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discernible.' So also Ferorariensis, on the same place; and Scotus, in the third book of his treatise, of Nature and Grace,' chap. vii. Durandus, in particular, contends, with many arguments, that this kind of justice ought not to be assigned to God. First, because that this justice observes an equality between the thing given and received, which cannot be the case between us and God. And, secondly, because that we cannot be of any service to him (which he proves from Rom. xi. 35. Job xxii. 3. and xxxv. 7. Luke xvii. 10.), whereby he can be bound to make an equality with us by virtue of commutation. And, thirdly, because that we cannot make an equal return to God for benefits received. And, finally, that as there is no proper commutative justice between a father and his children, according to Aristotle's opinion, much less can it subsist between God and us.
But the same Durandus likewise denies to God distributive justice, because he is not indebted to any one: he, however, acknowledges some mode of distributive justice; and Pesantius follows his opinion.
But Gabriel, on the same' distinction, asserts, commutative justice to be inherent in God; for there is a certain equality, as he says, between God and man, from the acceptation of God the receiver. Proudly enough said indeed! But what shall we say of these triflers? They resemble those advocates in Terence, whose opinion, after Demipho, embarassed by the cheats of Phormio the sycophant, had asked, he exclaims, Well done, gentlemen, I am now in a greater uncertainty than before.' So intricate were their answers, and resembling the practices of the Andabatæ.
Hence Suarez himself, after he had reviewed the opinions of the schoolmen concerning the justice of God, bids adieu to them all, declaring, That the expressions of Scripture had greater weight with him than their philosophic human arguments.' But with much labour and prolixity, he insists that both distributive and commutative justice are to be ascribed to God, that so he might pave the way for that rotten fiction concerning the merits of Roman Catholics with God; a doctrine which, were even all his suppositions granted,
Eth. b. 8. c. 8.
• In. 2. 2. Thomas.
d On dist. 46.
8 A kind of fencers who fought on horseback hood-winked.
appears not to follow, much less to be confirmed. This opinion of Suarez, concerning vindicatory justice, as it is deservedly famous in scholastic theology, we think proper to lay before you in few words.
In his discourses concerning the justice of God,' he contends that the affection of punishing, which he calls ́ a perfection elicitive' of the act of punishing,' is properly and formally inherent in God; and it is so, because it hath a proper object, viz. to punish the guilt of sin which is honourable; nor does it include any imperfection, and therefore that some formal and proper divine attribute ought to correspond to that effect.
He farther maintains, that this affection of punishing is neither commutative nor distributive justice. His conclusions here I do not oppose, though I cannot approve of many of his reasonings and arguments. In fine, he contends, that vindicatory justice in God' is the same with universal, or legal, or providential justice, which we call the justice of government. But he makes a dishonourable and base conclusion, from a distinction about the persons punished, viz. into such as are merely passive sufferers, and such as spontaneously submit themselves to punishment, that they may satisfy the punitory justice of God: reasoning in such a manner, that after he has forced the whole doctrine concerning the commutative and distributive justice of God, to become subservient to that sacrilegious and proud error, concerning the merits of man with God, and even of one from the supererogation of another; he strenuously endeavours to establish a consistency between this doctrine of vindicatory justice, and a fiction, not less impious and disgraceful to the blood of Christ, 'which cleanseth us from all sin,' about penal satisfactions to be performed by such ways and means as God hath never prescribed, or even thought of.
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne.-HOR.
Dismissing these bunglers (who know not the righteousness of God), then, from our dissertation, let us attend to the more sure word of prophecy. That word every where
h Suarez's Lectures of the Justice of God. i Sect. 5. * Or quality. That is, inducing to, or drawing forth the act of punishing.
asserts God to be just, and possessed of such justice as denotes the universal rectitude, and perfection of his divine nature. His essence is most wise, most perfect, most ex-` cellent, most merciful, most blessed: that, in fine, is the justice of God, according to the Scriptures, viz. considered absolutely, and in itself: nor would the Holy Scriptures have us to understand any thing else by divine justice, than the power and readiness of God to do all things rightly and becomingly, according to the rule of his wisdom, goodness, truth, mercy, and clemency. Hence the above-mentioned sophists agree, that justice, taken precisely, and in itself, and abstracting it from all human imperfections, simply means perfection without intrinsic imperfection: for it is not a virtue that rules the passions, but directs their operations.
