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My beloved, the emperor is Christ; the two knights, body and soul; of which the last is the wise one. In baptism they were united. They drank blood ; that is, the blood in the veins prevents their separation, and preserves life. The two ways are penitence and the world's glory. The way of penitence is narrow, but the other is broad and alluring. The city on the mountain is heaven; that in the valley is hell. The three soldiers, are the world, the flesh, and the devil, &c. &c.
TAL E LXVIII.
OF MAINTAINING TRUTH TO THE LAST.
In the reign of Gordian, there was a certain noble soldier who had a fair but vicious wife.
It happened that her husband, having occasion to travel, the lady sent for her gallant, and rioted in every excess of wickedness. Now, one of her handmaids, it seems, was skilful in interpreting the song of birds; and in the court of the castle there were three cocks.(65) During the night, while the gallant was with his mistress, the first cock began to crow. The lady heard it, and said to her servant, “ Dear friend, what says yonder cock ?” She replied, " That you are grossly injuring your husband.” “ Then," said the lady, " kill that cock without delay.” They did so; but soon after, the second cock crew, and the lady repeated her question. “Madam,” said the handmaid, “ he says, ' My companion died for revealing the truth, and for the same cause, I am prepared to die.'”
Kill him,” cried the lady,—which they did. After this, the third cock crew; “What says he ?” asked she again. “ Hear, see, and say nothing, if you would live in peace." Oh, oh !” said the lady, “ don't kill him.”
My beloved, the emperor is God, the soldier, Christ; and the wife, the soul. The gallant is the devil. The handmaid is conscience. The first cock is our Saviour, who was put to death; the second is the martyrs; and the third is a preacher who ought to be earnest in declaring the truth, but, being deterred by menaces, is afraid to utter it.
The emperor Gallus employed a singularly skilful carpenter in the erection of a magnificent palace. At that period, a certain knight lived who had a very beautiful daughter; and who, perceiving the extraordinary sagacity of the artificer, determined to give him the lady in marriage. Calling him, therefore, he said,
My good friend, ask of me what you will ; so that it be possible, I will do it, provided you marry my daughter.” The other assented, and the nuptial rites were celebrated accordingly. Then the mother of the lady said to the carpenter, “ My son,
My son, since you have become one of our family, I will bestow upon you a curious shirt. It possesses this singular property, that as long as you and your wife are faithful to each other, it will neither be rent, nor worn, nor stained. But ifwhich heaven forbid !--either of you prove unfaithful, instantly it will lose its virtue.” The carpenter, very happy in what he heard, took the shirt, and returned great thanks for
A short while afterward, the carpenter being' sent for to superintend the build- . ing of the emperor's palace, took with him the valuable present which he had received. He continued absent until the structure was complete; and numbers, observing how much
he labored, admired the freshness and spotless purity of his shirt. Even the emperor condescended to notice it, and said to him, " My master, how is it that in despite of your laborious occupation, and the constant use of your shirt, it still preserves its color and beauty ?”
“ You must know, my lord,” said he,“ that as long as my wife and I continue faithful to each other, my shirt retains its original whiteness and beauty ; but if either of us forget our matrimonial vows, it will sully like any other cloth.” A soldier, overhearing this, instantly formed the design of proving the fidelity of the lady. Wherefore, without giving any cause of suspicion to the carpenter, he secretly hastened to his house, and solicited his wife to dishonor. She received him with an appearance of pleasure, and seemed to be entirely influenced by the same feelings. “But,” added she, “ in this place we are exposed to observation; come with me, and I will conduct you into a private chamber.” He followed her, and closing the door, she said, “ Wait here awhile; I will return presently.” Thus she did every day, all the time supplying him only with bread