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love to goodness, all the promises of the Gospel were to no purpose in relation to the faith of good men, and therefore the greatest and the best part of faith itself would be useless : for there is no purpose or end of faith of the promises, but to enable our obedience, by the credibility and expectation of such promises, to do our duty.
Now that even good men, even the best men, even all men, have an habitual regard to it, besides that it is impossible to be otherwise (for he that ploughs, does plough in hope), and will easily be understood to be so by them, who know the causes and nature of things; it appears also in the instance of as good a man as any story reports of; even Moses, who “ despised to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, because he had an eye to the recompense of reward :” and by the instance of all those brave persons, whom St. Paul enumerates in the eleventh chapter to the Hebrews; “ who all died in faith, not having received the promises;" but they looked for better, even such as were to come; and beyond all this, our blessed Lord himself “ despised shame and endured the cross;" but it was “ for the glory that was set before him d.” For it is the first and the greatest article of the Gentiles' creed, “ Every one that comes to God, must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
11. The sum is this; although in nature herself, and in the conscience relating to her, there is a court punitive and a fear of God, yet the expectation of reward is rather put into us, than born with us, and revealed rather than natural; and therefore the expectation of good is the second band of natural laws, but extrinsical and adventitious, communicated to us by revelation, and by grace.
The Imperfection of some Provisions in civil Laws is supplied
by the natural Obligation remaining upon Persons civilly incapable.
WHEN laws make provision of cases ÉTÈ TÒ TA£Totov, in as many things as they can foresee, or feel, and yet some things
will emerge which cannot be foreseen, and some contrary reasons will arise ;-many times there is no care taken for some things and some persons by any constitutions of man. Here Nature, as the common parent of all justice and necessary obligations, takes the case into her protection.
This happens in many cases : 1. Human laws give measures of things and persons, which fit most men without a sensible error, but some it does not. Young persons are, at a certain age, declared capable of making profitable contracts; at another age, of making contracts that are hazardous; and they must - stand to them, though they be mischievous. At one age they may marry; at another, they may contract a debt; at another, they may make a testament; at another, they may be punished with capital inflictions. But in some persons, the malice is earlier and the wit more pregnant, and the sense of their advantages brisk enough: and therefore the contracts which they can make,--and the actions which they do,--and the part which they choose are really made,—or done, or chosen; but they are not bound to stand to it, by the civil law; and yet if they can choose, they are naturally obliged. Both of them are necessary: the civil law cannot provide but by common measures;
Quos ultra citraque nequit consistere rectum a.
All their rules are made by as common a measure as they can, and they are the best rules that have the fewest exceptions: the best carpenters make the fewest chips : but some there must be. But then it is necessary that nature should provide, by single provisions in all the single exceptions; for it is necessary it should be done, and she only can do it. She can do it because nature hath provided and instructed a judging and a discerning conscience; and the person that contracts or receives a benefit, can bind himself to man as soon as he can bind himself to God; because the laws of God bind all our contracts with men.
That is, plainly thus, God's laws provide not only for general cases, but also for particular circumstances; and of every thing God, and God's vicegerent, conscience,-can take accounts; and therefore this abundance supplies the other's defect; the perfection
of God makes up the breaches of the imperfection of man. Which rule is to be understood both of things and persons. For all our duty is only an obedience to God: and every one that can hope or fear, is bound to this obedience; therefore there can be no gap here: God hath, in every thing, shut up every person that can use reason, by some instrument or other. And therefore Cicero said well, “ Nec si regnante Tarquinio nulla erat Romæ scripta lex de stupris, idcirco non contra illam legem sempiternam Sextus Tarquinius vim Lucretiæ Tricipitini filiæ adtulit: erat enim ratio profecta à rerum natura, et ad recte faciendum inpellens, et à delicto avocans :" “ There was no civil constitution against rapes, but Tarquin ought not to have done it: for there was an eternal law against it. For right reason, proceeding from nature, drives us on to good, and calls us off from evil:"that is, he could not but know it was ill, and against reason, and against every thing by which he ought to be governed; and even to the heathen God was not wanting, but bound these laws upon them by reason, and inclination, and necessity, and fame, and example, and contract, and hope, and fear, and by secret ways which we know not of. He made some inclinations and some reason to become laws, that mankind might not live like beasts and birds of prey: in all cases, and in all times, and to all persons, he became a lord and a lawgiver, some way or other.
