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263

(1887) [MARC] Author: Viktor Rydberg Translator: Alfred Corning Clark With: Hans Anton Westesson Lindehn
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ROMAN TRADITIONS OF PETER AND PAUL. 263
constructed, as people think, in the time of the Roman
kings, about seven hundred years before Christ. Here,
another Hke hole in the floor confronted them, which
yawned above the frightful TuUianum, a low and narrow
vault, "horrible," says the historian Sallust, "with dirt,
darkness and stench." Among the many who drew
their last breath in that cavern of death, the annals of
Rome tell of Jugurtha, the African king, and Catiline’s
fellow-conspirators, Lentulus and Cetegus.
Nine long months were the apostles to dwell in this
same hole, while they awaited the death-sentence. They
were not alone, there. More than forty other unhappy
men shared their lot. Among them were many
great criminals ; but many innocent, too, who had’ fall-
en victims to the suspicions of Nero, or his favorites’
hate.
It was a wretchedness unspeakable, the apostles found
about them. The prisoners, chained to walls, pillars, or
floor, filled the dense darkness with sighs, lamentations,
tears and curses. Under the mute despair to which
others gave themselves up, agonies of the soul no less
terrible were gnawing. But—what no one outside these
walls could dream of—the horrors within were changed
by degrees into patience, peace, gladness, joy.
The apostles had spoken strengthening words to their
fellow-prisoners, taught them the ways of God, exhorted
them to pray with them ; and the power of prayer scat-
tered gradually the shadows of death that had gathered
upon their souls. With ever>’ new day, more and more
of them united in the submissive " Thy will be done, on
earth as it is in heaven," and the hopeful " turn thy coun-
tenance to us, and be merciful unto us ;
" and at last
there was not one who did not feel himself free, in his

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