they do not endure. (27) And why need I explain how unstable the wealth and pride of men are, which vain opinions decorate with showy colours? For, before now, some men have existed who have affirmed that all other animals and plants, of which there is any birth or any decay, are in one continual and incessant state of transition, and that the external sense of this transition is somewhat indistinct, inasmuch as the swiftness of nature surpasses the very quickest and most precise glance of the vision.