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often arise here which shall require more or less care and discernment to decide correctly. But in all such cases it is because the fact is obscure, not because there is any hesitation in regard to the truth of the principle. Once settle satisfactorily which is the paramount authority, and the mind no longer hesitates. Obligation to the higher authority rests at once upon the conscience.
It was on this principle that the three pious Jews refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. A higher authority had forbidden the worship of idols. This also induced Daniel to make his supplication three times a day, notwithstanding the prohibition according to the law of the Medes and Persians. And this too was the ground of the bold and unanswerable appeal of the apostles: "Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye." This is a principle of universal application. A higher authority forever prostrates all obligation from the conflicting claims of a lower. The lower authority in legislating against the enactments of the higher, so far forth nullifies itself and becomes a non-entity.
Enough has now probably been said to show the necessity of authority to the well being of human society, and the criterion of its legitimacy. When under these conditions, authority from any source comes upon man, it binds his conscience as inviolably as the clearest dictate of natural obligation. Yea, it resolves itself ultimately into a natural obligation, for he intuitively perceives the rectitude of the authority, and that is as natural a source of obligation, as when he intuitively perceives the rectitude of the precept. He knows before heaven that he is thus bound, and that disobedience to such authority is a sin against conscience and God. More might be said upon the nature and extent of the sanctions by which positive authority is to be sustained, and upon the methods of administration, but this is sufficient for the purpose we have had in view, to show the nature of positive authority as a source of moral obligation.
The following truths result directly from the foregoing view of this subject.
1. Authority may give obligation to that which would otherwise have been a matter of indifference.
If the proper source of authority deem any particular course of procedure, form, or ceremony, to be important in gaining
the ends for which it exists, it has a right to impose them. And though otherwise a matter of entire indifference, they are henceforth binding upon the subject. The rightness of the authority settles the question of obligation. Divine authority has thus settled the proportion of time to be observed as holy, and fixed the particular day, which is henceforth binding upon man, though in itself considered we may not be able to see why it was a seventh rather than a sixth or an eighth part of time, and though it be a matter of indifference in its own nature which day of the week should be observed as the Sabbath. After the enactments of authority, it is a matter of indifference no longer. So in civil governinents, the forms of official investiture, the solemnization of the marriage contract, the naturalization of foreigners, the specific regulations relating to revenue, etc. all are matters of indifference in themselves, i. e. other forms might have been substituted that would equally well have subserved the same ends. The good of society, however, requires that these matters should be regulated in practice upon some principle of uniformity, and when the proper authority has done it, it is no longer optional with each man to follow his own private views of expediency or inclination in relation to it. He is bound as a good citizen and a conscientious man faithfully to obey the law. A father may in the same way settle in his own family many regulations in themselves wholly indifferent, and yet when thus settled by parental authority, no member of that family is at liberty to disregard them. We believe the consciences of many professing Christians need quickening on this point. There is too great a readiness in matters of this kind, where the law may interfere with private interest, prejudice, or convenience, to evade or directly disobey it, and keep the conscience quiet by the fact of its original indifference to moral obligation. The truth is, however, that neither in the sight of God nor an enlightened conscience, is it any longer a matter of indifference. The rightful authority under which you live, is a source of obligation as rigidly imperious as the dictates of natural intuition. If you disobey or disregard it, you can neither be a good citizen, a good Christian, nor an honest man. Whose conscience soever it may be that thus slumbers, needs at once to be aroused by its direct application to the point of responsibility. Authority, as a source of moral obligation, should be placed prominently before the mind, and the man habituate himself to
the reflection, not-this thing is a matter of indifference in itself-but my conduct in relation to it is against law. If such reflections be suppressed, the fact is not at all improbable, that while you are searing your own moral sensibilities, you are also directly contributing the whole force of your influence, in these respects, to paralyze the power of law over others.
2. A refusal to obey, unless the reasonableness of the precept be exhibited, makes the man either a rebel or an outlaw.
To this extent every man has the right to demand evidence before he can come under obligation-that the source of authority be legitimate, and that the legislation neither contradicts nature nor higher authority. And this is all he can claim. The sovereign is not obliged to explain the reasons for every precept to his comprehension. If he understand what it is, this is enough without explaining why it is. If he be legitimately circumscribed within the jurisdiction of the authority, he is bound to yield obedience to it. If he is already a subject, his refusal to obey without seeing the reasonableness of the command makes him a rebel; if his voluntary consent is necessary in order to his becoming a subject, and he will not obey the law without the reason, he is an outlaw. In the first place, he assumes to himself the place of the sovereign, and attempts to give law to the authority which binds him, and he must be subdued or the power of the government is prostrate. In the second, he discards authority upon its own territory where it must be supreme, and thus makes it necessary that he should be forced beyond the limits of its jurisdiction. By refusing allegiance to it upon its own grounds, he cuts himself off from all right to its privileges and protection, and that government owes it to its own dignity and safety to banish him from the community. In the one case the authority, for its own preservation, must punish, in the other case it must expel. And such is the law of every man's conscience, that he will be obliged to yield to the equity of such a decision, and his mouth be stopped in every attempt to reply against it.
