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3. When Marcellus, the man of consummate piety, had heard this recital, he burst into a flood of tears, touched with pity for misfortunes so great and so various. But making no delay, he at once prepared victuals for the sufferers, and did service with his own hand for the wearied; in this imitating our father Abraham the patriarch, who, when he entertained the angels hospitably on a certain occasion, did not content himself with merely giving the order to his slaves to bring a calf from the herd, but did himself, though advanced in years, go and place it on his shoulders and fetch it in, and did with his own hand prepare food, and set it before the angels. So Marcellus, in discharge of a similar office, directed them to be seated as his guests in companies of ten; and when the seven hundred tables were all provided, he refreshed the whole body of the captives with great delight, so that those who had strength to survive what they had been called to endure, forgot their toils, and became oblivious of all their ills. When, however, they had reached the fifteenth day, and while Marcellus was still liberally supplying all things needful for the prisoners, it seemed good to him that they should all be put in possession of the means of returning to their own parts, with the exception of those who were detained by the attention which their wounds demanded; and providing the proper remedies for these, he instructed the rest to depart to their own country and friends. And even to all these charities Marcellus added yet larger deeds of piety. For with a numerous band of his own dependants he went to look after the burying of the bodies of those who had perished on the march; and for as many of these as he could discover, of whatsoever condition, he secured the sepulture which was meet for them. And when this service was completed he returned to Charra, and gave permission to the wounded to return thence to their native country when their health was sufficiently restored, providing also most liberal supplies for their use on their journey. And truly the estimate of this deed made a magnificent addition to the repute of the other noble actions of Marcellus; for through that whole territory the fame of the piety of Marcellus 181spread so grandly, that large numbers of men belonging to various cities were inflamed with the intensest desire to see and become acquainted with the man, and most especially those persons who had not had occasion to bear penury before,—to all of whom this remarkable man, following the example of a Marcellus of old, furnished aid most indulgently, so that they all declared that there was no one of more illustrious piety than this man. Yea, all the widows, too, who were believers in the Lord had recourse to him, while the imbecile also could reckon on obtaining at his hand most certain help to meet their circumstances; and the orphaned, in like manner, were all supported by him, so that his house was declared to be the hospice for the stranger and the indigent. And above all this, he retained in a remarkable and singular measure his devotion to the faith, building up his own heart upon the rock that shall not be moved.
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