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Title: Moral Philosophy: Ethics, Deontology and Natural Law
Author: Rickaby, Joseph
Language: English
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Nihil Obstat:
_Censor deputatus_

Imprimi potest:
_Præp. Prov. Angliæ_

Nihil Obstat:
_Censor deputatus_

_Vie. Gen._

PREFACE (1905).

For fifteen years this Manual has enjoyed all the popularity that its
author could desire. With that popularity the author is the last
person to wish to interfere. Therefore, not to throw previous copies
out of use, this edition makes no alteration either in the pagination
or the text already printed. At the same time the author might well be
argued to have lapsed into strange supineness and indifference to
moral science, if in fifteen years he had learnt nothing new, and
found nothing in his work which he wished to improve. Whoever will be
at the expense of purchasing my _Political and Moral Essays_
(Benziger, 1902, 6s.) will find in the first essay on the _Origin and
Extent of Civil Authority_ an advantageous substitute for the chapter
on the State in this work. The essay is a dissertation written for the
degree of B. Sc. in the University of Oxford; and represents, I hope,
tolerably well the best contemporary teaching on the subject.

If the present work had to be rewritten, I should make a triple
division of Moral Philosophy, into Ethics, Deontology (the science of
[Greek: to deon], i.e., of what _ought_ to be done), and Natural Law.
For if "the principal business of Ethics is to determine what moral
obligation is" (p. 2), then the classical work on the subject, the
_Nicomachean Ethics_ of Aristotle, is as the play of Hamlet with the
character of Hamlet left out: for in that work there is no analysis of
moral obligation, no attempt to "fix the comprehension of the idea I
_ought_" (ib.). The system there exposed is a system of Eudaemonism,
not of Deontology. It is not a treatise on Duty, but on Happiness: it
tells us what Happiness, or rational well-being, is, and what conduct
is conducive to rational well-being. It may be found convenient to
follow Aristotle, and avow that the business of Ethics is not Duty,
not Obligation, not Law, not Sanction, but Happiness. That fiery
little word _ought_ goes unexplained in Ethics, except in an
hypothetical sense, that a man _ought_ to do this, and avoid that,
_if_ he means to be a happy man: cf. p. 115. Any man who declares that
he does not care about ethical or rational happiness, stands to Ethics
as that man stands to Music who "hath no ear for concord of sweet

All that Ethics or Music can do for such a Philistine is to "send him
away to another city, pouring ointment on his head, and crowning him
with wool," as Plato would dismiss the tragedian (_Republic_ III.
398). The author of the _Magna Moralia_ well says (I. i. 13): "No
science or faculty ever argues the goodness of the end which it
proposes to itself: it belongs to some other faculty to consider that.
Neither the physician says that health is a good thing, nor the
builder that a house is a good thing: but the one announces that he
produces health and how he produces it, and the builder in like manner
a house." The professor of Ethics indeed, from the very nature of his
subject-matter, says in pointing out happiness that it is the rational
sovereign good of man: but to any one unmoved by that demonstration
Ethics can have no more to say. Ethics will not threaten, nor talk of
duty, law, or punishment.

Ethics, thus strictly considered on an Aristotelian basis, are
antecedent to Natural Theology. They belong rather to Natural
Anthropology: they are a study of human nature. But as human nature
points to God, so Ethics are not wholly irrespective of God,
considering Him as the object of human happiness and worship,--the
Supreme Being without whom all the aspirations of humanity are at
fault (pp. 13-26, 191-197). Ethics do not refer to the commandments of
God, for this simple reason, that they have nothing to say to
commandments, or laws, or obligation, or authority. They are simply a
system of moral hygiene, which a man may adopt or not: only, like any
other physician, the professor of Ethics utters a friendly warning
that misery must ensue upon the neglect of what makes for health.

Deontology, not Ethics, expounds and vindicates the idea, _I ought_.
It is the science of Duty. It carries the mild suasions of Ethics into
laws, and out of moral prudence it creates conscience. And whereas
Ethics do not deal with sin, except under the aspect of what is called
"philosophical sin" (p. 119, § 6), Deontology defines sin in its
proper theological sense, as "an offence against God, or any thought,
word, or deed against the law of God." Deontology therefore
presupposes and is consequent upon Natural Theology. At the same time,
while Ethics indicate a valuable proof of the existence of God as the
requisite Object of Happiness, Deontology affords a proof of Him as
the requisite Lawgiver. Without God, man's rational desire is
frustrate, and man's conscience a misrepresentation of fact. [Footnote

[Footnote 1: This is Cardinal Newman's proof of the existence of God
from Conscience: see pp. 124, 125, and _Grammar of Assent_, pp.
104-111, ed. 1895. With Newman's, "Conscience has both a critical and
a judicial office," compare Plato, _Politicus_, 260 B, [Greek:
sumpasaes taes gnostikaes to men epitaktikon meros, to de kritikon].
The "critical" office belongs to Ethics: the "judicial," or
"preceptive" office [Greek: to epitaktikon] to Deontology; and this
latter points to a Person who commands and judges, that is, to God.]

In this volume, pp. 1-108 make up the treatise on Ethics: pp. 109-176
that on Deontology.

Aristotle writes: "He that acts by intelligence and cultivates
understanding, is likely to be best disposed and dearest to God. For
if, as is thought, there is any care of human things on the part of
the heavenly powers, we may reasonably expect them to delight in that
which is best and most akin to themselves, that is, in intelligence,
and to make a return of good to such as supremely love and honour
intelligence, as cultivating the thing dearest to Heaven, and so
behaving rightly and well. Such, plainly, is the behaviour of the
wise. The wise man therefore is the dearest to God" (Nic. Eth. X. ix.
13). But Aristotle does not work out the connexion between God and His
law on the one hand and human conscience and duty on the other. In
that direction the Stoics, and after them the Roman Jurists, went
further than Aristotle. By reason of this deficiency, Aristotle,
peerless as he is in Ethics, remains an imperfect Moral Philosopher.


1. I have altered the opening pages in accordance with the Preface to
the edition of 1905.

2. I have added a paragraph on Syndicalism (pp. 291-2).

3. Also a new Table of _Addenda et Corrigenda_, and a new Index.

The quotations from St. Thomas may be read in English, nearly all of
them, in the Author's _Aquinas Ethicus_, 2 vols.; 12s. (Burns and




Section I.--Of Ends.
Section II.--Definition of Happiness.
Section III.--Happiness open to Man.
Section IV.--Of the Object of Perfect Happiness.
Section V.--Of the use of the present life.

Section I.--What makes a human act less voluntary.
Section II.--Of the determinants of Morality in any given action.

Section I.--Of Passions in general.
Section II.--Of Desire.
Section III.--Of Delight.
Section IV.--Of Anger.

Section I.--Of Habit.
Section II.--Of Virtues in general.
Section III.--Of the difference between Virtues, Intellectual
and Moral.
Section IV.--Of the Mean in Moral Virtue.
Section V.--Of Cardinal Virtues.
Section VI.--Of Prudence.
Section VII.--Of Temperance.
Section VIII.--Of Fortitude.
Section IX.--Of Justice.


Section I.--Of the natural difference between Good and Evil.
Section II.--How Good becomes bounden Duty, and Evil is advanced to sin.


Section I.--Of the Origin of Primary Moral Judgments.
Section II.--Of the invariability of Primary Moral Judgments.
Section III.--Of the immutability of the Natural Law.
Section IV.--Of Probabilism.

Section I.--Of a Twofold Sanction, Natural and Divine.
Section II.--Of the Finality of the aforesaid Sanction.
Section III.--Of Punishment, Retrospective and Retributive.



Section I.--Of the Worship of God.
Section II.--Of Superstitious Practices.
Section III.--Of the duty of knowing God.

Section I.--Of Killing, Direct and Indirect.
Section II.--Of Killing done Indirectly in Self-defence.
Section III.--Of Suicide.
Section IV.--Of Duelling.

Section I.--Of the definition of a Lie.
Section II.--Of the Evil of Lying.
Section III.--Of the keeping of Secrets without Lying.


Section I.--Of the definition and division of Rights.
Section II.--Of the so-called Rights of Animals.
Section III.--Of the right to Honour and Reputation.
Section IV.--Of Contracts.
Section V.--Of Usury.

Section I.--Of the Institution of Marriage.
Section II.--Of the Unity of Marriage.
Section III.--Of the Indissolubility of Marriage.

