Here Mercy Concludeth
vpon these Answers
Mercy thus to Iustyce. `Sothly suster', quod she,
`sauyng your reuerence, your rygoure by youre owne
iugement is somwhat vnmesurable
withoute that ye be gouerned somwhat by me. And ye that
oweth to yelde eueryche that to his ryght bylongeth, me
thynketh that ye fayle of youre offyce but yf ye demene
your self in this caas after myn counseylle. And I shal
seye yow why.
`Sith it so is that man was made, as ye seye, fynally to this entent & ende to be Goddes seruaunt & for to knette to God al erthely creatures by retorne of his seruyse, thenne wrongeth ye the Souerayn Lord, that besyeth about to alyene this seruauntb & forclosen fro that offyce that he was ordeyned fore.
`Also, sith the Lawe wryten of God, bytaken to Moyses, & also the Lawe of the Gospel, yeuen by Crist hym selue & practysed in his owne persone, entendyth no thyng elles, as ye sey, with subalternacion of al other resonable lawes, but for to teche the peple & holde them vnder gouernaunce for to make them obeye to his seruyse, by what skyle may thenne ony wyght withdrawe this pylgrym fro his Lordes seruyse, by desordeyne rygour of ryghtwysnes, for to excluden hym & schytte hym fro this deute. But herto ye seyn that he oweth to be punysshed for that he hath mysdone. But by your own sentence, punysshementc was deuised for to drawe hertes of men fro foule affectiond & for to chastise them for thate they haue misdon, whiche chastisementf is a maner medicin to purge the affectiong of man. Thenneh semith it wel, also soone as thaffection is clensid by hertely forthinkyng in wil & purpos to kepen Gods Law, the punisshementi sholde cesse, & this seruaunt resorte to his Lordes seruyse. Namely sith it soo is, that this seruyse is of more value than is thatj punisshementk. For a very fool may he be clepid thatl leith a plaister [26r] corosyf to a wondem after that he is purged, for it shal thennen noyen & no thyng auayle to hele. And worldly lawe also vseth this condicion that yf a man hath done trespas to another either offendyd his lord in ony thynge for whiche he shal be punysshed, al so sone as he knowlecheth the trespaas and maketh amendys, byndyng hym selue neuer after to offende, thenne shal he be relecido28 of his punysshement. And al that is done ouer this may rather be clepyd cruelte than ryghtwysnes.
`Al be it so that this pylgrym hath greuously trespacid, yet at his passyng oute of the world he stode in this plyte, wherfore he oweth not to be putte in eternal peyne, howeuer it be, of other punysshement, for why, as ye haue sayd yourp self, iugement of deth and eternal peyne was ordeyned only for tho that ben rebelle and obstynate ageynst Gods Lawe, lest they shold be malycious, excytyng to bryng many other to the same mysgouernaunce, soo that the ordre of vnyuersyte shold be destroubled. But sooth it is, nouther this pylgrym is obstynate, ne purposyth not to dystrouble the vnyuersal ordre, ne euyl example may he none yeue after this tyme to noo creature, wherfor he oweth not to be delyuerd to eternal peyne.
`Thenne conclude I thus by youre iugement, that this pilgrym, Cristes seruauntq bought & raunsoned with his precious blood, although he haue by malyce of his enemyes be taryed fro his Lordes seruyse, yett at the laste he brake oute of theyr handes, & come to his Lord, submyttyng hym to his Grace, offryng hym self lowely to his seruyse.
`He oweth not be delyuerd to his enemyes, though that he shal be punysshed for the trespace, but he oweth at the Lordes wil be taken to his Grace, & after skilful punysshementr ben admytted to his Lordes seruise. This is youre oune sentence. How thennes wil ye acquyte yow in this mater, that by rygour of punysshement wolde haue this man delyuerd to his enemy, and alyened fro his Lordes seruyse, to grete wrong and amenusyng of his worshyp? And also, as ye sey your self, the testament that he maketh in yeuyng al that he hath to his Lord, shal stonde in effect in ful record of his Lordes ryght. And who that procureth ony suche alyenacion, he wrongeth the Lord. Why thennet be ye so besy to deliuer this man out of he Lordes seruyse, that hath by testamentu yeuen hym self euer lastyng to the same Lord? This was his last wil, & who that withstandithv the last wil offendith the Lawe, wherfor, suster, ye be ouer rigorous, as me semyth.