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The Brook Kerith by George Moore

Part 7 out of 8

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left us before in Perga from cowardice of soul. Therefore I chose Silas
and departed. He was our warrant that we were one with the Church of
Jerusalem, which was true inasmuch as we were willing to yield all but
essential things so that everybody, Jews and Gentiles, might be brought
into communion with Jesus Christ.

We went together to Lystra and Mysia, preaching in all these towns, and
the brethren were confirmed in their faith in us, and leaving them we
were about to set out for Bithynia and would have gone thither had we
not been warned one night by the Holy Breath to go back, and instead we
went to Troas, where one night a vision came to me in my sleep: a man
stood before me at the foot of my bed, a Macedonian I knew him to be, by
his dress and speech, for he spoke not the broken Greek that I speak,
but pure Greek, the Greek that Mathias speaks, and he told me that we
were to go over into Macedonia.

To tell of all the countries we visited and the towns in which we
preached, and the many that were received into the faith, would be a
story that would carry us through the night and into the next day, for
it would be the story of my life, and every life is long when it is put
into words; nor would the story be profitable unto you in any great
measure, though it be full of various incidents. But I am behoven to
tell that wherever we went the persecution that began in Lystra followed
us. As soon as the Jews heard of our conversions they assembled either
to assault us or to lay complaints before the Roman magistrates, as they
did at Philippi, the chief city of Macedonia. Among my miracles was the
conversion of a slave, a pythonist, a teller of fortunes, a caster of
horoscopes, who brought her master good money by her divinations, and
seeing that he would profit thereby no longer, he drew myself and Silas
into the market-place and calling for help of others had us brought
before the rulers, and the pleading of the man was, and he was supported
by others, that we taught many things that it was not lawful of them,
being Jews, to hearken to, and the magistrates, wishing to please the
multitude, commanded us to be beaten, and when many stripes had been
laid on us we were cast into prison, and the jailer being charged to
keep us in safety thrust our feet into the stocks.

Myself and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God despite our wounds,
and as if in response there was a great earthquake, and the prison was
shaken and all the doors opened, on seeing which the keeper of the
prison drew his sword and would have fallen upon it, believing that the
prisoners had fled, if I had not cried to him in a loud voice: there is
no reason to kill thyself, for thy charges are here. What may I do to be
saved? he said, being greatly astonished at the miracle, and we
answered: believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Thereupon he invited us into
his house and set food before us, and he was baptized and bidden to have
no fear, for we confided to him that we were Romans, and that the
magistrates would tremble when they heard that they had ordered a
citizen of Rome to be beaten and him uncondemned. Why, he asked, did ye
not declare yourselves to be Romans? Because, we answered, we were
minded to suffer for our Lord Jesus Christ's son, at which he wondered
and gave thanks. He was baptized by us, and when he had carried the news
of their mistake to the ears of the magistrates they sent sergeants
saying that we were to be allowed to go. But we refused to leave the
prison, saying, we are Romans and have been beaten uncondemned. Let the
magistrates come to fetch us. Which message being taken to them they
came beseeching us to go, and not to injure them, for they had done
wrong unwittingly, and taking pity of them for the sake of our Lord
Jesus Christ we passed into Thessalonica, where I preached in the
synagogues for three Sabbaths and reasoned with the Jews, showing them
passages in the Scriptures confirming all that we said to them about the
Christ that had suffered and been raised from the dead. Some believed,
and others assaulted the house of Jason, in which we were living, and
the Romans were perplexed to know how to keep order, for wherever we
went there were stirs and quarrels among the Jews, the fault being with
them and not with us. In Corinth too the Jews pleaded against us before
the Roman magistrates and----


A sudden dryness in Paul's throat prevented him from finishing his
sentence, and he asked for a cup of water, and having drained it he put
down the cup and said, looking round, I was speaking to you about
Corinth. The moment seemed a favourable one to Mathias to ask a
question. How was it, he said, that you passed on to Corinth without
stopping at Athens? I made stay at Athens, Paul answered, and I thank
you, Mathias, for having reminded me of Athens, for the current of my
discourse had borne me past that city, so eager was I to tell of the
persecutions of the Jews. We are all Jews here! I speak only of the
Hierosolymites who understand only that the law has been revealed, and
we have only to follow it; though, indeed, some of them cannot tell us
why we should follow any law, since they do not believe in any life
except the sad life we lead on the surface of this earth.

But you asked me, Mathias, about Athens. A city of graven images and
statues and altars to gods. On raising my eyes I always saw their marble
deities--effigies, they said, of all the spirits of the earth and sea
and the clouds above the earth and the heavens beyond the clouds.
Whereupon I answered that these statues that they had carved with their
hands could in no wise resemble any gods even if the gods had existence
outside of their images, for none sees God. Moses heard God on Mount
Sinai, but he saw only the hinderparts; which is an allegory, for there
are two covenants, and I come to reveal---- Whereat they were much
amused and said: if Moses saw the hinderparts why should we not see the
faces, for our eyes see beauty, whereas the Hebrews see but the
backside? At which I showed no anger, for they were not Jews, but
strove, as it is my custom, to be all things to all men. The Jews
require a miracle, the Greeks demand reason, and therefore I asked them
why they set up altars to the unknowable God. And they said: Paul, thou
readest our language as badly as thou speakest it; we have inscriptions
"to unknown gods" but not to the unknowable God. Didst go to school at
Tarsus, yet canst not tell the plural from the singular? To which I
answered: then you are so religious-minded that you would not offend any
god whose name you might not have heard, and so favour him by the
inscription to an unknown God? But some of your philosophers, Athenians,
call God unknowable. I knew this before I learnt how superstitious ye
are. Ye are all alike ignorant since God left you to your sins for your
idolatry; God, unknown or unknowable, has been made manifest to us by
our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born like us all for a purpose, his
death, which was to save the world from its sins, whereupon, greedy for
a story, they began to listen to me, and I had their attention till I
came to these words--"And was raised by his Father from the dead." Paul,
they answered, we will listen another day to the rest of this story of
thy new divinity.

A frivolous people, Mathias, living in a city of statues in the air, and
in the streets below a city of men that seek after reason, and would
explain all things in the heavens above and the earth beneath by their
reason, and only willing to listen to the story of a miracle because
miracles amuse them. A race much given to enjoyment, like women,
Mathias, and among their mountains they are not a different race from
what they are in the city, but given to milking goats and dancing in the
shade to the sounds of a pipe, and dreaming over the past glories of
Athens, that are dust to-day though yesterday they were realities, a
light race that will be soon forgotten, and convinced of their
transience I departed for Corinth, a city of fencing masters, merchants,
slaves, courtesans, yet a city more willing to hearken to the truth than
the light Athenians, perhaps because it has much commerce and is not
slothful in business, a city wherein I fortuned upon a pious twain,
Aquila and Priscilla, of our faith, and of the same trade as myself,
wherefore we set up our looms together in one house and sold the cloths
as we weaved them, getting our living thereby and never costing the
faithful anything, which was just pride, and mine always, for I have
travelled the world over gaining a living with my own hands, never
taking money from anybody, though it has been offered to me in plenty by
the devout, thinking it better to be under no obligation, for such
destroys independence....

Once only was this rule broken by me. In Macedonia, a dyer of purple----
But Lydia's story concerns ye not, therefore I will leave her story
untold and return to Corinth, to Priscilla and Aquila, weavers like
myself, with whom I worked for eighteen months, and more than that;
preaching the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ to all who
would hear us when our daily work was done, until the same fate befell
us--the intervention of the Jews, who sought to embroil us, as
beforetimes, with the Romans.

We preached in the synagogues on the Sabbath and I upheld the faith I
had come to preach: that the Messiah promised to the Jews had lived and
had died for us. Whereupon there was a great uproar among the Jews, who
would not believe, and so I tore my garments and said: then I will go
forth to the Gentiles, and find believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, and
leave you who were elected by God as his chosen people, who were his by
adoption, a privilege conferred upon you throughout the centuries, the
race out of whom came the patriarchs, and Jesus Christ himself in the
flesh. I will leave you, for you are not worthy and will perish as all
flesh perishes; will drift into nothingness, and be scattered even as
the dust of the roads is scattered by the winds. My heart is broken for
you, but since ye will it so, let it be so.

So did I speak, but my heart is often tenderer than my words, and I
strove again to be reconciled with the Jews, and abode in Corinth
proving their folly to them by the Scriptures till again they sought to
rid themselves of me by means of the Romans, saying before Gallic: this
fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. But Gallic,
understanding fully that his judgment seat had not been set up for the
settling of disputes of the spirit, but of the things of this world,
drove the Jews out of his court, and there was an uproar and Sosthenes,
a God-fearing man, was beaten. Yet for the sake of the race of the
patriarchs, the chosen people of God, I abode in Corinth till the close
of the second year, when news reached me of the many dissensions that
had arisen in Jerusalem.

The old questions always stirring: whether the Gentiles should be
admitted without circumcision and if the observances of the law were
sufficient; if salvation could be obtained by works without faith, and
many other questions that I thought had long been decided; in the hope
of putting an end to these discussions, which could only end in schism,
I bade the brethren good-bye on the wharf, and, shaving my head as a
sign of my vow to keep the Feast of Pentecost, I set sail with Aquila
and Priscilla for Syria and left them at Ephesus, though there were many
Christians there who prayed me to remain and speak to them; but pointing
to my shaved head, I said, my vow! and went down to Jerusalem and kept
the Feast of Pentecost and distributed money among the poor, which had
been given to me by the churches founded by me in Macedonia, in Greece
and Syria.

I hoped to escape from discussion with James, the brother of the Lord,
for of what good could it be to discuss once again things on which it is
our nature to think differently, but upheld by hope that the Jews might
be numbered among the faithful at the last day I told him that the Jews
were the root of the olive-trees whose branches had been cut, and had
received grafts, but let not the grafts, I said, indulge in vainglory;
it is not the branches that bear the root, but the root that bears the
branches. And many other things of this sort did I say, wishing to be in
all things conciliatory; to be, as usual, all things to all men; but
James, the brother of the Lord, answered that Jesus had not come to
abrogate the law but to confirm it, which was not true, for the law
stood in no need of confirmation. James could do that as well as his
brother and better, and Peter not being there to bear witness of the
teaching of Jesus (he too had gone forth upon a mission with John Mark
as an interpreter, for Peter cannot speak Greek), Silas, who was with
me, was won over by James, and easily, for Silas was originally of the
Church of Jerusalem; as I have already told you, he had been sent with
us to Antioch.

But I would not weary you with such small matters as Silas' desertion of
me to join Peter, who was preaching in Syria, and whose doctrine he said
was nearer to Jesus' than mine, it having been given to him by Jesus,
whom he had known in the flesh. So be it, I said to Silas, and went
without him to Antioch, a city dear to me for that it was there the word
Christian was spoken for the first time; my return thither was
fortunate, for there I met Barnabas, whom it was pleasant after these
many years to meet again, all memory of our dissension was forgotten,
which was no great matter, it having arisen out of no deeper cause than
my refusal to travel with John Mark, his cousin. Titus was there too,
and we had much to tell each other of our travels and the conversions we
had made, and all was joy amongst us; and our joy was increased by
Peter, who appeared amongst us, bringing Silas with him, who must have
been grieved though he said nothing to me of it; but who must have seen
that the law to which he was attached was forgotten at Antioch; not by
us only, but by his new leader, Peter, who mixed like ourselves with the
Gentiles and did not refuse to eat with them.

A moment indeed of great joy this was, but it did not last longer than
many other moments of the same kind with which my life has been
sprinkled. James, the brother of the Lord, sent up agents to Antioch
with letters signed by himself. They had come to tell the people that I
had not authority to teach, and could not be considered by anybody as a
true apostle, for I had not known the Christ, it was said: and when I
answered them that my authority came straight from him, they began to
make little of my revelation, saying: even if thou didst hear the Christ
on the road to Damascus, as thou sayest, it was but for a few minutes,
and he couldn't teach thee all his doctrine in a few minutes. A year or
more would be required. Thou wast deceived. No vision can be taken as of
equal evidence to the senses. Those that we see in a vision may be but
the evil spirits that, if it were possible, would deceive the very
elect. If we question an apparition it answers anything that we wish.
The spectre shines for an instant and disappears quickly before one has
time to put further questions; the thoughts of the dreamer are not under
his control. To see the Son of God outside of the natural flesh is
impossible. Even an angel wishing to be seen has to clothe himself in
flesh. Nor were they satisfied with such sayings as these, but mentioned
the vision of infidels and evil livers, and to support their argument
thus quoted Scripture, proving that God sent visions when he was
irritated. As in Numbers, murmured Eleazar. And likewise in Exodus, said
Manahem, and he turned over the quires before him. These emissaries and
agents asked me how it was that even if Jesus had appeared to me he
could not have instructed me wrongly. If I wished to prove the truth of
my vision it were better for me to accept the teaching of the apostles,
who had received it directly from him; to which I made answer: my
revelation was not from Jesus when he lived in the flesh, but from the
spiritual Jesus; the spirit descended out of heaven to instruct me, and
if God has created us, which none will deny, he has created our souls
wherewith to know him, and he needs not the authority of other apostles
who speak as men, falling into the errors that men must fall into when
they speak, for every man's truth is made known unto him by God.

