"And he is the Truth," he resumed. "His word is God. The hills may turn to dust, and the seas be drunk dry by south winds; but his word shall stand, because it is the Truth."
The utterance was in a manner inexpressibly solemn.
"The voice, which was his, speaking to me by the lake, said, 'Blessed art thou, O son of Mizraim! The Redemption cometh. With two others from the remotenesses of the earth, thou shalt see the Savior.' I have seen the Savior--blessed be his name!--but the Redemption, which was the second part of the promise, is yet to come. Seest thou now? If the Child be dead, there is no agent to bring the Redemption about, and the word is naught, and God--nay, I dare not say it!"
He threw up both hands in horror.
"The Redemption was the work for which the Child was born; and so long as the promise abides, not even death can separate him from his work until it is fulfilled, or at least in the way of fulfilment. Take you that now as one reason for my belief; then give me further attention."
"Wilt thou not taste the wine? It is at thy hand--see," said Ilderim, respectfully.
Balthasar drank, and, seeming refreshed, continued:
"The Savior I saw was born of woman, in nature like us, and subject to all our ills--even death. Let that stand as the first proposition. Consider next the work set apart to him. Was it not a performance for which only a man is fitted?--a man wise, firm, discreet--a man, not a child? To become such he had to grow as we grow. Bethink you now of the dangers his life was subject to in the interval--the long interval between childhood and maturity. The existing powers were his enemies; Herod was his enemy; and what would Rome have been? And as for Israel--that he should not be accepted by Israel was the motive for cutting him off. See you now. What better way was there to take care of his life in the helpless growing time than by passing him into obscurity? Wherefore I say to myself, and to my listening faith, which is never moved except by yearning of love--I say he is not dead, but lost; and, his work remaining undone, he will come again. There you have the reasons for my belief. Are they not good?"