Section I.--Of Private Property.
Section II.--Of Private Capital.
Section III.--Of Landed Property.

Section I.--Of the Monstrosities called Leviathan and Social Contract.
Section II.--Of the theory that Civil Power is an aggregate
    formed by subscription of the powers of individuals.
Section III.--Of the true state of Nature, which is the
    state of civil society, and consequently of the Divine origin of Power.
Section IV.--Of the variety of Polities.
Section V.--Of the Divine Right of Kings and the Inalienable
Sovereignty of the People.
Section VI.--Of the Elementary and Original Polity.
Section VII.--Of Resistance to Civil Power.
Section VIII.--Of the Right of the Sword.
Section IX.--Of War.
Section X.--Of the Scope and Aim of Civil Government.
Section XI.--Of Law and Liberty.
Section XII.--Of Liberty of Opinion.


p. 31. Aristotle calls the end [Greek: _to telos_]; the means, [Greek:
ta pros to telos] (St. Thomas, _ea quae sunt ad finem_); the
circumstances, [Greek: ta ein ois hae praxis].

Observe, both end and means are willed _directly_, but the
circumstances _indirectly_.

The end is _intended_, [Greek: boulaeton]; the means are _chosen_,
[Greek: proaireton]; the circumstances are simply _permitted_, [Greek:
anekton], rightly or wrongly. The _intention_ of the end is called by
English philosophers the _motive_; while the choice of means they call
the _intention_, an unfortunate terminology.

p. 42, §. 3. "As the wax takes all shapes, and yet is wax still at the
bottom; the [Greek: spokeimenon] still is wax; so the soul transported
in so many several passions of joy, fear, hope, sorrow, anger, and the
rest, has for its general groundwork of all this, Love." (Henry More,
quoted in Carey's Dante, _Purgatorio_, c. xviii.) Hence, says Carey,
Love does not figure in Collins's _Ode on the Passions_.

p. 43. For _daring_ read _recklessness_.

p. 44. Plato is a thorough Stoic when he says (_Phaedo_ 83) that every
pleasure and pain comes with a nail to pin down the soul to the body
and make it corporeal. His Stoicism appears in his denunciation of the
drama (_Republic_, x. 604).

p. 47, §. 8. The first chapter of Mill's _Autobiography_, pp. 48-53,
133-149, supplies an instance.

p. 49, §. I, 1. 2, for _physical_ read _psychical_.

P. 52. §. 5. This _serving_, in [Greek: douleuein], St. Ignatius calls
"inordinate attachment," the modern form of idolatry. Cf. Romans vi.

p. 79. For _spoiled_ read _spoilt_.

p. 84, foot. For _ways_ read _way_.

p. 85, 1. 6 from foot. Substitute: ([Greek: b]) _to restrain the said
appetite in its irascible part from shrinking from danger_.

p. 94, middle. For _others_ read _other_.

p. 95. For _Daring_ read _Recklessness_.

p. 103, middle. Substitute, _"neither evening star nor morning star is
so wonderful."_

p. 106, §. 6. Aristotle speaks of "corrective," not of "commutative"
justice. On the Aristotelian division of justice see Political and
Moral Essays (P. M. E.), pp. 285-6.

p. 111, §. 4. The _static_ equivalent of the _dynamic_ idea, of
orderly development is that the eternal harmonies and fitnesses of
things, by observance or neglect whereof a man comes to be in or out
of harmony with himself, with his fellows, with God.

p. 133. To the _Readings_ add Plato _Laws_, ix, 875, A, B, C, D.

p. 151. Rewrite the Note thus: _The author has seen reason somewhat to
modify this view, as appears by the Appendix. See P.M.E._ pp. 185-9:
_Fowler's Progressive Morality, or Fowler and Wilson's Principles of
Morals_, pp. 227-248.

p. 181, 1. ii from top. Add, _This is "the law of our nature, that
function is primary, and pleasure only attendant" (Stewart, Notes on
Nicomathean Ethics,_ II. 418).

p. 218, lines 13-16 from top, cancel the sentence, _To this query_,
etc., and substitute: _The reply is, that God is never willing that
man should do an inordinate act; but suicide is an inordinate act, as
has been shown; capital punishment is not _(c. viii. s. viii. n. 7, p.

p. 237. For _The Month for March,_ 1883, read _P.M.E._, pp. 215-233.

p. 251. To the _Reading_ add P.M.E., pp. 267-283.

p. 297, l.6 from foot. After _simply evil_ add: _Hobbes allows that
human reason lays down certain good rules, "laws of nature" which
however it cannot get kept_. For Hobbes and Rousseau see further
_P.M.E_., pp. 81-90.

p. 319, middle. Cancel the words: _but the sum total of civil power is
a constant quantity, the same for all States_.

pp. 322-3. Cancel §. 7 for reasons alleged in _P.M.E_., pp. 50-72.
Substitute: _States are living organizations and grow, and their
powers vary with the stage of their development_.

p. 323, § 8. For _This seems at variance with_, read _This brings us
to consider_.

p. 338. To the _Readings_ add _P.M.E_., pp. 102-113.

p. 347, middle. Cancel from _one of these prerogatives_ to the end of
the sentence. Substitute: _of every polity even in the most infantine

       *       *       *       *       *





1. Moral Philosophy is the science of human acts in their bearing on
human happiness and human duty.

2. Those acts alone are properly called _human_, which a man is master
of to do or not to do. A _human act_, then, is an act voluntary and
free. A man is what his human acts make him.

3. A _voluntary_ act is an act that proceeds from the will with a
knowledge of the end to which the act tends.

4. A free act is an act which so proceeds from the will that under the
same antecedent conditions it might have not proceeded.

An act may be more or less voluntary, and more or less free.

5. Moral Philosophy is divided into Ethics, Deontology, and Natural
Law. Ethics consider human acts in their bearing on human happiness;
or, what is the same thing, in their agreement or disagreement with
man's rational nature, and their making for or against his last end.
Deontology is the study of moral obligation, or the fixing of what
logicians call the comprehension of the idea _I ought_. Ethics deal
with [Greek: to prepon], "the becoming"; Deontology with [Greek: to
deon], "the obligatory". Deontology is the science of Duty, as such.
Natural Law (antecedent to Positive Law, whether divine or human,
civil or ecclesiastical, national or international) determines duties
in detail,--the _extension_ of the idea _I ought_,--and thus is the
foundation of Casuistry.

6. In the order of sciences, Ethics are antecedent to Natural
Theology; Deontology, consequent upon it.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., _in Eth_., I., lect. 1, init.; _ib_., 1a 2æ,
q. 1, art. 1, in corp.; _ib_., q. 58, art. 1, in corp.



SECTION I.--_Of Ends_.

1. Every human act is done for some end or purpose. The end is always
regarded by the agent in the light of something good. If evil be done,
it is done as leading to good, or as bound up with good, or as itself
being good for the doer under the circumstances; no man ever does evil
for sheer evil's sake. Yet evil may be the object of the will, not by
itself, nor primarily, but in a secondary way, as bound up with the
good that is willed in the first place.

2. Many things willed are neither good nor evil in themselves. There
is no motive for doing them except in so far as they lead to some good
beyond themselves, or to deliverance from some evil, which deliverance
counts as a good. A thing is willed, then, either as being good in
itself and an end by itself, or as leading to some good end. Once a
thing not good and desirable by itself has been taken up by the will
as leading to good, it may be taken up again and again without
reference to its tendency. But such a thing was not originally taken
up except in view of good to come of it. We may will one thing as
leading to another, and that to a third, and so on; thus one wills
study for learning, learning for examination purposes, examination for
a commission in the army, and the commission for glory. That end in
which the will rests, willing it for itself without reference to
anything beyond, is called the _last end_.

3. An end is either _objective_ or _subjective_. The _objective end_
is the thing wished for, as it exists distinct from the person who
wishes it. The _subjective end_ is the possession of the objective
end. That possession is a fact of the wisher's own being. Thus _money_
may be an objective end: the corresponding subjective end is _being

4. Is there one subjective last end to all the human acts of a given
individual? Is there one supreme motive for all that this or that man
deliberately does? At first sight it seems that there is not. The same
individual will act now for glory, now for lucre, now for love. But
all these different ends are reducible to one, _that it may be well
with him and his_. And what is true of one man here, is true of all.
All the human acts of all men are done for the one (subjective) last
end just indicated. This end is called _happiness_.

