XVII. A juge ȝe|uing a sen|tens aȝen a innocent man, sin|nith dedly.
Þis is a noþer poynt: a juge ȝeuing a sentens aȝen a innocent man after allegiaunce and prouid, sinniþ deadly. And me þinkiþ þat he synniþ. And for to proue þat, I suppose þat he be innocent þat haþ not noyed; þe secound be þis supposid, þat juge is ordey|nid þat he sey and schew to þe folk þe riȝt, þat is wat ilk man howiþ to haue or to þole bi þe riȝt of God, and þat he discusse riȝtly and pronounce and witnes and schew to þe folk wat ilk man howiþ to haue, and how to be punischid and to be lyuirid; þe þrid be þis supposid, þat noyþer þe deposing of þe witnes, nor þe entens ȝeuing of þe juge, be it self makiþ a þing riȝtful originaly, nor makiþ not man synful, ne worþi to be dead; syn þei are but schewars and witnessars: of þis was hed be for. And if þei go not after þe trowþ going bifor, but þer aȝen, þan þer witnessing is fals, and ȝifiþ no riȝt. Þis semiþ bi þis, þat in mennis lawe oft men falsen domis, and appelen þer fro, and prouen aȝen þe witnes. Þan þus, as Isidor seiþ, A iuge is seid for he ditiþ riȝt to þe peple, or*. [Isidor.] discussiþ riȝt; to discusse riȝt is to iuge riȝtly; to iuge riȝtly is to iuge after Goddis riȝt; for God is al riȝtfulnes in himseluen, and he is al mannis riȝtfulnes; sin mannis riȝtfulnes is but trowþ directly vp on God, and ellis it is not riȝtfulnes, so he is no juge in whom is no justice or riȝtfulnes. And þan if he be not juge, he doþ wrong in þis þat he synniþ so iuging. But to iuge iustly is to iuge bi Goddis riȝt; for as þe feiþ techiþ, God is iuge of alle boþ quik and dead, and he is witnes, and he iugiþ all þingis iustly. And þus seiþ Jamis, þat on is iuge and ȝeuer of þe law, þat may*. [Jamis iuo.] boþ dampne and saue. And bi him kingis regnun, and makers of*. [Prov. uiijo.] lawe discernen iust þingis. And he haþ ȝeuen to Ihu Crist þe sone*. [John uo.] al dome, and haþ ȝeuen him power to mak and do dome, for he is mannis sone; þus haþ he ȝeuen to him al dome, for he haþ ȝeuen to him al manner of cause to ordeyn and discusse all þingis, and to mend and punische all wrongis, and to susteyn and mend alle good þingis. And þus schuld al domis be led bi him, and þus is it ȝeuen Page 61 to him þow God ordeynd him not seculerly to execut seculer domis, as he seiþ, þat he is not ordeind juge ne departar vp on men, ne*. [Luc. xijo.] cum not to deme hem, ne to be cause of þer harme ne strif to be maad a mong hem. Neuerþeles al dome is ȝeuen to him in maner be for seid, to be rewlid bi him, and he to discusse al þingis. And for þis seiþ Poule, þat Crist is end of þe lawe to riȝtfulnes to ilk*. [Rom. xo.] man trowing. As Austeyn seiþ, Boþ of lawe of kind, and of*. [Austeyn.] law writun, and law of grace, he is þe first begining al riȝt mad, he is þe midyl, end, ordeyning, and gouerning, he is endfully consuming and keping, and to wam al laws strekyn; and he kepiþ in to lawfuly doing al þat goþ bi him, and he is end of þe oolde lawe, filling and ending and avoyding after þat riȝtwisnes axiþ. And Poul seiþ, Þoo þat vnknawen þe riȝtwisnes of God,*. [Rom. xo.] and seken to ordeyn riȝtwissnes to hem, þey are not soget to Goddis riȝtwisnes. And þan are þei proud apostatais and wrong doars. And Crist himsilf biddiþ þus, Wel ȝe not deme, and ȝe schal not*. [Luc. ujo.] be demid; þat is, wyl ȝe not of ȝor silf mak domis, neþer vse ani domis, not but as God schewiþ to ȝow to do, and os he wirkiþ be ȝowe; for oþer wis demiþ not Crist þe