To what has been said must be added another point: The legislator cannot make laws as a private person, but only in his capacity as legislator.
2 "Lex nihil aliud est quam ipsa mens." See Barlolus, ad fr. 29 de leg.
3 George Eliot, in "Adam Bede," has an apt remark to the effect that the words of a genius are of greater significance than the thoughts which inspired them.
As such he must use the words of a statute. Whatever else he does or says is a private matter and lacks all legislative character. It follows that the only way in which a legislator can act is to express a thought in words, or rather to utter words from which a thought may be gathered. Thus it appears that this matter has another and important aspect.4 While one might, at first glance, assume that the thought expressed in the statute is the thought that was in the mind of the legislator, but which has an effect more or less independent of the thinker, it appears now that the act of legislation has produced a definite text, and that this text, and nothing else, bears within itself legislative force. If this text conceals within itself four, five, or six different thoughts, any one of which may be gathered from it, the consequence must be that not one thought, but any of these thoughts, whichever may be selected, has been made law. By this it is not intended to say that any one of these five or six thoughts may be arbitrarily picked out, but rather that it is the task of legal technic to select the right one from among these five or six thoughts. What thus lies in the province of legal technic does not also appertain to individual or social psychology. From this it follows that the interpretation of a statute is something different from interpretation in general. Interpreting a statute means not only to find the meaning concealed behind the expression, but also to select from the various meanings which the text may bear that meaning which must be held to be the correct and authoritative one. The process is similar to that in theology, when it becomes necessary
4 This aspect I had not yet comprehended when I wrote the paper in Griinhut's Zeitschrift, vol. 13, p. 1, but it is already found in the article in Kritische Vierteljahrs-Schrift, n. s., vol. 18, p. 515. There is an excellent dictum in RG March 25, 1891, Entscheidungen, vol. 27, p. 411: "The legislator can use but one form of expression, by enacting a law. What cannot be found in the act is not written law." to show which among the various meanings that a sacrament or a sacramental formula may have is the meaning corresponding to the truth of salvation.