5. Men place their happiness in most different things; some in eating
and drinking, some in the heaping up of money, some in gambling, some
in political power, some in the gratification of affection, some in
reputation of one sort or another. But each one seeks his own
speciality because he thinks that he shall be happy, that it will be
well with him, when he has attained that. All men, then, do all things
for happiness, though not all place their happiness in the same thing.

6. Just as when one goes on a journey, he need not think of his
destination at every step of his way, and yet all his steps are
directed towards his destination: so men do not think of happiness in
all they do, and yet all they do is referred to happiness. Tell a
traveller that this is the wrong way to his destination, he will avoid
it; convince a man that this act will not be well for him, will not
further his happiness, and, while he keeps that conviction principally
before his eyes, he will not do the act. But as a man who began to
travel on business, may come to make travelling itself a business, and
travel for the sake of going about; so in all cases there is a
tendency to elevate into an end that which was, to start with, only
valued as a means to an end. So the means of happiness, by being
habitually pursued, come to be a part of happiness. Habit is a second
nature, and we indulge a habit as we gratify nature. This tendency
works itself to an evil extreme in cases where men are become the
slaves of habit, and do a thing because they are got into the way of
doing it, though they allow that it is a sad and sorry way, and leads
them wide of true happiness. These instances show perversion of the
normal operation of the will.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 1, art. 4, in corp.; _ib_., q. 1,
art. 6, 7; _ib_., q. 5, art. 8; Ar., _Eth_., I., vii., 4, 5.

SECTION II.--_Definition of Happiness_.

1. Though all men do all things, in the last resort, that it may be
well with them and theirs, that is, for happiness vaguely apprehended,
yet when they come to specify what happiness is, answers so various
are given and acted upon, that we might be tempted to conclude that
each man is the measure of his own happiness, and that no standard of
happiness for all can be defined. But it is not so. Man is not the
measure of his own happiness, any more than of his own health. The
diet that he takes to be healthy, may prove his poison; and where he
looks for happiness, he may find the extreme of wretchedness and woe.
For man must live up to his nature, to his bodily constitution, to be
a healthy man; and to his whole nature, but especially to his mental
and moral constitution, if he is to be a happy man. And nature, though
it admits of individual peculiarities, is specifically the same for
all. There will, then, be one definition of happiness for all men,
specifically as such.

2. _Happiness is an act, not a state_. That is to say, the happiness
of man does not lie in his having something done to him, nor in his
being habitually able to do something, but in his actually doing
something. "To be up and doing," that is happiness,--[Greek: en to zaen
kai energein]. (Ar., _Eth._, IX., ix., 5.) This is proved from the
consideration that happiness is the crown and perfection of human
nature; but the perfection of a thing lies in its ultimate act, or
"second act," that is, in its not merely being able to act, but
acting. But action is of two sorts. One proceeds from the agent to
some outward matter, as cutting and burning. This action cannot be
happiness, for it does not perfect the agent, but rather the patient.
There is another sort of act immanent in the agent himself, as
feeling, understanding, and willing: these perfect the agent.
Happiness will be found to be one of these immanent acts. Furthermore,
there is action full of movement and change, and there is an act done
in stillness and rest. The latter, as will presently appear, is
happiness; and partly for this reason, and partly to denote the
exclusion of care and trouble, happiness is often spoken of as _a
rest_. It is also called _a state_, because one of the elements of
happiness is permanence. How the act of happiness can be permanent,
will appear hereafter.

3. _Happiness is an act in discharge of the function proper to man, as
man_. There is a function proper to the eye, to the ear, to the
various organs of the human body: there must be a function proper to
man as such. That can be none of the functions of the vegetative life,
nor of the mere animal life within him. Man is not happy by doing what
a rose-bush can do, digest and assimilate its food: nor by doing what
a horse does, having sensations pleasurable and painful, and muscular
feelings. Man is happy by doing what man alone can do in this world,
that is, acting by reason and understanding. Now the human will acting
by reason may do three things. It may regulate the passions, notably
desire and fear: the outcome will be the moral virtues of temperance
and fortitude. It may direct the understanding, and ultimately the
members of the body, in order to the production of some practical
result in the external world, as a bridge. Lastly, it may direct the
understanding to speculate and think, contemplate and consider, for
mere contemplation's sake. Happiness must take one or other of these
three lanes.

4. First, then, _happiness is not the practice of the moral virtues of
temperance and fortitude_. Temperance makes a man strong against the
temptations to irrationality and swinishness that come of the bodily
appetites. But happiness lies, not in deliverance from what would
degrade man to the level of the brutes, but in something which shall
raise man to the highest level of human nature. Fortitude, again, is
not exercised except in the hour of danger; but happiness lies in an
environment of security, not of danger. And in general, the moral
virtues can be exercised only upon occasions, as they come and go; but
happiness is the light of the soul, that must burn with steady flame
and uninterrupted act, and not be dependent on chance occurrences.

5. Secondly, _happiness is not the use of the practical understanding
with a view to production_. Happiness is an end in itself, a terminus
beyond which the act of the will can go no further; but this use of
the understanding is in view of an ulterior end, the thing to be
produced. That product is either useful or artistic; if useful, it
ministers to some further end still; if artistic, it ministers to
contemplation. Happiness, indeed, is no exercise of the practical
understanding whatever. The noblest exercises of practical
understanding are for military purposes and for statesmanship. But war
surely is not an end in itself to any right-minded man. Statecraft,
too, has an end before it, the happiness of the people. It is a labour
in view of happiness. We must follow down the third lane, and say:

6. _Happiness is the act of the speculative understanding
contemplating for contemplation's sake_. This act has all the marks of
happiness. It is the highest act of man's highest power. It is the
most capable of continuance. It is fraught with pleasure, purest and
highest in quality. It is of all acts the most self-sufficient and
independent of environment, provided the object be to the mind's eye
visible. It is welcome for its own sake, not as leading to any further
good. It is a life of ease and leisure: man is busy that he may come
to ease.

7. Aristotle says of this life of continued active contemplation:

"Such a life will be too good for man; for not as he is man will he so
live, but inasmuch as there is a divine element in his composition. As
much as this element excels the compound into which it enters, so much
does the act of the said element excel any act in any other line of
virtue. If, then, the understanding is divine in comparison with man,
the life of the understanding is divine in comparison with human life.
We must not take the advice of those who tell us, that being man, one
should cherish the thoughts of a man, or being mortal, the thoughts of
a mortal, but so far as in us lies, we must play the immortal [Greek:
athanatizein], and do all in our power to live by the best element in
our nature: for though that element be slight in quantity, in power
and in value it far outweighs all the rest of our being. A man may
well be reckoned to be that which is the ruling power and the better
part in him. . . . What is proper to each creature by nature, is best
and sweetest for each: such, then, is for man the life of the
understanding, if the understanding preeminently is man." (Ar.,
_Eth._, X., vii., 8, 9.)

8. But if happiness is an act in discharge of the function proper to
man as man (n. 3), how can it be happiness to lead a life which
Aristotle says is too good for man? The solution of this paradox is
partly contained in the concluding words of Aristotle above quoted,
and will still further appear presently (s. iv., n. I, p. 21), where
we shall argue that human life is a state of transition in preparation
for a higher life of the soul, to be lived, according to the natural
order, when the compound of soul and body would no longer exist.

9. _The act of contemplation, in which happiness consists, must rest
upon a habit of contemplation, which is intellectual virtue_. An act,
to be perfection and happiness, must be done easily, sweetly, and
constantly. But no act of the intellect can be so done, unless it
rests upon a corresponding habit. If the habit has not been acquired,
the act will be done fitfully, at random, and against the grain, like
the music of an untrained singer, or the composition of a schoolboy.
Painful study is not happiness, nor is any studied act. Happiness is
the play of a mind that is, if not master of, yet at home with its
subject. As the intellect is man's best and noblest power, so is
intellectual virtue, absolutely speaking, the best virtue of man.

10. The use of the speculative understanding is discernible in many
things to which even the common crowd turn for happiness, as news of
that which is of little or no practical concern to self, sight-seeing,
theatre-going, novels, poetry, art, scenery, as well as speculative
science and high literature. A certain speculative interest is mixed
up with all practical work: the mind lingers on the speculation apart
from the end in view.