sone, bi cause to ani man to be vndur syn, bondage, nor damping nor desese, nor doþ wrong in ani dome, somoun or priuat, nor supprisiþ nor eniþ nor demiþ not after þe face, but demiþ iust dome. Be he fairar, be he strenger, þer schal be no distaunce of persoun, he schal ȝere þe smale als wel as þe grete, and accept no mannis persoun, nor take no ȝeftis, for þe dome is Goddis; seþ wat ȝe do, vse ȝe not þe dome to oftun but of God. And ȝe deme it schal turne aȝen to ȝowr mede, if ȝe deme iustly. And þan if ȝe do wrong and syn, þe dred of God be wiþ ȝowe, and doþ all þingis wiþ diligence; at our Lord God is not accepting of personis, nor couetous of ȝeftis, nor wickidnes;*. [Exod. xxiijo.] ȝe schal not tak þe vois of lesing, nor tak to hond to sey fals wit|nes for þe vnpitous, þu schal not folow þe rowt to do iuel, nor þu schalt not in dome folowe þe sentence of vile money, þat þu go a Page 62 wey fro þe soþe; but iustly dome þi neibor, help him þat is sup|prisid, helpiþ in ȝor dome to þe faderles and moderles, and defendiþ þe widow; demiþ not wickidnes, þat is to sey, helpiþ it not vp, nor takiþ not þe face of synnars, helpiþ þe nedy and þe faderles, and makiþ þe meke and þe pore to haue riȝt, and pulliþ out and deliuer þe pore fro þe hand of þe synnar; if þer be ani cause to þe dome, enquere diligently þe soþ, and wham þu seest iust, ȝef him þe victory of riȝtfulnes, and wam þu fynd wickid þu schall condempne of vnpite. Now þan wan iugis gon in to þe contrary of þis, who schuld dowte þat þei not syn in mani case and in mani a wise? And wan ȝe do not after God, ne after charite, nor hope, nor feiþ; also wan þei do not after his wisdam ne ordre, but gon biside reclesly, and enquiren not til þey wit þe soþ, as boþe þe law of God and man techeþ þat þey schuld; þe þrid, wan þe cause perteniþ not to hem but to hiar iuge, but in ilk cause God schuld iuge befor, and oþer as he biddiþ hem, and no forþer; for Poul seiþ, Wat art þu*. [Rom. ijo.] þat demist an oþer mannis seruaunt? Þus wan jugis bowen fro þis, doutles þei syn, and are reprouid of God, for þus seiþ þe Salm, þu hast*. [Salm.] dispicid al bouning doune fro þer domis, for þer þinking is vniust. And þerfor seiþ Crist, þat þe Hooli Goost schal argu þis world of*. [Joh. xiuo.] dome, boþ þat þei mak and demen and causen; sin þe prince of þis world is demid and founden þat he is vniust, and þerfor is he put vnder, and man maad fre to serue God if he wil, and þan mai no man blam him iustly, nor he schal not be temptid ouer þat he*. [Cor. xo.] mai, but God schal make peruiaunce wiþ þe temptacoun þat man may susteyn. And bi þe wise man; Here ȝe kingis and vnder|*. [Sap. ujo.] stondiþ, and lere ȝe þe iugis of endis of þe world; ȝeftis ȝere ȝe þat haldun to gidre, and plesun to ȝou in routis of actouns; for power is ȝeuen of God to ȝou, and vertu of þe heiast, þat schal ask al ȝor dedis, and serch al ȝor þoutis, for ȝe wse þe ministeris of his regn, ȝe iugid not riȝtly, nor kepid not þe law of riȝtfulnes, nor ȝed not after þe wille of God; hedously and sone he schal apere to Page 63 ȝou; for hardist dome schal be don in hem þat are chefe. And for þis seiþ Ysaie, Woo to hem þat maken wickid lawis, and writun*. [Ysa. xo.] writtis of vnritfulnes; þat þei oppresse þe pore in dome, and don violence to þe cause of þe meke of my peple; þat veniaunce schuld be þer prey, and schuld snyb þe moderles, and iustifie þe wickid man for his ȝeftis, and take a wey þe riȝtfulnes of þe riȝtful man from him.
