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[957a] but nevertheless it is a proper thing to reiterate twice,—yea, thrice,—the truth.1 The old lawgiver, however, may pass over all such legal observances as are trivial and easy of discovery, and the young lawgiver shall fill up his omissions. In dealing with the private law courts this method would be reasonable, but in connection with the public courts of the State, and all those which the officials have to use in managing the affairs which belong to their several offices, there exist in many States quite a number of admirable ordinances of worthy men;2 and from these the Law-wardens must construct a code which is suitable to the polity we are now framing, [957b] partly by comparing and amending them, partly by submitting them to the test of experience, until each such ordinance be deemed satisfactory; and when they have been finally approved, and have been sealed as absolutely unchangeable, then the magistrates shall put them into practice all their life long. All rules regarding silence and discreet speech, and the opposite of these, on the part of the judges, and all else that differs from the rules which obtain in the other States concerning justice and goodness,—all these have been stated in part,3 and in part they will be stated at the end. [957c] To all these matters he that purposes to be a righteous and just judge must attend, and that written exposition of them which he possesses he must learn. For of all studies, that of legal regulations, provided they be rightly framed, will prove the most efficacious in making the learner a better man; for were it not so, it would be in vain that our divine and admirable law bears a name akin to reason.4 Moreover, of all other speeches— [957d] whether they be of personal praise or blame, composed in verse or prose, written down or uttered from day to day at some gathering by way of controversy or by way of consent (often of a very futile character),—of all such speeches the writings of the lawgiver5 will serve as a test; and inasmuch as he possesses these within himself, as a talisman against other speeches, the good judge will guide both himself and the State aright; for the good he will secure both the permanence and [957e] the increase of what is just, and for the bad a change as great as possible from their ignorance, intemperance and cowardice, and, in short, from their general iniquity,—that is to say, for all the bad whose opinions are curable; but for those whose opinions are really fixed by Fate,6—if they assigned death as a cure

1 Cp. Plat. Laws 754c.

2 Alluding, probably, to Athenian law in particular.

3 Cp. Plat. Laws 766d, Plat. Laws 855d.

4 νόμος=νοῦς; cp. Plat. Laws 714a.

5 Cp. Plat. Laws 811d, Plat. Laws 858c.

6 i.e. men whose false beliefs are ineradicable, beyond hope of conversion.

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