11. _The act of contemplation cannot be steadily carried on, as is
necessary to happiness, except in the midst of easy surroundings_.
Human nature is not self-sufficient for the work of contemplation.
There is need of health and vigour, and the means of maintaining it,
food, warmth, interesting objects around you, leisure, absence of
distracting care or pain. None would call a man happy upon the rack,
except by way of maintaining a thesis. The happiness of a disembodied
spirit is of course independent of bodily conditions, but it would
appear that there are conditions of environment requisite for even a
spirit's contemplation.

12. _Happiness must endure to length of days_. Happiness is the
perfect good of man. But no good is perfect that will not last. One
swallow does not make a summer, nor does one fine day: neither is man
made blessed and happy by one day, nor by a brief time. The human mind
lighting upon good soon asks the question, Will this last? If the
answer is negative, the good is not a complete good and there is no
complete happiness coming of it. If the answer is affirmative and
false, once more that is not a perfect happiness that rests on a
delusion. The supreme good of a rational being is not found in a
fool's paradise. We want an answer affirmative and true: _This
happiness shall last_.

13. We now sum up and formulate the definition of happiness as
follows: _Happiness is a bringing of the soul to act according to the
habit of the best and most perfect virtue, that is, the virtue of the
speculative intellect, borne out by easy surroundings, and enduring to
length of days--[Greek: energeia psychaes kat aretaen taen aristaen
kai teleiotataen en biph teleio.] (Ar., _Eth._, I., vii., 15, 16.)

14. Man is made for society. His happiness must be in society, a
social happiness, no lonely contemplation. He must be happy in the
consciousness of his own intellectual act, and happy in the
discernment of the good that is in those around him, whom he loves.
Friends and dear ones are no small part of those _easy surroundings_
that are the condition of happiness.

15. Happiness--final, perfect happiness--is not in fighting and
struggling, in so far as a struggle supposes evil present and
imminent; nor in benevolence, so far as that is founded upon misery
needing relief. We fight for the conquest and suppression of evil; we
are benevolent for the healing of misery. But it will be happiness,
_in the limit_, as mathematicians speak, to wish well to all in a
society where it is well with all, and to struggle with truth for its
own sake, ever grasping, never mastering, as Jacob wrestled with God.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth._, I., vii. viii., 5 to end; I., x., 8 to end;
I., v., 6; VII., xiii., 3; IX., ix.; X., vii.; X., viii., 1-10; Ar.,
_Pol._, IV. (al. VII.), i., 3-10; IV., iii., 7, 8; St. Thos., la 2ae,
q. 3, art. 2; _ib._, q. 3, art. 5. in corp., ad 3; _ib._, q. 2, art.

SECTION III.--_Happiness open to man_.

"And now as he looked and saw the whole Hellespont covered with the
vessels of his fleet, and all the shore and every plain about Abydos
as full as possible of men, Xerxes congratulated himself on his good
fortune; but after a little while, he wept. Then Artabanus, the King's
uncle, when he heard that Xerxes was in tears, went to him, and said:
'How different, sire, is what thou art now doing from what thou didst
a little while ago! Then thou didst congratulate thyself; and now,
behold! thou weepest.' 'There came upon me,' replied he, 'a sudden
pity, when I thought of the shortness of man's life, and considered
that of all this host, so numerous as it is, not one will be alive
when a hundred years are gone by.' 'And yet there are sadder things in
life than that,' returned the other. 'Short as our time is, there is
no man, whether it be among this multitude or elsewhere, who is so
happy, as not to have felt the wish--I will not say once, but full
many a time--that he were dead rather than alive. Calamities fall upon
us, sicknesses vex and harass us, and make life, short though it be,
to appear long. So death, through the wretchedness of our life, is a
most sweet refuge to our race; and God, who gives us the tastes that
we enjoy of pleasant times, is seen, in his very gift, to be
envious.'" (Herodotus, vii., 45, 46.)

1. It needs no argument to show that happiness, as defined in the last
section, can never be perfectly realized in this life. Aristotle took
his definition to represent an ideal to be approximated to, not
attained. He calls his sages "happy as men" (_Eth._, I., x., 16), that
is, imperfectly, as all things human are imperfect. Has Aristotle,
then, said the last word on happiness? Is perfect happiness out of the
reach of the person whom in this mortal life we call man? However that
may be, it is plain that _man desires perfect happiness_. Every man
desires that it may be perfectly well with him and his, although many
have mistaken notions of what their own well-being consists in, and
few can define it philosophically. Still they all desire it. The
higher a man stands in intellect, the loftier and vaster his
conception of happiness, and the stronger his yearning after it. This
argues that _the desire of happiness is natural to man_: not in the
sense in which eating and drinking are natural, as being requirements
of his animal nature, but in the same way that it is natural to him to
think and converse, his rational nature so requiring. It is a natural
desire, as springing from that which is the specific characteristic of
human nature, distinguishing it from mere animal nature, namely
reason. It is a natural desire in the best and highest sense of the

2. Contentment is not happiness. A man is content with little, but it
takes an immensity of good to satisfy all his desire, and render him
perfectly happy. When we say we are content, we signify that we should
naturally desire more, but acquiesce in our present portion, seeing
that more is not to be had. "Content," says Dr. Bain, "is not the
natural frame of any mind, but is the result of compromise."

3. But is not this desire of unmixed happiness unreasonable? Are we
not taught to set bounds to our desire? Is not moderation a virtue,
and contentment wisdom? Yes, moderation is a virtue, but it concerns
only the use of means, not the apprehension of ends. The patient, not
to say the physician, desires medicines in moderation, so much as will
do him good and no more; but, so far as his end is health, he desires
all possible health, perfect health. The last end, then, is to be
desired as a thing to possess without end or measure, fully and
without defect.

4. We have then these facts to philosophise on: that all men desire
perfect happiness: that this desire is natural, springing from the
rational soul which sets man above the brute: that on earth man may
attain to contentment, and to some happiness, but not to perfect
happiness: that consequently nature has planted in man a desire for
which on earth she has provided no adequate satisfaction.

5. If the course of events were fitful and wayward, so that effects
started up without causes, and like causes under like conditions
produced unlike effects, and anything might come of anything, there
would be no such thing as that which we call _nature_. When we speak
of nature, we imply a regular and definite flow of tendencies, this
thing springing from that and leading to that other; nothing from
nothing, and nothing leading nowhere; no random, aimless proceedings;
but definite results led up to by a regular succession of steps, and
surely ensuing unless something occurs on the way to thwart the
process. How this is reconciled with Creation and Freewill, it is not
our province to enquire: suffice it to say that a _natural_ agent is
opposed to a _free_ one, and creation is the starting-point of nature.
But to return. Everywhere we say, "this is for that," wherever there
appears an end and consummation to which the process leads, provided
it go on unimpeded. Now every event that happens is a part of some
process or other. Every act is part of a tendency. There are no loose
facts in nature, no things that happen, or are, otherwise than in
consequence of something that has happened, or been, before, and in
view of something else that is to happen, or be, hereafter. The
tendencies of nature often run counter to one another, so that the
result to which this or that was tending is frustrated. But a tendency
is a tendency, although defeated; _this_ was for _that_, although that
for which it was has got perverted to something else. There is no
tendency which of itself fails and comes to naught, apart from
interference. Such a universal and absolute break-down is unknown to

6. All this appears most clearly in organic beings, plants and
animals. Organisms, except the very lowest, are compounds of a number
of different parts, each fulfilling a special function for the good of
the whole. There is no idle constituent in an organic body, none
without its function. What are called _rudimentary_ organs, even if
they serve no purpose in the individual, have their use in the
species, or in some higher genus. In the animal there is no idle
natural craving, or appetite. True, in the individual, whether plant
or animal, there are many potentialities frustrate and made void. That
is neither here nor there in philosophy. Philosophy deals not with
individuals but with species, not with Bucephalus or Alexander, but
with _horse_, _man_. It is nothing to philosophy that of a thousand
seeds there germinate perhaps not ten. Enough that one seed ever
germinates, and that all normal specimens are apt to do the like,
meeting with proper environment. That alone shows that seed is not an
idle product in this or that class of living beings.

