Paradise Lost "Temper Justice With Mercy"

John Milton

"Temper Justice With Mercy"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: When Eve, and later Adam, eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the guard of angels leaves Paradise and reports the transgression to God, Who relieves them of all blame, saying that they could not prevent Satan's success in seducing mankind to disobedience, but He declares that judgment must be passed upon Adam and Eve. God's Son is declared the one to pass the judgment; God says that justice is to be colleague with mercy, that this is the reason for His choice of judge. The Messiah, who has already accepted His role as man's redeemer by suffering for man's transgressions, says to God:

"Father eternal, thine is to decree,
Mine both in heaven and earth to do thy will
Supreme, that thou in me thy son beloved
Mayest ever rest well pleased. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressors, but thou knowest,
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,
When time shall be, for so I undertook
Before thee; and not repenting, this obtain
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
On me derived, yet I shall temper so
Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease."