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Licinus lies buried in a marble tomb; Cato in a mean one;
Pompey has none can we believe that there are gods?
And hence Ulysses is introduced by Euripides, expressing his horror of the gormandizing of the man-devouring Cyclops, in these verses:
O, Jupiter, behold such violations of hospitality; for if thou regardest them not,
Beyond any doubt, the audacity of these abandoned triflers, who would wish to seem to act the mad part with a show of reason, is more akin to the madness of atheism, than to the folly of ascribing to the god whom they worship and acknowledge such attributes as would not only be unworthy, but disgraceful to him. Protagoras, therefore, not comprehending the justice of God, in respect of his government, hath written, With regard to the gods, I do not know whether they exist, or do not exist.' Yet, even among the Gentiles themselves, and those who were destitute of the true knowledge of the true God (for they, in some sense, were without God in the world), writers have not been wanting, who have endeavoured, by serious and forcible arguments, to unravel the difficulty respecting the contrary lots of good and bad men in this life. Our first idea, therefore, of the Divine Being, and the natural conceptions of all men, demand and enforce the necessity of justice being ascribed to God. To be eloquent then in so easy a cause, or to triumph with arguments on a matter so universally acknowledged, we have neither leisure nor inclination. What, and of what kind the peculiar quality and nature of sin-punishing justice is, shall now be briefly explained. And that we may do this with the greater perspicuity and force of evi-> dence, a few observations seem necessary to be premised concerning justice in general, and its more commonly received divisions.
The philosopher, Aristotle, long ago, as is well known, hath divided justice into universal and particular. Concerning the former, he says, that he might compare it to the celebrated saying, 'In justice every virtue is summarily comprehended.' And he affirms, that it in nowise differs from
e Eurip. in Cyclop. ver. 350.
f The most distinguished were Seneca and Plutarch.
virtue in general, unless in respect of its relation to another being.
But, he says, that particular justice is a synonimous part thereof, which he again distinguishes into distributive and commutative.s The schoolmen too agreeing with him, which is rather surprising, divide the divine justice into universal and particular. For that excellence, say they, is spoken of God and man by way of analogy: nor is it like that bird mentioned by Homer, which goes by a double name; by one among mortals, by another among the immortals;
The gods call it Chalcis, but men, Cumindis.-HOM.
But is understood as existing in God principally, as in the first analogized1 being. Nor do later divines dissent from them: nay, all of them, who have made the divine attributes the subject of their contemplations, have, by their unanimous voice, approved of this distinction, and given their suffrages in its favour.
But farther they assert, that particular justice, in respect of its exercise, consists either in what is said, or in what is done. That which is displayed in things said, in commands, is equity; in declarations, truth; both which the Holy Scriptures do sometimes point out under the title of Divine Justice. But the justice which respects things done, is either that of government, or jurisdiction, or judgment: and this again they affirm to be either remunerative, or corrective; but that corrective is either castigatory, or vindicatory. With the last member of this last distinction, I begin this work: and yet, indeed, although the most learned of our divines, in later ages, have assented to this distribution of divine justice into these various significations, it seems proper to me to proceed in a manner somewhat different, and more suited to our purpose.
I say then, that the justice of God may be considered in a twofold manner.
g That which relates to fair exchange.
Analogy means a resemblance between things with regard to some qualities or circumstances, properties or effects, though not in all.
That is, the first being whose perfections have been explained by analogy: or, by tracing a resemblance between these perfections and something like them in ourselves, in kind or sort, though differing infinitely with respect to manner and degree. Rom. i. 14. iii. 21. Ezra ix. 15. Neh. ix. 8, &c. &c.
First, Absolutely, and in itself.
Secondly, In respect of its egress and exercise.
First. The justice of God, absolutely considered, is the universal rectitude and perfection of the divine nature: for such is the divine nature antecedent to all acts of his will, and suppositions of objects towards which it might operate. This excellence is most universal: nor from its own nature, as an excellence, can it belong to any other being.
Secondly. It is to be viewed with respect to its egress and exercise. And thus, in the order of nature, it is considered as consequent, or at least as concomitant to some acts of the divine will, assigning or appointing to it a proper object. Hence that rectitude, which in itself is an absolute property of the divine nature, is considered as a relative and hypothetical attribute, and has a certain habitude to its proper objects.
That is to say, this rectitude, or universal justice, hast certain egresses towards objects out of itself, in consequence of the divine will, and in a manner agreeable to the rule of his supreme right and wisdom, namely, when some object of justice is supposed and appointed (which object must necessarily depend on the mere good pleasure of God, because it was possible it might never have existed at all; God notwithstanding continuing just and righteous to all eternity); and these egresses are twofold.
