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Title: The Prince of the House of David
Author: Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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of the Digital Library@Villanova University
(http://digital.library.villanova.edu/))



  New Sabbath Library.  Vol. 1. No. 7. October, 1898.  Single Copy, 5 Cents.
                        Monthly, 60 cents per year.


  The PRINCE of the
  HOUSE of DAVID

  [Illustration]

  BY

  REV J. H. INGRAHAM

  DAVID C. COOK Publishing Co.
  36 WASHINGTON ST. CHICAGO  ELGIN ILL


  [Entered at the Post Office at Elgin, Ill., as Second Class Mail Matter.]



FAMOUS BOOKS AT POPULAR PRICES


  The New Sabbath Library.
  A MONTHLY PUBLICATION.

  Subscription Price, 60 Cents a Year.  Single Copies, 5 Cents.

[Illustration: Titus: a Comrade of the Cross]

[Illustration: The Wrestler of Philippi]

To meet the growing demand for pure literature at popular prices, we
began in April, 1898, the issue of a monthly publication entitled the
=New Sabbath Library=. The success of these issues has proved to be
unprecedented, and they have attained an almost world-wide celebrity.
Although appealing particularly to young people, they will interest all
lovers of good and wholesome literature, whether young or old.

Each issue of the =New Sabbath Library= contains a complete story,
most of them written expressly for us and copyrighted. The books are
of uniform style and size (6½×8½), each containing 96 large pages in
double column. They are in large, clear type, handsomely printed on
good book paper, and fully illustrated with fine half-tone engravings.
The covers are of heavy, white enameled paper, with beautifully
engraved designs.

=Prices.=--Those who wish to procure this Library regularly, as it is
published each month, may remit =60 cents= for a year's subscription,
being particular to state with which issue the subscription is to
commence. Single copies may be ordered of any or all of the books at
the rate of =5 cents= each, or any number of copies of any one book
will be sent at same rate. We prepay postage.

=Cloth Editions.=--We have also prepared special editions of all
these books, printed on very heavy paper, beautifully bound in heavy
covers, cloth backs and corners, ornamented sides. They are specially
adapted for presentation purposes, and are the largest and best books
ever offered for so low a price. Sent postpaid to any address, in any
quantities desired, on receipt of price, =25 cents= per copy.

Following is a list of books already issued, or about to be issued:


No. 1. April, 1898.

A Devotee and a Darling

BY BECCA MIDDLETON SAMSON.

This book received the second prize of $500 from manuscripts submitted
to the publishers in competition during the year 1897.

Fannie, an impulsive girl of sixteen, bereft of her mother, becomes
devotedly attached to Church work and to the study of her Bible. She
makes many blunders and is severely tried at home. At last, in a manner
both strange and startling, Fannie's eyes are opened to see her own
mistaken life.


No. 2. May, 1898.

The Wrestler of Philippi

BY FANNIE E. NEWBERRY.

A tale of the times of the early followers of Jesus, and how they lived
the "Christ-life" in the first century. As "Titus" gave the reader a
picture of the life and times of Christ, so this book is intended to
portray the life and times of the early Church.

The plot is fascinating--a story for both young and old. Its Oriental
setting, description of quaint customs, manners, beliefs, etc., give it
a peculiar interest and attractiveness all its own.


No. 3. June, 1898.

Titus: a Comrade of the Cross

BY FLORENCE M. KINGSLEY.

The publishers of this book, desiring to secure a life of Christ of
superior merit and special character, offered a prize of $1,000 for the
best manuscript submitted. The committee decided in favor of "TITUS."
It was an immediate success, over one million copies having been sold.
It is one of the grandest books of the century, and has attracted
greater attention than any other book published in this country during
the past twenty years.


No. 4. July, 1898.

Out of the Triangle

BY MARY E. BAMFORD.

This is a story of the days of persecution of Christians under the
Emperor Septimius Severus. The scene is mainly laid in Alexandria and
the Libyan Desert. The Egyptian gods were worshiped under the form of
a small triangular stone. The book relates in a vivid and intensely
interesting manner the narrow escapes of an Egyptian lad who has become
a Christian, and the manner in which his family accept his faith and
escape from Alexandria.

(CONTINUED ON THIRD PAGE COVER)



THE PRINCE OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID.

_By REV. J. H. INGRAHAM._


Copyright, 1898, by David C. Cook Publishing Company.


David C. Cook Publishing Company, Elgin, Ill., and 36 Washington St.,
Chicago.



CONTENTS


  PREFACE.
  LETTER I.
  LETTER II.
  LETTER III.
  LETTER IV.
  LETTER V.
  LETTER VI.
  LETTER VII.
  LETTER VIII.
  LETTER IX.
  LETTER X.
  LETTER XI.
  LETTER XII.
  LETTER XIII.
  LETTER XIV.
  LETTER XV.
  LETTER XVI.
  LETTER XVII.
  LETTER XVIII.
  LETTER XIX.
  LETTER XX.
  LETTER XXI.
  LETTER XXII.
  LETTER XXIII.
  LETTER XXIV.
  LETTER XXV.
  LETTER XXVI.
  LETTER XXVII.
  LETTER XXVIII.
  LETTER XXIX.
  LETTER XXX.
  LETTER XXXI.
  LETTER XXXII.
  LETTER XXXIII.
  LETTER XXXIV.
  LETTER XXXV.
  LETTER XXXVI.
  LETTER XXXVII.
  LETTER XXXVIII.
  LETTER XXXIX.



PREFACE.


The "Prince of the House of David," written by Rev. Mr. Ingraham,
needs no recommendation. Its fame has been, long since, established,
and its fascination has already held sway over multitudes of delighted
readers. Recognizing fully its merits, the publishers of this edition
decided to put it in the way of a still greater circulation; and in
order to facilitate this, it has been thoroughly revised and in parts
re-written, all unnecessary repetition appearing in the original
edition of the book being omitted.

Adina, the suppositious writer of the following letters, is the
daughter of a Jew who resides in Alexandria, Egypt. She has come to
Jerusalem during the most stirring period of earth's history, and, from
thence, for the period of three years, she keeps her father apprized of
the marvelous events occurring about her during that time.

                                                        THE PUBLISHERS.



LETTERS FROM ADINA.



LETTER I.


My Dear Father:

My first duty, as it is my highest pleasure, is to comply with your
command to write you as soon as I should arrive at Jerusalem, and this
letter, while it conveys intelligence of my arrival, will confirm to
you my filial obedience.

My journey hither occupied many days. When we traveled in sight of
the sea, which we did for three days, I enjoyed the majesty of the
prospect, it seemed so like the sky stretched out upon the earth.
I also had the good fortune to see several ships, which the Rabbi
informed me were Roman galleys, bound some to Sidon, and others into
the Nile; and after one of these latter, as it was going to you, I sent
a prayer and a wish. Just as we were leaving the sea-shore to turn off
into the desert, I saw a wrecked vessel. It looked so helpless and
bulky, with its huge black body all out of the water, that it seemed
to me like a great sea-monster, stranded and dying; and I felt like
pitying it. How terrible a tempest must be upon the sea! I was in hopes
to have seen a Leviathan, but was not gratified in the wish. The good
Rabbi, who seemed to know all about these things, told me that they
seldom appear now in the Middle Sea, but are seen beyond the pillar of
Hercules at the world's end.

At Gaza we stopped two days, and from thence we proceeded over-land to
our destination.

The morning of the last day of our journey but one, having lost our way
and wandered many hours eastwardly, we caught sight of the Sea of Sodom
and Gomorrah, at a great distance to the east. How my pulse quickened
at beholding that fearful spot! I seemed to see in imagination the
heavens on fire above it, and the flames and smoke ascending as from a
great furnace, as on that fearful day when they were destroyed, with
all that beautiful surrounding plain, which we are told was one vast
garden of beauty. How calm and still lay now that sluggish sea beneath
a cloudless sky! We held it in sight many hours, and once caught a
glimpse of the Jordan north of it, looking like a silver thread; yet
near as it appeared to be, I was told it was a good day's journey for a
camel to reach its shores.

After losing sight of this melancholy lake, our way lay along a narrow
valley for some time, and the next day, on reaching an eminence,
Jerusalem appeared, as if risen out of the earth.

I cannot, my dear father, describe to you my emotions on beholding the
Holy City! They have been experienced by millions of our people--they
were similar to your own as you related them to me. All the past,
with its mighty men who walked with Jehovah, rushed to my memory, and
compelled me to bow my head, and worship and adore at the sight of the
Temple, where God once (alas, why does he no longer visit earth and his
holy house?) dwelt in the flaming Shechinah, and made known the oracles
of his will.

We entered the city just before the sixth hour of the evening, and were
soon at the house of our relative, Amos, the Levite. I was received as
if I had a daughter's claim to their embraces; and with the luxuries
with which they surrounded me in my gorgeously furnished apartments.
I am sure my kinsfolk here mean to tempt me to forget the joys of the
dear home I have left.

The Rabbi Amos and his family all desire to be commended to you. He
seems to be a man of piety and benevolence, and greatly loves his
children. I have been once to the Temple. Its outer court seemed like
a vast caravanserai or market-place, being thronged with the men who
sell animals for sacrifice, which crowded all parts. Thousands of doves
in large cages were sold on one side, and on another were stalls for
lambs, sheep, calves and oxen, the noise and bleating of which, with
the confusion of tongues, made the place appear like anything else than
the Temple of Jehovah. It appears like desecration to use the Temple
thus, dear father, and seems to show a want of that holy love of God's
house that once characterized our ancestors. On reaching the women's
court I was sensible of being in the Temple, by the magnificence
which surrounded me. With what awe I bowed my head in the direction
of the Holy of Holies! I never felt before so near to God! Clouds of
incense floated above the heads of the multitude, and rivers of blood
flowed down the marble steps of the altar of burnt offering. Alas! how
many innocent victims bleed every morning and evening for the sins
of Israel! What a sea of blood has been poured out in ages that have
passed! What a strange, fearful mystery, that the blood of an innocent
lamb should atone for sins I have done! There must be some deeper
meaning in these sacrifices, dear father, yet unrevealed to us.

As I was returning from the Temple I met many persons, who seemed to be
crowding out of the gate on some unusual errand. I have since learned
that they were going to see a very extraordinary man--a true prophet of
God, it is believed by many, who dwells in the wilderness eastward near
Jordan, and who preaches with power unknown in the land since the days
of Elijah and Elisha. I hope he is a true prophet of heaven, and that
God is once more about to remember Israel, but the days of the Prophets
have long passed away, and I fear this man is only an enthusiast.

Farewell, dear father, and let us ever pray for the glory of Israel.

                                                Your affectionate,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER II.


My Dear Father:

The street in which we dwell is elevated, and from the roof of the
house, where I love to walk in the evening, watching the stars that
hang over Egypt, there is commanded a wide prospect of the Holy City.

Yesterday morning I was early on the house-top, to behold the first
cloud of the day-dawn sacrifice rise from the bosom of the Temple.
When I had turned my gaze towards the sacred summit, I was awed by
the profound silence which reigned over the vast pile that crowned
Mount Moriah. The sun was not yet risen; but the east blushed with a
roseate purple, and the morning star was melting into its depth. Night
and silence still held united empire over the city and the altar of
God. I was awe-silent. I stood with my hands crossed upon my bosom
and my head reverently bowed, for in the absence of man and his voice
I believed angels were all around in heavenly hosts, the guardian
armies of this wondrous city of David. Lances of light now shot upward
and across the purple sea in the East, and fleeces of clouds, that
reposed upon it like barks, catching the red rays of the yet unrisen
sun, blazed like burning ships. Each moment the darkness fled, and the
splendor of the dawn increased; and when I expected to see the sun
appear over the battlemented heights of Mount Moriah, I was thrilled by
the startling peal of the trumpets of the priests; a thousand silver
trumpets blown at once from the walls of the Temple, and shaking the
very foundations of the city with their mighty voice. Instantly the
house-tops everywhere around were alive with worshipers. Jerusalem
started, as one man, from its slumbers, and, with their faces towards
the Temple, a hundred thousand men of Israel stood waiting. A second
trumpet peal, clear and musical as the voice of God when he spake to
our father Moses in Horeb, caused every knee to bend, and every tongue
to join in the morning song of praise. The murmur of voices was like
the continuous roll of the surge upon the beach, and the walls of
the lofty Temple echoed it back. Simultaneously with the billow-like
swell of the adoring hymn, I beheld a pillar of black smoke ascend
from the midst of the Temple, and spread itself above the court like a
canopy. It was accompanied by a blue wreath of lighter and more misty
appearance, which threaded in and out and entwined about the other,
like a silvery strand woven into a sable cord. This latter was the
smoke of the incense which accompanied the burnt sacrifice. As I saw it
rise higher and higher, and finally overtop the heavy cloud, which was
instantly enlarged by volumes of dense smoke that rolled upward from
the consuming victim, and slowly disappeared, melting into heaven, I
also kneeled, remembering that on the wings of the incense went up the
prayers of the people; and ere it dissolved wholly, I entrusted to it,
dear father, prayers for thee and me.

The evening sacrifice is, if possible, more imposing than that of
the morning. Just as the sun dips beyond the hill of Gibeah, there
is heard a prolonged note of a trumpet blown from one of the western
watch-towers of Zion. Its mellow tones reach farthest ear within the
gates of the city. All labor at once ceases. Every man raises his face
towards the summit of the house of God. A deep pause, as if all held
their breath in expectation, succeeds. Suddenly the very skies seem
to be riven and shaken with the thunder of the company of trumpeters
that rolls wave on wave of sound, from the battlements of the Temple.
The dark cloud of sacrifice ascends in solemn grandeur, and, sometimes
heavier than the evening air, falls like a descending curtain around
the Mount, till the whole is veiled from sight; but above it is seen to
soar the purer incense to the invisible Jehovah, followed by a myriad
eyes, and the utterance of a nation's prayers. As the daylight faded,
the light of the altar, hidden from us by the lofty walls of the outer
court of the Temple, blazed high and beacon-like, and lent a wild
solemnity to the towers and pinnacles that crowned Moriah.

[Illustration: PANORAMA OF JERUSALEM]

There was, however, my dear father, last evening, one thing which
painfully marred the holy character of the sacred hour. After the
blast of the silver trumpets of the Levites had ceased, and while all
hearts and eyes were ascending to Jehovah with the mounting wreaths
of incense, there came from the Roman castle adjoining the city of
David, a loud martial clangor of brazen bugles, and other barbarian
war instruments of music, while a smoke, like the smoke of sacrifice,
rose from the heights of David's fortified hill. I was told that it was
the Romans engaged in worshiping Jupiter. Alas! How truly now are the
prophecies fulfilled, which are to be found in the Lamentations: "The
Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath given up into the hands of the
enemy the walls of her palaces: they have made a noise in the house of
the Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast." For these things I weep, my
dear father.

Nearly three hundred years have passed since we have had a
prophet--that divine and youthful Malachi. Since his day, Rabbi Amos
confesses that Jehovah has made no sign of having heard the prayers
or heeded the sacrifices that have been offered to him in his time.
I inquired of the intelligent Rabbi if it would always be thus. He
replied that when Shiloh came, there would be a restoration of all
things--that the glory of Jerusalem then would fill the whole earth
with the splendor of the sun, and that all nations should come up from
the ends of the world to worship in the Temple.

My conversation with Rabbi Amos, dear father, led me to examine the
Book of the Prophet Malachi. I find that after plainly alluding to our
present shame, and reproaching the priests "for causing the people to
stumble," he thus prophesies: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and
he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek shall
suddenly come to his Temple, and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier
of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as
gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in
righteousness. Behold," adds the divine seer, "I will send you Elijah
the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the
Lord."

These words I read to-day to Rabbi Amos--indeed I was reading them
when Rabbi Ben Israel came in to say that he departs to-morrow.
The excellent Amos looked grave. I feared I had offended him by my
boldness, and, approaching him, was about to embrace him, when I saw
tears were sparkling in his eyes. He took my hand, and smiling, while
a glittering drop danced down his snow-white beard and broke into
liquid diamonds upon my hand, he said, "You have done no wrong, child;
sit down by me and be at peace with thyself. It is too true, in this
day, what the Prophet Malachi writeth, O Ben Israel," he said sadly to
the Alexandrian Rabbi. "The priests of the Temple have indeed become
corrupt, save a few here and there. It must have been at this day the
prophet aimed his words. Save in the outward form, I fear the great
body of our Levites have little more true religion and just knowledge
of the one God Jehovah, than the priests of the Roman idolatry. Alas, I
fear me, God regards our sacrifices with no more favor than he looks
upon theirs. To-day, while I was in the Temple, and was serving at the
altar with the priests, these words of Isaiah came into my thoughts
and would not be put aside: 'To what purpose is the multitude of your
sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. I am full of the burnt offerings
of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of
bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. Bring no more vain oblations;
incense is an abomination unto me; I am weary to bear them; yea, when
ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye
make many prayers I will not hear; your hands are full of blood. Wash
you; make you clean. Cease to do evil; learn to do well.'"

"I have noticed," said Ben Israel, "that there is less reverence now in
the Temple than when I was in Jerusalem a young man; but I find that
the magnificence of the ceremonies is increased."

"Yes," responded Rabbi Amos, with a look of sorrow, "yes, as the soul
of piety dies out from within, they gild the outside. The increased
richness of the worship is copied from the Romans. So low are we
fallen! Our worship, with all its gorgeousness, is as a sepulchre
white-washed to conceal the rottenness within!"

You may be convinced, my dear father, that this confession, from such a
source, deeply humbled me. If, then, we are not worshiping God, what do
we worship? Naught! We are worse off than our barbarian conquerors, for
we have no God; while they at least have gods many and lords many, such
as they are.

Since writing the last line I have been interrupted by Mary, who has
brought to see me a youth, nephew of a noble Jewish ruler, who was
slain by the Romans for his patriotic devotion to his country. He
dwells near the Gaza gate, with his widowed mother, who is a noble
lady, honored by all. Between this young man, whose name is John, and
Mary, there exists a beautiful attachment, which is each day ripening
into the deepest emotion. He has just returned from the vicinity
of Jericho, where he has been for some days past, drawn thither by
curiosity to see and hear the new prophet, who is drawing thousands
into the wilderness, to listen to the eloquence that flows from his
mouth. The young man had been giving Mary so interesting an account of
him that she desired me also to be a listener. In my next I will write
you all I heard.

                           Your affectionate and devoted daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER III.


My Dear Father:

This morning, as I was coming from the Temple, I noticed a vast pile
of edifices crowning the opposite rock, which I was told was the Tower
of Antonia. It seemed to frown sternly upon the Temple; and upon its
battlements glittered, at intervals, numerous Roman eagles. I had so
often heard you relate historical events connected with this celebrated
castle, that I regarded it with peculiar interest. You seemed to stand
by my side as I gazed upon it. The insolence and power of the Roman
garrison have made the beautiful walk about the base of the tower
almost deserted; but of this I was not aware; and, attended only by
my Ethiopian slave, Onia, I lingered to admire the splendor of the
cloister once surrounding the treasure-house of the Temple, with its
terraces supported by white marble pillars, fifteen cubits high, when
two Roman soldiers approached. It was then that I saw I was alone. I
drew my veil closely, and would have passed them rapidly, when one of
them placed himself in my path, and catching hold of my veil, tried
to detain me. I left it in his grasp and was flying, when the other
soldier arrested me. This was in full view of the castle, and at my
shrieks the barbarians in the castle laughed aloud. At this crisis
appeared a young centurion, who was on horseback, coming down the
rocky path that ascends the Rock of Zion, and shouting to them, he
galloped forward, and with his sword put the men to immediate flight
and rescued me. In order to escort me safely to the streets below, he
alighted from his horse, and leading him by the rein, walked by my
side. I confess to you, dear father, I had not reached the house of my
relative before my prejudices against the Romans were greatly modified.
I had found in one of them as courteous a person as I had ever met with
among my own countrymen, and for his sake I was willing to think better
of his barbaric land and people.

[Illustration: TOWER OF ANTONIA]

While I was writing the above, a commotion without drew me to the
lattice, which overlooks the street that goes out of the gate to
Bethany, one of the most frequented thoroughfares in the city. The
sight that met my eyes was truly imposing, but made my heart sink with
shame. It was a pageant, with banners, eagles, trumpets and gilded
chariots, but not the pageant of a king of Israel, like those which
dazzled the streets of Jerusalem in the days of Solomon and King
David; not the triumphant passage of an Israelitish prince, but of the
Roman governor. Preceded by a cohort of horse, he rode in a gilded
war-chariot, lolling at his ease beneath a silken shade of blue silk,
fringed with gold. The horses were snowy-white, and covered with silver
mail, and adorned with plumes. He was followed by another body of
cavalry, and at the head of them, looking more like a ruler and prince
than did the indolent Pilate, I beheld the generous centurion who had
aided my escape from the two soldiers. His eye sought the lattice at
which I stood, and I drew back, but not before he had seen me and
saluted me. Certainly, father, this youth is noble and courteous enough
to be a Jew, and should any providence cause us to meet again, I shall
try to convert him from his idolatry to serve the living Jehovah.

You will remember, dear father, that I alluded to an excitement that is
increasing every day, in reference to a new prophet, who is preaching
in the wilderness of Jericho. For three weeks past several parties of
citizens have been to the valley of Jordan to see and hear him, and
have so far been carried away by him as to have been baptized of him
in Jordan, confessing their sins. Among them is John, the cousin and
betrothed of Mary. Upon his return we saw that his countenance was
animated beyond its wont, for he is usually of a sad and gentle aspect,
and that his fine eyes beamed with an ardent hope, that seemed new-born
to his soul. He thus recounted to us his visit to the prophet of Jordan:

"After leaving the gate of the city I soon reached the pretty town of
Bethpage, where, at the inn, I beheld several horsemen just mounting,
to go in the direction of Jericho. On joining the cavalcade, I learned
they were for the most part drawn out of Jerusalem on the same errand
with myself. One of them, a wealthy young noble of Arimathea, was
actuated by the same holy desire that burned in my bosom, a desire
that we might, in the prophet who was called John, discover a man sent
from God. The others were bent on commerce, on pleasure, or mere idle
curiosity. As Joseph of Arimathea and I rode together, we conversed
about the man we expected to see. My companion seemed to believe that
he was a true prophet, for being very well read in the Scriptures, he
said that the seventy weeks of Daniel were now about completed, when
the Messiah was to come! I then asked him if he believed that the
Messiah, who was to be a 'Prince and king and have dominion from the
sea to the ends of the earth,' would come in the wilderness, clad in
the skin of wild beasts? To this he replied that he could not regard
this prophet as the Messiah, for when the Christ should come, he was
'suddenly to come to the Temple,' and that we should doubtless first
see him there; but that he was greatly in hopes that the prophet we
were going to see would prove to be the forerunner, foretold by Malachi.

"'Those who heard him,' said Joseph, as we rode into the village of
Bethany, 'say that he publicly proclaims himself the forerunner of the
Messiah. The opinion of the more ignorant who have listened to him, is
that it is Elijah himself, returned to the earth. Others assert that
it is Enoch come down from heaven, and not a few believe him to be
Isaiah.'"

At this point of the narrative of the cousin of Mary, dear father, I
will close this letter. In my next I will resume his narrative, for
when I have given it to you wholly, I have many things to ask you to
which it gives rise in my mind. May the blessing of the God of Israel
be upon thee, my dearest father!

                                                                 Adina.



LETTER IV.


My Dear Father:

I have had the pleasure to-day, not only of hearing from you, but of
being assured of your continued welfare. The messages of parental
affection contained in your letter are cherished in my heart.

You need not fear, my dear father, that I shall be carried away from
the faith of Israel by any strange doctrines. I will take counsel by
your wisdom, and be cautious how I venture in my inquiries upon sacred
ground.

In my last letter I commenced giving you the narrative of John, with
which I shall now proceed.

"Having passed out of the city of Jericho, my friend of Arimathea and
myself crossed the plain toward Jordan. The morning was balmy; the sun
made all nature glad. The dew reflected a myriad lesser suns, and the
earth appeared strewn with diamonds. For a little way the road lay
between fields of corn and gardens, but soon it crossed the open plain,
on which were droves of wild asses, which lifted their small, spirited
heads on our approach, eyed us with timid curiosity, and then bounded
off to the wilderness southward with the speed of antelopes. As the
great body of the people took their way obliquely across the plain,
we knew the prophet must be in that direction. We at length found him
on the banks of Jordan, below the landing and ford, which is opposite
Jericho, on the great caravan road to Balbec.

"We drew near a dark mass of human beings which we had beheld afar
off, assembled around a small eminence near the river. Upon it, raised
a few cubits taller than their heads, stood a man upon whom all eyes
were fixed, and to whose words every ear was attentive. His clear,
rich, earnest tones had reached us as we approached, before we could
distinguish what he said. He was a young man not above thirty, with
a countenance such as the medallions of Egypt give to Joseph of our
nation, once their prince. His hair was long, and wildly free about his
neck; he wore a loose sack of camel's hair, and his right arm was naked
to the shoulder. His attitude was as free and commanding as that of a
Caucasian warrior, yet every gesture was gentle and graceful. With all
his ringing and persuasive eloquence there was an air of the deepest
humility upon his countenance, combined with an expression of the
holiest enthusiasm. His theme was the Messiah.

"'Oh, Israel, return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by
thine iniquity,' he was saying as we came up, as if in continuation of
what had gone before. 'Take with you words, and turn unto the Lord,
and say unto him: Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.
Behold, he cometh who will heal your backsliding, and will love you
freely. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name
of the Lord shall be delivered, for beside him there is no Savior.'

"'Of whom speaketh the prophet these things?' asked one who stood near
me.

"'Of Messiah--listen!' answered him a Scribe near, as if not pleased to
have his attention interrupted by this side talk. 'His words are plain.
Hear him.'

"'Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, for the day of the Lord cometh,'
continued the prophet, in a voice like that of a silver trumpet; 'for,
behold, the day is at hand when I will bring again the captivity of
Judah. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. The day is at
hand when the Lord shall roar out of Zion and utter his voice from
Jerusalem.'

"'Art thou not Elias?' asked one aloud.

"'I am he of whom it is written. The voice of one crying in the
wilderness, make straight a highway for our God. The day of the Lord is
at hand. I am but the herald who is sent before to prepare the way of
the Lord.'

"'Art thou not the Messiah?' asked a woman who stood near him, and
seemed to worship his very lips.

"'He who cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not
worthy to bear,' he responded, in an exultant tone, strangely at
variance with his words. 'Therefore, repent ye, repent ye, take words
and return unto the Lord our God. Repent and be baptized for the
remission of your sins.' Then he added, turning to some of the priests,
'Behold, even now is the axe laid unto the root of the trees; every
tree, therefore, that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and
cast into the fire.'

"'Master,' said a Levite, 'dost thou speak these things to us, who are
of Israel, or to these Gentiles and Samaritans?' for there were not a
few Roman soldiers among the multitude, drawn hither by curiosity, and
also many people from Samaria.

"'Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saith the Lord, for my people
have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living
waters, and hewn them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold
no water. And yet thou sayest, O Israel, thou hast not sinned. Thine
own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove
thee. Repent and do works meet for repentance, every one of you, for
ye have polluted the land; neither say, Where is the Lord that brought
us up out of the land of Egypt? Trust not to lying words, saying, The
Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord! Ye
have made it a den of robbers. Your sacrifices therein are become an
abomination.'

"'This would touch us who are priests, master,' said a priest, with a
crimson brow. 'We are not robbers.'

"'Thus saith the Lord,' answered the youthful prophet, as if it were
God himself speaking from Horeb, so that we trembled: 'Woe be unto
the pastors that destroy my sheep. How is the gold become dim! how is
the most fine gold changed! The precious sons of Zion, comparable to
fine gold, how are they esteemed? Woe unto you, ye priests, for ye
have transgressed. My people have transgressed for lack of knowledge.
Therefore doth the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein
languisheth. Therefore do swearing and lying, and killing and stealing,
and committing adultery, break out in the land, because there is no
truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. Woe unto you, ye
priests!'

"Many of the Levites then turned and left him and went away greatly
murmuring; and they would gladly have done the prophet a mischief, but
they feared the multitude, who said he had spoken only the truth of
them.

"'But the elders of Israel, who are not priests, who spring from
Abraham, shall be saved by Abraham, master?' asserted, or rather
inquired, a rich ruler of our city, after the tumult caused by the
withdrawal of the Levites had a little subsided. The youthful prophet
rested his dark eyes, like two suns, upon the old man's face, and said
impressively, 'Begin not to say within yourself, We have Abraham to
our father; for I say unto you,' he added, pointing to the pebbles at
his feet, 'that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto
Abraham. He is of Abraham who doth righteousness; therefore repent, and
bring forth fruits meet for repentance.'

"Here was heard some murmuring among a group of many Pharisees and
Sadducees at these words, when, sending his lightning glance towards
them, as if he could read their very hearts, he cried:

"'O generation of vipers! Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to
come? The day cometh when he who is to come shall sit as a purifier by
his furnace. Bring forth, therefore, fruits meet for repentance. Turn
thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. Repent ye, for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

"'Hear, O Israel! Am I a God at hand and not a God afar off? saith the
Lord. Hear ye the message of the Most High, for the day hath come when
Jehovah shall once more visit the earth and talk face to face with his
creatures. Behold, the day hath come, saith the Lord, that I will raise
unto David a righteous branch, and a king to reign and prosper, who
shall execute judgment and justice on the earth.

"'Behold, the day hath come, saith the Lord, in which Judah shall be
saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; when I will set up shepherds over
them, which shall feed them, and they shall lack nothing.

"'Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is
risen upon thee! Darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the
people, as saith Esaias; but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and his
glory shall be seen upon thee. The Gentiles shall come to his light,
and kings to the brightness of his rising. He shall be called the Lord
of our righteousness, and shall be a crown of glory in the hand of the
Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. The Spirit of the Lord
is upon me to proclaim the acceptable year of his coming. He hath set
me a watchman upon thy walls, O Israel, and I may neither hold my peace
day nor night, nor keep silence, nor seek rest, till he come, who hath
sent me forth his messenger before his face. How can I refrain from my
message of joy? How shall I not speak of his fame? Incline your ear and
come unto him. Hear, and your soul shall live.

"'Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the ends of the
earth; for thus saith God the Lord, I have put my spirit upon him; a
bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not
quench. I, the Lord, saith Jehovah, addressing the Only Begotten, I
have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thy hand and keep
thee, and will give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of
the Gentiles, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from
the prison. I have made him, my first-born, higher than the kings of
the earth. Look unto him, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.
The Lord of Hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.'

"All this was spoken with an enthusiasm and fire that made every pulse
bound.

"Such," said John, "was the extraordinary style of this mighty
prophet's preaching. I fancied I had only to look around to behold
the Messiah. The immense multitude stood awed and silent when he had
ceased. Leaving the eminence, he said, and I thought he fixed his eyes
upon me, 'Ye who desire to be baptized for the remission of sins, that
your hearts may be cleansed for the visitation of this Holy One of
God, follow me to the river side.' Thousands obeyed, and I one of the
first. I trembled all over with a sweet pleasure, when he took me by
the hand, and asked me if I believed in him who was to come, and would
prepare the way for his abode in my heart by being baptized, which rite
also was to be a sign and pledge that when I should behold the Shiloh
rising, I should acknowledge him. Not less than one thousand were
baptized by him that day in Jordan, confessing their sins, and hopes of
pardon through the name of the Unknown One, who was soon to come.

"After the baptism, the whole company dispersed in groups, and the
prophet returned into the wilderness till the cool of the evening,
where his repast was locusts and the wild honey of the desert."

With this, dear father, I close my long letter. I make no comments. I
will only say that my expectations are actively awake, and that I am
looking, with thousands of others, for the near advent of the Messiah.

                                                    Your daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER V.


My Dear Father:

"After the prophet had ended his second discourse, and baptized full
two hundred more in the sparkling waters of Jordan," resumed the
eloquent cousin of Mary, "he sent them away to the city to lodge
and buy meat; for few, in their eagerness to hear him, had brought
provisions with them. Many, before leaving him, drew near to receive
his blessing of love, and it was touching to see venerable men, with
locks shining like silver, and leaning upon the staff, bend their aged
heads before the youthful Elias, as if in acknowledgment of his divine
commission. Mothers also brought their infants, that he might bless
them; and youths and maidens knelt reverently at his feet in tears of
love and penitence. Calmly he stood upon the green shores, like an
angel alighted upon earth, and blessed them in words all new to our
ears, but which thrilled to our hearts with some secret power that
agitated us with trembling joy.

"'In the name of the Lamb of God I bless thee!'

"'What can be the meaning of these words?' asked Mary, with her gentle
earnestness. Her betrothed could only reply that he knew not.

"At length, one after another, the multitude departed, save a few who
encamped beneath trees on the banks of the river. Joseph of Arimathea
and I were left almost alone standing near the prophet, and regarding
him with reverential curiosity. The sun was just disappearing over the
distant towers of Jericho, and painting with the richest purple the
hills between the river and Jerusalem. Jordan, catching its reddening
radiance, rolled past like a river of liquid gold embanked in emerald.
The brow of the prophet, lighted up by a sun-ray that shone between
the branches of a pomegranate tree, seemed like the face of Moses
when he came down from Sinai, a glory of light. He appeared rapt in
heavenly meditation, and we stood silent and gazed upon him, not daring
to speak. At length he turned towards us, smiled, and, saluting us,
grasped the crook or staff on which he had been leaning--for he was
weary and pale with his labors of the day--and slowly walked down the
shore in the direction of the wilderness. He had not advanced many
steps when I felt an irresistible impulse to follow him. I therefore
said to my companion:

"'Let us follow him, and learn more of these great things which we have
this day heard.'

"We proceeded slowly after him, as he moved in a contemplative mood
along the desert path. The sun had already gone down, and the full moon
rose on the opposite shore, and the prophet stopped as if to gaze upon
its autumnal beauty. We drew near to him. He beheld us, but did not
avoid us; seeing which, I advanced with timid confidence, and said:

"'Holy prophet of the Most High God, wilt thou permit two young men of
Israel to speak to thee? for our hearts yearn towards thee with love.
And chiefly would we inquire of thee touching the advent of the mighty
Personage whose near coming thou dost foretell?'

"'Friends,' said the prophet, in a calm and serene manner, 'I am a
dweller in the desert, and alone, from choice. I approach men only to
proclaim my message. The delights of earth are not for me. My mission
is one. Its duration is short. Its aim worthy the greatest prophet of
God, yet am I, the least of them, not worthy to be called a prophet;
and before the splendor of him whom I announce to the world, I am the
dust of the balance. If thou hast sought me to search after knowledge,
come and sit down with me upon this rock, and let me hear what thou
hast to ask of me, that I may answer thee and go my way.'

"This was said softly, gently, almost sadly, and in a tone that made
me love him more and more. I could have cast myself upon his bosom and
wept there. We seated ourselves, one on either side of him. The scene
and the hour were well fitted for such a converse as we were about
to hold. The broad disc of the moon poured a flood of orange-tinted
radiance full upon us, and lent a hallowed softness to the divine
countenance of the youthful prophet. The Jordan, dark as India's dye,
darted swiftly past at our feet, between its deeply-shaded banks,
sending up to our ears the faintest murmur of its pebbly passage. Above
our heads swelled the vaulted arch of the Temple of Jehovah, with its
myriad of altar fires. Behind us stretched the desert waste, cheerless
and yet grand in its desolate distances.

"Afar off rose upon the air, and was borne to us at intervals, the
voice of a singer in one of the camps; and near us, upon an acacia
tree, sat a solitary bulbul, which ceaselessly sang its sweet and
varied hymn to the listening moon.

"'All things praise God; shall we be silent?' said the prophet. 'Let
us sing the evening hymn of the Temple.' He then commenced, in a rich,
melodious chant, such as I have never heard from the priests, our
sacred psalm to the whole creation of God. We joined our voices with
his, and the tide of praise floated over the waters, and echoed and
re-echoed from the opposing shores, as if the banks and stream, trees,
hills and sky had found voice as well as we:

    "'Praise! praise! praise ye the Lord!
    Praise him in the heights! Praise him in the seas!
    Praise him, men of Israel! Praise ye the Lord!
      For he exalteth high his people,
        And reigneth evermore!

    "'Praise him, all ye angels! Praise him, all ye hosts!
    Praise him, sun and moon, and all ye stars of light!
    Praise him, fire and hail! Praise him, storm and snows!
      For he judgeth the earth in righteousness,
        And reigneth evermore!

    "'Praise! praise! praise ye the Lord!
    Praise him, winged fowl, and herds, cattle, and all beasts!
    Praise him, kings and people, princes, priests and judges!
    Praise him, youths and maidens, old men and children!

    "'Praise the name, let them praise the name,
    Praise the name of the Lord God of Hosts!
    For his name alone is excellent,
    His glory above the heavens;
    Israel is his first-born--a people well-beloved!
    Praise! let Israel, therefore, praise him!
      Praise him evermore,
        Evermore,
            Ever, evermore!'

"Never shall I forget the effect produced upon my inmost being by this
hymn. The prophet sang as if he were leading a choir of angels. My
heart leaped at the chorus, as if it would break out, take wing and
leave the earth. When we called on the winds and the fowls of the air
to praise Jehovah with us, the thrilling voice of the bulbul seemed
to pour from its throat a wilder, richer, more joyous tide of song,
and the audible wind bent the adoring trees, and mingled its mystic
whispers with the psalm of men. Surely, thought I, it is good for me to
be here, for this is none other than the gate of Paradise!

"After a few moments' silence, the prophet spoke and said:

"'You sought me, brethren of Israel; can I do aught for you?'

"'We would hear more, great prophet, touching this mighty One who is
to come after thee,' said Joseph.

"'I can tell thee but little, my brethren, save what thou hast heard
from me this day. The future is veiled. I bear a message, indeed, but
I may not break the seal and read. To you it will be given to know
what is now unknown to me. If it be permitted me to see him, it will
be but for a brief space, for when he cometh I depart--my errand is
done. Blessed are those who live to witness his glory, and to hear the
gracious voice of God that proceeds from his anointed lips.'

"'And when will be his advent, and with what form and power cometh this
divine Being?' I asked.

"'As a man, but not with comeliness of form that men should desire him.
His appearance will be humble, lowly and meek.'

"'Yet you said to-day, Rabbi,' I continued, 'that his power should be
infinite, and that of his kingdom there should be no end. You spoke
of the glory of his dominions, and the humiliation of Gentile kings
beneath his sceptre.'

"'This I cannot explain--it is a mystery to me. I speak as God, by whom
I am sent, gives me utterance. I know that he who cometh after me is
greater than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.'

"'You taught us this evening, holy prophet, that he would be the Lord
from heaven; and yet that Esaias saith he will be despised and rejected
of men, wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.'

"'The spirit of God teaches me that these words apply to Shiloh; but
I cannot comprehend how these things can be,' he answered, with deep
sadness.

"'May I remind you, good Rabbi,' said Joseph, 'that you taught us how
this Divine Personage should die, though Lord of life, and be numbered
in his death with transgressors, though the Holy One of God?'

"'And such will be the events that are to happen; but seek not to know
what no man hath had revealed to him. The divine Messiah himself must
be his own interpreter. Blessed will be the eyes that behold him, and
listen to the wisdom of his mouth, and keep the law of his lips.'

"'May I ask you, holy prophet of the Lord,' said Joseph, 'how is
it that he whom you are sent by God to bear witness to can be the
Deliverer of Israel, when you predict for him so sad a fate? Messiah is
to restore Jerusalem and the glory of the Temple, so saith Esaias, so
say Ezra and Jeremiah. We therefore, in the Messiahs of the prophets,
have looked for a powerful potentate, who shall reign in Jerusalem over
the whole earth and subdue all nations.'

"'His kingdom is not of this earth,' answered the prophet, impressively.

"'How then can we interpret the prophet David, who maketh the Lord to
say: "I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion"? Also, how shall
we interpret those sayings of Esaias who, prophesying of the blessed
Christ of God, hath these words: "Of the increase of his government
and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon
his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with
justice, from henceforth, even forever"?'

"'I know not. These secrets are with God. This I know, that the least
child and the lowliest hireling that liveth in the day of Messias is
greater than I. I am the last of the prophets. It is for me to open the
last door that leads out from the night of prophecy into the glorious
dawn of the day of fulfillment; but I am not permitted to enter beyond
the threshold, or share in its blessings. All who come after me will be
preferred before me. But let me rejoice that the day-star is about to
rise, though his beams shine on all the earth but me!' This was said
with the most touching pathos.

"We were both deeply moved, I myself even to tears. I sank on my knees,
and kissing his hand, bathed it with my tears.

"He gently raised me, and said in a sweet voice:

"'Brother beloved, thou shalt see him to whom I bear witness, and he
will love thee, and thou shalt repose in his bosom!' I burst into
tears, and, rising, I walked a little ways apart, and lifting up my
eyes toward heaven, I prayed the God of our fathers that I might be
found worthy of this blessed honor.

"'And shall I also behold this mighty Son of God?' asked Joseph, with
solicitude.

"The prophet took his hand in his, and fixing upon him his eyes of
prophetic brightness, said slowly, and in tones awe-inspiring and
painfully sorrowful:

"'Thou shalt one day bear him in thine arms, and lay him upon a couch
which thou hast prepared for thine own repose. Thou knowest not now
what I say, but thou shalt remember it when it cometh to pass!'

"When he had thus spoken, he arose, and waving his hand to us both, he
walked rapidly away towards the darkening desert.

"'Didst thou hear him?' at length, after some minutes' pause, asked
Joseph of me. 'What can his words mean? They are prophetic of some
fearful event. His eyes betrayed some terrible meaning. My heart is
troubled.'

"'And mine rejoiceth.' I answered. 'We shall see him! I shall be near
him! Oh, if he be like this sweet prophet of God, I shall love him with
all my soul's being! How wonderful that we are to be thus associated
with this Divine Person! Welcome the hour of his blessed advent!'

"'Wilt thou welcome the advent of a sufferer?' said a voice so near
that it startled us by its abruptness, and, looking round, we saw,
standing within the shadow of a wild olive tree, a young man who was a
stranger, but to whom I afterwards became deeply attached. His face was
pale and intellectual, and his form slight but of the most symmetrical
elegance. His question at once made me sorrowful, for it recalled the
sad prophecy of Esaias.

"'He is also to be king and monarch of the world, and infinitely
holy and good,' I said. 'If thou hast been near, thou hast heard the
glorious things the prophet has spoken of him.'

"'I have been near--I was reclining beneath this tree when you seated
yourselves there. Be not deceived; the divine Man who is to come is to
be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He is to be rejected by
Israel and despised by Judah. Those whom he comes to bless will despise
him for his lowliness and obscurity. His life will be a life of tears,
and toil, and heaviness of heart, and he will at last be cut off from
among the living, with the ignominy due only to a transgressor. Dost
thou welcome the advent of a sufferer?'

"'But how knowest thou this? Art thou a prophet?' I asked with surprise
and admiration.

"'No, brother, but I have read the prophets. I heard, moreover, the
words of this holy man sent from God, and he dwells more on the
humility of the Christ than on his kingly grandeur. Believe me, the
kingdom of Shiloh is not of this world. It cannot be of this world, if
such is to be his life and death; and that it is to be his life, Esaias
clearly states. Let me read to you his words.' He then took a roll of
parchment from his bosom, and read by the clear tropical moonlight,
that mysterious and inexplicable passage which beginneth with the
words: 'Who hath believed our report?' When he had ended, he resumed:
'This is not the history of a prosperous earthly monarch, but rather
the painful record of a life of humiliation, of shame, and of contempt.'

"'But thou dost not say, brother,' said Joseph, with some warmth, 'that
the sacred Person borne witness to by this prophet is to be an object
of contempt?'

"'Does not Esaias say that he will be despised, beaten with stripes,
rejected of men, imprisoned, and put to death like a transgressor of
the law?'

"'There can be no question but that Esaias speaks of the Messiah,' I
remarked.

"'This prophet of Jordan now bears full testimony to Esaias, and
plainly maketh application of his words to him whom he has come
beforehand to proclaim,' answered the young man, with singularly
graceful eloquence in all he said. 'Let us who have been baptized this
day for the remission of our sins, expect a Messiah of sorrows, not a
conquering prince. Let us behold one who is to humble himself beneath
the yoke of human infirmities, that he may be exalted, and draw all men
after him to a kingdom in the heavens.'

"'But the throne of David--' objected Joseph.

"'Is at the right hand of God.'

"'But Jerusalem, and its rule over the nations--'

"'Jerusalem that is above, will be over all.'