7. But, it will be said, not everything contained in an organism
ministers to its good. There is refuse material, only good to get rid
of: there are morbid growths; there is that tendency to decay, by
which sooner or later the organism will perish. First, then, a word on
diseases. Diseases are the diseases of the individual; not of the
race. The race, as such, and that is what the philosopher studies, is
healthy: all that can be imputed to the race is liability to disease.
That liability, and the tendency to decay and die, are found in living
things, because their essence is of finite perfection; there cannot be
a plant or animal, that has not these drawbacks in itself, as such.
They represent, not the work of nature, but the failure of nature, and
the point beyond which nature can no further go.

8. On the preceding observations Aristotle formulated the great
maxim--called by Dr. Thomas Browne, _Religio Medici_, p. i., sect. 15,
"the only indisputable axiom in philosophy,"--_Nature does nothing in
vain_. (Ar., _Pol._, I., viii., 12; _De Anima_, III., ix., 6; _De
part. animal._, I. i., p. 641, ed. Bekker.)

9. _The desire of happiness, ample and complete, beyond what this
world can afford, is not planted in man by defect of his nature, but
by the perfection of his nature, and in view of his further
perfection_. This desire has not the character of a drawback, a thing
that cannot be helped, a weakness and decay of nature, and loss of
power, like that which sets in with advancing years. A locomotive
drawing a train warms the air about it: it is a pity that it should do
so, for that radiation of heat is a loss of power: but it cannot be
helped, as locomotives are and must be constructed. Not such is the
desire of perfect happiness in the human breast. It is not a disease,
for it is no peculiarity of individuals, but a property of the race.
It is not a decay, for it grows with the growing mind, being feeblest
in childhood, when desires are simplest and most easily satisfied, and
strongest where mental life is the most vigorous. It is an attribute
of great minds in proportion to their greatness. To be without it,
would be to live a minor in point of intellect, not much removed from
imbecility. It is not a waste of energy, rather it furnishes the
motive-power to all human volition. It comes of the natural working of
the understanding that discerns good, and other good above that, and
so still higher and higher good without limit; and of the natural
working of the will, following up and fastening upon what the
understanding discerns as good. The desire in question, then, is by no
means a necessary evil, or natural flaw, in the human constitution.

10. It follows that the desire of perfect happiness is in man by the
normal growth of his nature, and for the better. But it would be a
vain desire, and objectless, if it were essentially incapable of
satisfaction: and man would be a made and abiding piece of
imperfection, if there were no good accessible to his intellectual
nature sufficient to meet its proper exigence of perfect happiness.
But no such perfect happiness is attainable in this world. Therefore
there must be a world to come, in which he who was man, now a
disembodied spirit, but still the same person, shall under due
conditions find a perfect good, the adequate object of his natural
desire. Else is the deepest craving of human nature in vain, and man
himself is vanity of vanities.

11. It may be objected that there is no need to go beyond this world
to explain how the desire of perfect happiness is not in vain. It
works like the desire of the philosopher's stone among the old
alchemists. The thing they were in search of was a chimera, but in
looking for it they found a real good, modern chemistry. In like
manner, it is contended, though perfect happiness is not to be had
anywhere, yet the desire of it keeps men from sitting down on the path
of progress; and thus to that desire we owe all our modern
civilization, and all our hope and prospect of higher civilization to
come. Without questioning the alleged fact about the alchemists, we
may reply that modern chemistry has dissipated the desire of the
philosopher's stone, but modern civilization has not dissipated the
desire of perfect happiness: it has deepened it, and perhaps rather
obscured the prospect of its fulfilment. A desire that grows with
progress certainly cannot be satisfied by progressing. But if it is
never to be satisfied, what is it? A goad thrust into the side of man,
that shall keep him coursing along from century to century, like Io
under the gadfly, only to find himself in the last century as far from
the mark as in the first. Apart from the hope of the world to come, is
the Italy of to-day happier than the Italy of Antoninus Pius? Here is
a modern Italian's conclusion: "I have studied man, I have examined
nature, I have passed whole nights observing the starry heavens. And
what is the result of these long investigations? Simply this, that the
life of man is nothing; that man himself is nothing; that he will
never penetrate the mystery which surrounds the universe. With this
comfortless conviction I descend into the grave, and console myself
with the hope of speedy annihilation. The lamp goes out; and nothing,
nothing can rekindle it. So, Nature, I return to thee, to be united
with thee for ever. Never wilt thou have received into thy bosom a
more unhappy being." (_La Nullità della Vita_. By G. P., 1882.)

This is an extreme case, but much of modern progress tends this way.
Civilization is not happiness, nor is the desire for happiness other
than vain, if it merely leads to increased civilization.

_Readings_.--St. Thomas, _C. G._, iii., 48; Newman's _Historical
Sketches--Conversion of Augustine_; Mill's _Autobiography_, pp.

SECTION IV.--_Of the Object of Perfect Happiness_.

1. As happiness is an act of the speculative intellect contemplating
(s. ii., n. 6, p. 9), so the thing thus contemplated is the _object of
happiness_. As happiness is the _subjective last end_, so will this
object, inasmuch as the contemplation of it yields perfect happiness,
be the _objective last end_ of man. (s. i., nn. 3, 4, p. 4.) As
perfect happiness is possible, and intended by nature, so is this
objective last end attainable, and should be attained. But attained by
man? Aye, there's the rub. It cannot be attained in this life, and
after death man is no more: a soul out of the body is not man. About
the resurrection of the body philosophy knows nothing. Nature can make
out no title to resurrection. That is a gratuitous gift of God in
Christ. When it takes effect, _stupebit natura_. Philosophy deals only
with the natural order, with man as man, leaving the supernatural
order, or the privileges and _status_ of man as a child of God, to the
higher science of Scholastic Theology. Had God so willed it, there
might have been no supernatural at all. Philosophy shows the world as
it would have been on that hypothesis. In that case, then, man would
have been, as Aristotle represents him, a being incapable of perfect
happiness; but _he who is man_ could have become perfectly happy in a
state other than human, that is, as a disembodied spirit. Peter is
man: the soul of Peter, after separation, is man no longer; but Peter
is not one person, and Peter's soul out of the body another person;
there is but one person there, with one personal history and
liabilities. The soul of Peter is Peter still: therefore the person
Peter, or he _who is Peter_, attains to happiness, but not the man
Peter, as man, apart from the supernatural privilege of the
resurrection. Hence Aristotle well said, though he failed to see the
significance of his own saying, that man should aim at a life of
happiness too good for man. (s. ii., nn. 7, 8, p. 9.)

2. The object of happiness,--the objective last end of man,--will be
that which the soul contemplating in the life to come will be
perfectly happy by so doing. The soul will contemplate all
intellectual beauty that she finds about her, all heights of truth,
all the expanse of goodness and mystery of love. She will see herself:
a vast and curious sight is one pure spirit: but that will not be
enough for her, her eye travels beyond. She must be in company, live
with myriads of pure spirits like herself,--see them, study them, and
admire them, and converse with them in closest intimacy. Together they
must explore the secrets of all creation even to the most distant
star: they must read the laws of the universe, which science
laboriously spells out here below: they must range from science to
art, and from facts to possibilities, till even their pure intellect
is baffled by the vast intricacy of things that might be and are not:
but yet they are not satisfied. A point of convergency is wanted for
all these vistas of being, whence they may go forth, and whither they
may return and meet: otherwise the soul is distracted and lost in a
maze of incoherent wandering, crying out, Whence all this? and what is
it for? and above all, whose is it? These are the questions that the
human mind asks in her present condition: much more will she ask them
then, when wonders are multiplied before her gaze: for it is the same
soul there and here. Here men are tormented in mind, if they find no
answer to these questions. Scientific men cannot leave theology alone.
They will not be happy there without an answer. Their contemplation
will still desiderate something beyond all finite being, actual or
possible. Is that God? It is nothing else. But God dwells in light
inaccessible, where no creature, as such, can come near Him nor see
Him. The beauties of creation, as so many streams of tendency, meet at
the foot of His Throne, and there are lost. Their course is towards
Him, and is, so far as it goes, an indication of Him: but He is
infinitely, unspeakably above them. No intelligence created, or
creatable, can arrive by its own natural perception to see Him as He
is: for mind can only discern what is proportionate to itself: and God
is out of proportion with all the being of all possible creatures. It
is only by analogy that the word _being_, or any other word whatever
can be applied to Him. As Plato says, "the First Good is not Being,
but over and beyond Being in dignity and power." (_Rep_. 509, B.)