Nor þis excusiþ not to sey, þat he demiþ after þe lawe, and doþ no þing aftur his oune arbitracoun, but obeyschiþ to þe lawe, as seynt Ambrose seiþ, and so he doþ to his knowing as far as man*. [Ambrose.] may knowe, he may not know as God. Þis excusiþ not; for Poul*. [Rom. xiuo.] seiþ, þat ilk þing þat is not of þe feiþ is synne; and ilk þing þat is not of God, nor bi him, nor in him, is synne; also he seiþ, law is not but to þe iust man, þat is to sey to punische him, but raþer to susteyn him, and rewle him in riȝtfulnes, and to punisch mis|doars, and to swilk lauis and to swilk maneris schuld ilk iuge obey, and do þerby, and no þing biside of his oune wille, nor no þing falsly, nor be fals lawis, nor be error, is not he excusable; sin Daniel seiþ þus: Sey ȝe sonis of Israel folis, noiþer knowing nor*. [Dan. xiijo.] deming þing þat is verrey, turniþ aȝen to þe dome, and I schal deme hem wisely, for þei han seid fals witnes aȝenis her. In wilk is to be notid wel, þat fals dome may be reuokid, and þo iugis not*. [Nota.] excusid, bi þer witnes, but more gilty for wickid consent; and in þis þei consent, þat þei werk wickidly; for þe man schal not vndir go þe peyn, befor þat þe juge ȝeft þe dome; nor it helpiþ not to sey þat he schal be excusid bi þis, þat God seiþ, þat ilk word schal stond in þe mouþ of two or of þre, for þat may not implye þat al þing is soþe for þey sey it, but it is seid for þis, þat no man schal be condempnid bi on seying witnes aȝen him, os þe scripture de|clariþ itsilf. And þus seiþ Crist, ȝe erre mikil, not knowing þe*. [Matt.xxijo.] writingis, ne þe vertu of God; þerfor bi þe vertu of God clere knowing of ilk þing, and be for men know a þing, bi þat men know Page 64 it not, as Gregori witnessiþ, for he seiþ, þat men know not a þing*. [Gregori.] bifor þat he know it be feiþ; þerfor as God ȝeuiþ knowing, and techiþ al profitable þingis, and enformiþ alle and lediþ hem, for al abel are tauȝt of God, so þat man schal not stond only in þe teching of man, but in teching of God a boun man, and þan he schal vnderstond a boun his enemies, and ouer his techars, and ouer þe hold, as þe Salm seiþ, and now God ȝeuiþ his lawe in þe hertis of*. [Salm. cxuiijo.] men, and writiþ it in þer bowelis, and not wiþ enk, ne parchemyn,*. [2 Cor. iijo.] but wiþ þe Spirit of God, and kenniþ hem in al þingis, os þe prophet seiþ, and Jon in his epistil, nor forȝetiþ hem not in tyme, nor*. [1 Joh. iijo.] confoundiþ hem, so schuld he þe jugis, if þei bowid not from him, nor he schuld not fail to hem nowe ne more þan he dede to Salo|mon, and oþer iugis. But now for men lefun, and don domis, and not bi his Spirit, nor do not bi his counseil, but regnun and not of him, but gon bi oþer weyes, þerfor þer oune findingis begon hem aboute, and bi gernyn hem þat þey may not out, and þey bigilun oþer men. Nor sey þu not þat bi þis ani law miȝt not stond, nor no domis and polycye were for done, and misdoars schuld not be punischid: þis is not soþ; but bi þis schuld law be stablid, and ilk man schuld be suget as God biddiþ, and ilk man schuld do riȝt to oþer, and iust men schuld be holden in riȝt, and schrewis schuld be punischid as riȝt axiþ, and mikil bettar þan þei are now; for as God biddiþ þeis þingis to be don, so schuld he ȝef boþe witt and wille and miȝt þerto; and mikil bettar it schuld be þan is nowe, for now are iust men oft wrongid, and schrewis vnpunischid, and maynteynd, and born vp in iuel, boþ bi wilis, and strengþ, and falsnes, and fayntise of þeis þat schuld do riȝt; and þus synne is aggregid mani fold, and if ani haue good þer by þer falliþ vp on an oþer side to mak harmis.
