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Thus, my mother, am I binding myself to the fate of Judea — an issue so little to have been conceived as possible but so little while ago. I have passed in so short a time, and by the power of such extraordinary events, from the life and the feelings of a Roman, to the character and the habits and faith of a Jew, that I can hardly believe myself to be the same person who dwelt with you in Rome, nor can I think that all this has happened without the interposing of a hand, of whose guidance we all are the subjects, though ignorant when and in what manner, and in the arrangement of what events, it is put forth. Happy for us that we stand not at the helm of our little vessel, but instead, some good angel who seeth farther and better, and hath a stronger arm, and who, though he guided us sometimes on shallows, sometimes on quicksands, and sometimes among rocks and eddies, doth it that our experience may be more various, and so good be shown to make a part of all evil. Who, if he might, would dare to choose for himself among the possible events of life. Who so bold as, if it were permitted him to be the pilot of his own bark, seeing so often as we do in the issue of events, that what at a distance we had dreaded, and if we could, would have shunned, had proved benignant in our experience of it, and that what we had greatly desired, had it happened, could have been no other than disastrous or fatal. And how greatly will our judgments of this kind be confirmed and extended when as in the resurrection of the Just we shall look back upon the whole of life, and behold each event as it stands bound to every other, both with those which preceded it and those that come after. In the light of that vast survey, the names which we now give to many events will be changed or quite reversed, - evil will be seen to be good, and good, evil.
Great delight and large profitings have come to me, when thinking thus, from the pages of David, Solomon, and the Prophets. There seems to be no mood of the mind which finds not in them its proper nourishment or medicine.
Rightly was the son of David named the Wise. The heart with all its weaknesses and errors, and life with all its lights and shadows, and in all its changes, are by him painted with so much truth, that the reader sees not whence such stores of knowledge could have come, save from the inspiration of God. Else, methinks, he must have lived life over many times, and in his own fortunes experienced the various lots of different persons, which we cannot believe, unless we agree with the philosophers of India, or receive the fancies of Pythagoras. In David, moreover, who can fail to find the thoughts and the words in which, whether he be joyous and grateful, or afflicted and penitent, cheerful or desponding, he can best offer up his sacrifice to God. No power, no words of his own could avail so well. David the sinner, and David the saint, as he was now a sufferer, and now an enjoyer, has alike set forth his sorrows and his joys before God in prayer and praise; and there, as in a mirror, doth every one who like him has sinned and suffered, or obeyed and rejoiced, behold his own soul truly reflected. In none, either of the philosophers of Greece or the moralists of Rome, do I find so much of human life justly depicted, of the human heart so clearly revealed. Nor, which is much more, do they ever speak in that tone of sincerity which marks the prophets of Judea; and it is this virtue in a writer of morals, above all others, that deserves our affection and reverence. The Jew writes of life and man as if it were a matter not of art, but of life and death; the Greek and the Roman, as if to treat a subject as becomes a rhetorician. The Jew writes to help and save him who may read; the Roman or the Greek, to display his genius in a perfect treatise. The Jew therefore we love and obey as a divinity; the Roman or the Greek we honour as an artist who has completed a beautiful work. For the last we have admiration; for the first sighings and tears, and an altered life.
Farewell, my mother, and the blessings of all the Prophets be upon thee.
JULIAN AT MACHÆRUS TO NAOMI IN ROME.
THE HOME OF THE LEPER. — His STORY.-JULIAN DEPARTS TO
Visit HEROD. — THE LEPERS IN THE DESERT.— THE DEAD SEA.
S Onias had desired that I should without delay set
forth on my journey to Machærus, I should have departed on the morning of the first day of the week, but that some other cares detained me, especially, the necessity I felt to be upon me to keep my promise to the poor leper whom I was to visit at his own home. Wherefore, instead of immediately making for Machærus, I turned first toward Beth-Harem to seek out the dwelling of the beggar. From his account of its place, it was easily found near to the inn bearing the sign of the High Priest painted upon its front. Just beyond it stood a shapeless mass of extensive ruins, whose broken roofs and crumbling walls kept out neither the heat of summer nor the rains and cold of winter this was pointed out to me as the abode of the wretched outcast.
