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rass the mind and pierce the heart; a perfectly sane man, however, will not think of taking refuge to the life of a hermit, and drag out a lazy existence among owls and snakes and lizards and worms; convenient or inconvenient, advantageous or disadvantageous, a man that is a man cannot be content and happy but by living among men.
Nor do men live in a state of society because they have chosen to do it, that is, if they did not will to be members of society they might as readily resolve to exclude themselves from it, and yet fulfil the conditions and accomplish the objects of life. We might as well speak of a hand without a body, or of a limb without a tree. Before any act of volition has been put forth, or before it is even possible to do so, human nature is inclined to social life by every faculty or principle inherent in it. Supposing it possible that an individual might deliberately determine to seclude himself from all the walks of life and abide where no one else abides, yet he could not do even this unless he had grown up and been matured in the very state and under the very circumstances which he abjures. Before a man can think at all, or resolve upon this or that course, he must already be a member of a social body. For it is only when he occupies this relation that reason and will can be developed. A human being is not like an ox. He may be seized in the days of his calf-hood, and separated for life a thousand miles from all of his tribe; yet if he is well stabled and well fed and well trained, he will be as large, as cheerful, as strong, as wise and as contented, as if he had roamed with the wild herd amid the uninhabited mountain forests. To all intents and purposes he will be as really an ox as if he had
possessed all the advantages of intimate fellowship with his species. But a man can only become a man when the development of his intellectual and moral powers, is subject to those living influences, which none but man can exert. Separate him in his childhood from all association with his race, and let him grow to the age of manhood under the influences of irrational nature, and he becomes a monster. Hence the resolution on the one hand to abandon a state of seclusion, and on the other to constitute a body politic, presupposes the existence of society. The resolution is after the fact ; volition or choice does not originate a social state.
If these positions be tenable, it follows also that society is not the result of a tacit or formal compact entered into by single and totally independent individuals. In order to form a just conception of a civil compact we must presuppose the actual existence of social life. If men were by nature independent; if there were no laws of their being in virtue of which they are allied to each other and bound together; if there were no instincts nor tendencies whatever, that necessarily demand a union and communion of the human family, human nature would be destitute of a sufficient basis upon which an idea of organized society common to all could rest and from which it could be developed. But if men are mutually dependent upon each other; if, as every intelligent, reflecting mind must admit, they are bound together indissolubly by all the laws of physical and intellectual life; if men possess instincts, tendencies and wants, forming a part of their very constitution which demand for their satisfaction a social state, then both the existence and the necessity of society under some form are anterior to all compact.
We may discuss this point under a different aspect. In order that men may enter into a compact either tacitly or formally, two things are essential. There must, in the first place, be some general law to bind the parties that enter into a mutual agreement, otherwise the agreement could have no power over the will and conscience. In the next place, the authority
. of this general law must be acknowledged and respected by all who are, or become members of the association. A compact where these great principles do not operate is mere idle wind. To bind the will or conduct of men by words when they are ignorant of, or refuse to acknowledge the authority and inviolability of law, existing before and independently of all formal agreement, would be as vain as it was for the lords of the Philistines to bind the long-haired Samson with seven green withs. These, however, are the very principles that constitute
society what it is. They are its essential elements. It cannot exist unless they are acknowledged, and where they are acknowledged it exists necessarily. If, now, in order to enter into a compact, men must acknowledge the authority and inviolability of law binding equally on all; and if such an acknowledgment already implies the existence of some form of organized society, it involves a flat contradiction to say that civil society originates in the formation of a civil compact. It is nothing less than to put the consequent for the antecedent, and thus to contradict every principle that a sound theory of civil compact implies.
How then does society originate? It results from the constitution of humanity. The nature of human life is such, that with its development both the idea of society is unfolded and its actual existence realized.
