"An alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious." --(ST. MARK xiv. 3.)
I HAVE read that both the precious spikenard and an inferior quality of perfume are yielded by the same plant.
The commoner sort is extracted by art. The choicer kind consists of such balsam as exudes from the untouched plant.
One resembles a tax, the other a gift.
Thus, by a figure, even a vegetable demonstrates how much nobler is voluntary than compelled service. For love alone genuinely gives: love turns a levied tax into a free gift, whereas a servile gift dwindles in essence to a mere tax.
Nor least so, in things spiritual. Love transmutes bounden duty into free-will oblation: constraint other than love transmutes even unprescribed offerings into taxes.