The Poisoned Arrow

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There was once a king of England, named Edward the First…

…he was the son of Henry the Third; and while his father was yet alive, Edward, who was a prince of great courage and bravery, resolved to join the crusaders in the Holy Land. These crusaders were people of many different nations, all united together to accomplish one object: namely, to rescue Jerusalem from the Turks and Saracens. The holy city had long been trodden under foot by the infidels; and the Christians there had been so cruelly treated, that it had roused the indignation of all Europe; and many crusades had been undertaken, and many a brave crusader had died on the plains of Palestine, far from his home and all its beloved ones, rejoicing in the thought, that his last breath was spent in so noble a cause. Prince Edward, ardent and enterprising, and burning to distinguish himself, sailed from England, accompanied by his wife Eleanor, and a large army of soldiers; and finally arrived in Syria.

You will think it strange that a young and delicate woman, such as Eleanor of Castille was, should possess courage and resolution sufficient to leave her home, to traverse many thousands of miles, to go into an enemy’s country, the seat of war and bloodshed, and to brave the scorching sun and enervating climate of the Middle-east. But Eleanor’s was no ordinary character: she loved her husband with deep and fond affection; and when he was leaving his native land, perhaps never to return, she thought not of herself, but of him who was so dear to her: and prince Edward felt and returned her affection.

Each crusader wore a cross on his right shoulder: the color of the English cross was white; of the French red; of the German black; of the Italians yellow; and of the Flemish green.

Shortly after the arrival of the English army, headed by Prince Edward, the contest was renewed with great vigor; and the red flag of England soon gained the ascendency; the Saracens were defeated in several battles, and the enemies of Christians began to tremble for the result. For a while, victory succeeded victory; for the turbaned hosts could not withstand the youthful arm, which every day spread confusion and dismay in their ranks; and they fled on all sides. But their animosity was not extinguished….

It was the custom of Prince Edward, after the fatigue and heat of the day were over, to sit at the door of his tent with his beloved Eleanor, and thus enjoy the exceeding loveliness of a calm evening. The moon had risen, and was shedding her pale light on the luxuriant and varied prospect before them, as they took their accustomed seat, one evening, more than usually glad of the refreshing breeze and peaceful stillness of the hour. The small but gallant band of soldiers was encamped around them: small, compared to what it had been, for disease and war had, alas! thinned their ranks; but gallant, undaunted, and brave, as when they first landed on the shores of Palestine. The wearied men had sought that sleep, which they much needed; and nothing was heard save the “All’s well,”of the watchful guard, or the distant neighing of a war-steed.

The thoughts of Prince Edward and his Eleanor were that evening turned upon England, and upon the home so dear to both; when Eleanor, taking up her guitar, commenced singing, in her rich melodious voice, one of the melodies of her native Spain. She had scarcely finished, when a sentinel approached, saying a courier from England waited his highness’s pleasure.

“Admit him,” said the prince. “Ah! Sir John Fitzwalter! Welcome to Palestine! How fares it with the king? Is all well in England? What tidings, good Sir John; what tidings?” “I rejoice in being able to inform your highness that all was well when I left,” replied Sir John. “His majesty was in tolerable health: but these letters from your royal father may inform your highness of farther particulars.”

The prince took the letters, and was engaged in reading the earnest desires of the king to his son, urging his immediate return home, as he felt his constitution rapidly decaying; when Eleanor suddenly uttered a piercing shriek, for the letters dropped from the prince’s hand, and Sir John Fitzwalter, rushing from the tent, shouted to the soldiers to secure the assassin; and, having given the alarm, flew back, to save, if possible, the life of his beloved prince.

It was too true: an arrow, shot from a distance by some unknown hand, had pierced deep into his arm; and as Sir John dispatched the frightened attendants for medical assistance, and Eleanor, the horror-stricken Eleanor, stood pale and breathless by, conceiving it for the moment to be some frightful dream, the prince himself drew the deadly shaft from his arm, and said with a faint smile, “Tis of no avail, Fitzwalter, the arrow is a poisoned one. Weep not, sweet Eleanor, we shall meet again; farewell!”

“Assist me, oh! thou God of mercy!” exclaimed Eleanor; and, with a sudden resolution and a devotedness of love rarely to be equaled, she knelt down by the side of her husband; and, before he could prevent her, she sucked the poison from the wound; and thus, at the imminent hazard of her own life, she preserved the life of Prince Edward. The eyes of Edward of England were suffused with tears, as he, clasping his wife affectionately to his heart exclaimed, “This is a woman’s love!”

My dear friend, you and I have been shot by that poisoned arrow of sin.

And that by the arch-assassin, Satan. We were doomed to die. Our fate should have been sealed, for sin is a fatal poison. Death was all we could expect. Yet Christ in his infinite mercy, came down from heaven. Love, infinite love, did not just risk his life for us, but gave his life for us. He died for us. Jesus died so that we might live. It was our only hope, it was and is, our only shot. We cannot get all the poison out of our lives. Many, spend their lives trying to do exactly that, that is, we try to suck the poison out of our own lives and character. Only Jesus can take our poison from us. He died so that he could. Only Jesus could heal all of our deadly wounds.

“He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.… Is. 53:5-6.

My dear friend, what will you do? Will you trust your own efforts to save you? Or, will you not repent of both your sin and your works to save yourself?  Will you not let the one who loves you more than you can realize, take care of you, –take your poison, heal your wounds, and give you His righteousness. It is my prayer that you do so, right now.

Grace and peace.

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The Story was taken and adapted from, “Anecdotes of Kings”
Author Unknown