One day we came out of a house heated with argument, and as we loitered
by the pavement's edge regretting we had not said certain things whereby
we might have confuted each other, we came upon Peter in a public inn,
eating and drinking with the uncircumcised, whereupon the Hierosolymites
said we see now what ye are, Peter, a Jew that eats with Gentiles and of
unclean meats. Peter did not withstand them and say as he should have
done: how is it that you call them that God has made unclean? but being
a timid man and anxious always to avoid schism, he excused himself and
withdrew, and was followed by Barnabas and Silas.

It was for this that I withstood him before all in the assembly,
reproaching him for his inconsequences, saying to him: if thou that art
a Jew livest according to the manner of Gentiles, how is it that thou
wouldst compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do? and until this man
came thou wert one with us, saying as we say, that none is justified by
conforming to the law and practising it, but by the faith in Jesus
Christ. But if we seek justification in Christ, and in him alone, and
yet are found to be sinners, of what help is Christ then to us? Is he a
minister of sinners? God forbid! By his life and death he abolished the
law, whereby we might live in faith in Christ, for the law stands
between us and Christ. I say unto thee, Peter, that if Christ was
crucified for me I live in Christ; no longer my own life of the flesh,
but the spiritual life that Christ has given me. I say unto thee
likewise, that if we care only to know Christ through the law then
Christ has died in vain. To which Peter answered nothing, but went his
way, as is his custom, in silence, and my grief was great; for I could
see that the many were shocked, and wondered at our violence, and could
not have said else than that we were divided among ourselves, though
they said it under their breath. Nor did peace come till the emissaries
of James left us to go to the churches I had founded in Galatia and undo
the work I had done there. Whereupon I collected all my thoughts for an
epistle that would comfort those, and enable them to resist, saying:
though an angel from heaven tell you a different doctrine from the one
that I have taught you, listen not to him. Copies of this letter were
sent to the churches that I had founded, but the sending of the letter
did not calm my anger. An angry soul I have been since God first
separated me from my mother's womb, gaining something on one side and
losing on the other side; but we make not ourselves; God makes us. And
there is a jealousy still within me; I know it and have suffered from
it, and never did it cause me greater suffering than in those days in
Antioch. My jealousy was like a hungry animal, gnawing at my ribs till,
unable to bear it any longer, and seeing in visions all that I had
raised pulled down, I started with Titus and travelled all over Galatia
and Phrygia to Bithynia, along the shores of Pontus, and returned back
again, informing the kindly, docile souls, who loved us in their
weakness, of Lystra, Derbe and other towns, setting up my loom and
preaching every evening the coming of the Lord, whither I went in
Macedonia, Thessalonica, Iconium, Laodicea, not forgetful of Colossae
for two years or more (I have forgotten), and then hearing that Apollos,
an Alexandrian Jew of great learning, our most notable convert, of whom
I have not spoken, for there is no time to speak of everything, had
taken ship at Corinth for Ephesus, I returned the way I had come along
the coast to meet him there, likewise many good friends, Aquila and
Priscilla, who were working at their looms, gathering a faithful circle
about them. We set up shop again as we had done at Corinth, Aquila,
Priscilla and myself worked at our looms all day, and preached in the
evening in and about the city, and on the Sabbath in the synagogue.


In Ephesus stands a temple said to be one of the wonders of the world,
the Temple of Diana; pilgrims come to it from all countries, and buy
statues of the goddess to set upon their tables (little silver statues),
and as the making of these is the principal industry in that city, the
silversmiths raised cries against me in the theatre, where once I stood
up to address the people. Great is Diana, goddess of the Ephesians! they
cried out, and would have thrown me to the beasts. Yea, I fought with
the beasts, for they were nothing else, and had not Aquila and Priscilla
risked their lives to save me I should have perished that day. That day
or another day; it matters not; we all perish sooner or later. My life
has never been my concern, but God's, a thing upheld by God for so many
years that I shun danger no longer. It has even come to pass that I am
lonely in security, withdrawn from God in houses, and safe in his arms
when clinging to a spar in the dark sea. God and our Lord Jesus Christ,
his beloved son, have walked on either side of me in mountain passes
where robbers lie in wait. We are nearer to God in hunger and thirst
than when the mouth is full. In fatigue rather than in rest, and to know
oneself to be God's servant is good cheer for the traveller, better than
the lights of the inn showing over the horizon, for false brethren may
await him in the inn, some that will hale him before rulers, but if he
knows that he is God's servant he will be secure in his own heart, where
alone security matters.

It may have been my sin to weary too often at the length of the journey,
and to cry out to the Lord Jesus to make an end of it. It may have been
that I was often too eager to meet my death and to receive the reward of
all my labour, but who shall judge me? Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only
judge and his reign shall endure over this world till the last man has
vanished into death. And when the last man has perished? Mathias asked.
Paul answered: Jesus shall pass into his Father's keeping and again
there shall be but one God. But, Paul, Mathias rejoined, if I understand
thee rightly, there are now two Gods, and our hope is that in time to
come the twain may turn to one. Paul was about to answer, but his lips
were parched, and he raised the cup of water to his lips, and when he
had drunk he was about to answer Mathias, but Hazael said: Mathias, we
are all eager to hear the story of Paul's own life. There will be time
afterwards to discuss his doctrine. Mathias waved his hand, a sign that
Paul might continue his story, which he did.

From Ephesus we returned to Corinth and to Macedonia, and dreams began
to take hold on us of longer journeys than any we had yet undertaken; we
dreamed of Rome, and then of Spain, for all should hear the joyful
tidings that there is salvation for all, and we live in dread that the
judgment may come upon the world before the distant countries have heard
that the Christ has been born and has died and been raised by his Father
from the dead, thereby abolishing the law, which was no longer needed,
faith in Christ being sufficient. But if the judgment comes before all
men have heard of the Christ, then is God unjust. God forbid: our sloth
and tardy feet are responsible. Our fear is for the Jews that have
closed their ears to the truth, and, therefore, we were warned not to
leave Palestine without a last effort to save them. Once more my soul
said unto me: Paul, go to Jerusalem, for the last time enter the Temple
and comply with all the law, for these things matter not whether they be
done or left undone; all that matters is that Jerusalem should accept
Jesus. Be all things, once more, to all men. And it was after this
command, given to me in the silence of the night, that I took leave of
the brethren at Ephesus, saying to them: brethren, you knew from the
first day that I came unto Asia what manner of man had come among you,
directing you only towards repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ. I would indeed remember all I said on that occasion, for I
spoke well, the Holy Ghost being upon me, putting the very words of the
leave-taking into my mouth that I should speak, words which I cannot
find again, but which were written by me afterwards, as I wished them to
be preserved for the use of the faithful. They shall be sent to you. But
in this moment I'm too tired to remember them, and will continue my
story, telling how when the sails of the ship were lifted we came with a
straight course unto Coos, and the day following unto Rhodes, and thence
Patara, and finding a ship about to start for Phoenicia, we went aboard
and set forth again. We left Cyprus on the left, and were landed at
Tyre, where there were many disciples who said to me that I must not go
to Jerusalem. We kneeled on the shore and prayed; and when we had taken
leave of one another, and I had said: my face you shall see no more, we
took ship, and they returned home.

Next day we were at Caesarea and went to the house of Philip the Apostle
(him of many daughters, and all prophetesses), and lived with him,
tarrying till there came from Judea Agabus, who, when he saw me, took my
girdle and bound his own hands and feet, and said: so at Jerusalem shall
the Jews bind him that owns this girdle, and they shall deliver him into
the hands of the Gentiles. At which all my disciples there wept, and I
said: why do ye weep? for your weeping breaks my heart. Think not of
what this man has said, even if he has spoken the truth, for I am ready
to die for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I comforted them and went
up to Jerusalem, and was received by the brethren. James and all the
elders were present, and after having heard from me how widely the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ had been made known to the Gentiles and to the
Jews that lived among the Gentiles, they answered: brother, there are a
great many believers among the Jews, and all here are ardent followers
of the law, and these have heard that thou teachest to the Jews in exile
that Moses may be forsaken, and that they need not circumcise their
children and may set aside our customs. Now, Paul, they asked, what
favour dost thou expect from us if these things be as they have been
reported to us? And being sure within myself that it was not counsel
they sought from me, but words out of my own mouth whereby they might
stir up the people against me, I answered only: upon whose testimony do
ye say these things? There are, they said, four holy men, who are under
a vow; go with them and purify thyself and pay the money they need for
the shaving of their heads and all other expenses. Whereupon I was much
angered, seeing the snare that they were laying for me, but, as I have
told you, my rule is always to be all things to all men, and remembering
that though Jesus Christ our Lord has set us free from the law, it would
be better to forgo this liberty than to scandalise a brother, I said: I
will do, brethren, as you ask, and went with the four poor men to the
Temple and remained there with them for five days, abstaining from wine,
and cutting off--well, there was little hair for me to cut off, but what
there was I cut off.

All went well during the first days, but the emissaries and agents of
James, seeing that my devotion in the Temple might win over the Jews to
me, laid another snare, and I was accused of having held converse with
Trophimus, an uncircumcised Greek, in the street the day of my arrival
in Jerusalem, and this not being a sufficient offence to justify them in
stoning me as they had stoned Stephen before my eyes, it was said that I
had brought him into the Temple, and the agents of the priests came on
the fifth day to drag me out and kill me in some convenient byway, the
sacristans closing the doors of the Temple behind me. We will make an
end of this mischief, the hirelings said, and began to look around for
stones wherewith to spatter out my brains; they cast off their garments
and threw dust into the air, and I should have met my death if the noise
had been any less, but it was even greater than the day Stephen died,
and the Roman guard came upon the people and drew me out of their hands,
saying: what is the meaning of this? The Jews could not tell them so
great was their anger.

We'll take him to the castle, the centurion said, and the crowd
followed, pressing upon us and casting stones at me till the soldiers
had perforce to draw their swords so as to get me to the castle alive.
We were thrown hither and thither, and the violence of the crowd at the
foot of the stairs and the pressure obliged the soldiers to carry me up
the steps in their arms. So I turned to the Chief Captain, who was
trying in vain to calm the rioters, and said to him in Greek: may I
speak to them? So thou canst speak Greek? he answered, surprised, and
gave me leave to speak, and I said: Hebrews, listen to a Hebrew like
yourselves, and I told of the vision on the road to Damascus, to which
they listened, but as soon as the tale was over they cried: remove him
from this world, he is not fit to live. At these words the centurion,
who was anxious to appease the people, signed to his apparitors to seize
me, and before I had time to make myself heard these strapped me to the
whipping-post, my hands above me. But is it lawful to scourge a Roman
and he uncondemned? I said to the centurion next to me. Whereupon the
lictors withdrew and the centurion turned to the Chief Captain, who
looked me up and down, for, as you see, my appearance did not command
respect. Is it true that thou'rt a Roman citizen? he asked, and I
answered, yes, and he was astonished, for he had paid a great deal of
money for the title. But I was born free, I answered him, confusing and
perplexing him and putting a great fear in his heart that belike his
office might be taken from him for having tied a Roman citizen to the
whipping-post, merely that and nothing more.

It was to gain my favour that he promised to summon a council (the
Sanhedrin), and on the day appointed, ordering my chains to be unlocked,
introduced me to the Jews as a free man, saying he would remain to hear
the discussion. Brothers, I have lived till to-day in good conscience
before God. On that the High Priest ordered those that stood by him to
strike me on the face. God shall strike thee, thou whited wall, I
answered him, for thou sittest to judge me according to the law, and
breaking the law thou orderest me to be struck. Those that were present
said: so that is how thou revilest the High Priest. I did not know he
was the High Priest, I answered: if I had I should not have spoken as I
spoke, for is it not written, thou must not insult the chief of thy

As I spoke these words, I saw that the assembly was divided into two
parts, that each part was inspired by different ideas, and that one
part, the Sadducees, were determined upon my death. Therefore my words
were, brothers, I am a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee, do you know
of what they accuse me? Of saying that the dead will be raised out of
their graves for judgment, a thing which you all believe. So did I
divide my enemies, persuading the Pharisees thereby to defend me, and
they, believing the story I told of my vision on the road to Damascus,
said: let us hear nothing against him, a spirit or angel may have spoken
to him. But the Sadducees were the stronger party, and dividing the
Pharisees with their arms many rushed to kill me, and they would have
done this if the Captain of the Guard had not sent soldiers to my
assistance, who with difficulty rescued me from the Jews and brought me
back to the castle.

I was sorry for the Captain of the Guard, who came to me and said: I
know not how this will end or what to do with thee, and I answered him:
there are knots in every business, and the clever man unties them, and
thou'lt find a way of untying this knot in thy sleep to-night.... And I
likewise, which was true, for a vision came to me that night, Jesus
himself, and he said: thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem and thou
shalt testify of me in Rome, and Jesus having said this much, I knew
that I should go to Rome, how I should go I knew not, but I knew that I
should go and had no fear when my sister's son, my nephew, came to me
next day and said: forty of the Jews have banded together to kill thee,
Uncle, and this is how they will do it. They will present a petition to
the Chief Captain to have thee down among the council again so that they
may question thee regarding some points of the law which they affirm
thou hast transgressed. Thou must not go down to them, Uncle, for they
have knives concealed under their cloaks, and are upon oath neither to
eat nor to drink until they have killed thee.

