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As we descended from the house-top to the lower apartments of the house, Judith desired to speak with me; but when we had withdrawn to the portico, she deferred still to some other time that which she wished to communicate, and together with the rest of the household we also retired.
The earnest manner of Judith, while at the same time she lightly postponed the interview which a moment before she had sought, led me not with doubt or difficulty to conjecture what it was that would have been the burden of her discourse. As I have already said to thee, my mother, she is beloved of the noble Roman, Saturninus, and by her is he in turn equally beloved, and well are they worthy each of the regards of the other. But the bar which their religions raise between them appears insurmountable. In Rome, indeed, as thou knowest, it is not seldom overleaped, and the Roman and the Jew are joined together. So too in Judea are these differences overcome on the part of many, especially in those places where the introduction of Roman usages and the Roman tongue with Roman inhabitants, has helped to bring the two people into a nearer intercourse, and a better knowledge of each other. They have in this manner discovered, what else they might for ever have remained ignorant of, that save in name and in other matters not less accidental, they have been made by the Father of All much alike; that a Roman heart is much like a Jewish heart, a Roman nature much like a Jewish; that a man is a man, and a woman a woman, notwithstanding name, country, religion, and outward beauty or ugliness; and that the things in which they are the same outweigh, by an immense preponderance, those wherein they are different. So that in such circumstances, in spite of the outcries of many, and the prejudices inherited from ancient customs, the Jews and natives of Rome and other countries have obeyed the instincts which have directed their affections to each other. Yet are there many, very many, who would by no means give way to such affection in themselves, nor permit it in a child. And of such is Onias.
The regard which at first he conceived for Saturninus led him to extend towards him hospitalities and a friendship rare in a Jew toward an alien, and which have brought upon him in no light measure the rebukes of the more strict. But had he foreseen the consequences, sooner would he have sacrificed his life, I believe, than have done aught to provoke them. He relied doubtless on the natural hatred of the Jew for the Roman to defend his daughter, as himself, from any nearer intercourse than the distant one allowed by the most formal observances of society. Alas, how vain the reliance! Love laughs such barriers to scorn. It is free of country, religion, and the wide world. Nevertheless, what shall Onias do or say? Only one thing possibly. Never would thy stern yet loving brother, that
. Jew of Jews, that hater of the Gentile, surrender her to a Roman. How will Zadok now, and such as he, gall the spirit of Onias by their harsh constructions ! How will they charge this issue as a judgment of God upon him for his looseness in receiving the heathen to his board! Yet in Shammai will he find a gentle adviser and friend, and so too will Judith, and one no less confiding in Julian.
I thank thee, my mother, for thy late full supplies of Roman news.
Surely Sejanus must have been made blind by the gods not to perceive the significancy of such conduct and such language in Tiberius. Yet perhaps it is but the
. blindness which a low ambition and a wicked selfishness inflicts necessarily upon itself. He has gazed upon his own dazzling fortunes so long, that eyesight is gone for other things. Grim and deadly as Tiberius stands before him, he sees him not; nor any better can he hear the low but heavy rumbling, as of an earthquake, of a nation's discontent of that vast multitude whom he has injured in themselves, their friends, or their fortunes, and who now begin to perceive that the Emperor is also on their side, and one tyrant may be set against the other. That were a sight
truly grateful, to behold either of those who have glutted their fatal appetite on so many innocent, at length falling into the bloody fangs of the other. Such a fate seems likely enough to befall Sejanus, yet, after all, he may first spring upon Tiberius.
You say that little heed is given among our people in Rome to the rumours which have reached it of Jesus, and you yourself show not by your replies, that your own concern is much deeper. Judith marvels at this. I do not; seeing that the accounts which have reached you of Jesus are none of them such as agree with the prevailing hopes of the expected deliverer. Jesus having given no sign by which to judge him, save his miracles, I marvel not at all that you in Rome at once rank him with those who, by the arts of magic and credulity on the part of the multitude, have a thousand times deluded the nation. The wonders which are ascribed to Jesus cause him naturally, where there is no opportunity of a careful examination and comparison, to be put but on a level with sorcerers and exorcists, of whom the world is full. But I am clearly persuaded, my mother, that there is something more in what is now taking place than you and others in Rome dream of, widely different from what has been witnessed before, either here or elsewhere. For the works of a wonderful kind which are related of Jesus are in their nature and the manner in which they are performed so different from such as are done by magicians, that all who have witnessed them declare with one voice they can be performed by no other power than that of God. Pharisee and Sadducee, Jew and Samaritan, all agree in bearing this testimony. They doubt not that he is indeed a prophet, filled for some purpose not as yet known or by him declared, with the spirit and power of Jehovah. But besides this it is affirmed that his teachings are such as declare him to be of God, not less or more than his miracles, that his character is every way admirable, and his life holy beyond the measure of other men. Can we doubt that he will presently show himself
to be more than a prophet? It will not be long, therefore, as I judge, ere you in Rome and in other distant places will, even as they who are here present, be curious to learn all that is to be known of this strange person. As you will yourself, my mother, be more and more desirous of further intelligence, just in the proportion to that which I shall send you for where was there ever goodness in which you felt not interest ? — I shall take all pains to keep you informed of whatever there is worthy of trust that comes to my ear. I cannot well judge myself what shall be its issue; but shall, I confess, be amazed if so much do not result as shall fill with astonishment not only Judea but Rome also.
Remember me with affection to the members of our household, and to my fellow travellers.
JULIAN AT TIBERIAS TO NAOMI IN ROME.
LAKE OF GENNESARET.-JOANNA AND HER HUSBAND. -- THE
TETRARCH. — FICKLENESS OF THE PEOPLE. -JADDUA.JULIAN's FRANKNESS. - CONVERSATION WITH HEROD. SEJANUS.
HIS, my mother, reaches you from Tiberias, whither
I am come at the command of Herod. It is many weeks since I last wrote. As we are now suffering under the fervors of a summer's sun,
I grieve not that I am perforce on the shores of this inland sea, over which the winds as they sweep are deprived of a portion of that burning heat they bring with them from the Asiatic deserts.
A few days only had passed after I had despatched my last letter, when by a messenger from this place I was summoned to attend the Tetrarch; and Onias at the same time left Beth-Harem for the western shores of the Dead Sea and the region of Idumea. I was by no means sorry to be thus drawn away from Beth-Harem, from which, owing to the manner in which I have bound myself to both Onias and Herod, I have not been at liberty to depart, as I had intended to do from time to time, that I might see more of the country and the inhabitants.
On my way to Tiberias I passed through a long stretch of the valley of the Jordan, giving to the eye of the traveller a succession of scenes similar to those on its banks in the neighbourhood of Beth-Harem and Bethabara. The lake of Gennesaret greeted the sight with a wide prospect of beauty, as on a short turn of the river it suddenly opened upon me, lying quiet and calm in the bosom of hills running along on the eastern and western