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sented the bill of fare, we leave the reader to make a comfortable repast—if he can; promising to be quite well satisfied whether he does or not.
Law is a science with which, of course, every one is interested. It is the ligament which binds society together; and the whole machine must tumble into pieces, if that ligament be disturbed. Considered abstractly, it marks a relation subsisting between things. Absolute law is paradoxical: to a single, isolated entity, if supposable, the term cannot be applied : unconnected, independent existence, admits no notion of law. In every idea of law is involved plurality,-plurality and relation. You have an idea, an idea, and a reference from one to the other. Superiority and inferiority are contained in it: law is the language of a superior to an inferior. This is the elementary notion of law, as it is applied to rational existence; any other application is figurative, and founded upon resemblance. When matter undergoes particular changes, under certain forces, we call it a law of matter; we say that it is in obedience to the law of gravitation that heavenly bodies revolve in their orbits; and that the phenomena exhibited by animal or vegetable nature, result from the laws of that nature. In all of which cases, it is evident that the term law has a different signification from what it has when applied to moral beings. In its reference to matter all motive is excluded, -it expresses simply mode, action blind and necessary,-obedience without the possibility of disobedience.*
Law is natural or revealed. Natural law is discovered by unaided reason; revealed law is furnished us in the pages of holy writ. But, are they not both derived from the same source ? Nay, are they not but likely the same law? We boastfully claim unaided reason as the tutor of natural law, but does this exclude revelation? Does this exclude a law written upon the heart by the finger of him who made that heart? Human depravity may have obliterated that impress,-the same sin which
"Brought death into the world And all our wo," may have reduced to a taper the lamp which burned in our bosoms, and the mission of Revelation been none other
See Paley's Natural Theology.
than to restore brilliancy of flame to that faint and flickering light. Revealed law seems but a republication of natural law, and natural law but an earlier revelation.*
We say again that law is divine and human,—the one expressive of the relation between man and his Maker; the other, his relation to his fellow man. But, is not even this division unphilosophical? Is not the second included in the first? Is not man so related to his Maker, that, by observing the duties due to his fellow man, he merits that Maker's favour? And a converso.
Again-law is universal and particular; the one prescribed by Deity himself, as at Sinai,--the other by legislative councils. What is this again ? Does man make that lawful which was unlawful at Sinai? Does he make that unlawful which was lawful, or indifferent? Then, law and truth are mutable. What shall we say ? This: man's law is ancilary to God's; they are not independent and conflicting laws, but the same law under varied expressions. They are similar in their obligation, but have different sanctions. God vindicates his laws in two worlds,-man in only one. God takes the offender where man leaves him ; man operates in time,—God in time and eternity.f The language of inspiration teaches obedience to the “powers that be,” as well as to Him who “ordained” those powers :-"wherefore ye must be subject not only for wrath but for conscience's sake;"Iagain, “put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers,—to obey magistrates,-to be ready to every good work." The strength of these commands is to force upon us the conviction, that all law co-originates, co-works and co-obliges.|| But does this preclude iniquitous legislation ? Not at all-nor does it inculcate, as it has been absurdly supposed, absolute obedience to human enactments. The subject is one full of difficulties, and we have no disposition to draw the line where obedience becomes a crime and disobedience a virtue. A heathen could say, “The design and object of all law, is to determine what is right, honorable and expedient; and when this is discovered, it is proclaimed as
* 1 Black. Comm. 41. + Vid. Paley's Mor. and Pol. Phil. 113 Romans, 5. $ 2 Titus, 3, 1. .!! See Victor Cousin's Psycology, for a discussion of the mooted question, "does human law punish offences simply as such ?"
a general ordinance, equal and impartial to all; and this is the origin of law, which, for various reasons, all are under obligations to obey, and especially because all law is the invention and gift of heaven,"* etc., etc. We borrow the quotation from Mr. Chitty.
On these principles, we should expect to find law perfect in proportion as revelation is clear. We mean that revelation which, by way of distinction, has been called the republication of natural law, and such is very nearly the fact. Before such a republication, and in countries where it has not reached, law is the blind expression of benighted reason and unenlightened experience; it may sometimes rise to dignity, but its march will be slow, and what it gains to-day will be lost to-morrow. Some of the nations of antiquity have been adduced, in favour of what law can achieve without revelation ; but observe, 1st, modern Christianity would not be honored by any, even the very best of all their codes. Observe, 2d, these codes are not certainly independent of revelation. Roman was taught by Greek, Greek by Egyptian and Asiatic; and the question naturally comes up, did Plato, Lycurgus or Pythagoras, in their travels, learn nothing in the East of the Old Testament writings then extant ? Is this plausible? If law be a science, it is one for which man deserves less credit, perhaps, than for any other; it is one in which he is only to follow his teacher, and he will go right; be disobedient, and involve all things in inextricable confusion.
