ABOUT NOT MOVING LANDMARKS

XXVIII. (149) There is also this commandment ordained which is of great common utility, that, “Thou shalt not move thy neighbours’ landmarks which the former men have set Up.”{35}{deuteronomy 19:14.} And this injunction is given, as it seems, not only with respect to inheritances, and to the boundaries of the land, in order to prohibit covetousness respecting them, but also as a guard to ancient customs; for customs are unwritten laws, being the doctrines of men of old, not engraved on pillars or written on paper which may be eaten by moths, but impressed in the souls of those living under the same constitution. (150) For the children ought to inherit from the father of their being the national customs in which they have been brought up, and in which they have lived from their cradle, and not to despise them merely because they are handed down without being written. For the man who obeys the written laws is not justly entitled to any praise, inasmuch as he is influenced by compulsion and the fear of punishment. But he who abides by the unwritten laws is worthy of praise, as exhibiting a spontaneous and unconstrained Virtue.{36}{yonge’s translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Creation of Magistrates. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XXIX in the Loeb). Yonge’s “treatise” concludes with number XIV (= XLII in the Loeb). The publisher has elected to follow the Loeb numbering.}