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system did not spring unavoidably and necessarily from the nature of man. It is the fruit of an advanced and improved state of society. It is incidental even among an enlightened and intelligent people. Any such institution limited in its utility and occasional in its origin, can not be a divine institution. So is it not with government. This is an institution the utility of which all men have seen, the necessity of whose organization they have felt, the importance of which pressing on their minds, has led them to its universal establishment. It grew out of the nature which God gave to man, is evidently a part of the system which God designed for man, and for all these reasons united is properly termed a divine institution. And here we see the binding force of government. It does not challenge our regard and observance simply because man has modeled it and it is for the general good—but for these reasons, together with the fact that it is the product of that nature which has God for its author and man for its subject. We feel its binding force, not because it is established, but it was established because we felt its binding force. Just like the common law. That code does not become a just one because the nations have recorded it in their statute books, but they recorded it there because it was founded in eternal justice. The essence of government lies back of human enactments, in the constitution ordained by God. He who tramples on it strikes a death-blow at an ordinance of God. In this view, government has a peculiar sanctity. It rises before us as a system that should be inviolate. We feel that it is the supporter of our best interests, that it is linked to our very destiny. Let us see how this view agrees with the Scriptures. In one passage we find it written that civil government is an “ordinance of God,” is
“ordained of God,” that rulers are “the ministers of God for good.” Again we read that government in its representatives, is “an ordinance of man,”—aydgonvivil atlast,-acreation of man. God, says Paul, in the wise arrangement of His providence, has so ordered the constitution of things, that civil government is indispensable to the highest good of His creatures. They who bear the sword are properly said to be His ministers for good. There is that in the nature of man, in the appropriate circumstances of his existence, which leads necessarily to this result, the establishment of civil government. God then may justly be said to ordain its existence. It springs out of that relation of things which he has established— it is their legitimate and necessary result. It is as though a decree had gone forth from His throne enjoining its institution. Peter gives us a different view. Looking upon the outward form of government as modeled by man, he calls it his creation. The different modifications of government are the result of man's efforts. But although they are his creation, still as they become so under that wise ordination of which God was the author, they have in themselves a vitality and a binding force that commends them to our regard. It was because God had so designed the result, that man was led, by a necessity which had the force of a law, to the creation of civil government. This view of human government then, seems to accord with the representations of the Scriptures. They do not teach us that it is solely a religious institution, preparatory to a higher and purer state of existence. They do not teach us that it exists by a direct creation of the Deity, —that its laws and its sanctions are immediately promulged by Him. But they do teach us what we have attempted to maintain, that it arises from the constitution of things which in His wise counsels God has established, that its formation was wrought into the very nature of man and destined to a development in all the appropriate circumstances of his existence. And it is on this ground that those oracles give to government a lofty character. They call upon man to hold in high regard its external form, even if it is the work of man's creation. They exhort men to submit to kings and governors, because, although elevated to that rank by the attested or implied consent of the people, they are those whom God has ordained to be the ministers of good. For the “Lord's sake” and also “for conscience's sake” they tell man he must needs be subject. Man should not make void what God foresaw would be for the highest good of man; the existence of which the universal propensities and necessities of his nature imperiously demanded. If God has thus plainly manifested his will, and man obeying the suggestions of the monitor within him, and fulfilling the designs of God, has erected the framework of civil society, then the members of it as a duty which they owe to each other and to Him, should submit to it as in harmony with His plan. Such we understand to be the teachings of the Scriptures. Such, too, would be the natural inference, if what is here maintained is true. In accordance with what has now been presented, in some measure, were the views of those who have investigated the constitution of civil society. It was Aristotle who said that the nature of man demanded political society; eitslön qugel toolTixo, a vögentos. Even those who have held that “men did not at first embrace civil society as led to it by the bias of nature,” have been forced to acknowledge that they did embrace it “as driven by the fear of greater evils,” that “civil societies were absolutely necessary for their safety,”
that “there was a natural obligation to enter into regular states and governments,” that “for a redress of those evils which otherwise arose, they had recourse to themselves as the surest defense, by joining together into one body and erecting a civil society.” Now to what does all this amount if not to this, that the nature of man, in its appropriate circumstances, demands the establishment of civil government 2 Of his nature in other circumstances we know nothing, nor does it concern us in respect to this subject. And if the voice of universal nature is the echo of God's will, then is civil government an institution of his ordering. We find in one of these old writers a custom of the Persians related:— On the death of their king they live the five ensuing days without any law, to the end that finding by experience the miserable effects of anarchy, slaughter, &c. that accompany such a condition, they may be engaged in a firmer allegiance to their sovereign. And such effects as they saw we may rationally conclude would be everywhere witnessed, were the forms of government and the sanctions of its law to be abolished, and man to be left to the unbridled indulgence of his wild and growing passions. With the view of civil government which has now been advanced, we learn what weight is to be attached to those theories of government which have divided the sentiments of writers. Granting the doctrine of Mr. Locke to be true—that civil government originates in the wants and fears of individuals, who, being maturally free, equal and independent, associate together, either by express or tacit consent, for the mutual protection of their lives, liberties and estates, on this fundamental principle, that the whole should protect
* Puffendorf, passim.
