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“ 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 actum 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 Jehovæ,) 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 (sid. Etym.
z Deut. i. 17. 2 Chron. xix. 6. a Exod. xxii. 11. 1 Kings
The law eternal is thus defined by Thomas: 6 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 the same divine un
UP. 2. q.9. art. I. • Th. q. 93. art. 1.
derstanding directeth all these to their proper ends, so it is called providence ; but as it imposeth a necessity according to the natures of all things which it directeth, so it is called
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 ; quce 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 “ 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.
it hath the form of right reason; from which if it differ, it is then impositio iniqua, “ a wicked imposition,” and only borroweth the name of a law.
To this eternal law all things are subjected, as well angels and men, as all other creatures, or things created; whether necessary or contingent, natural or moral, and human. For the law eternal runneth through all the universal, and therefore it is the law also of things which are simple, natural, and inanimate.
Hence it is that all things created are commanded to praise God their Creator and Director ; as, e Praise him, all ye his angels : praise ye him, sun and moon, all bright stars, heavens of heavens, for he hath established them for ever
He hath made an ordinance which shall not pass. Praise ye the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all depths : fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy winds which execute his word: mountains, and hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: beasts, and all cattle, &c. Now as the reasonable creatures are by this eternal law bound by the glory and felicity proposed unto them, (beatitude being both the attractive and the end,) so all other natural things and creatures have in themselves, and in their own natures, an obedience formal to it, without any proper intention, known cause, or end proposed. For beasts are led by sense and natural instinct; things without life by their created form, or formal appetites; as that which is heavy, to fall downward, things light, to mount upward, &c. and fire, to heat whatsoever is apposed. This kind of working the Aristotelians ascribe to common nature, others to fate; a difference used in terms only; it being no other than God's general providence: for as it is truly said of God, that he is omnia super omnia ; so are all things which appear in themselves thence derived, thereunder subjected, thencefrom by his eternal law and providence directed, even from the greatest to the least of his creatures in heaven and in earth.
The schoolmen are very curious and ample in the consideration of these laws; and in discourse of the profit, and of the matter and object of the eternal law. But as the profit is manifest in the good of all creatures, who have thencefrom either reason, sense, vegetation, or appetition, to conduct them ; so is the object and matter of the law, the whole creature. For according to St. Augustine, f Lex æterna est, qua justum est ut omnia sint ordinatissima; “ The law eternal is that, whereby it is just that all things “ should be disposed in the best and goodliest order.”
e Psalm cxlviii.
Lastly, It is disputed, whether the eternal law be immutable, yea or no ? but the resolution is, that it changeth not; for which St. Augustine useth a sufficient argument in his first book of Free Will, the sixth chapter. For the law of Moses, which had a time prefixed, was eternally by God ordained to last until the time of the pedagogy of God's people, or introduction to Christ, should be expired; which time of expiration some think our Saviour noted to be come, when on the cross he said, & Consummatum est. But I rather think these words of our Saviour to have no other signification, than that now the prophecy of their giving him vinegar to drink was fulfilled. For so St. John expounds it, when he saith, ver. 28. That Christ seeing all (other] things to be fulfilled, ut consummaretur scriptura, that the scripture in this also might be fulfilled, said, I thirst; though I deny not, but at the same time also the date of the law was expired, to wit, of the law ceremonial, and of so much of the judicial as appertained peculiarly to the Jews, and agreeth not with the law of the New Testament and gospel of Christ. For the immutable law of God, though prescribing things mutable, is not therefore changed in itself; but the things prescribed change according to this eternal ordinance, of which the Wisdom of Solomon, And being one she can do all things, and remaining in herself reneweth all
of the law of nature. OF the law of nature, as it is taken in general, I find no
fL. 1. de lib. arb. c. 6. & John xix. 30. Psalm Ixix. 21.