« PreviousContinue »
the star led to Jerusalem on the nativity of our blessed Lord; and he was usually in the habit of invoking them to his aid upon any dilemma. The pious king set out with a great company to the place where the bodies of these sainted kings are preserved with great splendour, taking with him three golden crowns, constructed after a wonderful and royal fashion. As he returned to his own dominions, he fell into a deep sleep; and dreamt that he beheld the three kings bearing upon their heads the crowns he had lately presented, from whence issued a dazzling lustre. Each appeared to address him in turn. The first, and the older of the three said, “ My brother, thou hast happily arrived hither, and happily shalt thou return." The next said, “ Thou hast offered much, but more shalt thou carry back with thee.” The third said, “ My brother, thou art faithful : therefore with us shalt thou conjointly reign in heaven for a period of thirty-three years.' Then the elder presented to him a pyx (46) filled with gold — Receive,” said he, “a treasury of wisdom, by which thou wilt judge
thy people with equity.” The second presented a pyx of myrrh, and said, “ Receive the myrrh of prudence, which will bridle the deceitful workings of the flesh: for he best governs, who is master of himself." The third brought a pyx full of frankincense, saying, “ Receive the frankincense of devotion and clemency; for thus shalt thou relieve and soothe the wretched. And as the dew moistens the herbage and promotes a large increase of fertility, so the clemency of a king lifts him to the stars.” (47) The sleeping monarch, surprised at the distinctness and singularity of his vision, suddenly awoke, and found the pyxes, with their rich contents, deposited by his side. Returning to his own kingdom, he devoutly fulfilled the purport of his dream, and on the conclusion of this transitory life, enjoyed, as he deserved, an
My beloved, the Danish king is any good Christian who brings three crowns to three holy kings that is, to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. These crowns are, faith, hope, and charity. The pyx of gold, is a heart full of virtues ; that of myrrh, typifies repentance; and the pyx of frankincense denotes the Grace of God.
OF THE END OF SINNERS.
DIONYSIUS records, that when Perillus desired to become an artificer of Phalaris, a cruel and tyrannical king who depopulated the kingdom, and was guilty of many dreadful excesses, he presented to him, already too well skilled in cruelty, a brazen bull, which he had just constructed. In one of its sides there was a secret door, by which those who were sentenced should enter and be burnt to death. The idea was, that the sounds produced by the agony of the sufferer confined within, should resemble the roaring of a bull; · and thus, while nothing human struck the
ear, the mind should be unimpressed by a feeling of mercy. The king highly applauded the invention, and said, “ Friend, the value of thy industry is yet untried : more cruel even than the people account me, thou thyself shalt be the first victim."-Indeed, there is no law more equitable, than that the artificer of death should perish by his own devices, as Quidius has observed. (48)
My beloved, the sufferer is
evil-worker who will finally suffer for the exertion of his iniquitous practices.
OF THE ILLUSIONS OF THE DEVIL.
PAULUS, the historian of the Longobardi (49) relates, that Conan, king of the Hungarians, while besieging a castle in the town of Julius, (50) perceived upon the walls, Rosinella, duchess of that place, a very beautiful and accomplished woman, with her whole family, consisting of four sons and two daughters. He entered into conversation with her, and proposed, that if she would marry him, he would bestow upon her the castle which she was defending. The lady acquiesced ; but the sons, indignant at the treacherous conduct of their mother, fled together. Conan, however, adhering to his promise, married the duchess on the following day. But the next morning after the nuptials, he delivered her to twelve