Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Public Library

York

NOW

1

CHATHAM SOUARE BRANCH,

33 EAST SROADWAY. CYRCULATING OTPARTMENT

CHAPTER XVII.

JULIAN TO NAOMI.

EXCITEMENT OF THE JEWS. JUDITH'S OPINION OF HEROD. –

CONVERSATION OF JUDITH WITH SHAMMAI AND ZADOK.
EVENING PRAYER OF A DEVOUT JEW.- LOVE BETWEEN
SATURNINUS AND JUDITH.

AT

T length, my mother, after long waiting, and when

the people had nearly abandoned all hope of what they desired, Jesus hath again appeared, not as before on the Jordan, but far from us, in Galilee. At the same time that this news has been brought to our ears, we are told also of astonishing miracles which he has wrought in the towns and villages of that quarter. How shall I describe the amazement and joy that fill the minds of all! Every day and every hour are reports brought to our ears of new wonders he has done, and every day and hour doth the joy of the people rise higher and higher. No one doubts now that God has indeed visited his people. Great numbers, not patient enough to wait for the time when Jesus shall visit other parts of the country, and doubtless among others the valley of the Jordan, have flocked to Galilee, that they may at once remove their doubts, or invigorate their faith by themselves seeing and hearing the new prophet. All Beth-Harem is astir, and the synagogues, the streets, and house-tops resound with the praises of the worshippers, giving thanks for the great redemption that has drawn nigh. All Jerusalem also, so we hear, not less than the parts about us, is moved, and multitudes have already resorted to Capernaum, and the shores of the lake of Galilee. We remain, for many reasons, on the banks of the Jordan - satisfied with the knowledge which we continually receive from such as

मू

are arriving and departing, and on whose truth and exactness we know that we can rely.

All that has reached us of the character and conduct of this prophet, shows that, in respect of wisdom and a holy life, he is well worthy to be a messenger of God. But what his purposes truly are, we cannot pretend as yet to determine. I say that we cannot. For ourselves, who have so espoused the cause of Herod, we cannot hastily nor without the strongest reasons abandon it for another. To him who should appear and afford proof sufficient by the signs he gave that he was the Messiah of God, should we without hesitation or delay transfer ourselves. But no such signs have as yet been given. In the meantime we remain steadfast to him who seems well able to accomplish all the objects, or the greatest which are expected of that personage; nor do we think it an event to be looked for from present appearances, that Jesus will show himself more than a prophet; yet we cannot tell. Though we cannot quite share the excessive transports of the people, we hold ourselves silent and attentive to what shall come

We are filled with amazement at what we hear, and pretend not to say what shall or what shall not be the issue. As surely as the presence of God was manifested of old by Moses and Elijah, so surely it is now by Jesus. Of this all see the evidence, Pharisee and Sadducee, Jew and Samaritan.

to pass.

Judith is made happy beyond all others, as it seems to me, by this coming of Jesus, and by the things we every day hear concerning him and his teachings and his works. She will not doubt that he will prove all we can desire, and hardly can she be restrained from journeying to Galilee that she may herself hear, see, and judge. But though she cannot see and listen for herself, she can scarce converse of any other subject.

“Ah, Julian," said she, as we were lately seated on the house-top as the day was declining, “ how glad I am that

(

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

anything has happened to separate you, even though but. for a season, and in part from that bad man.”

66 And whom do you mean, my cousin ?” said I. “ Could I mean any one,” she replied, “ besides Herod ?”

“ He is not perfect,” said I; “yet as God works his designs by storms, pestilence, and whirlwinds, so may he by demons and bad men.'

“I believe," replied Judith, “ that he does indeed use men's wickedness for some ends, so that even from this, the darkest evil, somewhat beneficial springs. But who can believe that for his Messiah, promised so long, a man like Herod would be chosen."

“ None of the wise men of Israel,” I answered, can tell me, nor have I been able from any quarter to learn with certainty what sort of a personage the looked-for Messiah is to be. Some say he is to be a prophet, and some a king, and some both; and besides these a priest. The only thing in which they agree is, that he is to be a conqueror, and deliver Israel from her slavery. I know not therefore what to make of him with exactness. But if the only belief in which they unite is any guide, then is there some good reason for thinking well of Herod, seeing that already he stands so that with but little doubt he may work out the deliverance of Judea. Though we should not judge him Messiah, why may we not judge of him as one who may avail, like the Maccabees, to save our land from the spoiler?”

“ You do not then, Julian, believe Herod to be the Christ?"

“ To confess the truth,” I replied, “I do not. I believe he may do great good to Judea; that he stands with his harness on, ready, if the people will aid him, to accomplish the very work which by all is looked for from the Messiah; but I do not believe he is therefore that person. I will give him my service as a Jew, as I would enlist under a general in the Roman camp; but no more."

“ I joy to find it is so,” said Judith; “I too may believe

« PreviousContinue »