“In all which there was the old folly!” cried the Greek, impulsively. “Only the things out of reach remain as they came to us.”
The Egyptian bowed, and proceeded- “Yet a little further, O my Brethren, a little further, before I come to myself. What we go to will seem all the holier of comparison with what it is and has been. The records show that Mizraim found the Nile in possession of the Ethopians, who were spread thence through the African desert; a people of rich, fantastic genius, wholly given to the worship of nature. The poetic Persian sacrificed to the sun, as the completest image of Ormuzd, his God; the devout children of the far East carved their deities out of wood and ivory; but the Ethiopian, without writing, without books, without mechanical faculty of any kind, quieted his soul by the worship of animals, birds, and insects, holding the cat sacred to Re, the bull to Isis, the beetle to Pthah. A long struggle against their rude, faith ended in its adoption as the religion of the new empire. Then rose the mighty monuments that cumber the riverbank and the desert- obelisk, labyrinth, pyramid, and tomb of king, blent with tomb of crocodile. Into such deep debasement, O brethren, the sons of the Aryan fell!”
Here, for the first time, the calmness of the Egyptian forsook him: though his countenance remained impassive, his voice gave way.
“Do not too much despise my countrymen,” he began again. “They did not all forget God. I said awhile ago, you may remember, that to papyri we entrusted all the secrets of our religion except one; of that I will now tell you. We had as king once a certain Pharaoh, who lent himself to all manner of changes and additions. To establish the new system, he strove to drive the old entirely out of mind. The Hebrews then dwelt with us as slaves. They clung to their God; and when the persecution became intolerable, they were delivered in a manner never to be forgotten. I speak from the records now. Mosche, himself a Hebrew, came to the palace, and demanded permission for the slaves, then millions in number, to leave the country. The demand was in the name of the Lord God of Israel. Pharaoh refused. Hear what followed. First, all the water, that in the lakes and rivers, like that in the wells and vessels, turned to blood. Yet the monarch refused. Then frogs came up and covered all the land. Still he was firm. Then Mosche threw ashes in the air, and plague attacked the Egyptians. Next, all the cattle, except of the Hebrews, were struck dead. Locusts devoured the green things of the valley. At noon the day was turned into a darkness so thick that lamps would not burn. Finally, in the night all the first-born of the Egyptians died; not even Pharaoh’s escaped. Then he yielded. But when the Hebrews were gone he followed them with his army. At the last moment the sea was divided, so that the fugitives passed it dry-shod. When the pursuers drove in after them, the waves rushed back, and drowned- horse, foot, charioteers, and king. You spoke of revelation, my Gaspar- “