Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

5. Chapter V (continued)

              TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.
Ye worship in ignorance the same Deity I serve.
  To you unknown till now, to you be it now revealed."

'Then declared that solemn man how this great Maker of all things, who had appointed unto man his several tribes and his various homes--the Lord of earth and the universal heaven, dwelt not in temples made with hands; that His presence, His spirit, were in the air we breathed--our life and our being were with Him. "Think you," he cried, "that the Invisible is like your statues of gold and marble? Think you that He needeth sacrifice from you: He who made heaven and earth?" Then spoke he of fearful and coming times, of the end of the world, of a second rising of the dead, whereof an assurance had been given to man in the resurrection of the mighty Being whose religion he came to preach.

'When he thus spoke, the long-pent murmur went forth, and the philosophers that were mingled with the people, muttered their sage contempt; there might you have seen the chilling frown of the Stoic, and the Cynic's sneer; and the Epicurean, who believeth not even in our own Elysium, muttered a pleasant jest, and swept laughing through the crowd: but the deep heart of the people was touched and thrilled; and they trembled, though they knew not why, for verily the stranger had the voice and majesty of a man to whom "The Unknown God" had committed the preaching of His faith.'

Ione listened with wrapt attention, and the serious and earnest manner of the narrator betrayed the impression that he himself had received from one who had been amongst the audience that on the hill of the heathen Mars had heard the first tidings of the word of Christ!

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