XLVI. (252) Against those who call God as a witness in favour of assertions which are not true, the punishment of death is ordained in the law; {47}{#de 19:19.} and very properly, for even a man of moderate respectability will never endure to be cited as a witness, and to have his name registered in support of a lie. But it seems to me that he would look upon any one who proposed such a thing to him as a thoroughly faithless enemy; (253) on which account we must say this, that him, who swears rashly and falsely, calling God to witness an unjust oath, God, although he is merciful by nature, will yet never release, inasmuch as he is thoroughly defiled and infamous from guilt, even though he may escape punishment at the hands of men. And such a man will never entirely escape, for there are innumerable beings looking on, zealots for and keepers of the national laws, of rigid justice, prompt to stone such a criminal, and visiting without pity all such as work wickedness, unless, indeed, we are prepared to say that a man who acts in such a way as to dishonour his father or his mother is worthy of death, but that he who behaves with impiety towards a name more glorious than even the respect due to one’s parents, is to be borne with as but a moderate offender. (254) But the lawgiver of our nation is not so foolish as, after putting to death men who are guilty of minor offences, then to treat those who are guilty of heavier crimes with mildness, since surely it is a greater iniquity than even to speak disparagingly or to insult one’s parents, to show a contempt for the sacred name of God by means of perjury. (255) And if even he who swears in an unbecoming manner is guilty and blameable, of what punishment is that man worthy who denies the one only true and living God and now honours the creature above the Creator, and chooses to honour not only the earth and the water, or the air, or the fire, the elements of the universe, or again the sun and moon, and the planets and fixed stars, and the whole of heaven, and the universal world, but even stocks and stones, which mortal workmen have fashioned, and which by them have been shaped into human figures? (256) Therefore, let such a man be himself likened to images carved by the hand; for it ought not to be that that man should have any soul himself who honours things destitute of soul or life, and especially after he has been a disciple of Moses, whom he has often heard announcing to him and under the influence of divine inspiration declaring those most sacred and holy admonitions, “Take not the name of any other gods into thy soul for a remembrance of them, and utter not their names with thy voice, but keep both thy mind and thy speech far from all other interpositions, and turn them wholly to the Father and Creator of the universe, that thus thou mayest cherish the most virtuous and godly thoughts about his single government, and mayest speak words that are becoming and most profitable both to thyself and to those that hear Thee.”{48}{#ex 23:13.}