all its parts, and that every part should pay obedience to the will of the whole—we are still led to ask, how came they “to agree to unite into one political society " This very compact acknowledges the previous right of government; nay, it declares that the nature of man is such, in every condition of life, that the compact is universally necessary for his wellbeing. The compact itself is a written declaration, testifying in plain and definite terms, that God has clearly willed that government should exist in all the appropriate circumstances of man's existence. Specious as the doctrine of the “social compact” seems to be, it disproves itself, it contains the elements of its own overthrow. Allowing its truth, the prerogative of government lies back of it. So far from being the cause of government, it is itself a mere incident in government. It becomes by its very existence an absolute proof that civil government is a divine institution. It is a doctrine possessing the show of truth without the reality, and adding a defect of facts to danger in practice.* And even Mr. Locke himself maintains that “God put man under strong obligations of necessity to drive him into society,” that “the power of the legislative constituted by man, can never be supposed to extend farther than the common good ;” that “upright judges, standing laws, and the execution of them, are directed to no other end but the peace, safety, and
* The doctrine of Locke, Dr. Dwight strongly opposed, both in the chair and in the pulpit. He says, “no opinion is more oil. that this. The absurdities of this doctrine are endless. At the same time, there is no fact more clearly evinced by the history of man, than that such a compact never existed. This, even the abettors of it are obliged to confess; and this cuts up the doctrine by the roots. For if the social compact was not a fact, it is nothing.” (Theology, Vol. III, p. 324, passim.) He as strongly maintained that government was founded in the will of God.
public good of the people.” All of which goes far to strengthen the doctrine herein maintained. For surely if civil government is for the “com. mon good,” and “God has placed man under strong obligations” to establish it in all the circumstances of his being, then, according to what has been heretofore proved, it is a divine institution. Again, if with Dr. Paley and oth. ers, we trace back civil government to paternal authority, and the order of domestic life, yet still it is true, as this author acknowledges, that the disposition to govern and to be governed, is incidental to the very nature and coeval with the existence of the human species. If in the golden age (Saturnia regna) the patriarch was the prince, still as soon as men had multiplied sufficiently, the need of mutual support must have led to a firmer organization. The natural course of human affairs tended directly to multiplied dangers, and as an unavoidable necessity, to the security afforded by an enlarged and strengthened state of civil society. In this view then, we are led to the natural inference that it is of divine appointment, and designed for man in all the conditions of his being. Again, if we consider civil gov. ernment as founded in utility—we must mean by this, its universal nature—as everywhere required for the greatest good of the greatest number. Looking at the history of our species—the efforts of the former ages—the present condition of the nations—we are forced to admit that its formation is for the highest possible good. And it is so, because God has formed the nature of man, so that in all the conditions of life, civil society is a necessary and unawoidable accompaniment of his existence. The interests of society require it—the common wel. fare of individuals and of the race —the universal desires and necess. ties of mankind have called for its organization—it is the persecting of
the purposes of God in regard to man—a necessary part of that system which he has evidently designed for man, and therefore is a clear and forcible manifestation of the highest utility. It is on this ground that we rest our doctrine of civil government; it is an institution of God, whose design is the highest welfare of man. He has committed it, as a means of their greatest happiness, to men, and demands of them that they secure by it the great ends of human society. It is a fearful and an important trust, by reason of those momentous interests and destinies that center in it. Rightly understood and regarded it will confer untold benefits upon the nations. It will lift itself above the raging multitude and hush to repose the angry passions of men; it will go down to the lowly home of the humblest citizen and whisper in his ear of peace; it will stand as the palladium of society, whither men shall ever look for the preservation of their inalienable rights. Thus shall it be proved, in the language of Locke, that the end of government is the good of mankind. If the things which have now been advanced are true, it requires no deep reflection to perceive the duties of citizenship. It is an obligation that rests upon every citizen to promote the public good, and secure the manifold and momentous interests of society. Of the many particular methods by which these things may be attained, it will be sufficient to glance at a few. I. The support of Law. There is a tendency in these times to break down the barriers of the law, or at least to trespass as far as may be without danger within its boundaries. The memory does not go far back to recall the convulsions of one of our states, when an armed force was required to sustain the law. We have heard it declared in large assemblies of the people, that the execution of certain laws of the
United States shall be resisted because they are not in harmony with the private views of individual expediency. During the last session of Congress, a bill passed the senate which was opposed by one half of the talent and learning and eloquence of that body, as an infraction of the Constitution and a violation of the national faith. In different sections of the country we hear of outrageous violence upon the persons and property of the citizens, and an open defiance of the laws of the state. These things, trifling as they may appear individually, indicate a sad tone of public sentiment and point forward to thickcoming dangers. They tell us, if we will regard the voice, that as citizens of this country, which has but just commenced an illustrious existence, in whose behalf the sympathies and prayers of so many are enlisted, we have a fearful trust committed to us, and one which demands of us an argus-eyed watchfulness. Our judiciary is viewed with a jealous eye, and contempt is cast on our system of jurisprudence. But these are our safeguards—the last fortresses in which retiring liberty will make a stand against the inroads of a wild and fearful anarchy. In those days of the Athenian degeneracy which marked the decline of that people's greatness and glory, when the violence of men desolated all that was fair and conservative in their institutions, no voice was heard to defame the venerable tribunal of the Areopagus. And it will be a mournful day for us, when the decisions of the Supreme Bench and the investigations of the bar shall be mocked and disregarded. The law will then be no more “the mother of our peace and joy,” but discord and terror shall reign and riot in the chambers of justice. How far the state of things to which we allude may be owing to false views of government, it may be difficult exactly to determine; but that right views would result in a better tone of public sentiment, we are warranted to decide. Government must be considered as an institution of divine appointment, demanding a faithful and cheerful obedience ; while of law we must learn to think that “ her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world.” Men must be taught to regard the law as supreme, and a violation of it as not only treason against the state, but an act of wanton violence on the rights of every individual. It is indeed true that there are cases where revolution is justifiable, —where it is not only a right but a duty for the citizen to resist “the powers that be,” and destroy their authority. For whenever government passes beyond its rightful limits and subverts the ends for which it was designed, then it degenerates into a lawless assumption of power, and is a rank usurpation. But the evils must be immense to justify a resort to arms. The unavoidable calamities of civil feuds and a protracted struggle, with the loss of valuable lives and the corruption of the public morals, and all the tide of wasteful and saddening maladies which would inevitably flow over the nation, are sufficient to show that submission must be a duty except under rare circumstances. The natural rights of the citizen must be so infringed that submission is past endurance; all peaceful means of redress must have been resorted to in vain; the prospect of a successful issue must be manifest and morally certain :-there must be this unusual combination of events before the last appeal can be made. Then it may be made ; then resistance is high heroism. From this it is evident that a justifiable revolution is an exception to a general law. For as a general principle, it is only by the support of the existing laws that the greatest public good can be secured. Any other principle would
be false in doctrine and fatal in practice. If by this rule it results that the rights of individuals are not respected; that crimes go unpunished and the guilty are free; that evils prevail of which the laws take no cognizance,—then private interests must suffer, and the guilty escape merited penalty, and evils be patiently endured, until a lawful and a peaceful remedy can be applied. On this ground we take our stand, and maintain that here, and here alone, is safety and truth. Grant. ing that in a certain case summary justice might be enforced by the despotic will of one man, or the no less despotic will of a mob of men; yet what does all that avail, when by this very act the confidence of the community is shattered, the reign of violence introduced, the law dethroned, and all its pure and righteous sanctions cast out and forgotten? What avails it that one man has experienced the full and just penalty for his crime ; that one community has sated its burning thirst for the blood of the guilty victim, if all other men throughout the land must feel that the majesty of the law has been insulted,—that the arm of justice is thereby palsied, and if in all their habitations terror must sit down by their sides, and voices of fear forever whisper of danger ? Thus would the ordinance of God be with effect resisted, and they who bear the sword would no more be a terror to evil works, but to the good. It is also evident that government must be regarded as something more than the instrument of man's caprice or power; it must have the lofy character which belongs to it as an institution designed by God; sur sisting in all the conditions in which man exists; possessing an origin * noble as his origin, and a contin" ance as lasting as his being. Th" will the support of law be regarded in its true light, as a duty which man owes to himself and to his so low man, and to God. In obedieu"