So they are base enough for this, I answered, but I'll outwit them, and
calling to the centurion said: take this young man to the Chief Captain
of the Guard; he has matter to relate which the Chief Captain should
hear at once, and when he had told the plot Chief Captain Lysias said:
they have sworn in vain. Thou shalt go with me to Caesarea and under a
strong guard, two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred
spearmen; these will be able to resist any attack that the Jews may
attempt even should they hear of thy departure. At nine o'clock to-night
I shall put into thy hand a letter to Felix, the Governor, telling him
that I know nothing against thee that merits death or prison. The orders
of the Captain of the Guard were carried out punctually; we marched all
night, arriving at Antipatris in the morning, which is about half-way
between Jerusalem and Caesarea, and all danger of surprise being now over
the escort divided, the four hundred men returning to Jerusalem, myself
going on to Caesarea with the horsemen, to be judged by Felix, who said:
I shall sit in judgment as soon as thy accusers arrive from Jerusalem.

And it was five days afterwards that my accusers began to come into
Caesarea, Ananias arriving first with some of the elders and with one
named Tertullus, who began his speech against me with many coaxings of
the Governor, saying that it was through him that Palestine enjoyed its
great peace and prosperity and for these gifts he was truly thankful,
and though he feared he might prove tedious, still he would hope that
Felix in his great clemency might allow him to say a few further words
about a pestilential fellow, an agent of sedition among the Jews
throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect known as the
Nazarenes: one who came to Jerusalem but to profane the Temple, and
wishing, he said, to judge him for his blasphemy according to our law,
we laid hands upon him, but the Captain, Lysias, came upon us and with
great violence took him out of our hands, and after hearing him
disputing with us in the council said, I find no fault with him but will
send him to the noble Felix. And you, most noble Felix, have sent for
us, and we have come, and feel right well that we have not come in vain,
for your knowledge and your justice are known in all the world. He said
these things and many more of this sort till he feared that his first
words were coming true and that he was beginning to weary Felix, which
was the truth, for Felix raised his hand for me to speak, whereupon
without cozenage and without preamble I told Felix that I had gone to
Jerusalem with alms collected from all parts of the world for the poor
and also for worship in the Temple. Why then, if I am the pestilential
fellow that Tertullus says I am, is it that the Jews allowed me the
Temple to abide therein for five days and that they have not brought
witnesses to testify that they found me disputing therein or stirring
the people to riot in the synagogue and in the city. And I see none here
to bear witness that I do not believe in all that is written in the law
and in the prophets; only that I believe with a great part of the
citizens of Jerusalem that the dead will be raised from their graves for
judgment at the last day. If I am guilty of heresy so are many others
here. But you Essenes do not hold with the Pharisees, that the
corruptible body is raised from the dead, you believe that the soul only
is immortal; I believe that there is a spiritual body also which is
raised; and Paul turned his searching eyes on Mathias, in whose mind an
answer began to form, but before he had time to speak it the brethren
began to evince a desire that Paul should continue his story.

Felix after hearing me bade the Jews return to Jerusalem. I will deliver
no sentence until I have conferred with Lysias, he said. The Jews
returned discomfited, and Felix said to my jailer, let him be relieved
of his chains and be free to see his friends and disciples and to preach
what he pleases. Nor was this all: Felix came with his wife, Drusilla,
who was a Jewess, and she heard me tell Felix that there would be a
judgment, and he answered: speak to me again of this, and they came to
me many times to hear of the judgment, and to hint at a sum of money
which would be easy for me to collect; my disciples would pay for my
liberty and the money would enable him to risk the anger of the Jews,
who, he said, desired my death most savagely.

But I was of no mind to ask my disciples to pay for my release; and then
Felix, desirous of obtaining the good will of the Jews, put chains upon
me again, and so left me for two years, till Festus was appointed in his

It was three days after Festus had disembarked at Caesarea that he went
up to Jerusalem, and no sooner had he arrived there than the High Priest
asked for audience and besought him to send for Paul that he might be
judged in Jerusalem; the intention of the High Priest being that I
should be waylaid and killed by a highwayman among the hills. But Festus
thought it was unnecessary to bring me to Jerusalem, for he was about to
return to Caesarea. Come, he said, with me, and accuse this man, and they
agreed. And it was ten days afterwards that Festus returned to Caesarea
and commanded me to be brought before his judgment seat. The Jews that
had come with him sat about, and with many voices complained against me
of blasphemy, but their accusations were vain, for I answered: I have
not offended against the law of the Jews nor against Caesar, and they
answered, so thou sayest, but wilt thou come to Jerusalem to be judged
by us? and Festus, who now only thought to avoid trouble and riot, said
to me, will you go to Jerusalem that I may hear you?

But, Lord Festus, I answered, you can hear me here as well as in
Jerusalem, and these men desire but my death and ask that I shall be
brought to Jerusalem to kill me secretly, therefore I appeal to Caesar.

Whereupon Festus answered that he had no fault to find with me, but
since I had appealed to Caesar I must go by the next ship, and as there
would be none for some weeks Festus, who had said to King Agrippa and
Berenice, when they came to pay a visit to the new governor, and, being
Jews, were curious about my gospel, I find no fault with this man and
would have set him at liberty, but he has appealed to Caesar and by the
next ship he goes to Rome, permitted me my liberty to go whither I
pleased and to preach as I pleased in the city and beyond the city if I
pleased. Whereupon I notified to Festus I would go to Jericho, a two
days' journey from Caesarea, and he said, go, and in three weeks a ship
will be here to take thee to Rome. But he said: if the Jews should hear
of thee thou'lt lose thy life, and he offered me a guard, which I
refused as useless, knowing well that I should not meet my death at
Jericho. Why cherish a love for them that hate thee? he said, and I
answered: they are my own people, and my heart was filled again with the
memory of the elect race that had given birth to the prophets. Shall
these go down dead into their graves never to rise again, God's chosen
people? I asked myself, and set out with Timothy, my son in the faith,
for Jericho, a city I had never seen nor yet the banks of Jordan down
which Jesus went for John's baptism. But for these things I had little
thought or care, but was as if propelled by some force that I could not
understand nor withstand; and a multitude collected and hearkened to the
story of my conversion on the road to Damascus, but discontent broke out
among them when I said that Jesus had come neither to confirm nor to
abolish the law, that the law was well while we were children but now we
could only enter into eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ our

The rest of my story you know: how we fled into the hills for our lives'
sake, and how Timothy in the dark of the evening kept to the left
whereas I came round the shoulder of the hill and was upheld in the path
by God, who has still need of me. His ways are inscrutable, for, wishing
to bring me to you, he sent me to preach in Jordan and urged the Jews to
threaten me and pursue me into the hills, for he wished you holy men who
live upon this ridge of rock in piety, in humility, in content, in peace
one with the other, fearing God always, to hear of Jesus and his
resurrection from the dead and the meaning thereof, which is that Christ
came to redeem us from the bondage of the law and that sense of sin
which the law reveals unceasingly and which terrifies and comes between
us and love of Jesus Christ, who will (at the sound of the last trump)
raise the incorruptible out of the corruptible. Even as the sown grain
is raised out of its rotten grave to nourish and rejoice again at the
light, so will ye nourish again in the fields of heaven, never again to
sink into old age and death if you have faith in Christ, for you have
all else, fear of God, and charity, piety and humility, brotherly love,
peace and content in the work that the day brings to your hands and the
pillow that the night brings to your head for reward for the work done.
God that knows all knew you were waiting on this margin of rock for the
joyful tidings, and he sent me as a shepherd might send his servant out
to call in the flock at the close of day, for in his justice he would
not have it that ten just men should perish. He sent me to you with a
double purpose, methinks, for he may have designed you to come to my
aid, for it would be like him that has had in his heart since all time
my great mission to Italy and Spain, to have conceived this way to
provide me with new feet to carry the joyful tidings to the ends of the
earth; and now I stand amazed, it being clear to me that it was not for
the Jews of Jericho that I was sent out from Caesarea but for you.

Paul waited for one of the Essenes to answer, and his eyes falling on
Mathias' face he read in it a web of argument preparing wherein to catch
him, and he prayed that God might inspire his answers. At last Mathias,
in clear, silvery voice, broke the silence that had fallen so suddenly,
and all were intent to hear the silken periods with which the Egyptian
thanked Paul for the adventurous story he had related to them, who, he
said, lived on a narrow margin of rock, knowing nothing of the world,
and unknown to it, content to live, as it were, immersed in God. Paul's
narrative was full of interesting things, and he regretted that Paul was
leaving them, for he would have liked to have given longer time to the
examination of the several points, but his story contained one thing of
such great moment that he passed over many points of great interest, and
would ask Paul to tell them why the resurrection of Jesus Christ should
bring with it the abrogation of the law of Moses. If the law was true
once, it was true always, for the law was the mind and spirit and
essence of God. That is, he continued, the law spiritually understood;
for there are those among us Essenes who have gone beyond the letter. I,
too, know something of that spiritual interpretation, Paul cried out,
but I understand it of God's providence in relation to man during a
certain period; that which is truth for the heir is not truth to the
lord. Mathias acquiesced with lofty dignity, and continued his
interrogation in measured phrases: that if he understood Paul rightly,
and he thought he did, his teaching was that the law only served to
create sin, by multiplying the number of possible transgressions. Thy
meaning would seem to be that Jews as well as Gentiles sin by acquiring
consciousness of sin, but by faith in Jesus Christ we get peace with God
and access unto his grace. Upon grace, Paul, we see thee standing as on
a pedestal crying out, sin abounds but grace abounds, fear not sin. The
words of my enemies, Paul cried, interrupting; sin so that grace may
abound, God forbid. Those that are baptized in Christ are dead to sin,
buried with him to rise with him again and to live a new life. The old
man (that which we were before Christ died for us) was crucified with
Christ so that we might serve sin no longer. Freed from the bondage of
the law and concupiscence by grace we are saved through faith in our
Lord Jesus Christ from damnation. It is of this grace that we would hear
thee speak. Do we enter into faith through grace? Mathias asked, and,
having obtained a sign of assent from Paul, he asked if grace were other
than a free gift from God, and he waited again for a sign of assent.
Paul nodded, and reminded him that God had said to Moses, I will have
mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I
will have compassion. Then, Mathias said, the law of Moses is not
abrogated, thou leanest upon it when it suiteth thy purpose to lean, and
pushest it aside when it pleases thee to reprove us as laggards in
tradition and among the beginnings of things. It was lest some mood of
injustice might be imputed to God in neglecting us that we were invited
to become thy disciples, and to carry the joyful tidings into Italy and
Spain. But we no longer find those rudiments in the law. We read it with
the eyes of the mind, and we receive not from thy lips that God is like
a man--a parcel of moods, and obedient to them. It is true that God
justifies whom he glorifies, Paul answered, but for that he is not an
unjust God. If he did not spare his son, but delivered him to death that
we might be saved, will he not give us all things? Who shall accuse
God's elect? He that chose them? Who will condemn them? Christ that will
sit on the right hand of his Father, that intercedes for us? Neither
death nor life nor angels can separate me from the love of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and if I came hither it is for the sake of my brothers, my
kinsmen that might be saved. God has not broken his promise to his
chosen people. A man may be born an Israelite and not be one; we are
true Israelites, not by birth but by election. God calls whom he
pleases, and without injustice. But, brethren, Mathias would ask of me:
why does God yet find a fault though none may resist his will? We dare
not reason with God or ask him to explain his preferences. Does the vase
ask the potter: why hast thou made me thus? Had not the potter power
over the clay to make from the same lump two vases, one for noble and
the other for ignoble use. Not in discourse of reason is the Kingdom of
God, but in its own power to be and to grow, and that power is
manifested in my gospel.

The approval of the brethren whitened Mathias' cheek with anger, and he
answered Paul that his denial of the law did not help him to rise to any
higher conception of the deity than to compare him to a potter, and he
warned Paul that to arrive at any idea of God we must forget potters,
rejecting the idea of a maker setting out from a certain moment of time
to shape things according to a pattern out of pre-existing matter. And I
would tell thee before thou startest for the end of the earth that the
Jesus Christ which has obsessed thee is but the Logos, the principle
that mediates between the supreme God and the world formed out of
matter, which has no being of its own, for being is not in that mere
potency of all things alike, which thou callest Power, but in Divine

I have heard men speak like thee in Athens, Paul answered slowly and
sadly, and I said then that the wisdom of man is but foolishness in
God's sight. But thy stay there was not long, and thou hast not spoken
of my country, Egypt, Mathias answered, and rising from his seat he left
the table and passed out on to the balcony like one offended, and,
leaning his arms on the rail, he stood looking into the abyss.

