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culation, fraud, injustice, oppression, drunkenness, gluttony, lewdness, sloth, profaneness, irreligion, and impiety, in a word, every crime is accompanied by greater guilt in him than in men at large ; because of his superior advantages to know, and his superior inducements to perform, his duty. Forsaking all private gratifications then, so far as they are inconsistent with the public happiness, just so much more important than his, as those who enjoy it are more numerous, he is required indispensably to see that his government has that happy and glorious influence upon his people, which is described by a man thoroughly versed in this subject, in the following beautiful language : • The Spirit of the Lord spake by me; and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God: and he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springeth out of the earth by clear shining after rain,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 2—4.
To possess this beneficent influence— like this glorious luminary, to diffuse light, and warmth, and animation, and happiness, to all around him--a ruler ought,
1. To be a man of absolute sincerity.
Of the ruler of the universe it is said, that it is impossible that he should lie.' Mercy and truth,' said, the wisest ruler that ever lived in this world, 'preserve the king'-The lip of truth, says the same prince, shall be established for ever.' “ If truth,” said King John of France, “ were to be banished from the world ; it ought still to find a residence in the breast of prioces.” On the importance of truth I shall have occasion to dwell hereafter. It ought, however, to be observed here, that truth is the basis on which rest all the natural and moral interests of intelligent beings; that neither virtue nor happiness can exist without it; and that falsehood, generally diffused, would ruin not only a kingdom, or a world, but the universe ; would change all rational beings into fiends, and convert heaven itself into hell.
There are two kinds of goverment; that of force, and that of persuasion. A goverment of persuasion is the only moral or free goverment. A government of force may preserve order in every case which that force can reach ; but the order is that of a churchyard, the stillness and quiet of death.
The inhabitants of a king lom governed in this manner are tenants of the grave; moving masses, indeed, of flesh and bones; but the animating principle is gone. The soul is shrivelled, and fled ; and nothing remains but dust and putrefaction.
A government of persuasion subsists only in the mutual confidence of the ruler and the subjects. But where truth is not, confidence is oot. A deceitful ruler is never believed for a moment. If we could suppose him desirous to do good, he would want the power; for none would trust either his declarations or his promises. The only feelings excited in the minds of the community towards him and his measures would be jealously and hatred. Even fools know that upright and benevolent measures not only need no support from falsehood, but are ruined by it. The very connection of falsehood therefore with any measures, proves irresistibly to all men, that the measures themselves are mischievous, and that the author of them is a villain. Where confidence does not exist, voluntary obedience cannot exist. A lying ruler, if his government is to continue, makes force or despotism indispeusable to his administration. So sensible are even the most villanous magistrates of these truths, that they leave no measure untried to persuade their subjects, that themselves are men of veracity. Nay, all sagacious despots carefully fulfil their promises to such of their subjects as they think necessary to the support of their domination, and to the success of their measures. Falsehood may, indeed, in the hands of a man of superior cunning succeed for a time ; but it can never last long: and, whenever detection arrives, it draws after it a terrible train of avengers.
Besides, lying is the most contemptible of all sins. are of your father, the devil,' said our Saviour to the Jews; ' for he was a liar from the beginning, and the father of it.' This contemptible resemblance to the vilest and most contemptible of all beings, the source of complete debasement to every one who is the subject of it, is pre-eminently contemptible in a ruler. He is, of course, the object both of public and private scorn,
No degradation is more indignantly regarded than that of being governed by a liar.
* If a ruler hearken to lies,' says Solomon, all his servants are wicked. Such a magistrate will be served by none but
profligate men. The evils of his government will therefore spread, by means of his subordinate officers, into every nook and corner of the land. Like the simoom of Nubia, he spreads poison, death, and desolation over the wretched countries subjected to his sway.
2. A ruler is bound to be a just man.
• He that ruleth over men,' saith God,' must be just. This indeed is united of course with the preceding character. He that speaketh truth,' saith Solomon, showeth forth righteousness.' The importance of justice in government is, like that of truth, inestimable; and, as it respects the divine government, is exhibited with wonderful force in that declaration of Moses, · He is the rock ;' that is, the immoveable foundation on which the universe rests. Why? The answer is, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment;' (or justice) • a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is He.' On the truth and justice of the infinite mind the universe is built, as a house upon a rock. Fiat justitia ; ruat cælum ;" is an adage, proverbially expressing the judgmevt of common sense concerning this subject. • Let justice be done, although heaven itself should tumble into ruin.”
