Gesta Romanorum Vol. I (1871)/Of Just Judgment

Gesta Romanorum Vol. I  (1871) 
Anonymous, translated by Charles Swan
Of Just Judgment



A certain emperor decreed, that if any woman were taken in adultery, she should be cast headlong from a very high precipice. It chanced that a woman, convicted of the crime, was immediately conveyed to the place of punishment, and thrown down. But she received no injury in the fall. They, therefore, brought her back to the judgment-seat; and when the judge perceived that she was unharmed, he commanded that she should again be led to the precipice, and the sentence effectually executed. The woman, however, addressing the judge, said, "My Lord, if you command this, you will act contrary to the law which punishes not twice for the same fault. I have already been cast down as a convicted adultress, but God miraculously preserved me. Therefore, I ought not to be subjected to it again." The judge answered, "Thou hast well said; go in peace:" and thus was the woman saved.


My beloved, the emperor, is God, who made a law that if any one polluted the soul (which is the spouse of Christ) by the commission of any mortal sin, he should be precipitated from a high mountain—that is, from Heaven; as befell our first parent, Adam. But God, by the sufferings of his Son, hath preserved us. When man sins, God does not instantly condemn him, because His mercy is infinite; but "by grace we are saved," and not cast headlong into hell.