When Mercy Seasons Justice

Abraham Lincoln abhorred the military executions common during the Civil War. In almost every case, he would grant clemency owing to the most tenuous of rationales.

He expressed, “I would say that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”1

   In “The Merchant of Venice,” Act IV, Scene I, Shakespeare wrote:

“The quality of mercy is not strain’d

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath; it is twice bless’d;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

The mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptered sway,

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God Himself,

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice.”2

   “Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18).


© 2016 D & L Publications



  1. The Suncoast News, Pasco, A Media General Publication, Published by Media General Operations, Inc., 6214 U. S. 19, New Port Richey, FL, 34652, Saturday, September 24, 2011, p. 7
  2. Adult Teacher Supplement, Fourth Quarter, Oct., Nov., Dec., 1968, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO, 65802, pp. 54 – 55