Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, May 02, 1890, Page 10, Image 10

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pcnd. It preserves the continuity of the universe, bringing
order out of chaos, and reducing to system that which would
otherwise be utter confusion. The great Richard I looker
once said in noble words: "Of Law there can be no less ac
knowlcdgcd than that her scut is the bosom of God; her voice
the harmony of the world. All things in heaven and earth
do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the
greatest as not exempted 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, admir
ing her as the mother of their peace and joy."
Although the laws of which we have knowledge differ al
most infinitely in kind, application and importance, there is
one respect in which all are alike. All arc accompanied by
rewards and penalties. The man who appreciates the law of
gravitation chains the cataract, and is rewarded by having his
mill wheels turned. The one who disregards or ignores this
law falls from a precipice, perhaps, and receives upon his
person the penalty of his lawlessness. The man who lives
lempcrnte, self-restrained, and in accord with the laws of his
being, reaps the priceless reward of long life and health;
while he wiio violates these laws brings upon himself weak
ness! sickness, death. The person who uses his mind without
abusing it, following that course which is most befitting its
nature, acquires an intellect, cultivated, keen and strong. He
becomes a mental athlete. But he whose mental activities
arc carried on in a slovenly and unsystematic way receives as
his penalty an impaired memory, enfeebled reasoning powers
and incapacity for consecutive thought. In society the same
thing is observed. lie who conforms his conduct to the rul
ings of etiquette is honored as a gentleman; while he who
docs not is subjected to loss of respect, loss of friends, ostra
cism. In the industrial world we know that strict adherence
to business principles yields prosperity; while looseness of
management is the sure parent of insolvency.
When it comes to human law we do not find such unerring
peifcction. Human law is at best only man's imperfect imi
tation of the wonderful laws of Nature. Instead of being en
forced by exact and inevitable penalties, our laws arc depend
ent for their execution upon erring and sometimes corruptible
human agency. Anil yet, despite this fact, the unanimous
testimony of the officers of the law and prison officials is that
the way of the transgressor is haid. Punishment is some
times delayed. There is also, to be sure, an occasional Tas
cott. Hut the rule is that the offender comes to grief.
"But how is it in regard to moral law?" says the man who
is inclined to cavil, "I can indulge in immorality to my
heart's content; and provided I break none of the laws of the
land, I can keep out of jail and experience no evil effects
whatever. Where is your enforcing or punishing power in
this case?" The question put in another way narrows down
to this when a violated law is not followed by a penalty that
is manifest and immediate, can we assume that there is to be
no penalty at all? The answer is No. We know that we
may disobey the laws of health in such a way that the only
effect is to plant the seeds of disease in the system. But, be
cause there is no immediate inconvenience, are we to con
elude that that wc arc exempt from the consequences of our
law breaking? In later years a broken down frame gives us
the answer. It is an axiom that every action has its icaction,
and to hold that there can be unrighteous acts without
evil consequences is as false as it is illogical. But the
strongest aigumcnt to my mind that moral law has
penalties for its violators, is that the symmetry of the
universal system of law rcquiics it. If its provisions aic
not enforced by penalties it stands a glaring exception to
the otherwise universal rule. It is a discoidant note in
the grand harmony of Nature. The man who admits that
there is punishment sure and speedy for the one who care
lessly disregards the law of the keen edged razor, and who at
the same time' maintains that the one who habitually and flag
rantly outrages the eternal laws of justice and right shall be
forever free from all penaltysuch a man impeaches the in
telligence and justice of the Infinite Author of law. To hold
that God provides for the slightest infringement of physical
Jaw but allows his moral laws to be set at naught with impun
ity, is, to insult the Divinity. No, the immoral man. does not
.escape punishment. Wc know not the time, wc know not the
plaqe; but wc do know that somehow and somewheic there is
m store for the man who tramples upon the highest law of
out. natures a just ana inevitable retribution.
