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the time, and for that associating principle, spoken of, which leads us to involve in one common feeling of hatred, or of love, all that, in any way, bears a relation to the objects of that feeling, whichsoever it be. If, then, the government to which we were opposed, was a form of the monarchical, we must be upon our guard as to our prejudices against that form, and cautious as to our partialities for its opposite, heightened, as they will naturally be, by these very prejudices. We must consider, too, the influence which meré names may have upon our minds, and how, in time, they move us to anger, or 10 love, while we know very little of the deeper meaning of those things to which the names belong. We must recollect, also, that our war of the revolution was not a conflict about a difference of Constitution, but a war growing out of what we held to be a violation of a certain Constitution.
In treating upon Government, or Law, the peculiar character of our times demands of us, as wise and good men, to lay aside all prepossessions, and to look the subject through and through. It is, indeed, becoming a question with thoughtful men, whether human nature is fitted for a form of Government such as ours, and whether the dangers now threatening us, are accidental and transient, or whether they lie deep in the system itself. As much, then, which will be here said may cross many associations and preconceived notions, I must ask to be listened to patiently, not for my own sake alone, but for the reader's too, and above all, for the Truth's sake, while a short time is given to the question,
What form of Government, or Law, is best suited to the Individual and Social Character of Man
The term, Law, is here used in its more convenient and comprehensive sense, including within it Constitution and Administration.
“ Of Law," says Hooker, “ there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world ; all things in beaven and earth do her homage; the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempt from her power; both angels and men and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.” And Coleridge speaks of “ the awful power of Law, acting on natures preconfigured to its influences."
The answer to the question stated will, in no small measure, depend upon the way in which we are in the habit of considering man-whether we look at him as a higher sort of animal, or whether we are wont to think of him in his inner and more spiritual nature-whether we are accustomed to regard him in his mere earthly, outward wants, comforts, connexions—his clothing, his food, his making and spending of money, in his providing for the bodily wants and worldly happiness of his family-or whether, allowing their due place to these, we think of him as a being, who, having begun to live, must live forever—as a soul to which this body, with its many organs, is but an instrument for the use of a day—as a being with capacities which shall forever go on enlarging, and for which infinitude alone can make roomas one with longings which earth cannot satisfy, and yet one, who in the proportion that these longings possess him, finds more and more, even here, for the soul's joy-a being compounded of ethereal faith and hope, of imagination and sentiment, of sentiment which refines joy, and touches sorrow with a softening bue, a being who looks upon the earth as indeed, dust, and its toils as only the wasting of strength, further than as they minister to these inward sensations and powers.
If we allow Law to have any influence over the character of man, it is evident that as we are habituated to look at him in the one or the other of these lights, so will be our views of Law. For we must first understand what it is which is to be operated upon, before we can determine upon the instrument to be used.
Will any one say, that granting this interior view of man to be the true view, it is a matter with which Law has little, or nothing, to do ?- That Law takes cognizance of only the outward, civil conduct, not concerning itself with motives and feelings within ? True, it must not call the thoughts into judgement; but there is a necessity upon it, grounded in the nature of things, to give a hue to those thoughts. For there is nothing without us which fails of reaching that which lies within : through the countless varieties and differences of the material and moral world, all stand related to all through the universe of God, there is not one lonely being or thing. What falser view of Law, then, can there be, than that which looks upon it as a larger machine regulating merely out-of-door intercourse, and by its complicated motions and parts, only supplying conveniences, and furnishing levers and springs to help on the more general purposes of man? Yet the greater part of men habitually speak of Law, as a well or illworking machine. Nor do they think of it as acting upon the nicer moral and intellectual characteristics of man.
It is wonderful to observe the effect of this sensuous, external way of looking at things, and to see how, in the degree that we set the external above the internal, we limit the external itself, and take from it half its power: by it death enters the material universe, and touches society too, in all its forms.
And why is it thus ?-Because the material and external has no independent life. Its life proceeds from and returns into the spiritual and the internal ; and just in the proportion that the latter is held by us as the dearer and superior power, in the same degree the former, as dependent upon it, increases with it :-as imagination, sentiment, and love reign in us, so does the outward become more and more alive, from imparted life, and so does it return, to act, by multiplied and delightful influences, upon every thought and emotion of the soul; and there is no attribute of the inward man with which it is not brought into sympathy.
Would it not be strange then, if Law, made for moral and intellectual beings, should not have an effect upon their moral and intellectual condition ? True ! But, it is again objected, it is only on these beings in their civil characters.
