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I said, that I was now bent upon knowing the exact state of the country, that I might learn what part it became me to act. I could not in Cæsarea take sides with Philip, because as I judged, he was over-hasty, and outwent the judgment of the people at large, whereby he injured rather than benefited a good cause.

"Nevertheless," rejoined my uncle, "it was a sign of the times, and showed what is in the heart of the Jews. What happened in Cæsarea would have happened also in Jericho, in Sychar, in Bethsaida, nay, even in Samaria; for so much may be said for Samaritans, that they love not Rome, but look, even as we do, for a deliverance from her dominion, and for a Deliverer. Julian, the time ripens! The wise and the good of our land, with impatience await what shall ere long be made manifest." Onias said this in deep and significant tones. I hoped that he would go on, but he paused.

I then said, "that even in Rome I had heard somewhat of that concerning which he spoke; but it was little and uncertain, and I knew not what to think. From my mother I had heard of a day of deliverance to which our tribe looked forward, and of the coming of Messiah; but of what was truth and what was error in such expectations, I knew nothing. Philip, too, had spoken of the same things. But to me it all seemed doubtful and baseless, without anything certain and fixed, to which the mind could attach itself; - while that Judea was an oppressed and degraded kingdom, that her rights were withheld, her sceptre unrighteously wrested from her grasp, her liberties gone, were things that every eye could see; and the remedy for such evils not difficult to be devised, nor out of all hope to be carried into execution."

Onias, at this, looked upon me with an expression not easy to interpret. But words soon followed.

"Young man," said he, "your speech is both pious and impious. The piety, I believe, is your own; the impiety

is your father's. Had God forsaken you as your father did, you had now been altogether as one of the Gentiles. But He has watched over and redeemed you for ends greater than you now know of. When once beneath the roofs of Beth-Harem, I shall trust to weed out the errors that now offend thy mind, and plant in their place the seeds of truth. There be others there also, men learned in our laws, at whose feet a willing disciple shall drink in wisdom as water.”

Onias, as he said these words, fell back into himself, as I perceive he is ever prone to do, and we continued our way in silence.

The shadows of the evening were now around us, and we were travelling still among the hills that stretch to the east and south of Samaria, but not in solitudes, for the country was everywhere thickly peopled, and the ways were yet filled with travellers to and from Samaria, and with the peasants of the neighbouring places, returning home with empty or loaded waggons. I was looking to keep on our journey during the early part of the night, and reach the Jordan at least, before we slept; but my uncle now informed me that a little distance beyond where we were, we should arrive at the inn of Jael nigh unto Thebez, where we should rest, for our beasts' sake, until the following day.

While he was speaking we emerged from the hills and woods, and descended the last slope which conducted us to the plains. As we thus descended, Mount Hermon was before us, over which the moon was just climbing; and beneath us lay the valley of the Jordan stretching to the horizon, covered with its villages, the nearer of which were clearly visible, with groves of the palm intermingled, sending their lofty tops to the heavens. I was too much engrossed by the beauty of the scene to think of my companion; and we rode on, each pursuing his own thoughts, till we approached the inn of Jael. This we found thronged already by those who had come to seek

shelter for the night; for at this season of the year, although a fierce heat is apt to rage through the day, the air becomes cold at night, and heavy dews descend, so that the covering of a roof or of a tent is necessary. We at first believed there could be no room for us, the concourse of strangers was so great, the courtyards being crowded with their beasts and their lading, and the apartments and the roofs with their owners and attending slaves. But no sooner did Jael discover who was his guest than the room, which had been refused us by some to whom we had first applied, was quickly furnished. We were conducted to the roof, where, a tent being spread over us, we partook of our evening meal and prepared to rest for the night.

When we had supped, and I then sat looking off upon the surrounding country and conversing, Jael, our host, joined us with low obeisances and formal speech. He hoped that the great Onias had returned in peace. All the country had lamented his absence. It was many days, and seemed months, since he had bestowed upon his poor dwelling the honour of his presence. "I learn," said he, "that thou hast been beyond Sepphoris, even to Sidon."

"Farther than that, Jael," replied Onias, "even as far as Antioch and Edessa. What hast thou heard from BethHarem of late; are all well?"

"All are well,” replied Jael; "to-day a traveller from the East, and who had passed through the midst of BethHarem, reported, as from those who had knowledge, that all were well in the house of Onias. Thou wast not, then, at the outbreak at Cæsarea, where the madcap Philip son of Sameas threw all the city into a blaze?"

My uncle frowned as he said, "Jael, thy soul is too much in thy purse. The Lord reward thee not according to thy zeal for him; for thy lot were then truly but as that of the wicked."

"Should I," said Jael, quickly, "plough up a wheat field thick with full and milky ears only to try a better seed?

Should I shave this beard in hope that a comelier one might sprout? Should I take out a bill against my wife that I might win perchance a better? My beard is well enough, my wife is well enough, my wheat is well enough. Ah, what shall come of change and commotion but losses? Who suffer now? None but rogues and mischief makers. Who

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"I will not reason with thee," said my uncle, with impatience. "It is well for Judea that some souls are made of other stuff."

"In my belief," continued Jael, "the Jews of Cæsarea were dealt with after their deserts. A man now-a-days can live scarce a day in peace for these sons of Belial. But the blood let in Cæsarea may keep it cool in Jerusalem, so shall good come of it. Hast thou heard the news here on the Jordan, Onias? If we now bestir ourselves, we may do greater things than they in Cæsarea."

"What mean you?" said my uncle.

"I speak," said Jael, "of John of Hebron, who hath taken pains to travel beyond the Jordan, and up and down in that region, some say, stirring up the people, but others only preaching. But who can stir the people more than he who preaches? The ears of the council or of Herod I trust will be open to take note of him."

"But what mean you?" said Onias, "and of whom do you speak? Jest not after thy fashion."


“I speak truly but what I hear,” replied Jael, “ and jest not. I have not seen this wanderer myself, but have heard somewhat from everyone who hath come from beyond Jordan. Some even hold him a prophet; but it were nearer a truth, I doubt not, to hold him possessed of a devil. Prophets do not grow on every bush.”

"How is he followed?" asked my uncle.

"From far and near," answered Jael, "have people resorted to him, some even from Jerusalem. But that makes for nothing, seeing that they of Jerusalem are ever running after some new thing."

"What," continued Onias, "is the manner of his life and appearance?"

Jael could not say. He had heard a thousand varying accounts from travellers, but knew not which were true nor which were false. His belief was that he was one in part beside himself, and who was therefore just the kind of adventurer to amaze and seduce the people. With the help of a few magic arts, he would soon make himself great.

The vociferations of new comers, now calling loudly upon Jael, put an end to our discourse; our host descended with reluctance to perform some of the duties of his office, and soon after, closing the folds of our tent, we fell asleep.

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