The invention of idols was the origin of fornication, their discovery the corrupting of life. They did not exist at the beginning, they will not exist for ever; through human vanity they came into the world and hence a sudden end has been designed for them.
A father afflicted by untimely mourning makes an image of his child so swiftly taken, and now he honors as a god what yesterday had only been a dead man, bequething mysteries and initiations to his dependents. Then in the course of time the godless custom hardens, and is observed as law and, by command of princes, the carved images receive worship.
Of those who lived too far away to be honored in person men would make a portrait from a distance and produce a visible image of the king they honored, meaning, by such zeal, to flatter the absent as if he were with them. Even people who did not know him were stimulated into spreading his cult by the idealism of the artist; for the latter, doubtless wishing to please the ruler, exerted all his skill to make the likeness finer than reality and the crowd, carried away by the beauty of the work, accorded divine honors to him whom only recently they had honored as a man. And this became a pitfall for life, that men, whether slaves to misfortune or princely power, should have bestowed the incommunicable name on sticks and stones.