"'But his kingdom that is to be everlasting--'

"'Is where life is everlasting. How can he rule an everlasting realm
here on earth without living forever, and his subjects also? Read not
the prophets so? As Adam fell and lost paradise, so Messias, like
a second Adam, must, as man, humble himself, in human nature, to
repurchase the kingdom of paradise for the race of man. It is this
kingdom which this prophet proclaims as being at hand. He being the
bearer of our iniquities, we shall thereby escape their chastisement.
Healed by his stripes, we shall be free from our sins. Laid upon him
will be the transgressions of the world; and by one mighty sacrifice
of himself, thus laden, as a sin-offering, he shall offer an atonement
to make one with Jehovah the great family of Adam. Such is to be our
looked-for Messiah. Alas, while we look for him, let us mingle tears
with our gladness, that one so holy and excellent should be destined to
endure these things for our sakes; and when we behold him, let us sink
at his feet in grateful adoration of his love.'

"When the young man had spoken, he walked away. Impelled by an
unconquerable impulse, I followed, and took him in my arms, and
embracing him, said: 'Of a truth thou art a prophet! Thy words come
home to my heart like the echo of ancient prophecy.'

"'Nay. I have learned these things from the study of the Scripture,'
he said, with angelic candor and modesty. 'But I have been aided, how
much I have no words to tell thee, by one who hath wisdom and truth
abiding in him above all men, and whom it is my happiness to have my
bosom friend, as he is near my own age. If I am wise, or virtuous, or
good, or know the Scriptures, it is that he hath been my counselor and
teacher.'

"'What is his name?' I asked, 'for I also would go and learn of him.'

"'He withdraws from the public eye, and hath little converse but with
few, and shuns all notice. Without his permission I could not take thee
to him.'

"'What is his appearance, and where doth he dwell?' I inquired, more
deeply interested.

"'He abides at present at Bethany, my own city. He is so beloved by
us, that we detain him as our guest. But he dwelleth at other times
with his mother, a holy widow of great sanctity and matronly dignity,
living at Nazareth in humble condition, and he contributes by labor
to her support, with the most exemplary filial piety. No person ever
approaches and speaks with him without leaving a wiser and better man.'

"'Verily,' said Joseph and I together, 'you have only increased our
desire to behold him. His appearance must be noble.'

"'There sits upon his brow a serene dignity, tempered with mildness,
that commands the respect of age, and wins the confiding love of
childhood. His eyes beam with a light, calm and pure, as if shining
from interior holy thoughts, and they rest upon you, when he speaks,
with a tenderness that is like the dewy light of the young mother's
gaze, when she bends in silent happiness and tears over the face of her
first-born. His face is one soft sunshine of smiling rays, tempered
in an indescribable manner with a settled look of sadness, an almost
imperceptible shade of permanent sorrow, that seems to foreshadow a
life of trial and suffering.'

"'He must be another prophet,' said Joseph, with deep earnestness.

"'He does not prophesy, nor preach,' answered the young man.

"'What is his name?' I asked.

"'Jesus, the Nazarene.'

"As the young man was then about to move away, I asked him his name,
as he had greatly drawn out my heart towards him, and I felt that if I
could be his friend, and the friend of the wise young man of Nazareth,
I should be perfectly happy and have no other desire--save, indeed, to
live till the Messiah came, that I might behold him, and lay my head
upon his sacred bosom.

"'My name is Lazarus, the Scribe,' he answered."

"What?" interrupted Mary. "Then I know him well. He is the brother of
Mary and Martha, my friends at Bethany, where I passed a week last
year, just before the Passover."

"The next day," continued John, "we renewed our acquaintance, and
after three days departed together homeward. Upon arriving at Bethany,
Lazarus learned that his friend had gone to Cana, in Galilee, on a
visit with his mother, to the house of one of her kinfolk, whose
daughter is soon to be married."

Having now, my dear father, communicated to you all that John related
to us, you will see what grounds there are to look upon the prophet of
Jordan as a man sent from God, or to believe that he is the true Elias,
whom Malachi hath foretold, and who, as the most learned of the Scribes
say, must first come to proclaim the approach of the Prince of Peace,
the Shiloh of Israel's hopes.

The account brought by John has set Rabbi Amos to studying the
Prophets, and indeed all men are looking into them with interest
unknown before. May God be indeed about to bless his people, and
remember his inheritance!

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER VI.


My Dear Father:

Your letter, dear father, commands me to banish this "novelty" from
my mind, and continue humbly to worship Jehovah after the manner of
our fathers. I trust this I shall ever do, my dear father; and did
I discover in this prophet any disposition to bring in a new faith,
opposed to the ancient faith of Abraham, I should tremble to entertain
it for a moment. You say that this man must be "a false and base
prophet," or he would not herald a master so low and despised as he
professes will be the Christ he bears witness to. "The kingdom of
Messias is not a kingdom of repentance and humiliation," you add, "but
one of victory, of glory and dominion."

[Illustration: The TEMPLE of HEROD in the Time of CHRIST. This cut is
designed after the model prepared by the student and traveler, Sir
James Ferguson.]

How can I write to you, my dear father, that which is now rushing to
my pen, after such an expression of your sentiments as you have made
in this extract from your letter? But I know you are wise, and will
not evade truth, in whatever form it may offer itself to you, and I,
therefore, with confidence in your justice and wisdom, will faithfully
make known to you the events relating to the prophet which have
transpired.

You will remember how that John, Mary's cousin, stated that many
priests and others were offended at the plain preaching of the prophet
whom they went out into the wilderness to see. When they returned to
Jerusalem, and made known to the other members of the House of the
Priests what had been spoken against them, by the application to them
of the words of Esaias and Jeremias, and other prophets, there arose at
once a great outcry against him. At length Annas, who is High Priest
with Caiaphas, sent two of the most learned men of the Temple, Levites
of weight of character, to invite the prophet to Jerusalem; for Annas
is a wise man, and not easily carried away by popular feeling; and, as
Rabbi Amos hath told me, he is disposed to look upon the preaching of
this John with a serious and reverential eye. The messengers returned
after the fifth day, and made their report openly in the Court of the
Temple, where the High Priests sat to receive them. At length, the
assembly being convened, the two learned and venerable Levites both
rose up, and declared that they had delivered the message to John, the
son of Zacharias, the prophet of Jordan, and that his answer was given
with the reverence due to the station of the High Priest who had sent
to him.

"'Go and say to the noble High Priest,' said he, 'that I am the voice
of one crying in the wilderness, as it is written in the book of the
words of Esaias the prophet, who, foreseeing my day, saith, "The voice
of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make
his paths straight." He who would hear my testimony to him who is to
come after me, let him seek me in the wilderness, whence only I am
commanded to lift up my voice till Shiloh come.'"

When the priests heard this answer they were greatly enraged, and many
fiercely cried one thing and many another; some that he should be
sought out and stoned to death for defying the High Priest; others,
that he should be accused to the Procurator, Pontius Pilate, Governor
of Judea, as a seditious and dangerous person, and fermenter of
insurrections. Caiaphas was of the latter opinion. But the milder Annas
viewed the whole matter in a different light, and said:

"Men and brethren, let nothing be done hastily. If this man be a false
prophet, he will soon perish, and we shall hear no more of him. If,
peradventure, as it would appear, he is sent from God, let us not
make haste to do him a mischief, lest, haply, we be found contending
against the Lord of Hosts."

This moderation found favor with but few, and of these few, Rabbi Amos
was one. But if the priests who thronged the outer court, in presence
of the High Priest, were deeply moved at the report of the prophet's
answer, their excitement became well-nigh uncontrollable when both
Melchi and Heli, their messengers, rose up, waving their hands for
silence, and declared that, after having listened to the prophet to
whom they had been sent, they were convinced of the truth of his words,
and of his divine commission, and had been baptized of him in Jordan,
confessing their sins!

Only the sanctity of the Temple prevented the five hundred priests
rushing upon them and smiting them when they heard this. They were at
once placed under arrest by order of the High Priest, Caiaphas, for
acting in a manner unbecoming a priest of the Most High God. The people
who had heard John preach, however, were only prevented from rescuing
the two priests by the presence of a guard of Roman soldiers, for which
Caiaphas promptly sent.

From this account, my dear father, you can form some idea of the
excitement which the preaching of this new prophet is producing among
all classes.

If the Prince of Glory should, indeed, suddenly appear, there could be
scarcely more excitement, though it would be of a different nature.

As next week Rabbi Amos does not serve in his course in the Temple, and
as he will have some affairs that take him to Gilgal, he has yielded
to the desire of his daughter Mary and myself to accompany him; for
he does not conceal from us that he shall make it a point to visit
and hear the prophet, as it will be but two hours' travel from Gilgal
to the place where he preaches. You will, I fear me, object to this
journey. But if the worship of our fathers has nothing to fear from
falsehood, it surely has naught to fear from truth; and in either case
I, as a true daughter of Israel, have nothing to fear. If the prophet
teach what is false, I shall remain true; and if he teach that which is
true, shall I not be the gainer?

One thing is clear--if the Christ that John prophesies be the true Son
of the Highest, and is in reality to make his appearance ere long, in
humiliation and poverty, his rejection by the High Priests, and by
the rich and powerful of Judah, is certain. May God, then, remove
blindness from our eyes, that, if this be the very Messias indeed,
Israel may recognize their king when he cometh, and not do so fearful a
thing in their pride as to reject him openly.

You will remember the young Roman centurion, to whose courtesy I was
indebted for rescuing me from the rudeness of the two Gentile soldiers.
He has preserved, since then, acquaintance with Rabbi Amos, who speaks
of him with respect; and as he has of late expressed some interest in
knowing what the studies are which occupy the Rabbi so constantly when
he calls to see him, the Rabbi sent for me to come into the marble hall
of the corridor, where they sat by the fountain under the shade of the
acacia, which Amos says you took with your own hands from Isaiah's
grave and planted here, many years ago, and which I, therefore, call
"my father's tree."

"Come hither, Adina," said my uncle, in his benevolent tones; "here
you behold a noble Roman youth whom you must be too generous to have
forgotten." I bowed and scarcely lifted my eyelids from the tesselated
floor, for there was a fire in the glance of the handsome youth that
they could not encounter. He said some words of salutation; but I only
heard the voice, which fell upon my heart with a strange vibration,
like the effects of music. "The Roman centurion," continued Amos, "hath
desired to know something of the sacred books of our nation, of which
he saith he hath heard much; and of the prophecies, from which he
believes the famed Sibylline books were composed."

Then, turning to the centurion, "Here is an Egyptian maiden, who can
interpret for thee in the idiom of Grecia, or of Italia, and I will
place the sacred roll in her hands while I listen. Come Adina, open and
read the beginning of the Book of Moses."

To this narrative the youthful warrior listened with the profoundest
respect and attention. He asked if the Messias had yet come who was
to restore all things; and, if not, when he was to be looked for.
This inquiry led to a conversation upon the preaching of John in the
wilderness and his predictions of the near advent of Shiloh. Rabbi
Amos, seeing that he was becoming deeply interested in the subject,
made me turn to the particular prophecies of Daniel, Esaias, David
and others, and read them to him; both those which described, in
golden words, the glory and dominion of his power, and those which
represented him as despised and rejected. The young man remained some
time very thoughtful. At length he said, with animation: "I can now
comprehend why men run into the wilderness. I should like to hear this
prophet."

When Amos told him that he contemplated journeying to Gilgal the next
week, and intended to visit the desert to hear him, he at once asked
permission to be of his company, saying:

"I will accompany you with a squadron of horse, as the roads are not
safe; for no longer ago than yesterday we received a rumor that the
celebrated robber chief, Barabbas, at the head of a large band, has
made his appearance again on the hills between Ephraim and Jericho."

It is therefore decided, dear father, that we leave early next week for
Jericho and Gilgal. On my return I shall not fail to write you without
delay. Till then withhold your judgment, and have confidence in mine.
With holy aspirations for the coming of the kingdom of David and the
restoration of his throne in Zion, I remain, with filial love, your
daughter,

                                                                 Adina.



LETTER VII.


My Dear Father:

You will recollect that in my last epistle I made mention of our
intention to go to Gilgal, where John, the betrothed of Mary, was to
meet us and accompany us to Jordan.

It was faint dawn when we rose from our couches to prepare for the
journey. The mules upon which we were to ride were brought into the
court by the two swarthy Gibeonite serfs whom Rabbi Amos holds in
his service, and caparisoned with rich saddles covered with Persian
saddle-cloths, embroidered with gold. The two pack mules were also made
ready, on one of which was the traveling equipage of my cousin Mary and
myself, which Rabbi Amos smilingly said took up more space than the
goods and traveling wares of a Damascus merchant. At sunrise, after
we had kneeled upon the housetop, in view of the Temple, and sent up
our prayers with its sacrifices and clouds of ascending incense, we
descended to the court-yard to mount for the road.

The morning was bright and cheerful, with the golden sun pouring its
light over temple and tower, castle and roof, wall and rampart, hill
and grove, valley and brook. As we turned the street leading to the
Sheep Gate, we passed the house of Caiaphas, the High Priest, whom I
saw standing upon the marble porch of his superb palace. He was not
arrayed in his sumptuous robes, with the breast-plate of dazzling
stones, and kingly cap, as I had seen him in the Temple, but was
dressed in a flowing black robe, over which was thrown a scarf of white
linen; and upon his snow-white locks he wore a scarlet hood, a dress
common to all the priests, so that if I had not recognized him by his
tall and commanding form and flowing white hair and piercing eye, as he
surveyed us, I should have known that it was the High Priest.

A little further on we met a party coming from the country beyond
Kedron, with large cages upon their mules, laden with turtle doves
and young pigeons, which they were carrying to the Temple, to be sold
there for sacrifices. My heart pitied the innocent things, whose blue,
pretty heads were thrust by the dozen through the rough bars of their
prison-houses, as they cast their soft eyes up at me, as if asking me
to deliver them from their bondage. As Mary was riding behind me, in
order to let the laden mules pass with their immense cages, one of the
turtle doves, affrighted by the noise of the streets, extricated itself
from between the bars, and spreading its wings, flew into the air, and
then taking its flight for the country, soared far above the city walls
and disappeared in the distance. I felt rejoiced at the innocent bird's
escape, and sent my good wishes for its safe return to its lodge in the
wilderness. Just before we reached the Sheep Gate, by which we were
to gain the Jericho road, we met a poor blind man leading a lamb, or
rather being led by a tame lamb. He also had two pigeons in his bosom.
He was asked by Rabbi Amos, who knew him, whither he was going. He
answered that he was going to the Temple to sacrifice them. "Nay," said
Amos, with surprise, "thou wilt not sacrifice thy lamb, Bartimeus?"

"It is an offering to God, Rabbi Amos."

"But thy lamb leadeth thee everywhere. It is eyes to thee. Thou canst
not do without it. And thy doves? Thou earnest by them many a mite in a
day, they are so well taught in cunning and pleasant tricks to please
children. If thou wilt sacrifice, spare these so needful to thee, and
here is money to buy doves and another lamb," answered my benevolent
uncle.

"Hear what I have to say," answered Bartimeus. "My father became sick
and was likely to die. The next day my mother, who has nourished my
childhood and loved me, though I was born blind, with all her heart,
was also taken sick. The same night my little daughter, my little blind
daughter, whose face I never saw, and who never saw her father's face,
was sick nigh unto death. My father, my mother, my child, are now
restored, and in my joy I am on my way to the Temple, to offer these
gifts of God to him. It will not be hard to part with them, since, in
giving all that I have, I but show my love to God."

With these words he went on, the lamb, obeying the string which he
held, softly moving on before; while I could see the sightless eyes
of the righteous son and pious father trickle tears, as he kissed and
kissed again the precious doves that lay in his bosom. This little
occurrence made me sad; yet I honored the resolute piety of this poor
man, whose eyes, though they saw not men, seemed to see God and feel
his presence. There is still humble piety in the land, my dear father,
and finding it not among the proud and splendid priests, we must look
for it in the hearts of the poor and humble, like Bartimeus.

Once outside the gates, the air blew fresh from the hills of olives.
After being so long confined within the walls and narrow streets, it
seemed to me that I had just broken out of my cage, like the pretty,
blue-headed turtle dove, and I felt like winging my way, too, to the
free deserts.

We had hardly reached the place where the two roads meet, when we heard
to the west the sound of the galloping of a large body of horse, and
the next moment the young Roman centurion came in sight, riding at the
head of a troop of horse, whose martial appearance, with the ringing of
their armor and the melody of their bugles, made my blood leap. Æmilius
looked like a prince, and his burnished armor shone in the sun like
armor of fire. At his side rode a youth who bore the eagle of his band,
but the centurion himself carried in his hand only the badge of his
rank, which was a vine-rod bound with rings of gold. He saluted us with
that courtesy which distinguishes his every motion, and then dividing
his troop into two bodies, half of whom, trotting on ahead, led the
van, and the other half, falling behind, served as a rear-guard. He
then gave the word to move forward.

Farewell, dear father, till my next, when I will resume my narrative of
the events which have taken place since I left Jerusalem. The God of
our father Abraham be your defence and shield.

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER VIII.


My Dear Father:

My last letter ended with an account of the Roman escort, under
the authority of the young Roman centurion who, as I have before
written to you, with so much courtesy proffered its protection to our
little party. The day was yet early, and the air was of that buoyant
elasticity so agreeable to breathe, and which strikes me as one of
the peculiar blessings of this holy land of our fathers. As I rode
along, I felt as if I would gladly mount the Arabian of the desert and
fly across the sandy seas of Edom, with the fleetness which amazes me
whenever I see the children of the desert ride; for a band of thirty
came boldly near us from a gorge as we approached Bethany, and after
watching us a few moments, scoured away into the recesses of the hills
like the wind, as a detachment of our Roman escort was ordered to
gallop towards them. We were fortunate in having such strong protection.

We soon afterwards reached the summit of the ridge above Bethany, from
which eminence we had a gorgeous view of the Holy City of God, with its
lofty Temple glittering in the sunbeams. The Tower of Antonia darkly
contrasted with its splendor, and the citadel of David frowned over the
walls with a warlike majesty that deeply impressed me. I drew rein, and
entreated Rabbi Amos to delay a few moments while I surveyed Jerusalem,
but he was too far ahead to hear me, and the centurion, riding up to
my side, stopped respectfully with a portion of his command, and said
he would await my leisure. I could not but thank him for his civility,
and then turning towards the city, I was soon lost to all else but the
awful contemplation of it.

"You should see Rome," said the centurion, who had watched my emotion
evidently with surprise. "It is a city of grandeur unequalled. It
covers six times more space than this city, and it contains three
hundred and sixty-five temples, while Jerusalem contains but one!"

"There is no God but one," I answered, impressively.

"We believe there is one God, who is the author of a great multitude
of lesser gods, and to each we erect a temple," he said firmly, yet
respectfully.

[Illustration: Rome]

Upon this, touched with pity that one so noble in mind and person
should be so ignorant of the truth, I began to show him from the
Prophets that God was one, and that all things were made by him. But
he, plucking a blossom from a tree within reach, said:

"It is beneath the dignity of the Father of the gods, the great Jove,
to descend to make a flower like this, or shape a crystal, or color
the ruby, or create that golden-eyed humming-bird which flutters among
those fragrant blossoms. He made the sun, and moon, and stars, and
earth, but left the lesser works to inferior deities. Talk to me of thy
one God, and prove to me, maiden, that he made all things, and is one,
and thy God shall be my God."

We now rode forward through the street of Bethany, and soon came to
the house of our former friend, Rabbi Abel, who died many years ago at
Alexandria, when he went there with merchandise, and after the welfare
of whose children you desired me to make inquiries. It was a plain and
humble dwelling before which Rabbi Amos assisted me to alight; but
there was an air of neatness and sweet domestic repose about it that
at once came home to my heart, and made me love the place even before
I had seen the inmates. On hearing of my arrival, there came out a
fair young girl of twenty-two, with the most amiable expression of
affectionate welcome, and approaching me with mingled respect and love,
she embraced me, while Rabbi Amos pronounced our names to each other.
I felt immediately as if I were in a sister's arms, and that I should
love her always. Next came forth a young man of about thirty years of
age, with a countenance of an exceedingly interesting expression, full
of intellect and good will. He was pale and habitually thoughtful, but
a fine friendly light beamed in his dark, handsome eyes, as he extended
his hand to welcome me. You have already had a full description of
him, and of his character, in one of my former letters, and need not
be told that it was Lazarus, the son of your friend. At the threshold
Martha, the eldest sister, met me, but with more ceremony, and made an
apology for receiving me, the rich heiress of Alexandria, as she termed
me, into so lowly a dwelling; but I embraced her so affectionately
that this feeling passed away instantly. Martha busied herself at once
to prepare refreshments for us, and soon set before us a frugal but
agreeable repast. Mary, in the meanwhile, and Lazarus, sat on either
side of me, and asked me many questions about Alexandria.

I cannot describe to you the loveliness of the person of Mary, and yet
not so much the perfection of features as the soul which animates them,
and lends them a charm that I cannot adequately convey to you.

Martha, the oldest, is of a more lively disposition, yet more
commanding in her aspect, being taller and almost queenly in her mien.
Her eyes and her hair are jet black; the former mild and beaming with
intelligence, like those of her brother Lazarus, whom she resembles.
She has a winning voice, and a manner that leads you to feel strong
confidence in her friendship. She seemed to take the whole management
of our entertainment upon herself. Lazarus conversed chiefly with
Rabbi Amos, who questioned him with much interest about the prophet
John of the wilderness. After our repast, Martha showed me three
beautiful bands of embroidery, which she was working for the new vail
of the Temple to be put on next year; for the sisters live by working
needle-work for the Temple, and Lazarus makes copies of the Laws and
Psalms for the priests. He showed me his copying-table, and the rolls
of parchment upon it, some partly inscribed in beautiful characters,
some quite complete. He also showed me a copy of the book of Isaiah,
which had occupied him one hundred and seven days. It was exquisitely
executed.

Seeing upon the table a richly worked book-cover of silk and velvet,
with the letters, "J. N." embroidered in olive leaves upon it, I asked
Mary if that, being so elegant, was not for the High Priest.

"No," answered Martha, with brightening eyes, speaking before her
sister could reply, "that is for our friend, and the friend and brother
of Lazarus."

"What is his name?" I asked.

"Jesus, of Nazareth."

"I have heard John speak of this person," said my cousin Mary, with
animation. "I should feel happy to know him also."

"If you had been here a few days ago," replied Martha, "you would have
seen him. He left us, after being with us three weeks, to return to
Nazareth. But he requested to meet Lazarus at Bethabara, on the third
day from this, for some important reason; and my brother will go, for
he loves him so that he would cross the seas to meet him."

"Then," said Rabbi Amos to Lazarus, "if you are to journey so soon
towards Jordan to meet your friend, you had best join our company and
share our escort." To this Lazarus consented.

I left this blessed abode with regret, and felt that I should be
perfectly happy if I could be admitted as a fifth link in the wealth of
their mutual love.

About noon we stopped at a caravanserai, half the way to Jericho
from Bethany. Here we overtook a friend of Rabbi Amos, the venerable
and learned scholar and lawyer, Gamaliel. Accompanying the lawyer,
Gamaliel, was a young man who was his disciple, and who went with
him as a companion by the way. His name is Saul, and I noticed him
particularly, because I overheard the venerable lawyer say that he was
the most remarkable young man who had ever sat at his feet to learn
the mysteries of the law. This young law disciple and Lazarus rode
together, and talked long and earnestly by the way, the former thinking
that nothing but mischief would come of the new prophet's preaching,
while the latter warmly defended him and his mission as divine. To
their conversation the Roman centurion listened with the closest
attention, for Saul was learned in the Prophets, and drew richly from
its stores to prove that the true Messias can never be heralded by so
mean a messenger as this preacher of repentance in the wilderness.

I now write to thee beneath the roof of the country residence of Rabbi
Amos. To-morrow early we are going to Bethabara, a little village
beyond Jordan, but situated on its banks, near which we learn John is
now baptizing. Lazarus has gone on with Saul and the learned Gamaliel,
with many lawyers and doctors in company, who desire to see and hear
this prophet of the wilderness.

That the hope of Israel may not be long deferred, and that we may
receive the Messias, when he cometh, in humble faith, in honor and in
love, is the prayer of

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER IX.


My Dear Father:

In these letters to you I hope you will pardon the details which I
enter into, for it is my earnest desire that you should see everything
with my eyes, as if you had been present with me, in order that you may
be able to judge of the remarkable events of which I have undertaken to
give you a complete history.

After Rabbi Amos had reached the house in the wheat fields of Gilgal,
he kindly told us that he was ready to accompany my cousin Mary and
myself to the Jordan to hear the prophet. We had not ridden a great way
from the house when we overtook two men on foot, with staves in their
hands and wallets upon their shoulders. As we passed, one of them bowed
with respect to Rabbi Amos, who, from his rank as a priest and his
venerable appearance, always commands the homage of all men.

"Whither goest thou at such a pace, friend Matthew?" said Rabbi Amos,
returning his salutation. "Canst thou leave thy tax-gathering these
busy times to go into the wilderness?"

The person, who was a man of stout figure, with dark hair and beard
and a look of intelligence, but whose costume was plain and ill-worn,
smiled and answered:

"If a man would find the payers of tribute nowadays, good master, he
must not stay at home, forsooth, but go into the wilderness of Jordan.
Verily, this new prophet emptieth our towns, and we publicans must
remain idle in our seat of customs or go with the tide."

"And thinkest thou," continued my uncle, as the two men walked along by
the side of his mule, "thinkest thou this prophet is a true son of the
prophets?"

"He works no miracles, unless indeed the power of his preaching be a
miracle," answered Matthew.

"This man is an impostor. There can be no prophet unless he prove his
mission by miracles," suddenly said the companion of Matthew, speaking
up abruptly in a sharp and unpleasing voice. Now neither Mary nor I
liked the face of this man from the first. He was low in height, was
ill-featured, and his attire was mean; but he had a suspicious air,
combined with a cringing deference to Rabbi Amos, that made me think
he must be a hypocrite. He smiled with his mouth and teeth, but at
the same time looked sinister out of his eyes. An air of humility
seemed to me to be put on to conceal the pride and wickedness of his
character. He looked like a man who could artfully deceive to gain his
selfish ends, and who would kneel to you to overturn you. The sound of
his voice confirmed my first impression of him. Upon speaking, Rabbi
Amos fixed his eyes upon him, as if he did not like the manner of his
breaking in upon the conversation.

"What is thy companion's name, friend Matthew?" he asked aside, as the
other walked on ahead.

"His name is Judas, called Iscariot. He hath been engaged by me to bear
the moneys I collect in the country villages; and as we are to gather
taxes both at Gilgal and Bethabara, he cometh with me."

At length, dear father, after hastening the speed of our mules and
riding pleasantly for two hours along the verdant banks of Jordan, we
came in sight of a square tower of stone, peering above the trees
which marked the site of the village of Bethabara. "That tower," said
Rabbi Amos, "stands over a cave in which Elijah long dwelt. From the
summit of yonder hill, at the left, the prophet was caught up and
ascended to heaven upon the chariot of fire; and near where you see the
single rock, Elisha divided Jordan with the fallen mantle left him by
the ascending prophet of God."

While my eyes were fixed upon the hill, and my imagination presented to
me Elijah standing upon the chariot of heaven, disappearing amid the
clouds, there was an opening in the wood before us, and all at once
we beheld a scene that made my heart cease to beat, it was so new and
wonderful. Near the place the winding river takes a broad curve, and
the opposite village of Bethabara lies in the hollow of it, forming
the center of half a circle. This widely curving shore was alive with
the human heads that filled it. And of this vast multitude every eye
was concentrated upon the prophet. He was standing near the opposite
shore (the Jordan here is very narrow and can be forded), in the
water, addressing the countless assembly that stood opposite to and
half encircling him. Near him, behind, and on either side, sat his
disciples, upon the bank, at least a hundred in number, chiefly young
men.

The clear voice of the youthful prophet of the wilderness fell
distinctly on our ears, so great was the stillness of the vast
audience. To my surprise I saw John, the cousin of Mary, standing
close to the prophet, and listening with the deepest and most reverent
attention to every syllable he uttered. The subject of the prophet's
discourse was as before, and as always, the coming of the Messias. Oh,
that I could give you, my dear father, the faintest idea of the power
and eloquence of his language!

"Do you ask me if the blood of bulls and goats take not away sin? I
answer and say unto you, that the Lord hath said that he delighteth not
in these rivers of blood," he continued earnestly.

"For what, then, great prophet," asked one of the chief Levites, who
stood near him, "for what, then, are the sacrifices ordained by the
law of Moses? for what then the altar in the Temple, and the daily
sacrifice of the lamb?"

"For what?" repeated the prophet, with his eyes beaming with the
earnest light of inspiration; "for what but as types and shadows of
the real and true sacrifice appointed by God from the foundation of the
world? Think ye a man can give the lamb of his flock for himself? Nay,
men of Israel, the day has come when your eyes shall be opened. The
hour is at hand when the true meaning of the daily sacrifice shall be
understood. Lo, the Messiah cometh, and ye shall see and believe!"

There now came several persons towards him who desired baptism. While
he was baptizing these persons, both men and women, I saw appear
on a little mound near the tower, Lazarus, the brother of Martha,
accompanied by a man of about his own years, of an indescribable
dignity and grace of aspect, combined with an air of benevolence and
peace that at once attracted me.

He was wrapped in a vesture of dark blue cloth, which was folded about
his form; his head was bare, and his hair flowed like a Nazarene's down
about his shoulders. He seemed so unlike all other men, in a certain
majesty united with sweetness that marked his whole air, that I could
not withdraw my gaze from him.

The prophet at the same moment rested his eyes upon him, and as he did
so, I saw a change come over his face, as if he had seen an angel. His
eyes shone with unearthly brilliancy; his lips parted as if he would
speak, yet had lost the power; and then, with his right hand stretched
forth towards the noble stranger, he stood for a moment like a statue.
All eyes followed his and the direction of his stretched-out arm.
Suddenly he exclaimed, and oh, how like the trumpet of Horeb his voice
rang!--

"Behold!"

There was not a face in that vast multitude that was not directed
towards the little eminence.

"Ye have asked wherefore is slain the daily lamb," continued the
prophet. "The day has come when the lamb of sacrifice, which can take
away no sin, shall cease. Behold!" And here he stretched forth both
arms towards the dignified stranger. "Behold him who taketh away the
transgressions of men! He it is who, coming after me, is preferred
before me. He it is to whom I bear witness, as the Messiah, the Son of
the Highest! There stands the Christ of God! the only true Lamb, whose
blood can take away the iniquities of us all. He hath dwelt among you,
he hath walked your streets, he hath sat in your homes, and I knew him
not, till I now behold on him the sign of the Messiah!"

When the prophet had thus spoken in a voice that thrilled to every
bosom, we beheld the august stranger advance towards the prophet.
He moved on alone. Lazarus had fallen prostrate on his face. As
he continued to come forward, all was expectation in the immense
multitude. The mass of heads swayed this way and that, to get a sight
of his face, which I could see was serene, but pale and earnest. John,
the cousin of Mary, seeing him approach, lowly knelt, and bowed his
head in reverential awe and love. Those who stood between him and the
prophet moved involuntarily apart, and left an open path for him to the
water-side. He walked at a slow and even pace, with an air of humility
veiling the native dignity of his kingly port.

The prophet, on seeing him come near, regarded him, as it seemed to me,
with far more awe than all others.

"What wouldst thou of thy servant, O Messiah, Prophet of God, mighty
to save?" he said, in tremulous tones, as the stranger came even some
paces into the water towards him.

"To be baptized of thee," answered the Christ, in a still, quiet voice,
that was heard to the remotest bounds of the crowd. Never, oh, never
shall I forget the sounds of that voice, as it fell upon my ears!

"I have need to be baptized of thee; and comest thou to me?" answered
the prophet, with the lowliest humility and awe of manner and with
looks expressive of his amazement.

"It becometh us to fulfill all righteousness," answered Messiah,
mildly; and when he had said this, the prophet, though still with a
manner of doubt, and with the holiest reverence, administered then unto
him, in the sight of all the people, the like baptism which he had
administered to his disciples.

And now, my dear father, comes to be related the most extraordinary
thing that ever took place in Israel since the Law was given from Sinai.

No sooner did the baptized stranger go up out of the water, than there
was heard above all our heads a noise as of rolling thunder, although
the sky was cloudless; and when in great fear we looked up, we beheld
a dazzling glory far brighter than the sun, and from the midst of this
celestial splendor there darted with arrowy velocity a ray of light
which descended and lit upon the head of the Christ. Some of the
people said it thundered, and others that it lightened, but judge of
the amazement and admiration of all, and the dread awe that shook every
soul when, amid the glory above his head, was seen the form of a dove
of fire, with outspread wings overshadowing him as it were, and from
the heavens what was supposed to be thunder shaped itself into a voice,
which uttered these words in the hearing of every ear:

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!"

At hearing these words from the skies a great part of the multitude
fell on their faces. Every cheek was pale, and each man gazed on his
neighbor in wonder and fear. When the majestic, yet terrible, voice
had given utterance to these words, the light disappeared, the dove
re-ascended to the skies and was lost to sight, leaving a halo of
divine glory resting upon the head of this "Son of God." He alone
seemed unmoved and calm amid all this awful scene, and going up the
river bank, disappeared mysteriously and suddenly from my earnest
gaze. At length, when men came a little to themselves, and would gaze
on him whom all knew now to be the Christ, no one could find him, so
effectually had he withdrawn himself from their homage.

                                                Your affectionate,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER X.


My Dear Father:

I shall now resume the narrative interrupted by the close of my last
letter.

The excitement which the sudden disappearance of Jesus produced, led to
a universal separation of the multitude. No one knew whence he had gone
save John, Mary's cousin, and Lazarus, who reverently followed him.
The prophet John, of Jordan, appeared to me to be more surprised at
what had taken place than any others. He looked constantly around for
Jesus, and then, with his hands clasped together and uplifted, gazed
heavenward, as if satisfied, with the thousands around him, that He had
been received up into heaven.

Rabbi Amos and our party remained standing near the water, for he
desired to speak with John, who stood alone in the midst of the water,
precisely where he had baptized Jesus. Not one of his disciples
remained with him. Rabbi Amos drew near, and said to him:

"Holy prophet, knowest thou what man, if man he may be called, was just
baptized by thee?"

The prophet, whose eyes had been steadfastly raised all the while,
bent his looks with tearful tenderness upon Rabbi Amos, and said,
plaintively and touchingly:

"This is he of whom I spake, After me cometh a man which is preferred
before me, for he was before me. And I knew him not; but he that sent
me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt
see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he that
baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw the Spirit descending like a
dove; and I saw and bear record that this is the Son of God."

"And whither, oh, holy prophet of Jordan," asked Rabbi Amos, with deep
and sacred interest, "whither has he departed?"

"That I know not. He must increase and I must decrease, whether he
remaineth on earth or has been taken up into heaven. My mission is now
drawing to its close, for he to whom I have borne witness is come."

Thus speaking, he turned and walked out of the water on the side
towards Bethabara, and disappeared among the trees that fringed the
bank. I now looked in the face of Rabbi Amos, upon whose arm Mary was
tearfully leaning. His face was grave and thoughtful. I said, "Uncle,
dost thou believe all that thou hast seen and heard?"

"I know not what to say," he answered, "only that the things which
I have beheld this day are evidences that God has not forgotten his
people Israel." He said no more. We left the banks of the Jordan in
silence and awe, and remounting our mules, returned towards my uncle's
house at Gilgal. On the way we constantly passed crowds of people, all
in high talk about the wonderful events which had taken place at the
river. The impression seemed universally to be that Jesus had gone up
into heaven after he was baptized.

But, my dear father, it is with deep joy that I am able to tell you
that this wonderful person is still on the earth. I stated that my
cousin John and Lazarus had kept their eyes upon him from the first,
and that they had seen him pass down the river, where some projecting
and overhanging trees hid him at once from view. Though they often lost
sight of him, they yet followed him by the print of his sandals in the
wet sand of the shore, and at length came in view of him, as he was
leaving the river bank, and going towards the desert, between two low
hills, which hid him from their eyes.

They went on, but though they moved forward rapidly, they next saw
him far distant, crossing the arid plain that stretches south towards
Jericho and the desert. They ran very swiftly, and at length coming
near him, called, "Master, good master, stay for us, for we would
follow and learn of thee!"

He stopped, and turned upon them a visage so pale and marred with
sadness and anguish, that they both stood still and gazed upon him
with amazement at beholding such a change. The glory of his beauty had
passed away, and the beaming splendor which shone upon his countenance
was wholly gone. The expression of unutterable sorrow that remained
pierced them to the heart. Lazarus, who had been so long his bosom
friend, wept aloud. "Weep not! thou shalt see me another day, my
friends," he said. "I now go to the wilderness, in obedience to the
Spirit which guideth me thither. Thou shalt, after a time, behold me
again. It is expedient for you that I go whither I go."

"Nay, but we will go with thee," said Lazarus, earnestly. "If thou art
to endure evil, we will be with thee."

"There must be none to help. There must be none to uphold," he said
firmly, but sadly. "I must tread the winepress of temptation alone!"

He then left them, waving his hand for them to go back. They obeyed
sorrowfully, wondering what his words meant, and wherefore it was
needful for him to go into the desert, where certain mysterious trials
seemed to wait for him; and they wondered most of all at the change in
his countenance, which, from being lustrous with celestial light, was
now, said Lazarus, "marred more than the sons of men." From time to
time the two young men looked backward to watch the receding figure of
the Christ, till they no longer distinguished him in the distance of
the desert, towards the dreadful solitudes of which he steadfastly kept
his face.

The two friends came on to the house of Rabbi Amos, at Gilgal, the same
night, and we sat together late at night upon the porch under the fig
trees, talking of Jesus.

Now, my dear father, how wonderful is all this! That a great Prophet
is among us, cannot be denied. The star of John the Baptizer's fame
dwindles into a glow-worm before the glory of this Son of God! That
he will draw all men unto him, even into the wilderness, if he takes
up his abode there, cannot be questioned. But all is mystery, awe,
curiosity, wonder, and excitement just now.

May the God of our fathers' house come forth indeed from the heavens,
for the salvation of his people!

                                          Your devoted and loving,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XI.


My Dear Father:

In my last letter to you I spoke of our return from Jordan to Gilgal.
At the house were assembled not only John, the cousin of Mary, and the
noble Lazarus, but also Gamaliel and Saul. The court of the dwelling
was thronged with strangers, and the common people who, being far from
their homes and without food, had freely been invited to lodgings and
food by the hospitable priest.

As we sat up late conversing with deep interest upon the remarkable
events of the day, an observation made by John, when speaking of the
change in the face of Jesus, that "His face was marred more than the
sons of men," led the venerable Gamaliel to say to us:

"Those are the words of the prophet Esaias, and are truly spoken by him
of Messias, when he shall come."

"Let us consult Esaias, then, and see what further he hath said," cried
Rabbi Amos. "Mary, bring hither the roll of the Prophets."

My Cousin Mary returned, and placed the book on a small stand before
him.

"Read aloud, worthy Rabbi," said the philosopher Gamaliel, "we will
all listen; for though I do not believe this young man who was to-day
baptized is Messias and the Christ, who is to restore all things to us,
yet I am prepared to reverence him as a great prophet."

"And," answered Rabbi Amos, "if we find the prophecies do meet in him
that which we look for to meet in Messias when he cometh, wilt thou
believe, venerable father?"

"I will believe and reverently adore," answered the sage, bowing his
head till his flowing white beard almost touched his knees.

"Read Adina, for thy eyes are young," said my uncle; and I read as
follows:

"'Behold, my Servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and
extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage
was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of
men.'"

"How completely," said John, "those words describe his appearance on
the verge of the desert, and yet I used them unconsciously."

"But," said Saul, Gamaliel's disciple, "if this be prophesied of the
Christ, then we are to have a Christ of humiliation, and not one of
honor and glory. Read one part which you have omitted, maiden."

I read on as follows: "'Behold, my Servant shall be exalted and
extolled, and be very high. He shall sprinkle many nations; the kings
shall shut their mouths at him. He shall lift up his hand to the
Gentiles, and set up his standard to the people. Kings shall bow down
to him with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of his
feet!'"

"There! Such is our Messias!" exclaimed Saul.

"Yes, it is a Christ of power and dominion who is to redeem Israel,"
added Gamaliel; "not an unknown young man, scarcely thirty years of
age, who came from whence no one knoweth, and hath gone as he came. As
for the Christ, we shall know whence he cometh!"

At hearing this great and good man thus discourse, dear father, my
heart sank within me, for Lazarus had already told us that his friend
Jesus was of humble birth, a carpenter's son, and his mother a widow;
that he had known him from boyhood, but known him only to love him. I
now looked towards him, but I took courage when I saw that the words
of Gamaliel did not in the least dim the light of faith and confidence
which brightly sparkled in his eyes, that his friend Jesus was truly
Messias of God. But my eye fell on what follows, and as I read it I
gained more confidence: "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we
shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him."

"If the first part of this prophecy," said Lazarus, his fine eyes
lighting up, as he looked at Saul, "be of the Christ, as you have just
now confessed, then is this last of him; and the fact that you reject
him is but the fulfillment of this part of the prophecy."

Hereupon arose a very warm discussion between Gamaliel and Saul on one
side, and Rabbi Amos, John and Lazarus on the other.

"But let this be as it may," said John, after the arguments on both
sides had been mainly exhausted, "how will you, O Gamaliel, and you,
Saul, get over the extraordinary voice and fiery appearance which
distinguished the baptism?"

"That must have been a phenomenon of nature, or done by the art of the
famed Babylonish sorcerer, whom I saw prominent in the multitude,"
answered the philosopher.

"Did you not hear the words?" asked Rabbi Amos.

"Yes, Rabbi; nevertheless, they may have been thrown into the air from
the lungs of this sorcerer; for they do marvelous things."

"Would you suppose that a sorcerer would be disposed to apply the
sacred words of the Lord?" asked John, earnestly.

"By no means," he answered, reverently.

"If Rabbi Amos will allow me, I will show you the very words in King
David's prophecies of Messias."

All looked with interest on John, as he took from his mantle a roll of
the Psalms. He opened it and read as follows:

"'Why do the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against
his Anointed? I will declare the decree. The Lord hath said unto me,
Thou art my Son.'"

Upon hearing this read, Gamaliel was thoughtful.

"It is extraordinary," answered he. "I will search the Scriptures when
I reach Jerusalem, to see if these things be so."

"But," said Saul, with some vehemence, "listen while I read some
prophecies also." And he unrolled the book of the Prophets and read
these words:

"'Thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands
of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to
be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from
everlasting.'

"Now, you will confess, Rabbi Amos," he added, with a look of triumph,
"that this word refers to our expected Messias?"

"Without doubt," answered my uncle, "but--"

"Wait, I beseech you, learned Rabbi," said Saul, "until I read you
another prophecy." And he read: "'I have made a covenant with David,
Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all
generations. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun
before me. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise
unto David a righteous Branch.'

"Now, you will all admit, brethren, that these prophecies refer to
Messias. He is therefore to come of the lineage of David, and he is to
be born in Bethlehem. Show me that this Jesus, the Nazarene, fulfills
both conditions in his own person, and I will prepare to believe in
him."

This was said haughtily, and with the air of one who cannot be answered.

But immediately Lazarus rose to his feet and said: "Although I did not
recollect this prophecy, that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, yet I
am overjoyed to find the fact respecting Jesus fulfills it. He was born
in Bethlehem of Judah. This I have known some years, and--"

Here, while my heart was bounding with joy, Gamaliel said sternly, "I
thought this man was born in Nazareth?"

"He has lived," answered Lazarus, "in Nazareth from childhood only.
During the days when Cæsar Augustus issued a decree that all the world
should be taxed, his mother, and Joseph her husband, went up to the
City of David to be taxed, which is Bethlehem, and there Jesus was
born, as I have often heard from her lips."

"Admitting, then, that he was born in Bethlehem," said Saul, "you have
to prove his lineage from David's line."

"Wherefore did his parents go to Bethlehem, David's city, unless they
were of his royal line?" asked Rabbi Amos, "for none went to any other
city to be taxed than that of their own family. The fact that they went
there is strong evidence that they were of David's house."

"Every one born in the city of David," remarked Gamaliel, "is not of
necessity of David's house; but it is surprising if this Jesus really
was born in Bethlehem."

"But may not his lineage be ascertained without a doubt from the
records of the tribes, and of their families, kept by command of the
law of the Temple?" I asked of my uncle.

"Without question. These books of the generations of our people are to
be relied on," he answered.

"In fact," said Gamaliel, "they are kept with the greatest accuracy,
and it is so ordained by God, for the very reason that when Messias
cometh we may know whether he who claims to be such be of the house of
David or no. I will examine the book of the generations, and see if his
mother and father come of the stock and seed of David."