Young persons, of twelve or fourteen years old, can be saved or damned; they can love or hate; they can understand yea and nay; they can do a good turn or a shrewd; they can lead a blind man right or wrong; they can bear true or false witness: and although the civil laws, out of care lest their easiness be abused by crafty people, make them secure from it by nulling the contract, that the deceiving person may not reap the harvest of his fraud, yet there are very many cases in which the minor receives advantage, ór at the least no wrong, and though it was fit he should be secured, it was not fit he should be enabled to do a mischief to another, “ ut levamen his, aliis sit onus,” as St. Paul in a like
case, “ that they be eased, and others burdened.” For although the other contractor be sufficiently warned to
b Lib. ii. de leg. c. 4. Davis. Rath. page 107.
take heed of the minor, yet there may be need in it, or charity, friendship, or confidence; all or any of which if they might be deceived, the minor would suffer often, but the other contractor but once. Therefore, as the civil law secures them from harm, so the law of nature binds them to do none, but to stand to such contracts in which they have advantage or equality, and in which they were not abused. The time when they come to be obliged, is the time when they come to the use of reason, when they understand their duty,—when a prudent man judges them fit to be contracted with,—when they can use fraud to others,—when they can consider whether they be bound or no: these are the best marks and signatures of the time, and declare the obligation in all cases, where there is no deception evident.
2. Sometimes both parties can contract : but because they, doing it without witnesses, may recede from it, either consentingly or against the will of one of them, the positive. constitution of man intending to provide against this incon-, venience, hath cut the civil tie in pieces, and refuses to verify the contract, besides that it cannot legally be proved. In this case, nature relieves the oppressed party, and supplies the easiness of the civil band, and strains that hard which the others let loose. And this happens in clandestine contracts : against which, in the matter of marriage, all Christian countries have made severe edicts : but in case they be done, in some places they are pronounced valid, in some places declared null. Where they are nulled, nature is defeated in making provisions, and the parties are warranted to do a mischief. For if Mauritius and Cluviena contract marriage, and Mauritius repent his bargain,—where shall Cluviena be relieved ? The law of the church forbids it, and will punish her for doing it if she complains. The civil law takes no notice of it, for it cannot be legally proved: and the law of nature is barred out, if it be declared null: and then there is nothing left to hold him. It is the case of the church of Rome', who, in the eighth session of the council of Trent,
e Navarrus Enchirid. c. 25. Et congregatio Cardinalium, quos talis et tam putidi pudebat decreti, directè negant rem factam aut dictam, et sponsalia clandes, tina, etiam post concilia, rata manere, sicut et ante. Consuluerunt scilicet, famæ concilii, non propriæ, qui rem tam certam, verba tam plana negare palam non erubuerunt.
declares all clandestine contracts to be null, and their mixtures to be fornication and uncleanness. But they have overacted their zeal against a temporal inconvenience, and burn their house to roast an egg; they destroy a law of nature by a law of the church, -against the former practices, counsels and resolutions, even of their own church. For if those contracts are in themselves naturally valid and not forbidden by God, then they cannot rescind them: if they be not naturally valid, since they were always positively forbidden, why were they esteemed valid for so many ages ? For till that council they were so; but finding that the former prohibitions were not strong enough, they took this course to break them all in pieces: and, out of desire to prevent an accidental evil, they made it more ready to be done. For it was before but feared, lest they should recede : but yet if they did, they were esteemed adulterers, if they married again : and they themselves knew, when they were precontracted: and therefore stood convicted and pinched in their own consciences, so long as the old laws remained, and men did not receive warrants to break the most sacred bands in the world: but by this nullifying the contract, they have not only leave to go off, but are commanded; and if they be weary of this, they may contract with another, and there is nothing to hinder them, if nature does not. This nullity, therefore, is a vehement remedy, that destroys the patient; besides that it is against the law of nature. The laws may forbid it to be done; but if it be, they cannot rescind it; because the civil constitution is less than the natural, and convenience is less than conscience, and man is infinitely less than God.
3. Some pretend to do a greater good; and to do it, break a contract justly made: and if the civil constitution allows it, the law of nature reclaims, and relieves the injured person. This was the case of the Pharisees, who denied to relieve their parents, out of zeal to fill the treasure of the temple, and thought that their voluntary religion excused from their natural duty. The church of Rome gives leave to either of the persons, who are married solemnly and contracted rightly, to recede from their vow and enter into religion, and declares the marriage separate and broken. Here nature calls upon the obliged party: and ought to prevail above any other