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TAL E IV.
DURING the reign of Cæsar a law was enacted, that if a man maltreated a woman, and overcame her by violence, it should remain with the aggrieved party, whether the person so offending should be put to death, or married to her, without a portion. Now it fell out that a certain fellow violated two women upon the same night; the one of whom sought to put him to death, and the other to be married to him. The violator was apprehended and brought before the judge,to answer respecting the two women, according to law. The first woman insisting upon her right, desired his death ; while the second claimed him for her husband, and said to the first, “ It is true, the law grants you your request, but at the same time, it supports me in mine. But because my demand is of less importance, and more charitable, I doubt not but that sentence will be given in my favor.” Both women complained, and both required the enforcement of the law. When either side had been heard, the judge ordered that the second woman should obtain her husband. And so it was done.
My beloved, the emperor, who framed the law, is our LORD JESUS CHRIST. The violator, any sinner, who violates two females, that is, Justice and Mercy, which are both the daughters of God. The violator is brought before the Judge, when the soul separates from the body. The first woman, that is, Justice, alleges against the sinner that by law he is subject to eternal death : but the other, that is, Divine Mercy, alleges that by contrition and confession he may be saved. Therefore let us study to please God.
The subject of a certain king fell into the hands of pirates, and wrote to his father for
But the father would not redeem him ; so the youth wasted away in prison. Now he who detained him in chains had a daughter of great beauty and virtue. She was at this time in her twentieth year, and frequently visited the young man with the hope of alleviating his griefs. But he was too disconsolate to hearken. At length, after some time had passed in this manner, believing her prejudiced in his favor, and disposed to succour him, he asked her to obtain his freedom. She replied, “But how am I to effect it? Thy father, thinę own father will not ransom thee: on what ground then should I, a stranger, attempt it? And suppose that I were induced to do so, I should incur the wrath of my pa
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rent, because thine denies the price of thy redemption. Nevertheless, on one condition thou shalt be liberated.” “ Amiable creature,” returned he, “ impose what thou wilt; so that it be possible, I will accomplish it." mise, then," said she, “to marry me, whenever an opportunity may occur." mise,” said the youth joyfully, “ and plight thee an unbroken faith.” The girl immediately commenced her operations; and during her father's absence effected his release, and fled with him to his own country. When they arrived, the father of the youth welcomed him, and said, “ Son, I am overjoyed at thy return; but who is the lady under thy escort ?” He replied, " It is the daughter of a king, to whom I am betrothed.” The father returned, “ On pain of losing thy inheritance, I charge thee, marry her not.” My father," exclaimed the youth, “what hast thou said ? My obligations to her are greater than they are to you; for when imprisoned and fettered by my enemy, I implored you to ransom me; but this you cruelly denied. Now she not only released me from prison, but from the apprehensions of death-and, therefore, I am resolved to marry her.” The father answered, Son, I tell thee, that thou canst not confide in her, and consequently ought not to espouse her. She deceived her own father, when she liberated thee from prison, secretly carrying off the price of thy redemption. Therefore, I am of opinion, that thou canst not confide in her, and consequently ought ought not to espouse her. Besides, there is another reason. It is true, she liberated thee, but it was for the gratification of her passions, and in order to oblige thee to marry her. And, since an unworthy passion was the source of thy liberty, I think, that she ought not to be thy wife.” When the lady heard such reasons assigned, she answered, “ To your first objection, that I deceived my own parent, I reply, that it is not true. He deceives who takes away or diminishes a certain good. But my father is so rich that he needs not any addition. . When, therefore, I had maturely weighed this matter, I procured the young man's freedom. And if my father had received a ransom for him, he had been