A Jew of Alexandria, Manahem whispered in Paul's ear, but he holds fast
by the law in his own sense, and in telling of this Christ thou---- We
would hear of Peter, Saddoc interrupted, the fisherman thou foundest
eating unclean meat with the Gentiles. Have I not said, Paul answered,
that what is eaten and what is drunk finds neither favour nor disfavour
in God's eyes--that it is not by observance we are saved, but by faith
in our Lord Jesus Christ that died to redeem us from the law, and was
raised from the dead by his Father, and who appeared to the twelve and
to five hundred others, some of whom are dead, but many are still alive?
But this Christ, who was he when he lived upon this earth? Manahem
inquired. Son of the living God, Paul answered, that took on the
beggarly raiment of human flesh at Nazareth, was baptized by John in
Jordan, and preached in Galilee, went up to Jerusalem and was crucified
by Pilate between two thieves; the third day he rose from the dead, that
our sins---- Didst say he was born in Nazareth? Hazael asked, the word
Nazareth having roused him from his reveries, and was baptized by John
in Jordan, preached afterwards in Galilee, and suffered under Pilate?
Was crucified, Paul interjected; then you have heard, he said, of the
resurrection? Not of the resurrection; but we know that our Brother
Jesus was born in Nazareth, was baptized in Jordan by John, preached in
Galilee and suffered under Pilate. Pilate condemned many men, Paul
answered, a cruel man even among the Romans. But born in Nazareth and
was baptized by John didst say? I said it, Hazael answered. Which among
you, Paul asked, looking into every face, is he? Jesus is not here,
Hazael replied, he is out with the flock. He slept by thy side on this
balcony last night. We've listened to thy story with interest, Paul; we
give thee thanks for telling it, and by thy leave we will return to our
daily duties and to our consciences.


One of the Essenes had left some quires of his Scriptures upon the
table; Paul picked them up, but, unable to fix his attention, he walked
out on to the balcony, and when the murmur of the brook began to
exasperate him he returned to the domed gallery and walked through it
with some vague intention of following the rubble path that led out on
to the mountains, but remembering the Thracian dogs chained under the
rocks, he came back and stood by the well, and in its moist atmosphere
fell into argument with himself as to the cause of his disquiet, denying
to himself that it was related in any way to the story he had heard from
the Essenes--that there was one amongst them, a shepherd from Nazareth,
who had received baptism from John and suffered under Pilate, the very
one whom he had heard talking that morning to Jacob about ewes and rams.
At last he attributed his disquiet to his anxiety for the safety of

All the same, he said, it was strange that Pilate should have put one
from the cenoby on the cross, another Jesus of Nazareth.... It might be
that this Essene shepherd and his story were but a trap laid for him by
the Jews! But no----

Paul remembered he had written a long epistle to the Galatians reproving
them for lack of faith, and now he found himself caught in one of those
moments to which all flesh seems prone. But no; the cause of his
disquiet was Timothy; Jesus had promised him news of Timothy, else he
would not have delayed so long among these clefts. He might start at
once; but he would not be able to find the way through these hills
without a guide, and he could not leave till he heard from this Essene
why Pilate had ordered him to be scourged. What crime was he guilty of?
A follower he was, no doubt, of Judas the Gaulonite, else Pilate would
not have ordered him to be crucified. But the reason for his having left
the wilderness? There must be one, and he sought the reason through the
long afternoon without finding one that seemed plausible for more than a
few minutes.

The drone of the brook increased his agitation and the day was well-nigh
spent when the doors of the cells opened and the brethren began to
appear in their white garments; and when they had found seats about the
table Paul related that he was waiting for Jesus to return from the

At last he heard one say: here is Jesus, and at the sound of the
familiar name Paul started up to meet him, and speaking the first words
that came to his lips he asked him if it were true that he was from
Nazareth and had received baptism from John and suffered under Pilate. I
was born in Nazareth, but what of that? Why dost thou look into my face
so steadfastly? Because this noon, Paul answered, while thou wast with
thy flock, I was moved to tell the brethren of Jesus of Nazareth, who
died on the cross to redeem us, for I would that all you here should
join with us and carry the joyful tidings to Italy and Spain. The doors
are open----

Hazael coming from his cell at that moment stayed the words that had
risen up in Paul's mind, and he looked at the president as if he
expected him to speak, but Hazael sank into his chair and soon after
into his own thoughts. So thy name is Jesus and thou'rt from Nazareth?
Paul said, turning to the shepherd, and Jesus answered: I was born in
Nazareth and my life has been lived among these hills. Our guest, Saddoc
said, interrupting, has told us the story of his life, and he hopes to
persuade us to leave this gorge and go with him to Italy and on to
Spain. To Spain? Jesus asked. To carry the joyful tidings that the doors
of salvation are now open to all, Saddoc answered. He has told us that
he was once a great persecutor of Christians. Of Christians? Jesus
repeated. And who are they? The Christians are they that believe the
Messiah promised to the Jews was raised by God from the dead, Saddoc
replied, and our guest would have us go with him to Spain, for on the
road to Damascus he had a vision, and nearly lost his sight in it. And
ever since he has been preaching that the doors are open to all. He is
the greatest traveller the world has ever known. Christ is a Greek word,
Manahem said, for it seemed to him that Saddoc was speaking too much,
and that he could give Jesus a better account of Paul's journeyings, his
conversions of the Gentiles and the persecutions that followed these
conversions: for the Jews, Manahem said, have been on his track always,
and his last quarrel with them was yester even by the Jordan, where he
was preaching with Timothy. They lost each other in the hills. Of
Timothy I have news, Jesus answered. He met a shepherd in the valley who
pointed out the way to Caesarea to him, and it may be that he is not far
from that city now. Then I will go to Caesarea at once, Paul cried. I
have promised to put thee on the direct road, Jesus said, but it is for
thee to choose another guide, he added, for Paul's face told him the
thoughts that were passing in Paul's mind: that he would sooner that any
other of the brethren should guide him out of the wilderness. After
looking at Paul for some time he said: I've heard from Manahem and
Saddoc that thou wast a persecutor of Christians, but without
understanding, so hurried was the story. And they tell me, Paul said,
that thou'rt from Nazareth and suffered under Pilate. More than that
they do not seem to know; but from what they tell me thy story resembles
that of our Lord Jesus Christ who was betrayed in a garden and was
raised from the dead. At the words, who was betrayed in a garden, a
light seemed to break in Jesus' face and he said: some two years of my
life are unknown to anybody here, even Hazael does not know them, and
last night I was about to tell them to him on the balcony.

You all remember how he was carried out of the lecture-room on to this
balcony by Saddoc and Manahem, who left him with me. I had just returned
from the mountain, having left my flock with Jacob, our new shepherd,
and Hazael, who recovered his senses quickly in the evening air, begged
me to tell him of Jacob's knowledge of the flock, and I spoke to him
highly of Jacob.... Hazael, have I thy permission to tell the brethren
here assembled the story I began to tell thee last night, but which was
interrupted? The old man raised his head and said: Jesus, I hearken, go
on with thy story.

Brethren, yester evening I returned from the hills after having left our
flock in charge of Jacob. You know, brethren, why I confided the flock
to him. After fifty (I am fifty-five) our steps are no longer as alert
as they were: an old man cannot sleep in a cavern like a young man nor
defend himself against robbers like a young man, and yesternight was the
first night I spent under a roof for many a year, and under that roof I
am to live henceforth with you here, tending on our president, who needs
attention now in his great age. These things were in his mind and in
mine while we sat on the balcony last night taking the air. Hazael had
spoken his fear that the change from the hills to this dwelling would
prove irksome to me at first, and our talk turned upon the life I have
led since boyhood. Our president seemed to think that the better life is
to live under the sky and the sure way to happiness is in solitude: he
had fallen to admiration of my life spent among the hills, and had
spoken to me of the long journeys he used to undertake in his youth over
Palestine, seeking for young men in whom he foresaw the making of good
Essenes; many of you here are his discoveries, myself certainly. We
indulged in recollection, and listening to him my thoughts were back in
Nazareth, and I waited for him to tell me how one night he met my
father, Joseph the carpenter, returning home after his day's work, and
seeing in him a native of the district, he addressed himself to him and
begged my father to point out the road to Nazareth. My father answered:
I am going thither, thou canst not do better than follow me. So the two
fared on together, talking of a lodging for the night, my father fearing
that no house would be open to a stranger, which was the truth. They
knocked at many, but received only threats that the dogs would be turned
upon them if they did not hasten away. My father said: never shall it be
rumoured in Nazareth that a stranger was turned away and had to sleep in
the streets. Thou shalt have my son's bed, and taking Hazael by the hand
my father urged him and forced him into our house. Thou shalt sleep in
my house, my father said, and shook me out of my sleep, saying, Jesus,
thy bed is wanted for a stranger, and to this day I remember standing in
my smock before Hazael, my eyes dazed with sleep.

Next day Hazael was teaching me; and it pleasing him to see in me the
making of a good Essene, and my father being willing that I should go (a
good carpenter he did not see in me), he took me away with him through
Samaria into Jerusalem, and we struck across the desert, descending the
hills into the plain of Jericho, and crossed the Jordan.

After a year's probationship I was admitted into the order of the
Essenes and was given choice of a trade, and it was put forth that I
should follow the trade of my father or work amid the fig-trees along
our terraces, but my imagination being stirred by the sight of the
shepherds among the hills, I said, let me be one. And for fifteen years
I led my flock, content to see it prosper under my care, until one day,
spying two wolves scratching where I knew there was a cave, an empty one
I thought, the hermit having been taken by wolves not long before, I
couched my spear and went forward; at sight of me and my dogs the wolves
fled, as I expected they would, and the hermit that had come to the cave
overnight came out, and after thanking me for driving off the wolves
asked me if I could guide him to a spring of pure water. Thou'rt not far
from one, I said, for the cave he had come to live in was situated in
the valley of the leopard's den, which is but half-a-mile from our
brook. I will go thither with thee this evening, but first drink from my
water-bottle, I said, for I could see he needed water, and I spoke to
him of the number of hermits we had lost lately from wild animals, but
he did not heed me, and as soon as he had soothed his parched tongue
with my water-bottle he began to tell me that he had come from the
shores of the Dead Sea and was about to begin to preach the baptism of
repentance for the remission of sins, and that we must not indulge in
hope of salvation because we have Abraham for our father.

His words seemed to be true words, and I pondered on them, and along the
Jordan everybody was asking whether he was the promised Christ. I walked
miles to hear him, leaving my flock in another's charge, or waited for
him to return to his cave, and often spent the night watching over him
lest a wild beast should break in upon him while he slept. I had known
none but my brethren, nor any city, and John had travelled through all
Judea, and it was from him I learnt that the world was nearing its end,
and that if man did not repent at once God would raise another race out
of the stones by the wayside, so needful was the love of man to God; and
though it had always seemed to me God was gentler than he seemed to be
in John's prophesying, yet his teaching suddenly seemed to be right to
me. I got baptism from him in Jordan and went into the wilderness to
read the Book of Daniel, in which he said all had been foretold, and,
having read, at his advice I bade farewell to the brethren. Manahem,
Saddoc, Mathias, Caleb and Eleazar remember my departure; you regretted
it and tried to dissuade me, but I answered you, saying that God had
called me to preach in my own country, Galilee, that whosoever has two
coats should give one to the poor; for it is the poor that will
intercede for us on the last day; and, carrying John's doctrine further,
I declared that it were easier for a sword to pass through an eye of a
needle than for a rich man to go to heaven, which may be true, but such
judgments should be left to God, and, carrying it still further, I said
it was as hard for a rich man to go to heaven as for cow to calve in a
rook's nest.

In my teaching I wandered beyond our doctrines and taught that this
world is but a mock, a shame, a disgrace, and that naught was of avail
but repentance. John's teaching took possession of me, but I would not
have you think here that I am about to lay my sins at John's door, for
sin it is for a man to desire that which God has not given, and I should
have remained an Essene shepherd following my flocks in the hills,
whereas John did well to come out of his desert and preach that the end
of the world was approaching and that men must repent, for God willed
him to preach these things. His teaching was true when he was the
teacher, but when I became his disciple his teaching became false; it
turned me from my natural self and into such great harshness of mind
that in Nazareth when my mother came with my brothers and sisters to the
synagogue I said, woman, I have no need of thee, and when Joseph of
Arimathea returned to me after a long attendance by his father's bedside
(his father had lain in a great sickness for many months; it was through
Joseph's care that he had been saved from death, Joseph was a good son),
I told him he must learn to hate his father and his mother if he would
become worthy to follow me. But my passion was so great in those days
that I did not see that my teaching was not less than blasphemy against
God, for God has created the world for us to live in it, and he has put
love of parents into our hearts because he wishes us to love our
parents, and if he has put into the heart of man love of woman, and into
the heart of woman love of man, it is because he wishes both to enjoy
that love.

