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unchanging principles of moral rectitude. Sometimes you find the Saviour, when commenting on that code, giving the preference to a moral precept over a positive institution, but this is no evidence that the positive institution was sinful. Moses “ suffered some things for the hardness of the hearts of the people,” which in a subsequent age and a different state of society, he would not have suffered ; but this is no evidence that what he judicially suffered he morally approved. Not an instance can be found in which the divine command required that, which can upon any fair construction, be regarded as a violation of that rule of right, which is founded in the nature and relation of things, and is written in every human heart. The Jews in the time of Christ had erroneous views of the laws of Moses, and perverted them, and needed the exposition which was given them by the Saviour. And not a few at the present day have erroneous views of the instructions of Christ, and pervert them, and need to be taught that they are perfectly consistent with the instructions of Moses. The gospel is in advance of the law, but not in opposition to the law. Moses wrote of Christ, and if we believe the words of Christ, we shall believe the writings of Moses.

The Jews were a favoured people. Their penal laws are so much distinguished for discretion, humanity, equity, and mildness, that they cannot but challenge the admiration of every intelligent jurist. Let them be compared with Hales' Pleas of the Crown, and it is no difficult 'matter to see on which side the advantage lies. Nothing escapes their notice. They guard the morals as well as the persons of the community. It were well if every crowded city had as good a system of sanitary regulations as the camp of Israel. The uniform tendency of their whole system of jurisprudence was to promote a good understanding between man and man; and the great object of their police, the prevention, rather than the punishment of crime. Moses is not less truly the great lawgiver, than the first historian. The surrounding and contemporaneous nations were far in the rear of this favoured people in every department of legislative knowledge. Chaldea, Egypt, Phænicia, Media, Persia, then under the sovereignty of Chedorlaomer, had every thing to learn on this subject from the Hebrews. “What nation,” says the God of Israel to his chosen people,“ what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous, as all this law which I set before you this day ?”

Men do not always follow ancient customs because they are wise. And yet is there no doubt that many succeeding ages, as well as those that were contemporaneous, were deeply indebted to the Mosaic institutions. Dr. Graves, in his admirable lectures on the Pentateuch, says, that “the Mosaic code must have been generally known in those eastern countries from which the most ancient and celebrated legislators and sages derived the model of their laws.” Moses indeed labours to impress this thought upon his countrymen as a powerful motive for a careful observance of their institutions. “Keep therefore and do them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations which shall hear of all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” The lawgivers of nations bordering on the Jews borrowed many of their institutions from the laws of Moses. This was obviously true of the Egyptians and the Phænicians. During the reign of Artaxerxes Longimanus, while the Jews were scattered throughout the kingdom of Persia, their laws


were the subjects of remark and notoriety; for Haman speaks of them to the king as “diverse from the laws of all people.” That the extent to which the laws of Greece were indebted to the institutions of Moses was not inconsiderable, may be inferred from the influence of the Hebrew State on the political condition of the world, during the early ages of the Grecian history, as well as from the direct testimony of learned men. Very many points of resemblance between the Grecian laws and customs, and those of the Hebrews are stated by Archbishop Potter, in his Antiquities. The Athenians had a prescribed bill of divorce, and so had the Jews. Among the Jews, the father gave names to the children; and such was the custom among the Greeks. The purgation oath among the Greeks strongly resembles the oath of jealousy among the Hebrews. The harvest and vintage festival among the Greeks; the presentation of the best of their flocks, and the offering of their first fruits to the gods, together with the portion prescribed for the priests, the interdiction against garments of diverse colours, protection from violence to the man who fled to their altars, would seem to indicate that the Greeks had cautiously copied the usages of the Jews. And whence was it that no person was permitted to approach the altar of Diana, who had touched a dead body, or beer. exposed to other causes of impurity, and that the laws of Athens admitted no man to the priesthood who had any blemish upon his person, unless from the institutions of Moses? And has not the agrarian law of Lycurgus its prototype, though none of its defects, in the agrarian law of the Hebrews ? Many of the Athenian laws in relation to the descent of property, and the prohibited degrees of relationship in marriage, seem to have been transcribed by Solon from the laws of Moses. Sir Matthew Hale, in his History of the Common Law of England, affirms, "that among the Grecians, the laws of descent resemble those of the Jews."

It will be universally conceded that the Roman, or Civil Law, as collected and digested by the order of Justinian, has exerted a powerful influence even on the institutions of modern times. Nor is it to be supposed that this intelligent people, who had long suffered under the evils of unwritten laws, when they turned their attention to the formation of a more certain and permanent code, would not consult the existing laws of the wisest nations. Both ancient and modern writers of Roman history, therefore affirm, that the individuals commissioned by the senate and tribunes to form the Twelve Tables, were directed to examine the laws of Athens and the Grecian cities. So that the Roman law must have been not a little indebted to the Mosaic.

Sir Matthew Hale remarks, "that among the many preferences which the laws of England have above others, the two principal ones are, the hereditary transmission of property, and the trial by jury.And who does not see that these originated with the Jews? By the law of Moses, the succession, in the descending line, was all to the sons, except that the oldest son. had a double portion. If the son died in his father's lifetime, the grandson succeeded to the portion of his father. Daughters had no inheritance so long as there were sons, or descendants of sons. Where the father left only daughters and no sons, the daughters succeeded equally. And was there nothing in the administration of penal justice among the Hebrews, that suggested at least the trial by jury? I mean the publicity of their trials in the gates of the city, where

their judges, though elders and Levites, were taken from the general mass of the citizens. Sir Matthew Hale, in the work to which reference has already been made, has another remark in relation to the influence which the Bible generally has exerted upon the laws of England. In speaking of the difficulties of ascertaining the origin of the common law, among the rest he enumerates the “growth of Christianity in the kingdom, introducing some new laws, or abrogating some old ones, that seemed less consistent with Christian doctrines.” A portion of the common law as it now stands was first collected by Alfred the Great; and it is asserted by Sismondi, in his History of the Fall of the Roman Empire, that when this prince “caused a republication of the Saxon laws, he inserted several laws taken from the Judaical ritual into his statutes, as if to give new strength and cogency to the principles of morality.” And hence it is no uncommon thing in the early English reporters to find frequent references to the Mosaic law. Sismondi also states that one of the first acts of the clergy under Pepin and Charlemagne of France, was to introduce into the legislation of the Franks several of the Mosaic laws found in the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus.

I need not say, that the entire code of civil and judicial statutes throughout New England, as well as throughout those states first settled by the descendants of New England, shows nothing more distinctly than that its framers were familiar with the Bible, and substantially adopted “the judicial laws of God, as they were delivered by Moses, as binding and a rule to all their courts." And why should not this sacred book, so full of the counsels of wisdom, and itself a law to man, exert a paramount influence on all

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