But, as reflections of this nature may not be agreeable to every reader, bordering somewhat upon the metaphysical, which is growing into disuse, we will pass at once to those general observations which were promised, on the various codes of law highest in celebrity, that have obtained in the different ages of the world. And first, let us pause upon the Jewish, contained in the Old Testament Scriptures, and in their traditions, cabbalistic and talmudic. In these laws, besides that which is universal, and, of course, the property of all nations, we have a body of local law, calculaied for the
* Οι δε νομοι το δίκαιον και το καλόν και το συμφέρον βούλονται, και σουσο ζητυσσι. και επειδαν ευρεθή κοινόν τουτο πρόσταγμα απεδείχθη, πασιν ισον και ομοιον. και τουσ' εστι νομος και παντας * * * * ότι πας εστι νομος ευρήμα, μεν και δώρον θεων, etc.
[Demos. Orat. I., Cont. Aristogit.
meridian of Palestine, and for ages anterior to the Christian dispensation. Even this local law is the most valuable code in the world, presenting the ground-work and model upon which most modern institutions have been built; and where it is not exclusively adapted to the Hebrew state and ceremonial, has re-produced itself, to a greater or less extent, in most of the systems that have been formed. Lawyers and legislators, in all ages, have gone to it for light and instruction, and drawn upon its inexhaustible_stores. You can mark its influence every where upon European law. In England, more particularly, where you find some of the earlier jurists exhibiting as deep and profound a knowledge of it as the most learned divines. Lord Coke abounds in quotation from its pages. Selden wrote a number of works in its illustration. 'Algernon Sydney,* in his "Essay upon Government,” and Sir
William Blackstone, every where in his “Commentaries," display a most extensive acquaintance.
Egypt, in the order of time, presents itself next to our notice. The features of Egyptian policy, it is well known, are of a remarkable character. With its judges sworn to the execution of justice, even in defiance of the sovereignwithout expense to suitors or admission of advocates; with its care manifested for the education of children ; with the extreme severity of its penal code; the infliction of death upon him who could and would not save a life; death for the perjurer ; burning for the adulterer; for the calumiator the same punishment he would have brought upon the calumniated; with the trial of the dead, and the annual examination into the lives of the citizens,-Egypt presents us a most extraordinary system of jurisprudence.
Not less distinguished was Persia. At the earliest ages, we find the same elevated conception of justice, and even higher care lavished upon the education of youth. In the punishment inflicted by Cambyses upon the unjust judge, ihere is an evidence of the former; of the latter, Xenophon, in his Cyropædia, is the admirable delineator.
But, in passing to Greece and Rome, we are upon more familiar ground. Sparta, for hundreds of years, exhibits the same individuality,--the same unprecedented, unexampled attitude in the eyes of nations,—the problem in history, the anomaly in the world's annals. Athens, fickle, capricious,
* Sydney, however, was not a lawyer.
feeding and thriving upon change; admitting, iņ Solon, a lawgiver suited to its peculiar characteristics ;* observing, contemning, building up, tearing down, that which had been the toil and the study of his life, the occasion of his death. With the Athenian, it was impossible that law could ever attain to the dignity of a science, or, indeed, to any degree of perfection whatever. In the midst of so versatile a people what power could have erected a system of jurisprudence to be venerated for its wisdom and exhibit within itself any of the elements of duration? The people's character will be recognized in their law, and we would be taught beforehand to expect but little that is truly valuable in the legislation of those, whose popular assemblies were a promiscuous concourse, tumultuous, hasty, violent, ever open to the wiles of the demagogue. Self-government had more to do at Athens than the government of law, and the jealousy of an unbridled democracy, tended rather to shake off than to strengthen its sanctions. To admire Athens let us look to Athenian art, never to Athenian law. We shall be content with a general enumeration of the institutes that obtained, during the most flourishing times of the republic. Upon the Court of the Areopagus, so universally celebrated, we need not pause; its contemporary tribunals were ten in number, four taking cognizance of actions concerning blood, šmi Tüv povixão a payuárwv; six of civil affair, és sūv onuosixwv. The suppression of the litigious spirit of the people formed no part of Athenian policy. The administration of justice was found a source of profitable revenue to the State, and, of consequence, the causes said to have been heard at Athens, were more in number than in all others of the Greek States put together. The sanctions of their laws were as well rewards as punishments ; rewards, as the IIgoedgia or first place, Eixwv, or statue, Στεφανος Or crown, 'Ατέλεια or immunity from taxes: punishments, 'Ατιμία, infamy; Δουλεία, servitude; Στίγματα, branding; Δεσμοί, chains; 'Οστρακισμός, banishment; Θάνατοσ, death, which was either by the sword, the rope, the precipice, poison, cross or fire.
We come to Rome,-much has been said about the mission of Rome, inferior in art, science, philosophy, literature and genius, to the people she wes destined to overthrow, how will the "City of the Seven Hills” compare with all
*Solon did not pretend that his laws were the best that could be devised, but that "they were the best which Athens was capable of receiving."