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Mercy and Justice.

Mercy and Justice.

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL COX

Authorized Version. " Mercy rejoiceth against judgment."
Revised Version. ''Mercy glorieth against judgment."JAMESE ii. 13.
BY SAMUEL COX

Authorized Version. " Mercy rejoiceth against judgment."
Revised Version. ''Mercy glorieth against judgment."JAMESE ii. 13.

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Published by: glennpease on Feb 28, 2014
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02/28/2014

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MERCY AND JUSTICE. BY SAMUEL COXAuthorized Version. " Mercy rejoiceth against judgment." Revised Version. ''Mercy glorieth against judgment."JAMESE ii. 13. IT is of little consequence which of these two renderings we accept, though no doubt that of the Revised Version is the more literal of the two ; for whether it be the joy, or the glory, of Mercy to outstrip Justice, the practical import of the maxim remains the same. However we render it, I take the maxim to be a quotation with which St. James clenches his argument, or assertion, though whence he MERCY AND JUSTICE. 1 29
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derives it, it is impossible to determine. It may-have been one of those " faithful sayings " of the Christian prophets of which there are many more samples in the New Testament than we com-monly suspect. Or, as James was the brother of the Lord and must have heard many of his say-ings which are unknown to us, it may have been one of those things which Jesus said that are not recorded lest, as St. John puts it, the world should not be able to contain the book. But, in any case, St. James uses it in a manner, with an air, which gives it the force of an authoritative citation. As it falls from his pen, it seems to be an axiom of such wide acceptance and allowed authority that no one will venture to dispute it, that it will suffice to close an argument and put an end to doubt. And if that be so, it is reason-able to attribute the maxim to our Lord Him-self rather than to one of the prophets ; to conclude that it was one of his sayings, current in the Church though not recorded in the Gos-pels, like that quoted by St. Paul, " It is more blessed to give than to receive ; " since, through-out his Epistle, St, James habitually cites or
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recasts the words spoken by his Brother and Lord. But, quotation or no quotation, what docs it 9 1 30 MERC V AND JUSTICE. mean ? Short as it is, and simply as it is worded, it carries only an indefinite sense, I suspect, to many minds ; and that, in all probability, because the word "judgment" does not always, or at once, suggest its true and simple meaning to us, viz., the sentence which Justice pronounces on those who have been summoned to its bar. What the Apostle meant, I suppose, was that it is the joy, or the glor}^, of Mercy to step in after Justice has pronounced an adverse verdict, and to qualify or remit that verdict ; and that, there-fore, it is the joy or glory of a good man, of a Christian man, to go beyond the demands of strict justice, even when he is compelled to sit in
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