"And if you find that they do," asked John, with emotion, "can you
doubt any longer whether Jesus be the Christ? Will not the fact of his
being born in Bethlehem, and of the lineage of David, not to speak of
the witness of God's own audible voice, heard by our ears this day,
will not these facts lead you to believe that he is the Christ?"

"They will prevent me from actually rejecting him," answered the cold
philosopher. "But every child born in Bethlehem, and of the house of
David, and there are many of them in Judah, fulfills, so far, the
conditions of these two prophecies; these are not, therefore, Messiahs."

"What more can you ask for?" asked Mary, with feeling, for she strongly
believed that Jesus was the Christ.

"Miracles," answered the disciple of Gamaliel, glancing at the face of
his master inquiringly.

"Yes, miracles," also answered the sage. "The Messiah is to heal the
sick by a word, restore sight to the blind, cast out devils, and even
raise the dead."

"If he restore the blind and raise the dead, I will doubt no longer,"
answered Saul.

There was at this moment an interruption caused by noisy altercations
in the court among some of John the Baptist's disciples. Rabbi Amos, as
host, went out to put an end to these disputings, when Gamaliel retired
to his chamber, and the conversation was not renewed.

                                                    Your daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XII.


My Dear Father:

Let me resume the interesting subject of which my letters have been so
full.

It is now eight weeks since our return from Gilgal. For five weeks
after we reached Jerusalem, we heard nothing of Jesus, until John, son
of Elisaph, reappeared. He and Lazarus came into the city together, and
to the house of Rabbi Amos. Our first inquiry was:

"Have you seen him? Have you heard anything from him?"

"John has seen him," answered Lazarus, seriously. "Ask him, and he will
tell you all."

We looked at John, who sat sad and pensive, as if he were dwelling in
his mind upon some painful, yet tender, sorrow. The eyes of my Cousin
Mary, which always caught their lustre from his, were shaded with an
inquiring look of sympathy and solicitude.

"You are not well, I fear," she said, placing her fair hand upon his
white brow, and putting back the hair from his temples. "You have been
long away, and are weary and ill."

"Weary, Mary? I shall never complain of weariness again, after what I
have beheld."

"What have you seen?" I asked.

"Jesus in the desert; and when I remember him there, I shall forget to
smile more."

"You have found him, then?" I eagerly asked.

"Yes, after days of painful search. I found him in the very center of
the Desert of Ashes, where foot of man had never trodden before. I saw
him upon his knees, and heard his voice in prayer. I laid down the sack
of bread and fishes and the skin of water I had brought with me to
succor him, and with awe drew near where he stood.

"As I came closer to him, I heard him groan in spirit, and he seemed to
be borne down to the earth by some mortal agony. He was, as it were,
talking to some invisible evil beings who assailed him.

"'Rabbi, good Master,' I said, 'I have brought thee food and water.
Pardon me if I have intruded upon thy awful loneliness, which is sacred
to some deep grief; but I weep with thee for thy woes, and in all thy
afflictions I am afflicted. Eat, that thou mayest have strength to
endure thy mysterious sufferings.'

"He turned his pale countenance full upon me, and extended towards me
his emaciated hands, while he smiled faintly, and blessed me and said:

"'Son, thou art very dear to me. Thou shalt one day be afflicted for
me, but not now, and then understand wherefore I am now a sufferer in
the desert.'

"'Let me remain with thee, Divine Messias,' I said.

"'Thou believest, then, that I am he?' he answered, regarding me with
love.

"I replied by casting myself at his desert-parched feet, and bathing
them with my tears. He raised me and said, 'Go thy way presently. When
the time of my fasting and temptation is past, I will see thee again.'

"'Nay, I will not leave thee,' I asserted.

"'If thou lovest me, beloved, thou wilt obey me,' he answered, with a
tone of gentle reproof.

"'But thou wilt first eat of the bread I have brought, and drink of the
water,' I entreated.

"'Thou knowest not what temptation thou art offering to me,' he
replied, sadly. 'Thou hast not enough for thine own needs. Go, and
leave me to gain the victory over Satan, the prince of this world, for
which I was led by the Spirit thither.'

"I once more cast myself at his feet, and he lifted me up, kissing me,
and sent me away. Oh, you would not have known him! Worn and emaciated
by long abstinence, weak through suffering, he looked but the shadow of
himself. He could not have lived thus if there had not been a divine
power within to sustain him! His existence so long, for he had been in
the desert five weeks without food when I found him, was a miracle in
itself, proving the power of God to be in him."

"For what mighty work among men is God preparing him?" said Rabbi Amos,
with emotion. "Surely he is a prophet come from God."

"Think you he still lives?" I asked, with anxious fears, scarcely
trusting my voice above a whisper.

"Yes," answered John. "I am come to tell you he was divinely sustained
through all; and after forty days he came forth from the wilderness,
and suddenly presented himself on the banks of Jordan, among John's
disciples. I was standing near the Baptizer, discoursing of the Christ,
and marvelling when his exile to the desert would terminate, when the
prophet, lifting his eyes, cried with a loud voice full of joy:

"'Behold again the Lamb of God, upon whom the Spirit of God descended!
He hath come from the furnace like gold seven times tried in the fire!
He it is who alone taketh away the sins of the world!'

"I turned and beheld Jesus advancing. He was pale and wore an
expression of gentle, uncomplaining suffering on his benign and
spiritualized countenance. I hastened to meet him, and was kneeling in
joy at his feet, when he embraced me as a brother and said, 'Faithful,
and full of love, wilt thou follow me?'

"'I will nevermore leave thee,' I answered.

"'Where dwellest thou, divine Master?' then asked one of John's
disciples, Andrew by name, who was with me.

"'Come, my friends, and see,' he answered; and we went after him with
joy unutterable.

"He entered the village of Bethabara, and, approaching the house of a
widow, where he abode, went in. We followed him, and by his request
took up our abode with him. Oh, how shall I be able to make known by
words," added John, "the sweet expression of his discourse! In one day
in his presence I grew wise; his words filled the soul like new wine
and made the heart glad. The next day he wished to go into Galilee, and
so on to Nazareth, where his mother dwelleth; and as I have made up my
mind to follow him as his disciple henceforth, I have only come hither
to make known my purpose to Mary, and to arrange my affairs in the
city. To-morrow I will leave again, to join this, my dear Lord, at Cana
of Galilee."

"Canst thou divine at all his purpose?" asked Rabbi Amos of John,
"whether he intends to found a school of wisdom, to preach like the
prophets, to reign like David, or to conquer like his warrior namesake,
Joshua?"

"I know not, save that he said he came to redeem that which was lost,
and to establish a kingdom that shall have no end."

Upon hearing this, all our hearts bounded with hope and confidence in
him, and we all together burst forth into a voice of thanksgiving, and
sang this hymn of praise:

  "O sing unto the Lord a new song. He hath done marvelous things; his
  right hand and his holy arm hath gotten the victory.

  "The Lord hath made known his salvation; his righteousness hath he
  openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

  "He hath remembered his mercy and his truth towards the house of
  Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."

There was this morning, dear father, no little excitement produced
among the chief priests by a formal inquiry sent by Pilate to
Caiaphas, the High Priest, asking whether this new prophet was to be
acknowledged by them as their Messiah, "for, if he is to be, it will
be my duty," said the Governor, "to place him under arrest, inasmuch
as we understand the Jewish Messias is to declare himself king."
Upon this there was a tumultuous assembling together of the priests
in the porch of the Temple, and with many invectives they agreed to
send answer to Pilate that they did not acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth
to be the Christ. What Pilate will conclude to do, I know not. Rabbi
Amos informed us that the Procurator had got some news by courier that
morning that Jesus, on his way to Cana, had been followed by a full
thousand people, who hailed him as the Christ.

Thus you see, my dear father, that this divine person is already taking
hold of the hearts of the people, and arousing the jealousy of our
enemies. Be assured that the day will come when he will lift up his
standard to the Gentiles, and draw all men unto him.

                                                      Your loving,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XIII.


My Dear Father:

Since I last wrote you, my faith has been confirmed by the testimony
which in one of your letters you demanded. You said, "Let me hear that
he has done an authentic miracle in attestation of the divinity of his
mission--such a miracle as was prophesied Messias shall do, as healing
the sick by a word, restoring the blind to sight, and raising the
dead--and I will prepare to believe in him."

Miracle he has performed, dear father, and one the genuineness of which
is not disputed by any one. I can give you the particulars best by
extracting from a letter written by John to Mary, a few days after his
departure to join Jesus at Nazareth:

"Upon reaching Nazareth," says the letter, "I was guided to the humble
dwelling occupied by the mother of Jesus, by a large concourse of
people gathered about it, of whom inquiring, I learned that it was to
see the new Prophet they had thus assembled. 'What new Prophet?' I
asked, wishing to know what the multitude thought of Jesus.

"'The one of whom John of the wilderness foretold,' answered one.

"'They say he is Messias,' replied another.

"'He is the Christ,' boldly asserted a third.

"Hereupon a Levite standing by, said scornfully, 'Does Christ come out
of the country of Galilee? You read the Prophets to little purpose,
if you see therein any Christ prophesied to come out of Nazareth
of Galilee.' Hereupon, seeing the faith of many staggered, I said,
'Brethren, Christ is truly to be of Bethlehem, and verily Jesus, though
now he dwelleth in this place, was born in Bethlehem.'

"'Thou canst not prove it, man!' said the Levite angrily.

"'The stranger speaketh truly,' spoke up both an old man and a
gray-haired woman in the crowd. 'We know that he was not born here, and
that when his parents moved hither, when he was an infant, they then
said he was born in Bethlehem. We all remember this well.'

"Hereupon the Levite, seeing that he had not the people with him,
passed on his way, while I went to the door of the house where Jesus
dwelt with his mother. There were two doors, one of which led into a
workshop, where I noticed the bench and tools of the occupation at
which he had toiled to support himself and his mother. But when, as I
entered the dwelling, I saw him standing, teaching those who hung on
his lips, and listened to his calm voice, and heard the sublime wisdom
of his instructions, beheld the dignity of his aspect, and felt the
heavenly benignity of his manner, I forgot the carpenter, I forgot the
man, and seemed to behold in him only Messiah the Prince, the Son of
God.

"Upon beholding me, he extended his hand, and received me graciously,
and said, pointing to five men who stood near him, regarding him with
mingled love and reverence, 'These are thy brethren, who have also come
out of the world to follow me.'

"Of these, one was Andrew, who had been, as well as myself, John's
disciple. Another was Andrew's brother, whose name is Simon, whom
Jesus, from the firmness and immovable zeal of his character, which
he seemed to understand, called also Peter, or Stone. The fourth
disciple was of Bethsaida. His name was Philip, and he followed Jesus
from having been prepared by John the Baptist to receive him. He was,
moreover, so overjoyed at finding the Christ, that he ran to the house
of his kinsman, Nathaniel, and finding him in his garden, beneath a fig
tree, at prayer, exclaimed:

"'We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did
write, the Messias of God!'

"'Where is he, that I may behold him?' asked his relative, rising.

"'It is Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph,' Philip answered.

"Upon hearing this answer, the countenance of Nathaniel fell, and he
replied:

"'Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?'

"'Come thou and see for thyself,' answered Philip.

"Nathaniel then went with him where Jesus was. When Jesus saw him
approaching, he said to those about him:

"'Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile!'

"'Whence knowest thou me?' asked Nathaniel, with surprise, for he had
heard the words which were spoken. Jesus answered and said:

"'Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw
thee.'

"Upon hearing this Nathaniel, who knew that he was all alone in his
garden and unseen at prayer when his brother came, regarded the serene
face of Jesus steadfastly, and then, as if he beheld therein the
expression of omnipresence, he cried before all the people:

"'Rabbi, thou art the Son of God! Thou art the King of Israel!'

"Jesus looked upon him as if pleased at his confession, and said:

"'Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest
thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. Verily, verily, I say
unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God
ascending and descending upon the Son of man.'

"The next day James, my brother, and I went to the sea of Tiberias,
but two hours distant, to see our father Zebedee, and transfer our
interests to him; and, during the afternoon, Jesus passed near the
shore on his way to Cana, when, calling us, we forever left our ships
and our father and joined him. His mother and many of her kinsfolk were
of the company, all going to a marriage of the cousin of the family.
Upon our arrival at Cana, we were ushered into the guest chamber.

"The marriage feast at length commenced. The wine which should have
come from Damascus had not arrived, the caravan having been delayed
by the insurrection near Cesarea, and the chief ruler of the town,
presiding at the feast, seeing that the wine had given out, bade the
servants to place more upon the board. The mother of Jesus, who knew
that the wine was out, and that, looking upon this as an ill omen, the
family of the bride were in great distress, turned to Jesus and said,
'They have no wine.'

"The holy Prophet of God looked grave and said, applying to her the
title which we deem most honorable of all others, 'Woman, what have I
to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.'

"She must have understood his words, all mysterious as they were to me,
for, turning to the servants, she beckoned to them, while her cheek
borrowed a rich color from her hidden joy, and her eyes kindled with
loving sympathy for those about to be relieved in their distress. When
two or three of the servants had approached, she said to them:

"'Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.'

"The face of Jesus, ever calm and dignified, now seemed to assume
a look of majesty inexpressible, and his eyes to express a certain
consciousness of power within, that awed me. Casting his glance upon
several stone vases, which stood by the door empty, he said to the
servants:

"'Fill the water pots with water.'

"In the court, in full sight from the table, was a well to which the
servants forthwith went with jars, which I saw them fill with water,
bear it in upon their heads, and pour it out into the water pots, until
they had filled them all to the brim.

"In the meantime the governor of the feast and the majority of the
guests were absorbed in conversation and did not observe what was
taking place.

"'Draw out now and bear unto the governor of the feast,' said Jesus to
the servants.

"They obeyed, and pouring rich, blood-red wine from the jars which I
and others had seen filled up with simple water from the well, the
amazed servants bore it to the chief of the feast. He had no sooner
filled his goblet and tasted it, than he called to the bridegroom, who
sat in the middle of the table, and said:

"'Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men
have well drunk, then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good
wine until now.'

"'Who hath brought this wine?' asked the bridegroom, drinking of the
water that was made wine. 'Whence it came, sir, I know not.'

"Then the servants and others told that they had filled the six water
pots with water to the brim, at the command of Jesus the Prophet, and
that when they drew out, behold it flowed forth wine instead of water!
Upon this there was a general exclamation of surprise, and the governor
of the feast, crying out, 'A great prophet indeed hath been among us,
and we knew it not!' rose to approach and do honor to Jesus; but he had
already conveyed himself away, at once rising and passing out through
the door, and seeking the solitude of the gardens."

The rumor of the miracle at Cana has reached Jerusalem since I began
this letter, and I hear that it has produced no little excitement in
the market-places and courts of the Temple. Rabbi Amos, on his return
from sacrifice, a few minutes ago, said that he saw, in the court of
the Temple, more than thirty priests with rolls of the Prophets in
their hands, engaged in looking up the prophecies of the Christ.

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XIV.


My Dear Father:

You will not require the testimony of my letters to enable you to
appreciate the fame of the wonderful young man of Nazareth, Jesus, of
whose works you must have heard ere this. His fame for wisdom, for
knowledge of the Scriptures, for power to teach, and for miracles,
has gone abroad through all Syria, so that they bring to him sick
persons, both rich and poor, even from Damascus, to be healed of him;
and he heals all who are brought unto him, whether possessed of devils,
lunatic, or having the palsy. While I now write, a company is passing
the open window, bearing upon beds two wealthy men of Jerusalem, given
over by their physicians, who are going to him to be cured.

"So great is the multitude which everywhere follows Jesus," writes John
to Mary, "that he is often compelled to withdraw from them by stealth,
to get to some by-place of quiet where he can refresh his wearied
strength for a few days. At such times we, who are his immediate
followers, have the benefit of his teaching and private instructions.
But he cannot remain long away from the people. They soon penetrate
his retirement. How wonderful is he who thus holds in his hands divine
power! The authority of kings is nothing before that which he possesses
in his voice; yet he is serene, humble, oh, how humble! to our shame;
and always calm and gentle. He spends much time in private prayer to
God, whom he always addresses as his Father. Never was such a man on
earth. We, who know him most intimately, stand most in awe of him; yet
with our deep reverence for his holy character is combined the purest
affection. In one and the same breath I feel that I adore him as my
Lord, and love him even as my brother. So we all feel toward him."

Such, my dear father, is the tenor of all John's letters. When we shall
see Jesus at Jerusalem, I shall be able from personal observation to
write to you more particularly concerning his doctrines and miracles.
What is also of importance, it has been proven by the results of the
examination made by some of the scribes of the Temple, that he was
truly born in Bethlehem, and that both his mother Mary, and Joseph
her husband, are lineal descendants of the house of David. Moreover
Phineas, the venerable priest, whom you know, hath borne testimony to
the fact that when Jesus was an infant, during the reign of the elder
Herod, there arrived in Jerusalem three eminent princes, men of wisdom
and learning. One of these came from Persia, one from the Grecian
province of Media, and one from Arabia, and brought with them gifts of
gold and spices, and were attended by retinues. These three princes
reached Jerusalem the same day by three different ways, and entered
by three different gates, each unknowing to the other's presence
or object, till they met in the city before Herod's palace. One
represented himself descended from Shem, another from Japhet, the third
from Ham. And they mysteriously, it is said, typified all the races of
the earth who by them recognized and adored the Savior of men in the
child Jesus. The king, hearing that these three strangers had arrived
in Jerusalem, sent to know wherefore they had honored his kingdom with
a visit. "They answered," says Phineas, "that they came to do homage to
the young prince, who was born king of the Jews." And when Herod asked
what prince they spoke of, they answered, "We have seen his star in the
East, and are come to worship him."

"Hereupon," says Phineas, "the king issued an edict for all the chief
priests and scribes of the people to assemble in the council chamber of
his palace. He then addressed them:

"'Ye to whom is given the care of the books of the Law and the
Prophets, whose study they are, and in whom lies the skill to interpret
the prophecies, search therein, and tell me truly where the Christ is
to be born. Behold here present these august and wise men who have come
from afar to do him homage; nay more, as they aver, to worship him as
God. Let us have the courtesy to give them the answer that they seek,
and let us not be found more ignorant of these things than those who
dwell in other lands.'

"Several of the chief priests then rose and said: 'It is known, O king,
to all who are Jews, and who read the Prophets, that Messias cometh of
the house of David, of the town of Bethlehem; for thus it is written by
the prophet: "And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not least
among the princes of Judah, for out of thee shall come a governor that
shall rule my people Israel."'

"This question being thus decided," continued Phineas, "Herod dismissed
the council, and retiring to his own private room, secretly sent to
the three princes of the East to inquire of them what time the star
appeared. He then said to them:

"'You have my permission, noble strangers, to go to Bethlehem, and
search for the young child: and when ye have found him, bring me word
again, that I may come and worship him also.' Then they left the
presence of Herod, and it being dark when they left the palace, they
were overjoyed to behold the star which they saw in the East, going
before them. They followed it until it left Jerusalem by the Bethlehem
gate, and it led them on to the town of Bethlehem, and stopped above
an humble dwelling therein. When they were come into the house, they
saw the rays of the star resting upon the head of an infant in the arms
of its mother Mary, the wife of Joseph. They at once acknowledged and
hailed him as Prince and King of Israel, and falling down, worshiped
him; and opening their treasures, they presented unto him gold,
frankincense and myrrh, gifts that are offered on the altar to God
alone."

When Phineas was asked by Caiaphas how he knew this fact, he answered
that he himself, prompted by curiosity to see the prince they had come
to worship, had followed them out of the palace of Herod, out of
the gate, and even into Bethlehem, and witnessed their prostrations
and offerings to the infant child of Mary. "And," he added, "if
this be doubted, there are many Jews now living in Jerusalem, and a
certain Hebrew captain, now stricken in years, who can testify to the
slaughter, by Herod's command, of the infants of Bethlehem; for this
captain, Jeremias, led on the soldiers."

"And wherefore this slaughter?" asked Caiaphas. "It is not on record."

"Kings do not record their deeds of violence," answered Phineas. "Herod
kept it hushed up when he found that he gained nothing by it but
hatred. He slew them in order that the infant Jesus might be destroyed
among them; for the three wise men, instead of returning through
Jerusalem to their own country, and informing him where they had found
the child, departed by another way. But the child escaped, doubtless by
God's powerful protection."

"Dost thou believe in him also?" asked Caiaphas, with angry surprise,
looking sternly on Phineas.

"I will first see and hear him speak, and if he be proven to me to be
Messias, I will gladly worship him."

"Hereupon," said Rabbi Amos, "there arose a great uproar, some crying
that Jesus was the Christ, and others that Phineas should be stoned to
death."

Thus you see, my dear father, how the evidence increases in value and
importance, proving Jesus to be the Messiah. Tell me, is not this the
Christ?

                                     Your affectionate and loving,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XV.


My Dear Father:

The inquiry you made in your last letter, "What hath become of the
prophet of Jordan, since the fame of Jesus hath so eclipsed his
own?" I can answer but with sadness. The mission on which John came
terminated when Jesus came. Soon afterwards he left the wilderness and
entered Jericho, where Herod chanced to be visiting. Here he preached
in the public places, and in the market, and on the very steps of the
Governor's palace. Now while he was thus speaking to the people, and
the officers and soldiers of the Tetrarch's guard, Herod himself came
forth upon the balcony to listen. The prophet no sooner beheld him
than he boldly addressed him, and sternly reproved him for the sin of
having married the wife of his brother Philip, contrary to the law.
Now Herod, it is said, did not show resentment at his plain dealings,
but, inviting the prophet into his hall, talked much with him, and in
parting offered him gifts, which John refused to touch. The next day he
sent for him again to ask him some questions touching the Messias of
whom he preached. Now Herodia, when it was reported to her, after the
return of Herod from Jericho to his Tetrarchy, how that the prophet had
publicly spoken against her marriage with Herod, became very angry; and
when she found that John was still favored by her husband, she sent for
Herod and said that if he would please her he must throw the prophet
of Jordan into prison. At length Herod yielded, against his own will,
and gave orders for the arrest of the prophet; who, the same night, was
thrown into the ward of the castle. For some weeks this holy man, whose
only offense was that he had the courage to reprove sin in high places,
remained in bonds, while Herod each day sought to find some excuse for
releasing him without displeasing Herodia, of whose anger he stood
in great fear, being an abject slave to his love for her. At length
the birthday of Herod arrived, and he conveyed word to John that in
honor of the day he would send and fetch him out of prison as soon as
he should obtain the consent of his wife, which he believed she would
accord to him on such an anniversary.

Now, after the feast, Philippa, the daughter of Herodia, and of her
former husband Philip, came in and danced before Prince Herod; and
being beautiful in person and full of grace in every motion, she so
pleased her step-father that he made a great oath, having drunk much
wine with his guests, that he would give her whatsoever she would
ask, were it the half of his kingdom. Her mother then called her, and
whispered to her imperatively.

"Give me," said the maiden, turning towards Herod, "the head, now, of
John the Baptist in a charger."

The Tetrarch no sooner heard this request than he turned pale, and said
fiercely:

"Thy mother hath been tampering with thine ears, girl. Ask half of
my kingdom and I will give it thee, but let me not shed blood on my
birthday."

"Wilt thou falsify thine oath?" asked his wife, scornfully.

"For mine oath's sake, and for those who have heard it, I will
grant thy desire," he at length answered, with a sigh of regret and
self-reproach. He then turned to the captain of the guard and commanded
him to slay John Baptist in prison, and bring presently there his head
upon a charger.

At the end of a quarter of an hour, which was passed by Herod in great
excitement, walking up and down the floor, and by his guests in silent
expectation, the door opened, and the captain of the guard entered,
followed by the executioner, who carried a brazen platter upon which
lay the gory head of the eloquent forerunner of Christ.

"Give it to her!" cried Herod, sternly, waving him towards the
beautiful maiden who stood near the inner door. The executioner placed
the charger in her hands; and, with a smile of triumph, she bore it to
her mother, who had retired to an inner room.

All the disciples of the murdered prophet then went where Jesus was
preaching and healing, and told him what had been done to John. "When
Jesus heard of the death of John, he was very sorrowful," writes John
to Mary, "and went away into a desert place apart." In the meanwhile
the disciples of John Baptist fled, some into the deserts, while
others sought Jesus to protect and counsel them. At length he found
himself surrounded by a great multitude, chiefly of John's disciples,
besides many who had come to hear him preach and be healed of him. The
place was a desert and far from any town. Forgetful of all else, save
following Jesus, they were without food. "Which," says John, writing
to Rabbi Amos, "we who were his disciples seeing, suggested that Jesus
should send them away to the villages to buy themselves victuals. But
Jesus answered us, and said quietly:

"'They need not go away; give ye them to eat.'

"And Simon said, 'Master, where can we get bread for so many? We have
among us but five loaves and two small fishes.'

"Upon hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is enough; bring them hither to me.'

"We collected the bread and fishes, and I, myself, laid them upon a
rock before Jesus. He then said to us, 'Command the multitude to sit
down on the grass.' And when they were all seated, he took the five
loaves and laying his hands upon them and upon the two fishes, he
looked up to heaven and blessed them, and then, breaking them into
fragments, he gave them to us his disciples, and bade us distribute to
the people. As often as we would return for more, we found the loaves
and the fishes undiminished, and I saw with wonder how, when this
Prophet of God would break off a piece of one of the fishes or of a
loaf, the same part would immediately be seen thereon as if it had not
been separated; and in this manner he continued to break and distribute
to us for nearly an hour, until all ate as much as they would. When no
one demanded more, he commanded us to gather up the fragments which lay
by his side, and there were twelve baskets full over and above what
was needed. The number that was thus miraculously fed was about five
thousand men, besides nearly an equal number of women and children. And
this mighty Prophet, who could thus feed an army, voluntarily suffered
forty days and nights the pangs of hunger in the desert! He seems a man
in suffering, a God in creating!"

This wonderful miracle, my dear father, is one that has too many
witnesses to be denied. Not a day passes that we do not hear of some
still more extraordinary exhibition of his power than the preceding.
Every morning, when men meet in the market places, or in the corridors
of the Temple, the first inquiry is, "What new wonder has he performed?
Have you heard of another miracle of this mighty Prophet?" The priests
alone are offended, and speak evil of him through envy.

They even have gone so far as to assert that he performs his miracles
by magic, or by the aid of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. "If
we suffer him to take men's minds as he doth," said Caiaphas to Rabbi
Amos yesterday, when he heard that Jesus had walked on the sea to join
his disciples in their ship, and stilled a tempest with a word, "the
worship in the Temple will be at an end, and the sacrifice will cease.
He draweth all men unto him."

You have asked, dear father, in your letter, "Where is Elias, who is to
precede Messias, according to the prophet Malachi?" This question Jesus
himself has answered, says John, when a rabbi put it to him. He replied
thus:

"Elias has come already, and ye have done unto him whatsoever ye
listed."

"Dost thou speak of John the Baptist?" asked those about him, when
they heard this.

"John came in the spirit and power of Elias, and therefore was he thus
called by the prophet," was the answer of Jesus.

I did not tell you that besides the six disciples whom I have named,
he has chosen six others, which twelve he keeps near his person as his
more favored followers, and whom he daily instructs in the doctrines
he came down from heaven to teach. Of the thousands who never weary of
going from place to place in his train, he has also selected seventy
men, whom he has despatched by twos into every city and village of
Judea, commanding them to proclaim the kingdom of God is at hand, and
that the time when men everywhere should repent and turn to God, has
come.

It is now commonly reported that he will be here at the Passover. I
shall then behold him, and, like the wise men, I shall worship him with
mingled awe and love. I will again write you, dear father, after I see
and hear him. Till then, believe me your affectionate daughter,

                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XVI.


My Dear Father:

While I write, the city is agitated like a tumultuous sea. The loud
murmurs of the multitudes in the streets, and even in the distant
market-place, reach my startled ears. A squadron of Roman cavalry has
just thundered past towards the Temple, where the uproar is greatest;
for a rumor of an insurrection begun among the people has come to
Pilate the Procurator.

I will relate to you the circumstance in detail.

Yesterday Mary's cousin, John, returned and came unexpectedly into
the hall of the fountain, in the rear of the house, where we were all
seated in the cool of the vines. Uncle Amos was in the act of reading
to us from the Prophet Jeremiah, a prophecy relating to the Messias
that is to come (nay, that is come, dear father), when John appeared.
Mary's blushes welcomed him and showed how dear he was to her. Uncle
Amos embraced and kissed him and seated him by us, and called for a
servant to bathe his feet, for he was dusty and travel-worn. From him
we learned that his beloved Master, Jesus, had reached Bethany, and
was reposing from his fatigues at the hospitable though humble house
of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. When we heard this, we were all very
glad; and Uncle Amos particularly seemed to experience the deepest
satisfaction.

"If he come into Jerusalem," said he warmly, "he shall be my guest. Bid
him to my roof, O John, that my household may be blessed in having a
prophet of God step across its threshold."

"I will tell my beloved Master thy wish, Rabbi Amos," answered John.
"Doubtless, as he has no home nor friends in the city, he will remain
under your roof."

"Say not no friends!" I exclaimed. "We are all his friends here, and
fain would be his disciples."

"What! Rabbi Amos also?" cried John, with a glance of pleasure and
surprise at the venerable priest of God.

"Yes, I am ready, after all that I have seen and heard, I am ready to
confess him a prophet sent from God."

"He is far more than a prophet, O Rabbi Amos," answered John. "Never
prophet did the works Jesus does. It seems that all power is at his
command. If you witnessed what I witness daily, as he traverses Judea,
you would say that he was Jehovah descended to earth in human form."

"Nay, do not blaspheme, young man," said Rabbi Amos, with some severity
of reproof.

John bowed his head in reverence to the rebuke of the Rabbi, but
nevertheless answered respectfully and firmly. "Never man did like him.
If he be not God in the flesh, he is an angel in flesh invested with
divine power."

"If he be the Messiah," I said, "he cannot be an angel, for are not the
prophecies clear that the Messiah shall be 'a man of sorrows'? Is he
not to be 'the seed of the woman'? a man and not an angel?"

"Yes," answered John, "you remember well the prophecies. I firmly
believe Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God. Yet, what he is more
than man, what he is less than God, is incomprehensible to me and to my
fellow-disciples. We wonder, love and adore! At one moment we feel like
embracing him as a brother dearly beloved; at another, we are ready to
fall at his feet and worship him. I have seen him weep at beholding the
miseries of the diseased wretches which were dragged into his presence,
and then with a touch--with a word, heal them; and they would stand
before him in the purity and beauty of health and strong manhood."

"And yet," said Nicodemus, a rich Pharisee, who entered as John was
first speaking, and listened without interrupting, "and yet, young man,
I heard you say that Jesus, of whom you and all men relate such mighty
deeds, has remained at Bethany to recover from his fatigue. How can a
man who holds all sickness in his power, be subject to mere weariness
of body? I would say unto him, Physician, heal thyself!"

This was spoken with a tone of incredulity by this learned ruler of the
Jews, and, stroking his snowy beard, he waited of John a reply.

"So far as I can learn the character of Jesus," replied John, "his
healing power over diseases is not for his own good. He uses his
power to work miracles for the benefit of others through love and
compassion. Being a man with this divine power dwelling in him for us,
he is subject to infirmities as a man; he hungers, thirsts, wearies,
suffers, as a man. I have seen him heal a nobleman's son by a word,
and the next moment seat himself, supporting his aching head upon his
hand, looking pale and languid, for his labors of love are vast, and he
is often overcome by them. Once Simon Peter, seeing him ready to sink
with weariness, after healing all day, asked him and said, 'Master,
thou givest strength to others; why suffer thyself, when all health and
strength are in thee as in a living well, to be weary?'

"'It is not my desire to escape human infirmities by any power my
Father hath bestowed upon me for the good of men. Through suffering
only can I draw all men after me!' he replied."

John said this so sadly, as if he were repeating the very tones in
which Jesus had spoken it, that we all remained silent for a few
moments. I felt tears fill my eyes, and I was glad to see that the
proud Pharisee, Nicodemus, looked moved. After a full minute's serious
pause, he said:

"This man is doubtless no common prophet. When he comes into the city,
I shall be glad to hear from his own mouth his doctrines, and to
witness some potent miracle."

"Prophet he is, without doubt," answered Amos. "It is not the question
now whether he be a prophet or not; for the hundreds he has healed are
living witnesses that he has the spirit and power of the old prophets,
and is truly a prophet. The question that remains is, whether he be the
Messiah or not."

Nicodemus slowly and negatively shook his head, and then answered:

"Messias cometh not out of Galilee."

At this moment a sudden wild, joyful cry from Mary thrilled our nerves,
and looking towards the door, we saw her folded in the arms of a young
man whom I had never seen before. My surprise had not time to form
itself into any definite explanation of what I saw, when I beheld the
young man, who was exceedingly handsome and the picture of health,
after kissing the clinging Mary upon her cheeks, leave her to throw
himself into the arms of Rabbi Amos, crying:

"My father, my dear father!"

My uncle, who had stood amazed and wonderingly gazing on him, as if
he could not believe what his eyes beheld, now burst into profound
expressions of grateful joy, and as he clasped the young stranger
to his heart, fell upon his neck and wept, with scarcely power to
articulate the words:

"My son! My son! Lost, but found again! This is the Lord's doing and is
marvelous in our eyes!"

John also embraced the new-comer, and the ruler stood silent with
wonder. While I was looking bewildered upon the scene, Mary ran and
said to me, with tears of gladness shining in her dark, fine eyes:

"It is Benjamin, my lost brother, beloved Adina!"

"I did not know you had a brother," I answered in surprise.

"We have long regarded him as dead," she replied with mingled emotions.
"Seven years ago he became lunatic, and fled to the tombs without the
city, where he has long dwelt with many others who were possessed
with devils. For years he has neither spoken to nor known us. But oh,
now--now behold him! It seems a vision! See how manly, noble, like
himself he is, with the same intelligent, smiling eyes."

She then flew to take him by the hand and lead him toward me, all eyes
being fixed upon him, as if he had been a spirit.

When he saw their wondering gaze, he said:

"It is I, both son and brother to those dearest to me. I am in my right
mind and well."

"Who has effected this change, so extraordinary, oh, my son?" inquired
Rabbi Amos, with trembling lips, and keeping his hand on Benjamin's
shoulder, as if he feared he would vanish away.

"It was Jesus, the Prophet of the Highest!" answered he, with solemn
gratitude.

"Jesus!" we all exclaimed in one voice.

"I could have said so," answered John, calmly. "Rabbi Nicodemus, thou
knowest this young man well. Thou hast known him in childhood, and
beheld him in the madness of his lunacy among the tombs. Dost thou
doubt now whether Jesus be the very Christ?"

Nicodemus made no reply, but I saw from the expression of his face that
he believed.

"How was this done to thee, young man?" he asked, with deep and visible
emotion.

"I was wandering near Bethany this morning," answered the restored
one, with modesty, "when I beheld a crowd which I madly followed.
As I drew near I beheld in their midst a man, whom I had no sooner
cast my eyes upon than I felt seize me an ungovernable propensity to
destroy him. The same fury possessed seven others, my comrades in
madness, and together we rushed upon him, with great stones and knives
in our hands. The crowd gave way and fell back aghast, and called him
to save himself. But he moved not, but, left alone in a wide space,
stood calmly awaiting us. We were within a few feet of him, and I was
nearest, ready to strike him to the earth, when he quietly lifted one
finger and said, 'Peace!' We stood immovable, without power to stir a
foot, while our rage and hatred increased with our inability to harm
him. We howled and foamed at the mouth before him, for we then knew
that he was the Son of God, come to destroy us.

"'Come out of the men and depart quickly!' he said, in a tone of
command as if to us, but really to the demons within us. At this word
I fell at his feet in a dreadful convulsion, and my whole body writhed
as if it had been wrestling with an invisible demon. Jesus then stooped
and laid his hand upon my brow and said, 'Son, arise. Thou art made
whole!'

"At these words a black cloud seemed to be lifted from my mind. The
glory of a new existence appeared to dawn upon my soul, while his voice
melted my heart within me. Bursting into tears, the first I have shed
for seven years, I fell at his feet and kissed and embraced them."

When Benjamin had done speaking, we all gave glory to God, who had
given him back to us, and who had sent so great a Prophet among men.

I commenced this letter, dearest father, by an allusion to a great
commotion which is agitating the whole city, but as I have taken up
so much of this letter in relating what passed yesterday in the hall
of the fountain, I will leave the account of the tumult for my next
letter, which I shall write this evening.

May the God of our fathers be with you, and bless you and the holy
people of the promise.

                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XVII.


My Dear Father:

When, on the morning of the Passover, it was noised abroad that the
Prophet of Galilee was entering the city by the gate of Jericho, the
whole city was stirred, and from houses and shops poured forth crowds
which turned their steps in that direction. Mary and I went upon the
house-top, hoping to see something; but far and near was visible only
a sea of heads, from which a deep murmuring arose, like the ceaseless
voice of the ocean chafing upon a rocky shore. The top of the gate-way
was visible from the place where we stood, but it was black with the
people who had crowded upon it to look down. There was heard at length
an immense shout, as of one voice, which was followed by a swaying and
onward pressure of the crowds.

"The Prophet must have entered the gate," said my Cousin Mary,
breathlessly. "How they do him honor! It is the reception of a king!"

We were in hopes he would pass by our house, as we were on one of the
chief thoroughfares, but were disappointed, as he ascended the hill of
Moriah to the Temple. A part of the ascent to the house of the Lord
is visible from our roof, and we had the satisfaction of seeing the
Prophet at a distance. We knew him only because he was in advance.
The nighest one to him, Mary said, was her Cousin John, though
at that distance I could not have recognized him. The head of the
multitude disappeared beneath the arch of the Temple, and thousands
upon thousands followed after; and in the rear rode the young Roman
centurion, whom I have before spoken of, at the head of four hundred
horse, to keep order in the vast mass. Mary could not recognize him,
saying it was too far to tell who he was; but I knew him, not only by
his air and bearing, but by the scarlet pennon that fluttered from his
iron lance, and which I had bestowed upon him, for he told me he had
lost one his fair Roman sister, Tullia, had given him, and as he so
much regretted its loss, I supplied its place by another, worked by my
own hands.

[Illustration: STREET IN JERUSALEM]

The multitude, as many as could gain admission, having entered the
great gate of the Temple, for a few minutes there was a profound
stillness. Mary said:

"He is worshiping or sacrificing now."

"Perhaps," I said, "he is addressing the people, and they listen to his
words."

While I was speaking there arose from the bosom of the Temple a loud,
irregular, strange outcry of a thousand voices, pitched to high
excitement. The people without the gate responded by a universal shout,
and then we beheld those nighest the walls retreat down the hillside
in terrified confusion, while, to increase the tumult, the Roman horse
charged up the hill, seeking to penetrate the masses to reach the
gate out of which the people poured like a living and tempest-tossed
river, before which the head of the cohort recoiled or was overwhelmed
and down-trodden! I held my breath in dreadful suspense, not knowing
the cause of the fearful scene we beheld, nor to what it might lead.
Mary sank, almost insensible, by my side. A quarter of an hour had not
passed when young Samuel Ben Azel, who had the day before come up from
Nain to the Passover with his mother, entered and explained to us the
cause of the scene I had witnessed.

"The Prophet Jesus, having entered into the Temple, found all the
courts filled with merchants, changers of money, and sellers of cattle
to the sacrificers. Portions of the sacred place were divided off by
fences, in which hundreds of sheep and cattle were stalled. On his
way to the inner Temple the Prophet found his path so obstructed by
the stalls and the tables of the brokers, that he had to go around
them, and often to turn back and take a less hedged-up avenue. At
length finding, upon the very lintel of the Court of the Priests,
a priest himself engaged at a table as a money-changer, and near
him a Levite keeping a stall for selling doves and sparrows to the
worshipers, he stopped upon the step, and turning round, cast his eye,
which now beamed with an awful majesty and power, over the scene of
noisy commerce and bartering. Every face was turned towards him in
expectation. The half-completed bargain was suspended, and buyer and
seller directed their gaze, as by a sort of fascination, not unmingled
with a strange fear and awe, upon him. Those who had crowded about him
drew back farther and farther, slowly but irresistibly widening the
space between them and him, they knew not by what impulse, till he
stood alone, save near him remained John, his disciple. The uproar of
the buying and selling suddenly subsided, and the loud lowing of the
cattle and the bleating of the sheep stopped as if a supernatural awe
had seized even the brute creation at his presence, and only the soft
cooing of doves stirred the vast, death-like stillness of the place, a
moment before a scene of oaths, cries, shouts, of running to and fro,
buying and selling, the ringing of money, and the buzz of ten thousand
voices! It was as if a hurricane, sweeping with deafening uproar of
the elements over the lashed ocean, had been suddenly arrested and
followed by a great calm. The silence was dreadful! It stopped the very
beating of my heart. Every eye of the vast multitude seemed to fasten
itself on the Prophet in expectation of some dread event. The step of
the Temple upon which he stood seemed to be a throne, and the people
before him expecting judgment. Suddenly the silence was broken by a
young man near me who gave a piercing shriek, and fell insensible upon
the marble floor. There was a general thrill of horror, yet the same
awful stillness succeeded this startling interruption. That one intense
shriek had spoken for us all. Suddenly the voice of the Prophet was
heard, clear, authoritative, and ringing like the trumpet that shook
Sinai when the Law was given.

"'It is written, My Father's house shall be called a house of prayer;
but ye have made it a den of thieves!'

"He then picked up from the pavement at his feet a small cord, which
some one had thrown down, and doubling it in the form of a scourge, he
advanced. Before his presence fled the changers of money, priests and
Levites, sellers of oxen, sellers of sheep, sellers of doves, leaving
their property to its fate.

"'Take these things hence,' cried the Prophet; 'make not my Father's
house a house of merchandise!'

"Such a scene of confusion and flight was never witnessed as now
followed! In the moment of panic I was borne along with the current.
Money tables were overturned on all sides, but not the most avaricious
one present thought, at that moment, of stopping to gather any of
the gold and silver which the rushing thousands trampled beneath
their feet. It was not the whip of small cords before which we fled,
for he touched no man therewith, but it was from the majesty of his
countenance. To the eyes of all the little whip seemed to blaze and
flash above their heads, as if it were the fiery sword of a destroying
angel. In a few moments the Priests' Court of the Temple was cleared of
every soul, as we fled towards the South gate. On looking back, I saw
that the Prophet pursued not, but stood alone, Master and Lord of the
Temple. The whip was no longer in his hand, and his whole attitude and
expression of face seemed changed from their late impress to an air of
the profoundest compassion, as he looked after us, still flying from
his presence."

My uncle, Rabbi Amos, who, on his return from the Temple, corroborated
what Samuel had stated, added that as Jesus stood alone, possessor of
the gold-strewn floors of the courts of the Temple, the High Priest
advanced towards him, and with awe, not unmixed with anger, demanded of
him by what authority he did these things.

His answer was, "My Father's house must not be made a house of
merchandise."

"Art thou the Christ?" asked the High Priest, still standing some
distance off from him.

"If I tell thee that I am, ye will not believe."

"What sign showest thou that thou art sent, and hast authority to do
what thou doest here to-day within the Temple?"

"Hast thou not had proof of my power from heaven?" answered Jesus,
stretching forth his hand towards the still terror-stricken multitude;
and then laying it upon his breast, he added: "Destroy this temple, and
in three days I will raise it up! Be this to you, O priest, and to all
Judea, the sign that I am sent by my Father who is in heaven. As he
hath given me commandment, so I do!"

At this there was a great murmuring, said Rabbi Amos, for many of the
priests, with Annas also, had got boldness and drawn near to hear.

"He cannot be a just man," said Annas, "nor doth he honor God, if he
would have us destroy the Temple."

"Yet if he be not sent of God, whence hath he this power over men?"
answered another.

"He doeth this by Beelzebub, whose prophet he doubtless is," said
Annas, in a loud tone, "for a true prophet would not seek the
destruction of God's holy house."

Thereupon there was a multitude of voices, some crying one thing, and
some another. Caiaphas at length obtained silence, and said to him with
awe:

"Art thou that Christ of the Prophets?"

"I am!" calmly and firmly answered the Prophet; and, raising his eyes
to heaven, he added impressively, "I am come down from God."

When, adds my uncle, Annas heard this, he lifted up his voice in an
exclamation of horror, and cried out:

"Hear ye this blasphemer! Let us cast him forth from the Temple which
he pollutes!"

But no man dared approach the Prophet.

"Bear witness," then said he, sorrowfully, rather than in anger, "that
I have come unto my own, and ye have received me not! This Temple of
my Father, from which you would drive me forth, shall no longer be
the dwelling place and altar of Jehovah. The day cometh when your
priesthood shall be taken away and given to others, and among the
Gentiles shall arise my Father's name, on every hill and in every
valley of the earth, holy temples, wherein he shall delight to dwell;
and men shall no longer need to worship God in Zion, but in all places
shall prayer and praise be offered to the Most High. This Temple, which
ye have polluted, shall be overthrown, and ye shall be scattered among
the nations."

