aistry, with the help of the Rabbis," he said. "You are ang, but the Lord is giving you much light."
"Me!" Archippus looked up, flushed with pleasure at the -ler man's words. "But Master Epaphras, I know so little yA?
`The Holy Spirit shall teach you all things, and bring to ur remembrance what you have learned," quoted Epaph:. "Those were the very words of Jesus. And you have the .,riptures. Now, take heed to your ministry." He smiled at the amazed boy and turned back to Philemon, d Onesimus, clearing away the meal, pricked up his ears.
"We will pass by Laodicea," he said, "for the Christians aeting in the house of Nymphas are mostly rich and ~:.: osperous and respected and seem to need no help. In iierapolis they are firmly grounded in the faith. In Phila,-l.aphia they stand fast. But in Sardis they are in danger of ?ping defiled. The streets of that city flow with gold, and the ce and loose-living and shame that prevail are unbelievable. _: pray God they will keep their garments white. In Thyatira ':?sey have been excluded from the trade guilds and are in deep - overty. But in Pergamos and Smyrna, where Caesar is ;-orshipped and the sacrifice to Nero is compulsory, they are ~::i daily danger of losing their lives. Yes, I must be off. I s gould like to start tomorrow at daybreak."
So next day the two men started off together down the nlley, staves in hand, their bundles on their backs, without a'.aves or attendants; and Apphia and Archippus took over the '.irection of the household. Onesimus in the meantime began scheme and plan for a day's escape at whatever cost, when
;Adenly fate played into his hands.
Pascasia had been playing out in the field, picking berries the hedges, and had rubbed her eyes with some poisonous :,ice. She came in crying, her eyes sore and inflamed, and evening she could hardly see. Apphia was deeply anxious.
"Hermes must go over to Laodicea early tomorrow morning," she said, "and buy some of the Laodicean eye-salve. Go and tell him to start before day-break, Onesimus, and give him the money."
Onesimus stopped outside the house to consider. He had wild thoughts of attacking Hermes, tripping him up, or knocking him senseless; but after a moment or two he decided that persuasion was better than force. He darted home and took the smallest of his precious coins from its hiding place and sought out Hermes who was busy cleaning the stables.
"Hermes," he began, holding out the coin, "look what I will give you to be ill tomorrow."
Hermes stared at him and his rather stupid mouth fell open. Then he stared at the coin.
"Where did you get that from?" he asked suspiciously.
"Never you mind! I earned it at Ephesus. It will buy you a basin of honey to make you fatter, Hermes. But you've got to be too ill to go to Laodicea tomorrow. I want to go instead."
Hermes stared doubtfully at the impudent young cockerel hopping about impatient at the older man's stupidity. Hermes was fat and lazy and hated being sent to Laodicea. Besides, he had not possessed a coin for years. But he was not sure that he knew how to
be ill, for he had never been ill in his life.
"Scream, Hermes," urged Onesimus. "Vomit! Say you've overeaten and groan as loud as you can. They'll all believe that. By the time they discover the truth, I shall be half way down the hill."
"And I shall be beaten," muttered Hermes. But the sight of the coin was so attractive and the prospect of a twenty mile walk so unattractive, that he agreed to the plan without much more ado. Besides, he suddenly remembered that Philemon was away and Apphia disliked beatings.