3. To see God face to face, which is called the beatific vision, is
not the natural destiny of man, nor of any possible creature. Such
happiness is not the happiness of man, nor of angel, but of God
Himself, and of any creature whom He may deign by an act of gratuitous
condescension to invite to sit as guest at His own royal table. That
God has so invited men and angels, revelation informs us. Scholastic
theology enlarges upon that revelation, but it is beyond philosophy.
Like the resurrection of the body, and much more even than that, the
Beatific Vision must be relegated to the realm of the Supernatural.

4. But even in the natural order _the object of perfect happiness_ is
God. The natural and supernatural have the same object, but differ in
the mode of attainment. By supernatural grace, bearing perfect fruit,
man sees God with the eyes of his soul, as we see the faces of our
friends on earth. In perfect happiness of the natural order, creatures
alone are directly apprehended, or seen, and from the creature is
gathered the excellence of the unseen God. The process is an ascent,
as described by Plato, from the individual to the universal, and from
bodily to moral and intellectual beauty, till we reach a Beauty
eternal, immutable, absolute, substantial, and self-existent, on which
all other beauties depend for their being, while it is independent of
them. (Plato, _Symposium_, 210, 211.) Unless the ascent be prosecuted
thus far, the contemplation is inadequate, the happiness incomplete.
The mind needs to travel to the beginning and end of things, to the
Alpha and Omega of all. The mind needs to reach some perfect good:
some object, which though it is beyond the comprehension, is
nevertheless understood to be the very good of goods, unalloyed with
any admixture of defect or imperfection. The mind needs an infinite
object to rest upon, though it cannot grasp that object positively in
its infinity. If this is the case even with the human mind, still
wearing "this muddy vesture of decay," how much more ardent the
longing, as how much keener the gaze, of the pure spirit after Him who
is the centre and rest of all intellectual nature?

5. Creatures to contemplate and see God in, are conditions and
secondary objects of natural happiness. They do not afford happiness
finally of themselves, but as manifesting God, even as a mirror would
be of little interest except for its power of reflection.

6. In saying that God is the object of happiness, we must remember
that He is no cold, impersonal Beauty, but a living and loving God,
not indeed in the order of nature our Father and Friend, but still our
kind Master and very good Lord, who speaks to His servants from behind
the clouds that hide His face, and assures them of His abiding favour
and approving love. More than that, nature cannot look for: such
aspiration were unnatural, unreasonable, mere madness: it is enough
for the creature, as a creature, in its highest estate to stand before
God, hearing His voice, but seeing not His countenance, whom, without
His free grace, none can look upon and live.

_Reading_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 2, art. 8.

SECTION V.--_Of the use of the present life_.

1. Since perfect happiness is not to be had in this mortal life, and
is to be had hereafter; since moreover man has free will and the
control of his own acts; it is evidently most important for man in
this life so to control and rule himself here as to dispose himself
for happiness there. Happiness rests upon a habit of contemplation (s.
ii., n. 9, p. 10), rising to God. (s. iv., n. 4, p. 24.) But a habit,
as will be seen, is not formed except by frequent acts, and may be
marred and broken by contrary acts. It is, then, important for man in
this life so to act as to acquire a habit of lifting his mind to God.
There are two things here, to lift the mind, and to lift it to God.
The mind is not lifted, if the man lives not an intellectual life, but
the life of a swine wallowing in sensual indulgences; or a frivolous
life, taking the outside of things as they strike the senses, and
flitting from image to image thoughtlessly; or a quarrelsome life,
where reason is swallowed up in anger and hatred. Again, however
sublime the speculation and however active the intellect, if God is
not constantly referred to, the mind is lifted indeed, but not to God.
It is wisdom, then, in man during this life to look to God everywhere,
and ever to seek His face; to avoid idleness, anger, intemperance, and
pride of intellect. For the mind will not soar to God when the heart
is far from Him.



SECTION I.--_What makes a human act less voluntary_.

1. See c. i., nn. 2, 3, 4.

2. An act is more or less voluntary, as it is done with more or less
knowledge, and proceeds more or less fully and purely from the will
properly so called. Whatever diminishes knowledge, or partially
supplants the will, takes off from the voluntariness of the act. _An
act is rendered less voluntary by ignorance, by passionate desire, and
by fear_.

3. If a man has done something in ignorance either of the law or of
the facts of the case, and would be sorry for it, were he to find out
what he has done, that act is _involuntary_, so far as it is traceable
to ignorance alone. Even if he would not be sorry, still the act must
be pronounced _not voluntary_, under the same reservation. Ignorance,
sheer ignorance, takes whatever is done under it out of the region of
volition. Nothing is willed but what is known. An ignorant man is as
excusable as a drunken one, as such,--no more and no less. The
difference is, that drunkenness generally is voluntary; ignorance
often is not. But ignorance may be voluntary, quite as voluntary as
drunkenness. It is a capital folly of our age to deny the possibility
of voluntary intellectual error. Error is often voluntary, and (where
the matter is one that the person officially or otherwise is required
to know) immoral too. A strange thing it is to say that "it is as
unmeaning to speak of the immorality of an intellectual mistake as it
would be to talk of the colour of a sound." (Lecky, _European Morals_,
ii., 202.)

4. There is an ignorance that is sought on purpose, called _affected
ignorance_ (in the Shakspearian sense of the word _affect_), as when a
man will not read begging-letters, that he may not give anything away.
Such ignorance does not hinder voluntariness. It indicates a strong
will of doing or omitting, come what may. There is yet another
ignorance called _crass_, which is when a man, without absolutely
declining knowledge, yet takes no pains to acquire it in a matter
where he is aware that truth is important to him. Whatever election is
made in consequence of such ignorance, is less voluntary, indeed, than
if it were made in the full light, still it is to some extent
voluntary. It is _voluntary in its cause_, that is, in the voluntary
ignorance that led to it. Suppose a man sets up as a surgeon, having
made a very imperfect study of his art. He is aware, that for want of
knowledge and skill, he shall endanger many lives: still he neglects
opportunities of making himself competent, and goes audaciously to
work. If any harm comes of his bungling, he can plead intellectual
error, an error of judgment for the time being; he did his best as
well as he knew it. Doubtless he did, and in that he is unlike the
malicious maker of mischief: still he has chosen lightly and
recklessly to hazard a great evil. To that extent his will is bound to
the evil: he has chosen it, as it were, at one remove.

5. Another instance. A man is a long way on to seeing, though he does
not quite see, the claims of the Church of Rome on his allegiance and
submission. He suspects that a little more prayer and search, and he
shall be a Roman Catholic. To escape this, he resolves to go
travelling and give up prayer. This is _affected ignorance_. Another
has no such perception of the claims of Catholicism. He has no
religion that satisfies him. He is aware speculatively of the
importance of the religious question; but his heart is not in religion
at all. With Demas, he loves the things of this world. Very attractive
and interesting does he find this life; and for the life to come he is
content to chance it. This is _crass ignorance_ of religious truth.
Such a man is not a formal heretic, for he is not altogether wilful
and contumacious in his error. Still neither is it wholly involuntary,
nor he wholly guiltless.

6. _Passionate desire_ is not an affection of the will, but of the
sensitive appetite. The will may cooperate, but the passion is not in
the will. The will may neglect to check the passion, when it might: it
may abet and inflame it: in these ways an act done in passion is a
voluntary act. Still it becomes voluntary only by the influx of the
will, positively permitting or stimulating: it is not voluntary
precisely as it proceeds from passion: for voluntary is that which is
of the will. It belongs to passion to bring on a momentary darkness in
the understanding: where such darkness is, there is so much the less
of a human act. But passion in an adult of sane mind is hardly strong
enough, of itself and wholly without the will, to execute any
considerable outward action, involving the voluntary muscles. Things
are often said and done, and put down to passion: but that is not the
whole account of the matter. The will has been for a long time either
feeding the passions, or letting them range unchecked: that is the
reason of their present outburst, which is voluntary at least _in its
cause_. Once this evil preponderance has been brought about, it is to
be examined whether the will, in calm moods, is making any efforts to
redress the evil. Such efforts, if made, go towards making the effects
of passion, when they come, involuntary, and gradually preventing them

7. What a man does _from fear_, he is said to do _under compulsion_,
especially if the fear be applied to him by some other person in order
to gain a purpose. Such _compulsory action_ is distinguished in
ordinary parlance from voluntary action. And it is certainly less
voluntary, inasmuch as the will is hedged in to make its choice
between two evils, and chooses one or other only as being the less
evil of the two, not for any liking to the thing in itself. Still, all
things considered, the thing is chosen, and the action is so far
voluntary. We may call it _voluntary in the concrete_, and
_involuntary in the abstract_. The thing is willed as matters stand,
but in itself and apart from existing need it is not liked at all. But
as acts must be judged as they stand, by what the man wills now, not
by what he would will, an act done under fear is on the whole
voluntary. At the same time, fear sometimes excuses from the
observance of a law, or of a contract, which from the way in which it
was made was never meant to bind in so hard a case. Not all contracts,
however, are of this accommodating nature; and still less, all laws.
But even where the law binds, the penalty of the law is sometimes not
incurred, when the law was broken through fear.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth_., III, i.; St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 6, art. 3;
_ib_., q. 6, art. 6, 8; _ib_., q. 77, art. 6.