Thus speaking, the Prophet quitted the Temple, leaving the High Priest
and priests and Levites standing gazing after him, without power to
utter a word.

Such, my dear father, is the account given by Rabbi Amos of what passed
in the Temple. That Jesus is the Christ is now beyond question, for he
has openly acknowledged it to the High Priest.

Adieu, dearest father. The servants are bringing in boughs for the
booths, and I must close this letter, with prayers to our fathers' God
for your peace and welfare.

                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XVIII.


My Dear Father:

You say in your letter, which I received from the hands of the Roman
courier, that you have read with interest all my letters, and more
especially those which relate to Jesus of Galilee. You say that you are
ready to acknowledge him as a prophet sent from God. But you add, "He
can have no claim to be the Christ, because he comes out of Galilee."

To this objection, dear father, Rabbi Amos desires me to say that he
has investigated the records of births kept in the Temple, and finds,
as I have before named to you, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He
afterwards removed with his parents to Egypt, and thence returning to
Judea, settled in Galilee, where he was brought up. Of these facts
in his history not only Rabbi Amos is satisfied, but Nicodemus also,
whose learning you will not gainsay; and the latter, very much to our
surprise, and my own delight, added yesterday, when we were talking
over the subject at supper, "There is a prophecy, O Rabbi Amos, which
strengthens this mighty Prophet's claim to be the Messias."

"What is it? Let me hear all that can strengthen!" I asked earnestly;
not, dear father, that my confidence in him needs confirmation, but I
wish others to believe.

"You will find it in the Prophet Hoseas," answered Nicodemus, "and thus
it readeth: 'I have called my son out of Egypt.'"

My heart bounded with joy, dear father, at hearing this prophecy named;
but judge my emotion when Nicodemus, taking the roll of the Prophet
Isaiah in his hand, read the words that follow, and applied them to
Jesus: "Beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles, the people which sat
in darkness have seen a great light!" This changes the objection to
his coming from Galilee into additional proof of his claim to be the
Messias.

In my last letter I informed you that Rabbi Amos had invited him
to sojourn with us during the Passover. He graciously accepted the
invitation, and came hither yesterday, after he had quitted the Temple,
from which he had with such commanding power driven forth the merchants
and money-changers.

Hearing, while expecting him, the rumor flying along the streets, "The
Prophet comes! The Prophet comes!" uttered by hundreds of voices of
men and children, I hastened to the house-top. The whole way was a sea
of heads. The multitude came rolling onward, like a mighty river; as I
have seen the dark Nile flow when pouring its freshening floods along
its confined banks.

Mary stood by my side. We tried to single out the central person around
whom undulated the sea of heads; but all was so wildly confused with
the waving of palm branches that we could distinguish nothing clearly.
While I was straining my gaze to make out the form of the Prophet,
Mary touched me, and bade me look in the opposite direction. As I did
so I beheld Æmilius Tullius, the young Roman centurion, now Prefect of
Pilate's Legion, advancing at the head of two hundred horsemen at full
spur, in order to meet and turn back the advancing column of people.

As he came opposite the house he looked up, and seeing us upon the
parapet, he gracefully waved his gleaming sword, saluted us, and was
dashing past, when Mary cried out:

"Noble sir, there is no insurrection, as some of the people have
doubtless told thee, but this vast crowd moving hitherwards is only an
escort to the Prophet of Nazareth, who cometh to be my father's guest."

"I have orders from Pilate to arrest him, lady, as a disturber of the
peace of the capital."

"Shall a prophet suffer because his mighty deeds draw crowds after his
footsteps, noble Roman? If thy troops advance there will be a collision
with the people. If thou wilt withdraw them a little, thou wilt see
that when the Prophet crosses my father's threshold, they will go away
in peace."

The prefect said nothing, but seemed to look at me for some words;
which seeing, I earnestly entreated him to do the Prophet no violence.

"For thy wishes' sake, lady, I will here halt my troop, especially as I
see that the people are unarmed."

The centurion then gave orders to his horsemen to draw up in line
opposite the house. The multitude now came near, but many of those in
advance, seeing the Roman horse, stopped or fell into the rear, so
that I beheld Jesus appear in front, walking at an even, calm pace,
John at his side; also Rabbi Amos was with him. As he came nigher, the
people, for fear of the long Roman spears, kept back, and he advanced
almost alone. I saw John point out to him our house. The Prophet
raised his face and gazed upon it an instant. I saw his features
full. His countenance was not that of a young man, but of a person
past the middle age of life, though he is but thirty. His hair was
mingled with gray, and in his finely shaped, oval face were carved,
evidently by care and sorrow, deep lines. His flowing beard fell upon
his breast. His eyes appeared to be fixed upon us both for an instant
with benignity and peace. Deep sadness, gentle, not stern, seemed to be
the characteristic expression of his noble and princely visage. There
was an air of manly dignity in his carriage and mien, and as he walked
amid his followers he was truly kingly, yet simplicity and humility
qualified this native majesty of port. He seemed to draw out both the
awe and love of those who saw him--to command equally our homage and
sympathy.

Passing the troop of horse, John and Rabbi Amos conducted Jesus to our
door; but before they reached it there was a loud cry from several
harsh voices to the Roman to arrest him. On looking from whence these
shouts came, I saw that they proceeded from several of the priests,
headed by Annas, who were pressing forward through the crowd, crying
menacingly:

"We call upon you, O prefect, to arrest this man! Shame on thee, Rabbi
Amos! Hast thou also believed in the impostor? We charge this Galilean,
O Roman, with having made sedition. He has taken possession of the
Temple, and unless you see to it he will have the citadel out of your
hands. If you arrest him not, we will not answer for the consequences
that may befall the city and the people."

"I see nothing to fear from this man, O ye Jews," answered Æmilius. "He
is unarmed and without troops. Stand back; keep ye to your Temple! It
is from your outcries comes all the confusion! Back to your altars! If
commotions arise in the city, Pilate will make you accountable. All the
rest of the people are peaceable save yourselves."

"We will take our complaint before the Procurator!" cried Annas, who
was the chief speaker; and, followed by a large company of angry
priests and Levites, with staves in their hands, he took his way
towards the palace of the Roman Governor.

I looked my gratitude to Æmilius for so fearlessly taking part with the
Prophet.

The multitude now began to retire as the Roman horse slowly moved up
the street. Jesus was received into the house by Mary, and taken into
the inner hall, where, water being brought, Rabbi Amos himself removed
the sandals of the Prophet and reverently washed his feet, while Mary,
to do him all honor, dried them with a rich veil, which she had just
worked in anticipation of her coming bridal with her Cousin John. It
was at this moment I entered the hall.

There were in the room not only Amos, and John, and Mary, but the
Priest Elias, cousin to Caiaphas, who, desirous of hearing from the
lips of the Prophet his sublime teachings, had come in with him. There
were also present five men whom I never saw before, but who, John said,
were his disciples. I, however, had no eye or ear for any one but
Jesus. I saw that he seemed very weary and pale, and for the first time
I noticed he seemed to suffer, as from time to time he raised his hand
to his temples. Desirous of serving so holy a person, I hastened to
prepare a restorative which, bringing it into the hall, I was about to
give to him, when the Priest Elias put me rudely back and said, "Nay,
maiden, let us witness a miracle!" He then turned to the Prophet and
said, "Master, we have heard much of thy power to do miracles, but have
seen none by thee. If thou wilt presently show me a miracle, I will
believe, I and all my house. Thou hast a pain in thy forehead; heal it
with a touch, and I will acknowledge thee the Christ, the Son of the
Blessed!"

Jesus turned his eyes upon him and said, "Elias, thou readest the
Prophets, and shouldest know whether he who speaketh unto thee be the
Christ or no. Search the Scriptures, that thou mayest know that the
time of his visitation is come, and that I am he. I do no miracles to
relieve my own suffering. I came into this world to suffer. Isaiah
wrote of me as a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Blessed are
they who, not seeing, shall believe!"

"But, Master," said the aged Levite, Asher, "we know whence thou
art--even from Galilee. But when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence
he is."

"It is true, O man of Israel, ye both know me and whence I am. Yet ye
know not him who sent me. Ye do not understand the Scriptures or ye
would indeed know me, whence I am, and who hath sent me. But ye know
neither me nor him that sent me, for I am come out from God. If ye had
known him, ye would know me also. The time cometh when ye shall know
whence I am and believe in me; but now your hearts are darkened through
ignorance and unbelieving."

When he had thus spoken with great dignity and power, there were many
present who were offended, and some voices murmured against him. Then
Rabbi Amos led him forth to the apartment he had prepared for him.

In going to it the Prophet had to cross the court, and as I was
watching his retiring footsteps, I saw four men, who had climbed to
the house-top from the side street, the doors being closed, let down a
fifth in a blanket at the very feet of Jesus. It was a man afflicted
with the palsy, and their own father. Jesus, seeing their filial love,
stopped and said kindly:

"Young men, what would ye have me to do?"

"Heal our aged father, holy Rabbi."

"Believe ye that I can do this?" he asked, fixing his gaze earnestly on
them.

"Yes, Lord, we believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living
God! All things are possible unto thee!"

Jesus looked benignantly upon them, and then taking the venerable man
by the hand, he said to him in a loud voice, so that all who were
looking on heard him:

"Aged father, I say unto thee, arise and walk!"

The palsied man instantly rose to his feet, whole and strong, and after
casting a glance around upon himself, he threw himself at the Prophet's
feet and bathed them in tears. The four sons followed their father's
example, while all the people who witnessed the miracle shouted, "Glory
to God, who hath given such power unto men!"

Such, my dear father, are the increasing testimonies Jesus bears, by
miracles as well as by words, to his being Messias.

The God of our fathers keep you in health.

                                             Your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XIX.


My Dear Father:

The visit of the Prophet Jesus to the city has produced results of
the most amazing character. The priesthood is divided. Caiaphas has
publicly recognized him as a prophet, while Annas has publicly declared
that he is an impostor; and thus two parties are formed in the city,
headed by the two priests, and most men have taken sides with one or
the other. But the majority of the common people are in favor of Jesus,
believing him to be the Christ. The Pharisees most oppose him, because
he boldly reproves their sins and hypocrisies.

Even Nicodemus, who at first was inclined to accept Jesus as a prophet,
finding the Pharisees against him, and being unwilling to lose his
popularity with them, kept away from the house where Jesus was by
day; but his curiosity to learn more of him led him to visit the holy
Prophet secretly by night. This he did twice, coming alone in the
darkness, and being let in by his friend Rabbi Amos. What the results
of these interviews was I can only tell you from Mary's account. She
overheard their conversation, her window opening upon the corridor,
where Jesus was seated after supper, alone in the moonlight, for full
an hour, gazing meditatively heavenward. His pale and chiseled features
in the white moonlight seemed radiant as marble, when Rabbi Amos came
and announced the ruler, Nicodemus, as desirous of speaking with him.

"Bid him come in and see me, if he has aught to say to me," answered
the Prophet, turning towards him.

"Nicodemus," added my Cousin Mary, "then came to the corridor,
wrapped carefully in his mantle, and, looking about to see if he was
unobserved, he dropped it from his face, and, bowing reverently, said
to the Prophet:

"'Pardon me, O Rabbi, that I come to thee by night, but by day thy time
is taken up with healing and teaching. I am glad to find thee alone,
great Prophet, for I would ask thee many things.'

"'Speak, Nicodemus, and I will listen to thy words,' answered the
Prophet.

"'Rabbi,' said the ruler of the Pharisees, 'I know thou art a teacher
come from God, for no man can do these things that thou doest except
God be with him. That thou art a mighty prophet I believe, as do all
men; but art thou Messias? Tell us plainly. We read that Messias is to
be a king who will rule the whole earth!'

"'My kingdom, O ruler of the Pharisees, is not of this world. I am
indeed a king, but of a spiritual kingdom. My kingdom, unlike earthly
kingdoms, has no end, and those who enter it must be born again. If
not, they cannot see or desire this kingdom.'

"'Born again!' answered Nicodemus, with surprise: 'how can a man be
born a second time? O Rabbi, thou speakest in parables!'

"'Verily, verily, I say unto thee,' answered the Prophet, 'except a man
be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter my kingdom. He that
is born again is born a spiritual man and of my kingdom. Marvel not,
then, that I say unto thee, ye must be born again.'

"When Nicodemus left him, Rabbi Amos said, 'Is it indeed true, O
Master, that thou art to establish a kingdom?'

"'Yes, Rabbi Amos, a kingdom in which dwelleth righteousness,' answered
the Prophet. 'Thou shalt yet behold me on my throne, O Amos, raised
above the earth, and drawing all men unto me.'

"'Wilt thou have thy throne in the clouds of heaven, O Master, that
thou shalt be raised above the earth upon it?' asked Rabbi Amos.

"'My throne shall be set on Calvary, and the ends of the earth shall
look unto me and acknowledge my empire. Thou knowest not these things
now, but hereafter thou shalt remember that I told thee of them.'"

Jesus then rose and, bidding his host good-night, retired to the
apartment which was assigned him, and Mary remained wondering on his
sayings.

Thus, dear father, it is made certain from his own words that Jesus
is the Christ and that he is to establish a kingdom. But why his
throne shall be on Calvary instead of Mount Zion, Rabbi Amos wonders
greatly, for Calvary is a place of skulls and of public executions,
and is covered with Roman crosses, where every week some malefactor is
crucified for his crimes.

This morning, as Jesus was going forth from the house to depart into
the country, a man lame from his youth, seated upon the threshold,
caught him by the robe, saying, "Master, heal me!"

"Son, thy sins be forgiven thee!" answered Jesus, and then passed on;
but the scribes and Pharisees who stood about cried, "This man, be he
prophet or no, blasphemeth, for God alone can forgive sins!"

Jesus stopped and, turning to them, said:

"Which is easier, to say to this man, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee?' or
to say, 'Rise and walk'? That ye may know that the Son of God hath
power on earth to forgive sins--behold!"

Then in a loud voice the Prophet said to the lame man, "Arise, take up
thy bed, and go to thine house!"

Immediately the man rose to his feet, leaping and praising God, and
taking up the mattress upon which they had brought him to the door, he
ran swiftly away to show himself to his kinsfolk, while all the people
shouted and praised God.

Thus did Jesus publicly show men that he could forgive sins, if he
could heal, as the power to do either came equally from God. Does not
this power prove that he is the Son of God?

You should have seen him, dear father, as he left our house to go away
into Galilee! The street was lined with all the afflicted of Jerusalem,
and as he moved on between the rows of wretched sufferers, whose hollow
eyes and shrivelled arms were turned imploringly towards him, he healed
by words addressed to them, as he moved on, so that where he found
disease before him, stretched on beds, he left behind him health and
empty couches. We all wept at his departure and followed him to the
Damascus Gate. Here there was assembled a large company of Levites and
priests, among whom were mingled some of the most desperate characters
in Jerusalem. Knowledge of this fact reached Rabbi Amos, who at once
sent a message to Æmilius, our Roman friend, informing him that he
apprehended that there would be an attempt made to assassinate Jesus at
the going out of the gate, and asking his aid.

Æmilius placed himself at the head of fifty horse, and reaching the
gate, pressed the crowd back, and took possession of it. When Jesus
had passed through the armed guard beneath the arch, the young Roman
courteously offered him an escort to the next village.

Æmilius, who informed me of these things, conducted him as far as
Ephraim, and then was about to leave him to return to the city, when
four lepers came from the cemetery of the tombs, near the village, and
crying out afar off, said:

"Thou blessed Christ, have mercy on us!"

Jesus stopped and called to the lepers to approach. As they obeyed, the
whole company of people, as well as the Roman soldiers, drew back to a
distance, in horror at the sight of these dead-living men. They came
timidly within twenty paces of Jesus and stood still tremblingly.

"Fear not," said he, "I will make you whole!"

He then advanced towards them, and laying his hand upon each of them,
they all, at the touch, were instantly changed to well men, with the
buoyant form, clear eye, and rich bloom of health.

When Æmilius saw this miracle, he dismounted from his horse, and
falling at Jesus' feet, worshiped him.

Now, my dear father, I have thus far faithfully written all that I have
heard and witnessed respecting Jesus, as you desire. You must see that
he is more than a prophet, and must be the very Christ, the Son of the
Blessed. Withhold, oh, withhold not your belief longer!

                           Your affectionate and loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XX.


My Dear Father:

We are now at the humble abode of Sarah, at Nain, whither I have come
to breathe the fresh mountain air for a time. Her cottage stands in a
garden, from which is a sublime view of Tabor, in all the majesty of
his mountain grandeur. One day while I was in the garden walking, two
men, dusty and travel-worn, stopped at the half-open gate, and saluting
us, said:

"Peace be to this house, maiden, and all who dwell therein."

"Enter," said the widow, overhearing them, "enter and ye shall have
water for your feet and bread for your hunger."

The two men then entered and seated themselves, and having been
refreshed by the poor but hospitable widow, one of them rose and said:

"'This day is salvation come to this house. We are ambassadors of Jesus
of Nazareth, and go from city to city, proclaiming the day of the Lord
at hand, for Messiah is come!'"

"Will he, then, come to Nain?" asked the widow with emotion. "I should
be willing to die so that I could lay my eyes once upon so great and
holy a man!"

"Yes, he will come hither," answered the men, "and when we shall report
to him your hospitality to us, he will visit your house, for he never
forgets a cup of water given to one of his disciples."

The men then departed, again calling the peace of God upon our abode.
They had not been gone many minutes before we heard a great commotion
in the market-place near by. Upon going to the house-top, we beheld
these two men standing upon an elevation, and preaching the kingdom of
Christ at hand. Upon this, some cried out against Jesus, and others
threw stones at the two men, and when we reached the house-top, we saw
one of them remove his sandals and shake the dust from them, saying in
a loud voice:

"As ye reject the words of life, your sins remain upon you, as I return
to you the dust of your city."

They then departed, followed by Levites, who fairly drove them from the
town.

While we were grieving at this enmity against a Prophet sent from
God, whose life is a series of good deeds, there entered hastily a
fair young maid whose name was Ruth. She held an open letter in her
hand, and her beautiful face glowed rosily with some secret joy, which
contrasted strangely with the present sadness of our own. We knew Ruth
well, and loved her as if she had been a sister. She was an orphan, and
dwelt with her uncle, Elihaz, the Levite, a man of influence in the
town. She was artless, unsuspecting, and very interesting in all her
ways.

"What good news, dear Ruth?" asked Mary, smiling in response to her
bright smiles. "A letter from whom?"

"For Sarah," answered the pretty maid, blushing so timidly and
consciously that we half suspected the truth.

"But that is not telling us from whom," persevered Mary, with a little
playfulness.

"You can guess," she answered, glancing over her white shoulder, as
she bounded away from us into the house.

We were soon after her, and heard her as she cried on putting the
letter into the dear widow's hand:

"From Samuel!"

"God be blessed!" cried the widow. "My son liveth and is well!"

"Read, dear Sarah!" cried the maiden. "He was at Alexandria when he
wrote this, and will soon be at home. Oh, happy, happy day!" added the
overjoyed girl, quite forgetful of our presence.

"Nay," said the widow, "my eyes are filled with tears of gladness; I
cannot see to read. Do thou read it aloud. Let Adina and Mary also know
what he writeth."

Ruth then cast a bright look upon us, and read aloud the letter from
over the sea, which told that the writer would return in the first ship
bound to Sidon, or Cesarea, when he hoped to behold her and his mother
face to face, and to receive as his bride the maiden he had so long
loved and cherished in his heart.

At length, as the day drew near for me to leave, we were all filled
with delightful surprise at the appearance of the long-absent son and
lover in the midst of our happy circle.

Mary and I had once seen him, and we were now impressed with his manly
and sun-browned beauty, his bold air, and frank, ingenuous manner. We
could not but agree that the pretty Ruth had shown fine taste. But
alas! my dear father, our joy was short-lived! Little did we anticipate
how speedily our rejoicing was to end in mourning! The very night of
his return he was seized with a malignant fever, which he had brought
from Africa with him, and we were all overwhelmed with grief.

It would be impossible to paint the anguish of the mother, the
heart-rending distress of his betrothed.

Unconscious of their presence, he raved wildly, and sometimes fancied
himself suffering thirst on the burning sands of Africa, and at others
battling with barbarians for his life. All that physicians could do was
of no avail. This morning, the third day after his return, he expired,
amid the most distressing agonies.

Alas! instead of a bridal, behold a funeral! Already the bearers are
at the door, and in a few minutes he will be borne forth upon the
dead-bier to the burial-place without the city.

"Oh!" sighs Mary near me as I write, "Oh, that Jesus, the mighty
Prophet, had been here! He could have healed him!"

John has sent to her a message, saying that Jesus is traveling this
way, on his mission of healing and teaching, and may be here this
evening. But what will it avail, dear father? Even Jesus may not return
the dead to life! Oh, if he could have been here yesterday, his power
over disease would have enabled him to save this precious life!

I hear the heavy tread of the dead-bearers in the court below. The
shrieks and wails of the mourning-women thrill my soul with awe. But
above all pierces the wild cry of anguish of the bereaved mother!
Ruth's voice is hushed. She has been for the last hour inanimate as
marble. Only by her pulse can it be said she lives! Poor maiden! The
blow is too terrible for her to bear.

My Cousin Mary has at this moment received a small roll of parchment
which, from the flush on her cheek, I know to be from her betrothed.
She smiles sadly, and with tears in her eyes hands it to me.

I have read it, dear father. It is as follows:

                                                 "Gadara, beyond Judea.

  "The bearer, beloved, is one of the disciples of Jesus. His name is
  Bartimeus. He was blind and poor, and subsisted by begging; and, as
  you see, his sight is restored, and he insists now on going from
  town to town where he has been known as a blind man to proclaim what
  Jesus has done for him. This letter cometh beseeching thee, maiden,
  that as we love one another unfeignedly, so may we soon be united in
  that holy union which God hath blessed and commanded. But, having
  much to say hereupon, I will not commit it to paper and ink; but by
  to-morrow, or the day after, I trust to come to you, and speak with
  you, dearly beloved, face to face, upon those things which now come
  to my lips. Farewell, lady. Peace be with you, and all in your house.
  Greet thy friends in my name, letting them know that we shall shortly
  be with you."

  "Oh, that the mighty Prophet had come one day sooner!" cried Mary.
  "What woe and anguish would have been spared poor Ruth and his
  mother! But the will of Jehovah be done!"

We hear now, dear father, the voice of the governor of the funeral,
bidding us come down to bury the dead.

Farewell, my father. I know you will shed a tear to the memory of the
noble youth whose death has this day filled all Nain with mourning. As
I look from the lattice, I see the concourse of people to be immense,
filling all the street. Now, may the God of our father Abraham preserve
and keep you, and suffer us once more to meet face to face in joy and
peace.

                              Your dutiful and sorrowful daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXI.


My Dear Father:

I seize my pen, which I laid down an hour ago in order to follow to
his burial the son of our hostess, to recount to you one of the most
extraordinary things which ever happened. I fear my trembling fingers
will scarcely express legibly what I have to tell you.

When the burial train of Samuel had formed to go to the grave, the
deep grief of poor Ruth overcame her wholly and I led her to her room,
where she sank insensible upon her couch. I could not leave her in her
situation, and the procession went forth from the house without me.

As the funeral train passed the lattice, it seemed endless, but at
length it passed by, and I was left alone with the motionless Ruth. As
I gazed on the marble countenance of the bereaved maiden, I could not
but pray that she might never recover from her swoon, to revive to the
bitter realization of her loss.

Suddenly I heard a great shout. I started and hastened to the lattice.
It was repeated louder and with a glad tone. It seemed to come from
beyond the city walls, and from a hundred voices raised in unison. I
knew that the house-top overlooked the walls, and seeing Ruth moved
not, I ascended rapidly to the parapet, the shouts and glad cries still
increasing as I went up. Upon reaching the flat roof and stepping on
the parapet, I saw coming along the street towards the house, with the
speed of the antelope, Elec, our Gibeonite slave. He was waving his
hands wildly, and crying out something which I could not distinctly
hear. Behind him I saw two youths running also, appearing to be the
bearers of some great tidings.

I knew something wonderful must have occurred, but could not divine
what it could be. On looking towards the gate, from which direction
the shouts at intervals continued to approach, I discovered on the
hillside of the cemetery many people crowded together, and evidently
surrounding some person in their midst, for the whole order of the
procession was broken up. The bier I could not discern, nor could I
comprehend how the solemnity of the march of the funeral train was
suddenly changed to a confused multitude, rending the sky with loud
acclamations. The whole body of people was pressing back towards the
city. The persons whom I had first seen running along the street, now
made themselves audible as they drew nigher.

"He is alive! He is alive!" shouted Elec.

"He has risen from the dead!" cried the young man next behind him.

"He lives, and is walking back to the city!" called the third.

"Who--who is alive?" I eagerly demanded of Elec, as he passed beneath
the parapet. "What is this shouting, O Elec?"

He looked up to me with a face expressive of the keenest delight, mixed
with awe, and said:

"Young Rabbi Samuel is come to life! He is no longer dead! You will
soon see him, for they are escorting him back to the city, and
everybody is mad with joy. Where is Ruth, the maiden? I am come to tell
her the glorious news."

With emotion that I cannot describe, hardly believing what I heard,
I hastened to Ruth, in order to prevent the effects of too sudden
joy. Upon reaching the apartment, I found that the voice of Elec, who
had shouted the news of which he was the bearer into her ears, had
aroused her from her stupor of grief. She was looking at him wildly and
incomprehensively. I ran to her, and folding her in my arms, said:

"Dear Ruth, there is news--good news! It must be true! Hear the shouts
of gladness in all the town!"

"Lives!" she repeated, shaking her head. "No--no--no! Yes, there!" she
said, raising her beautiful, glittering eyes to heaven and pointing
upward.

"But on earth also!" cried Elec, with positiveness. "I saw him sit up,
and heard him speak, as well as ever he was!"

"How was it? Let me know all!" I cried.

"How? Who could have done such a miracle but the mighty Prophet we saw
at Jerusalem!" he answered.

"Jesus?" I exclaimed, with joy.

"Who else could it be. Yes, he met the bier just outside the-- But here
they come!"

Elec was interrupted in his narrative by the increased noise of voices
in the streets and the tramp of hundreds of feet. The next moment the
room was filled with a crowd of the most excited persons, some weeping,
some laughing, as if beside themselves. In their midst I beheld Samuel
walking, alive and well! his mother clinging to him, like a vine upon
an oak.

"Where is Ruth?" he cried. "Oh, where is she! Let me make her happy
with my presence!"

I gazed upon him with awe, as if I had seen a spirit.

Ruth no sooner heard his voice than she uttered a shriek of joy. "He
lives--he indeed lives!" and springing forward, she was saved from
falling to the ground by being clasped to his manly breast.

"Let us kneel and thank God!" he said.

For a few minutes the scene was solemn and touching beyond any
spectacle ever exhibited on earth.

When he had performed this first sacred duty, he rose to his feet and
received all our embraces. Hundreds came in to see his face, and every
tongue was eloquent in praise of the power of Jesus.

"And where is the holy Prophet?" I asked of Mary. "Shall he be
forgotten amid all our joy!"

"We thanked him there with all our hearts, and bathed his hands with
tears of gratitude," she answered, "but when they would have brought
him into the city in triumph he conveyed himself away in the confusion,
and no one could see aught of him. But John, who was with him, told me
he would come into the city after quiet was restored, by and by, and he
would bring him to our abode."

"Oh, I shall then behold him and thank him also!" I cried. "Make known
to me, Mary, the particulars of this wonderful miracle."

"As we went weeping forth," said Mary, "slowly following the bier, and
had passed the gate, we saw coming along the path through the valley
leading to Tabor, a party of twelve or thirteen men on foot. They were
followed by a crowd of men, women and children from the country, and
were so journeying that they would meet us at the crossing of the stone
bridge. Hearing some one say aloud, 'It is the Prophet of Nazareth,
with his disciples,' I looked earnestly forward, and joyfully
recognized Jesus at their head, with John walking by his side.

"'Oh, that Jesus had been in Nain when thy son was sick!' I said to the
widow, pointing him out to her, as he and his company stopped at the
entrance to the bridge. Recollecting how he might have prevented her
son's dying had he been in Nain, the poor lady could no longer command
her grief, and covering her face with her veil, she wept so violently
that all eyes were piteously fastened upon her. I observed that the
holy Prophet's gaze rested upon her with compassion, and as she came
opposite where he stood, he advanced towards us and said, in a voice of
thrilling sympathy:

"'Weep not, mother. Thy son shall live again!'

"'I know it, O Rabboni, at the last day,' she answered. 'Oh, if thou
hadst been here my son need not have died! Thy word would have healed
him! But now he is dead! dead! dead!'

"'Woman, weep not! I will restore thy son!'

"'What saith he?' cried some Pharisees who were in the funeral. 'That
he will raise a dead man? This is going too far. God only can raise the
dead.' And they smiled and scoffed.

"But Jesus laid his hand upon the pall over the body, and said to those
who bore the corpse:

"'Rest the bier upon the ground.'

"They instantly stood still and obeyed him. He then advanced amid a
hushed silence, and uncovering the marble visage, touched the hand of
the dead young man, and said, in a loud and commanding voice:

"'Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!'

"There was a moment's painful stillness through the vast multitude.
Every eye was fixed upon the bier. The voice was heard by the spirit
of the dead and it came back to his body. There was at first visible
a living, trembling emotion of the hitherto motionless corpse! Color
flushed the livid cheek; the eyelids opened and he fixed his eyes on
Jesus; then he raised his hand and his lips moved! The next moment he
sat up on the bier, and spake aloud in his natural voice, saying:

"'Lo, here I am!'

"Jesus then took him by the hand, and assisting him to alight upon his
feet from the bier, led him to his mother, and delivered him to her,
saying:

"'Woman, behold thy son!'

"Upon seeing this miracle the people shouted with joy and wonder, 'God
has indeed visited his people Israel! A great Prophet is risen up among
us! The Messias is come, and Jesus is the very Christ, with the keys of
death and hell!'

"I sought out Jesus to cast myself at his feet, but he shrunk from the
homage and gratitude which his mercy to us had awakened. Thus humility
is an element of all power."

Such, my dear father, is the narrative of the restoration to life again
of Samuel, the son of Sarah, widow of Nain. This miracle has caused
hundreds this day to confess his name, and to believe in Jesus as the
anointed Shiloh of Israel.

Many of the doctors have been to see Samuel through the day, and have
put profound questions to him touching the state of the soul out of the
body, but he could give them no satisfaction, all appearing to him like
shining fragments of a gorgeous vision.

Mary is to-morrow to become the bride of John, and Jesus will be
present at the wedding, for while he severely rebukes sin and folly, he
sanctifies by his presence the holy rite of marriage.

On the eve of the eighth day from this I shall depart hence, with John
and Mary, for Jerusalem, whence I will write you again.

                                             Your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXII.


Once more, my dear father, I address a letter to you from this holy
city. This morning when I awoke at the sound of the silver trumpets
of the priests, ringing melodiously from the top of Mount Moriah, I
experienced anew that profound devotion which the children of Abraham
must always feel in the city of God and in the presence of his very
Temple.

It was a joyous morning to me, dear father, for Æmilius, the noble
Roman Prefect, was this day voluntarily to present himself at the
Temple to be made a proselyte to the holy faith of Israel.

The morning was, therefore, additionally lovely to me. I thought I had
never seen the olive groves on the hillside beyond the king's gardens
so green, nor the harvest so yellow, as they undulated in the soft
breeze of the opening morn. The lofty palms everywhere appeared to
bend and wave their verdant fans with joyous motion. The birds in the
palace gardens sang sweeter and louder, and Jerusalem itself seemed
more beautiful than ever.

While I was gazing upon the scene and adoring God, and thanking him
for the conversion of Æmilius, Rabbi Amos came and said that he would
take us to the Temple. We were soon on our way, climbing the paved
pathway to Moriah. Oh, how sublimely towered the divine Temple above
our heads, seemingly lost in the blue of the far heaven! The great
gates opening north and south, to the east and west, were thronged
with the multitude pressing through; while from the galleries above
each gate pealed forth continually the clear-voiced trumpets of God in
ceaseless reverberation. My uncle pointed out to me the massive doors,
all overlaid with sheets of beaten gold, and the floor of green marble
on which we trod. He bade me notice the costly entablature of colored
stones, exquisitely worked with the Grecian's chisel, and especially
the roof of fretted silver, set with precious stones, the onyx, beryl,
sapphire, carbuncle and jasper. I was dazzled by the magnificence,
and awed by the vast extent of the space of splendor surrounding me,
while ten thousands of people were to be seen moving towards the
altar of sacrifice. From that superb court I was led into a hall
nearly a hundred cubits in length, its ceiling of pure gold sustained
by a thousand and one columns of porphyry and white marble, ranged
alternately.

I was not permitted to approach the sacred chamber, where stood the
four thousand vessels of gold of Ophir, used in the sacrifices on great
days; and this being a high day, I saw no less than six hundred priests
standing about the altar, each with a golden censer in his hand. Beyond
is the holy ark of the covenant, over which the cherubim hover, their
wings meeting, and between them is the mercy-seat. As this was the Holy
of Holies I was not permitted to see it; but its position was pointed
out to me within the veil, which conceals from all eyes but that of the
High Priest once a year the place of God's throne on the earth, alas
now left vacant since the glory of the Shechinah departed from the Holy
of Holies!

The air of the vast Temple was delicious with the fragrance of burning
frankincense. As the victims bled and the smoke ascended, the people
fell on their faces and worshiped God. After a few moments' silence, a
startling trumpet note thrilled every soul in the countless multitude.
It was followed by a peal of music that shook the air, from a choir
of two thousand singers, male and female, of the sons and daughters
of Levi, who served in the Temple. Entering from the southern court,
they advanced in long procession, singing sacred chants, and playing
on sacbut and harp, psalter and nebble, chinna and tympana. As they
ascended to the choir their voices, mingling with the instruments,
filled all the Temple. I never heard before such sublime harmony;
especially when on reaching the elevated choir, a thousand Levites with
manly voices joined them, and the whole company chanted one of the
sublimest of the Psalms of David.

When the chant was concluded, the whole multitude responded, "Amen
and Amen!" like the deep voice of a mighty wind suddenly shaking the
foundations of the Temple.

At length I beheld a train of priests following the High Priest, as
he marched thrice around the altar. In that procession I discovered
a company of proselytes, escorted by twelve aged Levites, with long,
snowy beards, and clad in vestments of the purest white. Among the
proselytes I discerned the tall and noble figure of the Roman Æmilius.
He was robed in a black garment from head to foot. But upon approaching
the baptismal basin two young priests removed this outer sable dress
and robed him in white. I then saw him baptized into the family of
Abraham and a new name given him, that of Eleazer. I heard the silver
trumpets proclaim the conversion and the multitude shouting their joy.

Of the rest of the ceremony I have no recollection, as after the
baptism of Æmilius, I was too happy to see or think of anything else.

While I was lifting up my heart in gratitude for the happy conversion
of Æmilius, and while the Jews were crowding about him to extend to him
the hand of fellowship, rejoicing that so noted a person should embrace
our faith, Uncle Amos drew my attention by exclaiming with gladness:

"Behold, there is Jesus, the Prophet!"

We at once made our way, but with difficulty, towards the spot where we
had discovered him. The rumor that the Christ was in the Temple rapidly
spread, and the whole multitude pressed towards the same point. At
length we obtained our object so as to get within a few feet of him.
Here a tall, richly-attired Greek addressed Rabbi Amos, saying:

"Sir, tell me who that youthful Jew is, whose countenance is stamped
with firmness and benevolence so finely combined in its expression;
whose air possesses such dignity and wisdom; whose noble eyes seem
filled with a holy sadness, and whose glance is full of innocence and
sweetness. He seems born to love men and to command them. All seek to
approach him. Pray, sir, who is he?"

"That, O stranger, is Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Prophet," answered
Uncle Amos, delighted to point him out to a foreigner.

"Then I am well rewarded for my journey in turning aside to Jerusalem,"
answered the Grecian. "I have even heard of his fame in Macedonia, and
am rejoiced to behold him. Think you he will do some great miracle?"

"He performs miracles not to gratify curiosity but to bear testimony to
the truths he teaches, that they are delivered to him of God. Hark! He
speaks!" cried my uncle.

Every voice was hushed as that of Jesus rose clear and sweet, and
thrilling like a celestial clarion speaking. And he preached, dear
father, a sermon so full of wisdom, of love to man, of love to God, of
knowledge of our hearts, of divine and convincing power, that thousands
wept; thousands were chained to the spot with awe and delight, and all
were moved as if an angel had addressed them. They cried, "Never man
spake like this man!"

The priests, seeing that he had carried the hearts of all the people,
were greatly enraged, and, not being able to vent their hatred and fear
in any other way, they hired a vile person by the name of Gazeel, a
robber who, taking one of the blood-stained sacrificing knives by the
altar, crept towards him behind the column, and, securing a favorable
position to execute the deed, raised his hand to strike the Prophet
from behind, when Jesus, turning his head, arrested the hand of the
assassin in mid-air by a look. Unable to move a muscle, Gazeel stood
betrayed to all eyes in this murderous attitude, like a statue of stone.

"Return to those who hired thee. My hour is not yet come, nor can they
yet have any power over me."

The assassin bowed his head in abject shame and terror; the knife
dropped from his hand and rang upon the marble floor, and he sank at
Jesus' feet imploring forgiveness. The people would instantly have torn
Gazeel in pieces, but Jesus said:

"Let him depart in peace. The day shall come when he will be willing
to lay down his life to save mine. Ye priests go about to kill me,"
he added, fixing his clear gaze upon the group which had sent Gazeel.
"For what do ye seek my life? I have come to my own, and to my Temple,
and ye receive me not. The day cometh when this Temple shall be thrown
down, and not one stone left upon another; and some who hear me shall
behold and mourn in that day. Oh, Jerusalem, thou that killest the
prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how oft would I
have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens
under her wings, and ye would not. Thou shalt be left desolate and cast
out among cities, because thou knewest not the day of thy visitation.
Fly ye to the Jerusalem which is above, and which is above all, whose
foundation is eternal, and whose Temple is the Lord God Almighty, who
is also the light and glory thereof."

Upon hearing these words, there arose a great cry from ten thousand
voices:

"Hail to Jesus, the king of Israel and Judah! Hosanna to the Prince of
David! We will have no king but Jesus!"

At this shout, which was caught up and repeated beyond the four
gates of the Temple, the priests cried aloud that the people were in
insurrection.

Pilate, who was, with his guard, just leaving the Court of the
Gentiles, hearing it, turned to ask what it meant. One of the priests,
desirous of having Jesus slain, quickly answered, "That the people had
proclaimed Jesus, the Nazarene, king."

Hearing this, Pilate sent off messengers to the Castle of David for
soldiers, and with his body-guard turned back to the Temple gate,
charging the people sword in hand.

The tumult was now fearful, and the bloodshed would have been great,
but Jesus suddenly appeared before him--none saw how he had reached the
place--and said:

"O Roman, I seek no kingdom but such as my Father hath given me. My
kingdom is not of this world."

Pilate was seen to bend his proud head with low obeisance before the
Prophet, and said graciously:

"I have no wish to arrest thee. Thy word, O Prophet, is sufficient for
me. Of thee I have hitherto heard much. Wilt thou come with me to my
palace, and let me hear thee, and see some miracle?"

"Thou shalt see me in thy palace, but not to-day; and thou shalt behold
a miracle, but not now."

When Jesus had thus said, he withdrew himself from Pilate's presence;
and those who would have sought him to make him a king could nowhere
discover him.

The result of this attempt of the people to make the Prophet their
king, and under his direction to overthrow the Roman power, is that
the Roman authorities, instigated by Annas and the priests, look upon
Jesus with eyes of jealousy, and Pilate this morning told a deputation
of priests, who waited on him to petition him to arrest and imprison
the Prophet, that on the first proof they could bring him of his
hostility to Cæsar he would send soldiers to take him. To-day Jesus was
refreshing himself in our house, when several Scribes and Pharisees
came in. I saw by their dark looks they meditated evil, and secretly
sent Elec with a message to Æmilius (now Eleazer) asking him to be at
hand to protect Jesus; for Æmilius is devoted to him, as we are, and
Jesus takes delight in teaching him the things of the kingdom of God.

Jesus, knowing the hearts of these bad men, said to them, after they
had seated themselves and remained some minutes in silence:

"Wherefore are ye come?"

"Master," said Zadoc, a Levite of great fame among the people, "we have
heard how boldly thou speakest at all times; that not even Pilate, nor
Herod, yea, nor Cæsar, could make thee refrain from what thou choosest
to utter. Is it lawful for us Jews, the peculiar nation of God, to pay
tribute to Cæsar, who is an idolater? Is it lawful for us to obey the
laws of Pilate, rather than of Moses? We ask this as Jews to a Jew.
Tell us frankly."

Jesus looked fixedly upon them, as if he read their wicked designs, and
said:

"Show me the tribute money."

Zadoc handed him a penny, the Roman coin sent into Judea by Cæsar, as
our currency, and which we return to Rome again in tribute. When Jesus
had taken the money, he looked at the head of Augustus stamped upon one
side, and then turning to them, said:

"Whose image and whose name is here impressed?"

"Cæsar's," eagerly answered the whole party.

"Then render unto Cæsar the things that be Cæsar's, and unto God the
things that be God's," was his calm and wonderful answer.

I breathed again, for I feared he would answer openly that tribute
ought not to be paid, which they hoped he would do, when they would
immediately have accused him to Pilate as teaching that we ought not to
pay tribute to Rome, and so fomenting rebellion.

But the divine wisdom of his answer relieved all our minds; while the
Scribes and Levites, his enemies, looked upon him with amazement,
interchanged glances of conscious defeat, and left the house.

                              I remain your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXIII.


My Dear Father:

I have received with joy your letter, in which you say you shall leave
Egypt with the next Passover caravan, in order to visit Jerusalem. My
happiness is augmented to know that you will be here while Jesus is in
the city; for it is said, and John, Mary's husband, asserts, that he
will certainly be at the Passover.

Last week Eli, the paralytic, whom you knew, a scribe of the Levites,
whose hand has been withered nine years, so that he had been dependent
on the alms of the worshipers in the Temple for his bread, hearing of
the power of Jesus, sought him at the house of Uncle Amos, where he was
abiding.

Jesus was reclining with our family at the evening meal, at the close
of the day on which the uproar had taken place in the Temple, when
Eli came and stood within the door. Humble and doubting, his knees
trembled, and he timidly and wistfully looked towards Jesus, but
did not speak. I knew at once what the afflicted man came for, and
approached him, saying, "Fear not, Eli; ask him, and he will make thee
whole!"

Jesus did not see the poor man, his face being turned towards Rabbi
Amos; but leaving this conversation, he said in a gentle voice, without
turning round:

"Come to me, Eli, and ask what is in thy heart. And fear not; for if
thou believest, thou shalt receive all thy wish."

At this Eli ran forward, and casting himself at Jesus' feet, kissed
them and said, "Rabboni, I am a poor, sinful man; I believe that thou
art the Christ, the Son of the Blessed!"

"Dost thou believe, Eli, that I have power to make thee whole?" asked
Jesus, looking steadily upon him.

"I believe, my Lord," answered Eli, bowing his face to the ground.

"Thy sins, then, be forgiven thee. Rise and go to thy house; and sin no
more, lest a worse thing come upon thee."

"This man! forgiveth he sins also?" cried a venerable priest, Manasses,
who was at the table. "He is a blasphemer! for God alone forgiveth
sins. Will he call himself God?" And he rose quickly up and rent his
robe, and spat upon the floor in detestation.

"Manasses," said Jesus mildly, "tell me whether it is an easier thing
to do--to say unto this man kneeling here, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee?'
or to say, 'Stretch forth thine hand whole as the other'?"

"It would be more difficult to do the latter," answered Manasses,
surprised at the question. "God alone, who made him, can do that."

Jesus turned to the paralytic. "I say unto thee, Eli, stretch forth thy
hand whole!"

The man, looking upon Jesus' face, and seeming to derive confidence
from its expression of power, made a convulsive movement with his arm,
which was bared to the shoulder, exhibiting all its hideous deformity,
and stretched it forth at full length. Immediately the arm was
rounded with flesh and muscles; the pulse filled and leaped with the
warm life-blood, and it became whole as the other. The change was so
instantaneous that it was done before we could see how it was done. The
amazed and wonderingly delighted Eli bent his elbow, and expanded and
contracted the fingers, felt the flesh and pressed it with his other
hand, before he could realize he was healed. Then, casting himself at
the feet of the Prophet, he cried:

"Thou art not a man, but Gabriel, the angel of God!"

