ページの画像
PDF
ePub

of the people. For such constitutions doth Aristotle also call laws, though evil and unsufficient : P Mala lex est, quæ tumultuarie posita est; “ It is an ill law that is made tumul“ tuously.” So as all ordinances, good or evil, are called by the name of laws.

The word law is also taken for the moral habit of our mind, which doth (as it were) command our thoughts, words, and actions; framing and fashioning them according to itself, as to their pattern and platform. And thus the law of the flesh, which the divines call legem fomitis, is to be understood. For every law is a kind of pattern of that which is done according unto it; in which sense, as 9elsewhere, this moral habit or disposition of the heart is called the frame or figmentum of the heart; so in St. Paul to the Romans it is called a law : But I see another law in my members, rebelling against the law of my mind, and leading me captive unto the law of sin. Again, the nature and inclinations of all creatures are sometimes called 'laws, so far as they agree with the reason of the law eternal; as, the law of a lion, to be fierce or valiant.

Also private contracts, among merchants and other tradesmen, do often put on the name of laws. But law commonly and properly is taken for a right rule, prescribing a necessary mean for the good of a commonwealth, or civil community. The rest, to wit, the commandments of tyrants, &c. which have not the common good for their end, but being leges iniquæ, are by Thomas called violentiæ magis quam leges,“ rather compulsions than laws :” and whatsoever is not just, St. Augustine doth not allow for laws, howsoever established ; for he calls them iniqua hominum constituta, quæ nec jura dicenda, nec putanda sunt; “ the un“just constitutions of men, which are neither to be termed “ nor thought laws.” For, saith Aristotle, s Legalia justa sunt factiva, et conservativa felicitatis; “ Just laws are

p Ethic. 1. 4. c. 1.

be poted, that he joins leges and 9 Gen. vi. 5. and viii. 2.

fædera together : as in the scripr So Virgil, Continuo has leges ture the law is ofttimes called the æternaque foedera certis Imposuit covenant. natura locis: where also it is to

s Arist. Ethic. 5. 1.

לל

“ the workers and preservers of happiness ;” because by them we are directed ad vitam quietam, “ to a quiet life," according to Cicero; yea, to life everlasting, according to the scriptures. For the end of the law, saith Plato, is God and his worship: Finis legis Deus et cultus ejus. Lex, or the law, is so called by the Latins, a legendo, or, a ligando, of reading, or binding ; Leges quia lectæ et ad populum late, saith Varro; for after laws were written and published, all men might read them, and behold in them whereto they were bound. The other etymology, a ligando, is no less agreeable with the nature of a law; whence in the scripture it is called also a yoke, and a band; as, u Confregerunt jugum, diruperunt vincula; They have broken the

yoke, they have broken the bands.” And in the second Psalm, * Dirumpamus vincula eorum, et projiciamus a nobis funes ipsorum; “ Let us break their bands in sunder, “ and cast away their cords from us.”

The covenant it is called, because of the conditional promises of God; and because of God's people's voluntary submission of themselves unto it; for which word the Septuagint and the Epistle to the Hebrews use the word diabhxn, a testament or last will; which name it hath, because it is not otherwise effectual for our salvation, but in respect of the death of the testator; for without the death of the testator the testament is of no force ; as Heb. ix. 17. it is said, Testamentum in mortuis ratum est.

The Hebrews call the law thorah, of teaching, because every man is thereby taught his duty, both to God and

The Greeks call it vóuos, of distributing, because it distributeth to every man his own due; the power

of the law is the power of God; justice being an attribute proper unto God himself: Imperium legis imperium Dei est ; “ The reign of the law is the reign of God.”

Law in general is thus defined by the philosophers : Lex est vitæ regula, præcipiens quæ sunt sequenda, et quæ fugienda ; “ Law is the rule of life, commanding what to fol

men.

Plato in Dial. J. de Leg.

u Jer. v. 5.

* Psalm ii.

“ low, and what to shun; or, Lex est omnium divinarum et humanarum rerum regina; “ Law is the queen or prin

cess of things both human and divine.” But this description is grounded upon the opinion of inevitable fate. Law is the very wisdom of nature, the reason and understanding of the prudent, and the rule of right and wrong. For as a right line is called index sui et curvi, “ the demon“ strance of itself and of the crooked;" so is the law the judge and measure of right and wrong.

