Edward Bulwer-Lytton: The Last Days of Pompeii

4. Chapter IV (continued)

'Thou hast looked, they tell me, on the face of Christ?'

'And the face revived me from the dead. Know, young proselyte to the true faith, that I am he of whom thou readest in the scroll of the Apostle. In the far Judea, and in the city of Nain, there dwelt a widow, humble of spirit and sad of heart; for of all the ties of life one son alone was spared to her. And she loved him with a melancholy love, for he was the likeness of the lost. And the son died. The reed on which she leaned was broken, the oil was dried up in the widow's cruse. They bore the dead upon his bier; and near the gate of the city, where the crowd were gathered, there came a silence over the sounds of woe, for the Son of God was passing by. The mother, who followed the bier, wept--not noisily, but all who looked upon her saw that her heart was crushed. And the Lord pitied her, and he touched the bier, and said, "I SAY UNTO THEE, ARISE," And the dead man woke and looked upon the face of the Lord. oh, that calm and solemn brow, that unutterable smile, that careworn and sorrowful face, lighted up with a God's benignity--it chased away the shadows of the grave! I rose, I spoke, I was living, and in my mother's arms--yes, I am the dead revived! The people shouted, the funeral horns rung forth merrily: there was a cry, "God has visited His people!" I heard them not--I felt--I saw--nothing but the face of the Redeemer!'

The old man paused, deeply moved; and the youth felt his blood creep, and his hair stir. He was in the presence of one who had known the Mystery of Death!

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