Always Be Furbished With The Oil Of Mercy (London’s Lamentations)

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

Sword of justice, Germany, c. 1700-1735 - Higgins Armory Museum - DSC05735Seneca has long since observed, that the custom of anointing kings was to show that kings, above all other men, should be men of the greatest sweetness and mildness, their anointing being a sign of that kingly sweetness and mildness which should be in them. Theodosius the emperor, by his loveliness and clemency, gained many kingdoms. The Goths, beholding their king’s temperance, patience, and justice mixed with mercy and clemency—gave themselves up to his government.

When Cicero would praise Caesar, he tells him that his valor and victories were common with the rest of his soldiers—but his clemency and goodness were wholly his own. Nero’s speech has great praise, who in the beginning of his reign, when he was to subscribe to the death of any condemned person, would say, “I wish I did not know how to write!” I know there are a thousand thousand cases wherein severity must be used; but yet I must say that it is much safer to account for mercy than for cruelty. It is best that the sword of justice should be always furbished with the oil of mercy.



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