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statute law makers, judges not unfrequently sink their own snag boat in the channel, and increase, instead of removing the danger. Hence, the original broad channel is filled with impediments—numerous narrow and crooked channels are formed, and he who can steer clear of the various obstacles in the stream, is more a lucky, than skilful pilot. So diverse and adverse are the decisions of different high courts, and of the same high court, that in examining cases, as precedents by which to try a suit, the lawyer encounters a perpetual change of cloud and sunshine, and occasionally a real thunder storm, succeeded by a burning sun. What was law at one time, is not law now—what is law in one place, is not in another—locality, individuality, prejudice, and perpetual change, characterize the decisions of judges learned in the law. I recollect a case to the point.
A shrewd lawyer was solicited to bring a suit, which could not be sustained by general principles of law, but was fully and clearly sustained by a decision of the Supreme Court. He accordingly brought the suit in that court, and brought it up during a term, when the judge was on the bench, who delivered the opinion of the court, in the case relied upon. The learned judge at once took a stand against the unfortunate attorney, who very coolly read the opinion formerly delivered by him. The judge quickly remarked, "that is not law sir." "It is an opinion delivered by your honor," replied the attorney. "I can't help that sir, it was not law then, is not now, and never will be," replied the judge. The limb of the law felt that he was only a limb, and was dished up, like a lobster for a modern epicure. No mistake—there is a glorious, and sometimes an inglorious uncertainty hanging over the law; and a glorious certainty of avoiding much trouble, vexation, loss of money and time; by keeping out of it. A word to the wise is sufficient.
It is, however, absolutely necessary to have laws, and, properly expounded and administered, they are an inestimable blessing. We must have laws, but we need not a labyrinth of laws. The highway of justice is straight, based on the substratum of common sense. Supposititious law has filled, and is filling, its once broad and clear channel with impediments, increasing the dangers and uncertainty from year to year. Its banks of wisdom and truth are groaning under the accumulating mass of alluvial deposits—mercy and equity often fail to purify the stream from the mud of intrigue and the filth of corruption. Labor increases as the intricacies multiply—expenses swell with the back water, caused by each impediment, and but few wise men are found, who are willing to attempt a second voyage in a court of LAw. He that can devise a remedy, will deserve well of his country. I would suggest the use of a condenser, and the chloride of simplicity, as promising partial relief.
IF we consult the poets on this subject, the conclusion would not be very irrational, that love is the fountain of rhyming poetry, at least, and that most of the rhymers have been plunged all over in its delectable waters, and at all temperatures. They have sung of its divinity, radiating the high way to heaven; of its terrestrial visits; of its influences upon the mind; of its' spring showers and May flowers; its summer heat and foliage; its autumnal fruit and yellow leaf; and of its winter nose-gays and chills. They have portrayed, in glowing colors, its lightning flashes on riven hearts; its melting powers on hearts of flint; its amalgam fires on kindred souls; its firmness, its fickleness; its stability, its flight; its joys, its miseries; its friendships, its quarrels; making it, like some politicians, every thing by turns, and nothing long; each to suit his own fancy, and that fancy at various temperatures. They have sung its timidity, and boldness; its truth and falsity; its strength and weakness; its unrelenting sternness and god-like forgiveness; its disappointments and triumphs. Most of the large, and myriads of poetic minnows, have tuned their harps to songs of love, set to airs, from Yankee Doodle up to Old Hundred.
If doctors, alias poets, disagree, who shall decide? Terrestrial love is like a chamelion, it takes the colors of the hearts on which it creeps. If the hearts are pure white, all is well; otherwise, an amalgamation is unnatural, often ruinous, always despicable. If two black hearts, melted by the unhallowed fires of base passions or sordid avarice, aided by the flux of deception, commingle, the fruits are the quintessence of Pandemonium. Nor has the time yet been ushered in, when the lion and the lamb can lie down together in peace. If money, high family reputation, mere personal beauty, or fashionable accomplishments, are the basis of love, the foundation is sandy—the superstructure will not withstand the storms of life. If these motives were mutual, the flame sooner dies; if pure on the one hand only, the fire may last longer, but leaves a keener chill when it expires. That love which is based on the mutual esteem of pure hearts, refracting and reflecting the rays of good qualities on each other, is alone productive of earthly joy. If this is made more pure, by the smiles of a reconciled God, who is love, induced by an obedience to his will; if religion chastens the union, the highest pinnacle of earthly happiness is reached—the most refined enjoyments are experienced. If not, it is owing to a disposition so crooked, like the grain of some trees, that lightning could not follow it.
Like some vast flood, unbounded, fierce, and strong,
By some, this term is confined to high-seasoned and an over abundance of food; by others, it is made to cover all excesses in the gratification of sensual pleasures and debased appetites. Either is ruinous to health —combined, they hasten misery and death. Nature has her fixed laws, and when those, governing the human system, are violated, the penalty follows close on the heels of the offender. Overload the stomach with plain food, you impose a burden on the digestive powers, that weakens them; high-seasoned food accelerates the evil—add alcohol, you then have the infantry, cavalry, and artillery of the enemy; all pouring a deadly fire upon the citadel of nature. If you choose to forward the work of conquest more rapidly, use the
rockets of tobacco, and the bomb shells of opium. These combined forces will soon demolish the strongest fortifications nature ever erected. You know it, you have often seen it, perhaps now feel it!
If you are desirous of a more naval, a slower, but not less expensive and sure process, be abstemious in food and drink—attend balls, gay circles, theatres, the hells of blacklegs, dress fashionably, deprive yourself of sleep, make whist parties, play the libertine, and dance to folly as she flies. In this way, you will succeed as surely, sometimes more rapidly, than you at first anticipated—anticipated did I say ?—a mistake—no man anticipates the end of such mad career. His base appetites and delirious desires first dethrone reason— convert the man into a brute—the animal leads him, hoodwinked, to the gulf of ruin, and pushes him into destruction. Combine all these forces, attack simultaneously by sea and land, you can take the citadel by storm.
Reader, this manual is short, but true as the books of Euclid. Look around—you can readily discover demonstrations—and, fearful thought, perhaps in your own person. If so, pause, reflect—invoke the great Jehovah to enable you to break the serpentine coils that bind you—let reason resume her throne—let common sense lead you back to duty and to safety. There plant yourself on the rock of Ages—take the Bible for your manual, the Spirit of all grace for your guide, and let Heaven be your aim, that it may be your reward.