I fear to think of the things I said at that time, but I must speak of
them. One man asked me before he left all things to follow me if he
might not bury his father first. I answered, leave the dead to bury
their dead, and to another who said, my hand is at the plough, may I not
drive it to the headland, I answered: leave all things and follow me. My
teaching grew more and more violent. It is not peace, I said, that I
bring to you, but a sword, and I come as a brand wherewith to set the
world in flame. I said, too, that I came to divide the house; to set
father against mother, brother against brother, sister against sister. I
can see that my remembrance of him who once was wounds the dear brethren
with whom I have lived so long; I knew it would be hard for you to hear
that an Essene had broken the rules of a holy order, and it is hard for
me to stand before you and tell that I, who was instructed by Hazael in
all the pious traditions of our race, should have blasphemed against
God's creation and God's own self. You will thrust me through the door
as an unworthy brother, saying, go, live in the wilderness, and I shall
not cry out against my expulsion through the hills and valleys, but
continue to repent my sins in silence till death leads me into silence
that never ends. You are perhaps asking yourselves why I returned here:
was it to hide myself from Pilate and the Jews? No, but to repent of the
evil seed that I had sown that I returned here; and it was because he
wished me to repent that God took me down from the cross and cured me of
my wounds in Joseph's house and sent me here to lead the sheep over the
hills, and it was he who put this last confession into my mouth.

It seems to me that in telling this story, brethren, I am doing but the
work of God; no man strays very far from the work that God has decreed
to him. But in the time I am telling I was so exalted by the many
miracles which I had performed by the power of God or the power of a
demon, I know not which, that I encouraged my disciples to speak of me
as the son of David, though I knew myself to be the son of Joseph the
carpenter; and when I rode into Jerusalem and the people strewed palms
before me and called out, the son of David, and Joseph said to me, let
them not call thee the son of David, I answered in my pride, if they did
not call it forth the stones themselves would. In the days I am telling,
pride lifted me above myself, and I went about asking who I was, Moses,
Elijah, Jeremiah or the Messiah promised to the Jews.

A madman! A madman, or possessed by some evil spirit, Paul cried out,
and rising to his feet he rushed out of the cenoby, but nobody rose to
detain him; some of the Essenes raised their heads, and a moment after
the interruption was forgotten.

A day passed in the great exaltation and hope, and one evening I took
bread and broke it, saying that I was the bread of life that came down
from heaven and that whosoever ate of it had everlasting life given to
him. After saying these words a great disquiet fell upon me, and calling
my disciples together I asked them to come to the garden of olives with
me. And it was while asking God's forgiveness for my blasphemies that
the emissaries and agents of the priests came and took me prisoner.

At the touch of their hands the belief that I was the Messiah promised
to the Jews rose up in my heart again, and when the priests asked me if
I were the Christ, the Son of the Blessed, I answered, I am, and ye
shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of God; and it was
not till I was hanging on the cross for upwards of two hours that the
belief I had come down from heaven to do our Father's will faded; again
much that I had said seemed to me evil and blasphemous, and feeling
myself about to die I called out to my Father, who answered my call at
once, bringing Joseph of Arimathea to the foot of the cross to ask the
centurion for my body for burial. But the centurion could not deliver me
unto him without Pilate's order, and both went to Pilate, and he gave me
to Joseph for burial.

Nor did our Father allow the swoon to be lifted till Joseph entered the
tomb to kiss me for the last time. It was then he opened my eyes and I
saw Joseph standing by me, a lantern in his hand, looking at me ... for
the last time before closing the tomb.

He lifted me on to his shoulder and carried me up a little twisting path
to his house, and an old woman, named Esora, attended to my wounds with
balsam, and when they were cured Joseph began to tell me that my stay in
his house was dangerous to him and to me, and he vaunted to me in turn
Caesarea and Antioch as cities in which I should be safe from the Jews.
But my mind was so weak and shaken that his reasons faded from my mind
and I sat smiling at the sunlight like one bereft of sense. Strive as he
might, he could not awaken me from the lethargy in which I was sunken,
and every day and every week increased his danger and mine; and it was
not till the news came that my old comrades had come to live in the
Brook Kerith that my mind began to awaken and to move towards a
resolution; an outline began to appear, when I said, I have led my sheep
over the hills yonder many a time, and tempted me to speak of you till
the desire arose in me to see you again. You remember our arrival one
morning at daybreak and my eagerness to see the flock.

Brother Amos was glad to see me back again, and in talking of the flock
Joseph was almost forgotten, which shows how wandering my mind was at
the time.... He left without seeing me, but not without warning Hazael
not to question me else my mind might yield to the strain, saying that
it hung on a thread, which was true, and I remember how for many a year
every cliff's edge tempted me to jump over. Joseph was gone for ever,
and the memory of my sins were as tongues of flame that leaped by turns
out of the ashes. But the fiercest ashes grow cold in time; we turn them
over without fear of flame, and last night I said to Hazael as we sat
together, there is a sin in my life that none knows of, it is buried
fathoms deep out of all sight of men, and Hazael having said there was
little of the world's time in front of him, I felt suddenly I could not
conceal from him any longer the sin that Joseph had not dared to tell
him--that I had once believed myself to be a precursor of the Messiah
like many that came before me, but unlike any other I began to believe
myself to be the incarnate word.

A soft, vague sound, the gurgle of the brook, rose out of the stillness,
as it flowed down the gorge from cavern to cavern.

After a little while Hazael called to Manahem and bade him relate to
Jesus the story Paul had told them, and when Jesus had heard the story
he was overtaken with a great pity for Paul. But thinkest that he will
believe thee? Hazael asked, lifting his chin out of his beard, and the
calm of Jesus' face was troubled by the question and he sank upon a
stool close by Hazael's chair. What may we do? he muttered, and the
Essenes withdrew, for they guessed that the elders had serious words to
speak together.

Thou hast heard my story, Hazael; nothing remains now but to bid
farewell to thy old friend. To say farewell, Jesus, Hazael repeated, why
should we say farewell? Hazael, the rule of our order forbids me to
stay, Jesus answered; those who commit crimes like mine are cast out and
left to starve in the desert. But, Jesus, Hazael replied, thou knowest
well that none here would put thee beyond the doors. Thy crimes,
whatever they may have been, are between thee and God. It is for thee to
repent, and from hill-top to hill-top thou hast prayed for forgiveness,
and through all the valleys. All things in the end rest with him. Speak
to us not of going. But if God had forgiven me, Jesus answered, and my
blasphemies against him, he would not have sent this man hither. And
what dost thou propose to do? Hazael asked, raising his head from his
beard and looking Jesus in the face.

To go to Jerusalem, Jesus answered, and to tell the people that I was
not raised from the dead by God to open the doors of heaven to Jews and
infidels alike. But who will believe thee to be Jesus that Pilate
condemned to the cross? Hazael asked. Twenty years have gone over and
they will say: a poor, insane shepherd from the Judean hills. Be this as
it may, my repentance will then be complete, Jesus muttered. But thou
hast repented, Hazael wailed in his beard. But, Jesus, all religions,
except ours, are founded on lies, and there have been thousands, and
there will be thousands more. Why trouble thyself about the races that
cover the face of the earth or even about thine own race. Let thy
thoughts not stray from this group of Essenes whom thou hast known
always or from me who found thee in Nazareth and took thee by the hand.
Why think of me? It is enough to remember that all good and all evil
(that concern us) proceeds from ourselves. Hast not said to me that God
has implanted a sense of good and evil in our hearts and that it is by
this sense that we know him rather than through scrolls and miracles?
Abide by thy own words, Jesus. Be not led away again by an impulse, and
go not forth again, for it is by going forth, as thou knowest, that we
fall into sin. Wouldst try once more to make others according to thine
own image and likeness, to make them see and hear and feel as thou
feelest, seest and hearest; but such changes may not be made by any man
in another. We may not alter the work of God, and we are all the works
of God, each shaped out of a design that lay in the back of his mind for
all eternity. We cannot reshape others nor ourselves, and why do I tell
things thou knowest better than I? The thoughts that I am teaching now
are thine own thoughts related to me often on thy return from the hills
and collected by me in faithful memory. Hast forgotten, Jesus, having
said to me, the world cannot be remoulded, all men may not be saved,
only a few, by the grace of God? I said these things to thee, Hazael,
but what did I say but my thoughts, and what are my thoughts? Lighter
than the bloom of dandelion floating on the hills. It is not to our own
thoughts we must look for guidance but God's thoughts, which are deep in
us and clear in us, but we do not listen and are led away by our reason.
My sin was to have preached John as well as myself. I strayed beyond
myself and lost myself in the love of God, a thing a man may do if he
love not his fellows. My sin was not to have loved men enough. But we
are as God made us, and must do the best we can with ourselves.

Jesus waited for Hazael to answer him, but Hazael made no answer, but
sat like a stone, his head hanging upon his chest. Why dost thou not
answer, Hazael? he said, and Hazael answered: Jesus, my thoughts were
away. I was thinking of last night, of our talk together in that
balcony--I was thinking, Jesus, how sweet life is in the beginning, and
how it grows bitter in the mouth; and the end seems bitter indeed when
we think of the gladness that day when we walked through the garlanded
streets of our first day together in Nazareth. It was in the springtime
of our lives and of the year. How delightful it was for me to find one
like thee so eager to understand the life of the Essenes: so eager to
join us. Such delight I shall not find again. We spoke last night of our
journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem and across the Jordan. Thou wouldst
not follow thy father's trade, but would lead flocks from the hills, and
becamest in time the best shepherd, it is said, ever known in the hills.
No one ever had an eye for a ram or ewe like thee, and of thy cure for
scab all the shepherds are envious. We were proud of our shepherd, but
he met John and came to me saying that God had called him to go forth
and convert the world. Since God has placed thee here, I said, how is it
that he should come and call thee away now? And thou wast eager with
explanation up and down the terraces till we reached the bridge. We
crossed it and followed the path and under the cliffs till we came to
the road that leads to Jerusalem. It was there we said farewell. Two
years or more passed away, and then Joseph brought thee back. A tired,
suffering man whose wits were half gone and who recovered them slowly,
but who did not recover them while leading his flock. How often have we
talked of its increase, and now we shall never talk again of rams and
ewes nor of thy meditations in the desert and on the hill-tops and in
the cave at night. So much to me were these sweet returnings of thee
from the hills that my hope was that the dawn was drawing nigh when thou
wouldst return no more to the hills, and yesternight was a happy night
when we sat together on the balcony indulging in recollection, thinking
that henceforth we should live within sight of each other's faces
always. My hope last night was that it would be thou that wouldst close
my eyes and lay me in a rock sepulchre out of reach of the hyenas. But
my hopes have all vanished now. Thou art about to leave me. The
brethren? No, they will not leave me, but even should all remain, if
thou be not here I shall be as alone.

But, Hazael, all may be as thou sayest, the Jews will welcome me, Jesus
answered. I am no longer the enemy; Paul is the enemy of Judaism and I
am become the testimony. Judaism, he says, is the root that bears the
branches, and if I go to Jerusalem and tell the Jews that the Nazarene
whom Pilate put upon the cross still lives in the flesh, they will
rejoice exceedingly, and send agents and emissaries after him wherever
he goes. Paul persecuted me and my disciples, and now it would seem that
my hand is turned against him. Remain with us, Hazael cried. Forget the
world, leave it to itself and fear not; one lie more will make no
difference in a world that has lived upon lies from the beginning of
time. A counsel that tempts me, for I would begin no persecution against
Paul, but the lie has spread and will run all over the world even as a
single mustard seed, and the seed is of my sowing; all returns to me;
that Paul was able to follow the path is certain testimony that he was
sent by God to me, and that I am called to be about my Father's work. As
thou sayest, things repeat themselves. Farewell, Hazael. Farewell, my
father in the faith. So there is no detaining thee, my dear son, and,
rising from his seat, Hazael put a staff in Jesus' hand and hung a scrip
about his neck. If thy business be done perhaps---- But no, let us
indulge in no false hopes. Neither will look upon the other's face
again. Jesus did not answer, and returning to the balcony Hazael said: I
will sit here and watch thee for the last time.

But Jesus did not raise his eyes until he reached the bridge, and then
he took the path that led by the cenobies of other days, and walked
hastily, for he was too agitated to think. A little in front of him,
some hundred yards, a great rock overhung the path, and when he came
there he stopped, for it was the last point from which he could have
sight of the balcony. As he stood looking back, shading his eyes with
his hand, he saw two of the brethren come and touch Hazael on the
shoulder. As he did not raise his head to answer, they consulted
together, and Jesus hurried away lest some sudden and impetuous emotion
should call him back from his errand.


