A COPIE of the epistle that Ieremie sent to them that were to be led away captiues into Babylon, by the king of Babylon, to tel them according to that which was commanded him of God.
1. For the sinnes that you haue sinned before God, you shal be led away captiue into Babylon by Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon.
2. Being entered therfore into Babylon, you shal be there manie yeares, and long times euen vnto seuen generations: and after this I wil bring you forth from thence with peace.
3. But now you shal see in Babylon goddes of gold, and of siluer, and of stone, and of wood to be caried vpon shoulders, shewing feare to the Gentiles.
4. Beware therfore lest you also be like to the doing of strangers, and you be afrayd, and feare take you in them.
5. Seeing therfore the multitude adoring behind, and before, say you in your hartes: Thou oughest to be adored o Lord.
6. For mine angel is with you: and my self wil aske account of your soules.
7. For their tongue polished by the craftesman, them selues also layd ouer with gold, and siluer are false thinges, and they can not speake.
8. And as to a virgin that loueth ornaments: so taking gold their goddes are forged.
9. Their goddes certes haue golden crownes vpon their heades: wherof the priestes secretely conuey away from them gold, and siluer, and bestow it on them selues.
10. Yea and they geue therof to strumpettes, and they decke whores: and againe when they receiue it of the harlots, they decke their goddes.
11. But these are not deliuered from the rust, and the moth.
12. And these being couered with a purple garment, they wype their face for the dust of the house, which is very much among them.
13. And he hath a scepter as a man, as a iudge of the countrie, that killeth him not that offendeth against him.
14. He hath also in his hand a sword, and an axe, but him selfe he deliuereth not from the sword, and from robbers, wherby be it knowne to you that they are not goddes.
15. Therfore feare them not. For as a mans vessel being broken is made vnprofitable: such also are their goddes:
16. they being placed in the house, their eies are ful of dust by the feete of them that goe in.
17. And as vpon one, that hath offended the king, the gates be shut round about, or as the dead brought to the graue, so doe the priestes gard the doores with shuttings, and lockes, lest they be spoyled of theeues.
18. They light candles to them, and that manie, of the which they can see none: but they are as beames in the house.
19. And they say that the serpents which are of the earth, gnaw out their hartes, whiles they eate them and their garment, and they feele not.
20. Their faces are blacke with the smoke, that is made in the house.
21. The owles, and the swallowes flye vpon their bodie, and vpon their head, and the birdes also, the cattes in like manner.
22. Wherby you may knowe that they are not goddes. Therfore feare them not.
23. The gold also which they haue, is for bewtie, vnles a man wype of the rust, they shal not shine: for neither when they were moulten, did they feele.
24. With al price are they bought, whereas there is no breath in them.
25. As being without feete they are caried vpon shoulders, shewing their basenes to men. Be they confounded also that worship them.
26. Therfore if they fal to the ground, they rise not vp of them selues, nor if a man set him vpright, shal he stand by him self, but as to dead men their giftes shal be set before them.
27. Their priestes sel their sacrifices, and abuse them: likewise also their wiues plucking from them, impert nothing, neither to the sicke, nor to the begger.
28. Of their sacrifices wemen in childbed, and in flowers doe touche: knowing therfore by these thinges that they are not goddes, feare them not.
29. For whence are they called goddes? Because wemen offer to the goddes of siluer, and gold, and wood.
30. And priestes sitte in their houses, hauing their garments rent, and their heades, & beard shauen, whose heades be bare.
31. And they were crying before their goddes, as at the supper of the dead.
32. The priests take away their garments, and they cloath their wiues & their children.
33. Neither if they suffer anie euil, nor if anie good of anie man, are they able to recompence it: neither can they make a king, nor take him away:
34. In like maner they can neither geue riches, nor requyte euil. If a man vow a vow vnto them, and performe it not; neither this doe they require.
35. They deliuer not a man from death, nor saue the weake from the mightier.
36. The blind man they restore not to his sight: they shal not deliuer a man out of necessitie.
37. They shal not pitie the widow, nor doe good to the fatherlesse.
38. Like vnto the stones of the mountaine are their goddes, of wood, and of stone, and of gold, and of siluer. & they that worship them, shal be confounded:
39. How then is it to be supposed, or to be sayd, that they are goddes?
40. Moreouer the Chaldees themselues not honoring them: who when they heare that the dumme can not speake, they offer it to Bel, requesting of him, that it may speake.
