Three Quotations

(May 5th to 11th)


1. "...(he) said to me: "Serve Caesar. You are not canvas I can cut to advantage at present. But if you serve Caesar you will be obeying at least some sort of law." He talked as though I were a barbarian. Weak as I was, I could have snapped his back with my bare hands. I told him so. "I don’t doubt it," he said. "But that is neither here nor there...what concerns you now is that, by taking service, you will be rid from the fear that has ridden you all your life..." This is from "The Manner of Men" in Limits and Renewals.

Sulinor, a Roman sea captain, is recounting how he had carried the Apostle Paul as a prisoner to Rome, on a voyage in which his ship was wrecked, and Paul had shown great steadfastness and leadership. Here he is remembering how Paul had urged him to keep faith with Caesar.



2. . ..."We saw the twinkle of night-fires all along the guard towers, and the line of the black catapults growing smaller and smaller in the distance. All these things we knew till we were weary; but that night they seemed very strange to us, because the next day we knew we were to be their masters..." This is from "The Winged Hats" in Puck of Pook’s Hill.

Parnesius and his friend Pertinax have been made Captains of the Wall (Hadrian’s Wall) against the onslaughts of wild northern invaders, by Maximus who aims to make himself Emperor of Rome. They know that they do not have enough men to be sure of victory, and that Maximus may well fail. But in the meantime they are steadfast against the ‘winged hats’.



3. “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Heard you that, Paulus? He, a heathen and an idolator, said it!’

‘I heard. What hinders now that we should baptize him?’ Paulus answered promptly.

Petrus stared at him as though he had come up out of the sea... ‘Quiet!’ said he. ‘Think you that one who has spoken Those Words needs such as we are to certify him to any God?’
This is from "The Church that was at Antioch" in Limits and Renewals.

Valens, a young Roman administrator, is responsible for a turbulent ward of the city of Antioch, where Orthodox and Christian Jews are endlessly quarreling, and there is a constant danger of riot. Valens, a believer in Mithraism, who finds these rival Jewish beliefs hard to understand, is mortally stabbed by a religious zealot, whom he had released after an earlier incident. With his dying breath he insists that there shall be no retribution. Paul, the Apostle, wants to baptise him as a Christian, but Peter insists that there is no need, once he has spoken the very words of Jesus on the Cross.