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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 kind of instrument to be used.
Will any one say, that, granting this interiour 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 the outward, civil conduct only, not concerning itself with motives and feelings within ? True, in its narrower sense, 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 ill working 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 necessarily limit the external itself, and take from it half its power: by it death enters the material universe to us individually, while it touches society, too, in all its forms.
And why is it thus? Because the material and ex
ternal 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 superiour 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 each 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 internal 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 perhaps 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 he has not, then Law must influence the same faculties and affections as are influenced by religion, family, books, occupations, the beauty, the grandeur, the variety of earth, sea, and sky. And do any of these come and go, and leave no hue, no impress, 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 too often 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. Of the few writers on this subject whom I have read, it seems to me that, with the exception of Burke, scarcely one can, in the higher sense, be termed a philosopher. 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
the least outward circumstance or condition has an influence upon some one of these, and, through their sympathetic connection with each other, upon all, and so upon their unity, or that which constitutes an individual, -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 will order 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 will this world be found to contain, as it were, within itself, heaven, - 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 world, 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 that of the other? and by which, so far as he has the shaping of circumstances, shall man mould his condition?
He who made man, body and spirit, framed the material world for a spiritual as well as a physical use. 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 can this be barren knowledge, for its purpose is to bring man into the likeness of the 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 them off. There are no such contraries in God's plan; 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 man.
This great principle of obedience, and the spirit of humility with which to obey, need be taught us in every thing; and Law, while allowing us due freedom, should be so formed 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 and self-will; 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 impulse of our hearts in honour to prefer one another, we might not stand in so extreme need that Law should meet us everywhere, with the air of supreme authority pressing upon our senses and rising up before our minds. Or rather, it would find us so assimilated to the condition, and recognizing it as so genial to our true natures, and so in harmony with them, as to constitute our perfect freedom, — indeed, the only real freedom of which man is capable.
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 system, 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 everywhere, 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