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gradeth all which follow it, and sinketh them deeper and yet more deep in sin.
At this they all, with one accord, laid hold of their drunken sides and laughed with great enjoyment, and yet with great scorn too.
Trivialis, when he saw this thing, pretendeth he had spoken only in jest. “Ye do take me seriously," he said. “Ye should not do so, for I but jested."
Thereupon they laughed the more, and arose and buffeted him sorely, crying: “Into the corner, and remain. For thou art neither boon companion nor yet true preacher."
After a time one that was in the crowd, but yet was not of it, being sober and of most excellent judgment, did wend his way around and about among the drunken companions, and lay hands heavily on Trivialis.
“Come thou with me," he commanded.
And when they had got outside the circle which the torch cast of light as it stood aslant over the doorway, then said the sober one to Trivialis : “My name is Agonus, which, interpreted, meaneth ‘Remorse.' For this, that I do love thee well, I prohibit that thou shouldst return unto Dissolutio and his brawling companions. Get thee away! Come!"
Then Trivialis, growing into a hot rage: “Thou sayest thou art called, plainly, Agonus, which, being interpreted, meaneth Remorse. Well then, my name, as I would have thee plainly understand, is Adespotus, which, interpreted, meaneth ‘He that Hath No Master.' And, as my name, so am I. Away then, and get thee far from me. Else shall I kill thee."
But Remorse drew a great two-handed sword, and cried unto him: "Ere thou shalt kill me, I will even kill thee.”
And, at this, Trivialis, for the half of a twinkling, was a mind to try conclusions with his adversary. But, looking the great antagonist over, he said in his heart: "Nay, he is much too big for me." So, outwardly, he said: “Let me only return to Dissolutio and get back the gem which my master gave me, but which Dissolutio hath defrauded me out of. I will rattle the dice with him till I have got me the gem back."
Said Agonus, "I will not suffer thee to go back, for, if thou goest back, then art thou thyself surely lost. And the stone which thou hast said was a symbol of youth and of promise and of opportunity, it is gone forever, that I do know. Draw, therefore, O foolish man, and let us have this battle out."
Now Agonus loomed so lusty, and his sword so long, so keen, and so glittering bright, that Trivialis turned, and, gathering his feet together, fled, like the coward he was, quickly away—and Remorse close after him.
He fled for many hours, both in the city and in the country. For neither would he come to a fight direct with Remorse, nor yet, upon the other hand, did he dare go back to his sometime friend, Dissolutio —though much he wished he might do this.
When the sun arose, then did Remorse cease following after Trivialis. And Trivialis did discover himself in the agora, which is to say the market place, of the great city.
And he busied himself with many things in the noisy and variegated market place, seeking forgetfulness, yet all the while yearning as before for his sometime friend and reveller, even Dissolutio.
So Samson-Solomon of Cyrene and Lampadephorus the Athenian sware eternal friendship and fidelity. Even as they marched across the lonely sands of Time, in the darkness of the worldly night, then sware they eternal friendship each unto each. And Samson-Solomon at length said, “I will go with thee, Lampadephorus, even as far as Crocodilopolis, that wonderful city of which I have heard."
Now there came for the Jew, long afterward, a day when all these things were a part of a hated and irreparable past—a time of wildest wishes and vainest and most forlorn regrets, of bitter tears, of terrible repentance. And of a sudden the boy even now beheld, as often he had known himself to do before—for prophecy was of his nature a futurizing vision, wherein there flowed between him and his friend a river of blood. And the Greek (that that was in the vision) cried : “Thou hast shed, O friend, my blood.” And the boy saw yet again a vision, and behold! once more a river as it were of blood. And the friend, which was the Greek, again cried out, saying: “This time thou hast instead preserved my blood.” And yet a third time did the Jew behold a vision. And again the Greek cried out across the crimson current, “This blood, it is owing to Cæsar. I am wholly Cæsar's. Try not. Thou canst not in any wise succor me."
And behold, the Greek was in fact saying unto him: “I am wholly Cæsar's."
Then said Samson, “I-am wholly Adonai's. Yet I love also
The Greek said, “Thou didst say aforetime thou didst love Adonai, the one and only God."
Said the Jew, “And I promised thee I would tell thee of Him. As I said, so I will do, for I am to be a monument unto the Almighty."
Once again the Jew could hear, from far ahead in the starlit desert, the words of the song of the men of many nations
“There was once a glorious king
Who fell by reason of his strength.” And once again the soul of the Jew was filled with unutterable sadness, and he remembered the allegories which he had used to make, or else to recall, in the sheepfields, as the caravans went by. And now, more than ever, it seemed to him that the night and the angling caravan and the hills and precipices which passed them by in the darkness, were all like the journey which a soul doth make from its cradle to the grave, both in mystery and in darkness, and also beset by harrowing dangers.
