Trew Treuthe’ and Canon Law: The Orthodoxy of Trajan’s Salvation in Piers Plowman C-text.
Trajan’s salvation is effected through a baptism of desire wholly in conformity with Canon Law. As opposed to the baptism of desire described by Aquinas (ST, III.68,2) and Dante (Paradiso 20), there is no explicit desire for baptism and explicit act of faith in Christ; instead, Trajan’s natural goodness, his good deeds on earth, and his loyalty to truth render his soul receptive to salvation. The primary role is played by Trajan’s own merits (earthly charity) and God’s willingness to respond (divine charity), rather than by Gregory’s tears (charity shown by the Church). Trajan’s natural goodness shakes Will out of his complacent faith in the sufficiency of baptism for salvation and offers an image of the proper relation of the letter and spirit of the law.