And have men double sets of faculties and affections-individual or private, and public or civil ones ?—the state or action of the one set having no influence upon the other? Or, I fear we must go still further, and ask, whether man has two souls—two consciousnesses—in short, whether he is a kind of double being ? If this be not so, it must be upon the same faculties and affections which Law acts, that religion, family, books, occupations, the beauty, the grandeur, the variety of earth, sea, and sky act. And do any of these come and go, and leave no hue, no pressure upon the soul? And must not Law, then, give form and pressure to every part of man? Why,--not the thin shadow, from the quick cloud, gliding over the grain, leaves it what it was !
How superficial, then, have been our general views of Law! And what a gross, unmalleable substance have we held that to be, which touches and presses upon every part of the ductile spirit of man. I do not pretend to have read many writers professedly on Law; but of those which I have read, I hardly know whom, among them, to term a philosopher, save Edmund Burke. He traced the reachings of Law into man's finer nature, and had that nicer sensibility, wherewith to feel the delicate, electric aura, which this individual nature gives back, and diffuses through every fibre of the great, general frame.
If there be this principle of unity binding together the intellectual capacities, the moral sensibilities and perceptions, and those multifarious qualities, which go to make up what we call character; and if every the least outward circumstance or condition, has an influence upon some one of these, and, through their sympathetic connexion with each other, upon all, and, so, upon their unity, or that which constitutes character; it follows, upon every principle of harmony in God's universe, that there should be no jarring nor discordant influences within or without, and that the nearer man draws to his first, unfallen state, the more will be developed the resemblances and relations of things to each other, and the more plainly order will be traced out through all varieties, and a tending of the upper and lower, the inward and outward world to one great end; and the more this world will be found to contain, as it were, within itself, heaven, and a moment of time to involve eternity—the greater, to speak with seeming paradox, to be contained in the less.
If the influences of this world reach into eternity, in order to fit man truly for either, they must fit him for both, and that, not partially, if they could, but in his whole mind and heart. But if there needs must be this family relation and likeness, which shall be taken for the original ?—the form of this world, or of the other? and by which, so far as he has the shaping of circumstances, shall man mould his condition ?
I have full faith in the doctrine, that He who made man, body and spirit, framed the material world for a spiritual as well as a physical use—that He formed man a microcosm, and would teach him to know himself, not only by the revealed Word and by the influences of his Spirit, but by his providences, by the modes in which He has formed the animate and inanimate worlds, and by the ways in which He carries these forward to fulfil his great ends. Nor must this be barren knowledge—its purpose is to bring man into the likeness of this pattern, and thus into conformity and union with the general ordering of God, and with God himself.
How prone are we to cut these relations right athwart-to consider, for instance, our religious character one thing, and our political character another :-one set of ties to God, another to
man. Religion teaches humility, obedience; not so Politics :“We are all sovereigns !” cries the christian speaker, and the religious assembly clap their hands! Was it the Rights of man, or the pride of man, that gave voice to the thought, and returned the applause? This principle of severance will never do! The nerves we thus cut must grow together again, or just action will cease, and the man die. We must not think of going to God to learn humility and obedience, only to go back to Law again, to throw it off. There are no such contraries in God's plans; and the rule of this world must be after the pattern of the heavenly (imperfect it will be, but yet) teaching, in the main, the same lessons, and acting upon the same attributes of
This great principle of Obedience, and the spirit of Humility, with which to obey, need be taught us in every thing; and Law should be so formed, while allowing us due freedom, as to be our schoolmaster in this lesson. It cannot be consistent, that what becomes so slowly the habitual state of the mind towards its Creator, should not be intended by Him, to find help in the forms of Law on earth—that, on the contrary, Law should be at war with this principle, and should nourish pride; thus keeping man under opposing influences, and hindering his progress in that way which is to make him a meet subject for the order and sovereignty of heaven. Were it natural to man to live under an abiding sense of humility, and of obedience to his Maker, were it the first and only impulse of the heart, in honour to prefer one another, we might not stand in so extreme need that Law should meet us every where, with the air of supreme authority, pressing upon our senses, and rising up before our minds.
If we look at Law, in this way, as intended to fall in with the general plan of God, as a part faying in with the other parts of a great whole—as a something made necessary to the universal ordering of our condition and character, and having both a necessitated beginning and continuance in our very nature, and acting upon it every where,—and not as a mere arbitrary Institution set up by man himself, out of convenience and choice, to be taken down, remodelled, and put up again, at his good pleasure ; then will it have to us an origin like that from which we ourselves sprang, and a bearing as lasting as our own existence ; then will it become sacred in our eyes—a somewhat set over usmour rule, our head. Authority will be seen written over its portal ; and we shall take our shoes from off our feet as we en