And Samson drew up closer to the Greek, that he might not step off into the dangerous places. And these were the words of Solomon, or Samson, of Cyrene, son of Shem ben-Noah ben-Adam, as he spake unto Lampadephorus, the sunny headed Greek: “Adonai! When I do think of Adonai, I am like to faint. And truly His splendors are ever within me like to a veritable Sheckinah. Even when I struck my father's steward, I was thinking of Adonai. For Him it was I struck, with howsoever much of unwisdom.
“Seest thou these stars? Adonai made them. They are not gods, as the heathen ofttimes declare: they are merely creatures of Adonai. These sands we travel on, they are creatures of Adonai. And the caravan itself—thou, I, every human being—we were shapen by His hands. Space and time, too, as I have heard the rabbis tell, they were made by Adonai. The first was spread out by His fingers, and then He set His other creatures into it, and all alike were started on that strange and inexplicable journey which we call time. It beginneth, for each and every person, at the cradle, it endeth, for each and every person, at the tomb."
“Aristotle," said the Greek, “hath declared that time is un
' limited, both time and space, also the atoms and the moments that do fill them up. The world hath existed always, saith that great philosopher, and always will continue to be."
"That is a mistake,” said the Jew, with positiveness. "In the beginning was God. Before Him and beside Him there was nothing. He spake, and things were."
Then told the Jew of the making of Adam, thenafter Eve. Then of the Serpent, which is Satan, the vile one who wished to be God's rival. “Now knowest thou what sin is. It is when we do the things that please God's adversary, not God.”
“And then you buy your peace.” “How buy peace with Adonai ?”
"A cake, a libation poured on the ground, a sheep slaughtered, at the most a hecatomb."
“These things are only symbols,” said the Jew. “A humble and repentant heart alone will reconcile us with Adonai. But the symbols are useful, for they make us understand and remember."
“By the white flesh of Aphrodite!” cried Lampadephorus. “Thou hast a peculiar religion. We Greeks and Romans reconcile ourselves with Venus (for one ensample) by staying for a time with her prostitutes. Hast thou heard of Petra ?'
“Yea, they do slaughter and bury an innocent child there, to propitiate Dusares. Who would have so foul a god? But my God is pure. He is truly El-Shaddai, and He needeth not to be impurenor would be. But all these other gods are merely angels of the Devil, him that brought sin into the world.”
“Ye do propitiate such gods for sin with further sin. How know any man, or god or devil, save by the works which he doeth ?”
“My gods are very beautiful,” said Lampadephorus. “Enough. One religion is just as good as another, if only it be beautiful. As for repentance- Now the religion of the Romans is by no means beautiful. Those people care about the gods merely for what can be got out of them. To the Greeks, the Olympians are first and foremost for a worship; to the Romans, for divination, augury, the furtherance of their own plans and ambitions. The Egyptians see the immortals in the shapes of repellant beasts; we Greeks, however, in the matchless forms of men and women.”
“Ye Jews behold them not at all. Ye have but one God, and He hath the shape of water, which is nothing. Ye do worship nothing, for form is everything.'
“But Messiah will come. He will come in a shape that all the world, rejoicing,"
But by now the caravan had stopped within an excellent space, and a fire was started with the dry dung of horses, for night in the desert is chill.
And when all had been refreshed, but were yet awhile resting before they went again upon their way, Samson-Solomon of Cyrenaica did speak his heart out freely to the Greek again. And he saw from time to time that the men of many nations were listening; yet he thought, "Shall I be like Jonah ?” and failed not further to speak to them, relating the story both of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob and Joseph and his brethren, and of the stay in idolatrous Egypt, the exodus from thence beneath the guiding hand of great Moses, the entrance (after many wanderings) into the Promised Land, the Judges, the Kingdom, the continued idolatries, and, at last, the subjugation and the carrying away into Captivity—since which fearful experience (that had been unto them like a schoolmaster) his people had been devoid of all idolatries.
Then he spake about the Messiah, and of what His long-expected coming would mean for the whole world—especially the lowly and humble of heart.
“Speakest thou against Cæsar?” cried some that stood nigh, and began to threaten him.
He only said, “I speak truth. Is it against Cæsar?" For a time, they were silenced.
But when, afterwards, the Greek spake, he said nothing concerning Cæsar, and only that the teachings of the Jew were, as to his own mind, not logical enough, and not sufficiently filled with matters of this world and of gaiety and physical joy. Especially he could not understand “sin.” But some that had stood by, listening (among them a very humble one, Sincerus) carried away in their hearts both the fear of sin and the knowledge and love of the Lord. As for Sincerus, he, on a later day, became a proselyte unto righteousness. And going into many places, he taught that salvation is of the Jews, and brought many others also unto God, until at length, Jehovah, who long had loved him and supported him in fleshly tribulations, reached forth and took him home.
But (at the present hour) others waxed wroth, some made the ciconia at the preacher, and all did take to their horses, and the caravan went on, Jew beside Greek, till the red morning arose with its glare and intolerable ardor, and the caravan halted, and the servants set up the smaller and the larger tents, and some of the travellers refreshed themselves once more, but all (excepting the watchers of the camp) did lay themselves down into slumbers.
And Samson slept in the tent of Lampadephorus, though, as he