And if þu sey, it semiþ þat man may juge aȝen þe innocent, bi þis God himsilf condempniþ boþ þe iust and vnpitouse, and Crist ȝaf himsilf to þe deþ. And Abraham is blessid of God, for he was Page 65 redy to sle his sone. And Sampson slow himsilf in sleyng of þe Philisteis, and so doþ mani oþer and mani wise. Also Dauid slow*. [2 Reg. io.] a man, for he seid þat he had slayn a man, and slow him not. And þus bi þeis it semiþ þat man may ȝeue sentence ȝea to sle þe innocent. To þeis obieccouns me semiþ þus; God may do what*. [Responsio ad object.] he wel, and þerfor in sum þingis it is not inow to vs, God doþ þus, þerfor we mai do þus; but do we as he biddiþ us, for þus seiþ Crist, ȝe cal me lord and mayster, and ȝe sey wel, forsoþ I am,*. [Joh. iiijo.] but wil not ȝe be callid maisteris. Also he condampniþ in oþer maneris, as wan he þoliþ þe creature to falle in to synne, or ellis in to peyn; þe secound, wan he ordeynit ani to be punischid or con|dempnid; þe þrid, wen he schewiþ þe gretnes of his wisdam, power, goodnes, mercy, paciens, be wilk he schewiþ þat alle crea|turs in regard are not, nor worþi to appere in his siȝt. And bi þis þei schuld be confoundid in hem silf, and leue al hemsilf, and folow him, and stond in his grace, and þus mend. Blessid be þis confu|sioun and dampning; and so ȝef God bed condempne, or ȝeue sentence, wirk fast as God biddiþ, but it is in veyn to go be for. And for soþ of Abram it is opun þat he was not in wil to sle his sone, not but after þe bidding of God, and þerfor cam God befor and bad him sle not þe child, and for þis wil he blessid him; and in þis he techiþ þat his wil is not þe ded of man þat is innocent,*. [Ezek. xxxiijo.] for he seiþ þat he wel not þe deþ of þe synnar, if he wil turne and lif, as he seiþ bi þe prophet. And in þis he schewiþ vs how he wil cum befor to saue þeis þat tristun in him, and doþ in simple hert and purte of handis. And of Sampson men seyn þat oþer he hadde bidding of God, or repentid ofter. And os to Dauid, men seyn þat alle his dedis are not to be folowid, wiþ out mikil auto|rite; nor þis man was not innocent in þe siȝt of God, for he went to haue plesid Dauid wiþ þe sleyng, and for his lyeing he was manslear. And þus Dauid, led bi þe priuete of prophecye, dede þe dome of God to him, schewing to vs how God demiþ vs after Page 66 our hartis, and schal deme ilk man after þe wordis of his mowþ. And þerfor men schuld be warer þat þei lere not, nor sey not þat þey wet a þing to be þat is not; for þan schal God condempne hem of þer own mowþ, wen þe þing mai not be prouid, wan nor were þat it was don, as Daniel did þe prestis; for þis wil be at þe day*. [Dan. xiijo.] wen al þing schal be demid after trowþ. And her be howuen þei be war þat are chargid to sey þe soþe to þer witing. And wen oþer seyn aȝen þer witing, þei holde hem stille, and þolun þe toþer to ȝeue þe dome, and þus þei are for sworne, and cause of þe mannis harme þat þei schuld leit os þei are sworne to do. And error excusiþ not, os is schewid oft, nor vnkunning; sin Balaam*. [Num.xxijo.] seid to aungel, I haue synnid, not witing þat þu stod aȝen me; and in þe law was bidun þat if ani synnid bi error or vnkunning,*. [Lev. vijo.] and did ani þing þat þe law forbed, þat he schuld mak an ofring, and þe prest schuld pray for him, and it schuld be for ȝeuen him, for he fautid be error and be vnkunning.