1. They are absolute and perfectly free, viz. in words.
2. They are necessary, viz. in actions.
For the justice of God is neither altogether one of that kind of perfections, which create and constitute an object to themselves, as power and wisdom do: nor of that kind which not only require an object for their exercise, but one peculiarly affected and circumstanced, as mercy, patience and forbearance do; but may be considered in both points of view, as shall be more fully demonstrated hereafter.
1. For, first, it has absolute egresses in words (constituting, and as it were creating an object to itself); as for instance, in words of legislation, and is then called equity; or in words of declaration and narration, and is then called truth. Both these," I suppose for the present, to take place 1 Or, have a respect to any other being.
n Viz. The egresses in words of legislation ; and in words of declaration and nar
absolutely and freely. Whether God hath necessarily prescribed a law to his rational creatures, at least one accompanied with threats and promises, is another consideration.
2. There are respective egresses of this justice in deeds, and according to the distinctions above-mentioned; that is to say, it is exercised either in the government of all things, according to what is due to them by the counsel and will of God; or, in judgments rewarding, or punishing, according to the rule of his right and wisdom, which also is the rule of equity in legislation, and of truth in the declarations annexed. In respect of these, I call the egresses of the divine justice necessary, and such that they could not possibly be otherwise, which, by divine help, I shall prove hereafter. And this is the same as saying, that vindicatory justice is so natural to God, that sin being supposed, he cannot, according to the rule of his right, wisdom, and truth, but punish it. But antecedent to this whole exercise of the divine justice, I suppose a natural right, which indispensably requires the dependance and moral subjection of the rational creature, in God, all the egresses of whose justice, in words, contain an arrest of judgment till farther trial, in respect of the object.
It now then appears, that all these distinctions of divine justice, respect it not as considered in itself, but its egresses and exercise only; to make which clear, was the reason that I departed from the beaten track. Nay, perhaps, it would be a difficult matter to assign any virtue to God, but in the general, and not as having any specific ratio of any virtue; but that which answers to the ratio of any particular virtue in God, consists in the exercise of the same. For instance, mercy is properly attributed to God, so far as it denotes the highest perfection in the will of God; the particular ratio or quality of which, viz. a disposition of assisting the miserable, with a compassion of their misery, is found not altogether as to some, as to others, altogether and only in the exercise of the above-mentioned perfection; but it is
• Viz. the egresses in the government of things according to what is due to them, by the counse! of his will; or, in judgments rewarding or punishing, according to the rule of his right and wisdom.
P That is, any distinguishing sort or quality.
In the general sparing mercy of God, the particular quality of mercy, viz. a disposition of assisting the miserable with a compassion of their misery, is not
called a proper attribute of God, because, by means of it, some operation is performed agreeable to the nature of God, which, in respect of his other attributes, his will would not produce. This kind, therefore, of the divine attributes, because they have proper and formal objects, thence only derive their formal and specific ratios. But all these observations upon justice must be briefly examined and explained, that we may arrive at the point intended.
The universal justice of God. The idle fancies of the schoolmen. The arguments of Durandus against commutative justice. Suarez's censure of the scholastic reasonings. His opinion of divine justice. The examination of it. A description of universal justice from the sacred writings. A division of it in respect of its egress. Rectitude of government in God. What, and of what kind. Definitions of the philosophers and lawyers. Divisions of the justice of government. A caution respecting these Vindicatory justice. The opinions of the partisans. An explication of the true opinion. Who the adversaries are. The state of the controversy farther considered.
We are first then briefly to treat of the universal justice of God; or of his justice considered in itself, and absolutely, which contains in it all the divine excellencies. The schoolmen, treading in the steps of the philosophers, who have acknowledged no kind of justice which has not naturally some respect to another object, are for the most part silent concerning this justice. And once, by the way to take notice of these, on this as almost on every other subject, they are strangely divided. Duns Scotus, Durandus, and Poludamus, deny that there is commutative justice in God. a
For the master of the sentences himself calls God an impartial and just distributor, but says not a word of commutation. Thomas Aquinas," and Cajetan, do the same; though the latter says, 'that some degree of commutative justice is
wholly found, because there are many of mankind towards whom this disposition of assisting is never effectually exerted; but in the pardoning mercy of God to his people, it is fully and gloriously displayed.
a Palud. on the Sent. book 4. distinct. 46.
Thomas, first page of quest. 21. and Cajetan, 2. 2. qu. 61. A. 4.