Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mercy and Justice

Orual: 'Are the gods not just?'
The Fox: 'Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?'
-CS Lewis in Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (1956)

The quality of mercy is not strain'd
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesses him that gives and him that takes:
It is the mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monach better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute ot God himeslf.
And earthly power doth then show like God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
The Merchant of Venice


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