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RULE OF CONSCIENCE,
THE LAWS DIVINE,
ALL COLLATERAL OBLIGATIONS.
OF THE LAW OF NATURE IN GENERAL.
The Law of Nature is the universal Law of the World, or the
Law of Mankind, concerning common Necessities to which we are inclined by Nature, invited by Consent, prompted by
Reason, but is bound upon us only by the Command of God. "Έστω σοι προ οφθαλμών γινώσκειν τι νόμος φυσικός, και τι τα της δευτεpurews, said the apostolical constitution”; “ Be careful to understand what is the law natural, and what is superinduced upon it.” The counsel, abating the authority and reverence of them that said it, is of great reasonableness. For all men talk of the law of nature, and all agree that there is such a material law which some way or other is of the highest obligation; but because there are no digests or tables of this law, men have not only differed about the number of them, and the instances themselves, but about the manner of drawing them forth, and making the observation : whereas if the law of nature were such a thing as it is supposed generally, these differences would be as strange and impossible, as that men should disagree about what is black, or what is yellow,—or that they should dispute concerning rules to signify when they desire, or when they hope, or when they love. The purpose of the present intendment will not suffer me to make large disputes about it, but to observe all that is to be drawn from it in order to conscience and its obligation.
a Constit. Apost. lib. i. c. 6.
secure me or
The Law of Nature. • Jus naturæ,' and · lex naturæ, are usually confounded by divines and lawyers, but to very ill purposes, and to the confusion and indistinction of all the notices of them.
66 The right of nature, or jus naturæ,' is no law, and the law of nature is no natural right b." The right of nature is a perfect and universal liberty to do whatsoever can please me. For the appetites that are prime, original, and natural, do design us towards their satisfaction, and were a continual torment, and in vain, if they were not, in order to their rest, contentedness, and perfection. Whatsoever we naturally desire, naturally we are permitted to. For natures are equal, and the capacities are the same, and the desires alike; and it were a contradiction to say, that naturally we are restrained from any thing to which we naturally tend. Therefore, to save my own life, I can kill another, or twenty, or a hundred, or take from his hands to please myself, if it happens in my circumstances and power; and so for eating, and drinking, and pleasures. If I can desire, I may possess or enjoy it: this is the right of nature. Jus naturæ,' by
jus' or right,' understanding not a collated or legal right, positive or determined, but a negative right, that is, such a right as every man hath without a law, and such as that by which the stones in the streets are mine or yours; by
right that is negative, because they are “ nullius in bonis,' they are appropriate to no man,' and may be mine; that is, I may take them up and carry them to my bed of turf, where
b Valla Elegant. lib. iv. c. 48.
the natural, wild, or untutored man does sit. But this is not the law of nature, nor passes any obligation at all.
And indeed nature herself makes not a law :
Nec natura potest justo secernere iniquum :
and this opinion Carneades did express, but rudely, and was for it noted by Lactantius. He said there was no law of nature. But the Christians, who for many ages have followed the school of Aristotle, have been tender in suffering such expressions, and have been great promoters of Aristotle's doctrine concerning the rò quoixòy, the natural law. But indeed Aristotle himself in this was various and indetermined. For in his Ethics he affirms, that some think the natural law to be το μέν φύσει, ακίνητος και πανταχού την αυτην έχει δύναμιν ώσπερ το πυρ και ενθάδε και εν Πέρσαις καίει, « unalterable, and of the same force
every where, as fire burns here and in Persia :" and yet he himself makes it mutable, and that is not the same among all nations; for so he in his Rhetoricsd says, έστι γαρ, ο μαντεύονται τα πάντες, φύσει κοινόν δίκαιον και άδικον, κάν μηδεμία κοινωνία προς αλλήλους ή, μηδέ συνθήκη, that « some do divine” (not demonstrate) “that some things are just or unjust by nature, without any covenant or society;" intimating, that without a covenant or contract, tacit or explicit, there can be no law: and if it depends upon contract, it must be variable as necessity and contingency together; and so he affirms, that there is nothing so naturally just but it is variable; and although the right hand is in most men the strongest, yet in some the left hand is. To dlaveuntixòY dixaloy των κοινών αεί κατ' αναλογίαν έστι την ειρημένην €, « Distributive justice is by proportion;" and, therefore, it is variable ; and in general he affirms of all justice, το δε δίκαιον ανάλογον, “justice is in proportion and relation.”
