Justice and Mercy

"Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face." Thus wrote the Psalmist in proclaiming the praise of the Almighty. Men who have believed in God have almost universally accepted the concept of Him as a God of justice. Many have also believed Him to be merciful. They have not, however, always understood that one of these qualities is practically valueless unless associated with the other, and that they are invariably united in the Mind which is God.

The human sense of justice, on the other hand, is apt to know little if anything of mercy. "The rendering to every one his due," is the most common definition of justice; and its fulfillment often appears to produce veritable Shylocks. Moses' precept, "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," was apparently the highest type of justice understood and expressed in the early Levitical days; and even in this more enlightened age mankind still believes that what it calls retribution is just and right. Consequently, much of the same unmerciful element is to be seen to-day in the expression of what is known as human justice.

There is no doubt that Jesus' teaching was entirely away from the ordinary custom of meting out justice without mercy. In refuting the dictum of Moses just referred to, he said positively, "Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." The teaching of Christian Science is in a direct line with this; for on page 11 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy tells us, "Love metes not out human justice, but divine mercy." And later she adds, "To mete out human justice to those who persecute and despitefully use one, is not leaving all retribution to God and returning blessing for cursing."

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Among the Churches
January 29, 1927

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