"Thou art now healed, Eli," said Jesus impressively. "Worship God, and
go and sin no more."

Who, dear father, but Messias could do this miracle? My mind is
overwhelmed--I am filled with astonishment and awe, when I reflect
upon the might, power and majesty of Jesus, and I fear to ask myself.
Who more than man is he? Is he verily the awful and terrible Jehovah
of Sinai, visible in the human form? Oh, wondrous and incomprehensible
mystery! I dare not trust my thoughts to penetrate the mystery in which
he walks among us in the veiled Godhead of his power. His beloved
disciple, John, said that Jesus has told him the day is not far off
when this veil will be removed, and when we shall then know him, who he
is, and wherefore he has come into the world, and the infinite results
to men of his mission.

                                            Your devoted daughter,
                                                                 Adina.

[Illustration: BETHANY]



LETTER XXIV.


My Dear Father:

As I was closing my last letter to you, intelligence reached my Uncle
Amos that Lazarus, the amiable brother of Martha and Mary, was very
ill. The message was brought by Elec, the Gibeonite slave, who, with
tears in his eyes, communicated to us the sad news. My Cousin Mary and
I at once set out to Bethany with him.

"Knowest thou, Elec, the disease that has so suddenly seized my
cousin?" asked Mary, as we wound slowly up the path that leads around
the steepest side of Olivet.

"Ah, dear me, noble lady, I know not," answered Elec, shaking his head.
"He had just returned from the city, where he had been staying night
and day for a week, laboring industriously to complete a copy of the
five books of the blessed Moses for the Procurator's chief captain, for
which he was to receive a large sum in Roman gold."

"What was the name of this captain who seeks to obtain our holy books?"
I asked, hope half answering the question in my heart.

"Æmilius, the brave knight, they say, who was made a proselyte at the
last Passover."

I was rejoiced to hear this proof of the steady desire of the princely
Roman knight to learn our sacred laws, you may be assured, dearest
father. But Elec went on speaking and said:

"It was his hard work to complete this copy which made him ill; for he
slept not, nor ceased to toil until he had completed it, and when he
came home with the silver-bound roll in his hand, and laid it upon the
table before his sisters, he fell at the same moment fainting to the
ground."

"Alas, poor Lazarus!" we both exclaimed, and urged our mules forward at
a faster pace, our hearts bleeding for the sorrow of his sisters and
for his sad condition.

At length, half an hour after leaving the gate of the city, we drew
near to Bethany, and beheld the roof of the house of Lazarus. Upon it,
watching the road towards Jerusalem for us, we discovered the graceful
form of Mary. In a few moments we were in her arms, mingling our tears
together.

"Does he yet live?" I asked, scarcely daring to inquire, as she led us
into the house.

"Yes, lives, but fails hourly," answered Mary, with forced composure.
"God bless you both for hastening to me."

At this moment Martha's pale and suffering face, beautiful even in
its pallor, appeared in the door of the inner room. Upon seeing us
she advanced, and taking both our hands in hers, said in a touching
whisper, "You have come, sweet friends, to see my brother die!"

She then led us into the room, where lay upon a couch the form of the
invalid.

"He has slept a little," said Martha softly to me, "but his fever is
consuming him. He has now closed his eyes again and seems heavy, but
his slumbers are restless, as you see, and he seems to think his dear
friend, Jesus the Prophet, is by him; or he talks of Rachel as if she
were not present."

"And who is Rachel, dear Martha?" I asked, as I was about to follow her
out of the room, leaving her brother to his weary repose.

"Alas! It was for Rachel's gentle love's sake he now lies there," she
answered. "There is the sweet maiden kneeling on the other side of his
couch, her tearful face buried in the folds of the curtains."

I turned and regarded with tender interest the graceful and
half-concealed form of the young girl as she bent over his pillow, her
hand clasped by his. At this moment she looked up and directed her gaze
towards me. Her face was inexpressibly lovely, bathed as it was in its
glittering tear-dews, and her large, glorious eyes shone like starry
heavens of tenderness and love. Her hair would have been raven black,
save that rays of golden bronze enriched its waving masses with every
play of the light upon it. As our eyes met, she seemed to receive me
into her soul, and my heart to embrace hers. Lazarus now moved and
murmured her name, when she dropped her eyes and bent like an angel
over him.

"Who is this marvelously lovely maiden?" I asked of Martha, as we went
into the court of the hall.

"The betrothed bride of our beloved brother," answered she. "Sit with
me here in the shade beneath this vine, and I will tell thee their sad
story. Lazarus, you know, dearest Adina, is a writer in the Temple, and
by his labors has surrounded us all with many comforts, nay, luxuries.
His attachment to us led him to forego the pleasure of all other
society, as he said he found in our sweet bond of sisterly love all
that he required to render him happy.

"But a few weeks ago, as he was engaged late and alone in the
copying-room of the Temple upon a roll which the noble Æmilius had
ordered, he was startled by the sudden entrance of a young girl in
great terror, who seemed to be flying from pursuit. Upon beholding him
she bounded towards him, and casting herself at his feet, implored his
protection. Amazed and interested, he promptly promised it, but had
hardly spoken the words before Annas entered and advanced towards her.
His face was flushed with rage, and his voice was loud and fierce as he
demanded her at the hand of my brother.

"'Nay, my Lord Annas,' answered Lazarus, boldly, 'were a dove to
seek shelter from a hawk in my bosom I would protect it, much more a
distressed maiden of the daughters of Abraham!' and he placed himself
before the fugitive.

"'Darest thou protect from me? She is my child, a wicked and
disobedient daughter of Belial! Resign her to me, young scrivener, or I
will have thee sent to the lowest dungeon of the Castle of David!'

"'Oh, save me! save me!' cried the young girl, as Annas advanced to
seize her. 'I am not his child! I am the orphan of Rabbi Levi, who left
me and my estate to this false priest as a sacred charge. He would now
sell me in unholy marriage to a Greek captain in the Roman legion, who
offers him large bribes in gold for me. Rather than be given into the
hands of this fierce and terrible Grecian, I will cast myself down from
the height of the Temple!'

"And to the surprise and horror of Lazarus, she bounded from the
lattice and stood upon the edge of the rock, which looks sheer three
hundred feet down into the valley beneath.

"'Thou seest, O Annas, to what thy cupidity for gold will drive this
maiden. Has the land of Israel sunk so low that its chief priest will
sell the daughters of the land for gold to the lust of the Gentiles? Is
this the way thou givest protection to orphans? Leave her, and until I
find a protector for her, she shall be a sacred guest with my sisters
in their humble abode!'

"'Thy life shall pay for this arrogance, young man!' answered the
priest. 'I have power and will exercise it.'

"'Not to the danger and wrong of this maiden, my Lord Annas, whom
Jehovah will protect, since she has trustingly sought the sheltering
wing of his altars,' answered my brother firmly. 'If thou continue to
persecute her, I will appeal to the Procurator, Pontius Pilate, against
thee.'

"The result was," continued Martha, "that the wicked priest, alarmed by
the threat of appeal to Pilate, relinquished his present purpose and
left them, breathing menaces against my brother. The same day Lazarus
conducted the maiden, whom you already guess to be Rachel, to our
house. She has since then been our guest, and has won all our hearts,
as well as our dear brother's."

"Is there no hope for him?" I asked, after listening to her touching
narrative.

"None; the physicians say that he will never rise again."

"There is one hope left," I said eagerly.

"What is that?" demanded Martha.

"Jesus!" I answered. "Send to him, O Martha, and he will yet save him,
and raise him up to life and health."

I had no sooner spoken than Mary, who overheard me, uttered a cry of
joy.

"Yes, Jesus has the power to heal him, and Jesus loves him! He will
come and save him the moment he hears of his danger."

Immediately Mary wrote on a slip of parchment these brief and touching
words:

"Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. Hasten to come to us, that
he may live; for nothing is impossible with thee."

This message was forthwith despatched by the hands of a young friend to
Bethabara, beyond Jordan, where we learned Jesus at present abides. We
have, therefore, no hope for our dear relative but in the power of the
Prophet. I will write as soon as we hear. I remain, dear father,

                                           Your attached daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXV.


My Dear and Honored Father:

It is with emotions of the deepest grief that I convey to you the sad
intelligence of the death of Lazarus. The hand of the Lord hath fallen
heavily upon this household and stricken down its prop; smitten the
oak around which clung these vine-like sisters, vine-like in their
dependence upon him and confiding trust in his wisdom and love. Now
prostrate in the dust they lie stunned by the sudden and mysterious
stroke of God's providence.

I have told you, dear father, something of this family; what a happy
household I have seen it when Jesus completed the number; for he
stayed so much with them when not preaching, or when wishing to rest
a day or two from his weary toil, that they came to regard him as one
of their family. Martha seemed ever to be thinking what and how she
should administer to his comfort, by providing every delicacy for her
table; but so that Jesus could find listeners to his words of truth and
wisdom, like Mary--who loved to sit at his feet and hear the golden
language fall from his sacred lips--he thought not of meat or drink.

One day when I, with Mary and Lazarus, was listening to his heavenly
teachings, wrapt in wonder and absorbing interest, Martha, who was
preparing the meal, came and desired Mary to come and assist her; but
the dear, pious girl heeded not nor heard her, feeding, forgetful of
all else, upon the celestial food that fell from the lips of Jesus.
At length Martha, finding that Mary had not heard, appealed to Jesus,
saying somewhat sharply:

"Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?
Bid her, therefore, that she help me."

We turned with surprise to hear her, who was usually so gentle and
good, thus forget what was due to the presence of the Prophet, and
Lazarus was about to speak and excuse his sister, who looked as if she
were much worried with her domestic troubles, when Jesus said kindly to
her:

"Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things. But
one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall
not be taken away from her. While thou carest much for the wants of the
body, she careth for those of the spirit. Think not, beloved Martha, of
sumptuous living for me, who have no earthly goods, nor even where to
lay my head."

"Say not thus, oh, say not so, dear Lord!" cried Martha, suddenly
bursting into tears at Jesus' touching words, and casting herself
impulsively at his feet. "This house is thy home--ever beneath its
roof, while I have one above me, shalt thou have where to lay thy head;
say not so, my Lord!"

We were all moved at Martha's pathetic earnestness. Jesus raised her up
and said gently:

"It is thy love for me, I well know, that maketh thee so careful and
troubled to provide for me at thy bountiful table. But I have meat to
eat that ye know not of. To teach the truths of God, as thou findest
me doing to these, is to me meat and drink, for therein I am doing my
Father's will, who sent me."

My last letter closed with informing you of the departure of the
messenger to Jesus. After he had gone out of sight from the door,
and the last echo of his horse's hoofs ceased to be heard by the
long-listening ears of his sister Martha, I re-entered the room where
Lazarus lay. He was as white as marble. His large black eyes seemed to
be twice their usual size and brilliancy. He breathed with difficulty,
and every few moments he would be compelled to have his head raised
in order to free his mouth from the welling blood that was constantly
bubbling up from the broken fountains of his life. Mary's tender
privilege it was, assisted by Rachel, to render him this service of
love. As she bent over him, looking downward with anxious fondness
into his pale, intellectual face, watching every shadow of the change
that the sable wing of advancing Death cast over it, I thought I had
never gazed on a more lovely being. I forgot for the moment the dying
young man about whose form her snow-white arms were entwined, his head
reclining upon her bosom, her raven tresses, bronzed with a changing
light, all unbound and floating above him and over his pillow, like a
rich veil interwoven of sable silken floss and threads of gold.

I commenced this letter by informing you of the departure of the good
and generous and pious Lazarus. He fell asleep in death as an infant
sinks to slumber in its mother's arms.

All too late was Jesus sent for! To-morrow his burial will take place.
Alas, how suddenly has perished the noblest young man in Judea!

Farewell, dear father. My heart is full. I can now write no more. The
God of Abraham preserve you in your journey, and bring you in safety to
the embraces of

                                             Your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXVI.


My Dear Father:

In my last letter I told you that Lazarus was dead. I write this to
say that he who was dead is alive! Lazarus lives! He whom I saw dead
and buried, and sealed up within the rocky cave of the tomb, is alive
again from the dead; and at this moment, while I am penning this
extraordinary account, I hear his voice from the porch.

How, my dear father, how shall I find adequate language to tell you all
that has happened here within the last twenty-four hours!

The funeral procession was so very long that strangers, pausing, asked
what great master in Israel, or person of note, was being taken to the
sepulchre.

Some answered, "Lazarus, the industrious scribe;" others said, "A young
man who has devoted his life to honor his mother." Others answered, as
Lazarus himself, were he alive, would have had them:

"It is Lazarus, the friend of Jesus."

The place where they were to lay him was the cave in which his father
and mother were entombed. It was in a deep, shady vale, thickly shaded
by cypress, palm and pomegranate trees, and a large tamarind grew, with
its stately branches, overclasping the summit of the secluded place of
sepulchre. The remote swell of a Roman bugle from the head of a cohort,
which was just issuing from a defile, came softly and musically to our
ears, as we stood in silence about the grove wherein we were to place
the dead. Æmilius, my betrothed, was also present, wearing a white
scarf above his silver cuirass, in token of grief, for he also loved
Lazarus. Of him, dear father, I have not of late spoken, for should I
begin to write of him I should have no room in my letters for any other
theme.

The sacred observances at the grove being over, they raised the body of
the dead young man from the bier, and four youths, aided by Æmilius at
the head to support it, conveyed it into the yawning cavern. A moment
they lingered on the threshold, that Mary and Martha might take one
more look, imprint upon its icy cold lips one last kiss, press once
more his unconscious head to their loving and bursting hearts.

The young men moved slowly forward into the gloom of the cave. Mary
rushed in, and with disheveled hair, cried:

"Oh, take him not away forever from the sight of my eyes! Oh, my
brother, my brother, would that I had died for thee! for I am willing
to lie down with the worm and call it my sister, and sleep in the
arms of death, as on the breast of my mother, so thou couldst live! Oh,
brother, brother, let them not take thee forever from the sight of my
eyes! Without thee, how shall life be life!"

[Illustration: Rolling stone, closing a sepulchre.]

Æmilius entered the tomb and, tenderly raising her from the body, on
which she had cast herself in the eloquent abandonment of her wild
grief, he led her forth, and beckoning to me, placed her in my arms.

The body, being placed in a niche hollowed out in the rock, was
decently covered with a grave mantle, all but the calm face, which was
bound about by a snow-white napkin. Maidens of the village advanced and
cast flowers upon his head, and many, many were the sincere tears, both
from beneath manly lids and those of virgins, which bore tribute to his
worth.

The burial ceremonies being ended, five strong men replaced the
ponderous stone door closely fitting the entrance to the cave, and so
secured it, by letting it into a socket, that it would require a like
number to remove it.

As they were retiring with heavy hearts from performing this last duty
to the beloved dead, the sun sank beyond the blue hills of Ajalon in
the west in a lake of gold. To enjoy the sunset, and to relieve our
emotions of sadness, I walked apart with Mary to the top of the hill,
from which I beheld the sun gilding the pinnacle of the Temple, and
making it appear like a gigantic spear elevated into the sky. From the
Levites at evening sacrifice came, mellowed by distance, the deep chant
of the Temple service, uttered by a thousand voices. The cloud from
the altar sacrifice ascended slowly into the still air, and catching
the splendor of the sun's last beams, shone as if the pillar of cloud
and of fire which stood above the tabernacle in the wilderness. The
laborers in the harvest were hastening towards the gates, ere they
should be shut out for the night by the Roman guards, and dwellers in
the village were hurrying forth, lest they should be held in the city
over night.

There was a sacred hush in the sleepy atmosphere that seemed in
sympathy and touching harmony with the scene in which we had just borne
a part. With Mary leaning sobbing upon my shoulder, I sat upon a rock
giving my heart up to the sweet influences of the hour. We were alone,
save Æmilius, who had ridden after us, anxious for our safety, and who
sat upon his horse near by, gazing upon the beauty of the evening scene.

"I am calmer now," said Mary, after a while, raising her head and
looking into my face, her splendid eyes glittering brimful with tears.
"The peace of the sweet, holy skies seems to have descended and entered
my heart. The spirit of Lazarus pervades all and hallows all I see. I
will weep no more. He is happy now, very happy, and let us try to be
holy and go to him, for he cannot come back to us."

At this moment we heard the tramp of horses' hoofs. Æmilius, startled
thereby from his reverie, recovered his seat and laid his hand upon
his sword. The next moment, around a rock projecting from the shoulder
of Olivet, appeared a horseman in the wild, warlike costume of an
Ishmaelite of the desert, brandishing a long spear in the air; then
another and another similarly clad and armed, and mounted on superb
horses of the desert, dashed in sight. These were immediately followed
by a tall, daring-looking young man, in a rich costume, half Grecian,
half Arabic, though his dark, handsome features were decidedly
Israelitish. He rode a superb Abyssinian charger, and sat upon his
back like the heathen centaur I have read of in the Latin books which
Æmilius has given me to read. Upon seeing us he drew rein and smiled,
and waved his jewelled hand with splendid courtesy; but at the sight
of Æmilius his dark eyes flashed, and leaping to his feet in his
stirrups he shook his glittering falchion towards him, and rode with a
trumpet-like cry full upon him.

The brave Roman soldier received the charge by turning his horse
slightly, and catching the point of the weapon upon the blade of his
short sword.

"We meet at last, O Roman!" cried this wild, dashing chief, as
he wheeled his horse like lightning, and once more rode upon the
iron-armed Roman knight.

"Ay, Barabbas, and with joy I hail thee!" responded Æmilius, placing a
bugle to his lips.

At hearing the clear voice of the bugle awaking the echoes of Olivet,
the dread robber chief said haughtily and with a glance of contempt:

"Thou, a knight of the tribune, and commander of a legion, call for
aid, when I offer thee equal battle, hand to hand, and ask not for aid
of my own men's spears?"

"I know no equal battle with a robber. I would hunt thee as I would
do the wolf and the wild beasts of thy deserts," answered Æmilius,
pressing him closely. At a signal from the robber chief his four men,
who had reined up a short distance off, near the tomb of Lazarus, sent
up a shrill, eaglelike scream, that made my blood stand still, and then
rode down like the wind to overcome Æmilius.

Hitherto I had remained as one stupefied at being an involuntary
spectator of a sudden battle, but on seeing his danger, I was at his
side, scarce knowing how I reached the place.

"Retire, dear Adina," he said authoritatively. "I shall have to defend
both thee and myself, and these barbarians will give both my hands
enough to do."

As he spoke he turned his horse's head to meet the forefold shock, and
I escaped, I know not how, with the impulse to hasten to Bethany for
succor. But heaven interposed its aid. A detachment of the body-guard
of Pilate, hearing the recall of their chief's bugle, came now
cantering up the hill. At the sight Barabbas and his party fled, like
wild pigeons pursued by a cloud of Iturean hawks. Barabbas, however,
turned more than once to fling back defiance to his foes. Æmilius soon
reached his side, seized the crimson sash which encircled his waist,
and held him thus, both fighting as they rode. The Roman troop came
up, and after a desperate battle the celebrated chief was taken alive,
though bleeding with many wounds, and bound with his own sash to the
column of one of the tombs.

Æmilius says that Barabbas will assuredly be crucified for his numerous
crimes. Dreadful punishment! and for one so young as this desert robber
to come to such an ignominious and agonizing death; doomed to hang for
hours under the sunbeams by his lacerated hands and feet, till death
at last comes from slow exhaustion of all the powers of nature. I am
amazed that so polite and humane a nation as the Roman can inflict such
a cruel and agonizing death, even upon their malefactors. Ignominious,
indeed, must the life of a man have been, for him to be doomed justly
to suffer such a death.

In this letter, dearest father, I intended to relate to you how Lazarus
has been restored to life, but it is already taken up with so much,
that I defer it to my next. Suffice it for me to tell you at the close
of this letter that it was Jesus who raised him from the dead. And will
you say that he is an impostor? That he has done this wonderful thing
is alone evidence enough to me that he is indeed the Messias of the
Prophets, the Son of God.

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXVII.


My Dear Father:

Your letter has filled me with joy that I can poorly express by my
pen. It assures me that you are certain to leave at the new moon, and
after a few days' delay at Gaza, that you will be with me not many days
afterward. This letter I shall send to meet you at Gaza.

In it I shall make known to you the particulars of the greatest miracle
of power and love above all those wonders which Jesus has done.

When Mary and Martha had despatched the message to Jesus, as I have
already stated, they began to be more cheerful with new-born hope,
saying:

"If our dear Rabbi, the holy Prophet, comes, he will heal him with a
word, as he has done so many of the sick."

"Yes, many whom he knew not he has restored to health by a touch,"
remarked Martha, "how much more Lazarus, whom he loves as a brother!
Oh, that the messenger may press forward with all haste!"

"If Lazarus should die ere he come," hesitatingly remarked my gentle
cousin, the wife of John the disciple, "he could bring him to life
again, even as he did the Son of the widow of Nain."

"Yes, without doubt, unless it were too late," remarked Martha,
shrinking at the thought that her brother should die; "but if he be
long dead it will be impossible."

"Nothing is impossible with Jesus," answered Mary, her eyes brightening
with trusting faith.

Thus the hours passed between mingled hopes and fears; but ere Jesus
came, lo! the mantle of death was laid over the face of their dead
brother. "Lazarus is dead, and Jesus is far away!" was the bitter and
touching cry made by the bereaved sisters, as they wept in each other's
arms.

The next day the burial took place, and yet no messenger came from
Jesus. The morning of the third day the man returned, and said that he
had found the Prophet on the farther bank of Jordan, where John had
baptized, abiding in a humble cottage in the suburbs of Bethabara with
his disciples.

The bearer of the sad tidings from the two sisters delivered his simple
and touching message:

"Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick!"

"And what said he--how did his countenance appear?" asked Martha of the
man.

"He betrayed no surprise, but said calmly to me, 'Son, I know it! This
sickness shall not be unto death. It shall be for the glory of God; for
hereby will my Father permit me to be glorified, that men may see and
believe truly that I came out from God.'"

"Alas! He knew not how ill his friend was," said Mary, "or he would not
have said it was not unto death, and would surely have hastened with
you."

"He has forgotten us," answered Martha. "He should be here to console
us in our deep affliction, though he came not to heal our brother."

"Nay, sister, do not think hardly of the blessed friend of Lazarus,"
said Mary, with soothing tones, as she caressed her elder sister. "I
feel that if he had seen fit he could have raised up our brother,
even speaking the word from Bethabara. It was not needful he should
see him to heal him, for dost thou remember how he healed Lucius, the
centurion's son? Yet at the time he was a day's journey distant from
him."

"Then why, oh, why, did he not save Lazarus?" exclaimed Martha bitterly.

"In that he did not, sweet sister," answered Mary gently, "it was for
the best. Did he not say to the messenger his sickness should be to the
glory of his power?"

"But not his death, Mary, not his death! He is dead four days already,
and how can the grave give glory to the power of Jesus? Will he raise
him up, since corruption hath begun, nay, begun ere we laid him in
the cold sepulchre? Oh, speak not to me of the Prophet! He loved not
Lazarus, or he had not the power to save him! Nay, leave me, Mary, to
the bitterness of my grief."

"Ah, dear Martha, how soon is thy faith in Jesus, when tried, become
naught!" said Mary, bending upon her, from her dark, earnest eyes,
looks of sad reproach. "Shall one day overturn your years of holy
friendship for him? Because he answered not our prayer to come to
Lazarus, think you he loved him not, and is indifferent to our anguish?
He is wronged by your reproof, and injured by your want of confidence
in his love and care for us."

While they were thus discoursing, one came running swiftly towards the
house, and breathless with haste, cried to them and to the Jews sitting
there, who had come to comfort them concerning their brother:

"The Prophet! The Nazarene! He comes!"

Almost at the same moment Elec, the Gibeonite, entered and said:

"Jesus, Messias of God, is at hand! He already entereth the village
followed by his disciples."

At this intelligence the mourners who sat with Mary and Martha in the
vine porch, rose up to go and meet him; but Martha, shrieking with the
reaction of sudden joy, sprang up and, more quickly than they, reached
the street, and flying with great speed, came where Jesus was.

Mary, who had received the news without betraying any other emotion
than the secret and holy joy of a heart that had confidence all along
in her Lord, instead of hastening to meet him rending her hair with
grief, like her sister, proceeded to prepare a room for the hospitable
entertainment of the beloved Prophet, when he should come in, thus
taking Martha's usual place; and when she had arranged all, she sat
down with me in the house, her heart filled with joy and her face
expressive of calm and quiet happiness.

When Martha had come near Jesus, whom she met just entering Bethany,
walking with four of his disciples along the dusty road, and looking
weary and travel-worn, she ran and threw herself at his feet, crying:

"Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died!"

Jesus taking her hand raised her up, and said with emotion, for he
seemed deeply moved by her grief:

"Death to those whom my Father loveth is sleep. The good die not!
Lazarus is not dead, but sleepeth, and he shall rise again!"

"I know, O Rabboni, that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the
last day."

Jesus then said to her, lifting his celestial glances towards heaven:

"I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me
shall never die! Believest thou this, daughter?"

"Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which
should come into the world. I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of
God, God will give it thee, and that even now thou couldst bring
Lazarus back again!"

"Corruption and the worm have begun their work," said a proud and
unbelieving Pharisee near, on hearing this. "Whatever may have been the
state of the ruler's daughter, and of the son of her of Nain, Lazarus
the scribe, at least, is dead!"

To this speech Jesus made no reply, but turning to Martha, said softly:

"This day my Father shall be glorified, and the world shall truly know
that I am come from Him who is life and the giver of life. Go thou, and
tell thy sister that I am here, and would have her come and speak with
me."

Martha, then, overjoyed and wondering that Jesus should have known her
thoughts, so as to reproach her for her little faith as he had done,
hastened to her sister, and entering, cried:

"I have seen the Lord! He calleth for thee, Mary. Come and see him as
he sits by Isaiah's fountain, near the market-place."

Mary rose quickly and went out. Certain of her Jewish friends from
Jerusalem at that moment met her at the door, and began to comfort her,
and to ask her if they also should go with her to weep at the grave of
Lazarus, for they said one to another:

"She goes unto the grave to weep there!"

"She goes to see Jesus, the friend of Lazarus, for he calleth her,"
answered Martha, smiling with eagerness, and speaking with an animation
that presented a singular contrast to her late deep grief.

Mary hastened to where Jesus sat by the fountain bathing his dusty and
wounded feet.

"Lord," she said, in her sister's words, and with deep emotion, "if
thou, Lord, hadst been here, my brother had not died!"

Then bowing her head to the edge of the marble basin, she wept very
heavily. The Jews, men and women, who stood about, being touched with
her sorrow, also wept, while glittering tears coursed their way down
the face of the beloved John, his disciple, who stood near.

Jesus sighed deeply and groaned in spirit as he beheld her grief and
their mourning with her. His sacred countenance was marred with the
anguish of his soul.

"Rise, let us go to the grave where he lieth," he said to them. "Where
have ye laid him?"

"Come, dear Lord, and see," answered Mary, holding him reverently by
the sleeve of the robe, and gently yet eagerly drawing him towards the
place of the tombs in the vale of Olivet.

In the meanwhile, at home, Martha had been diligently, and with strange
cheerfulness, getting in readiness the room of Lazarus. She swept and
dusted it, and garnished it with fresh flowers, which she gathered in
the little garden.

"This is the rose he set out and loved. This is the violet which blooms
immortal. I will place it upon his pillow," she said, with a joyous
hilarity softened by the most lovely look of peace, while hope shone in
her eyes like twin morning stars ushering in a glorious day. She spoke
scarcely above her breath and moved on tiptoe.

"For whom is this preparation, dearest Martha? For Jesus?" I asked.

"Oh, no. The holy Prophet's own room is ready. Mary has prepared that.
This is Lazarus' room, and I am decorating it for him."

"Dost thou truly believe that he is coming back from the dead?" I
asked, between doubt and strange fear.

"Believe? Oh, yes! I know that nothing is impossible with Jesus!
I doubt no more! My faith trembles no longer! He will raise up my
brother, and this day he shall sit down at our table with us again, and
this night rest his head in peaceful slumber upon this pillow which I
am strewing with his favorite flowers. Never had house two such guests
as we shall have this day--the Messias of God, and one come back alive
from the dead!"

At this moment we heard the noise of the multitude passing by, and it
being told us that Jesus was going to the grave, Martha, embracing me
with a heavenly smile, drew me gently after her to follow the blessed
Prophet to the tomb. All Bethany was in his footsteps.

How shall I describe Jesus as he then appeared? He wore a blue robe,
woven without seam throughout, the affectionate work and gift of the
two sisters. His face was very pale and sad, yet a certain divine
majesty rested thereon, so that his calm, high forehead looked as if it
were a throne. His holy, earnest eyes were full of sorrow. His mouth,
compressed, betrayed the effort he made to suppress the outbursting of
his heart's deep grief.

Slowly he moved onward and, entering the cemetery, he soon stood before
the tomb of his beloved friend.

For a few moments he stood gazing upon the closed stone door of the
cave in silence. There reigned an expectant hush among the vast throng.
Mary knelt at his feet, gazing up into his countenance with a sublime
expression of hope and trust. Martha drew softly near and fell upon her
knees by the side of her sister. Jesus looked tenderly upon them and,
resting his eyes upon the tomb, wept. Large, glittering tears rolled
down his cheeks and glanced from his flowing beard to the ground. I
knelt by the side of the sisters.

"Behold how he loved him!" whispered the Jews present with surprise.

Others said, "Could not this man which opened the eyes of the blind,
have caused that even this man should not have died?"

Jesus, heaving a deep sigh, now came nearer the grave. With a slight
movement of his right hand to those who stood by, he said in a tone
that, though low, was heard by the whole people, so solemn was the
surrounding stillness:

"Take ye away the stone!"

"Lord," said Martha, "by this time the body is offensive, for he hath
been dead four days."

"Daughter," said Jesus, looking on her, "believe, and thou shalt behold
the power of God."

The men then with some difficulty took away the stone from the door
of the sepulchre and stood upon one side. The dark vault yawned with
gloomy horrors, and, so corrupt was the air that rushed out, all fell
back from it, save Jesus and Mary, retiring several steps from the
entrance.

Jesus stood looking into the cave where, as our eyes became accustomed
to the darkness within, we could discern the corpse of Lazarus, covered
with the grave mantle, and his face bound with a napkin which was
already discolored with the sepulchral damp of the grave.

Raising his hands towards heaven and lifting up his spiritual
eyes, which were yet moist with tears, Jesus spoke in a voice of
indescribable pathos and earnestness of appeal, and with a manner of
the most awful reverence, as follows:

"Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that thou
hearest me always, but because of the people which stand by do I offer
unto thee this prayer, that they may believe that the power I have
cometh from thee, and that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
And now, O holy Father, may I glorify thee on the earth with the power
which thou hast given me."

He then turned towards the tomb, and stretching forth his hand, he
cried with a loud voice that made every heart quake:

"Lazarus, come forth!"

My blood stood still in my veins. Scarcely daring to behold, I looked
and beheld what all eyes also saw, the corpse rise and stand up within
the vault, turn round with its face towards us, and come forth, wrapped
hand and foot with the grave-clothes, and his face bound about with a
napkin. His countenance was like marble for whiteness, and his eyes,
which were open, beamed supernaturally brilliant.

At beholding him a simultaneous shriek burst from the lips of the
people, and there was a terrified backward rush of all who were nighest
the cave.

Martha, wildly uttering her brother's name, fell forward upon her face
insensible.

"Loose him and let him go free!" said Jesus calmly, addressing the
petrified and amazed men who had taken away the stone.

Mary was the first one who had the firmness to approach him, and as she
began removing the napkin from the sides of his face, others, taking
courage by her example, hastened to unswathe his arms and feet. In a
few moments he was free from his outer grave-clothes, and the healthful
color of his cheeks coming to him, his lips flushed brilliantly with
red, his eyes looked natural, beaming with wonder and love as he gazed
about him. Perceiving Jesus, he was about to cast himself at his feet
in gratitude (for he seemed to have consciousness of all that had
happened), but the mighty Prophet drew him to his embrace and kissed
him.

But my pen refuses to find language to express the unspeakable emotions
of joy and gratitude, words of love and praise, that filled all hearts.
Now the great Prophet, now Lazarus, and now Jesus again received the
plaudits of the vast throng of people. Hymns were chanted to Jehovah as
we passed through the streets, and so many fell down to worship Jesus
that it was long before we crossed the threshold of the dwelling, which
Jesus did indeed enter with Lazarus by his side! And Martha did see
her brother sit at the table, and that night his head rested in deep
slumber upon the flower-strewn pillow which her faith and love had
prepared for him.

With the hope of soon embracing you, I remain as ever,

                                             Your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXVIII.


My Dear Father:

Like all my letters, the theme of this will be Jesus, whose claims
to be the Messiah I unspeakably rejoice to hear you are beginning to
regard with more favorable eyes.

Now Jesus, whose power to work miracles you yourself, my dear father,
have confessed must be conferred by Jehovah alone, asserts distinctly
and everywhere that he is Messias, the Son of God, the Shiloh of
Israel, of whom Moses and the prophets so eloquently wrote. Besides
claiming for himself this high character, he was heard, by both my
Uncle Amos and myself, in the synagogue at Bethany, two days after he
raised Lazarus from the dead, to read from Esaias the words following,
and apply them to himself, which he had done before at Nazareth:

"The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me
to preach the gospel to the poor. He hath sent me to heal the
broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering
of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; to
preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

The synagogue was thronged, so that people trod upon one another. All
eyes were now intent, and all ears were ready to hear what he should
speak. He then said unto them:

"This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. Ye ask me, O
scribes and men of Israel, to tell you plainly who I am--whether I am
the Christ or no. What saith the prophet of Messias when he shall come?
Ye have just heard his words. If such works as he prophesieth do show
forth themselves in me, know ye not who I am?"

Here a voice cried out in the assembly:

"Tell us plainly, art thou the Christ, the Son of the Highest?"

At this direct inquiry there was intense interest shown to hear the
reply.

Jesus seemed about to answer, when a man, who stood near the reading
desk, in whom was an unclean spirit, cried out, with a shrieking voice
of mingled terror and awe:

"Let me alone! Leave me as I am, thou Jesus of Nazareth! Art thou come
hither to destroy me? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God!"

Jesus rebuked the devil which possessed the man and said, in the voice
of a master commanding a bond slave:

"Hold thy peace, Satan! The Son of man needeth not, though thou givest
it, thy testimony. Hold thy peace, and come out of the man!"

At this word the man uttered a fearful cry of despair and rage, and
foaming at the mouth cast himself, or rather was thrown down by the
devil within him, to the ground; where, after a moment's terrific
struggle, with contortions of bodily anguish, he lay senseless as if
dead. Jesus took him by the hand, and he stood up and, looking in the
face of the Prophet with earnestness and wonder, burst into tears of
gratitude, exclaiming:

"I am escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler; the snare is
broken, and I am escaped. God hath delivered me out of the hand of my
enemy!" He then sat at the feet of Jesus, calm, grateful, happy, and in
his right mind! All gazed on him with wonder, while from the great mass
of the people rose a great shout, for they were all amazed, saying:

"This is none other than the Christ, the Son of David! This is the
King of Israel!" while the loud shouts of "Hosanna! hosanna! hosanna!"
cheered by a thousand voices, "Hosanna to our King!" shook like a
passing storm the synagogue.

When the noise had a little subsided, some of the Scribes and Pharisees
said, reproving him for not rebuking these cries:

"Who is this that suffereth himself to be hailed as king? This is
treason to the emperor!"

Jesus then said in a loud, clear voice:

"My kingdom is not of this world! I seek not an earthly throne or
earthly sceptre. My kingdom is from above. Ye say truly, I am king," he
added, with indescribable majesty, "and hereafter ye shall behold me
sitting upon the throne of heaven."

When he had thus far spoken he could not proceed farther, on account of
the sudden and immense uproar which his words produced. Some shouted,
"Hosanna!" others said he blasphemed; one cried for the Roman guard,
another for the priests, to eject him from the tribune; many rushed
towards him to cast themselves at his feet, while many, putting their
fingers in their ears, hurried forth from the synagogue, crying:

"His blasphemies will cause the house to fall upon us and crush us!"

Never was such an uproar heard. In the midst of it Jesus conveyed
himself away, none knew whither; and when I returned to the house of
Martha I heard his low, earnest, touching voice in prayer to God in his
little chamber. He had sought its sacred quiet to be alone with his
Father in heaven. At times I could hear him praying and supplicating,
in tones of the most heart-breaking pathos; at others the silence of
his room was only broken at intervals by sighs and pitiful groans that
seemed to come from a breaking and crushed heart. Oh, what hand may
remove the veil and reveal what passed there in that holy retirement
between the Prophet and his God!

It was late in the day when he came forth, Martha having softly tapped
at his door to say that the evening meal was prepared and alone waited
for him. When he appeared his face was colorless and bore traces of
weeping, and though he smiled kindly upon us all, as he was wont to do,
there was a deep-seated sorrow upon his countenance that brought tears
to my eyes. Æmilius joined us at the table, and with dear Lazarus and
with Uncle Amos, we passed a sacred hour; for the Prophet ate not, but
talked to us much and sweetly of the love of God, and as all listened
the viands were forgotten.

Pardon me, dearest father, if I am too warm and urgent in my efforts to
bring you to accept Jesus as the Christ. Convinced, as I am, that he
is Messias, I cannot but ardently desire that you, also, should come
to the knowledge of this truth. What he is yet to be, how he is yet
to develop his majesty and power, is unknown to us all. Some do think
that he will enter Jerusalem ere long, attended by tens of thousands
of his followers, and that before him Pilate will peaceably vacate his
Procuratorial chair, and retire, not only from the Holy City but from
Judea, with his legions; that Jesus will ascend the throne of David,
and the glory of the age of Solomon be revived under his rule.

Such, dear father, is the future of the Prophet, as looked for by all
his disciples save one, and this is John, the husband of my Cousin
Mary. John, on hearing our views of the coming glory of the Prophet,
looks compassionate and says:

"His kingdom is not of this world. He has naught to do with the
splendors of earth. His glory you will behold, but it is a glory of the
spirit. Ere perceiving it fully we may first pass through the valley of
darkness, the gate of the tomb. He has distinctly said to me, 'I must
first suffer many things at the hands of men before I enter upon my
reign of glory. The Jews will seek me to kill me, and I shall be taken
from among you; but let not sorrow fill your hearts. Death can have no
power over me save such as I permit it to hold. I lay down my life and
I take it again. Through much tribulation and sorrow must the Son of
God win the sceptre of this earth--the hearts of men. I shall conquer,
but to do so I must fall. Yet fear not. My death shall be the gateway
to Paradise for you all!'"

Thus, dear father, do we discourse together about this wonderful
Prophet, whose future life is all a mystery, save that, from the
prophecies, we know it is to be inconceivably glorious; from his own
lips, to be inconceivably sorrowful. But whether on a throne, giving
laws to the world, or in the dust, borne down by the deepest woe, I
shall still love, honor, reverence him and trust in him as my Savior,
my Prince, and the Holy One of God!

                                          Your devoted and loving,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXIX.


My Dearest Father:

With what emotions of grief and amazement I commence this letter you
can form no just conception. Jesus, the Prophet of God, is a prisoner
to the Roman power!

But I fear not the issue! He cannot be holden of his foes, save by his
own free will. He can, with a word, turn his chains into bands of sand,
and by a glance render his guards dead men. He will, therefore, escape
their bonds. They can have no power over him.

It seems that to-day, after eating the Passover with his twelve chosen
friends, and instituting a new and peculiar feast with wine and bread,
which he told them impressively would be his last supper with them, he
went forth towards Olivet, and there, seating himself beneath the shade
of a tree, he talked with them very sadly, saying that "his hour was
come, that he had ended his work, and that he was about to be delivered
into the hands of sinful men."

John gave the following narrative: "It was evening, and the south side
of Olivet lay in deep shadow. We were all sorrowful. We felt, each
one of us, as if some grievous evil was pending over us. The tones of
our beloved Master's voice moved us to tears, quite as much as his
words, which latter were full of mystery. We were all present except
Iscariot, who had remained in the city to discharge the costs--he being
our purse-bearer--of the Passover supper and pay for the hire of the
room. At that supper Jesus had said very plainly that one of our number
would betray him into the hands of the priests. At hearing our Lord say
these strange words in accents of touching reproach, we were all deeply
moved, and Peter and the rest at once questioned him individually, if
it were they. 'Lord, is it I?' and another, 'Lord, is it I?' I was
resting, at the moment, with my face on the shoulder of Jesus, and said
softly, 'Lord, who is it that betrayeth thee? I will forthwith lay
hands upon him and prevent his doing thee harm.' Jesus shook his head
and smiling gently, said:

"'My beloved brother, thou knowest not what thou would do. The Son of
man must needs be betrayed by his own friends, but woe unto him who
betrayeth me! Mark which of the twelve dippeth bread with me into the
dish!'

"I looked and saw Judas reach forward and dip into the dish at the same
instant with Jesus; but in his eagerness, or from conscious guilt,
his hand trembled, he spilled the salt over the board, and the sop
fell from his grasp into the bowl; upon which Jesus gave him the piece
he held, saying to him, with a remarkable expression in his clear,
piercing eyes:

"'Judas, that thou doest, do quickly!'

"Instantly Judas rose from the table, and without a reply or casting a
look at any of us, went out.

"For a few moments after his footsteps had ceased to be heard, there
prevailed a heavy silence in the chamber, for a strange fear had
fallen upon us; why, we could not tell; and looking into one another's
faces, and then into our dear Master's, we seemed to await some dread
event. His face was placid and full of affection as he looked upon us.
The momentary cloud which shaded the noble profile when he spoke to
Judas had all passed off, and there was the serenity of a cloudless sky
in his face."

"What was the mysterious feast which he instituted?" asked Mary,
interrupting John here.

"You may properly call it mysterious," he answered. "As we were eating
the Passover, Jesus took up bread and, blessing it by a solemn act of
consecration, broke it with his hands and gave a portion to each of us,
saying with it, 'Take, eat; this is my body!'

"Awed and impressed by his manner and the act, we all received and
ate it as he commanded us to do, as reverently as if it were the holy
shew-bread of the Temple, dedicated to God's use. When we had eaten in
silence what we perceived was the inauguration of a new and most sacred
feast by his own hand, he took up the cup of wine, and consecrated it
also by giving thanks and blessing. The hallowed cup he now offered to
each one of us. We all drank of it with deep devotion, for he said to
us, 'I will drink no more with you the fruit of the vine until that day
that I drink it new in the kingdom of God!' He also said of the wine,
'This is my blood!'"

"And how do you understand these words, that the bread consecrated was
his body, and the wine was his blood?" I asked of the disciple.

"That is an inquiry I cannot answer," said John. "It is a mystery. But
the Lord says it shall be made clear to us by and by.

"We then sang the Passover hymn to God, and went out at his command to
go to Olivet. As we went he discoursed with us:

"'My children,' he said. 'I am to be with you but a little while
longer. The hour of my departure is at hand. Remember my last
words--love one another. In this shall all men know that ye are my
disciples.'

"'Lord,' cried Peter, 'we will go with thee! Thou shalt not leave us
nor go without us!'

"Thus we all, eagerly and tearfully, gathered around him, alarmed and
grieved at the words he had said. He regarded us lovingly and said:

"'Little children, I must leave you. Whither I go you cannot come!'

"'Though thou wentest to the uttermost parts of the sea, I will follow
thee, my Master and Lord!' exclaimed Peter. 'Whither goest thou, that
we may not follow? I will lay down my life for thee; and so will all
these!'

[Illustration: AN ORIENTAL SUPPER SCENE.]

"'Wilt thou die for me, Peter?' asked Jesus, gazing on him with a sad,
sweet look. 'Verily, verily, Peter, thou little knowest thyself. The
cock shall not crow twice ere thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest
me.'

"'Deny thee, Lord!' repeated Peter, with amazed grief and horror in his
looks.

"'Yes, Peter,' answered Jesus, firmly but kindly, 'deny that thou ever
knewest me; for the time draweth near when there shall be safety only
in confessing ignorance of Jesus the Nazarene. And all ye,' he added,
while his voice grew tremulous, and tears glistened in his eyes, 'all
ye shall be offended because of me this night; ye shall be ashamed
that ye are my disciples, and ye will think me a deceiver and will be
displeased at me. Yea, every one of you shall desert me; for thus it
is written: "The shepherd shall be smitten, and the sheep shall be
scattered!"'