A small black bird with yellow wings, usually met with along the brook
flitting from stone to stone, diverted his thoughts from Jerusalem and
set him wondering what instinct had brought the bird up from the brook
on to a dry hill-top. The bird must have sensed the coming rain, he
said, and he came up here to escape the torrent. On looking round the
sky for confirmation of the bird's instinct, he saw dark clouds
gathering everywhere and in a manner that to his shepherd's eye
betokened rain. The bird seems a little impatient with the clouds for
not breaking, he continued, and at that moment the bird turned sharply
from the rock on which he was about to alight, and Jesus, divining a
cause for the change of intention, sought behind the rock for it and
found it in a man lying there with foam upon his lips. He seemed to
Jesus like one returning to himself out of a great swoon, and helping
him to his feet Jesus seated him on a rock. In a little while, Paul
said, I shall be able to continue my journey. Thou'rt Jesus whom I left
speaking in the cenoby. Give me a little water to drink. I forgot to
fill the bottle before I left the brook, Jesus answered. There is a
little left, but not the fresh water that I would like to give thee,
Paul, but water from overnight. It matters not, Paul said, and having
drunk a little and bathed his temples, Paul asked Jesus to help him to
his feet, but after a few yards he tottered into Jesus' arms and had to
rest again, and while resting he said: I rushed out of the cenoby, for I
felt the swoon was nigh upon me. I am sorry to have interrupted thy
discourse, he added, but refrain from repeating any of it, for my brain
is too tired to listen to thee. Thou'lt understand the weakness of a
sick man and pardon me. Now I'm beginning to remember. I had a promise
from thee to lead me out of this desert. Yes, Paul, I promised to guide
thee to Caesarea---- But I rushed away, Paul said, and thou hast followed
me, knowing well that I should not find my way alone to Caesarea. I
should have missed it and perhaps fallen into the hands of the Jews or
fallen over the precipice and become food for vultures. Now my strength
is coming back to me, but without thee I shall not find my way out of
the desert. Fear nothing, Paul, I shall not leave thee till I have seen
thee safely on thy way to Caesarea or within sight of that city. Thou
hast come to guide me? Paul asked, looking up. Yes, to guide thee, Paul,
to accompany thee to Caesarea, if not all the way the greater part of it,
Jesus answered. Thou'lt sleep to-morrow at a village about two hours
from Caesarea, and there we shall part. But be not afraid. I'll not leave
thee till thou'rt safe out of reach of the Jews. But I must be at
Caesarea to-morrow, Paul said, or else my mission to Italy and Spain will
be delayed, perhaps forfeited. My mission to Spain, dost hear me? Do not
speak of thy mission now, Jesus answered, for he was afraid lest a
discussion might spring up between him and Paul, and he was glad when
Paul asked him how it was he had come upon him in this great wilderness.
He asked Jesus if he had traced his footsteps in the sand, or if an
angel had guided him. My eyes are not young enough to follow footsteps
in the sand, Jesus replied, and I saw no angel, but a bird turned aside
from the rock on which he was about to alight abruptly, and going to
seek the cause of it I found thee.... Now if thy strength be coming back
we will try to walk a little farther.

I'll lean on thee, and then, just as if Paul felt that Jesus might tell
him once again that he was Jesus of Nazareth whom Pilate had condemned
to the cross, he began to put questions: was Jesus sure that it was not
an angel disguised as a bird that had directed him? Jesus could only
answer that as far as he knew the bird was a bird and no more. But birds
and angels are alike contained within the will of God; whereupon Paul
invited Jesus to speak of the angels that doubtless alighted among the
rocks and conversed with the Essenes without fear of falling into sin,
there being no women in the cenoby. But in the churches and synagogues
it was different, and he had always taught that women must be careful to
cover their hair under veils lest angels might be tempted. For the
soiled angel, he explained, is unable to return to heaven, and therefore
passes into the bodies of men and women and becomes a demon, and when
the soiled angel can find neither men nor women to descend into they
abide in animals, and become arch demons.

Paul, who had seemed to Jesus to have recovered a great part of his
strength, spoke with great volubility and vehemence, saying that angels
were but the messengers of God, and to carry on the work of the world
God must have messengers, but angels had no power to carry messages from
man back to God. There was but one Mediator, and he was on the point of
saying that this Mediator was Jesus Christ our Lord, but he checked
himself, and said instead that the power to perform miracles was not
transmitted from God to man by means of angels. Angels, he continued,
were no more than God's messengers, and he related that when he had shed
a mist and darkness over the eyes of Elymas, the sooth-sayer in Cyprus,
he had received the power to do so direct from God; he affirmed too, and
in great earnestness, that it was not an angel but God himself that had
prompted him to tell the cripple at Iconium to stand upright on his
feet; he had been warned in a vision not to go into Bithynia; and at
Troas a man had appeared to him in the night and ordered him to come
over to Macedonia, which was his country; he did not know if the man was
a real man in the flesh or the spirit of a man who had lived in the
flesh: but he was not an angel. Of that Paul was sure and certain; then
he related how he had taken ship and sailed to Samothrace, and next day
to Neopolis, and the next day to Philippi, and how in the city of
Thyatira he had bidden a demon depart out of a certain damsel who
brought her master much gain by soothsaying. And for doing this he had
been cast into prison. He knew not of angels, and it was an earthquake
that caused the prison doors to open and not an angel. Peter had met
angels, but he, Paul, had never met one, he knew naught of angels,
except the terrible Kosmokratores, the rulers of this world, the
planetary spirits of the Chaldeans, and he feared angel worship, and had
spoken to the Colossians against it, saying: remember there is always
but one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ our Lord, who came to
deliver us from those usurping powers and their chief, the Prince of the
Powers of the Air. They it was, as he had told the Corinthians, that
crucified the Lord of glory. But perhaps even they may be saved, for
they knew not what they did.

Jesus was afraid that Paul's vehemence would carry him on into another
fit like the one that he had just come out of, and he was glad to meet a
shepherd, who passed his water-bottle to Paul. Fill thy bottle from
mine, the shepherd said to Jesus, and there is half-a-loaf of bread in
my wallet which I'd like thee to have to share with thy traveller in the
morning, else he will not be able to begin the journey again. Nay, do
not fear to take it, he said, my wife'll have prepared supper for me.
Jesus took the bread and bade his mate farewell. There is a cave, Paul,
Jesus said, in yonder valley which we can make safe against wolves and
panthers. Lean on my arm. Thy head is still a trouble; drink a little
more water. See, the shepherd has given me half-a-loaf, which we will
share in the morning. Come, the cave is not far: in yon valley. Paul
raised his eyes, and they reasoned with vague, pathetic appeal, for at
that moment Jesus was the stronger. Since it must be so, I'll try, he
said, and he tottered, leaning heavily on Jesus for what seemed to him a
long way and then stopped. I can go no farther; thou wouldst do well to
leave me to the hyenas. Go thy way. But Jesus continued to encourage
him, saying that the cave in which they were to rest was at the end of
the valley, and when Paul asked how many yards distant, he did not
answer the exact distance, but halved it, so that Paul might be
heartened and encouraged, and when the distance mentioned had been
traversed and the cave was still far away he bore with Paul's reproaches
and answered them with kindly voice: we shall soon be there, another few
steps will bring us into it, and it isn't a long valley; only a gutter,
Paul answered, the way the rains have worn through the centuries. A
strange desert, the strangest we have seen yet, and I have travelled a
thousand leagues but never seen one so melancholy. I like better the
great desert. I have lived all my life among these hills, Jesus replied,
and to my eyes they have lost their melancholy.

All thy life in these deserts, Paul replied eagerly, and his manner
softened and became almost winning. Thou'lt forgive, he said, any
abruptness there may have been in my speech, I am speaking differently
from my wont, but to-morrow I shall be in health and able to follow thee
and to listen with interest to thy tales of shepherding among these
hills of which thou must know a goodly number. My speech is improving,
isn't it? answer me. Jesus answered that he understood Paul very well;
and could tell him many stories of flocks, pillaging by robbers and
fights between brave Thracian dogs and wolves, and if such stories
interested Paul he could relate them. But here is our cave, he said,
pointing to a passage between the rocks. We must go down on our hands
and knees to enter it; and in answer to Paul, who was anxious to know
the depth of the cave, Jesus averred that he only knew the cave through
having once looked into it. The caves we know best are the vast caves
into which the shepherd can gather his flocks, trusting to his dogs to
scent the approach of a wild animal and to awaken him. Go first and I'll
follow thee, and Jesus crawled till the rocks opened above him and he
stood up in what Paul described as a bowel in the mountain; a long cave
it was, surely, twisting for miles through the darkness, and especially
evil-smelling, Paul said. Because of the bats, Jesus answered, and
looking up they saw the vermin hanging among the clefts, a sort of
hideous fruit, measuring three feet from wing to wing, Paul muttered,
and as large as rats. We shall see them drop from their roosts as the
sky darkens and flit away in search of food, Jesus said. Paul asked what
food they could find in the desert, and Jesus answered: we are not many
miles from Jericho and these winged rats travel a long way. In Brook
Kerith they are destructive among our figs; we take many in traps. Our
rule forbids us to take life, but we cannot lose all our figs. I've
often wondered why we hesitate to light bundles of damp straw in these
caves, for that is the way to reduce the multitudes, which are worse
than the locusts, for they are eaten; and Jesus told stories of the
locust-eating hermits he had known, omitting, however, all mention of
the Baptist, so afraid was he lest he might provoke Paul into
disputation. See, he said, that great fellow clinging to that ledge, he
is beginning to be conscious of the sun setting, and a moment after the
bat flopped away, passing close over their heads into the evening air,
followed soon after by dozens of male and female and many half-grown
bats that were a few months before on the dug, a stinking colony, that
the wayfarers were glad to be rid of. But they'll be in and out the
whole night, Jesus said, and I know of no other cave within reach where
we can sleep safely. Sometimes the wild cats come after them and then
there is much squealing. But think no more of them. I will roll up my
sheepskin for a pillow for thee, and sleep as well as thou mayest,
comrade, for to-morrow's march is a long one.


It was as Jesus had said, the bats kept coming in and going out all the
night through, and their squeakings as they settled themselves to sleep
a little before dawn awakened Paul, who, lifting his head from the
sheepskin that Jesus had rolled into a comfortable pillow for him, spied
Jesus asleep in a corner, and he began to ask himself if he should
awaken Jesus or let him sleep a little while longer. But myself, he
said, must escape from the stifle of this cave and the reek of the bats,
and, dropping on his hands and knees, he crawled into the air.

It was a great joy to draw the pure air into his lungs, to drink a deep
draught, and to look round for a wild cat. One may be lurking, he said,
impatient for our departure, and as soon as we go will creep in and
spring among the roosts and carry off the flopping, squeaking morsel.
But if a cat had been there licking her fur, waiting for the tiresome
wayfarers to depart, she would have remained undiscovered to Paul's
eyes, so thick was the shadow, and it was a long time before the valley
lengthened out and the rocks reassumed their different shapes.

He was in a long narrow valley between steep hills, with a path
zigzagging up the hillside at the farther end, among rocks that set Paul
thinking of the little that would remain of his sandals before they
reached Caesarea.

A long day's march of twelve or thirteen hours lay before him, one that
he would have been able to undertake in the old days without a thought
of failure, but it was over and above his strength to-day. But was it?
It seemed to him that he could walk a long way if the present breeze
that had come up with the day were to continue. It came up the valley,
delicious as spring water, but suddenly he recognised in it the smell of
a wild animal; the sour smell of wolves, he said to himself, and looking
among the rocks he spied two large wolves not more than fifty yards
distant. It is fortunate, he said, that the wind is blowing from them to
me, else they would have scented me; and Paul watched the lolloping gait
of the wolves till they were out of sight, and then descending from the
rock he returned to the cave, thinking he had done wrong to leave it,
for he had entrusted himself to Jesus, and perforce to clear his
conscience had to confide to him he had been out in the valley and seen
two wolves go by. But they did not scent me, the wind being
unfavourable. If they had, and been hungry, it might have gone hard with
thee, Jesus said, and then he spoke of Bethennabrio, a village within a
dozen miles of Caesarea in which Paul would sleep that night. Thou canst
not get to Caesarea to-night, Jesus affirmed to him, and they resumed
their journey through a country that seemed to grow more arid and
melancholy as they advanced.

Paul complained often that he had come by a more direct and a better way
with Timothy, but Jesus insisted that the way they were going was not
many miles longer than the way Paul had come by. Moreover, the way he
was taking was safer to follow. The Jews of Jericho had had many hours
in which to lay plans for his capture, but Jesus thought that if Paul
would believe in him he would be able to get him in safety to the
village of Bethennabrio, where Paul thought he would be safe; the Jews
would not dare to arrest a Roman prisoner, one who had been ordered by
Festus to Italy to receive Caesar's judgment within a few miles of
Caesarea. Thou'lt be within two hours of Caesarea, Jesus said, and can
look forward to seeing your comrade Timothy the next day. Jesus' words
brought comfort to Paul's heart and helped him to forget his feet that
were beginning to pain him. But a long distance would still have to be
traversed, and his eyes wandered over the outlines of the round-backed
hills divided by steep valleys, so much alike that he asked himself how
it was that Jesus could distinguish one from the other; but his guide
seemed to divine the way as by instinct, and Paul struggled on,
encouraged by a promise of a half-hour's rest as soon as they reached
the summit of the hill before them. But no sooner had they reached it
than Jesus said, come behind this rock and hide thyself quickly. And
when he was safely hidden Jesus said, now peep over the top and thou'lt
see a shepherd leading his sheep along the hillside. What of that? Paul
answered, and Jesus said, not much, only I am thinking whether it would
be well to let him go his way without putting a question to him, or
whether it would be better to leave thee here while I go to him with the
intention of finding out from him if there be tidings going about that
one Paul of Tarsus, a spreader of great heresies, a pestilential fellow,
a stirrer-up of sedition, has been seen wandering, trying to find his
way back to Caesarea.

