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no-person would lay out the labor, and wait so long for the recompense, unless he was, under the sanction of the law, morally sure of his reward. No man will cultivate a field until he owns it; and if we look narrowly to what we mean by owning a field, we shall find it signifies the protection of our rights, by the sanction of the laws.

Hence we find that savages, who have no fields, and no cultivation, have no laws; law being nothing but justice assigning the bounds of material property.

But property is so coarse a concern, such an uncertain channel in conveying happiness, that all laws regulating it must be equally coarse; they must be far removed from the heart. Ascertaining a man's felicity by his property, is like measuring trees by their shadows; and hence all legal operations become very imperfect acts of justice. Property is the great object on which human laws operate; and hence they are as far removed from spiritual precision, as the imparting of property is from communicating real enjoyment.

There is another reason, which serves to degrade the term 'law,' in the apprehensions of mankind; and that is, the decisions of law must be founded on evi- / dence; and evidence we know is imperfect, hard to be found, warped by the interest, and prejudices, and ignorance of those who give it, so that the decisions of a court of law, are sometimes less accurate than the conclusions which a reflecting man can make in his own

closet. Add to all this, the imperfection of the statutes, the comparatively imperfect justice at which they aim, and the imperfect manner in which their very aims are accomplished, the ingenuity which perverts them, the ignorance which misjudges them, with all the management and artifice of a modern tribunal, and you must not wonder if the term law seems a very unsacred name. It hints a thousand imperfections; and a very unlovely view of the Deity arises in some minds, when we are told that God governs the world by a law. They seem to regard it as a very coarse instrument to be placed in the hand of so high and pure a being.

There has been a tendency in all ages, in the minds of men, corrupted by their own passions, to slip down from the first conception of things. Their first bright essence, like a fish taken from the water, looks fair for a moment, and grows fainter the longer they are separated from their original element, until their very nature is changed and all their primitive lustre is lost. Hence we find, that the law given on Sinai, and which was as pure as Infinite Wisdom could make it, degenerated in the hands of such men as the Pharisees, into a rule of conduct which totally separated the action from the heart. Hence St. Paul needed a special influence from God to recover a sight of the law in its real nature. I was alive, says he, without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died; and the commandment which was

ordained to life, I found to be unto death. So totally had he mistaken the inward, spiritual, vital part of God's law. He was like a man, who stands in the morning with his back to the sun, and knows its rising only by the shadow, which it casts in an opposite direction.

It was the doctrine of the great Plato, that men in this world, with all their carnal senses about them, are like persons who should dwell in the bottom of the sea, and behold the sun and stars through the refracting impediment of the waters. He says, when we shall be disrobed of these imperfect bodies, when our passions are removed, and our senses refined, we shall see the real essences of things. As a man who has looked through a colored glass, sees better when the glass is removed and he uses his natural eyes, so shall we, if we be good men, be assisted when we drop our natural passions, and look with the pure eyes of reason, to see things as they are, with accuracy, with perfection, with truth. This may help to illustrate what I mean by the materialized imperfection with which all men regard the word 'law.' Instead of considering it as the most perfect rule, coming from the most perfect mind, and binding the conscience and reaching the heart; they seem to view it as a balance of dollars and cents; the footing of an account; a process in arithmetic; a thick cord binding the outward man, and with which the inward man has nothing to do. Now you might as well con

found a pair of balances for casks and packages, and turned by fifty-sixes, with those delicate scales in which the banker weighs his gold.

In opposition to all these mistakes, I maintain, that law is the most pure ethereal idea, which ever passed from spirit to spirits, to regulate their most sacred intercourse with one another.


No. 6.

Most sacred virtue, she of all the rest,
Resembling God in his imperial might,
Whose sovereign powre is herein most exprest,
That both to good and bad he dealeth right,
And all his works with justice hath bedight,
That powre he also doth to princes lend,
And makes them like himself in glorious sight,
To sit in his own seat, his cause to end,
And rule his people right as he doth recommend.
Spenser-Fairy Queen. Book V. Introduction.

In order to illustrate the position of the last number, let us consider for a moment the course to which the spirit of the municipal law points. For, although a sign-board is not the picture of the city to which it directs us, nor a measure of the distance which it records, yet its index points the eye of reason to some knowledge at least of both.

In the first place, then, why is it necessary that social man should be under the restraints of law at all? Why must he be bound by obligations, and scared

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