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in his lap. Being long accustomed to eat and sleep in this situation, they would scarcely do either elsewhere : seeming to take great pleasure in looking at him, and putting their paws upon his neck.
Now it happened that an ass, who noticed this familiarity, thought to himself, “ If I should sing and dance before the king, and put my feet round his neck, he would feed me also upon the greatest dainties, and suffer me to rest in his lap.” Accordingly quitting his stable, he entered the hall, and running up to the king, raised his clumsy feet with difficulty around the royal neck. The servants, not understanding the ass's courteous intention, imagined that he was mad; and pulling him away, belaboured him soundly. He was then led back to the stable. (67)
My beloved, the king is Christ; the bark. ing dogs are zealous preachers. The ass is any one who, without the necessary qualifications, presumes to take upon himself the interpretation of the word of God.
OF THE CUNNING OF THE DEVIL, AND OF
THE SECRET JUDGMENTS OF GOD.
THERE formerly lived a hermit, who in a remote cave passed night and day in the service of God. At no great distance from his cell, a shepherd tended his flock. It happened that this person one day fell into a deep sleep, and in the mean time a robber, perceiving his carelessness, carried off his sheep. When the keeper awoke and discovered the theft, he began to swear in good set terms that he had lost his sheep; and where they were conveyed was totally beyond his knowledge. Now the lord of the flock, nothing satisfied with his keeper's eloquence, commanded him to be put to death. This gave great umbrage to the hermit before mentioned ; “ Oh heaven," said he to himself, " seest thou this deed? the innocent suffers for the guilty: why permittest thou such things ? If thus injustice triumph, why do I remain here? I will again enter the world, and do as other men do."
With these feelings he quitted his hermitage, and returned into the world; but God willed not that he should be lost: an angel in the form of a man was commissioned to join him. Accordingly, crossing the hermit's path, he thus accosted him—" My friend, where are you going ?” “I go," said the other, " to the city before us."
« I will accompany you,” replied the angel ; "I am a messenger from heaven, and come to be the associate of your way." They walked on together towards the city. When they had entered, they entreated for the love of God * harbourage during the night, at the house of a certain soldier, who received them with cheerfulness, and entertained them with much
The common mode of supplication, and will be frequently noticed in these volames.
magnificence. The soldier had an only son lying in the cradle, whom he exceedingly loved. After supper, their bed-chamber was sumptuously decorated; and the angel retired with the hermit to rest. But about the middle of the night the former got up and strangled the sleeping infant. The hermit, horrorstruck at what he witnessed, said within himself, “ Never can this be an angel of God: the good soldier gave us every thing that was necessary; he had but this poor innocent, and he is strangled."-Yet he was afraid to reprove him.
In the morning both arose and went forward to another city, in which they were honourably entertained at the house of one of the inhabitants. This person possessed a superb golden cup which he highly valued ; and which, during the night, the angel purloined. But still the hermit held his peace, for his apprehension was extreme. On the morrow they continued their journey; and as they walked they came to a certain river, over which a bridge was thrown; they ascended the bridge, and about mid-way a poor pilgrim met them. My friend," said the angel' to him, “shew us the way to yonder city.” The pilgrim turned, and pointed with his finger to the road'they were to take; but as he turned, the angel seized him by the shoulders, and precipitated him into the stream below. At this the terrors of the hermit were again aroused—“ It is the devil,” exclaimed he internally—" it is the devil, and no good angel ! What evil had the poor man done that he should be drowned?” He would now have gladly departed alone ; but was afraid to give utterance to the thoughts of his heart. About the hour of vespers they reached a city, in which they again. sought shelter for the night; but the master of the house to whom they applied, sharply refused it. “ For the love of heaven," said the angel, “ afford us a shelter, lest we fall a prey to the wolves and other wild beasts." The man pointed to a stye—“ That,” said he, “ is inhabited by pigs; if it please you to lie there you may--but to no other place will I admit you." “ If we can do no better," returned the angel," we must accept your ungracious