41. As though they could feele that haue no motion: and they when they shal vnderstand, wil leaue them: for their goddes them selues haue no sense.
42. And wemen compassed with cordes, sit in the waies, burning the bones of oliues.
43. And when one of them being drawen of some passenger shal lie with him, she vpbraydeth her neighbour, that she is not counted worthie, as her self, neither is her cord broken.
44. But al thinges that are done about them are false, how is it then to be thought, or to be sayd, that they be goddes?
45. And they are made by craftesmen, & by goldsmithes. They shal be nothing els, but that which the priestes wil haue them to be.
46. For the artificers themselues, that make them, are of no long time. Why, can those thinges then that are made by them, be goddes?
47. But they haue left forged things & reproch, to them that shal come after.
48. For when battel commeth vpon them, and euils: the priestes deuise with them selues, where they may hide them selues with them.
49. How then may they be thought, that they are goddes, which neither deliuer them selues from battel, nor saue them selues from euils?
50. For seing they be of wood, & layd ouer with gold, and with siluer, it shal be knowne afterwards that they are false thinges, of al the Gentiles, and kinges: Which are manifest that they are no goddes, but the workes of mens handes, and no worke of God is with them.
51. Whence then is it knowne, that they are not goddes, but the workes of mens handes, & no worke of God is in them?
52. A king to the countrie they raise not vp, neither shal they geue rayne to men.
53. Iudgement also they shal not decerne, neither shal they deliuer countries from iniurie: because they can do nothing, as choughes betwen the heauen and the earth.
54. For when fire shal fal into the house of the woodden, and siluer, and golden goddes, their priestes in dede shal flee, and be deliuered: but themselues as beames shal be burnt in the middes.
55. And king and battel they shal not resist. How is it then to be supposed, or to be receiued that they are goddes?
56. Not from theeues, nor from robbers shal the goddes of wood, and of stone, and layd ouer with gold, and with siluer deliuer them selues, stronger then which are the wicked men.
57. The gold, and siluer, and the garment where with they are couered, they shal take from them, and shal depart, neither shal they helpe themselues.
58. Therfore it is better to be a king shewing his strength: or a profitable vessel in the house, wherin he wil glorie that possesseth it: or a doore in the house, which kepeth the thinges that are therin, then false goddes.
59. The sunne cettes, and the moone, and the starres wheras they are bright, and sent forth for profitable vses, obey.
60. Likewise also the lightning, when it shal appeare is perspicuous: and the winde also bloweth the self same in euerie countrie.
61. And the clowdes, which when God shal command to walke throughout the whole world, they doe that which is commanded them.
62. The fyre also being sent from aboue to consume mountaines, and woodes, doeth that which is commanded it. But these neither in shapes, nor in vertues are like to one of them.
63. Wherfore neither is it to be thought, nor to be said, that they be goddes: wheras they can neither iudge iudgment, nor doe anie thing for men.
64. Knowing therfore that they are not goddes, then feare them not.
65. For neither shal they curse kinges, nor blesse them.
66. Signes also in the heauen to the Gentiles they shew not, neither shal they shine as the sunne, nor geue light as the moone.
67. Beastes are better then they, which can flie vnder the roofe, and profite themselues.
68. By no meanes therfore is it manifest vnto vs, that they are goddes: for which cause feare them not.
69. For as in a garden of cucumbers a scarcrow keepeth nothing, so are their goddes of wood, and of siluer, and layd ouer with gold.
70. After the same sorte also in a garden the white thorne, vpon the which euerie bird sitteth. In like manner also their goddes of wood, and layd ouer with gold, and with siluer, are like to a dead bodie cast froth in the darke.
71. By the purple also and the murex colour layde vpon them, which fadeth, you shal know that they are not goddes. At the last also they are consumed, and shal be reproch in the countrie.
72. Better is therfore the iust man, that hath not idols: for he shal be farre from reproches.