The rooms immediately upon the street I found unoccupied, but as I penetrated farther into the gloomy recesses, and then paused to consider which way I should turn — it was the sixth hour— I was arrested by the voice of one as if in prayer. I stood still, and heard with distinctness the voice of a girl, as it seemed to me, rehearsing, as if from memory a Psalm of David, where he deplores and confesses his sins, and cries out from the great deeps of his distress for pity and pardon. The voice having ceased, the tones of another, which I at once remembered as those of the leper, fell upon my ear: “Now, my child, that thou hast repeated these words of the good king and prophet, let me hear thy voice in prayer also ;” with which request the daughter com
plying, I heard the same low and sorrowful voice lifted up in prayer to God. Yet, though the voice was as of one who was burdened, the themes on which it dwelt were such as to inspire cheerfulness and gratitude, rather than sorrow or repining. Many blessings were enumerated that had been bestowed upon them who were ready to perish by the good providence of God, and by the hands of those who had been moved to take pity on them. When the worship was over, I moved from where I had stood, and advancing toward the door of the inner room, passed it, and stood before them.
It was a pitiful yet pleasing spectacle that presented itself. The beggar was seated in a corner of the room, upon a pile of clean straw or rushes, leaning against the wall, with a face upturned as to catch the light that streamed in from a single window, or crevice in the wall, while at his side, also crouched upon the straw, sat her whose voice I had heard, and who had already taken in her hands withes, which with nimble fingers she was weaving into baskets. Some jars and coarse pottery, with a few rude seats, were the only objects in the room. The daughter looked up at my approach, but without surprise, as if accustomed to the intrusion of visitors through the open doors and fissures. The voice of the old man, as his ear caught my footstep, was first heard, “ Who comes here, my child ?"
6 A stranger,” she replied.
“ Not wholly a stranger," I answered. “ It was I who yesterday, doubting the truth of your word, promised to see where you dwelt.”
“ It is not much,” replied the old man,“ to say you are welcome to such a place as this; but I am glad to hear your voice again. It was far better to hear your voice yesterday than the clatter of the brass which the Pharisee showered upon me, which but for you I could never have found. My child had left me for a space, and I alone could not have gathered it up; besides that others would have snatched it from me. It was the same man who a little after caused me to be driven away by the servants of the
synagogue, with reproaches and blows, as a Sabbath breaker. But if I broke the Sabbath by begging, he broke it as well by giving."
“ He could not resist the fine occasion,” I answered, “ of making a show of his benevolence.”
“ That was it, I am sure," answered the daughter, “ though I would not say so of any whom we did not well know. But that Pharisee is known to be very rich, and yet exacting towards all who are dependent on him, casting into prison such as owe him but a few pence. Surely the heart of such a one is not right."
“And then," said the father, “afterwards showing his zeal for the Sabbath day by setting the servants of the synagogue to drive me away. I knew well that it was held unlawful by many to give on the Sabbath ; but I thought within myself there would be out of the great crowds I heard would be gathered together some who would think that to give an alms would be as acceptable an offering as to stand within and pray." “ Surely it must be so," said the daughter; “the Sabbath
” is kept, and God is worshipped by doing good, as well as by saying prayers and reading the Law. Is it not so, sir ?”
“I think so indeed. The Law but requires us to rest on the Sabbath, and not profane it. It is men who add the observances of which you complain. But why," I asked, “ do you beg ?” addressing the daughter. labour sufficient for your honest support?”
6 Oh no, sir; it brings us but very little, hardly enough to supply our food, besides which we must pay for our portion of this crazy tenement. But the people of Beth-Harem are kind to us, lepers though we be. Yet would they avoid us, doubtless, had they not known us in our better days. You need not fear anything, sir, because I tell you my father is a leper. The physicians say that he will suffer no more, and that no one now will receive it from him.”
I said that I feared it not; and asked how it was that while her father suffered so much she had herself escaped ?
6 Is not your