Hence it presides, as it were, in all the divine decrees, actions, works and words, of whatsoever kind they be there is no egress of the divine will; no work or exercise of providence, though immediately and distinctly breathing clemency, mercy, anger, truth, or wisdom, but in respect thereof, God is eminently said to be just, and to execute justice. Hence, Isa. li. 6. He is said to be 'just, and bringing salvation;' Rom. iii. 25, 26. Just in pardoning sin; Psal. cxliii. 11. Just in avenging and punishing sin; Rom. iii. 5, 6. Just in all the exercises of his supreme right and dominion; Job xxxiv. 12-14. Rom. ix. 8. 14, 15. He is just, in sparing according to his mercy. Just in punishing according to his anger and wrath. In a word, whatsoever by reason of his right, he doeth or worketh according 'to the counsel of his will,' whatever proceeds from his faithfulness, mercy, grace, love, clemency, anger, and even from his fury, is said to be done by, through, and because of his justice, as the perfection inducing to, or, the cause effecting and procuring such operations. It is evident then, that justice, universally taken, denotes the highest rectitude of the divine nature, and a power and promptitude of doing all things, in a manner becoming and agreeable to his wisdom, goodness, and right.
The more solemn egresses of this justice, to which all paricular acts may be easily reduced, have been already inted out: but equity in legislation, fidelity and truth in
declarations, and the promises annexed to them, in which God is often said to be just, and to execute justice, I think may be passed over, as being too remote from our purpose. But as it appears that some light may be thrown on this subject, which we are now treating of, from the consideration of the relation of rectitude and divine wisdom, that is, of universal justice to government and judgment, we must say a few words on that head.
But rectitude of government, to which that justice analogically corresponds, is that which philosophers and civilians unanimously agree to be the highest excellence, though they have variously described it. Aristotle calls it 'a habit by which men are capable of doing just things, and by which they both will and do just things ;'m attributing to it aptitude, will, and action. Cicero" calls it an affection of the mind, giving to every one his due;' understanding by affection not any passion of the mind, but a habit. The civilians understand by it, a constant and perpetual will, assigning to every one his due.' The propriety of their definition, we leave to themselves. That constant and perpetual will of theirs, is the same as the habit of the philosophers, which, whether it be the proper genus of this virtue, let logicians determine. Again, as they constantly attribute three acts to right, which is the object of justice, viz. ' to live honestly, to hurt nobody, and to give every one his due ;' how comes it to pass that they define justice by one act, when doubtless it respects all right: therefore it is, they say, that to give every one his due, is not of the same extent in the definition of justice, and in the description of the acts of right.
But let them both unite in their sentiments as they please, neither the habit or affection of the philosophers, nor the living honestly, and hurting nobody, of the civilians, can be assigned to God. For in ascribing the perfection of excellencies to him, we exclude the ratio of habit or quality, properly so called, and every material and imperfect mode of operation. He must be a mortal man, and subject to a law to whom these things apply.
Moreover those (I speak of our own countrymen), who divide this justice of government into commutative and distributive, rob God entirely of the commutative, which conEthics, book 5. chap. 1. Òr class.
n De Finibus.
sists in a mutual giving and receiving. For who first hath given any thing to him?' Who made thee to differ from another? He giveth no account of his matters.' But distributive, which belongs to him as the supreme governor of all things, who renders to every one his due, is proper to himself alone. This we have above asserted to be the justice of government, or judgment. Of this justice of government, frequent mention is made in the sacred writings. It is that perfection of the Divine Being, whereby he directs all his actions in governing and administering created things, according to the rule of his rectitude and wisdom. But this excellence, or habitude for action, in no wise differs from universal justice, unless in respect of its relation to another being. But what is a law to us in the administration of things, in God is his right, in conjunction with his most wise and just will. For God, as it is said, is a law unto himself. To this justice, are these passages to be referred, Zeph. iii. 5. 2 Chron. xii. 6. Psal. vii. 9. Jer. xii. 1, 2. Tim. iv. 8. with almost innumerable others. But in all the effects and egresses of this justice, God is justified, not from the reason of things, but from his dominion and supreme right. Thus, Job xiv. 14. xxxiii. 12, 13. xxxiv. 12-14. And this is the first egress of the divine rectitude in works.
The other egress of this justice is in judgment, the last member of the divisions of which above-mentioned, viz. that by which God punishes the crimes of rational beings, to whom a law hath been given, according to the rule of his right, is the vindicatory justice of which we are treating.
Here again, reader, I would wish to put you in mind, that I by no means assert many species of universal justice, or so to speak, particular or special justices, as distinct perfections in God, which others seem to do; but one only, viz. the universal and essential rectitude of the divine nature, and therefore I maintain, that this very vindicatory justice itself is the rectitude and perfection of the Deity variously exercised.
Some of the schoolmen, however, agrée with me in opinion; for Cajetan upon Thomas grants, that vindicatory jus
P Quest. ii. 2.