Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists/Fable XVII

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Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists (1692)
by Roger L'Estrange
Fable XVII: A Sick Kite and her Mother
3925111Fables of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists — Fable XVII: A Sick Kite and her MotherRoger L'Estrange

Fab. XVII.

A Sick Kite and her Mother.

PRay Mother (says a Sick Kite) Give over these Idle Lamentations, and let Me rather have your Prayers. Alas! my Child, (says the Dam) which of the Gods shall I go to, for a Wretch that has Robb'd All their Altars?

The Moral.

Nothing but the Conscience of a Virtuous Life can make Death Easie to us; Wherefore there's No Trusting to the Distraction of an Agonizing, and a Death-bed Repentance.


The Kite's Death-bed Devotion and Repentance works like the Charity and Piety of a great many Penitents we meet with in the World; that after the Robbing of Temples, the prophaning of Altars, and other Violences of Rapine and Oppression, Build an Hospital perhaps, or some Little Alms-House, out of the Ruines of the Church, and the spoils of Widows and Orphans; put up a Bill for the Prayers of the Congregation; Wipe their Mouths, and All's well again. But 'tis not for a Wicked Life to trust to the Hazzards of an Uncertain State, and Disposition at the point of Death. When Men come to that Last Extremity once, by Languor, Pain, or Sickness; and to lie Agonizing betwixt Heaven and Hell, under the stroke either of a Divine Judgment, or of Human Frailty, They are not commonly so sensible of their Wickedness, or so Effectually touch'd with the remorse of a true Repentance, as they are Distracted with the terrors of Death, and the Dark Visionary Apprehensions of what's to come. People in that Condition do but discharge themselves of Burdensom Reflexions, as they do of the Cargo of a Ship at Sea that has sprung a Leak: Every thing is done in a Hurry, and men only part with their Sins in the one Case, as they do with their Goods in the other; to Fishthem up again, so soon as the storm is over. Grace must be very strong in these Conflicts, wholly to Vanquish the weaknesses of Distressed Nature. That certainly is none of the time to make Choice of for the Great Work of reconciling our selves to Heaven, when we are divided, and confounded betwixt an Anguish os Body, and of Mind: And the Man is worse than Mad that Ventures his Salvation upon that Desperate Issue. We have abundance of these Sick Kites in the World, that after a Sacrilegious Life, spent in the Robbing of the Church, would willingly be thought to Die in the Bosom of it.