For justice is αλλότριον αγαθόν, that is, προς έτερον, a relative excellency, and, therefore, 'must suppose society, and a paction or covenant. For “a man cannot be unjust to himself,” or to his own goods, which are absolutely in his powerf: ořx ērti asixia Tagos autóv. and, therefore, justice, I mean that universal virtue that contains all else within it,
Lib. v. c. 7. Wilkinson, p. 209. e Ethic. lib. v. c. 4. Wilkinson, p. 193.
d Lib. i. c. 14. Howell, p. 60. f Ethic. lib. v.
'Εν δε δικαιοσύνη συλλήβδην πάσ' αρετή στι·
is a virtue that hath its being from something superinduced upon nature. Justice is natural, as all virtues are, that is, reasonable and perfective of our nature, and introductive of well-being : but nature alone hath not enjoined it originally, any more than matrimonial chastity was a natural law, which could not be at all before Eve was created, and yet our nature was perfect before. “ Justum nihil est non constituta lege,” “nothing is just or unjust in itself, until some law” of God or man does supervene: and the Sceptics generally, and, amongst the Dogmatics, Aristippus said, that nothing is just by nature, but only vouwzad šlel, “ by law and custom;" which in what sense it is to be admitted, I shall explicate in the following periods :
Is the universal Law of the World. O xorvos vóuos, so Aristotle calls it"; “ The law of mankind” - “ Commune omnium hominum jus ;" — 80 Justiniani; which is not to be understood of all men in all things absolutely, but especially of all wise or civil nations that communicate with each. Lucretiusk restrains it to neighbours.
Tunc et amicitiem cæperunt jungere haben teis
But many nations have thought, and some think so still, that they may hurt stranger people, the possessors of far distant countries, barbarous and savage people: the Romans, who were the wisest of all nations, did so.
Si quis sinus abditus ultra,
“ All people whom they called barbarous, or whom they found rich, were their enemies."
8 Theognis : Gaisford, Poet. Min. Gr. page 217. h Rhetor. lib. i, c. ll.
i Lib. ix. ff. de Jure et Justitia. k V. 1018. Eichstadt, page 237. 1 Petr. Arb. sect. cxix. Antonius, page 363.
But there are some laws of nature which belong to all absolutely, to whom any notice of the true God and of good manners is arrived; particularly those which belong to common religion : but in the laws of justice, the law of nature is more restrained; because it does not only, like the laws of religion, suppose some communications of command from God, but some intercourse with man; and, therefore, are obligatory, or extended in proportion to the proximity and communication. But the law taken in its integrity, or according to its formal reason, is the law of all mankind; for all men in all things are bound to it.
Concerning some common Necessities. This describes the matter and body of natural laws. For there is nothing by which the laws are denominated natural more than by this, that they are provisions made for the natural necessities of mankind; such are,-To do as we would be done to ;-To perform covenants ;—To secure messengers of peace and arbitrators ;-To be thankful to our benefactors; -and the like: without these a man cannot receive any good, nor be safe from evil.
By this relation, and interchanging reason, it is therefore necessary that these laws should be distinguished from all others, because these and their like proceed from the same principle, are restrained by the same penalties, written in the same tables, have the same necessity, and do suppose something superadded to our nature; and, therefore, that these and their like are natural, and the others are not, must be by relation to the subject matter.
For in these cases and the like, when that which is profitable is made just, then that which is natural is made a law; that is, when the law tends to the same end whither nature tends, when the faculty or appetite is provided for by obedience to a law, then the law is called natural. For since all good and just laws are profitable, they are laws, civil, or religious, or natural, according as they serve the end of the commonwealth, or of the religion, or of nature. This is évident in the code of the Mosaic law, where all laws, being established by God under the same prince, could have no difference but by their subject matter; and when they did lie in one body, to separate one from the other by proper appel