« PreviousContinue »
plied vigorously on every side their huge battering rams, and clouds of dust, and the crash of falling stones gave evidence how rapidly the work was going on. The walls of the outer court and the porches were fast tumbling in ruins. But no sooner were the women disposed of than the Jews, actuated by one spirit of revenge, forgetting in the heat of the hour the sacredness of the day and their resolutions of forbearance, and rushing in upon the workmen, by the overwhelming force of numbers, drove them from their posts. At this, the Roman Horse, and at the same time also the Greeks, and all others who were hostile to the Jews, poured in to the defence of the workmen; and thus all around, both within and without the walls of the court, and throughout all the surrounding streets, were the whole multitude mingled in bloody fight. As soon, however, as the Centurion had ordered to the attack the soldiers under him, then forth from out the courts of the neighbouring houses, from the windows and doors, poured fully armed, Philip, Simon, and their adherents ; and though on foot fell with fury on the Roman and his troops.
The Jews were now concentrated on one side of the square, the Romans and the Greeks on the other, and with or without weapons, all were engaged. But the Jews, notwithstanding their desperate bravery, and the freedom with which they sold their lives, were no match for the cavalry of the Romans, and were soon seen to yield their ground, and were, indeed, falling back fast, when they were arrested, made to turn again with momentary success upon the enemy, by the sudden appearance of a small troop of mounted Jews, with one at their head whose commanding air and impetuous charge, inspired his countrymen with new courage.
“Come on," cried he, “men of Israel. For the Lord and Judea !” — and, followed by his little band, fell with fury upon the Romans. It was at a moment when it was needful that fortune should show some favour to our people,
though to me it was clear that they could not but soon be routed, and that with great slaughter - for Philip, upon whom dependence was placed more than upon any other, was just then nearly borne down by the advancing horse. But refusing steadfastly to retreat before those whom he hated but feared not, and to whom, if so it must be, he was ready to sell his life, he sought, and engaged hand to hand with the Centurion. Though so unequal in their advantages, Philip made up in some manner for his position, being on foot, by his stature, and the superior strength of his arm.
The fight hung long doubtful; but alas ! as it could not but be, the Centurion prevailed, and by a wellaimed blow clove his antagonist to the ground. At this moment the Jew horseman came up, and I looked that he should on the instant revenge the death of Philip; but suddenly drawing in his horse, he cried out, in the Hebrew tongue, “Ha! Gentile, Gentile, beware the fate of Abimelech!” Had he to whom this was said understood what those words conveyed, he might, by stooping upon his horse, have evaded the messenger of death ; but he knew them not; and they were scarcely uttered when a stone from a roof struck him lifeless to the pavement. I raised my eye to the spot whence it came it was Anna's form I there saw, bending over to behold the work she had done ; but at the same instant, even as I gazed upon her with both wonder and sorrow, a javelin from the hand of a Roman pierced her through, and she fell back among the tiles.
There was then, my mother, no longer any Cæsarea for me; and I flung myself from the place where, till then, I had remained (that I might, in the event of the house being assailed, be at hand for the defence of Anna and her mother), and mingled, as full of the spirit of revenge as any, in the thickest of the fight. But why should I now say more? that soon happened which I had been looking for. The news of the affray had been carried to Pilate—a legion was on the moment despatched to the synagogue, and with its overwhelming force soon decided the contest. But I
heeded not its presence, I knew it not. Blind with passion and grief, I fought madly, till, as I suppose, I fell senseless through loss of strength and blood. I awoke in a Roman dungeon. I am in the hands of Pilate. What the event will be I cannot foresee. If I perish, though thou wilt lose an unworthy son, yet is he one who, in whatever else he failed, failed never in his love of thee. I can now say no more.
These lines I am permitted to place in the hands of Zeno the Greek, trusting that he will despatch them speedily to Rome. Farewell.
JULIAN AT BETH-HAREM TO NAOMI IN ROME.
Taken PRISONER. - A GREEK'S FRIENDSHIP. PROCLA's POWER.
Zeno's KINDNESS. A DELIVERANCE. ESCAPE FROM CÆSAREA. - JEWISH MAIDENS. — PRIMITIVE HOSPITALITY. THE CHAMPION AGAIN.-A RECOGNITION.- ONIAS OF BETHHAREM. - SAMARIA. -INN OF JAEL.
EFORE this reaches you, my mother, you will have
heard of my safety; which earlier knowledge you will owe to the friendship of the Greek, who, as he has said not as I believe - simply because he had no other employment, has not ceased to devote himself to my interests. It is solely too by reason of the friendship which so strangely and suddenly he conceived for me, that I now find myself on the way to Beth-Harem, having liberty for bonds, the vault of the heavens above me for that of Pilate's dungeon, life for death. I can never know, indeed, that Pilate would not in some other manner – though Zeno had not interposed — have obtained a knowledge of the circumstances to which I am beholden for my liberty. Zeno himself declares that it would certainly have been so; for that the governor, seeing how many lives had been already sacrificed, and that he might be called to account for that day's confusion would have gladly seized upon any pretext to set free his prisoners, which yet it was by no means easy to do and preserve his own dignity and authority. However this may be, I can feel none the less my debt to the Greek, who has shown in these affairs, that however he may affect to have been moved in what he has done by that restless temper that must be busy somewhere and about somewhat, he nevertheless possesses a heart which is not only no
stranger to kind affections, but overflows with a wide and generous humanity.
My reflections, when upon awaking out of the insensibility caused by the blows I had received, I found myself in a Roman prison, all went to convince me that I should there end my days. I had been taken in arms against the reigning power; and, though I had not been long in Cæsarea, could probably easily be proved both to be a Jew, and to have been intimate with Philip and Simon, the leaders in the affray. Add to this the circumstance, that my judge was Pilate, and you too will acknowledge, my mother, that my days must have seemed to me to be numbered. That certainly was my conviction.
Yet it was not attended by any selfcrimination for the part I had taken, as I doubt not you
suppose it was, or for the cause in which, as it seemed, I had offered myself up. My heart approved what I had done. I had stood up for the injured, the oppressed, and the weak. I had shown myself to be, what I had at length found myself to be, a Jew; - one who was ready not only to entertain an inward persuasion, but to carry it into outward act. Hours were days and months to me in that dark solitude, for the quickness with which truths revealed themselves to me, and struck their roots into my soul, and grew up into strength and maturity. I seemed in my forlorn and hapless state, to be myself an emblem of my country, bound hand and foot, awaiting the sentence of death at the word of a tyrannic and irresistible power. My mind reviewed with pain my long alienation from the faith and worship of my fathers. My misfortune seemed to
a just judgment upon such mad apostasy, and I thenceforward devoted myself, should my life be spared, to the welfare of my country, by such acts as should appear to me to be most for her advantage and glory. Thy early instructions, my mother, written upon the soft heart of my youth, had then sunk deep; and now,