The constitution of body and mind embodies certain unalterable laws that as they operate, necessarily call forth a state of society. Society, viewed in this light, must, therefore, be regarded as divine. Every natural law, whether of body or mind, is but an expression of the will of God in its relation to humanity, determining it to be what it is. The organic connection of these laws with their common life-principle establishes what may be called an order, or the original constitution of humanity. Such constitution is, consequently, not something arbitrary, accidental or contingent; but it is what infinite wisdom and power willed it to be. The will of God, as embodied in human nature, and indicated by its inherent tendencies, gives rise to the idea of society and demands its actualization.
Thus society takes its origin in an objective and necessary principle ; objective, because the principle is independent of the will or choice of single individuals, communities or nations; it lies at the foundation of an order ordained by Almighty God. Men are subject to the control of physical and moral laws before they can reason or will; in like manner are they subject to the control of certain deeply-seated laws of their being which determine them to be members of civil society before they are
self-conscious. In other words, every individual, man or woman, is a social being, in virtue of the constitution of humanity, established by the absolute will of an omnipotent Creator. This principle is also necessary; because mankind cannot fulfil the design of their creation-cannot enjoy physical or moral happiness, except in as far as they possess the rights and perform the duties guaranteed and imposed by organized society. The will is free to determine or modify, within certain limitations, the form of social life. But the question : Shall we live in a state of society ? can never be answered in the negative; nor can certain all pervading principles ever be ignored or violated, without proving fatal to its whole design. The nature and necessity of society are, consequently, revealed ; not revealed supernaturally, like the decalogue of Moses on Sinai, but revealed in the constitution of humanity as such, like the necessity and order of the four seasons in the constitution of the planetary system. Yet the form under which it shall hold is conditioned by enlightened reason and free will. As an illustration, I may say: The necessity of cultivating the earth in order to a comfortable subsistence and the general principles upon which a successful cultivation must be conducted, are revealed by God, not supernaturally, but by means of laws ordained by Him in the mineral and vegetable kingdoms, a knowledge of which men acquire by observation and experience ; yet the size and aspect of fields, the relative position of house and farm, the mode of tilling the soil, sowing grain and gathering in the harvest, as well as the general management of a given farm, depends upon the intelligence, taste, resources and free will of the proprietor.
My object in dwelling briefly upon the origin and necessity of society, has been to prepare the way for the consideration of another topic closely allied to it, namely, the design of 80ciety. Different theories prevail, to which it will be proper to refer. Some say it is the design of the State to protect life and property. Single individuals could not resist the united strength of a band of wicked men, disposed to rob, plunder and murder. It is necessary to associate together for the sake
of personal safety. Others say, it is the object of the State to promote the general welfare of mankind. Each one has numerous wants, the satisfaction of which requires the presence and labors of others. The measure of human happiness would be narrowed down within a small compass but for the aid which many associated individuals afford each other mutually. By combining their influence and labors upon the basis of a certain system of law, adopted by all, the general welfare may be greatly promoted, whilst the rights of individuals and communities are preserved inviolate. Other theories are advanced, but they are only modificatious of those stated, the general features being the same. Neither one is entirely false, but they do not exhaust the subject, nor cover the whole ground. Whilst the object of the State certainly includes the security of person and property, the possession of liberty, and the promotion of human happiness, it must include besides a great deal more.
The design of society, or of the State, is directly connected with the nature of its origin. If its origin cannot be found in the free will of mankind, but in an objective principle that exerts a determining influence prior to all exercise of volition, then its ultimate design cannot be simply what men resolve to make it. If, by an arbitrary exercise of will, we endeavor to make it subserve a purpose that does not fully correspond with the demands of human nature, we are guilty of a perversion of society. Society has its own ends which it becomes us to ascertain by the study of human nature, of history and of divine revelation. These ends (or the design of the State) are determined by the nature of the necessity in which it takes its origin. What does this objective necessity demand ? Deducing an answer from the train of thought which has thus far been pursued, the only reply must be this : The laws of human life produce society as the immediate result of their legitimate operation ; and, therefore, in such a state alone can men be menin it alone can they secure those necessaries of life, those comforts and conveniences, which are becoming the dignity of a creature infinitely superior to the brute,-in it alone can the