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Greck assunring his most decorous and sober attire, proceeded to what would now be called the bureau of the Chancellor of the Excliequer. It was situated near the Forum, in the cloister around which were grouped the shops of the argentarii and mensarii, or private and public bankers of Rome. It held about the same relation to those that the Treasury Department at New York does to the bankers' offices and Gold Board in Wall Street. On every side were evidences of the concentrated wealth and power of the august mistress of the world. A vast granite building, as strong and solid as a prison, was before him. Roman sentinels paced the street, hugging the wall to share the protection from the noontide heat offered by its grateful shade. Convoys of specie, guarded by cohorts
of soldiers with unsheathed swords, were tinually arriving or departing. Gangs of sturdy porters, naked to the waist, were conveying the heavy iron-Lound coffers to and from the vaults. Officers were counting the tallies and checking the vouchers, giving and accepting receipts. Publicans and tax farmers of many hues and varied garbs were there from many distant climes -the swart Egyptian, the olive Syrian, the graceful Greck, the pale-faced yellow-haired German or Briton. But most prominent of all, everywhere was seen the pusling, aggressive, keen-eyed, hook-nosed Jew, who in every age and every land seems to have had a genius for finance, banking, and the handling of money.
From the hundred provinces of Rome the tribute money wrung from wretched peasants, to support Imperial luxury, to maintain the conquering legions, to pay for the largess of corni that fed the Rainan plebs, and for the fêtes of the circus that amused them, and to carry on the vast governmental administration of the Empire—all poured into this greatest focus of moneyed wealth in the world. Like Daniel in Babylon, Adauctus, the Christian, was set over all this treasure, “because an excellent spirit was in him, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” The Emperors, when amid prevailing corruption, extortion, and fraud, they found an honest servant and able administrator, winked pretty hard at his private opinions, so long as they did not conflict with his duty to the State. Ilence, from the days of St. Paul, we find that enrolled among the fellowship of Christ's Church were
they of Caesar's household;" and among the epitaphs of the Catacombs we find frequent examples of Christians of lofty rank, and holding important offices of trust; as for instance: "Sccretary of the Patrician Order,” “Sergeant of the Exchequer," “ Prefect of the City,” “Ex-Quæstor of the Sacred Palace,” “Master of the Imperial Ilousehold,” and the like.
Making his way to the private apartment, or office of Adauctus, the Greek found him dictating despatches to a secretary. At a nod from his chief, the secretary retired, and Adauctus, with warm interest, addressed Isidorus in the words:
“Right welcome, aster your successful quest. You have skilfully performed a difficult task. The Empress is greatly gratificd, and you may count your fortune as good as wade.”
“ Your Excellency is too kind,” replied the Greek, with a graceful salutation; "I feel that I do not deserve your praise.”
"Your modesty, my friend,” remarked Adauctus with a smile, “shall not prevent your promotion. It is too rare a gift not to be encouraged.”
“I have come, your Excellency,” said Isidorus, with some degree of trepidation,“ upon a business that nearly concerns yourself, and some to whom you wish well.”
“ It is very good of you,” Adauctus calınly replied, “but I do not think you can give me any information that I do not already possess."
"I am in duty bound,” continued the Greek, " to reveal to your Excellency, what is a secret which is sedulously kept from your knowledge. You lave enemies who have vowed your destruction—the Princess Fiusta, Furca, the archpriest of Cybele, and the Prefect Naso. They menace also the Empresses Prisca and Valeria, and others in high places suspected of Christianity.”
Is that all you can tell me?" asked Adauctus, with a smile. “Look you,” and unlocking an ivory cabinet, he took out a wax-covered tablet on which were inscribed the names of several other conspirators against his life, with the particulars of their plots.
“I have not sought one of these disclosures," he went on, "yet they have come to me from trustworthy sources; sometimes from men who are themselves Pagan, yet with honest souls that recoil from treachery and murder.”
“And you know all this and remain thus calm !” exclaimed the Greek in amazement “With such a sword of Damocles hanging over my head, I am sure I could neither eat nor sleep."
Have you never read the words," asked Adauctus sulemuly, "The very lairs of your head are all numbered ?' and not a sparrow shall fall without your Father's notice. Have you never read of righteous Daniel whom his enemies cast into the lions' den, and how God shut the lions' mouths that they did him no harm. You have seen the pictured story in the Catacombs. So will my God deliver me from the mouth of the lion," and a look of heroic faith transfigured his face—"or,” lie whispered lower, but with an expression of even more utter trust, " or give a greater victory and take me to Himself.”
Such stoical philosophy, my master,” said the Greek with bated breath, “neither Zeno nor Seneca ever taught."
“Nay," said the noble Roman, “it is not stoicism, it is faith. Not in the Porch or Academy is this holy teaching learned, but in the school of Jesus Christ."
“Oh, wretched coward that I am !” cried the Greek, with an impassioned aspiration after a moral courage which he felt almost beyond his comprehension, « would that I had such faith.”
Seek it, my brother,” said Adauctus solemnly, “where alone it may be found, at the Cross of