I was employed as a copywriter in the advertising office of a large and prosperous department store. After three years a much better job came along. To be fair, I gave a month's notice and told the advertising manager that if he wished, I would be happy to do the next month's advertising for the home furnishings department, since there was to be the biggest sale of the year during that month. He expressed enormous relief and warmest appreciation and asked me to train my replacement. All this I did, and gladly. It was a challenge, but a sincere labor of love. I planned and executed all of the forthcoming month's ads. My current work was heavy, too. At month's end, everything being in shipshape order, I checked out one hour before closing time. When I returned the following Thursday to pick up my back week's pay envelope, can you believe this? -- I had been docked for that one hour.
I was hurt. I was angry. How could they be so petty! I had given that store a whole month's work for free! And so joyously! I knew there would be no extra remuneration, but I certainly didn't welcome this slap in the face. Yet a little inner voice told me my reaction was wrong.
But why the injustice of my having been penalized for that one hour? I finally found the answer in Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She writes, ``Christian Science demands both law and gospel, in order to demonstrate healing, and I have taught them both in its demonstration, and with signs following.''1
Eureka! Scales fell from my eyes, so to speak, and light flooded my consciousness. The perfect two: law and gospel! The letter of the law is constant. The spirit of the gospel is the good news of mercy and lovingkindness. I had sidestepped the law, and not all those hours of working for free compensated for absence of conformity to the rules. I wanted to hug the accounting office that had docked me. They had done me a favor that not all the money in the world could buy. They had shown me that nothing happens out of order in the divine scheme of things. More important, I discovered that even though the letter without the spirit is dead, the spirit without the letter is unprotected.
Speaking of the law and gospel, Mrs. Eddy continues: ``They are a unit in restoring the equipoise of mind and body, and balancing man's account with his Maker. The sequence proves that strict adherence to one is inadequate to compensate for the absence of the other,since both constitute the divine law of healing.''2
The balance and blending of the perfect two runs through all life because God is Life itself, Life that is both Love and Principle, as we can gather from the Bible. Inexorably just, Principle might seem harsh and cold without Love. The Bible describes God as a Rock, signifying the impersonal, unchangeable divine law.``He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment.''3
But Love is never absent. The Psalmist sings of the caring closeness of God's mothering: ``He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust.''4 There is no dichotomy, no separation, between Principle and Love. They are not only two names for good but a synonymous unit, indivisible.
Law and gospel (head and heart, so to speak) are spiritual actualities with power. Christ Jesus proved this in his teachings and works, which at once expressed the strength of divine law and the compassion of mothering love. To be firm in insisting on conformity to divine law is to express the deepest kind of love. For only through such obedience can we demonstrate God's supremacy and man's sinless, spiritual nature as His likeness. Only in this way can we find genuine healing and salvation.
The blend of mercy and discipline, springing from an understanding of the divine nature and of the demand to be what God created us to be, confers peace of mind and less labored activity, better health and more harmonious relationships. It confers healing.
1Miscellaneous Writings, p. 65. 2Ibid. 3Deuteronomy 32:4. 4Psalms 91:4.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Good and upright is the Lord....The meek will he guide in judgement: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. Psalms 25:8-10