This comprehensive attribute demands,
Laws are the rules by which rulers themselves, as well as the people at large, are or ought to be governed. If these are unjust, the whole system of administration will be a system of iniquity; and the mass of guilt thus accumulated will rest primarily on the head of the legislator.
(2.) Of the judge, that all his interpretations of law, and all his decisions founded on it, be just.
• Woe unto them,' saith Isaiah,' who justify the wicked for a reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him.'—'Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment,' said God to Israel; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty ; but in righteous. ness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.'-_ It is not good,' says Solomon, “to have respect of persons in judgment. — He that saith unto the wicked, (that is, in a judicial sentence,) Thou art righteous ; him shall people curse : nations shall abhor him. But to them that rebuke him shall be delight; and a good blessing shall come upon them.' Tribunals of
justice bring laws to every man's fire-side; and apply them directly to his property, liberty, person, and life. How just soever, how reasonable soever, laws may be, an iniquitous tribunal may prevent all their good effects, and render a country as miserable by its decisions as it could be by the operations of original tyranny in the legislator. When God established the government of Israel, he himself formed the constitution and enacted the laws. All the political evils which that people suffered therefore were effectuated by the unjust applications of those laws. They were, however, oppressed, at times, as intensely as the nations who have been under despotic dominion. The guilt and the inischiefs of this oppression are in the Scriptures charged wholly and truly to the judicial and executive magistracy. The same evils in the same degree may be derived to any people from the same sources. A wise and upright judiciary is a public blessing, which no language can adequately exhibit, which no people can too highly prize, and too strenuously vindicate ; and without which no people can be safe, or happy.
(3.) of the executive magistrate, that he execute the laws faithfully, invariably, and exactly. This is so plain a truth, and so universally acknowledged, as to need no illustration. The end of all legislative and judicial efforts is found here; and, if this great duty is unaccomplished, both legislative and judicial efforts, however wise, and just, and good they may be, are a mere puppet show.
3. A Ruler must be a benevolent man.
or the universal Ruler ic is said, "God is love.' Of the same character ought all his earthly delegates to be possessed.
Under the influence of this spirit, infinitely important to the happiness of intelligent beings, rulers are bound to make the public good their sole object in governing. Their own per-, sonal interests, compared with the general interest, are an unit to many millions; and are immensely better promoted by securing the common good, than by any possible pursuit of that which is private and selfish. If they think otherwise, it is either because they cannot, or will not, discern the truth.
Under the influence of this spirit also, he is bound to administer justice with mercy. In the conduct of such beings as men, there are very many cases in which a rule, generally just,
becomes unjust by a rigid application. For these cases wise governments have endeavoured to provide, by entrusting the proper magistrate with a discretionary authority; in the exer
a cise of which, clemency may be extended wherever it
be extended with propriety. Even where a strict application of law is right and necessary, there may be a harshness and unkindness in the manner of application, sometimes scarcely less cruel than injustice in the application itself. A benevolent ruler will never administer government in this manner.
Universally, a benevolent ruler will prevent, redress, relieve, and remove the wrongs both of the public and of individuals, as far and as soon as it shall be in his power. He will cast an affectionate eye on all the concerns of bis countrymen, and, wherever he sees calamities arise, will kindly interpose with those means of relief which God has placed in his hands. The extensive power of doing good with which he is entrusted by his Creator, he will consider as thus entrusted, only that he may do good; and will feel bimself delightfully rewarded by having been selected as the honourable instrument for accomplishing so glorious a purpose. That all this is demanded by his duty, it is unnecessary even to assert.
4. A ruler is bound to respect the laws of his country.
By this I intend, particularly, that he is bound to conform to them in all his conduct, personal and public. The laws of every free country prescribe alike the conduct of the ruler and the ruled. The official conduct of all magistrates, whatever be their office, is directed by particular laws. To every one of these, so far as his own duties are marked out by it, each magistrate is bound to conform with absolute exactness ; not generally and loosely only, but with respect to every 'jot and tittle.' The personal conduct of the ruler is prescribed by the same laws which direct that of his fellow citizens. These laws also it is his duty faithfully and scrupulously to obey: a duty enforced by higher obligations than those which respect men in general ; because he is fairly supposed to understand more perfectly the duty and importance of obeying; and because, in ating law, bis evil example will weaken the government, and prompt others to the same violation, more than that of any private individual. The ruler, who violates the laws of the land, and yet attempts to compel or persuade others to