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to me five talents ;" and thus, un questionably, we shall reign in the bosom of bliss. That we may be thought worthy the Father, Son, &c.

TALE II.

OF MERCY.

The Emperor Titus made a law, that whosoever provided not for his parents, should be condemned to death. It happened that there were two brethren, descended from the same father. One of them had a son who discovered his uncle in the greatest indigence; and immediately, in compliance with the law, but in opposition to the will of his father, administered to his wants. Thereupon the father expelled him from his house. Notwithstanding he still maintained his poor uncle, and supplied him with every requisite. By and by,

the uncle became rich and the father indigent. Now, when the son beheld the altered circumstances of his parent, he liberally supported him also, to the great indignation of his uncle who drove him from his house, and said,

Formerly, when I was poor, thou gavest me support, in opposition to thy father; for which, I constituted thee my heir, in the place of a son. But an ungrateful son ought not to obtain an inheritance; and rather than such, we should adopt a stranger. Therefore, since thou hast been ungrateful to thy father in maintaining me contrary to his command, thou shalt never possess my inheritance.” The son thus answered his uncle. can be punished for executing what the law commands and compels. Now the law of nature obliges children to assist their parents in necessity, and especially to honour them: therefore, I cannot justly be deprived of the inheritance."

66 No one

APPLICATION.

My beloved, the two brothers are the Son of God and the world, which both proceed from

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one heavenly Father. The first, begotten; the second, created. Between them, from the beginning, discord arose, and continues to this day; so that he who is the friend of the one, is an enemy to the other. According to St. Jamesiv. “Whosoever would become the friend of this world, shall be accounted an enemy to God." The only son is every Christian, who is the progeny

of Christ, because he is descended from him by faith. Therefore, we should not feed fat the world with pride, avarice, and other vices, if we would be the children of God. And if our desires are contrary, too surely we shall be excluded from the family of Christ, and lose our heavenly inheritance. If we maintain and cherish Christ by works of love and of piety, the world indeed will abhor us—but better is it to be at enmity with the world than forego an inheritance in Heaven.

TALE III.

OF JUST JUDGMENT.

A CERTAIN emperor decreed, that if any woman were taken in adultery, she should be cast headlong from a very high precipice. It chanced that a woman, convicted of the crime, was immediately conveyed to the place of punishment, and thrown down. But she received no injury in the fall. They, therefore, brought her back to the judgment-seat; and when the judge perceived that she was unharmed, he commanded that she should again be led to the precipice, and the sentence effectually executed. The woman, however, addressing the judge, said, “ My Lord, if you command this, you will act contrary to the law, which punishes not twice for the same fault. I have already been cast down as a convicted adultress, but God miraculously preserved me. Therefore, I ought not to be subjected to it again.” The judge answered, " Thou hast well said ; go in peace :" and thus was the woman saved.

APPLICATION.

My beloved, the emperor, is God, who made a law that if any one polluted the soul (which is the spouse of Christ) by the commission of any mortal sin, he should be precipitated from a high mountain—that is, from Heaven; as befell our first parent, Adam. But God, by the sufferings of his Son, hath preserved us. When man sins, God does not instantly condemn him, because His mercy is infinite ; but" by grace we are saved," and not cast headlong into hell.

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