"When he saw that our hearts were troubled and that we were sad, and
that the faithful Philip sobbed aloud at being supposed capable of
abandoning his Master, he added, 'Let not your hearts be troubled; I go
to prepare a place for you in my Father's house!'

"'Thy father, Lord, no longer liveth in Nazareth; and, were he alive,
there are but two small apartments in his humble house,' said Thomas.
'How sayest thou that we are all to lodge there?'

"'Thomas, thou canst understand only what thine eyes see. I speak of my
Father who is in heaven. In his house are many mansions.'

"Jesus then, as we drew near Cedron, began plainly to tell us that he
was to die, and that by his death we should be admitted into a heavenly
paradise and live forever. We could not understand all he said, but we
knew that he was soon to be taken from us and sorrow filled all our
hearts. After discoursing with us in the most touching words, he at
length said:

"'Come, let us go over Cedron to the side of Olivet, into the garden we
so much love to walk in.'

"We went with him, inclosing him as a guard, to conceal his person
from the Jewish spies, as well as to defend him. Peter and James went
before. The full moon shone brightly, and by its light glancing on the
face of Jesus, by whom I walked, I saw that it was sadder than its
wont, while he spoke but little.

"We at length crossed the brook and entered the dark groves of Olivet.
Familiar with all the paths, we advanced to a central group of
venerable olive trees, beneath which, tradition says, Abraham used to
sit; and there Jesus, turning to us, said in a voice of the deepest woe:

"'Friends, the hour of my time of trial is come! My work is ended. I
would be alone. Remain you here and watch, for we shall be sought for.
Come with me, Peter, and you also, James. I am going to pray yonder.'

"'Take me, also, dear Lord!' I said, sorrowfully.

"'Yes, thou art always with me, beloved!' he answered. 'I will not
leave thee now.'

"So leaving the eight friends to keep watch against the intrusion of
his enemies, who were known to be everywhere seeking him, he walked
away to the most secluded recesses of the garden. He stopped at the
place near the rock where Adam is said to have hidden from Jehovah, and
saying to us in a sorrowful tone, 'Tarry ye here, while I go apart and
pray to my Father,' he went from us about a stone's cast and kneeled
down, where a thick olive branch hanging low to the ground concealed
him from our view. I was so solicitous lest he should leave us and we
should see him no more, that I soon softly advanced near to the spot
and beheld him prostrate on the ground, while deep groans broke from
his heart. I heard his voice murmuring, but could not distinguish the
words broken by grief; only the tones were those of strange horror and
dread.

"As he prayed thus in great agony, I suddenly beheld a swift light
pass by me, as if from the skies, and lo! an angel stood by the side
of Jesus, bending over him and raising him up from the ground. A
soft, bright glory shone around the spot, so that Peter, seeing it,
advanced towards me, supposing some one had entered the garden bearing
a torch. I beckoned to Peter to be motionless, and he gazed with me in
speechless astonishment and admiration upon the form of the angel, from
whose glorious face was emitted the radiance which illumined the place
where Jesus was. As the angel raised Jesus from the ground, we saw that
his divine countenance was convulsed with anguish, and upon his brow
stood great shining drops of sweat, mingled with blood, which oozed
from his pallid temples and, rolling down his marble cheeks, dropped to
the ground. Never had we beheld a human visage so marred by sorrow, so
deeply graven with the lines of agony.

"The angel seemed to utter soothing words, and pointed with his shining
hand towards heaven, as if to encourage him with hope and give him
strength. The face of Jesus grew more serene; he raised his eyes
heavenward with a divine expression of holy love, and cried in a strong
voice:

"'Thy will, not mine, O God, be done!'

"The angel then embraced him, as if strengthening him, and soaring
upward, disappeared like a star returning into the blue depths of
heaven, while Peter and I stood by wondering and full of awe at what we
beheld.

"We remained for some time conversing together upon the wonderful
vision we had seen, which confirmed us in the certainty that Jesus
came from God, and was in truth the Messias that should come; but
at length, wearied with our day's excitements, we must have fallen
asleep, for we were suddenly startled by the voice of our dear Master
saying:

"'Why sleep ye, children? But the hour is past for watching. Ye may
sleep on now, for though your flesh is weary, your spirit is willing. I
need your aid no longer!'

"While he was speaking, we saw many torches gleaming through the trees,
along King David's walk, and the tramp of feet fell on our ears. We
soon saw a large party advancing into the midst of the garden, who
walked rapidly and spoke only in undertones. We at once took the alarm
and said to Jesus:

"'Fly, dear Master! Let us ascend the hill, and escape by the way of
Bethany, for these are enemies!'

"'Nay,' answered our dear Master. 'It must needs be that I deliver
myself into the hands of these men. How else shall the Scriptures be
fulfilled? Seek safety in flight for yourselves, but I must go whither
they will lead me.'

"'Not so, Lord,' answered Peter. 'There is time for thee to escape; or,
if not, we will stand by thee and defend thee.'

"So said all the disciples. Jesus shook his head and said, with a sad
smile, 'Ye know not what ye say or would do. Mine hour is come!'

"While he yet spake the multitude drew nearer, and those who had the
lead, raising their torches high above their heads, discovered us,
with Jesus in the midst. To my surprise I beheld Judas acting as their
guide, for he alone knew where his Master was to be found at that hour.
Upon discovering Jesus this wicked man ran forward, with expressions of
friendship in his face, and kissed Jesus on the cheek, saying:

"'Hail, Master! I am glad I have found thee!'

"'Judas,' said Jesus, 'betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?'

"When Judas heard this he turned to the multitude, at the head of which
I recognized some of the chief priests, and of the most learned scribes
of the Temple, and cried aloud:

"'This is he! Seize him, and hold him fast!'

"Thereupon the crowd, to the number of full ten score men, among whom
were the vilest sort of people, rushed forward to lay hands upon Jesus,
the moon and torches together shedding almost the bright light of day
into the garden upon the whole group.

[Illustration: MOUNT OF OLIVES.]

"At seeing them advance so furiously, with spears and clubs and swords,
Peter and James placed themselves before Jesus to defend him, while I,
being unarmed, cast myself across his breast, to shield his heart with
my body. The more bold men in the crowd coming too near, Peter smote
one of them with his sword, as he was reaching out his arm to grasp
Jesus by the shoulder, and clave off his ear. At seeing this the crowd
uttered a fierce shout, and were pressing upon us, when Jesus raised
the palm of his hand and said quietly:

"'Whom seek ye?'

"Instantly the whole mass rolled backward, like a receding billow
rebounding from the face of an immovable rock, and every man thereof
fell with his forehead to the ground, where they all lay for a minute
stunned. We twelve alone stood, for Judas had not been struck down,
and now remained gazing with amazement and terror upon the prostrate
enemies of Jesus.

"'Lord,' cried Peter, astonished, 'if thou canst thus repel thy foes,
thou needest not fear them more. Shall I smite Judas also?'

"'Nay, put up thy sword, Peter! Let him remain to witness my power,
that he may know that he nor his have any power over me save that I
give them.'

"While he was thus speaking the people and soldiers rose to their
feet, and, instead of flying, they seemed to be infuriated at their
discomfiture; and the chief priests crying out that it was by sorcery
that they had been thus stricken down, they rushed madly forward and
laid their hands upon Jesus and upon us all. In vain I contended
against numbers to rescue Jesus; overpowered, we were defeated and
driven from the garden, leaving Jesus in the hands of his enemies."

When John had gone thus far in his relation, dear father, our tears and
his were mingled. But we try and comfort ourselves with the word of his
promise:

"Ye know not now, but ye shall know by and by, and shall believe truly
that I came out from God. What now seems to you mysterious shall be
made clear as light. Wait and have faith, and all shall be made known
which now you understand not. Let no trials and degradations ye see me
pass through cause your faith to fail. I am come into this world to
conquer; but if I stoop, it is to raise up the world with me when I
rise again!"

I have omitted to mention to you what more John related as wonderful
touching the arrest of the Prophet. "As the chief priests bound and
laid their hands on him, there was," he said, "heard in the air the
sound of myriads of rushing wings, and notes like the gathering
signal of a trumpet, echoing and re-echoing in the skies, as if a
countless host of invisible beings were marshaling, armies by armies,
in mid-heaven! At these fearful and sublime sounds all raised their
heads but could behold nothing. Then Jesus said, with a majestic and
commanding look, such as I had never before beheld upon his face:

"'Ye hear that I am not without heavenly friends! I have only to pray
to my Father which is in heaven, and he will bid twelve legions of his
angels, now hovering in the air and yearning to defend me from my foes,
descend to my aid! But I desire not to use my powers for myself.'"

Thus, dear father, was Jesus borne away by a fierce multitude and
dragged into the city.

John, whose interest in and affection for Jesus led him to follow them,
heard all this; but Jesus made no answer, only walking quietly along,
patiently enduring all they said and did.

As they entered the city gate the Roman guard, seeing the immense crowd
and uproar, stopped them to learn the cause of the commotion.

"'We have here a traitor and conspirator, O captain of the guard,'
answered Eli, the chief priest: 'a pestilent fellow, who calls
himself Christ, a king! We have, therefore, with this band of hired
soldiers, taken him, as he was met secretly with twelve of his
fellow-conspirators, plotting to overthrow the government of Cæsar and
make himself king of Judea.'

"'Long live Cæsar! Long live the emperor!' shouted the Roman soldiers.
'We have no king but Augustus Imperator!'

"Upon this many of the soldiers cried, 'Take him before the Procurator!
He will give him his deserts, who would take his procuratorship away
from him! To Pilate! To Pilate!'

"'To Annas!' shouted the Jews. 'First to Annas!'

"Then, with some shouting one thing and others another thing, he was
hurried towards the house of Annas.

"When Annas knew that the prisoner was Jesus, he uttered a fearful oath
expressive of his joy and wicked satisfaction, and, hastily robing and
coming down into the court, he bade them bring the prisoner in. But the
calm majesty of Jesus abashed him, and checked the course of insulting
questions he began putting to him. At length finding that the Prophet
would make no reply, he caused him to be bound still more closely with
more cords, lest he should, like Samson, rend his bonds and escape on
the way, and sent him to Caiaphas, the High Priest, saying to him:

"'Caiaphas will find voice for thy tongue, O Prophet! So, thou wouldst
destroy the Temple, and callest thyself the Son of the Lord Jehovah!
Out, blasphemer! Away with him, or the house will be swallowed up
with the presence of one so impious! Away with the man! By the crown
of David! Pilate will make thee king in truth, and give thee a Roman
throne, to which, so that thou mayest not presently fall from it, he
will nail thee foot and hand!'

"At this the cruel crowd shouted their approbation, and many cried:

"'Ay, to the cross! to the cross with him!'

"But others said, 'Nay, but to Caiaphas!'

"The captain of the Roman soldiers resolved that he should be taken
before Pilate, and led the way thither, Jesus bound in the midst."

With renewed uproar they tumultuously pressed forward, their way
lighted by the red glare of a hundred torches, insulting the Roman
soldiers with seditious cries. John followed, but being recognized as
one of his disciples by a soldier in Æmilius' legion, he was seized and
only escaped by leaving his apparel in the grasp of the rude Roman.
Five of the disciples who have escaped arrest, are now in this house,
whither John fled also, on eluding the grasp of the soldier, leaving
his linen garment in his hand. We are all so sad and anxious! To move
in favor of Jesus is only to share his fate and do him no service.

Yet through all, dear father, I do trust in him and hope! Oh, I cannot
doubt his truth and power! I have seen him bring Lazarus up from
the grave, and I will not believe but that he can save himself, and
will save himself, from their hands. It is only when I shall behold
him really no more--see him really dead--that my faith in his divine
mission will waver.

With eyes blinded with tears, I can scarcely subscribe myself,

                                     Your sad but loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXX.


My Dear Father:

I know not how to write--I know not what to say! Dismay and sorrow fill
my heart! I feel as if life were a burden too heavy to hear! They have
crucified him!

Verily fear and a snare are come upon us--desolation and destruction,
O my father! We know not which way to turn. He in whom we trusted has
proved as one of us, weak and impotent, and has suffered death without
power to save himself. He that saved others could not escape the death
of the Roman cross! While I write, I hear the priest Abner, in the
court below, mocking my Uncle Amos in a loud voice:

"Your Messias is dead! A famous great prophet, surely, you Nazarenes
have chosen--born in a manger and crucified as a thief! Said I not
that he who could speak against the Temple and the priesthood was of
Beelzebub?"

Rabbi Amos makes no reply. Shame and despair seal his lips. Thus our
enemies triumph over us, and we answer only with confusion of face.

This unexpected, this unlooked-for, startling result has stupefied me,
and not only me but all who have been so led by fascination as to trust
in him. Even John, the beloved disciple, I hear now pacing the floor of
the adjoining room, sobbing as if his noble heart would burst. Mary, my
cousin's sweet voice, I catch from time to time trying to soothe him,
although she is stricken like us all to the very earth. The unhappy
John I hear despairingly answer her:

"Do not try to comfort me, Mary! There is no ground for hope more! He
is dead--dead! All is lost! We who trusted in him have only to fly, if
we would save our wretched lives, into Galilee, and return once more
to our nets! The sun which shone so dazzlingly has proved a phantom
light and gone out in darkness! He whom I could not but love, I see
that I loved too well, since he proves not what I believed him to
be! Oh, how could he be so like the Son of God and yet not be! Yet I
loved and adored him as if he were the very Son of the Highest! But I
have seen him die as a man--I have gazed on his lifeless body! I have
beheld the deep wound made into his very heart by the Roman spear!
I cast myself upon him, when he was taken down from the cross, and
implored him, by his love for me, to give some sign that he was not
holden by death! I placed my trembling hands over his heart. It was
still--still--motionless as stone, like any other dead man's! He was
dead--dead! With him die all our hopes--the hopes of Israel!"

"He may live again," said Mary, softly and hesitatingly, as if she
herself had no such hope. "He raised Lazarus, thou dost remember!"

"Yes, for Jesus was living to do it," answered John, stopping in his
walk; "but how can the dead raise the dead? No, he will never move,
speak, nor breathe again!"

But I will not further delay the account of his trial and condemnation,
for you will be anxious to know how such a man could be condemned to
a malefactor's death. In my last letter I spoke of his arrest through
the traitorous part enacted by Judas. Led by his captors, bound by the
wrists with a cord, Jesus was taken from the dark groves of Olivet,
where he had been found at prayer, and conducted with great noise into
the city by Cæsar's gate. It is near this archway that Rabbi Amos
lives. I will copy for you my Cousin Mary's account of it to Martha of
Bethany, just written by her, instead of adding any more to my own.

"I went out upon the basilica, which overlooked the streets," says
Mary, "and beheld a multitude advancing with torches flashing, and
soon they came opposite the house, at least two hundred men in number,
half clad and savage looking, with fierce eyes and scowling looks.
Here and there among them was a Levite urging them on, and I also
beheld Abner the priest firing their passions by loud oratory and eager
gesticulations. Behind rode five Roman horsemen, with levelled spears,
guarding a young man who walked with a firm step. I burst into tears.
It was Jesus! His locks were dishevelled, his beard torn, his face
marred, and his garments rent. He was pale and suffering, yet walked
with a firm step. I burst into tears, and so did Adina, who had come
out to see what was passing. He looked up and said touchingly, 'Mourn
not for me.'

"He would have said more, but the priest smote him rudely upon the
mouth, and the crowd, following his example, would have done him
further insult but for the Roman soldiers, who turned their spears
every way to guard him from violence, for they had rescued him from
the terrible rage of the Jews by their centurion's orders, and were
commanded to bring him safely before Pilate. So, thus guarded and
escorted by the men who thirsted for his blood, he was led onward
to the Pretorium, where the Roman Procurator resided. Gradually the
whole multitude disappeared in the distance when silence, a dread and
unearthly silence, succeeded. I turned and looked in Adina's face. She
was leaning, as colorless as marble, against one of the columns of the
basilica.

"'What can all this mean?' she said, with emotion. 'Can it be possible
he has suffered himself to be taken--he who could destroy or make alive
with a word? What means this dreadful scene we have just witnessed?'

"I could not answer. All I knew was what my eyes just beheld--that
Jesus our Prophet, our King, our Messias, on whom all our hopes and
the joy of Israel rested, was dragged a prisoner through the streets,
helpless and without a helper. I trembled with I knew not what unknown
forebodings. Suddenly Adina cried:

"'He cannot be harmed! He cannot die! He is a mighty Prophet, and
has power that will strike his enemies dead. Let us not fear. He has
yielded himself only the more terribly to defeat and destroy his foes.
We will not fear what Pilate or the priests will do! They cannot harm
the Anointed Shiloh of the Lord!'

"While we were yet talking, dear Martha, a dark figure passed
stealthily along beneath the basilica, and seemed to court the shadows
of the house. At this moment my father, Rabbi Amos, opened the outer
gate, with a torch in his hand, to follow, at our request, the crowd of
people, and see what should befall Jesus. The light glared full upon
the tall, spare form of Peter, the Galilean fisherman. His dark, stern
features wore an expression of earnest anxiety.

"'Is it thou, Peter?' exclaimed my father. 'What is all this? Who has
ordered the arrest of Jesus? What has he done?'

"'That hateful and envious man, Caiaphas, seeks to destroy him, and
has bribed with large lures of gold the baser Jews to do this thing.
Come with me, Rabbi, and let us die with him!' and the Galilean pressed
eagerly forward at a pace with which my father could not keep up.

"And this was an hour ago, and yet no news has come from the Pretorium;
but from time to time a dreadful shout from the hill on which the
palace of Caiaphas stands, breaks upon my ears, and the glare of unseen
torches illumines the atmosphere high above the towers of the palace.
It is a fearful night of agony and suspense. Adina, in her painful
uncertainty, but for my entreaties would go forth alone towards the
Pretorium to hear and know all. I can keep myself calm only by writing
to you. Adina has also commenced a letter to her father, recording
these sad things, but she drops her pen to start to the balcony at
every sound. When will this fearful night end! What will the morrow
reveal!

"It is an hour since I wrote the last line. The interval has been one
of agony. Rumors have reached us that the priests insist on Pilate's
passing sentence of death on the Prophet. The cries, 'Crucify him!
Crucify him!' have distinctly reached our ears. John is now here.
About half an hour after Jesus passed he reached our house nearly
destitute of apparel, his clothing having been torn from off him by
the Jews, in their efforts to make him their prisoner also. He is calm
and confiding, saying that his beloved Master can never be injured by
them, and that he will ere many hours deliver himself from his foes,
and proclaim himself king of Israel with power such as man never had
before. May the God of Jacob defend him! John has just gone up to the
Temple to get news, in disguise of a priest, wearing my father's robes.

"I have just seen a messenger passing in great haste along the street,
and his horse falling, cast him almost upon our threshold. It was the
page of Æmilius, the noble Roman knight, who is betrothed to my Cousin
Adina. She hastened to his aid. He was but stunned, and soon was able
to say that he bore a message from Lucia Metella, the fair and youthful
bride of Pilate, urging him to have nothing to do with the Prophet, but
to give him his liberty, for she had just awakened from an impressive
dream in which she saw him sitting on the throne of the universe,
crowned with the stars of heaven, the earth a footstool beneath his
feet, and all nations assembled and doing him homage.

"This report of the page has filled our hearts with joy and hope
inexpressible. Confident that Jesus is the Son of God, we will not fear
what man can do unto him.

"My father has returned. It is day. He says nothing can save Jesus but
his own divine power. The Jews are in number many thousands, and cry
for his blood. Pilate has but a cohort of soldiers and fears to use
force, lest the exasperated people break into open revolt and take the
city from his hands, which they can with ease do if they will unite.
'He trembles,' said my father, 'between fear to condemn the innocent
and dread of the vengeance of the Jews if he let him go. Nothing can
save the Prophet but his own mighty miracle-working power. He who has
saved others will surely save himself.'

"While my father was speaking a man rushed into our presence. He was
low in stature, broad-chested, with a stiff, reddish beard, narrow
eyes, and sharp, unpleasant visage. His attire was ragged and mean, as
was his whole aspect. He grasped in his right hand a small bag, which
rung with coin as his shaking fingers held it. He trembled all over,
and seizing my father by the arm with the quick, nervous grasp of a
lunatic, cried hoarsely:

"'Will he let them? Will he? Will he?'

"'Will he what, Iscariot? Of whom do you speak? Art thou crazed? Thou
shouldst well be, after thy deed to-night!'

"'Will he let them kill him? Will he die? Will he die? Think you he
will escape? He can if he will! Cords to him are ropes of sand!'

"'No, no. He is bound hand and foot!' answered my father, sadly. 'He
makes no defense. I fear he will let them do as they will with him. He
makes no effort to save his life.'

"At this Judas, for it was that wicked man, beat his knitted forehead
in a frenzied manner with the bag of silver, and with a look of
horrible despair rushed forth, crying as he went:

"'I will save him! The priests shall have their money again! He shall
not die! If I had believed he would not do some miracle to escape them,
I never would have sold him! I hoped to get their money, and trusted,
if they bound him, for him to escape by his own power. I did not dream
that he would not exert it to save himself. I will save thee, innocent
man of God, for I, not thou, alone am guilty! Oh, if I had suspected
this--but he shall not die!'

"With these ravings he disappeared towards the Pretorium, leaving us
all amazed at what we had heard.

"The sun is up. The fate of Jesus is sealed! The Procurator has
signed the sentence of death and he is to be crucified to-day. But,
with Judas, I believe that he cannot die, and that he will signalize
the hour by some wonderful miracle of personal deliverance. Thus,
tremblingly, we hope and wait."

Here terminates, my dear father, what my cousin has written to Martha
and Lazarus.

                               Your sorrowing but loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXI.


Dearest Father:

I have only terminated my last letter to take up my pen for the
beginning of another, for I find relief only in writing to you from the
deep affliction which has struck me to the earth. If anything can add
to my mortification at the death of the Nazarene, Jesus, it is that I
shall have endeavored so earnestly to make you believe in him also.
Oh, I shall never have confidence in a human being again; and the more
lovely, the more holy, the more heavenly the character of any one, the
wiser and purer their teachings, the more distrustful shall I be of
them.

But I will turn from these painful thoughts and, as I promised in my
last, will give you an account of what passed at his trial.

It is now the morning following the crucifixion, and I am calmer
than I was yesterday and will be able to write with more coherency.
Twenty-four hours have passed since he was nailed to the cross. His
followers have been, since his arrest, hunted like wild beasts of the
wilderness. Annas has hired and filled with wine fierce Roman soldiers,
and sent them everywhere to seize the fugitive Nazarenes. John was
especially sought out, and the emissaries of Annas came at midnight
last night to the house to take him, but we assisted him in making
his escape by means of the subterranean passage that leads from the
dwelling of Rabbi Amos to the catacombs beneath the Temple.

Æmilius, though only recently a convert from the paganism of Rome, is
firm in his faith that Jesus will rise again to life; and, instead of
giving up all, as we do, he says that he should not be amazed to be
suddenly told by the soldiers, whom he left to guard his tomb, that he
had burst forth alive from the dead!

But I have forgotten that I am to narrate to you, dear father, the
particulars of his accusation, trial and condemnation. As I was not
present in the Pretorium, I am indebted for the further details which I
shall give, in part to John and in part to Rabbi Amos.

"As soon as the mob of Jews who had Jesus under arrest, and which I
saw pass the house, reached the abode of Rabbi Annas, he asked them
whom they had in custody, and when they answered that it was the great
Nazarene Prophet, he said with joy:

"'Bring him into the lower court, that I may see him. By the rod of
Aaron, I would have him do some notable miracle for me.'

"And thus speaking, the white-headed old man hastened down to the
court, which, on reaching, he found thronged with the infuriated
multitude. It was with difficulty he made a passage to where Jesus
stood, both imprisoned and defended by a glittering lattice of Roman
spears. After regarding him attentively he said, with curiosity yet
with sarcasm:

"'Art thou, then, the King of the Jews? Hast thou come to reign on the
throne of David? Show me a sign from heaven, and I will acknowledge
thee, O Nazarene!'

"But Jesus stood calm and dignified, making no answer. Annas then
angrily plucked him by the beard, and a messenger at the same moment
arrived to say to him that Caiaphas, the High Priest, demanded to have
Jesus brought before him. Upon this he said in a loud voice:

"'Lead him to the palace! Caiaphas, my son-in-law, would see the man
who would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days!'

"There now arose a dreadful shout from the priests and people, who,
rushing upon Jesus, cried, 'Crucify him!' and attempted to grasp his
person, as they guarded him along the streets; but in protecting him,
as they had been commanded to do, the Romans wounded several of the
Jews. Hereupon there was a great cry of sedition and shouts of:

"'Down with the Roman eagles! Down with the barbarians! Death to the
Gentiles!'

"These cries were followed up by a fearful rush of the mass of men
upon the handful of guards. They were forced back, their spears broken
like straws or turned aside, and Jesus successfully wrested from their
power. But in the height of the battle Æmilius appeared with a portion
of the legion of which he was Prefect, and instantly charging the
people, who fled before the breasts of his horses, rescued the Prophet.

"'Rabbi,' said Æmilius to the Prophet, with compassionate respect,
'I know thou hast power from God to disperse as chaff this rabble of
fiends. Speak, and let them perish at thy divine command!'

"'Nay, my son. I am come into the world for this hour,' answered Jesus.
'This, also, is a part of my mission from my Father. It becomes me to
endure all things, even death.'

"'You cannot die, my Lord,' said Æmilius warmly. 'Did I not see thee
raise Lazarus from the tomb?'

"'To die I came into this world, but not for myself. I lay down my
life, and I can take it again. These men could have no power over me
except my Father did grant it to them. And what my Father willeth I
will also. Seek not, my son, to deliver me.'

"These words passed between them beneath the portico, as Æmilius was
loosing the sharp cords from the bleeding wrists of the youthful
Prophet.

"'To Caiaphas! To Caiaphas!' now cried the multitude, who had been
for a moment awed by the bold charge of the Roman horse, but now grew
bolder as some men removed the dead and wounded out of sight. 'To the
palace with the blasphemer! for he who calls himself God is, by our
law, to be punished with death! To the High Priest with him!'

"'I can rescue you, great Prophet!' said Æmilius resolutely. 'Give me
the word, and you are mounted on my horse and safe in the castle of
David.'

"'The High Priest has sent for me. He must be obeyed,' answered Jesus;
and Æmilius, surprised at his refusal to escape, reluctantly escorted
him to the palace. The windows already glared with torches, and the
superb Hall of Aaron was alight with a hundred flambeaux. Caiaphas
was already upon his throne, although it was long past the hour of
midnight--an unwonted time for him to sit in the council chamber;
but his desire to have Jesus brought before him led him to hold an
extraordinary court. A score of the elders and chief priests were
standing about him, their dark, eager faces earnestly watching the
entrance to get a look at the approaching Prophet. As Jesus serenely
entered, led by the sorrowful Æmilius, Caiaphas bent his tall, gaunt
form forward, thrust his neck and huge head in advance, and with keen
eyes and sharp, scrutinizing glances, surveyed him whom he jealously
looked upon as his foe.

"The multitude, pressing in, soon filled the vast hall and even crowded
upon the rostrum, upon which were seated the scribes, elders and many
of the principal priests. The Roman soldiers, with clanging steel,
marched in, and arrayed themselves on either side of the High Priest's
throne, leaving Jesus standing alone before its footstool.

"Contrasting with the brilliancy of the gorgeous hall and the
glittering robes of the priests, surged and heaved and moved below the
dark masses of the people, in their gray and brown caps and cloaks, for
the night was cold and they wore their winter garments; and all this
wild ocean of human forms gleamed with ten thousand eyes, flashing like
the phosphorescent stars that glitter on the surface of the upheaving
sea when the shadow of the storm-cloud hangs above it, and the winds
are about to be unbound to lash it into fury. So seemed this terrible
sea of human heads--Jesus the center of their looks and of their hate.
He alone, of all that countless host, he alone was calm, serene,
fearless! Caiaphas now waved his hand, with a gesture for silence, and
addressed Jesus:

"'So, then,' he spoke, with haughty irony, 'thou art Jesus, the
far-famed Galilean prophet! Men say thou canst raise the dead! We
would fain behold a miracle. Thinkest thou, if we put thee to death
presently, thou canst raise thyself?'

"'Jesus,' saith Rabbi Amos, who stood near him and saw all, 'Jesus
remained unmoved. His bearing was marked by a certain divine dignity,
while an expression of holy resignation sat upon his features. He
looked like Peace, incarnate in the form of man! A soft influence
seemed to flow from his presence, producing a universal but momentary
emotion of sympathy. Caiaphas perceived it, and cried in his harsh,
stern voice:

"'You have brought this man before me, men of Jerusalem; of what do you
accuse him? Let those who have accusations come forward and make them.
He is a Jew, and shall have justice by our laws.'

"'Ye Jews have no power to try a man for his life, most noble
Caiaphas,' said Æmilius. 'The lives of all your nation are in the hand
of Cæsar and of his tribunals. You can put no man to death.'

"Æmilius had spoken in hopes that if Jesus could be brought before
Pilate, the Procurator, he might be by him released, for he knew Pilate
had no envy or feeling against the Prophet.

"'Thou sayest well, noble Roman,' answered Caiaphas, 'but for the crime
of blasphemy against the Temple we are permitted by Cæsar to judge our
people by the laws of Moses. And this man, if rumor comes nigh the
truth, has been guilty of blasphemy. But we will hear the witnesses.'

"Hereupon several of the chief priests and scribes who had been going
in and out among the crowd, brought forward certain men whose very
aspect showed them to be of the baser sort. One of these men testified
that he had heard Jesus say that he would destroy the Temple and could
again in three days rebuild it more magnificently than it was in the
days of Solomon the Mighty.

"Upon this testimony all the priests shouted, 'Blasphemer!' and called
for Jesus to be stoned to death.

"A second witness was now produced by Abijah, the most passionate of
the scribes, who testified that Jesus had taught in Samaria that men
would soon no longer worship in the Temple, but that the whole earth
would be a temple for Jews and Gentiles.

"This was no sooner heard than some of the men gnashed at Jesus with
their teeth, and but for the gestures and loud voice of the High
Priest, they would have made an attempt to get him into their power.

"A third witness, a man who had been notorious for his crimes, now came
up. He carried on his wrist a cock, with steel gaffs upon the spurs,
as if he had just been brought up from the cock-pit to bear testimony,
for such were the sort of fellows suborned by the priests. He testified
that Jesus said that the day would soon come when not one stone should
be left upon another of the Temple; that he had called it 'a den of
thieves,' the priests 'blind guides' and 'deceivers,' the scribes
'foxes,' and the Pharisees 'hypocrites.'

"But the fourth and fifth witnesses contradicted each other, as also
did others.

"Such opposite testimony perplexed and irritated Caiaphas and
confounded the chief priests and scribes. The High Priest now began to
perceive that Jesus would have to be released for want of testimony
against him.

"'What! Galilean and blasphemer of God and his Temple, answerest thou
nothing?' cried the High Priest; 'hearest thou not what these witness
against thee?'

"But Jesus remained silent. Caiaphas was about to break the silence by
some fierce words, when a voice was overheard the other side of the
columns, on the left of the throne, where was a fireplace in which was
burning a large fire, about which stood many persons. Rabbi Amos at
once recognized in the violent speaker Peter, who had come in with him
and John, the latter of whom, in the disguise of a priest, stood not
far from Jesus, gazing tenderly upon him, and listening with the most
painful interest to all that they testified against him; but Peter
stood farther off, by the fire, yet not less eagerly attending to all
that passed.

"'Thou art one of the Nazarene's followers!' cried the voice of a maid,
who brought wood to feed the fire. 'Thou needest not to deny it. I am
of Galilee, and knew thee when thou wert a fisherman. Seize him, for he
is one of them!'

"'Woman, I swear by the altar and ark of God, and by the sacred Tables.
I know not the fellow! I never saw Galilee!'

"'Thy speech betrayeth thee, now thou hast spoken!' cried the woman;
'thou art a Galilean, and thy name is Simon Bar-Jona. I know thee well,
and how, three years ago, you and your brother Andrew left your nets
to follow this Nazarene!'

"'May the thunders of Horeb and the curse of Jehovah follow me, if what
thou sayest be true, woman. Thou mistakest me for some other man. I
swear to you, by the head of my father, men and brethren, that I never
saw his face before! I know not the man!'

"As he spoke," said John, "he cast his angry looks towards the place
where Jesus stood. He caught his Master's eyes bent upon him, with a
tender and reproving gaze, so full of sorrowing compassion, mingled
with forgiveness, that I saw Peter start as if smitten with lightning.
He then pressed his two hands to his face and, uttering a cry of
anguish and despair that made the High Priest look, and which went
to every heart, he rushed out by the open door into the darkness and
disappeared. As he did so the cock, which was held tied upon the wrist
of the third witness, crowed twice in a loud tone. I then remembered
the words of Jesus to Peter, spoken but twelve hours before: 'This
night, even before the cock crow the first watch of the morning, thou
shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me!' Upon this," added John, "my
confidence in my Master came back full and strong, and I felt that he
would not, could not be harmed, for he foreknew all things that could
happen to him, and would yet escape death.

"At length, after great excitement and dissension among the elders,
chief priests and scribes, Caiaphas placed Jesus before their great
council, at their demand. Their hall adjoined his own. Here they, as
well as Caiaphas, questioned him closely, and said:

"'Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? I adjure thee by the
living God, tell us plainly.'

"Jesus then elevated his princely form, and bending his eyes upon
the face of the High Priest, with a look so brightly celestial that
Caiaphas involuntarily dropped his eyelids to the ground, answered and
said:

"'Ye have said that which I am!' The expression of his countenance,"
says John, "seemed to shine as he had seen it in the Mount, when he was
transfigured before him.

"'Men of Israel and Judah, ye hear his words!' cried the High Priest,
rending down the blue lace from his ephod. 'Hear ye his blasphemy! What
think ye? Need we any further witness than his own mouth?'

"'He is guilty of death!' cried Abner, in a hoarse voice, his eyes,
red with being up all the night, glaring like a leopard's; and
advancing to where Jesus stood bound and bleeding, he spat in his face
thrice.

"This was followed by a loud outcry for his death, and several vile
fellows also spat upon him and pulled him by the beard.

"'Is this Jewish justice?' cried Æmilius indignantly to Caiaphas. 'Do
you condemn and kill a man without witness? Stand back, for Romans are
not used to see men condemned without law. Back, fellows, or your blood
will flow sooner than his for which you thirst!'

"At this determined attitude they gave back for a moment, and left
Jesus standing in the midst, sad but serene.

"John ran to him and wiped the blood and uncleanness from his lips
and cheeks and beard, and gave him water, which the woman who had
recognized Peter compassionately brought in a ewer.

"'Master, use thy power and escape from them!' whispered John.

"'Nay, tempt me not, beloved!' he answered. 'My power is not for my
deliverance, but for that of the world. For you I can do mighty works,
but for myself I do nothing. I came not to save my life, but to lay it
down. Mine hour is at hand!'

"'Let not a handful of Romans frighten you, men of Jerusalem!' cried
Abner. 'There is not a legion in all the city. Here we are masters, if
we will it! To the rescue! Let me hear the lion of Judah roar in his
might, and the eagle of Rome will shriek and fly away! To the rescue!'

"'Hold, men and brethren!' cried Caiaphas, who had judgment enough to
see that the first blow would be the beginning of a revolution that
would bring down upon the city the Roman army quartered in Syria and
end in the destruction of the nation. 'Hold, madmen!'

"But his voice was drowned amid the roar of the human tempest. Æmilius
and his men were borne away on the crest of the surge and so pressed by
the bodies of the Jews that they could not make use of their weapons.
In the wild confusion Jesus was carried by fierce hands to the opposite
end of the council chamber, while Caiaphas strove to appease the wrath
of Æmilius, who insisted that the fate of Jesus should be left with
Pilate the Procurator.

"When Æmilius, aided by the authority of Caiaphas, at length came where
Jesus had been dragged, they found him standing blindfolded among a
crowd of the basest fellows of Jerusalem, who were diverting themselves
by slapping his cheeks, and asking him to tell, by his divine knowledge
of all things, who did it. They would also hold money before his
blinded eyes, and ask him to name its value or inscription, and when he
still kept silence they struck him.

"'We will let thee go, Nazarene,' said one, 'if thou wilt tell how many
hairs I have in my beard.'

"'Nay, let him divine,' cried another, 'what I gave for my Passover
lamb in the market, and the name of the Samaritan of whom I bought it!'

"'Out with your lambs, Kish!' shouted a third fellow, thrusting himself
forward; 'let me hear him prophesy! What, Galilean! silent and sullen!
I will make thee speak!' and he let a blow of his staff fall upon the
head of Jesus which would have struck him to the earth, but for the
voice of Caiaphas, which had arrested in part its force.

"'Men of Israel!' he cried aloud, 'that this pestilent Nazarene is a
blasphemer we have heard with our ears, and by our law he ought to die,
because he hath made himself the Son of God. But Cæsar hath taken the
power of life and death out of our hands! We Jews can put no man to
death, but the Romans only. That he hath spoken against Cæsar, and is
a seditionist, can be proved. Let us take him before Pilate with this
accusation!'

"This speech pleased the people, and, having rebound Jesus more
securely, they cried all with one voice, 'To Pilate! To the Pretorium!'"

The multitude then poured out of the gates of the palace, like a
foaming and chafing river which hath overflowed its banks, and with
terrible cries, which we heard even in our house, took the direction
towards the Pretorium.

It was with difficulty that Æmilius could protect the Prophet in safety
up the hill and to the entrance of the Pretorium, which he entered
with his prisoner just as the sun gilded the loftiest pinnacles of the
Temple.

In another letter, dear father, I will continue the account of his
trial, the remembrance of which, while I now write of it, almost
rekindles again all my love, faith, devotion and confidence in him, for
who but a man God-sustained could have borne so meekly all this pain,
insult, ignominy and shame?

                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXII.


My Dear Father:

This is the evening of the Great Day of the Feast, and the second day
since the ignominious execution of him whom we all believed to have
been the Christ, the Son of the Blessed. Yet he still lies dead in the
tomb! Alas, that one so good and noble and wise should have been a
deceiver! Henceforth I have no faith in goodness. I have wept till I
can weep no more.

It is now the close of the High Day of the Feast. The slanting rays of
the setting sun linger yet upon the gilded lances that terminate the
lesser pinnacles of the holy house of the Lord. The smoke of incense
curls lazily up from the sky from its unseen altar, and the deep voices
of the choir of Levites, increased by those of the tens of thousands of
Judah, who crowd all the courts of the Temple, fall upon my ears like
muffled thunder. I never heard anything so solemn. Above the Temple has
hung, since the crucifixion yesterday, the cloud of the smoke of the
sacrifices, and it immovably depends over all the city like a pall.
The sun does not penetrate it, though its light falls upon the earth
outside of the city, but all Jerusalem remains in shadow. This cloud
is a fearful sight, and all men have been watching it and talking of
it and wondering. It seems to be in the form of black, gigantic wings,
spreading a league broad over Jerusalem.

There it now hangs, visible from my window, but we are in some sort
used to its dreadful presence and cease to fear; but we are lost in
wonder. This morning when a high wind arose, blowing from the Great
Sea eastward, every one expected and hoped to see the cloud sail away
before it in the direction of the desert. But the only effect the wind
produced was to agitate its whole surface in tumultuous billows, while
the mass still retained its position above the city. The shadow it
casts is supernatural and fearful, like the dread obscurity which marks
an eclipse of the sun.

And this reminds me, my dear father, to mention what, in the
multiplicity of subjects that rush to my pen for expression, I have
omitted to state to you; and what is unaccountable unless men have, in
truth, crucified in Jesus the very Son of God. At the time of his death
the sun disappeared from the mid-heavens, and darkness, like that of
night, followed over all the earth, so that the stars became visible,
and the hills on which Jerusalem stands shook as if an earthquake had
moved them, and many houses were thrown down; and where the dead are
buried outside of the city, the earth and rocks were rent, tombs broken
up, and many bodies of the dead were heaved to the surface and exposed
to all eyes! These bodies have lain all to-day, for the Jews dare not
touch them to re-bury them for fear of being defiled. All this is
fearful and unaccountable. It is known, too, that as Jesus expired, the
vail of the Temple was rent in twain and exposed the Holy of Holies to
every common gaze! What will be the end of these things is known only
to the God of Abraham. Never was so fearful a Passover before. Men's
faces are pale and all look as though some dread calamity had befallen
the nation.

My last letter, my dear father, closed with the termination of the
examination of Jesus before Caiaphas.

Guarded by Æmilius, who was his true friend to the last, he was led to
the house of Pilate.

The Pretorian gates were shut by the Roman guards as the tumultuous
crowd advanced, for Pilate believed the Jews were in insurrection, and
was prepared to defend his palace; for so few are the troops with him
in the city that he has for some weeks held only the name of power
rather than the reality. But when Æmilius explained to the captain
of the guard that the Jews desired to accuse Jesus, the Nazarene, of
sedition before the Procurator, he was admitted, with the chief men
of the city, into the outer court of Antiochus, and at their call
Pilate came forth to them. When he saw the vast concourse of people
with Caiaphas and the chief priests, and many rich Sadducees, with
the leading men of Jerusalem in the advance, and Jesus, bound and
disfigured by the insults he had undergone, and Æmilius and his few
soldiers enclosing him with their protecting spears, and heard the
loud voices of the multitude, as of wolves baying for the blood of a
defenceless lamb, he stood with amazement for a few moments surveying
the scene.

"What means this, Æmilius?" he demanded of the young Prefect. "Who is
this captive?"

"It is Jesus, called the Christ, my lord, the Prophet of Galilee. The
Jews desire his death, accusing him of blaspheming their God, and--"

"But I have no concern with their religion or the worship of their God.
Let them judge him after their own way," said Pilate, indifferently,
and with an indolent air.

"But, most noble Roman," said Caiaphas, advancing to the portico on
which the Procurator stood, "by our law he should suffer death, and
thou knowest, though we can condemn, as we now have done this Galilean,
we have no power to execute sentence of death."

"This is well said; but would you have me put one of your nation to
death for blaspheming your God? So far as that is concerned, O priest,"
added Pilate, smiling contemptuously, "we Romans blaspheme him daily,
for we worship him not and will have naught to do with your faith. Let
the man go! I see no cause of death in him!"

He then spoke to Æmilius, and desired him to lead Jesus to the spot
where he stood. Pilate regarded him with mingled pity and interest.
After surveying him a moment, he turned to one of his officers and said
aside: "A form divine and fit for Apollo, or any of the greater gods!
His bearing is like a hero! Mehercule! The chisel of Praxiteles nor of
Phidias ne'er traced the outlines of limbs and neck like these. He is
the very incarnation of human symmetry and dignity!"

The courtiers nodded assent to these cool criticisms of the indolent
and voluptuous Italian. Jesus, in the meanwhile, stood motionless
before his judge, his eyes downcast and full of a holy sadness, and his
lips compressed with immovable patience. Pilate now turned to him and
said:

"Thou art, then, that Jesus of whom men talk so widely. Men say, O
Jesus, that thou art wiser than ordinary men; that thou canst do works
of necromancy and art skilled in the subtle mysteries of astrology. I
would question thee upon these things. Wilt thou read my destiny for me
in the stars? If thou answerest well I will befriend thee, and deliver
thee from thy countrymen who seem to howl for thy blood."

"My lord!" cried Caiaphas, furiously, "thou must not let this man go!
He is a deceiver and traitor to Cæsar. I charge him and formally accuse
him, before thy tribunal, with making himself king of Judea!"

To this the whole multitude assented, in one deep voice of rage and
fierce denunciation that shook the very walls of the Pretorium.

"What sayest thou?" demanded Pilate, "art thou a king? Methinks
if thou wert such, these Jews have little need to fear thee." And
the Roman cast a careless glance over the mean and torn apparel and
half-naked limbs of the Prophet.

Before Jesus could reply, which he seemed about to do, there was heard
a sudden commotion in the lower part of the court of Gabbatha, and a
loud, hoarse voice was heard crying:

"Make way! Give back! He is innocent!"

All eyes turned in the direction of the archway, when a man was seen
forcing his path towards the door of the Judgment Hall, in front of
which Pilate was standing, with Jesus a step or two below.

"What means this madman?" cried the Procurator. "Some of you arrest
him!"

"I am not mad! He is innocent! I have betrayed the innocent blood!"
cried Iscariot, for it was he, leaping into the space in front of the
portico. "Take back thy money, and let this holy Prophet of God go
free! I swear to you by the altar he is innocent, and if thou harm him
thou wilt be accursed with the vengeance of Jehovah! Take back thy
silver, for he is innocent!"

"What is that to us? See thou to that!" answered Abner the priest,
haughtily, while the eyes of Caiaphas, falling under the withering
glance of the Roman Procurator, betrayed his guilt.

