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Vergilius A Tale of the Coming of Christ   By: (1859-1950)

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Vergilius is a captivating and thought-provoking tale written by Irving Bacheller that explores the journey of a man during the time of the coming of Christ. Set in ancient Rome, this historical fiction novel takes readers on a profound and spiritual adventure filled with love, hope, and self-discovery.

The story follows the life of Vergilius, a talented sculptor and dreamer who finds himself caught between the waning days of the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity. Filled with a deep longing for something greater than the materialistic and morally bankrupt society around him, Vergilius embarks on a quest to find meaning and purpose in his life.

Bacheller's prose is beautifully descriptive, painting vivid and lifelike pictures of ancient Rome and its vibrant citizens. The author's meticulous research shines through, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the captivating historical setting. The detailed descriptions of the city, its architecture, and the customs of the time, create a rich tapestry that transports us back to a world long gone.

At the heart of the story lies the spiritual and intellectual journey of Vergilius. Through encounters with various characters, both common folk and influential figures, he begins to question the values of his society and search for a higher calling. The author masterfully weaves together timeless questions about faith, morality, and the human condition, making the narrative deeply philosophical yet accessible.

The characters in Vergilius are well-developed and relatable, each representing different facets of the human experience. Vergilius himself is a complex and sympathetic protagonist, struggling with his own demons, doubts, and desires. His interactions with other individuals, such as his skeptic friend Nerva and the pious Christian girl Lydia, serve as catalysts for his spiritual awakening, challenging his beliefs and reshaping his understanding of the world around him.

The novel's central theme, the coming of Christ, is subtly woven into the storyline. As Vergilius witnesses the transformative power of Jesus' teachings, he is confronted with the question of how his own life should be impacted by the arrival of this new faith. The author does an excellent job of portraying the conflicts and dilemmas faced by early believers, capturing the tension between tradition and change during this pivotal period in history.

One of the novel's greatest strengths lies in Bacheller's ability to utilize fiction to explore profound spiritual truths. Through Vergilius' journey, readers are invited to contemplate their own relationship with faith, the search for meaning in a world that often seems devoid of it, and the challenges of living a life guided by higher principles.

In Vergilius, Bacheller has crafted a compelling and deeply introspective tale of one man's spiritual evolution during a tumultuous time in history. From its richly-drawn characters to its eloquent prose, this novel challenges readers to confront their own beliefs and aspirations, ultimately leading to a greater understanding of the human condition. Irving Bacheller's work is a testament to the power of storytelling, reminding us that even within the context of historical fiction, the quest for truth and purpose are universal and timeless.

First Page:


A Tale of the Coming of Christ


Irving Bacheller

Author of

"Eben Holden" "D'ri and I" "Darrel of the Blessed Isles"

New York and London

Harper & Brothers Publishers


Copyright, 1904, by IRVING BACHELLER.

All rights reserved.

Published August, 1904.


A Tale of the Coming of Christ


Rome had passed the summits and stood looking into the dark valley of fourteen hundred years. Behind her the graves of Caesar and Sallust and Cicero and Catullus and Vergil and Horace; before her centuries of madness and treading down; round about her a multitude sickening of luxury, their houses filled with spoil, their mouths with folly, their souls with discontent; above her only mystery and silence; in her train, philosophers questioning if it were not better for a man had he never been born deeming life a misfortune and extinction the only happiness; poets singing no more of "pleasantries and trifles," but seeking favor with poor obscenities. Soon they were even to celebrate the virtue of harlots, the integrity of thieves, the tenderness of murderers, the justice of oppression. Leading the caravan were types abhorrent and self opposed effeminate men, masculine women, cheerful cynics, infidel priests, wealthy people with no credit, patricians, honoring and yet despising the gods, hating and yet living on the populace... Continue reading book >>

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