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squires, are the divine power and grace operating upon the heart. The child is placed in a tree-that is, in the church; and the duke, who preserved it, is any good prelate. The slain hare, is our carnal affections, which ought to be destroyed. The letter which the emperor wrote with his own hand, is every evil imagination which possesses the heart. For then Christ is in danger of being destroyed. The priest who preserved the youth, is any discreet minister, who by means of the Sacred Writings mollifies the asperities of the human soul, and betroths it to Heaven.

TALE XXI.

OF OVER-REACHING AND CONSPIRACY, AND

OF CAUTION OPPOSED TO THEM.

JUSTIN records, (21) that the Lacedæmonians conspired against their king; and prevailing, banished him. It happened that a king of the Persians plotted the destruction of the same state, and prepared to besiege Lacedæmon with a large army. The exile, though smarting beneath the wrongs accumulated on him by his own subjects, could not but regard the land of his nativity ; and feel for it that deep and rooted love which forms, as it were, the very existence of the real patriot. Having ascertained, therefore, the hostile designs of the Persian monarch against the Lacedæmonians, he reflected by what means he might securely forewarn them of the impending danger. Accordingly, taking up his tablets, he communicated his discovery, and explained how they might best resist and defeat their enemies.

When he had written, he enveloped the whole in wax, and finding a trust-worthy messenger, despatched him to the insurgent nobles. On inspection of the tablets, no writing could be distinguished; for the entire surface of the wax discovered not the slightest impression. This naturally gave rise to much discussion, and each delivered his opinion as to the intent and further disposal of the tablets. But the

mystery none of them could unravel. Now it chanced that a sister of the Lacedæmonian king, understanding their perplexity, requested permission to inspect them. Her desire was admitted ; she commenced a minute investigation, and assisted by that peculiar shrewdness, which women frequently display in emergencies, raised the wax, and a portion of the writing became manifest. She had now a clue, and proceeding in her work, gradually removed the waxen covering and exhibited the legend at full. The nobles of the council thus pre-monished, rejoiced exceedingly; took the necessary steps, and secured themselves. against the menaced siege.

APPLICATION.

My beloved, the king, is Christ, who is banished, by human depravity, from his right. Nevertheless, he so loved us, as to contrive a means of freeing us from the attacks of our enemy the devil.

TALE XXII.

1

OF WORLDLY FEAR.

AUGUSTINE tells us, that when the Egyptians formerly deified Isis and Serapis, they proceeded in this manner. First, they made a law, that whosoever declared them to be mortal, or so much as expressed a doubt relas tive to their birth, should be put to an ignominious death. Then they erected two images; and that the aforesaid law should be strictly obseryed, they placed near them, in every temple dedicated to their honour, another of diminutive form, having a fore-finger laid upon its lips,--to indicate that silencewas indispensably required of those who entered their tems ples. In this way they endeavoured to repress the promulgation of truth.

APPLICATION.

My beloved, these Egyptians are all worldly-minded men, who would deify and worship their vices, while they sedulously hide truth from the heart. The smaller image, is Fear of the world, which is ever instrumental in the suppression of truth.

TALE XXIII.

OF SPIRITUAL MEDICINE.

SAINT AUGUSTINE relates, that an ancient custom formerly prevailed, in compliance with which, emperors, after death, were laid upon a funeral pile and burnt ; and their ashes deposited in an urn. But it happened that one of them died, whose heart resisted the impression of fire. This circumstance created

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