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French Curate

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During the French revolution, the inhabitants of a village
in Dauphine had determined on sacrificing their lord to their revenge, and
were only dissuaded from it by the eloquence of the cure, who thus
addressed them:--"My friends," said he, "the day of vengeance is arrived;
the individual who has so long tyrannized over you must now suffer his
merited punishment. As the care of this flock has been entrusted to me, it
behoves me to watch over their best interests, nor will I forsake their
righteous cause. Suffer me only to be your leader, and swear to me that in
all circumstances you will follow my example." All the villagers swore they
would. "And," continues he, "you will further solemnly promise to enter
into any engagement which I may now make, and to remain faithful to this
your oath." All the villagers exclaimed, "We do." "Well then," said he,
solemnly taking the oath, "I swear to forgive our lord." Unexpected as this
was, the villagers kept their word and forgave him.


The Duke of Orleans, on being appointed Regent of France, insisted on
possessing the power of pardoning. "I have no objection," said he, "to have
my hands tied from doing harm, but I will have them left free to do good."


Abon Hannifah, chief of a Turkish sect, once received a blow in the face
from a ruffian, and rebuked him in these terms, not unworthy of Christian
imitation: "If I were vindictive, I should return you outrage for outrage;
if I were an informer, I should accuse you before the caliph: but I prefer
putting up a prayer to God, that in the day of judgment he will cause me to
enter paradise with you."


Alphonsus, King of Naples and Sicily, so celebrated in history for his
clemency, was once asked why he was so forgiving to all men, even to those
most notoriously wicked? "Because," answered he, "good men are won by
justice; the bad by clemency." When some of his ministers complained to him
on another occasion of his lenity, which they were pleased to say was more
than became a prince: "What, then," exclaimed he, "would you have lions and
tigers to reign over you? It is for wild beasts to scourge; but for man to
forgive."





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