“How wonderful it seems,” the knight begins: “so many times have your faces come to me in my dreams, but now I am fully awake and see them once again. Hail to you all! When I was sailing away from Brundisium, the augur foretold for me an unusual experience. In the Jewish life beyond the Sea I have learned much, if that were the fulfillment. But, most of all, I have come back with a new religious faith. In Judaea, as you must have heard, a certain Galilaean has called himself the Son of the one true God. He has spoken of a future life for men; and he has now risen from the grave, after his torture on a cross, to prove his doctrine true. I now believe in him, as the interpreter of the future life. Forevermore he is my High Priest, and not the great pontifex in the temple of your Jupiter.”
Brave words they are. There in the great hall of Marcus, with the sunlight shining on the gorgeous palaces of the Caesars, the Temple of Apollo, and all else which crowns the Palatine, the noble Quintus confesses his new belief. Come what will the consequences!
Then, while they hear in amazement, he further says; “Most inviting is this new creed. Our wise Roman scholars, as well as those in Greece, have only been guessers about the future life. But the Christus speaks as one who has come from the heavens. Those who keep his commandments are to dwell with him forevermore in eternal joy. Everywhere through Judaea men are becoming his followers, and the wide world is to believe on him. Perhaps you also, my cherished ones, will come to accept his teaching of the future life.”
So Quintus speaks, with his vibrant voice and with a strange light on his face. Wonderingly they hear the tidings that he brings—the recital of the greatest happening that can ever befall a man. Not deriding their valiant soldier, and not withholding their wealth of love from one who has come safely back to them, they watch the changes in his life.
“I do not care,” he says, “to loiter in the baths of Agrippa and to hear from the idlers there the gossip of the hour. The gladiatorial struggles in the Circus Maximus and the comedies in the theaters have lost for me their relish. For the civic rewards which Tiberius gives his favored ones I have no wish. Senatorships and proconsulships are like the dust in the apothecaries’ scales. I have seen the risen Lord!”
Influential is such a life on the home group of Quintus. With his pride of birth and his great properties, Marcus becomes a believer. A conversion it is which is the surprise of Rome. The rare Lucretia, as well, receives the truth. At times, before she has called herself a disciple, Quintus escorts her to the worship of the Roman Christians. Their captivating speech, their holy love for one another, their rapturous faces move her deepest heart. Till, one day, when Quintus has been telling her of the womanhood in Judaea which the Christ has ennobled, she replies: