Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of Justice

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TALE IV.

OF JUSTICE.

During the reign of Cæsar a law was enacted, that if a man maltreated a woman, and overcame her by violence, it should remain with the aggrieved party, whether the person so offending should be put to death, or married to her, without a portion. Now it fell out that a certain fellow violated two women upon the same night; the one of whom sought to put him to death, and the other to be married to him. The violator was apprehended and brought before the judge, to answer respecting the two women, according to law. The first woman insisting upon her right, desired his death; while the second claimed him for her husband, and said to the first, "It is true, the law grants you your request, but at the same time, it supports me in mine. But because my demand is of less importance, and more charitable, I doubt not but that sentence will be given in my favor." Both women complained, and both required the enforcement of the law. When either side had been heard, the judge ordered that the second woman should obtain her husband. And so it was done.


APPLICATION.

My beloved, the emperor, who framed the law, is our Lord Jesus Christ. The violator, any sinner, who violates two females, that is, Justice and Mercy, which are both the daughters of God. The violator is brought before the Judge, when the soul separates from the body. The first woman, that is, Justice, alleges against the sinner that by law he is subject to eternal death: but the other, that is, Divine Mercy, alleges that by contrition and confession he may be saved. Therefore let us study to please God.