3. The spirit of law fills the whole field of its jurisdiction. So far as authority extends, it is omniscient, omnipresent and supreme. It goes with every subject to his daily employment and his secret retirement. Like the eye of God, it watches his going out and coming in, his lying down and rising up. Its protective power is over every place, and no harm can enter but by the very act which violates its sacredness, and for which
it must mete out the merited retribution. So also is it every where with its approbation for obedience, and disapprobation for disobedience. Though hidden from every human eye the deed of violation is not hidden from law-its pure spirit has been wounded-and an hour of reckoning must come. At that great day when all things shall be seen as they are, then will every law under which we have acted be present with its testimony. The wound given to authority even in the most secluded secretness, will then be an open wound in our own consciences, defying further concealment, and inflicting the retribution precisely proportioned to demerit.
Man may have forgotten or despised the authority which bound him, but that can never overlook the transgressions committed against itself, nor refuse to lift its voice against him when the record of his sins is to be publicly authenticated. Whether it were some smothered deed of darkness, or more deeply cov ered still, some foul purpose or malignant passion deep within the bosom, the eye of law was there a living witness to the guilt. Secrecy of wickedness is impossible, for the spirit of legitimate authority is every where, to see, to feel, and at the appointed time to testify.
4. Disobedience to the lowest rightful authority is as truly sin in the sight of heaven, as disobedience against the highest.
The degree of guilt is to be estimated by both the majesty of the authority and the strength of wilful rebellion. The same degree of wilful rebellion against a positive command of God, is doubtless more heinous than the same degree of rebellion against the law of man. But it is not problematical, that in the day of final reckoning when all sin shall be weighed according to its real demerit, that many transgressions of human law shall be found to involve more guilt in the sight of God, than many other transgressions of divine law. The difference in wilful and depraved rebellion may have far more than counterbalanced the difference which would accrue from the distinction of authority. The conscience may have been more wounded, the soul more defiled by the former, than the latter. It is not very unlikely that at the last day it will be seen, that the motives and feelings by which we have been actuated in disobeying some of the laws of the land, have laid a heavier weight in the balances of the judgment against us, than some other violations of the direct commands of heaven. We are not to estimate guilt solely by the nature of the law we violate. We may be greater sinners in
violating positive authority, than others are in violating intuitive right, and greater in violating human authority than others in violating God's authority. God will at the last day throw all the various circumstances of light, and knowledge, and privilege, and the temper of mind, and wilfulness of purpose, into the estimate by which the retributions of eternity are to be awarded. This makes our responsibilities most fearfully solemn. We must carry to the judgment, a character formed under the influences of every source of authority which has reached us, and it will not be the same to us in eternity in relation to any of them, whether they have been obeyed or disobeyed. All will be there to lay a burden upon the soul in proportion both to the weight of the authority, and the wilfulness of the rebellion.
THE VERSION OF ULPHILAS AND THE MOESO-GOTHIC
By W. W. Greenough, Cambridge, Ms.
MODERN ethnographers have supposed that the North and Middle of Europe were settled by three successive emigrations from the East. The Celts came first, and were finally scattered throughout the western parts of Europe on the borders of the Atlantic; and also formed the population of the British Isles. The German, Teutonic, or Gothic tribes followed them, and these last were pushed into the centre and north of Europe by the Sclavonic nations. It is with the second of these emigrations, the Teutonic, that we are concerned.
The earlier information of the Greek and Roman writers with regard to the more northern nations of Europe was exceedingly meagre and unsatisfactory. When the intelligence, that Rome had been sacked by the Gauls, B. C. 392, was first received at Athens, it was said that the conquerors were the Hyperboreans, a people who had descended the icy mountains from the unknown regions of the north. Herodotus, writing about B. C. 330, calls the Celts οἱ ἔσχατοι πρὸς ἡλίου δυσμέων, and is so
* Plutarch Camill. c. 22.