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CHAPTER XI

BUT is it not also just even in respect of Thyself, O Lord, to punish the wicked? For it is just that Thou shouldest be so just as no man could conceive Thee juster; and this Thou wouldest by no means be, if Thou didst only render good to the good and not evil to the evil. Far juster is he that rewards the good and evil alike according to their deservings and not the good only. And so Thou art just in respect of Thyself, O just and gracious God, both when Thou punishest and when Thou sparest. Verily then all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth2424   Ps. xxv. 9. and yet the Lord is just or righteous in all His ways2525   Ps. cxlv. 17.: and that without contradiction, since those whom Thou dost will to punish, it is not just should be saved: and whom Thou dost will to spare, it is not just should be condemned. For that alone is just, which Thou dost will, and that not just, which Thou wiliest not. Thus then is Thy mercy born of Thy justice, because it is just that Thou shouldest be so good as to be good even in sparing; and this is perchance why the supremely just can will good to the evil. But if it can at all be apprehended why Thou canst will to save the wicked; certainly that can by no means be comprehended why among those alike wicked 25Thou savest these rather than those by Thy supreme goodness and condemnest those rather than these by Thy supreme justice. Thus then hast Thou indeed perception and omnipotence, art pitiful and yet without passion; as Thou hast life, wisdom, goodness, blessedness, eternity and whatsoever other attributes it is better to have than not to have.


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