Thus we find that man is situated within a complete en
VirdrirtVent of law. Law not only encloses him at all points,
but is provided with rewards for obedience that never fail,
and penalties for disobedience that he cannot escape. How
ever, it is a universal characteristic of human nature to grow
restive under restraint. Obligations arc irksome. Man ob
jects to being hemmed in by rules and regulations, "Give us
more liberty," is the ay. How, then, all things considered,
can man attain to the highest degree of liberty? Perhaps no
better reply to that question can be found than this, "LlliKR
TY IS oukdibnck to law." This is a proposition that has
no exceptions. Wc have in these words an infallible criterion
as to what is true liberty. Moreover the statement hardly has
need of argumentative support for the philosophy of it is
Flain. The lawbreaker who languishes in jail is not free.
Ic is a slav$ to the penalties of his own misdeeds. "But,"
says the Russian emigrant, "I came to this country to get
away from laws that made me a slave. How can liberty lie
obedience to law in Russia?" When a law is passed by one
of our states that contravenes the constitution of the United
Slates, our courts declare it null and void. It is no law at
all. And why? It is out of harmony with the higher law.
It lias been well said in regard to the revealed law of God,
"On whatever matters this law is declared it is a rule super
ior to all others." Therefore, when any legal enactment dc
E rives man of his natural rights it is out of harmony with the
ighest law and is therefore no law at all in the true sense.
It is an unrighteous human statute which would be declared
null and void could wc appeal to the Great Court above. How
far obedience is due to an unjust human enactment is a ques
tion in political ethics beyond the scope of this discussion.
But, understanding the word "law" to mean the great re
vealed laws of truth and justice and such other laws only as
are in harmony therewith, our definition ot "liberty" stands.
Thus wc conclude that liberty is not found in breaking
over proper restraint. The libertine is not the embodi
ment of liberty. The outlaw has not escaped the responsi
bilities of law. They have both of them become subject to
the bondage of their own misdeeds. On the other hand, in
the person of the law abiding citizen, the one who conforms
his conduct to all tight law, wc sec the embodiment of the
highest type of liberty. That man is absolutely free. There
is nothing in heaven or earth that can interfere with his fiec
dom. His life is in harmony with his surroundings. He is
the king of the world; the lord of ci cation; but a little lower
than the angels; the noblest work of God.
A. C. Douglass, Monmouth College, Monmouth, III.
From the rugged rockbound hill-side there bubbles a silver
stream. Winding out through a landscape of beauty, its rip
pling waters flash diamonds from their sunlit surface. The
murmuring music of the wavelets makes sweet harmony with
warbling birds. Many a tributary separates the banks. But
the stream rushes on, leaping over rocks, plowing through
meadows, wandering into deep forests, ever increasing in
hrandeur, unJtil a mighty river- -it marks the boundaries of
empires, bears on its bosom their stately fleets, and rolls on in
majesty to the great ocean.
Such is our English language. Starting from its obscure
source, this stream has flowed down through fifteen hundred
years of history. It has been beautified by the teachings of
Nature, broadened by the ceaseless flow of the linguistic ti Mi
litaries, and deepened by the ptofoundest thoughts of the hu
man intellect, untill it appears to day an accumulation of the
learning of ages- the glory of the Anglo-Saxon race the in
spiration of the civilized world.
Fifteen centuries ago, when an avalanche of savage hoidcs
from the Nqrth was sweeping over Europe; when the totter
ing walls of the Western Empiic were falling and the glory of
the Caesars was departing; when that total eclipse of ancient
civilization was coming on, leaving vice and violence to rule
the dark night; when philosophy was dead, art forsaken, and
literature forgotten; our ancestors- fit types of the age left
their homes amid the gloomy wastes and low-lying marshes of
Holland, launched their pirate boats on the North sea, and
steered forlhc white cliffs of Albion. Their manners weie
rude, their chatactcr savage, their religion false. Their
speech wn,s,a mongrel dialect; yet it contained the germs of a
language, marvelous in power, infinite in influence, divine in
mission. The history of this language is the history of the
Anglo-Saxon people. Its mechanism contains a truer jirture
of race-vicissitudes than is found in the pen paintings of Plume
in-r.iiT.,iiiili)ijfai iufciinwi tMtw.imtmmmem