The shepherd was passing away over the crest of the hill when Jesus
said, the pretext will come to me on my way to him. Do thou abide here
till I return, and Paul watched him running, lurching from side to side
over the rough ground towards the shepherd, still far away. Will he
overtake him before he passes out of sight and hearing? he asked

The sheep were running merrily, and the breeze carried down to Paul's
ear the sound of the pipe, setting him thinking of the Patriarchs and
then of his guide; only mad, he said, in one corner of his brain,
convinced that he returned to the Essenes because he had said in
Jerusalem that he was the Messiah. A strange blasphemy, he muttered, and
yet not strange enough to save the brethren from the infection of it. It
would seem that they believe with him that he suffered under Pilate,
without knowing, however, for what crime he was punished; and a terrible
curiosity arose in Paul to learn the true story of his guide's life,
who, he judged, might be led into telling it if care were taken not to
arouse his suspicion. But these madmen are full of cunning, he said to
himself, and when Jesus returned Paul asked if he had discovered from
the shepherd if an order was abroad from Jericho to arrest two itinerant
preachers on their way to Caesarea. Jesus answered him that he had put no
direct question to the shepherd. He had talked to him of the prospect of
future rains, and we were both agreed, Jesus said, that the sky looked
like rain, and he told me we should find water in the valley collected
in pools among the rocks; he mentioned one by a group of fig-trees which
we could not miss seeing. Thou art safe, Paul, have no fear for thy safe
arrival at Caesarea at midday to-morrow. If a search had been ordered to
arrest two wayfarers my shepherd would have heard of it, for it was
about here that they would try to intercept us, and we shall do well to
turn into a path that they will overlook even if they have sent out
agents in pursuit of thee and Timothy.


By midday they reached a region more rugged than the one they had come
out of. The path they followed zigzagged up steep ascents and descended
into crumbling valleys and plains filled with split stones, rubble and
sand, a desert truly, without sign of a living thing till the shadow of
an eagle's wings passed over the hot stones. Jesus told Paul that the
birds nested up among the clefts yonder and were most destructive in the
spring when the ewes were lambing. Having to feed three or four eaglets,
he said, the birds would descend on the flocks, the she-eagle, the
larger, stronger and fiercer, will attack and drive off even the dog
that does not fear a wolf, yet I have seen, he continued, a timid ewe,
her youngling behind her in a coign in the hill, face the bird fiercely
and butt it till she lost her eyes, poor ewe, for I came up too late
with my staff. And the lamb? Paul inquired: was far away, Jesus
answered, aloft among the eaglets.

Jesus had stories of wolves and hyenas to beguile the way with, and he
pointed with his staff to the narrow paths above them up which they
would have to climb. But be not discouraged, he said, we shall be in a
better country presently; as soon as we pass the hill yonder we shall
begin to descend into the plain, another three leagues beyond yon hill
we shall be where we bid each other farewell. Paul answered he was
leaving Palestine for ever. His way was first to Italy and then to Spain
and afterwards his life would be over, his mission fulfilled, but he was
glad to have been to Jericho to have seen the Jordan, the river in which
John had baptized Jesus. He was sorry now when it was too late that he
had never been to Galilee, and Jesus told of wooded hills rising gently
from the lake shore, and he took pleasure in relating the town of
Magdala and the house of Dan of Arimathea, Joseph's father, and the
great industry he had established there; he continued talking, showing
such an intimate and personal knowledge of Galilee that Paul could not
doubt that he was what he professed to be, a Nazarene. There were
hundreds of Nazarenes, many of which were called Jesus: but there was
only one Jesus of Nazareth. He did not say this to Jesus; but after
Jesus had asked him how it was that he who had travelled the world over
had never turned into Galilee, he replied that the human life of Jesus
in Galilee concerned him not at all and his teaching very little. He
taught all the virtues, but these were known to humanity from the
beginning; they are in the law that God revealed to Moses. Even pagans
know of them. The Greeks have expounded them excellently well. A teacher
Jesus was and a great teacher, but far more important was the fact that
God had raised him from the dead, thereby placing him above all the
prophets and near to God himself. So I have always taught that if Jesus
were not raised from the dead our teaching is vain. A miracle, he said,
and he looked into Jesus' face just as if he suspected him to be
thinking that something more than a miracle was needed to convince the
world of the truth of Paul's doctrine. A miracle, to the truth of which
more than five hundred have already testified. First he appeared to Mary
and Martha, afterwards to Cleophas and Khuza. On the way to Emmaus he
stayed and supped with them and afterwards he appeared to the twelve.
Hast met all the twelve and consulted with them? Jesus asked, and Paul,
a little irritated by the interruption, answered that he had seen Peter
and John and James and Philip but he knew not the others; and, of
course, James, the brother of the Lord. Tell me about him, Jesus
answered. He admits Jesus as a prophet among the others but no more, and
observes the law more strictly than any other Jew, a narrow-minded bigot
that has opposed my teaching as bitterly as the priests themselves. It
was he who, Paul began, but Jesus interrupted and asked about Peter.
Where was he? And what doctrine is he preaching? Paul answered that
Peter was at Antioch, though why he should choose to live there has
always seemed strange to me, for he does not speak Greek. But what trade
does he follow? Jesus asked. There are marshes and lakes about Antioch,
Paul replied, and these are well stocked with fish, of a quality
inferior, however, to those he used to catch in the lake of Gennesaret,
but still fish for which there is some sale. He and John own some boats
and they ply up and down the marshes, and draw up a living in their
nets, a poor and uncertain living I believe it to be, for they are often
about telling stories to the faithful of our Lord Jesus Christ, who pay
them for their recitals. One is always with them, a woman called Rachel.
It is said that she poisoned a rival at a wedding, a girl called Ruth
whom Jesus raised from the dead. Ruth went to her husband, but Rachel
followed Jesus of Nazareth.... Thou'rt a Galilean, Paul said, and know
these stories better than I.

As they walked on together, Paul's thoughts returned to the miracle of
his apostleship, received, he said, by me from Jesus Christ our Lord
himself on the road to Damascus. Thy brethren have doubtless related the
story to thee how in my journey from Jerusalem to Damascus, full of
wrath to kill and to punish the saints, I was blinded by a great light
from the skies, and out of a cloud Jesus Christ our Lord spoke to me:
Paul! Paul! he cried, why persecutest thou me? Ever since I have
preached that there is but one Mediator between God and man--Christ
Jesus our Lord, and if I ran out whilst thou wast telling thy story,
crying, he is mad, he is mad! it was because it seemed to me that thou
wert speaking by order of the Jews who would ensnare and entrap me or
for some other reason. None may divine men's desire of soul, unless an
evil spirit has descended into thee I may not divine any reason for thy
story. There is some mistake that none would regret more than thou, for
thou wouldst hear the truth from me this day, thereby gaining
everlasting life. Why dost thou not answer me, Jesus? Because thou'rt
waiting to hear from me the words that our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to
me? My brethren have told it to me, Jesus answered. And thou believest
it not? Paul cried. I believe, Jesus answered, that the Jesus that spake
to thee out of a cloud never lived in the flesh; he was a Lord Jesus
Christ of thy own imagining, and I believe, too, that if we had met in
Galilee thou wouldst not have heeded me, and thou wouldst have done
well, for in Galilee I was but a seeker; go thou and seek and be not
always satisfied with what first comes to thy hand.

These words provoked a great rage in Paul, and believing Jesus to be an
evil spirit come to tempt him, he turned fiercely upon him, threatening
him with his staff, bidding him begone. But as he could not desert Paul
in the wilderness Jesus dropped behind him and directed Paul's journey,
bidding him tread here and not there, to avoid the hill in front of him,
and to keep along the valley.

In this way they proceeded for about another hour, and then Jesus cried
out to Paul: yonder are the fig-trees where the shepherd told me to look
for a pool among the rocks after the late rains. Art overcome, Paul,
with the long march and the heat? Rest. Let me untie thy sandals. Alas!
they are worn through and will scarce carry thee into Bethennabrio. But
they must carry me thither, Paul answered, and if there be water in the
pool after we have drunken and filled our water-bottle I'll loose the
thongs and bathe my feet.

The season was advanced, but there were still leaves on the fig-trees,
and among the rocks some water had collected, and having drunk and
filled the water-bottle, Jesus loosed the thongs of Paul's sandals and
bound his feet with some bandages torn from his own clothing. He broke
the bread that the passing shepherd had given him, but Paul could eat
very little so overcome was he with fatigue. I shall try to eat after I
have slept a little, and having made his head comfortable with his
sheepskin, Jesus watched him doze away.

Soon after the warm rocks brought sleep to Jesus' eyes, and he fell
asleep trying to remember that he had nothing more explicit to rely upon
than his own declaration (where should it be made, in the streets to the
people or in the Sanhedrin to the priests?) that he was Jesus of
Nazareth whom Pilate condemned to the cross, only his own words to
convince the priests and the people that he was not a shepherd whom the
loneliness of the hills had robbed of his senses. He could not bring the
Essenes as testimony, nor could they if they came vouch for the whole
truth of his story.


Hast slept well, Paul, and hath sleep refreshed thee and given thee
strength to pursue thy journey? Paul answered that he was very weary,
but however weary must struggle on to Caesarea. Thy strength wilt not
suffer thee to get farther than Bethennabrio, and to reach Bethennabrio
I must make thy sandals comfortable, Jesus answered, and on these words
he knelt and succeeded in arranging the thongs so that Paul walked
without pain.

They walked without speaking, Paul afraid lest some chance word of his
might awaken Jesus' madness, and Jesus forgetful of Paul, his mind now
set on Jerusalem, whither he was going as soon as Paul was safely out of
the way of the Jews. Each shut himself within the circle of his own
mind, and the silence was not broken till Paul began to fear that Jesus
was plotting against him, and to distract Jesus' mind from his plots, if
he were weaving any, he ventured to compare the country they were
passing through with Galilee, and forthwith Jesus began to talk to Paul
of Peter and John and James, sons of Zebedee, mentioning their
appearances, voices, manner of speech, relating their boats, their
fishing tackle, the fish-salting factory at Magdala, Dan, and Joseph his
son. He spoke volubly, genially, a winning relation it was of the
fishing life round the lake, without mention of miracles, for it was not
to his purpose to convince Paul of any spiritual power he may have
enjoyed, but rather of his own simple humanity. And Paul listened to all
his narratives complacently, still believing his guide to be a madman.
If thou hadst not run away crying, he is mad, he is mad! thou wouldst
have heard how my crucifixion was brought about; how my eyes opened in
the tomb and---- Interrupting Jesus, Paul hastened to assure him that if
he cried out, he is mad, he is mad, he had spoken the words unwittingly,
they were put into his mouth by the sickness in which Jesus had
discovered him. And the sickness, he admitted, might have been brought
about by the shock of hearing thee speak of thyself as the Messiah. But,
Paul, I did not speak of myself as the Messiah, but as an Essene who
during some frenzied months believed himself to be the Messiah. But,
shepherd, Paul answered, the Messiah promised to the Jews was Jesus of
Nazareth, who was raised by his Father from the dead, and thou sayest
that thou art the same. If thou didst once believe thyself to be the
Messiah thou hast repented thy blasphemy. Let us talk no more about the
Messiah. In the desert these twenty years, Jesus answered. But not till
now did I know my folly had borne fruit. Nor do I know now if Joseph
knew that a story had been set going. It may be that the story was not
set going till after his death. Now it seems too late to go into the
field thou hast sown with tares instead of corn. To which Paul answered:
it is my knowledge of thy seclusion among rocks that prompts me to
listen to thee. The field I have sown like every other field has some
tares in it, but it is full of corn ripening fast which will be ready
for the reaping when it shall please the Lord to descend with his own
son, Jesus of Nazareth, from the skies. As soon as the words Jesus of
Nazareth had left his lips Paul regretted them, for he did not doubt
that he was speaking to a madman whose name, no doubt, was Jesus, and
who had come from Nazareth, and having got some inkling of the true
story of the resurrection had little by little conceived himself to be
he who had died that all might be saved; and upon a sudden resolve not
to utter another word that might offend the madman's beliefs, he began
to tell that he had brought hope to the beggar, the outcast, to the
slave; though this world was but a den of misery to them, another world
was coming to which they might look forward in full surety; and many, he
said, that led vile lives are now God-fearing men and women who, when
the daily work is done, go forth in the evening to beseech the multitude
to give some time to God.

In every field there are tares, but there are fewer in my field than in
any other, and that I hold to be the truth; and seeing that Jesus was
listening to his story he began to relate his theology, perplexing Jesus
with his doctrines, but interesting him with the glad tidings that the
burden of the law had been lifted from all. If he had stopped there all
would have been well, so it seemed to Jesus, whose present mind was not
able to grasp why a miracle should be necessary to prove to men that the
love of God was in the heart rather than in observances, and the miracle
that Paul continued to relate with so much unction seemed to him so
crude; yet he once believed that God was pleased to send his only
begotten son to redeem the world by his death on a cross. A strange
conception truly. And while he was thinking these things Paul fell to
telling his dogma concerning predestination, and he was anxious that
Jesus should digest his reply to Mathias, who had said that
predestination conflicted with the doctrine of salvation for all. But
Jesus, who was of Mathias' opinion, refrained from expressing himself
definitely on the point, preferring to forget Paul, so that he might
better consider if he would be able to make plain to Paul that miracles
bring no real knowledge of God to man, and that our conscience is the
source of our knowledge of God and that perhaps a providence nourishes
beyond the world.

Meanwhile Paul continued his discourse, till, becoming suddenly aware
that Jesus' thoughts were far away, he stopped speaking; the silence
awoke Jesus from his meditation, and he began to compare Paul's
strenuous and restless life with his own, asking himself if he envied
this man who had laboured so fiercely and meditated so little. And Paul,
divining in a measure the thoughts that were passing in Jesus' mind,
began to speak to Jesus of our life in the flesh and its value. For is
it not true, he asked, that it is in our fleshly life we earn our
immortal life? But, Paul, Jesus said, it seems unworthy to love virtue
to gain heaven. Is it not better to love virtue for its own sake? I have
heard that question many times, Paul answered, and believe those that
ask it to be of little faith; were I not sure that our Lord Jesus Christ
died, and was raised by his Father from the dead, I should turn to the
pleasures of this world, though there is but little taste in me for
them, only that little which all men suffer, and I have begged God to
redeem me from it, but he answered: my grace suffices.

A great pity for Paul took possession of Jesus, and seeking to gain him,
Jesus spoke of the Essenes and their life, and the advantage it would be
to him to return to the Brook Kerith. Among the brethren thou'lt seek
and find thyself, and every man, he continued, is behoven sooner or
later to seek himself; and thyself, Paul, if I read thee rightly, hath
always been overlooked by thee, which is a fault. So thou thinkest,
Jesus, that I have always overlooked myself? But which self? For there
have been many selves in me. A Pharisee that went forth from Jerusalem
with letters from the chief priests to persecute the saints in Damascus.
The self that has begun to wish that life were over so that I may be
brought to Christ, never to be separated again from him. Or the self
that lies beyond my reason, that would hold me accursed from Christ, if
thereby I might bring the whole world to Christ in exchange: which self
of those three wouldst thou have me seek and discover in the Brook
Kerith? He waited a little while for Jesus to answer, then he answered
his own question: my work is my conscience made manifest, and my soul is
in the Lord Jesus Christ that was crucified and raised from the dead by
his Father. He lives in me, and it is by his power that I live.

The men stopped and looked into each other's eyes, and it seemed to them
that no two men were so irreparably divided. Thou must bear with me,
Paul, Jesus said, a little while longer, till we reach a certain
hillside, distant about an hour's journey from this valley. I must see
thee to a place of safety, and the thoughts in my mind I will consider
while we strive up these sand-hills. Now if thy sandals hurt thee tell
me and I will arrange the thongs differently. Paul answered that they
were easy to wear, and they toiled up the dunes in silence, Paul
thinking how he might persuade this madman to return to his cenoby and
leave the world to him.

There are some, he said, as they came out of a valley, that think the
time is long deferred before the Lord will come. Thou'rt Jesus of
Nazareth, I deny it not, but the Jesus of Nazareth that I preach is of
the spirit and not of the flesh, and it was the spirit and not the flesh
that was raised from the dead. Thy doctrine that man's own soul is his
whole concern is well enough for the philosophers of Egypt and Greece,
but we who know the judgment to be near, and that there is salvation for
all, must hasten with the glad tidings. Wilt tell me, Paul, of what
value would thy teaching be if Jesus did not die on the cross? Many
times and in many places I have said my teaching would be as naught if
our Lord Jesus had not died, Paul answered. Are not my hands and feet
testimony, Paul, that I speak the truth? Look unto them. Pilate put many
beside thee on the cross, Paul replied, and, as I have told thee, my
Christ is not of this world. If he be not of this world, is he God or
angel? Jesus asked, and Paul said: neither, but God's own son, chosen by
God from the beginning to redeem the world, not the Jews only, but all
men, Gentiles and Jews alike. Thou hast asked me to look into thy hands
and feet, but what testimony may be a few ancient scars to me that heard
our Lord Jesus Christ speak out of the clouds? Thou wast not in the
cenoby when I told my story, hoping thereby to get a dozen apostles to
accompany me to Spain, a wide and difficult country I'm told, a dozen
would not be too many; but thou wast not there to hear what befell me on
the road to Damascus, whither I was going to persecute the saints; and
again a great pity for Paul took possession of Jesus as he listened to
the story. Were I to persuade him that there was no miracle, his mind
would snap, Jesus said to himself, and he figured Paul wandering
demented through the hills.

And when Paul came to the end of his story he seemed to have forgotten
the man walking by his side. He is rapt, Jesus said to himself, in the
Jesus of his imagination. And when they had walked for another hour
Jesus said: seest the ridge of hills over yonder? There we shall find
the village, two hours' march from Caesarea. The sea rises up in front of
thee and a long meandering road will lead thee into Caesarea. At yonder
ridge of hills we part. And whither goest thou? Paul asked. Returnest
thou to the Brook Kerith? I know not whither I go, but a great seeming
is in my heart that it will not be to the Brook Kerith nor to Jerusalem.
To Jerusalem? Paul repeated. What persuasion or what desire would bring
thee to that accursed city of men more stubborn than all others? I left
the Brook Kerith, Paul, after listening to Hazael for a long while; he
sought to dissuade me against Jerusalem, but I resisted his counsel,
saying that now I knew thee to be preaching the resurrection of Jesus of
Nazareth from the dead, thereby leading the people astray, I must return
to Jerusalem to tell the priest that he whom they believed to be raised
from the dead still lived in the flesh. However mad thou beest, the
priests will welcome thy story and for it may glorify thee or belike put
thee on the cross again. But this is sure that emissaries will be sent
to Italy and Spain, who will turn the people's mind from the truth; and
the testimony of the twelve that saw Jesus and of the five hundred that
saw him afterwards will be as naught; and the Jews will scoff at me,
saying: he whom thou declarest was raised from the dead lives; and the
Gentiles will scoff and say: we will listen to thee, Paul, another day;
and the world will fall back into idolatry, led back into it by the
delusions of a madman. The word of God is a weak thing, Paul, Jesus
answered, if it cannot withstand and overcome the delusions of a madman,
and God himself a derision, for he will have sent his son to die on the
cross in vain. Of the value of the testimony of the twelve I am the
better judge. Then thou goest to Jerusalem, Paul asked, to confute me?
No, Paul, I shall not return to Jerusalem. Because, Paul interrupted,
thou wouldst not see the world fall back into idolatry? Thou art a good
man despite---- Despite my delusions, Jesus said, interrupting Paul. So
thou'rt afraid the world will fall back into idolatry?--yet Jesus of
Nazareth has been proclaimed by thee as the Messiah, a man above
mankind. A spiritual being, higher than the angels, therefore, in a way,
part and parcel of the Godhead though not yet equal to God. Thinkest,
Paul, that those that come after thee will not pick up the Messiah where
thou hast left him and carry him still further into deity?

It is not fear of idolatry, Paul, that turns me from Jerusalem. The
world will always be idolatrous in some sort of fashion. Bear that well
in mind whither thou goest. The world cannot be else than the world.

Let us sit here, Paul answered, for I would hear thee under this rock in
front of this sea; thou shalt tell me how thou earnest into these
thoughts. Thou, a shepherd among the Judean hills. Jesus answered him:
the things that I taught in Galilee were not vain, but I only knew part
of the truth, that which thou knowest, that sacrifices and observances
are vain; and when I went to Jerusalem the infamy of the Temple and its
priests became clear to me, and I yielded to anger, for I was possessed
of a great desire to save the people. The Scribes and Pharisees
conspired against me, and I was brought before the High Priest, who rent
his garments. We have but little time to spend together, and rather than
that story I would hear thee tell of the thoughts that came to thee
whilst thou didst lead thy flocks over the hills.

For many years, Paul, there were no thoughts in my mind, or they were
kept back, for I was without a belief; but thought returned to my
desolate mind as the spring returns to these hills; and the next step in
my advancement was when I began to understand that we may not think of
God as a man who would punish men for doing things they have never
promised not to do, or recompense them for abstinence from things they
never promised to abstain from. Soon after I began to comprehend that
the beliefs of our forefathers must be abandoned, and that if we would
arrive at any reasonable conception of God, we must not put a stint upon
him. And as I wandered with my sheep he became in my senses not without
but within the universe, part and parcel, not only of the stars and the
earth, but of me, yea, even of my sheep on the hillside. All things are
God, Paul: thou art God and I am God, but if I were to say thou art man
and I am God, I should be the madman that thou believest me to be. That
was the second step in my advancement; and the third step, Paul, in my
advancement was the knowledge that God did not design us to know him but
through our consciousness of good and evil, only thus far may we know
him. So thou seest, Paul, he has not written the utmost stint of his
power upon us, and this being so, Paul--and who shall say that it is not
so--it came to me to understand that all striving was vain, and worse
than vain. The pursuit of a corruptible crown as well as the pursuit of
an incorruptible crown leads us to sin. If we would reach the sinless
state we must relinquish pursuit. What I mean is this, that he who seeks
the incorruptible crown starts out with words of love on his lips to
persuade men to love God, and finding that men do not heed him he begins
to hate them, and hate leads on into persecution. Such is the end of all
worship. There is but one thing, Paul, to learn to live for ourselves,
and to suffer our fellows to do likewise; all learning comes out of
ourselves, and no one may communicate his thought; for his thought was
given to him for himself alone. Thou art where I was once, thou hast
learnt that sacrifices and observances are vain, that God is in our
heart; and it may be that in years to come thy knowledge will be
extended, or it may be that thou hast reached the end of thy tether: we
are all at tether, Paul.

Wouldst thou have me learn, Jesus, that God is to be put aside? Again,
Paul, thou showest me the vanity of words. God forbid that I should say
banish God from thy hearts. God cannot be banished, for God is in us.
All things proceed from God; all things end in God; God like all the
rest is a possession of the mind. He who would be clean must be obedient
to God. God has not designed us to know him except through our
conscience. Each man's conscience is a glimpse. These are some of the
things that I have learnt, Paul, in the wilderness during the last
twenty years. But seek not to understand me. Thou canst not understand
me and be thyself; but, Paul, I can comprehend thee, for once I was
thou. Whither goest thou? Paul cried, looking back. But Jesus made no
answer, and Paul, with a flutter of exaltation in his heart, turned
towards Caesarea, knowing now for certain that Jesus would not go to
Jerusalem to provoke the Jews against him. Italy would therefore hear of
the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ that had brought salvation
for all, and Spain afterwards. Spain, Spain, Spain! he repeated as he
walked, filled with visions of salvation. He walked with Spain vaguely
in his mind till his reverie was broken by the sound of voices, and he
saw people suddenly in a strange garb going towards the hillside on
which he had left Jesus; neither Jews nor Greeks were they, and on
turning to a shepherd standing by he heard that the strangely garbed
people were monks from India, and they are telling the people, the
shepherd said, that they must not believe that they have souls, and that
they know that they are saved. What can be saved but the spirit? Paul
cried, and he asked the shepherd how far he was from the village of
Bethennabrio. Not more than half-an-hour, the shepherd answered, and it
was upon coming into sight of the village that Paul began to trace a
likeness between the doctrines that Jesus had confided to him and the
shepherd's story of the doctrines that were being preached by the monks
from India. His thoughts were interrupted by the necessity of asking the
first passenger coming from the village to direct him to the inn, and it
was good tidings to hear that there was one.

However meagre the food might be, it would be enough, he answered, and
while he sat at supper he remembered Jesus again, and while thinking of
his doctrines and the likeness they bore to those the Indians were
preaching, some words of Jesus returned to him. He had said that he did
not think he was going back to the Brook Kerith, and it may well be,
Paul muttered, that in saying those words he was a prophet without
knowing it. The monks from India will meet him in the valley, and if
they speak to him they will soon gather from him that he divined much of
their philosophy while watching his flock, and finding him to be of
their mind they may ask him to return to India with them and he will
preach there.

Sleep began to gather in Paul's eyes and he was soon dozing, thinking in
his doze how pleasant it was to lie in a room with no bats above him. A
remembrance of the smell kept him awake, but his fatigue was so great
that his sleep grew deeper and deeper and many hours passed over, and
the people in the inn thought that Paul would never wake again. But this
long sleep did not redeem him from the fatigue of his journeys. He could
not set out again till late in the afternoon, and it was evening when he
passed over the last ridge of hills and saw the yellow sands of Caesarea
before him. The sky was grey, and the rain that Jesus had foreseen was
beginning to fall, and it was through shades of evening that he saw the
great mole covered with buildings stretching far into the sea. Timothy
will be waiting for me at the gate if he has not fallen over a
precipice, he said, and a few minutes after he caught sight of Timothy
waiting for him. Paul opened his arms to him. Thoughtest that I was lost
to thee for ever, Timothy? God whispered in my ears, Timothy answered,
that he would bring thee back safely, and the ship is already in offing.
It would be well to go on board now, for at daybreak we weigh anchor.
Thou'lt sleep better on board. And Paul, who was too weary even to
answer, allowed himself to be led. And, too weary to sleep, he lay

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