XXXIII. (243) They uttered these complaints and entreaties with great agony and misery of soul, with exceeding sobbing and difficulty of speech, for all their limbs sweated with apprehension, and their ceaseless tears flowed in torrents, so that all who heard them, and Petronius himself, sympathised with their sorrow, for he was by nature a man very kind and gentle in his natural disposition, so that he was easily influenced by what was now said or heard; and what was said appeared to be entirely just, and the misery of those whom he now beheld appeared most pitiable; (244) and rising up, and retiring with his fellow counsellors, he took counsel as to what he ought to do, and he saw that those who a short time before opposed the wishes of the Jews with all their might were now wavering and perplexed, and that those who had previously been hesitating were now for the most part inclined to compassion, at which he was pleased. Nevertheless, though he was well acquainted with the disposition of the emperor, and how implacable and inexorable he was in his anger, (245) he still had himself some sparks of the Jewish philosophy and piety, since he had long ago learnt something of it by reason of his eagerness for learning, and had studied it still more ever since he had come as governor of the countries in which there are vast numbers of Jews scattered over every city of Asia and Syria; or partly because he was so disposed in his mind from his spontaneous, and natural, and innate inclination for all things which are worthy of care and study. Moreover, God himself appears often to suggest virtuous ideas to virtuous men, by which, while benefiting others, they will likewise be benefited themselves, which now was the case with Petronius. What then was his resolution? (246) Not to hurry on the artists, but to persuade them to continue to finish the statue which they had in hand, taking pains and labouring as far as might be possible not to be inferior to the most renowned models, but to take plenty of time, so as to make their work perfect, since things which are done in a hurry are very often inferior, but things which are done with great pains and skill require a length of time. (247) But the embassy which they entreated leave to send he determined not to permit, for he considered that it would not be safe for him to allow it; still he determined not to oppose those who wished to refer the whole matter to the supreme sovereign and master, but neither to agree with nor to contradict the multitude, for he considered that either line of conduct was fraught with danger. (248) Moreover, he determined to write a letter to Gaius, not in any respect accusing the Jews, and on the other hand not giving any accurate account of their entreaties and supplications, and to explain the delay which was taking place in the erection of the statue, partly because the preparation of it required a certain space of time for its completion, and partly, he reminded him, that the season of the year was in some degree the cause of unavoidable delay, in which there was no question but that Gaius must of necessity acquiesce, (249) for it was just at that moment the very height of the wheat harvest and of all the other cereal crops; and he said that he was afraid lest out of despair of the preservation of their national and hereditary laws and customs, the men might conceive such a contempt for life as either themselves to lay waste their lands, or to burn all the corn-bearing district, whether mountainous or champaign country, and, therefore, that he might require a guard to secure a careful gathering in of the crops, and that not only of such as were borne on the arable land but of those produced by fruitbearing trees; (250) for he himself was intending, as is said, to sail to Alexandria in Egypt, but so great a general did not choose to cross the open sea both by reason of the danger and also of the numerous fleet which would be required as his escort, and also from his regard for his own person, as everything requisite for his comfort would be more easily provided if he took the circuitous route through Asia and Syria; (251) for he would, if he coasted along, be able to sail every day and land every night, especially if he took with him a sufficient number of ships of war, and not transports, in which a coasting voyage is more successful, just as one across the open sea is better for merchantmen. (252) Therefore it was necessary that abundant quantities of forage and food should be prepared for his cattle in every one of the Syrian cities, and especially in all such as were on the coast, for a numerous multitude would be proceeding both by land and sea, collected not only from Rome itself and from Italy, but that which had also followed him from all the other provinces of the empire as far as Syria, being partly the regular guard of the magistrates, and partly the regular army of infantry and cavalry, and the naval force, and also a troops of servants but little inferior in number to the army. (253) Moreover, there was need not only of such an abundance of supplies as might be sufficient for all necessary purposes, but also for all the superfluous prodigality of which Gaius was fond. If he reads these writings perhaps he will not only not be angry, but will be even pleased with our prudential caution, as having caused this delay not from any regard for the Jews, but for the sake of providing for the collection of the harvest.