"Wilt thou not release him if I give thee back the pieces?" cried
Judas, in accents of despair, taking Caiaphas by the mantle and then
kneeling to him imploringly.

But Caiaphas angrily shook him off. At last, in a frenzied manner, he
threw himself at the knees of Jesus, and cried in the most thrilling
accents:

"Oh, Master! Master! Thou hast the power! Release thyself!"

"No, Judas," answered the Prophet, shaking his head and gazing down
compassionately upon his betrayer, and without one look of resentment
at his having betrayed him, "mine hour is come! For this hour I came
into the world!"

"I believed surely thou wouldst not suffer thyself to be arrested. It
is my avarice that hath slain thee! Oh, God! Oh, God! I see now it is
too late!" Thus crying in a voice of despair, he arose and rushed, with
his face hid in his cloak, forth from the presence of all, towards the
outer gate.

This extraordinary interruption produced a startling effect upon all
present, and a few moments elapsed before Pilate could resume his
examination of Jesus, which he did by entering the Judgment Hall and
taking his seat on the throne. He then repeated his question, but with
more deference than before: "Art thou a king, then?"

"Thou sayest that which I am--a king," Jesus answered, with a dignity
truly regal in its bearing; for all the time, bound and marred as he
was by the hands of his enemies, pale with suffering and with standing
a sleepless and fearful night upon his feet, exposed to cold and to
insults, yet he had a kingly air, and there seemed to float about his
head a divine glory, as if a sunbeam had been shining down upon him.

"Thou thyself hearest him!" exclaimed Caiaphas, standing upon the
threshold of the Judgment Hall of the Gentile governor, which he would
not enter for fear of defilement.

"He has everywhere publicly proclaimed that he has been ordained of God
to re-establish the kingdom of Judah and overthrow the power of Cæsar
in Jerusalem," added the governor of the Temple, lifting his voice so
as to be heard above the voices of the priests and scribes, who, all
speaking together, vehemently accused him of many other things.

Pilate at length obtained comparative silence, and then said to Jesus:

"Hearest thou these accusations? Hast thou no answer to make? Behold
how many things they witness against thee!"

Pilate spoke as if he had taken a deep interest in Jesus, and would
give him an opportunity of defending himself.

"He hath perverted the nation; a most pestilent and dangerous fellow!"
exclaimed Caiaphas. "He is a blasphemer above all men!"

"I have nothing to do with your religion. If he hath blasphemed your
gods, take ye him and judge him according to your laws," answered
Pilate.

"Thou knowest, O noble Roman, that we have no power to execute to the
death, therefore do we accuse him before thee."

"I am no Jew, priest! What care I for your domestic and religious
quarrels? He hath done nothing that I can learn for which the laws of
Imperial Rome, which now prevail here, can adjudge him to death. I,
therefore, command his release."

Upon this the Jews sent up a cry of unmingled ferocity and
vindictiveness. Caiaphas, forgetting his fear of defilement, advanced
several steps into the Judgment Hall, and shaking his open hands at
Pilate, cried:

"If thou lettest this man go, thou art not Cæsar's friend. Thou art
in league with him. He that sets himself up as a king in all the wide
bounds of Cæsar's dominions, wars against Cæsar, as well at Jerusalem
as at Rome. If thou release this man, I and my nation will accuse thee
to thy master, Tiberius, of favoring this Galilean's sedition."

When Pilate heard the name of Galilee, he asked if the prisoner were
a Galilean. Upon being answered in the affirmative by the excited
priests, he said to Æmilius:

"Hold! Loose not his bonds just now! Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee,
last night came up to the Passover feast of the Hebrew God, and is now
at the old Maccabean Palace, with his retinue. Conduct your prisoner to
him, and let Herod judge his own subjects!"

The chief priests and scribes now shouted with approbation at this
decision, for they began to fear that Pilate would release Jesus, and
they knew that the vacillating and reckless Herod would do whatsoever
would gain popular applause.

"To Herod! To the Tetrarch of Galilee with him!" arose the cry.

But Caiaphas, frowning and dissatisfied, remained behind; and Pilate,
glad to get rid of the delicate affair of condemning an innocent man,
smilingly came out and spoke to the gloomy High Priest:

"Thou knowest I can condemn men only for crimes committed against the
laws of the empire. This Jesus hath done nothing worthy of death."

"Noble Governor," answered Caiaphas, stopping in his angry strides up
and down the porphyry floor of the outer portico, "thou forgettest that
I brought him not before thee on this charge of blasphemy alone, but
for sedition! By the altar of God, this is a crime known to thy laws, I
wot!"

"True. You charge a young, defenceless, quiet, powerless man, destitute
of money, men or arms, an obscure fisherman or carpenter of Galilee,
with setting up a throne and kingdom against that of Tiberius Cæsar,
the ruler of the earth! The idea is absurd! It should be treated only
with ridicule. So will Herod say, when he understands the affair."

"So will not Cæsar say, my lord!" answered Caiaphas, with a sneer upon
his curled lip. "If you let this man go, the Jewish nation will draw
up a memorial, accusing you to the emperor of protecting treason.
You will be summoned by the senate to answer the charge; and though
you should succeed in clearing yourself, you will have lost your
government, given to another, and for your fair name, you will live,
ever after, under Cæsar's suspicion."

Pilate turned pale, and bit his lips with vexation.

"My lord priest, thou art bent, I see, on this innocent man's death.
I am no Jew, to understand how he has drawn upon himself thy terrible
wrath and that of thy nation. I will see what Herod will say, who,
being a Jew, is familiar with your customs."

Pilate now reseated himself upon his throne to give hearing to other
complaints.

After the lapse of half an hour a youth threw himself from his horse,
at the door of the court, and drew near the Procurator.

"What aileth thee, Alexander?" demanded Pilate, on seeing blood on his
temples and that he seemed faint.

"But a trifle now, my lord. I was thrown from my horse, who was
startled at a burning torch lying on the ground, and was detained at a
hospitable house until I was able to remount, which brings me hither
late."

"And why come at all? What news sends my fair wife, that she should
despatch you from my house in Bethany at this early hour? No evil
tidings, boy?"

"None, my lord, save this note."

The Greek page then handed his master a small roll of parchment, tied
with scarlet thread. He cut the knot with his dagger and reading the
contents became deadly pale. Caiaphas watched him closely, as if he
would read, reflected in his eyes, the contents of the note which had
so deeply moved him.

"Caiaphas," said the Procurator, "this prisoner must be released!"

[Illustration: JESUS BEFORE PILATE.]

"It is either his destruction, proud Roman, or thine!" answered the
High Priest, turning and walking haughtily away.

Pilate looked after him with a troubled air, and then re-entered the
Hall of Judgment, and seating himself upon his throne, again read the
parchment.

"'Have nothing to do with this just man,' he read half aloud, 'for I
have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him!' The very
gods seem to take sides with this extraordinary young prisoner!" he
exclaimed. "Would to Jove that Herod may have sense enough to release
him and relieve me of this unpleasant business."

While he was yet speaking and musing with himself, unconsciously
aloud, there was heard a great noise of voices in the direction of
the Maccabean Palace, and as it grew nearer and more distinct, Pilate
started up and cried:

"It is as I feared--Herod gives them no satisfaction and they come
again to me! Oh, that the gods would give me wisdom and nerve for this
trying hour, so that I condemn not the innocent nor bring myself into
the power of an accusation to Cæsar from these wicked Jews!"

At this moment the multitude, increased if it were possible in numbers
and in vindictiveness, reappeared, pressing Jesus before them. This
time he was alone, Æmilius having been separated from him in the palace
and kept by the crowd from rejoining him. He was now unbound, and upon
his head was a crown of thorns, piercing the tender temples till the
blood trickled all down his face; upon his shoulders was clasped an old
purple robe, once worn by Herod in his state of petty king, and his
hand held a reed as a scepter; and as he walked along, the bitterest
among the priests, as well as the vilest of the common fellows,
mockingly bent the knee before him, crying:

"Hail, King Jesus! Hail, royal Nazarene! All hail!"

Others went before him carrying mock standards, while still others
acting as heralds ran shouting:

"Make way for the King of the Jews! Do homage, all men, to Cæsar! This
is the great Tiberius, Emperor of Nazareth! Behold his glittering
crown! Mark his royal robes and see his dazzling sceptre! Bend the
knee, bend the knee, men of Judah, before your king!"

When Pilate saw this spectacle and heard these words, he trembled and
was heard to say:

"Either this man or I must perish! These Jews are become madmen with
rage and demand a sacrifice. One of us must fall!"

Oh, that I could write all I feel! But I am compelled, my dear father,
to end here.

                                          Your affectionate child,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXIII.


My Dear Father:

In this letter will be continued my account of the trial, if such it
can be called, of Jesus.

John, the faithful and yet trusting disciple whom Jesus loved, still
kept near his captive Master, and sought to cheer him by affectionate
looks and, where he could do it with safety, by kind acts. More than
once he was rudely thrust aside by the fiercer Jews, and once several
men seized upon him and would have done him violence, if Caiaphas,
to whom John is remotely related and who knows him well, had not
interposed. And while John was thus doing all that he could to soften
the asperity of his friend's treatment, we at home were exerting
ourselves to soothe the maternal solicitude of Mary of Nazareth, his
noble and heartbroken mother.

Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, was breaking his fast with fruit and
wine, at a table overlooking by a window the Street of the Gentiles,
when the noise of the advancing thousands of the Jews reached his ear.
He started from the table and said:

"These people are surely up in insurrection against Pilate!"

"No, great prince," answered the lad Abel, his cupbearer, who is
related to John, and has told me many of these things. "They have taken
the Nazarene Prophet, Jesus, and are trying him for sedition."

"This uproar proceeds from no trial, but from a wild mob in motion, and
they seem to be approaching," was his answer to him.

As Herod spoke he went to the lattice of his basilica, and beheld the
head of the multitude just emerging into the street.

"There are spears and Romans in the van, and I see priests and peasants
mixed together. I now see the cause of all the tumult--a mere youth,
bound and soiled and pale as marble. What, sirs! this is not the great
Prophet, of whose fame I have heard?" he said, turning to his officers.
"What mean they by bringing him hither? Yet, Per Baccho! I am glad to
get a sight of him!"

The crowd, like the swelling Nile, flowed towards the gates, roaring
and chafing like its mighty cataracts, so that there was something
fearfully sublime in this display of the power of human passions.
Æmilius with difficulty succeeded in getting his prisoner into the
piazza of the palace.

"Most royal prince," said Æmilius, kneeling before Herod and presenting
a signet, "I am sent by his excellency, Pontius Pilate, the Roman
Procurator of Judea, to bring before you this person accused of
blasphemy. Ignorant of your customs and faith, the Governor desires
that you, who are of his nation, would examine him; and moreover,
Pilate, learning that he is a Galilean and a subject of your
jurisdiction, courteously declines interfering with your authority."

When Herod Antipas heard delivered so courteous a message from the
Procurator, with whom he had been some time at enmity, he was pleased.

"Say thou, Sir Knight, to his excellency, the most noble and princely
Governor of Judea, that I appreciate his extraordinary civility,
and that nothing will give me more pleasure, in return for such
distinguished courtesy, than to be considered by him his friend, and
that I regret any occurrence that has hitherto estranged us."

Æmilius, upon receiving this answer, arose and bowed, and then said
with the boldness which characterizes him:

"Most gracious and royal Tetrarch, I pray you heed not the charges of
these Jews touching this prisoner. They have conceived against him a
bitter hatred without just cause. He has done nothing worthy of death.
Pilate could find nothing whatsoever in him deserving of the attention
of the dignity of a Roman tribunal."

"Let the prisoner fear not," answered Herod, at the same time regarding
Jesus attentively as he stood before him in the calm majesty of
innocence. "I will not take Pilate's prerogative of judgment out of his
hand, so handsomely tendered to me. If he hath blasphemed--Mehercule!
the High Priest and priests of the Temple itself," he added, laughing,
"do that every day of their lives, for religion is at a low ebb among
the hypocritical knaves! I have nothing to do with their charge of
blasphemy, or I would have them all stoned to death without mercy. I
will first see some miracles wrought by thy far-famed prisoner, noble
Æmilius, and then send him back to my illustrious friend Pontius, whom
his gods prosper in all things."

Herod, then, fixing his eyes curiously upon Jesus, who had stood
silently before him, seemingly the only unmoved person in the vast
concourse, said to the soldiers:

"Unbind him! By the staff of Jacob, he hath been roughly handled! Men
of Israel, it becomes not such as you to do violence to a man before he
is condemned."

While he was speaking John arranged Jesus' mantle about his form.
Herod regarded with interest and looks of compassion, the pale and
divinely-serene countenance of the prisoner, and seemed struck with the
indescribable majesty of his aspect and bearing.

"Art thou the Nazarene Jesus, of whom I have heard so much?" he asked
in deferential tones.

"I am he," was the quiet answer.

"Then gladly do I meet thee, for I have long time desired to see thee;
and I would fain behold thee do some miracles. Does rumor belie thy
powers? What! art thou silent? Dost thou not know who it is that speaks
to thee? Come hither, fellow!" he called to a Samaritan muleteer who
stood in the crowd, whose oval face and Jewish eyes showed him to
be both of Assyrian and Israelitish descent, and whose arm had been
taken off by a sword in a contest with Barabbas and his robbers; "come
hither, and let this Prophet prove his power and mission by restoring
thy arm whole like as the other!"

The man alertly came forward, and all eyes were directed eagerly upon
him and upon Jesus; but he thrust the stump of his arm, by Herod's
order, in vain before Jesus. The eyes of the Prophet moved not from
their meditative look upon the ground.

"Art thou mocking us, thou false Christ?" cried the Tetrarch angrily.
"Wilt thou neither speak nor act? If thou art not an impostor, do a
miracle before us all, and we will believe in thee!"

Jesus remained motionless, yet preserved a firm and majestic
countenance.

"He is a deceiver! He performed his works through Beelzebub, who has
now deserted him!" cried the priests.

"Nazarene," said Herod, "I am a Jew also. If thou wilt prove to me by a
sign that I will name, that thou art the Christ, I will not only become
thy follower, but will let thee go free. Thy silence is an insult to my
power. Thou seest yonder marble statue of Judas Maccabeus. Command the
sword in its hand to wave thrice above its helmeted head, and I will
bend the knee to thee. Nay, wilt not? I will give thee then, something
easier to do. Seest thou the carved pomegranates in the entablature of
the wall? Bid the one which hangs over this column become ripe, natural
fruit, and fall at my feet. No?"

"He has no power--his friend Beelzebub hath given him up into our
hands! Death to the necromancer!" were the terrible words which now
made the hall tremble.

"See the whirlwind thou hast raised, O Nazarene!" cried Herod, rising.
"If thou art a prophet, no harm can they do thee; and if thou art an
impostor, if they kill thee thou deservest thy fate! I give thee up
into their hands! Save thyself, if thou be the Christ!"

Scarcely had Herod spoken these words, relinquishing Jesus into the
hands of his foes, than with a savage cry, as the famished jackals in
the desert rush upon their prey, they rushed upon their victim. Æmilius
could not protect him; nay, some of Herod's soldiers, whom the Jews
had half intoxicated with wine, joined them as soon as they saw their
master Antipas had cast him off, and began to scoff and mock him, and
one of them thrust a helmet on his head and pulled the visor down over
his eyes.

"Nay," said Herod on seeing this. "As he calls himself a king, remove
the helmet and crown him, and robe him royally, and place a sceptre in
his hand; and lo, yonder block will make him a proper throne! We must
show Pilate how we Jews serve men who usurp the power of his master,
Cæsar!"

One of his men of war brought a cast-off robe of purple which belonged
to Herod and, with loud shouts of laughter and coarse jests, they robed
him in it, unresisting as the lamb wreathed for the sacrifice. Some
one then twined the creeping thorn, which grew on the outer wall, and,
twisting it into the shape of a crown, handed it over the heads of the
men to Abner.

When Abner saw the crown he smiled with malicious gratification and,
nodding approvingly to the man said:

"This is what we needed! Nothing could have done better!" and with his
two hands he placed it upon the head of Jesus, pressing cruelly the
sharp thorns into his temples till the blood trickled from a dozen
wounds. Jesus made no complaint, but the pain forced large bright tears
from his eyes, which rolled down his cheeks and fell among the purple
robe like glittering pearls.

"Here is also a sceptre for our king!" exclaimed the Samaritan with
one arm, using the one to reach a piece of reed, from which a Passover
lamb had been slung, to those who were arraying Jesus. This was thrust
into the Prophet's grasp, and he held it patiently. His submission,
his silence, his endurance of pain, his constant dignity, and the
majestic submission which he seemed to manifest to all their insults
and tortures, brought tears into the eyes of Æmilius. Even Herod stood
amazed at such God-like forbearance, and said to his chief captain:

"If this man is not the Son of God, he is worthy to be deified! Such
sublime patience is more than human--it is divine! You Romans, Æmilius,
would make a hero of such a man, and when he died worship him as a god!"

"Then, mighty prince, why suffer him to be thus treated?" asked Æmilius.

"It is his own choice. I have entreated him fairly. I asked of him but
one of those miracles men say he works, as proof of his Messiahship,
and he works me none--shows me no sign. The inference is that he can do
none, and therefore he is an impostor."

"Most royal prince," said Abner aloud, "thou now beholdest the King of
the Jews, crowned, robed and sceptred!" and he pointed to Jesus.

"Hail! most puissant and potent sovereign of Galilee! Hail! King of
fishermen!" cried Herod, mocking him, and seemingly greatly amused at
the jest. "Hail! powerful king! What, fellows, men-at-arms and all ye
gapers! bend ye not the knee before this royal personage? Do homage to
your king!"

Upon this many who were around him kneeled, and some mockingly even
prostrated themselves before the Prophet; but he stood so very like a
monarch that others, who were about to mock him, refrained, while Herod
turned away with a troubled look, saying abruptly:

"Take him back to the Procurator!"

Once more the vast multitude were in motion, and with cries and insults
escorted Jesus from the presence of Herod back to the Pretorium.

When Pilate beheld their return in this manner he was greatly vexed.
When once more Jesus stood before him, arrayed as I have described in
the gorgeous robe and crown, Pilate, turning towards Caiaphas and the
priests, said angrily:

"What more will ye have? Why bring this man again before me? Behold, I
have examined him before you and have found no fault in him. Ye proved
nothing by your witnesses touching those things whereof ye accuse him.
I then sent you with him to Herod, and lo! the Tetrarch of Galilee, one
of your own nation, finds naught in him worthy of death! Doubtless he
has said something about not paying tribute, and deserves for this a
light punishment, but not death. I will chastise him, charge him that
he be more cautious, and let him go."

"If thou let this man go, thou art an enemy of Tiberius!" answered
Caiaphas. "Seest thou what a commotion he has raised in the city? If he
is released there will be a revolution."

"In the name of Olympian Jove, O Nazarene, what hast thou done to
incense these Jews? If thou art their king, prove it to them or to me,"
demanded Pilate, greatly troubled.

"My kingdom is not of the earth," answered Jesus. "If my kingdom were
an earthly one, then would my servants fight, that I should not be
delivered to the Jews; but my kingdom is not of this world."

"Then thou confessest thyself a king?" exclaimed Pilate, with surprise.

"Thou sayest that which I am--a King. To this end was I born, and for
this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the
truth."

"Truth? What is truth?" asked the Roman; but, without waiting for Jesus
to reply, and seeing that the Jews outside of the hall were becoming
more and more impatient, he hurriedly went out to them and said:

"I find in the prisoner no fault at all. But ye have a custom that I
should at the Passover pardon a criminal out of prison, as an act of
clemency, in honor of the day. Will ye, therefore, that I pardon and
release unto you this 'King of the Jews'?"

No sooner had Pilate made this proposal than they all with one voice
and furious gestures cried:

"No! No! Not this man! We will not have him released!"

"Barabbas! Barabbas!" was echoed and re-echoed by ten thousand voices.

This Barabbas, dear father, is the same fierce bandit of whom I have
spoken, who was that day to have been crucified, with two of his
lieutenants. But, at the loud demand of the people, Pilate was forced
to send to the officer of the wards to let him go free.

Pilate, therefore, finding that the Jews would be content with nothing
less than the blood of Jesus, returned sorrowfully into the Judgment
Hall.

The residue of my narrative of the condemnation and crucifixion, I will
give in the morning, dear father.

                                             Your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXIV.


My Dearest Father:

Jesus had from very weakness sunk upon the steps of the throne of the
Hall of Judgment. John knelt by him, bathing the wounds in his temples,
from off which he had boldly taken the crown of thorns. When Pilate,
after giving the order to release the robber chief Barabbas, came again
where Jesus was, he stopped and regarded him attentively, and with an
expression of sorrow and admiration. At length he spoke:

"If thou be indeed a god, O heroic young man, as thy patience would
seem to prove thee to be, thou needest not to fear these bloodhounds,
that bay so fiercely for thy blood. If thou art an impostor and a
seditionist, thou verily meritest death. I regard thee but as a
youthful enthusiast, and would let thee go free; but I cannot protect
thee. If I release thee, not only thou, but also all my troops, will be
massacred, for we are but a handful in their grasp. Tell me truly, art
thou a son of the divine Jupiter?"

When Jesus, instead of replying, remained silent, the Procurator said
sternly:

"What! speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to
crucify thee as a malefactor, and power, if I choose to meet the risk,
to release thee?"

Jesus looked up and calmly said:

"Thou couldst have no power against me except it were given thee from
above. Therefore he that delivered me into thy hands hath the greater
sin!"

And as Jesus said these words in an impressive tone, he glanced fixedly
at Caiaphas, who was looking in at the door, as if designating the High
Priest. Upon this Pilate pressed his hands against his forehead and
paced several times to and fro before the judgment seat, as if greatly
troubled. Caiaphas, seeing his irresolution, cried harshly:

"If thou lettest this self-styled king go, O Governor, thou art not
Cæsar's friend!"

Pilate's brow grew dark. He took Jesus by the hand, and leading him to
the portal, pointed to him, and said aloud:

"Behold your king! What will you that I should do with him? Looks he
like a man to be feared?"

"We have no king but Cæsar!"

"Crucify him!"

"To the cross with the false prophet!"

"Death to the usurper! Long live Cæsar! Death to the Nazarene! To the
cross! To the cross with him! Let him be crucified!"

These were the various cries from ten thousand throats that responded
to the Procurator's address. Remembering the warning message sent him
by his young and beautiful wife, who held great influence over him, he
trembled with indecision.

"Why will you compel me to crucify an innocent man? What evil hath he
done?"

"Crucify him! Crucify him!" was the deafening response.

"I will chastise him and let him go!"

"At your peril release him, O Roman!" exclaimed Caiaphas, in a menacing
tone. "Either he or you must die this day for the people! Blood must
flow to appease this tempest!"

When the Procurator saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather
the tumult increased, he called for water, which was brought to him
in a basin by his page, and in the presence of the whole multitude he
washed his hands, saying:

"I am innocent of the blood of this just person! See ye to it, O Jews,
ye and your High Priest!"

"His blood be upon us, and on our children!" answered Caiaphas; and all
the people re-echoed his language.

"Ay, on us and on our children rest the guilt of his blood!"

"Be it so," answered the Procurator, with a dark brow and face as pale
as the dead. "Take ye him and crucify him; and may the God he worships
judge you, not me, for this day's deed!"

Pilate then turned away from them and said to Jesus:

"Thou art, I feel, an innocent man, but thou seest that I cannot save
thee! I know thou wilt forgive me, and that death can have no terrors
for one of fortitude like thine!"

Jesus made him no answer; and Pilate, turning from him with a sad
countenance walked slowly away and left the Judgment Hall. As he did so
one of his captains said to him:

"Shall I scourge him, my lord, according to the Roman law, which
commands all who are sentenced to die to be scourged?"

"Do as the law commands," answered the weak-minded Roman.

His disappearance was the signal for a general rush towards Jesus,
chiefly by the rabble, who, indifferent about Gentile defilement,
crossed the threshold into the hall, which the chief priests had
refrained from doing. These base fellows seized Jesus and, aided by the
men-at-arms, dragged him forth into the outer or common hall. Here they
stripped him, and, by order of the chief captain, a soldier scourged
him with forty stripes, save one.

All this Jesus still bore with God-like majesty. Not a murmur escaped
his lips; not a glance of resentment kindled the holy depths of his
eyes, which, from time to time, were uplifted to heaven, as if he
sought for help and strength from thence.

Not only Æmilius but John was now separated from him; but my uncle, the
Rabbi stood near, in order to see what would follow, and to use his
influence, if possible, to induce the chief priests to abandon the idea
of killing him.

"Good Rabbi," said Jesus to him, "let them do with me what they list.
My Father hath given me into their hands. I die, but not for myself. I
can keep or yield up my life, as I will."

"Oh, then, dear Master!" cried my uncle, "why not save thyself? Why
shouldst thou suffer all this, and death also, if thou hast the power
over thy life?"

"If I die not, then were ye all dead. The Scripture must be fulfilled
which spoke of me. 'He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.'"

Here Rabbi Amos could speak no more to him, for the crowd dragged him
off out of the Court of Gabbatha, and so down the steep street in the
direction of the gate of the kings that leads out to Calvary, the
public place of execution.

Rabbi Amos accompanied the multitude, keeping as nigh to Jesus as the
Roman soldiers, who marched on each side of him, would permit. On the
way, as they crossed the open space where once stood the palace and
statue of Antiochus Seleucus, the eyes of the Rabbi were attracted by
the cries and pointed fingers of many of the people to the body of a
man lying dead at the foot of a withered fig tree. Upon drawing nearer,
he recognized the features of the man Judas, who had so basely betrayed
his Master. The spectacle which he exhibited was revolting and horrid
to look upon! About his neck was wound a fragment of his girdle, the
other half being still secured to a limb of the tree, showing how he
had met his fate.

By this time the people who were dragging Jesus to death were got well
beyond the gate, when a cross of heavy cypress was obtained by the
centurion from a yard near the lodge. Two others were also brought out,
and laid upon the shoulders of two men, the lieutenants of Barabbas,
who were also that day to be crucified.

By the time the great crowd had passed the gate, it was known
throughout all Jerusalem that Pilate had given orders for the
crucifixion of the Nazarene Prophet; and, with one mind, all who had
known him and believed in him or loved him left their houses to go
out after him to witness the crucifixion; for I forgot to say that
Caiaphas had promised, if Jesus were delivered up, that his followers
should not be molested. Therefore every person went out of the gate
towards Calvary. Mary his mother, my Cousin Mary, Martha and her
sister, Lazarus, John, Peter and Thomas, and some women, relatives
from Galilee, and many others, also went. When we got without the
walls, we seemed to leave a deserted city behind us. As far as the eye
could embrace there was a countless multitude. Jesus was borne in
front, where we could now and then catch the gleam of a Roman spear.
We hastened to get near him and, with difficulty, made our way to the
head of the throng, both foes and friends giving back when they saw his
weeping mother among us.

At the approach to Calvary we found that, from some cause, the course
of the mighty current of human beings was checked. We soon learned the
reason. Jesus had sunk to the ground under the weight of the wooden
beams on which he was to die, and fainted.

"He is dead!" was the cry of those about him; but, as we drew near, he
was just reviving, some one having offered wine to his lips and poured
water upon his brow. He stood up, looking mildly around, when meeting
his mother's gaze, he said touchingly:

"Weep not, my mother! Remember what I have often told thee of this
hour, and believe. Mine hour is come!"

Thus speaking he smiled upon his mother and upon us, with a certain
look of divine peace illuminating his countenance.

Barabbas, the robber chief, who had in some degree taken the lead of
the mob, now, with the aid of three men, raised the cross again to
the shoulders of Jesus, and the soldier ordered him to move on. But
the young victim sank at once beneath the insupportable load. Upon
this they were at a loss what to do, for it is ignominious for Jew or
Gentile to aid in bearing a malefactor's cross, and not a Roman would
touch it. At this crisis they discerned a Syro-Phœnician merchant,
Simon of Cyrene, a venerable man, well known to all in Jerusalem. This
man was for some reason particularly obnoxious to Abner, and, on seeing
him, he pointed him out to the centurion as "one of the Nazarenes," and
suggested that he should be compelled to bear the cross after Jesus.

The Cyrenian merchant was at once dragged from his mule and led to
the place where the cross lay, believing he was about to be himself
executed. But when he beheld Jesus standing, pale and bleeding, by the
fallen cross, and knew what was required of him, he burst into tears
and, kneeling at his feet, said:

"If they compel me to do this, Lord, think not that I aid thy death! I
know that thou art a prophet come from God."

"We brought thee not here to prate, old man, but to work. Thou art
strong-bodied. Up with this end of the cross and go on after him!"
cried the chief priests.

Simon, who is a powerful man, though threescore years of age, raised
the extremity of the beam, and Jesus essayed to move under the weight
of the other; but he failed.

"Let me bear it alone, Master," answered the stout Simon. "I am the
stronger. Thou hast enough to bear the weight of thine own sorrow. If
it be a shame to bear a cross after thee, I glory in my shame, as would
my two sons, were they here this day."

Thus speaking, he lifted the cross and bore it on his shoulders after
Jesus, who, weak from loss of blood and sleep, and weary unto death,
had to lean for support against one arm of the instrument of death.

Ah, my dear father, what a place was this across which we moved!
Skulls lay scattered beneath our footsteps, and everywhere human bones
bleached in the air, and we trod in heaps of ashes where the Romans had
burned the bodies of many of those whom they crucified.

The crosses carried by the thieves were now thrown down by them; by one
with an execration, by the other with a sigh, as he anticipated the
anguish he was to suffer upon it.

The larger cross of the three was that for Jesus. It was taken by
three soldiers from the back of the old Cyrenian merchant and cast
heavily upon the earth. It was now that a crisis approached of the
most painful interest. The centurion ordered his soldiers to clear
a circle about the place where the crosses were to be planted with
their spears. The Jews who had crowded near, in eager thirst for their
victim's blood, gave back slowly and reluctantly before the sharp
points of the Roman lances pushed against their breasts, for the
centurion had with him full threescore men-at-arms, besides a part
of Herod's guard. John, however, held his place close by his Master.
He relates that Jesus continued to evince the same sublime composure
when the centurion commanded the crucifiers to advance and nail the
malefactors to their crosses. The robber-lieutenant, Ishmerai, who was
an Edomite, upon seeing the man approach with the basket containing the
spikes and hammers, scowled fiercely upon him and looked defiance. He
was instantly seized by four savage-looking Parthian soldiers of the
Roman guard, and stripped and thrown upon his back upon the cross. His
struggles, for he was an athletic man, were so violent that it took six
persons to keep him held down upon the arms of the cross and his palms
spread open to receive the entering nail, which one of the crucifiers,
with naked and brawny arms, pressing one knee upon the wrist, drove in
through the flesh and wood, by three quick and powerful blows with his
short, heavy-headed hammer.

Thus secured he was left, bleeding and writhing, by the six crucifiers;
for there are four to bind the victim, one to hold the spikes, and the
sixth to drive them home with his hammer, and from the glance I caught
of their half-naked and blood-stained figures, they were worthy to
hold the dreadful office which made all men shun them as if they were
leprous.

They now approached Omri, the other robber, who was a young man with
a mild look, and a face whose noble lineaments did not betray his
profession. He was the son of a wealthy citizen in Jericho, and had by
riotous living, spent his patrimony and joined Barabbas. He had heard
Jesus preach in the wilderness of Jordan, and had once asked him with
deep interest many things touching the doctrines he taught.

When the crucifiers, with their cords, basket, nails and iron hammer,
drew near him, he said:

"I will not compel you to throw me down. I can die as I have lived,
without fear. As I have broken the laws, I am ready to suffer the
penalty of the laws."

Thus speaking, he stretched himself upon his cross and, extending his
palms along the transverse beam, he suffered them to nail him to the
wood, uttering not a moan. He glanced towards Jesus at the same time
with an expression of courage, as if he sought to show him that the
pain could be borne by a brave man. And perhaps, indeed, Jesus looked
as if he needed an heroic example before him to show him how to die
without shrinking, for his cheek was like the marble of Paros in its
whiteness, and he seemed ready to drop to the earth from weakness. His
youth, his almost divine beauty, which not even his tangled hair and
torn beard and blood-streaked countenance could wholly hide, the air
of celestial innocence that beamed from his eyes, drew upon him many
glances of sympathy even from some of his foes. The centurion, who was
a tall man with a grizzly beard, and with the hardy exterior of an old
Roman warrior, looked upon him with a sad gaze and said:

"I do not see what men hate thee for, for thou seemest more to be a
man of love; but I must do my duty, and I hope thou wilt forgive me
what I do. A soldier's honor is to obey."

Jesus smiled forgiveness upon him so sweetly that the stern Roman's
eyes filled with tears, and he placed his gauntleted hand to his face
to conceal his emotion.

But, my dear father, I can go on no longer now with my sad narrative.
I am weary weeping at the recollections it calls before me, and at
our present affliction. In my next I will complete my account of the
unhappy crucifixion of the Prophet of Nazareth.

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXV.

_Jerusalem--Third Morning after the Crucifixion._


My Dear Father:

As I resume my pen by the faint light of the dawn, to continue the
particulars of the crucifixion of the unhappy son of Mary, who, widowed
and childless, still remains with us, mourning over her dead son, my
heart involuntarily shrinks from the painful subject and bleeds afresh.
But there is a fascination associated with all that concerns him, even
now that he is dead and has proved himself as weak a mortal as other
men, which urges me to write of him and which fills my thoughts only
with him.

I have just alluded to his grief-smitten mother. Alas, there is no
consolation for her! Her loss is not like that of other mothers.
Her son has not only been taken from her by death, but has died
ignominiously on a Roman cross, executed between two vile malefactors,
as if he himself were the greatest criminal of the three; and not only
this, but executed as a false prophet--as a deceiver of Israel.

Yet her love for her son--that deathless, maternal love, which seems
immortal in its nature--is not buried with him. She, with dearest Mary
and Martha, has just gone out secretly, before the Jews are astir, to
pay the last duties to his dead body, ere we all depart for an asylum
in Bethany. Until they return from this sad mission of love I will
continue my subject--the crucifixion.

When the centurion to whom was committed by Pilate the charge of
conducting the crucifixion of Jesus, gave orders to bind him also to
the cross, which lay upon the ground like an altar awaiting its victim,
the four Parthian soldiers, his brutal crucifiers, laid hold upon him
and began to strip him of his garments, for his enemies had put again
on him his own clothes when they led him out of the hall of Pilate. He
wore a mantle woven without seam by Mary and Martha, and which had been
a present to him by the sisters, as a token of their gratitude, for
raising from the dead their brother Lazarus.

His mother, supported by John, could no longer gaze upon her son, and
was borne afar off, crying thrillingly:

"Oh, let me not hear the crashing of the nails into his feet and hands!
My son! My son! Oh, that thou wouldst now prove to thy mother that thou
art a true Prophet!"

"What means this wailing?" cried the fierce Abner. "Who is this woman?"

"The mother of Jesus," I answered, indignantly.

"The mother of the blasphemer! Let her be accursed!" he cried, in a
savage tone. "Thou seest, woman, what is the end of bringing up an
impostor, to blaspheme Jehovah and the Temple. Thy hopes and his, O
wretched woman, have this day miserably perished! So die all false
Christs and false prophets!"

Mary buried her face in her hands and wept on my shoulder. I could not
look towards the place where Jesus stood. I dreaded to hear the first
blow upon the dreadful nails, and as she stopped her ears I would have
closed mine also, but that my hands supported her. I could hear the
awful preparations--the rattling of the hard cord, as they bound him
to the cross, and the low, eager voices of the four busy Parthians,
and then the ringing of the spikes, and then silence like that of the
grave! Suddenly a blow of a hammer broke the moment of suspense! A
shriek burst from the soul of the mother that echoed far and wide among
the tombs of Golgotha!

I could see, hear no more!

John having left the stricken mother with me, he and Lazarus had gone
back to where they were unrobing the Prophet in order to bind him to
the wood. They caught the eyes of their Master, said Lazarus, who
gazed upon them calmly and affectionately. They said they had never
beheld him appear so majestic and great. He looked, as the centurion
afterwards said, "Like a god surrendering himself to death for the
safety of his universe!"

"Nothing but the ferocious madness of the chief priests and Jews,"
added John, "could have prevented them from being awed by the majesty
of his presence. And, besides, there sat upon his brow heroic courage,
with a certain divine humility and resignation. Not the rough hands
of the barbaric soldiers, nor the indignity of being stripped before
the eyes of thousands, not the sight of the cross, nor of the thieves,
nailed and writhing on theirs, moved him to depart, by look or bearing,
from that celestial dignity which, through all, had never left him.

"He made no resistance," continued John, who told me what follows,
"when bound upon the cross, but resigned himself passively into the
hands of his executioners, like a lamb receiving its death. 'Father,'
he said, raising his holy eyes to heaven, 'forgive them, for they know
not what they do.'

"Great drops of sweat, when they nailed his feet to the wood, stood
upon his forehead," added John, who remained near to see his Master
die, and to comfort and strengthen him; "and when the four men raised
him and the cross together from the earth and let the end into a hole a
foot deep, the shock, bringing his whole weight upon the nails in his
hands, tore and lacerated them, nearly dislocating the shoulders at the
same time, while every sinew and muscle of his arms and chest was drawn
out like cords to sustain this unwonted weight upon them. The first
thief fainted from pain, at the shock caused by the setting of his own
cross; and the second, cool and defiant as he had been, uttered a loud
outcry of agony. But Jesus made no moan, though the unearthly pallor of
his countenance showed how inexpressible was his torture."

Ah, my dear father, I would draw a veil over this scene--for it is too
painful for me to dwell upon. To the last John believed his Master
would not die--that he would not suffer! But when he saw how that pain
and anguish seized heavily upon him, and how that he suffered like
other men, without power to prevent it, he greatly wondered, and began
to believe that all the miracles that he had seen him perform must have
been illusions. He could not reconcile the calmness and dignity, the
heroic composure and air of innocence with which he came to the cross,
with imposture; yet his death would assuredly seal as imposture all
his previous career.

With his mother we all drew as near the cross as we were permitted to
come. Jesus then turned his head towards his mother, and, looking down
with the profoundest tenderness and love upon her, committed her to the
filial care of the weeping John, who stood supporting her.

There we waited, in expectation of seeing him do some mighty miracle
from the cross and descend unharmed, showing to the world thereby his
title to be the Messias of God.

The centurion, having placed a guard about the crosses, to keep the
friends of the crucified from attempting their rescue, stood watching
them. The soldiers who had nailed Jesus to the tree now began to
divide, with noisy oaths, his garments among themselves, as well as
those of the two thieves, these being by the Roman law the fee of the
executioner. This division being made after some time, but not without
high talking and drawing of their long Syrian knives upon each other,
they were at a loss what to do with the large mantle without seam,
which the sisters of Lazarus had woven for the friend of their once
dead brother. A group of the Roman guard being seated near, astride
upon the four arms of a fallen cross, playing at dice, suggested that
the Parthians should decide by lot whose it should be. This the latter
consented to and, taking the dice-box in their bloody hands, each of
them threw the dice. The highest number fell to the most ferocious of
the four fellows, who proposed to sell the cloak, which John joyfully
purchased of him at a great price, by means of the jewels of several
of the women, who gladly took rings from their ears and bracelets from
their arms, I giving, dear father, the emerald which you bought for
me at Cairo. But I could not see the robe which Jesus had worn thus
desecrated.

After Jesus had hung about an hour upon the cross, Æmilius came from
Pilate, and bore the inscription, which it is usual to place above the
heads of malefactors, showing their name, and the crime for which they
are crucified.

Above the head of Jesus, by means of a small ladder, was placed this
inscription, in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:

                            THIS IS JESUS,
                         THE KING OF THE JEWS.

When the wicked Abner read this, he turned angrily to the centurion,
and to Æmilius, who stood sadly near the cross.

"Write not, O Roman, that he is 'King of the Jews,' but that he said he
was King of the Jews!"

"I have placed above him what Pilate has ordered to be written,"
answered the centurion.

Abner, upon this, mounted a mule and hastened into the city to the
Procurator, and laid his complaint before him.

"What I have written, I have written, sir priest," we have heard that
the Procurator coldly answered.

"But you, then, have crucified this man for being our king, which we
deny!" retorted Abner.

"I will take his word, before that of all the Jews in Cæsar's empire!"
answered Pilate angrily. "He said he was a king; and if ever a king
stood before a human tribunal, I have had a true and very king before
me to-day--and I have signed the warrant for his execution. But his
blood be on your heads! Leave my presence, Jew!"

Abner left his presence abashed, and returned to the place of
crucifixion. The Jews, in the meanwhile, mocked Jesus, and wagged their
heads at him, and reminded him of his former miracles and prophecies.

"Thou that raisedst Lazarus, save thyself from death!" said a Pharisee.

"If thou art the Son of God, prove it by coming down from the cross!"
cried the leader of the Sadducees, Eli.

"Thou who saidst if a man kept thy sayings he should never see
death--let us see if thou canst avoid death thyself!" said Iddo, the
chief of the Essenes.

"He saved others--himself he cannot save!" mocked Ezekias, one of the
chief priests.

Æmilius, finding it impossible to save the Prophet from crucifixion,
had come out to guard him from the usual insults of the rabble, while
he was dying. He had now lost faith in Jesus as a Jewish Prophet,
but he loved him still as a man, and pitied him for his sufferings.
He talked with him, and earnestly prayed him, as he hung, if he were
indeed a god, to show his power! Jesus at first made no reply; but he
shortly said, in a faint voice:

"I thirst."

The generous knight ran and filled a sponge with the preparation of
sour wine and hyssop, usually given to malefactors, after they have
suffered awhile, in order to stupefy them, and render them insensible
to their sufferings. While Æmilius was affixing a sponge, dipped in
this vessel of vinegar, upon a reed, split at the end to hold it
firmly, Ishmerai, the robber, who all the while, as he hung, had
uttered execrations upon his crucifiers, and upon Pilate, called,
howling fiercely, to Jesus:

"If thou be the Son of God, save thyself and us! If thou didst raise a
man once from the dead, thou canst surely keep us from dying! Thou art
a vile wretch if thou hast power as a prophet, and will not use it for
me, when thou seest how heavy I am of body, and how my great weight
tortures me, with infernal racking and rending of every joint."

But Omri, rebuking his fellow, said:

"Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? We
suffer justly for our crimes, and to-day do receive the due reward of
our transgressions; but this young man hath done nothing amiss, save to
preach against the wickedness of the priests, and for being holier than
they. Lord, I believe that thou art the Son of God! None but the Christ
could do the works that thou hast done, or suffer patiently as thou art
doing. Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."

Jesus turned his bleeding head towards him, and, with a smile of
ineffable glory radiating his pale face, said:

"Verily, I say unto thee, this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise."

Omri, upon this, looked inexpressibly happy, and seemed to rise
superior to his sufferings. The other cursed the Prophet aloud, and
gnashed at him with his teeth, with looks of demoniacal hatred.

At this moment Æmilius came near with his dripping sponge, and
presented the reed upwards to the parched lips of the suffering Jesus.
When he tasted it, he would not drink, for he perceived it was the
opiate which was usually administered in compassion, to shorten the
anguish of the crucified.

The robber, Ishmerai, now eagerly cried for the oblivious sponge, and
the Prefect giving the reed to a soldier, the latter placed it to the
mouth of the robber, whose swollen tongue protruded! He drank of it
with a sort of mad thirst. The other man, also, gladly assuaged his
burning fever with it, and soon afterwards both of them sunk into
insensibility.

All at once, just as the sixth hour was sounded from the Temple, by
the trumpets of the Levites, the cloud which, formed by the smoke of
the numerous sacrifices, had hung all day above the Temple, was seen
to become suddenly of inky blackness, and to advance towards Calvary,
spreading and expanding in the most appalling manner, as it approached
us; and in a few minutes, not only all Jerusalem, but Calvary, the
Valley of Kedron, the Mount of Olives, and all the country, were
involved in its fearful darkness. The sun, which had before been
shining with noonday brilliancy, became black as sackcloth of hair,
and a dreadful, unearthly, indescribable night overshadowed the world!
Out of the center of the cloud, above the crosses, shot forth angry
lightnings in every direction. But there was no thunder attending
it--only a dead, sepulchral, suffocating silence!

Of the thousands who had been gazing upon the crucifixion, every one
was now fallen prostrate upon the earth in terror! Jerusalem was
blotted out from our view; only an angry spot of fire-red light, as it
were the terrible eye of God itself, was visible above the Temple, over
the place of the Holy of Holies. The crosses were no longer visible,
save by the fearful shine of the lightnings, flashing fiercely from the
dread and silent cloud. The form of Jesus, amid the universal gloom,
shone as if divinely transfigured, and a soft halo of celestial light
encircled his brow like a crown of glory; while the dark bodies of the
two robbers could scarcely be discerned, save by the faint radiance
emanating from his own.