SECTION II.--_Of the determinants of morality in any given action_.

1. _The morality of any given action is determined by three elements,
the end in view, the means taken, and the circumstances that accompany
the taking of the said means._ Whoever knows this principle, does not
thereby know the right and wrong of every action, but he knows how to
go about the enquiry. It is a rule of diagnosis.

2. In order to know whether what a man does befits him as a man to do,
the first thing to examine is that which he mainly desires and wills
in his action. Now the end is more willed and desired than the means.
He who steals to commit adultery, says Aristotle, is more of an
adulterer than a thief. The end in view is what lies nearest to a
man's heart as he acts. On that his mind is chiefly bent; on that his
main purpose is fixed. Though the end is last in the order of
execution, it is first and foremost in the order of intention.
Therefore the end in view enters into morality more deeply than any
other element of the action. It is not, however, the most obvious
determinant, because it is the last point to be gained; and because,
while the means are taken openly, the end is often a secret locked up
in the heart of the doer, the same means leading to many ends, as the
road to a city leads to many homes and resting-places. Conversely, one
end may be prosecuted by many means, as there are many roads
converging upon one goal.

3. If morality were determined by the end in view, and by that alone,
the doctrine would hold that the end justifies the means. That
doctrine is false, because the moral character of a human act depends
on the thing willed, or object of volition, according as it is or is
not a fit object. Now the object of volition is not only the end in
view, but likewise the means chosen. Besides the end, the means are
likewise willed. Indeed, the means are willed more immediately even
than the end, as they have to be taken first.

4. A good action, like any other good thing, must possess a certain
requisite fulness of being, proper to itself. As it is not enough for
the physical excellence of a man to have the bare essentials, a body
with a soul animating it, but there is needed a certain grace of form,
colour, agility, and many accidental qualities besides; so for a good
act it is not enough that proper means be taken to a proper end, but
they must be taken by a proper person, at a proper place and time, in
a proper manner, and with manifold other circumstances of propriety.

5. The end in view may be either _single_, as when you forgive an
injury solely for the love of Christ: or _multiple co-ordinate_, as
when you forgive both for the love of Christ and for the mediation of
a friend, and are disposed to forgive on either ground separately; or
_multiple subordinate_, as when you would not have forgiven on the
latter ground alone, but forgive the more easily for its addition,
having been ready, however, to forgive on the former alone; or
_cumulative_, as when you forgive on a number of grounds collectively,
on no one of which would you have forgiven apart from the rest.

6. Where there is no outward action, but only an internal act, and the
object of that act is some good that is willed for its own sake, there
can be no question of means taken, as the end in view is immediately

7. The means taken and the circumstances of those means enter into the
morality of the act, _formally_ as they are seen by the intellect,
_materially_ as they are in themselves. (See what is said of
ignorance, c. iii., s. i., nn. 3-5, p. 27.) This explains the
difference between _formal_ and _material_ sin. A _material_ sin would
be _formal_ also, did the agent know what he was doing. No sin is
culpable that is not _formal_. But, as has been said, there may be a
culpable perversion of the intellect, so that the man is the author of
his own obliquity or defect of vision. When Saul persecuted the
Christians, he probably sinned materially, not formally. When Caiphas
spoke the truth without knowing it, he said well materially, but ill

8. In looking at the means taken and the circumstances that accompany
those means, it is important to have a ready rule for pronouncing what
particular belongs to the means and what to the circumstances. Thus
Clytemnestra deals her husband Agamemnon a deadly stroke with an axe,
partly for revenge, partly that she may take to herself another
consort; is the deadliness of the blow part of the means taken or only
an accompanying circumstance? It is part of the means taken. The means
taken include every particular that is willed and chosen as making for
the end in view. The fatal character of the blow does make to that
end; if Agamemnon does not die, the revenge will not be complete, and
life with Aegisthus will be impossible. On the other hand, the fact
that Clytemnestra is the wife of the man whom she murders, is not a
point that her will rests upon as furthering her purpose at all; it is
an accompanying circumstance. This method of distinguishing means from
circumstance is of great value in casuistry.

9. It is clear that not every attendant circumstance affects the
morality of the means taken. Thus the blow under which Agamemnon sank
was neither more nor less guiltily struck because it was dealt with an
axe, because it was under pretence of giving him a bath, or because
his feet were entangled in a long robe. These circumstances are all
irrelevant. Those only are relevant which attach some special
reasonableness or unreasonableness to the thing done Thus the
provocation that Clytemnestra had from her husband's introduction of
Cassandra into her house made her act of vengeance less unreasonable:
on the other hand it was rendered more unreasonable by the
circumstance of the dear and holy tie that binds wife to husband. The
provocation and the relationship were two relevant circumstances in
that case.

10. But it happens sometimes that a circumstance only affects the
reasonableness of an action on the supposition of some previous
circumstance so affecting it. Thus to carry off a thing in large or
small quantities does not affect the reasonableness of the carrying,
unless there be already some other circumstance attached that renders
the act good or evil; as for instance, if the goods that are being
removed are stolen property. Circumstances of this sort are called
_aggravating_--or, as the case may be, _extenuating_--circumstances.
Circumstances that of themselves, and apart from any previous
supposition, make the thing done peculiarly reasonable or
unreasonable, are called _specifying_ circumstances. They are so
called, because they place the action in some species of virtue or
vice; whereas _aggravating_ or _extenuating_ circumstances add to, or
take off from, the good or evil of the action in that species of
virtue or vice to which it already belongs.

11. A variety of specifying circumstances may place one and the same
action in many various species of virtue or vice. Thus a religious
robbing his parents would sin at once against justice, piety, and
religion. A nun preferring death to dishonour practises three virtues,
chastity, fortitude, and religion.

12. The means chosen may be of four several characters:--

(a) A thing _evil of itself_ and inexcusable under all conceivable
circumstances; for instance, blasphemy, idolatry, lying.

(b) _Needing excuse_, as the killing of a man, the looking at an
indecent object. Such things are not to be done except under certain
circumstances and with a grave reason. Thus indecent sights may be met
in the discharge of professional duty. In that case indeed they cease
to be indecent. They are then only indecent when they are viewed
without cause. The absence of a good motive in a case like this
commonly implies the presence of a bad one.

(c) _Indifferent_, as walking or sitting down.

(d) _Good of itself_, but liable to be vitiated by circumstances, as
prayer and almsgiving; the good of such actions may be destroyed
wholly or in part by their being done out of a vain motive, or
unseasonably, or indiscreetly.

13. It is said, "If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be
lightsome." (St. Matt., vi., 22.) The eye is the intention
contemplating the end in view. Whoever has placed a good end before
him, and regards it steadily with a well-ordered love, never swerving
in his affection from the way that reason would have him love, must
needs take towards his end those means, and those only, which are in
themselves reasonable and just: as it is written: "Thou shalt follow
justly after that which is just." (Deut. xvi., 20.) Thus I am building
a church to the glory of God; money runs short: I perceive that by
signing a certain contract that must mean grievous oppression of the
poor, I shall save considerable expense, whereas, if I refuse, the
works will have to be abandoned for want of funds. If I have purely
the glory of God before my eyes, I certainly shall not sign that
contract: for injustice I know can bear no fruit of Divine glory. But
if I am bent upon having the building up in any case, of course I
shall sign: but then my love for the end in view is no longer pure and
regulated by reason: it is not God but myself that I am seeking in the
work. Thus an end entirely just, holy, and pure, purifies and
sanctifies the means, not formally, by investing with a character of
justice means in themselves unjust, for that is impossible,--the
leopard cannot change his spots,--but by way of elimination, removing
unjust means as ineligible to my purpose, and leaving me only those
means to choose from which are in themselves just.

