There Must Be A Mixture Of Both Justice And Mercy (London’s Lamentations)

Figures of 'Justice' and 'Mercy', Parliament House, Edinburgh

Thomas Brooks, 1670, London’s Lamentations, The Epistle Dedicatory:

Sir, once more give me permission to say, that in a magistrate—justice and mercy, justice and clemency ought to go hand in hand. Proverbs 20:28, “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and his throne is upheld by mercy.” [Truth in Scripture is frequently put for justice.] All justice will not preserve the king, nor all mercy will not preserve the king; there must be a mixture both of justice and mercy to preserve the king, and to uphold his throne. And to show that mercy is more requisite than justice, the word mercy is doubled in the text. Justice without mercy turns into harsh rigor, and so becomes hateful. Mercy without justice turns into weak sentimentality, and so becomes contemptible. [King John thought to strengthen himself by gathering a great deal of money together; but neglecting the exercise of mercy and justice, clemency and lenity, he lost his people’s affections, and so, after many endless turmoils, he came to an unhappy end.]



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