XXIX. (184) Having these ideas in my mind, I resisted the sanguine hopes of the others, and had no rest in my mind day or night. But while I was thus giving way to despondency and lamenting over my ignorance of the future (for it was not safe to postpone matters), on a sudden another most grievous and unexpected calamity fell upon us, bringing danger not on one section of the Jews only, but on all the nation together. (185) For we had come from Rome to Dicaearchia attending upon Gaius; and he had gone down to the seaside and was remaining near the gulf, having left for a while his own palaces, which were numerous and superbly furnished. (186) And while we were anxiously considering his intentions, for we were continually expecting to be summoned, a man arrived, with blood-shot eyes, and looking very much troubled, out of breath and palpitating, and leading us away to a little distance from the rest (for there were several persons near), he said, “Have you heard the news?” And then when he was about to tell us what it was he stopped, because of the abundance of tears that rose up to choke his utterance. (187) And beginning again, he was a second and a third time stopped in the same manner. And we, seeing this, were much alarmed and agitated by suspense, and entreated him to tell us what the circumstance was on account of which he said that he had come; for he could not have come merely to weep before so many witnesses. “If, then,” said we, “you have any real cause for tears, do not keep your grief to yourself; we have been long ago well accustomed to misfortune.” (188) And he with difficulty, sobbing aloud, and in a broken voice, spoke as follows: “Our temple is destroyed! Gaius has ordered a colossal statue of himself to be erected in the holy of holies, having his own name inscribed upon it with the title of Jupiter!” (189) And while we were all struck dumb with astonishment and terror at what he had told us, and stood still deprived of all motion (for we stood there mute and in despair, ready to fall to the ground with fear and sorrow, the very muscles of our bodies being deprived of all strength by the news which we had heard); others arrived bearing the same sad tale. (190) And then we all retired and shut ourselves up together and bewailed our individual and common miseries, and went through every circumstance that our minds could conceive, for a man in misfortune is a most loquacious animal, wrestling as we might with our misery. And we said to one another, “We have sailed hither in the middle of winter, in order that we might not be all involved in violation of the law and in misfortunes proceeding from it, without being aware what a winter of misery was awaiting us on shore, far more grievous than any storm at sea. For of the one nature is the cause, which has divided the seasons of the year and arranged them in due order, but nature is a thing which exerts a saving power; but the other storm is caused by a man who cherishes no ideas such as become a man, but is a young man, and a promoter of all kinds of innovation, being invested with irresponsible power over all the world. “And youth, when combined with absolute power and yielding to irresistible and unrestrained passion, is an invincible evil. (191) And will it be allowed to us to approach him or to open our mouth on the subject of the synagogues before this insulter of our holy and glorious temple? For it is quite evident that he will pay no regard whatever to things of less importance and which are held in inferior estimation, when he behaves with insolence and contempt towards our most beautiful and renowned temple, which is respected by all the east and by all the west, and regarded like the sun which shines everywhere. (192) And even if we were allowed free access to him, what else could we expect but an inexorable sentence of death? But be it so; we will perish. For, indeed, a glorious death in defence of and for the sake of the preservation of our laws, is a kind of life. “But, indeed, if no advantage is derived from our death, would it not be insanity to perish in addition to what we now have to endure, and this too, while we appear to be ambassadors, so that the calamity appears rather to affect those who have sent us than those who remain? (193) Not but what those of our fellow countrymen who are by nature most inclined to detest all wickedness, will accuse us of impiety, as if we, in the extremity of dangers, when our whole country was tossed about and threatened, were remembering some private interests of our own out of selfishness. For it is necessary that small things must yield to great ones, and that private objects must yield to the general interests; since, when they are destroyed, there is an end of the constitution and of the nation. (194) For how can it be holy or lawful for us to struggle in any other manner, pointing out that we are citizens of Alexandria, over whom a danger is now impending, that namely, of the utter destruction of the general constitution of the Jewish nation; for in the destruction of the temple there is reason to fear that this man, so fond of innovation and willing to dare the most audacious actions, will also order the general name of our whole nation to be abolished. (195) “If, therefore, both the objects on account of which we were sent are overthrown, perhaps some one will say, What then, did they not know that they had to negotiate for a safe return? But I would reply to such a man, You either have not the genuine feelings of a nobly born man, or else you were not educated like one, and have never been trained in the knowledge of the sacred scriptures; for men who are truly noble are full of hope, and the laws too implant good hopes in all those who do not study them superficially but with all their hearts. (196) Perhaps these things are meant as a trial of the existing generation to see how they are inclined towards virtue, and whether they have been taught to bear evils with resolute and firm minds, without yielding at the first moment; all human considerations then are discarded, and let them be discarded, but let an imperishable hope and trust in God the Saviour remain in our souls, as he has often preserved our nation amid inextricable difficulties and distresses.”