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armed, and prepared for battle, he would permit no one but Alexander to mount; and if another attempted it, he presently threw him. But in the trappings of peace, he made no resistance, mount him who would. Thus a man, armed by the passion of our Lord, receives none into his heart but God; and if the temptations of the devil strive to sit there, they are cast violently down. Without this armour, it is open to every temptation. Let us then study to clothe ourselves with virtue that we may at length come to the glory of God.
OF LIFTING UP THE MIND TO HEAVEN.
PLINY (34) mentions the story of an eagle that had built her nest upon a lofty rock,
whose young a kind of serpent called Perna (35) attempted to destroy. But finding that they were beyond her reach, she stationed herself to windward and emitted a large quantity of poisonous matter, so as to infect the atmosphere and poison the young birds. But the eagle, led by the unerring power of instinct, took this precaution. She fetched a peculiar sort of stone called Achates, (36) which she deposited in that quarter of the nest, which was opposite to the wind ; and the stone, by virtue of certain occult properties which it possessed, prevented the malicious intentions of the serpent from taking effect.
My beloved, the eagle is any man of quick perception and aspiring mind. The young birds are good works, which the devil-that is, the serpent-endeavours to destroy by temptation. The rock on which the eagle built, is Christ.
OF THE PRECAUTION NECESSARY TO
In the reign of the emperor Henry II., a certain city was besieged by its enemies. Before they had reached its walls, a dove alighted in the city, around whose neck a letter was suspended which bore the following inscription. “ The generation of dogs is at hand; it will prove a quarrelsome breed; procure aid, and defend yourselves resolutely against it.”
My beloved, the dove is the Holy Spirit, which thus descended on Christ.
TAL E XXXIX.
OF RECONCILIATION BETWEEN GOD AND
The Roman annals say, such discord existed between two brothers, that one of them maliciously laid waste the lands of the other. The emperor Julius (37) having heard of this, determined to punish the offender capitally. The latter, therefore, understanding what was meditated, went to the brother whom he had injured, and besought forgiveness; at the same time requesting that he would screen him from the emperor's vengeance. But they who were present at the interview, rebuked him, and declared that he deserved punishment not pardon. To which he made the following reply. “That prince is not worthy of regard who in war assumes the gentleness of a lamb, but in peace puts on the ferocity of a lion *. Although my brother should not incline towards me, yet will I endeavour to conciliate him. For the injury I did him is sufficiently avenged in my repentance and bitterness of heart.” This view of the case appeased the emperor, and restored peace between himself and his brother.
My beloved, these two brothers are the sons of God and man; between whom there is discord as often as man commits a mortal sin. The emperor is God.
*“ In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility:
SHAKSPEARE, Hen. V. Act III. Sc. 1.