Men talked to each other in whispers. An indefinable dread was upon
each mind; for the sudden overspreading of the darkness was as
unaccountable as it was frightful. Mary, his mother, and Lazarus,
exclaimed with awe, both speaking together:

"This is his power. He has produced this miracle!"

"And we shall behold him next descend from the cross," cried Rabbi
Amos. "Let us take courage!"

Three hours--three long and awful hours, this supernatural light
continued--and all that while the vast multitude remained fixed, and
moaning, waiting they knew not what! At length the cloud parted above
the cross, with a loud peal of thunder, while a shower of terrible
lightning fell, like lances of fire, all around the form of Jesus,
which immediately lost its halo and its translucent radiance, His face,
at the same time, became expressive of the most intense sorrow of soul.

A hundred voices exclaimed, with horror:

"See! he is deserted, and punished by the Almighty!"

We ourselves were amazed and appalled. Our rising hopes were blasted
by the livid lightnings, which seemed to blast him! Heaven, as well as
man, seemed to war against him! His mother gave utterance to a groan
of agony, and sank upon the ground, satisfied that her son was truly
accursed of God. At this moment, as if to confirm all our fears, he
cried, in the Hebrew tongue:

"Eloi! Eloi! My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Upon this, some, pitying his sufferings, ran to give him wine and
hyssop, to deaden them.

"Nay, let him live--let us see if Elias will save him!" answered Abner.
"He calleth for Elisha the prophet!"

Suddenly the darkness, which had filled all the air, seemed now to
concentrate and gather about the cross, so that he who hanged thereon,
became invisible. From the midst of it his thrilling voice was once
more heard, as clear and strong as it rang over the waters of Galilee
when he preached from a boat to the thousands thronging the shore:

"It is finished! Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!"

As he uttered these words, a supernatural glory shone around him, and,
with a deep sigh, he bowed his head upon his breast and gave up the
ghost!

The general exclamation of surprise that followed these clear
trumpet-tones, was suddenly checked by a terrible trembling of the
earth beneath our feet, so that vast numbers of people were cast down;
the rocks of Calvary were rent, and thrown upwards, while the whole
city shook with the convulsive throes of an earthquake. The Temple
seemed on fire, and above its pinnacle appeared a flaming sword, which
seemed to us to cleave the walls to their foundations; and while we
looked, the sword changed into the shape of a cross of dazzling light,
standing high in the air, over the altar; and from its golden beams
poured rays so bright, that all Jerusalem, and the hill country for a
wide extent, became as light as noon-day. The ground still continued
to rock, and the sepulchres of the kings, with the tombs of ancient
prophets, were riven by vast chasms, and the green earth was strewn
with the bones and bodies of the dead. The dark cloud, which had begun
to form first with the smoke of the sacrifices of the Temple, was now
dissipated by the light of the fiery cross, and the sun reappeared.
Before it the glorious vision over the Temple gradually faded out and
disappeared. The natural order of things gradually returned; and men,
smiting their breasts, began to move towards the city, filled with awe
and dread at what they had witnessed. The centurion, who stood watching
these fearful things, said, aloud, to Æmilius:

"This man spake the truth. He was a god!"

"Truly," responded Æmilius, "this was none other than the Son of
God--the very Christ of the Jewish Prophets. All things in the air and
on the earth sympathize with his death, as if the God of nature had
expired."

Sad and weeping, we left the dismal scene, hanging our heads in
despondency; having, even while wondering at these mighty events
connected with his crucifixion, abandoned, forever, all hope that this
was he who should have redeemed our nation and restored the royal
splendor of Judah and the throne of the house of David.

                       I am, my dear father, your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXVI.

_Jerusalem--Third Morning after the Crucifixion._


My Dear Father:

On the day on which the wonderful events took place which I have
detailed at large in my last letter, the chief priests, at the head
of whom was Annas, met Pilate as he was riding forth from the city,
attended by a score of men-at-arms, to survey the deep rents made by
the earthquake, and to hear from the mouths of all the people the
particulars of the marvels which attended the crucifixion of Jesus.
When they came near him, they besought him that he would command his
soldiers to take down the bodies, as the next day was a high-day, and
that it was contrary to their customs to have criminals executed or
left hanging on that day.

"What think ye?" demanded Pilate, reining up and soothing his Syrian
war-horse, which, startled at the dead bodies that lay near (for they
were crossing the place of the opened tombs), had for some time
tramped and plunged madly. "What think ye, priests! Have ye crucified
a man or a god? We think these mighty wonders tell us that he was more
than a man!"

The priests looked troubled, and seemed unable to answer. But Terah,
chief priest of the house of Mariah, answered and said:

"My lord, these were wonderful phenomena, but they would have happened
if this Nazarene had not died! Here is a famous astrologer from Arabia,
who studies the skies, who says that this darkness was caused by an
eclipse of the sun! The dark cloud was but the smoke of the sacrifices,
while the earthquake was but a natural and usual occurrence!"

"Stay, sir priest," answered Pilate; "we at Rome, though called
barbarians by you polished Jews, have some scholarship in astrology.
We know well that an eclipse of the sun can take place only when the
moon is new! It is to-day, on this eve of the high-day, at its full,
and will to-night rise nearly opposite the sun! It was no eclipse, sir
priest, and thy Arabian is a false astrologer. These events occurred
because that divine man, your king, has been executed."

Thus speaking, the Roman Procurator spurred on towards the place,
followed by his body-guard; now avoiding an open grave, now leaping one
of the freshly opened chasms, now turning aside from some body cast up
by the earthquake. When he came in front of the crosses, he saw that
Jesus hung as if dead, while the thieves still breathed and from time
to time heaved groans of anguish, although partly insensible from the
effects of the opiate which had been administered to them.

"Think you, Romulus, that he has any life in him?" asked Pilate,
in a subdued tone of voice, gazing sorrowfully, and with looks of
self-reproach, upon the drooping form of his victim.

"He is dead an hour ago," answered the centurion. "He expired when the
earthquake shook the city, and the flaming sword was unsheathed in
the air above the Temple! It was a fearful sight, sir, and the more
wonderful to see it change in the shape of a cross of fire. I fear,
sir, we have crucified one of the gods in the shape of a man."

"It would appear so, centurion," answered Pilate, shaking his head. "I
would it had not been done! But 'tis past! The Jews desire their bodies
to be removed before their great Sabbath. Let them have their desire."

Pilate then turned his horse and rode slowly and sadly away from the
spot. Romulus gave orders to his soldiers to remove the bodies. When
the soldiers came to Jesus they saw that he was already dead.

"Let us not break his legs," said one to the other; "it were sacrilege
to mar such a manly form."

"Yet we must insure his death, ere he can be taken away," responded the
other. "I will pierce him to make sure!"

Thus speaking, the soldier directed his spear to the side of Jesus,
and cleaved the flesh to his heart. John, who stood near, and saw and
heard all, upon seeing this done bowed his head to the earth in total
abandonment of hope!

When he raised his head to gaze upon his crucified Master, he saw
flowing from the rent in his side two fountains together, one of
crimson blood, and lo! the other of crystal water! He could not believe
what he saw, until the soldiers and the centurion expressed aloud their
wonder at such a marvel.

"Never was such a man crucified before," exclaimed the centurion.

In the meanwhile, Rabbi Joseph, the counsellor of Arimathea, who stands
high in favor with Pilate, met the Governor as he was skirting the wall
of the city with his cohort, and asked him if, after Jesus should be
pronounced dead, he might take down the body and give it sepulchre.

"Go and receive the body of this wonderful man," said Pilate. "Methinks
thou art one who knew him well. What thinkest thou of him, Rabbi?"
Joseph perceived that Pilate asked the question with deep interest,
seemingly very greatly troubled in mind, and he answered him boldly:

"I believe that he was a Prophet sent from God, your excellency, and
that to-day has died on Calvary the most virtuous, the wisest, and the
most innocent man in Cæsar's empire."

"My conscience echoes your words," answered Pilate, gloomily; and
putting spurs to his horse, he galloped forward in the direction of the
Gethsemane Gardens.

Proceeding to the cross, Joseph, by the aid of Lazarus, Simon Peter,
Mary, Martha, and Rabbi Amos, took it out of the socket in the rock,
with its precious burden, and gently laid it upon the ground with the
body still extended upon it.

In the still, holy twilight of that dread day, the west all shadowy
gold and mellow light, the air asleep, and a sacred silence reigning
in heaven and on earth, they bore away from the hill of death the body
of the dead Prophet. The shoulders of Nicodemus, of Peter, of Lazarus,
and of John, gently sustained the loving weight of Him they once
honored above all men, and whom, though proved by his death, as they
believed, to have fatally deceived himself as to his divine mission as
the Christ, they still loved for his sorrows so patiently borne, for
his virtues so vividly remembered.

Slowly the little group wound their way along the rocky surface of
Golgotha, the last to leave that fearful place in the coming darkness.
Their measured tread, their low whispers, the subdued wail of the women
who followed the rude bier of branches, the lonely path they trod,
all combined to render the spectacle one of touching solemnity. The
shades of evening were gathering thick around them. They took secret
ways for fear of the Jews. But some that met them turned aside with awe
when they knew what corpse was borne along, for the impression of the
appalling scenes of the day had not yet wholly passed away from their
minds. At length they reached a gate in the wall of the garden attached
to the noble abode of the wealthy Rabbi Joseph, who went before, and
with a key unlocked it, and admitted them into the secluded enclosure.
Here the thickness of the foliage of olive and fig trees created
complete darkness; for by this time the evening star was burning like
a lamp in the roseate west. They rested the bier upon the pavement
beneath the arch, and awaited in silence and darkness the appearance
of torches which Rabbi Joseph had sent for to his house. The servants
bearing them were soon seen advancing, the flickering light from the
flambeaux giving all things visible by it a wild aspect, in keeping
with the hour.

"Follow me," said Joseph, in a low voice, that was full charged with
deep sorrow, as the servants preceded him with their torches.

The sad bearers of the dead body of Jesus raised their sacred burden
from the ground, and trod onward, their measured foot-falls echoing
among the aisles of the garden. At its farther extremity, where the
rock hangs beetling over the valley, and forms at this place the
wall of the garden, was a shallow flight of stone steps leading to a
new tomb hewn out of the rock. It had been constructed for the Rabbi
himself, and had just been completed, and in it no man had ever been
laid.

The servants, by command of Joseph, rolled back the stone, and exposed
the dark vault of the gaping sepulchre.

"How is it, most worthy Rabbi," said a Roman centurion, suddenly
apprizing them of his presence by his voice, "that you bury thus with
honor a man who has proved himself unable to keep the dazzling promises
he has allured so many of you with?"

All present turned with surprise at seeing not only the centurion, but
half a score of men-at-arms, on whose helmets and cuirasses the torches
brightly gleamed, marching across the grass towards the spot.

"What means this intrusion, Roman?" asked Rabbi Joseph.

"I am sent hither by command of the Procurator," answered the
centurion; "the chief Jews have had an interview with him, informing
him that the man whom he had crucified had foretold that after three
days he would rise again. They, therefore, asked a guard to be given
them to place over the sepulchre, till the third day, lest his
disciples secretly withdraw the body, and report that their master is
risen. Pilate, therefore, has commanded me to keep watch to-night with
my men."

"We bury him with this deference and respect, centurion," answered
Rabbi Joseph, "because we believe him to have been deceived, not a
deceiver. He was gifted by God with vast power, and therefore doubtless
believed he could do all things. He was too holy, wise, and good to
deceive. He has fallen a victim to his own wishes for the weal of
Israel which were impossible by man to be realized."

The body of Jesus, wrapped in its shroud of spotless linen, and
surrounded by the preserving spices of Arabia, was then borne into the
tomb, and laid reverently upon the table of stone which Joseph had
prepared for his own last resting-place. Simon Peter was the last to
quit the side of the body, by which he knelt as if he would never leave
it, shedding all the while great tears of bitter grief. John only, at
last, drawing him gently forth, enabled the centurion and soldiers to
close the heavy door of the tomb. Having secured it evenly by revolving
it in its socket, the signet-bearer of the Procurator, who had come
with the soldiers, placed a mass of wax, melted by a torch, upon each
side of it over the crevices, and stamped each with the Imperial
signet, which to break is death!

The Jews who were present, seeing that the sepulchre was thus made sure
by the sealing of the stone, and by the setting of the vigilant Roman
watch of eighteen men, took their departure. Rabbi Joseph, Nicodemus,
and the rest of the friends of Jesus, then slowly retired, leaving a
sentinel pacing to and fro before the tomb, and others grouped about
beneath the trees or on the steps of the sepulchre, playing at their
favorite game of dice, or gazing upon the broad moon, conversing, or
singing their native Italian airs; yet with their arms at hand, ready
to spring to their feet at the least alarm or word of alert.

(Something fearful must this instant have happened, for the house has
just shaken as if with an earthquake. What can be the meaning of these
wonders?)

This morning Mary and Martha, with others, have gone to visit Jesus'
tomb in Joseph's garden (as I have already said), for the purpose of
embalming the body, and on their return we are to go to Bethany for
a few days, until the violent hostility of the Jews to his followers
subsides.

I hear now the voices of Mary and Martha, in the court of the street,
returning from the tomb. They are pitched to a wild note of joy! What
can mean the commotion--the exclamations--the running, and shouting,
all through the corridors and court? I must close, and fly to learn
what new terror or wonder has occurred.

                             In haste, your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXVII.

_Jerusalem--First Day of the week._


My Dear Father:

How shall I make known to you, in words, the marvelous, joyous, happy,
happy, and most wonderful news which I have to tell! My heart beats,
my hand trembles with rapture, while a sense of profound awe impresses
all my soul! Jesus is alive! Jesus has risen from the dead! Jesus has
proved himself to be the Son of God!

I can scarcely hold my pen for joy and wonder, or collect my thoughts,
for very amazement, at what has transpired.

Upon hearing my name called by Mary, and others, in eager,
joy-trembling tones, I hastened to go down. On reaching the staircase
I met my cousin ascending, almost flying. Wonder, love, and happiness
inexpressible, beamed from her beautiful countenance. Meeting me, she
threw her arms about my neck and essayed to utter something! But her
heart was too full, and, bursting into sobs, she wept convulsively upon
my bosom, in an ecstasy of delirious joy.

Amazed and confounded, not knowing what had happened, I held her to my
heart, and tried to soothe her emotion.

"What--oh, what hath happened? Speak, dear Mary!" I asked, unable to
wait longer in suspense.

She raised her head, and through her tears and smiles, at length said,
brokenly:

"He--he--is--risen--oh, he is risen from the tomb!"

"Who?" I cried, half believing, yet doubting.

"The Lord! Our Mighty Master--Jesus--the very Son of God, the Blessed!
He is alive, Adina! Come--delay not! I have flown into the city to tell
thee, and Mary has told Peter and John, whom she met at the door, and
who, doubting, as thou hast done, have run to see if these things be
so. They will find the sepulchre empty! Haste to go with us!"

While, overwhelmed with wonder, and trembling with joy, I was preparing
to accompany her, Martha appeared, her face radiant with celestial
happiness.

"You have heard the tidings of great joy, O Adina?"

"Can they be true, Martha?" I asked, earnestly.

"Yes, for I have seen him walking, heard his voice, and touched him!
You, also, shall see him, for he hath sent us to tell his disciples!"

I wept for joy!

At the gateway we met Mary of Bethany, and we three now hastened
together towards the garden of Joseph, I wishing my feet wings, that
I might reach the sepulchre sooner, fearing that the vision of Jesus
would be vanished ere I arrived. As we were going out of the gate, we
were met by four or five Roman soldiers, who, with aspects stamped with
fear, were running past us into the city.

"What means this flight and terror, men?" cried the captain of the
gate. "You fly as if you were in full retreat from an enemy. Speak,
Marius! You seem to have your senses!" he demanded of the youngest of
the soldiers, an officer under a centurion.

We paused to hear what he said.

"Per Dian, captain! we have been terrified beyond measure," answered
the soldier. "My heart beats yet, as if it were an alarum-drum. You
see, we were a part of the guard left in charge of the sepulchre
of this Jewish Prophet, crucified three days ago. Before dawn this
morning, as I was pacing to and fro before the tomb, there suddenly
shone round about us a light, like a descending meteor, accompanied
by a rushing as if of a legion of wings. The men started to their
feet in amazement! On looking about us I saw a dazzling form, in the
mid-heavens, with broad wings of gold, sparkling with myriads of stars,
every feather a star, and clad in raiment white and gleaming as the
summer's lightning. This terrible presence, like that of one of the Dii
Immortales, made us fear exceedingly, beyond any terror we had before
experienced. But when we saw this mighty being descend straight towards
the tomb, and beheld the resplendent majesty of his celestial visage,
which blinded us, our hearts failed within us. The angel, or god,
alighted amid a blaze of radiance at the door of the sepulchre; and as
his foot touched the earth it trembled, as if with a great earthquake.
The soldiers shook with terror, and fell to the ground, before his
presence, as dead men. I stood, unable to move, frozen by fear to a
statue. He touched the great stone door with one of his fingers, and it
rolled outward at his feet, as if a catapult had struck it, and, like
Jove taking his throne, he sat upon it!

"But one thing more," continued the soldier, "was wanting to fill my
cup of terror to the full. And it followed. I saw the crucified Prophet
rise up from the slab on which he was laid, and stand upon his feet,
and walk forth alive, with the tread of some mighty conqueror! The
celestial being, so terrible in his majestic splendor, veiled his face
with his wings before his presence, and prostrated himself at his feet,
as if in homage to one greater than himself!

"I saw no more, but fell, insensible with terror, to the earth. When,
at length, I came to myself, the tomb was filled with dazzling forms
of resplendent beauty; the air rang with music, such as mortals never
before heard; and I fled, pursued by my fears, the rest of the soldiers
rising and following me, each man fearing to look back, but bewildered
we lost our way."

The soldiers hurried forward into the city; while, confirmed now in the
certainty that Jesus was risen, I hastened, with Martha and Mary, in
the direction of the garden.

"How and where did you behold him, Mary?" I interrogated, as we drew
near to the steep path leading to the gate of Joseph's garden.

"When we reached the tomb, with our spices and precious ointments, to
embalm the body, we found it open, and the soldiers, who had guarded
it, lying about upon the ground like dead men. Upon the stone sat the
archangel, but the resplendent light of his apparel and countenance was
so tempered to our eyes, that, although we believed it was an angel, we
were not terrified, for his looks were serene, and the aspect of his
face divinely beautiful, combined with a terrible and indescribable
majesty. We shook with fear, and stood still, unable to move, gazing on
him in silent expectation.

"'Fear not,' said he in a voice that seemed to fill the air about us
with undulating music, 'fear not, daughters of Abraham. I know that ye
seek Jesus, which was crucified! He is not here, but is risen, as he
foretold. Lo! see the place where the Lord of Life, and Conqueror of
Death, hath lain!'

"We then timidly approached, and looked in, and saw the sepulchre
empty; but a soft light filled the whole place.

"'Go and tell his disciples that the Lord is risen,' added the angel,
'and that he will go before them into Galilee. There shall they see him
not many days hence!'

"When the angel had thus spoken to us," continued Mary, "we departed
quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy, and ran to go into
the city, to bring his disciples word, according to the command of the
angel. But I had not advanced so far as the gate of the garden, being
behind the rest, when I beheld Jesus himself standing in my path. I
stopped, between terror and joy.

"'All hail! daughter of Israel,' he said. 'Be not afraid. I am living,
that was dead! Go, Mary, and tell my mother and my brethren, and Peter,
and John, and Lazarus, that I am risen, and that I have spoken with
you. Be not afraid! I am the resurrection and the life!'

"I then cast myself at his feet, and worshiped him with awe; and when I
looked up, he was gone.

"The others did not see him. We now continued on to the city, as if we
had wings. But see! we are now at the gate of the garden," added Mary
of Bethany, in a low tone of awe. "He must be near us."

But we approached the tomb without seeing any man, having arrived
before Peter and John, who had been delayed some time at the Jaffa
gate. We, therefore, found no one at the sepulchre. It was open, and
empty. The stone in front, on which the archangel sat, was vacant. As
we drew near, a bright light suddenly shone out from the tomb; and upon
going higher I beheld two angels, clothed in white robes, and with
countenances of divine radiance, seated, one at the head and the other
at the foot of the slab of marble, on which the body of Jesus had lain.

"Be not afraid, daughters of Jerusalem," said one of the angels,
speaking to us in the Hebrew tongue; "He whom ye seek, liveth! He
is risen from the tomb, which could not hold him but through his
consent; for Jesus is Lord of Life, and Victor over Death and Hell, for
evermore! Go your way, and tell his disciples that he awaits them by
the seaside."

The angels then vanished from our sight; and at the same moment John
and Peter came running, and seeing the stone rolled away, John stooped
down, and looked in, and said that he saw the linen clothes in which
the body of Jesus had been wrapped, lying folded together, and also
the napkin which had been bound about his head. Peter, now coming up,
breathless with eagerness and haste, no sooner saw the tomb open, than
he went boldly in, and carefully examined all for himself. When we
made known to them what the angels had said to us, that Jesus would go
before and meet them in Galilee, they rejoiced greatly, and shortly
afterwards departed, to hasten into Galilee. I also returned with them,
to convey the news to Mary, the mother of Jesus, who had scarcely left
her couch, in her great sorrow, since the day of the crucifixion. Mary
of Bethany, however, remained, lingering near the tomb, hoping that
Jesus had not yet left the garden, and that she might once more behold
him.

Seated upon the steps of the tomb, weeping for joy at his resurrection,
and wishing once more to behold him, she heard a footstep behind her,
and, turning round, saw a man standing near her. It was Jesus himself,
and kneeling, she was about to clasp his feet, when he said to her:

"Touch me not, Mary. I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go and
tell Lazarus, and my brethren, and my mother, that I ascend ere many
days, unto my Father and your Father, and unto my God and your God."

Jesus then vanished out of her sight; and she came and told all these
things to us, and to the disciples.

But what pen can describe, my dear father, the amazement and
consternation of Caiaphas, and the chief priests, and the rest of his
enemies!

Caiaphas, hearing the uproar of the soldiers, sprang from his couch to
inquire the cause, and on being assured by his servants that "Jesus had
burst his tomb and risen alive from the dead!" he quaked, and became
deadly pale.

When Pilate received the account from the centurion of the guard, he
said:

"We have crucified a god, as I believed! Henceforth I am accursed!" and
leaving his Hall of Judgment, he went and shut himself up in his own
room, which he has not since left.

Caiaphas and the chief priests and scribes, in the meanwhile assembled
together in full Sanhedrim, and hearing the testimony of the centurion,
were convinced that the fact could not be concealed of Jesus'
resurrection.

"Who has seen him alive?" demanded the High Priest.

"I have seen him, my lord," answered the centurion. "I saw his pierced
feet and hands as he walked past me; and the morning breeze blew aside
his mantle and exposed to my eyes the open wound made by the spear of
my soldier, Philippus. He was alive, and in full strength of limb!"

"Thou sawest a vision, Roman!" answered Caiaphas. "Come aside with us,
and let us talk with thee."

In a few minutes afterwards the centurion left the court of the High
Priest's palace, followed by a Gibeonite slave, bearing after him a
vase of Persian gold. He has told every one since, that he must have
seen a spirit, for "the disciples of Jesus came by night and stole away
the body of their master, while they slept, overcome with watching."
His soldiers have also been bribed to tell the same tale!

Such is the false version that now goes about the city, my dear father;
but there are few that give it credence, even of our enemies. As
Æmilius, who is filled with great joy at the resurrection of Jesus,
to-day very justly says:

"If these soldiers slept on guard, they merited death therefor, by the
military laws of the empire. If, while sleeping, their charge--the
dead body of Jesus--was taken away, they deserve death for failing
to prevent it. Why then are they not placed under arrest by Pilate's
orders, if this story be true? Because Pilate well knows that it is not
true! He knows, because he has privately examined many of the soldiers,
that Jesus did burst his tomb, and that angels rolled away the stone
without breaking his seals, which could not have been left unmarred but
by a miracle. He knows that Jesus has arisen--for it is believed that
he has also beheld him--at least such is the rumor at the Pretorium.
It was the form of Jesus visible before him, doubtless, that drove
him in such amazement from his Hall to his secret chamber; for it was
remarked that he started, turned deadly pale, and essayed to address
the invisible space before him, as if he saw a spirit."

Besides the facts which I have stated, is the increasing testimony
of the thousands who, to-day, have gone out of the city to see the
sepulchre where He was laid. They say, both enemies of Jesus as well as
our friends, that it was impossible for the door to have been opened by
any human being, not by Pilate himself, without marring the seals. They
also assert that, to remove the stone by night, which would require
four men, and to bear forth the body, would have been impossible, if
the guard had been present; and if they had been asleep, they must have
been awakened with the heavy noise made by rolling the massive door
along the hollow pavement outside the sepulchre.

"If," say the common people, "the watch slept, why does not the
Procurator put them to death?"

This question remains unanswered, and the watch go about the streets
unharmed! My dear father, remember no more my unbelief, but with me
believe in Jesus, that he is the Son of God, the Savior of Israel, the
immortal Christ of the Prophets.

                                       Your affectionate daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXVIII.

_Bethany, House of Mary and Martha, a Month after the Passover._


I deeply regret, my dearest father, the delays which have detained you
so long from arriving at Jerusalem, but trust that, ere many days,
the caravan for which you wait will reach Gaza, and that you will be
enabled to resume your journey to the Holy City. I am now at Bethany,
where I have been some time making my home.

Uncle Amos has retired, for the present, to his farm, near Jericho,
but will be here to-morrow to remain with us. Therefore, when you come
near to Jerusalem, instead of going directly into the city, turn aside
by the road leading past the king's gardens, and go up the brook of
Kedron, into the way to Bethany. I pray that God may preserve you in
safety, and soon permit me the happiness of once more embracing you,
after three long years of separation.

And what events have transpired in these three years! Once more, my
dear father, read carefully over the whole narrative, and answer to
yourself this inquiry: Is not this man the Son of God? Is not he the
very Christ, the long-looked-for Messias?

Isaias prophesied of the Christ whom he saw afar off, that he should be
"a man of sorrows;" that he should be "despised and rejected of men;"
that he should be "taken from prison and judgment, and cut off from
the land of the living;" that he should be "numbered with the wicked
in his death, and make his grave with the rich!" How light, how clear,
how plain, all these prophecies now are to me, and to us all! How
wonderfully in their minuteness they have been fulfilled, you already
know.

His resurrection, also, was foretold by himself, but we did not
understand his words until now. When he spoke of destroying the temple,
and raising it in three days, he spoke of the tabernacle of his body!
Oh, how many sayings, which, when spoken by his sacred lips, we
understood not, now rush upon us in all their meaning, proving to us
that every step of his life was foreknown to him; that he went forward
to his death aware of all things whatsoever that were going to befall
him!

But his resurrection was also foretold by the holy David, when he
said, "Thou wilt not leave his soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One
to see corruption;" and his arraignment before Pilate, Caiaphas, and
Herod, was foretold by David, when he said: "The kings of the earth set
themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and
against his Anointed;" yet the Lord saith, "Thou art my Son, this day
have I begotten thee." Also, my dear father, turn to the Psalms (22) of
King David, and compare the following words, which speak of Messias,
with what I have described in my previous letters:

"They shoot out the lip at me; they shake the head; they laugh me to
scorn. They say, He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him. Thou
hast brought me into the dust of death."

Read the same psalm of the holy king a little farther, and you will see
these words, which were put by the royal prophet into the lips of his
future Messias:

"The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me. They pierced my hands and
my feet. They part my garments among them, and upon my vesture cast
lots!"

Read and compare these prophecies of Messias, with the accounts in my
letters, dear father, and you will not only be convinced that Jesus is
the Messias, but you will perceive that his humiliation and sufferings
before Pilate and Caiaphas, his agony on the cross, his death and
burial, instead, as we ignorantly conceived, of being evidences that
he was not the Christ, are proof that he was the very Son of the
Highest--the Shiloh of Jehovah foretold by the prophets--the Anointed
King of Israel.

Oh, wonderful is all this! How marvelous these things passing before
our eyes! Now all is dazzlingly clear! The Prophets are unveiled to
our sight, and we see that these things must have happened to him. Oh,
our darkness, our blindness, to have seen in the prophecies of Messias
only the passages which speak of his glory and power! Read the Prophets
no longer, my dearest father, with a veil before your eyes! See, in
all you read, Jesus as the end of the Prophets, the goal of all their
far-seeing prophecies, the veritable and sure realization of their
prophetic visions.

Thus, my dear father, has Jesus in all particulars proved himself to be
the subject of all prophecy--the King of Israel. But you will now ask,
"Is he to re-establish the throne of David, and live forever?"

Yes, but not a Jerusalem of earthly splendor. Oh, how clear are all
things to my apprehension now! The Jerusalem in which his throne is to
be placed, is heavenly, and the true Jerusalem, of which the present
one is but the material type--what the body is to the soul of man.

Jesus has talked with me since his resurrection, and explained all this
to me, and much more that is wonderful and full of joy.

It is now four weeks since he arose, and in that time he has been not
only seen by all the disciples, but by hundreds of his followers. The
only change in his usual appearance, dear father, to the eye, is a
transparent paleness, which gives a soft radiance to his whole aspect,
and a certain majestic reserve, which awes all who draw near to him;
so that men speak in his presence in subdued whispers. His mother,
happiest of women now, as she was before the most wretched, ever sits
at his feet, and silently enjoys his sacred presence, seldom speaking,
and looking up to him rather as a worshiper to her God, than a mother
upon her son. That he is in the flesh in reality, and not a spirit, he
has proven to his disciples, by eating with them; and in a remarkable
way to an incredulous disciple, called Thomas, who, not believing that
Jesus was risen in his real body from the dead, was told by the divine
Lord to place his fingers into his hands, and his hand into his side;
which Thomas, convinced, with awe refused to do; but, falling at his
feet in amazement and adoration, worshiped him as God.

To-day his disciples are with him in the gardens of David, at
Bethlehem, where he is holding daily a solemn council with the
eleven, unfolding to them the glory of his kingdom, and opening their
understandings to the clear apprehension of all which the prophets
have written concerning him. John, who is a member of this divine
council, says that the power of Jesus, the extent and majesty of his
kingdom, the infinite results of his death and resurrection, are not
to be conceived of by those who have not listened to these sublime
revelations of his own lips.

"He hath shown us," said John, "how that his true office as Son of God,
and Son of Man, is to be a mediator. He showed us that he himself was
the High Priest, and how that the cross was the veritable altar of this
great world's sacrifice, and its Temple the whole earth and heavens!"

How wonderful, dear father, is all this! He further teaches his
disciples that he will shortly ascend from the earth, to enter upon his
celestial reign, and that his subjects there are to be all who love
him and keep his commandments. It is to be a kingdom of holiness, and
none will enter there but the pure in heart. He says, further, that as
we do now confess our sins over the blood of the victim we sacrifice
for ourselves in the Temple, so henceforth we must look to him (by
faith when we shall see him no longer), slain a sacrifice for us, and
confess our sins to the Father for his sake. Jesus has moreover taught
his disciples that the Gentiles are to share equally with the children
of Abraham the benefits of his death and resurrection; that this good
news shall be proclaimed to them by his disciples, and that they will
gladly hear it and believe.

"The fountain of my everlasting kingdom," saith he, "truly shall be
laid upon earth in the hearts of men; but the building is with God,
eternal in the heavens. The tomb through which I have passed is its
gate, and all who would come after me, and enter in, must follow in my
footsteps."

Thomas then asked his Lord whither he would go, and the way; how he
would leave the earth, since he could die no more.

"Thou shalt see for thyself ere many days pass," answered Jesus. "In
that I have risen, all whom my Father giveth me shall rise also from
the dead; and those whom I raise up, I will take with me the way I go;
for where I am, they shall evermore be with me also."

Such, dear father, is a brief account of what John has told us,
touching the divine teaching of Messias, the Son of God, respecting his
kingdom. Yet much is still mysterious; but we know enough to be willing
to trust ourselves to him for this life, and for that which is to come.
We know that all power is given into his hands, and that he can save
all men who believe in and accept him.

What is remarkable, dear father, notwithstanding the Jews have heard
that Jesus walks everywhere through Jewry, yet no efforts are made
to lay hands on him. At his presence, crowds of his enemies fly like
the stricken multitude before the advancing sirocco. His presence in
Judea is a present dread, like some great evil, to those who fear
him; but like a celestial blessing to more who love him. Pilate, on
the eve of making a journey last week to Bethel, before quitting the
city dispatched couriers in advance to ascertain "whether Jesus the
Crucified was on the line of his route!" Caiaphas, having occasion to
go to Jericho, a few days after the Passover, hearing that Jesus had
been seen with his disciples on the road, made a circuit round by Luz
and Shiloh, in order not to meet him. The gates of the city are kept
constantly shut, lest he should enter within the walls; some of the
chief priests fearing greatly to behold his face, while others imagine
that he is engaged in raising an army, to advance upon and take
Jerusalem from the Romans.

I rejoice to see by your last letter, that you may be expected to reach
here the week after next. Oh that you were here now, that you might
be taken by John to see Jesus! for from what he says he will not long
remain visible among us. Whither he goeth or how he goeth away, no man
can say.

                                 Faithfully, your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.



LETTER XXXIX.

_Bethany, Forty Days after the Resurrection._


My Dearest Father:

With emotions that nearly deprive me of the power to hold my pen, and
with trembling fingers that make the words I write almost illegible, I
sit down to make known to you the extraordinary event which will mark
this day in all future time as the most worthy to be noted among men.

On the fortieth day after the resurrection, my dear father, early in
the morning, Jesus left the house of Mary and Lazarus, where he had sat
up with us all night speaking to us of the glories of the life above,
and the excellency of heart and purity of life required of all who
should enter it.

"Lord," said Martha, as he went forth, "whither goest thou?"

"Come and see," he answered. "Whither I go ye shall know, and the way
ye shall know: for where I am ye shall also be, and all those who
believe in me."

"Lord," said Mary, kneeling at his feet, "return at noon, and remain
with us during the heat of the day."

"Mary," said Jesus, laying his hand gently upon her forehead, "I am
going to my Father's house! There thou shalt dwell with me in mansions
not made with hands."

Thus speaking, he walked slowly onward towards the hill of Bethany,
not far from the place where Lazarus was buried. He was followed not
only by Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and John, my Cousin Mary, and myself,
but by all the disciples. There were at least five hundred persons
in all, moving on with him ere he reached the green hillside beyond
the village; for all followed him, expecting to hear more glorious
revelations from his lips.

"He goes to the hill to pray," said one of his disciples.

"Nay, he goeth to show us some mighty miracle, from the expression of
power and majesty in his aspect," said Thomas to me, gazing upon the
Lord with awe; for each moment as he ascended the hill, his countenance
grew more glorious with a certain God-like majesty, and shone as the
face of Moses descending from Mount Sinai. We all hung back with
adoring awe, and alone he proceeded onward, a wide space being left
by us between ourselves and him. Yet there was no terror in the glory
which surrounded and shined out from him, but rather a holy radiance,
that seemed to be the very light of holiness and peace.

"So looked he," said John to us, "when we beheld him transfigured in
the mount with Elias and Moses."

The hill, which is not lofty, was soon surmounted by his sacred feet.
He stood upon its apex alone. We kept back near the brow of the hill,
for his raiment shone now like the sun, while his countenance was as
lightning. We shaded our eyes to behold him. All was now expectation,
and a looking for some mighty event--what, we knew not! John drew
nearest to him, and upon his knees, with clasped hands, looked towards
him earnestly; for he knew, as he afterwards told us, what would take
place. Joy and yet tears were on his face, as he gazed with blinded
eyes, as one gazes on the noonday sun, upon his divine Master. It was
a scene, dear father, impressive beyond expression. Jesus seemed for
a moment to survey the scenes of his sufferings, of his ignominy and
death, with the look of a divine conqueror. He then turned to his
disciples and said:

"Ye have been with me in my sorrows, and you shall now begin to behold
my glory. Remember all things which I have taught you concerning my
kingdom. Go forth and teach the glad tidings of salvation to all men,
and baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Ghost; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of
the world."

Thus speaking, in a voice that thrilled every bosom with emotions
indescribable, he extended his hands above their heads and blessed
them, while we all fell upon our faces to the ground also, to receive
his blessing.

He then lifted up his eyes to the calm blue depths of heaven, and said
in the same words he had spoken on the night of the Passover, as John
had told me:

"And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory
which I had with thee before the world was!"

As he spoke, we raised our faces from the ground, to behold him
leaving the earth, rising from the hilltop into the air, with a slow
and majestic ascension, his hands outspread over us who were beneath,
as if shedding down blessings upon us all. The loud burst of surprise
which rose from five hundred voices at seeing him soar away into the
atmosphere, was followed by a profound and awful silence, as we watched
him rise and still rise, ascending and still ascending, into the upper
air, his whole form growing brighter and brighter, as the distance
widened between his feet and the earth!

Upon our knees, in speechless wonder, we followed his ascent with our
amazed eyes, not a word being spoken by any soul; nay, hearts might
have been heard beating in the intense expectation of the moment!

Lo! in the far-off height of heaven, we beheld suddenly appear a bright
cloud, no larger than a man's hand, but each instant it expanded
and grew broader and brighter, and, swift as the winged lightning,
descended through the firmament downward, until we beheld it evolve
itself into a glittering host of angels, which no man could number,
countless as the stars of heaven. As these shining legions descended,
they parted into two bands, and sweeping along the air, met the
ascending Son of God in mid-sky! The rushing of their ten thousand
times ten thousand wings, was heard as the sound of many waters.
Surrounding Jesus, like a shining cloud, they received him into their
midst, and hid him from our eyes amid the glories of their celestial
splendor!

Now came to our ears the sounds of heavenly song, a sublimer chorus
than earth ever heard before. From the squadrons of Seraphim and
Cherubim encircling with their linked wings the Son of God, came, like
the unearthly music one hears in the dreams of night, these words,
receding, as they mounted upward with the Conqueror of Death and Hell:

    "Lift up your heads, O ye gates!
    And be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors;
    And the King of Glory shall come in!"

This chorus seemed to be answered from the inmost heavens, as if an
archangel were standing at its portals, keeping watchful guard over the
entrance facing the earth.

  "Who is the King of Glory?"

  "The Lord strong and mighty, even the Lord mighty in battle against
  principalities and powers,"

was chanted back from the ascending escort of Jesus, in the sublimest
strains of triumphant joy.

  "Lift up your heads, O ye gates! and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting
  doors, and the King of Glory shall come in!"

Upon this we heard a mighty voice, as it were in heaven, accompanied
by the sound of a trumpet, and ten thousand voices about the throne of
Jehovah seemed to say:

  "God is coming up with a shout. He rideth upon the heavens! He
  ascendeth on high! He hath led captivity captive, and received
  gifts for men. O clap your hands, all ye people of earth! Shout his
  triumph, ye hosts of heaven!

  "Fling wide your gates, O City of God! Be ye lifted up, ye
  everlasting doors, for the King of Glory enters in!"

Ascending and still ascending, receding and still receding, fainter
and fainter, came down to earth the angelic choruses, when at length
the brightest cloud of angels faded away into the upper heaven, the
Son of God shining in their midst, like a central sun, surrounded by a
luminous halo; till finally, like a star, they remained a few moments
longer, and then the heavens received him out of our sight.

While we stood gazing up into the far skies, hoping, expecting, yet
doubting if we should ever behold him again, two bright stars seemed
to be descending from the height of heaven above us. In a few seconds
we saw that they were angels. Alighting on the place where Jesus had
left, they said to the eleven, "Why gaze ye up into heaven, ye men of
Galilee? This same Jesus, whom ye have seen go into heaven, shall so
come in like manner as ye have now seen him ascend!" Thus speaking,
they vanished out of our sight!

Such, my dear father, is the appropriate crowning event of the
extraordinary life of Jesus, both Lord and Christ!

His kingdom is, therefore, my dear father, clearly not of this world,
as he said to Pilate, the Procurator; but it is Above.

Doubt, then, no longer, dearest father! Jesus, the Son of Mary
in his human nature, was the Son of God in his divine nature; an
incomprehensible and mysterious union, whereby he had brought together
in harmony the two natures, separated far apart by sin, by giving his
own body as an offering, to reconcile both in one immaculate body upon
the cross. There is now no more condemnation to them who believe in him
and accept him.

But I cannot write all I would say to you, dearest father. When we
meet--which you rejoice me in saying, will be on the first day of
the week, at Jerusalem--I will unfold to you all that the divine and
glorified Jesus has taught me. Doubt not that he is Messias. Hesitate
not to accept him; for he is the end of Moses, and of the Law, and of
the Prophets, the very Shiloh who should come and restore all things;
to whom be glory, power, dominion, majesty, and excellency, evermore.

                                             Your loving daughter,
                                                                 Adina.

[Illustration: THE END.]



=The New Sabbath Library=--(Continued from second page cover.)


No. 5. August, 1898.

=The Days of Mohammed=

BY ANNA MAY WILSON.

Selected as being the best manuscript offered during the contest of
1897, and awarded the prize of $1,000.

Yusuf, a Persian of the fire-worshiping sect, has, at his first
sacrifice of a human life, revolted against the horror of his religion,
and he decides to leave Persia in search of Truth. In his travels he
meets that strangest character of ancient or medieval times, Mohammed.
The scene is confined almost entirely to Arabia.


No. 6. September, 1898.

=CHONITA=

BY ANNIE MARIA BARNES.

The gifted author of this book has here produced a vivid and intensely
interesting story of the Mexican Mines. It first appeared in the YOUNG
PEOPLE'S WEEKLY, and its publication in book form is in response to
numerous requests from its many thousands of delighted readers. A
number of short but interesting stories are added at the end of the
book.


No. 7. October, 1898.

=The Prince of the House of David=

BY REV. J. H. INGRAHAM.

The fame of this book has been long since established, and its
fascination has already held sway over multitudes of delighted readers.
The scene is laid in Jerusalem, during the most stirring period of
earth's history. This edition has been thoroughly revised and in parts
rewritten, all unnecessary repetition appearing in the original edition
of the book being omitted.


No. 8. November, 1898.

=A Star in a Prison=

A TALE OF CANADA.

BY ANNA MAY WILSON.

The central figure of the story is a young man who, being placed in the
penitentiary on circumstantial evidence, there learns to understand the
spirit of Christ's self-giving, and is finally set free through the
instrumentality of a Christian doctor.


No. 9. December, 1898.

=Ten Nights in a Bar-Room=

BY T. S. ARTHUR.

New and complete edition of this famous work, which has acquired a
world-wide reputation as the most thrilling and powerfully written
temperance story ever produced. The book comprises 96 large pages, with
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No. 10. January, 1899.

=Intra Muros; or, Within the Walls.=

=A DREAM OF HEAVEN.=

BY MRS. REBECCA R. SPRINGER.

Author of "Beechwood," "Self," "Songs by the Sea," "Leon," etc. An
entertaining book, calculated to make heaven seem nearer and more real
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Transcriber's Notes:


As noted in the introduction, this is an abridged edition of the
original text, or, as the editors put it, it has "been thoroughly
revised and in parts re-written, all unnecessary repetition appearing
in the original edition of the book being omitted."

Italics are represented with _underscores_, bold with =equal signs=.

Added table of contents.

Inside front cover, added missing second e to "entitled."

Some inconsistent hyphenation (e.g. gate-way vs. gateway) has been
retained from the original.

Page 1, moved copyright notice higher on page for smoother flow.

Page 3, changed comma to period after "worshiping Jupiter."

Page 6, added missing double quote after "not a few believe him to be
Isaiah."

Page 7, added missing quote before "Therefore, repent ye."

Page 12, changed double quote to single quote after "grateful adoration
of his love."

Page 13, changed double quote to single quote after "foreshadow a life
of trial and suffering."

Page 16, changed "innocent's bird's escape" to "innocent bird's escape."

Page 27, added missing comma after "Your loving" in signature of LETTER
XII.

Page 45, added missing open quote before "But Jesus laid his hand upon
the pall." Corrected double to single quote after "son was sick!"

Page 47, added missing quote before "I have even heard of his fame."

Page 50, added missing quote after "folds of the curtains."

Page 51, corrected double to single quotes after "Pilate, against thee"
and "Castle of David!"

Page 52, changed comma to period after "departure of the messenger to
Jesus."

Page 67, corrected "youthfuf" to "youthful" in "youthful bride of
Pilate."

Page 70, added missing single quote before "What! Galilean and
blasphemer."

Page 71, removed unnecessary single quote after "spat in his face
thrice."

Page 92, added missing close quote after "as if he saw a spirit."





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