Mr. Hooker calls the law a directive rule to goodness of operation ; and though law, as touching the substance and essence, consist in understanding, concludit tamen actun voluntatis; " yet it comprehends the act of our will.” The word jus is also diversely taken, as sometimes for the matter of the law, and for common right; sometimes for the law itself; as jus civile, or jus gentium. y Isidore distinguisheth the two general words jus and fas; whereof jus, saith he, hath reference to men, fas to God: Fas lex divina, jus lex humana. To go over another man's field is permitted by God's law, not by man's ; and therefore in a thing out of controversy Virgil used both those words: as, Fas et jura sinunt, “ God and men permit.”

The word jus, or right, is derived or taken from the old substantive noun jussus, a bidding or commandment; or perhaps from the Greek Zeùs, which is the name of Jupiter, or of the Latin genitive case Jovis ; because, as the scripture speaks, 2 the judgment is God's. For as it is certain, that jus-jurandum came of Jovis-jurandum, (for so we find it written in Nonius out of the ancient, in which sense the scripture calls it juramentum Jehova,) so also we may say, that jus came of Jovis, quia Jovis est; because as God is the author, and pattern, and maintainer of right, so also in his a vicegerents, the magistrates, he is the pronouncer and executor of right. Of this jus, the just are denominated, justus a jure, and justitia a justo; “ the right gives name to “ the righteous;” and “justice takes her name from the just.' y Isid. Etym.

Deut. i. 17. 2 Chron. xix. 6. Exod. xxii. il, 1 Kings

ii. 43.

SECT. V.
Of the definition of laws, and of the law eternal.
BUT because laws are manifold, and that every kind
hath a proper and peculiar definition, it agreeth with order
first to divide and distinguish them. I mean those sorts of
laws from whence all other particulars are drawn, leaving
the individuals of human laws to their infinite and horrible
confusion.

[blocks in formation]

The law eternal is thus defined by Thomas : b Lex æterna est æternus divinæ sapientiæ conceptus, secundum quod ordinatur ad gubernationem rerum ab ipso præcognitarum ; “ The eternal law is the eternal conceit of God's wisdom, “ as it is referred to the government of things foreknown

by himself.” Or, Lex æterna est summa' atque æterna ratio divinæ sapientiæ; quatenus res omnes ad destinatos fines ita dirigit, ut illis juxta conditionem ipsarum modum aliquem necessitatis adferat; “ It is the high and eternal “ reason of divine sapience; as it directeth all things in “ such sort to their proper ends, imposing a kind of neces“sity according to their several natures or conditions." Now the difference lieth in this; that as the same divine un

P. 2. q.9. art. I. : Th. q. 93. art. 1.

[ocr errors]

derstanding directeth all these to their proper ends, so it is calied providence ; but as it imposeth a necessity according to the natures of all things which it directeth, so it is called

a law.

Of this eternal law Cicero took knowledge, when, in his book of laws, he wrote in this manner : Erat ratio perfecta, rerum natura, et ad recte faciendum impellens et a delicto avocans ; quæ non tum incipit lex esse cum scripta est: sed tum cum orta est. Orta autem simul est cum mente divina: quamobrem lex vera atque princeps, apta ad jubendum et ad vetandum, ratio est recta summi Jovis; That perfect rea

son and nature of things encouraging or impelling to

rightful actions, and calling us back from evil, did not,” saith he, “ then begin to be a law when it was written, but 166 when it had being. Being and beginning it had together “ with divine understanding, and therefore a true law and

a fit princess to command and forbid, is the right reason “ of the most high God.” This eternal law (if we consider it in God, or as God) is always one and the same, the nature of God being most simple; but as it is referred to divers objects, so the reason of man finds it diverse and manifold. It also seemeth one law in respect of things necessary, as the motions of the heavens, stability of the earth, &c. but it appeareth otherwise to things contingent, another law to men, another to other creatures having life, and to all those that be inanimate.

By this eternal law all things are directed, as by the counsel and providence of God; from this law all laws are derived, as from the rule universal; and thereto referred, as the operation of the second to the first.

d The eternal and the divine law differ only in consideration; the eternal directing more largely, as well every creature to their proper and natural ends, as it doth man to his supernatural; but the divine law to a supernatural end only; the natural law thence derived is but an effect of the eternal, as it were a stream from this fountain. The law human or temporal is also thence drawn, in that

Tho. et Aug.

« 前へ次へ »