The Knight Of The Red Cross
( Originally Published 1902 )
SPENSER in his Facrie Queene, gives a vivid description of the conflict between Holiness and Truth on one side and Satan on the other. A horrible dragon which represents Satan, devastates the territory of a king and queen, who take refuge in a brazen tower through fear of him. Una, the daughter, who represents Truth, goes to the annual festival of the Faerie Queen and asks for a deliverer for her parents and their people. The Queen sends The Knight of the Red Cross, who represents Holiness, and the two return to fight the monster. Before he enters the conflict, Una persuades him to repair to the home of the damsels Fidelia, Speranza and Charissie, or, Faith, Hope and Charity, where he is taught the heavenly virtues and is strengthened for the coming fray. He goes out to meet the dragon, whose body covers an entire hill, and who, half running and half flying, leaps up and charges upon him. With a swish of his tail he throws over the horse and rider, but they arise, and the Knight wounds his wing. They fight all day, and finally the Knight, stunned and longing for death, falls back into a well—the Well of Life, by whose healing waters he is strengthened. He arises from his stupor the next morning, and is again met by his enemy on the plain. Again they fight all day. The Knight cuts off the dragon's leg and otherwise injures him; but, fatigued with the conflict, and faint with the hot breath of the beast, he slips in the mire and sinks into a deep sleep. Happily, he falls under the Tree of Life, and a healing balm flows from it and recuperates him, so that in his new strength he arises and slays the monster. Una joins him, and they rescue the king and queen and all their people.
In the conflict of the soul with Satan, divine power is absolutely necessary to secure the victory. The soul will grow faint and be destroyed in the fight, unless it be refreshed by the Water of Life, by the Tree of Life. In our struggle to save others from the dominion of Satan, we will utterly fail unless we be invigorated by the Spirit of the living God.