14. With means in themselves indifferent, the case is otherwise. A
holy and pious end does formally sanctify those means, while a wicked
end vitiates them. I beg the reader to observe what sort of means are
here in question. There is no question of means in themselves or in
their circumstances unjust, as theft, lying, murder, but of such
indifferent things as reading, writing, painting, singing, travelling.
Whoever travels to commit sin at the end of his journey, his very
travelling, so far as it is referred to that end, is part of his sin:
it is a wicked journey that he takes. And he who travels to worship at
some shrine or place of pilgrimage, includes his journey in his
devotion. The end in view there sanctifies means in themselves

15. As a great part of the things that we do are indifferent as well
in themselves as in the circumstances of the doing of them, the moral
character of our lives depends largely on the ends that we habitually
propose to ourselves. One man's great thought is how to make money;
what he reads, writes, says, where he goes, where he elects to reside,
his very eating, drinking and personal expenditure, all turns on what
he calls making his fortune. It is all to gain money--_quocunque modo
rem_. Another is active for bettering the condition of the labouring
classes: a third for the suppression of vice. These three men go some
way together in a common orbit of small actions, alike to the eye, but
morally unlike, because of the various guiding purposes for which they
are done. Hence, when we consider such pregnant final ends as the
service of God and the glory of a world to come, it appears how vast
is the alteration in the moral line and colouring of a man's life,
according to his practical taking up or setting aside of these great

16. We must beware however of an exaggeration here. The final end of
action is often latent, not explicitly considered. A fervent
worshipper of God wishes to refer his whole self with all that he does
to the Divine glory and service. Yet such a one will eat, drink, and
be merry with his friends, not thinking of God at the time. Still,
supposing him to keep within the bounds of temperance, he is serving
God and doing good actions. But what of a man who has entirely broken
away from God, what of his eating, drinking, and other actions that
are of their kind indifferent? We cannot call them sins: there is
nothing wrong about them, neither in the thing done, nor in the
circumstances of the doing, nor in the intention. Pius V. condemned
the proposition: "All the works of infidels are sins." Neither must we
call such actions indifferent in the individual who does them,
supposing them to be true human acts, according to the definition, and
not done merely mechanically. They are not indifferent, because they
receive a certain measure of natural goodness from the good natural
purpose which they serve, namely, the conservation and well-being of
the agent. _Every human act is either good or evil in him who does
it._ I speak of natural goodness only.

17. The _effect consequent_ upon an action is distinguishable from the
action itself, from which it is not unfrequently separated by a
considerable interval of time, as the death of a man from poison
administered a month before. The effect consequent enters into
morality only in so far as it is either chosen as a means or intended
as an end (nn. 2, 3, p. 31), or is annexed as a relevant circumstance
to the means chosen (n. 9, p. 34.). Once the act is done, it matters
nothing to morality whether the effect consequent actually ensues or
not, provided no new act be elicited thereupon, whether of commission
or of culpable omission to prevent. It matters not to morality, but it
does matter to the agent's claim to reward or liability to punishment
at the hands of human legislators civil and ecclesiastical.

18. As soul and body make one man, so the inward and outward act--as
the will to strike and the actual blow struck--are one human act. The
outward act gives a certain physical completeness to the inward.
Moreover the inward act is no thorough-going thing, if it stops short
of outward action where the opportunity offers. Otherwise, the inward
act may be as good or as bad morally as inward and outward act
together. The mere wish to kill, where the deed is impossible, may be
as wicked as wish and deed conjoined. It may be, but commonly it will
not, for this reason, that the outward execution of the deed reacts
upon the will and calls it forth with greater intensity; the will as
it were expands where it finds outward vent. There is no one who has
not felt the relative mildness of inward feelings of impatience or
indignation, compared with those engendered by speaking out one's
mind. Often also the outward act entails a long course of preparation,
all during which the inward will is sustained and frequently renewed,
as in a carefully planned burglary.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2ae, q. 18, art. 1; _ib_., q. 18, art. 2, in
corp., ad 1; _ib_., q. 18, art. 3, in corp., ad 2; _ib_., q. 18, art.
4-6; _ib_., q. 18, art. 8, in corp., ad 2, 3; _ib_., q. 18, art. 9, in
corp., ad 3; _ib_., q. 18, art. 10, 3; _ib_., q. 18, art. 11, in
corp.; _ib_., q. 20, art. 4, in corp.



SECTION I.--_Of Passions in General_.

1. A passion is defined to be: _A movement of the irrational part of
the soul, attended by a notable alteration of the body, on the
apprehension of good or evil._ The soul is made up of intellect, will,
and sensible appetite. The first two are rational, the third
irrational: the third is the seat of the passions. In a disembodied
spirit, or an angel, there are no senses, no sensible appetite, no
passions. The angel, or the departed soul, can love and hate, fear and
desire, rejoice and grieve, but these are not passions in the pure
spirit, they are acts of intellect and will alone. So man also often
loves and hates, and does other acts that are synonymous with
corresponding passions, and yet no passion is there. The man is
working with his calm reason: his irrational soul is not stirred. To
an author, when he is in the humour for it, it is a delight to be
writing, but not a passionate delight. The will finds satisfaction in
the act: the irrational soul is not affected by it. Or a penitent is
sorry for his sin: he sincerely regrets it before God: his will is
heartily turned away, and wishes that that sin had never been: at the
same time his eye is dry, his features unmoved, not a sigh does he
utter, and yet he is truly sorry. It is important to bear these facts
in mind: else we shall be continually mistaking for passions what are
pure acts of will, or _vice versa_, misled by the identity of name.

2. The great mark of a passion is its sensible working of itself out
upon the body,--what Dr. Bain calls "the diffusive wave of emotion."
Without this mark there is no passion, but with it are other mental
states besides passions, as we define them. All strong emotion affects
the body sensibly, but not all emotions are passions. There are
emotions that arise from and appertain to the rational portion of the
soul. Such are Surprise, Laughter, Shame.

There is no sense of humour in any but rational beings; and though
dogs look ashamed and horses betray curiosity, that is only inasmuch
as in these higher animals there is something analogous to what is
reason in man. Moreover passions are conversant with good and evil
affecting sense, but the objects of such emotions as those just
mentioned are not good and evil as such, common parlance
notwithstanding, whereby we are said to laugh at a _bon mot_, or "a
good thing."

3. _Love_ is a generic passion, having for its species _desire_ and
_delight_, the contraries of which are _abhorrence_ and _pain_. Desire
is of absent good; abhorrence is of absent evil; delight is in present
good; pain is at present evil. The good and the evil which is the
object of any passion must be apprehended by sense, or by imagination
in a sensible way, whether itself be a thing of sense or not.

4. Desire and abhorrence, delight and pain, are conversant with good
and evil simply. But good is often attainable only by an effort, and
evil avoidable by an effort. The effort that good costs to attain
casts a shade of evil or undesirableness over it: we may shrink from
the effort while coveting the good. Again, the fact of evil being at
all avoidable is a good thing about such evil. If we call evil black,
and good white, avoidable evil will be black just silvering into grey:
and arduous good will be white with a cloud on it. And if the white
attracts, and the black repels the appetite, it appears that arduous
good is somewhat distasteful, to wit, to the faint-hearted; and
avoidable, or vincible, evil has its attraction for the man of spirit.
About these two objects, good hard of getting and evil hard of
avoidance, arise four other passions, hope and despair about the
former, fear and daring about the latter. Hope goes out towards a
difficult good: despair flies from it, the difficulty here being more
repellent than the good is attractive. Fear flies from a threatening
evil: while daring goes up to the same, drawn by the likelihood of
vanquishing it. _Desire_ and _abhorrence_, _delight_ and _pain_, hope
and despair, fear and daring, with anger and hatred (of which
presently), complete our list of passions.

5. Aristotle and his school of old, called Peripatetics, recommended
the moderation of the passions, not their extirpation. The Stoics on
the other hand contended that the model man, the sage, should be
totally devoid of passions. This celebrated dispute turned largely on
the two schools not understanding the same thing by the word
_passion_. Yet not entirely so. There was a residue of real
difference, and it came to this. If the sensitive appetite stirs at
all, it must stir in one or other of nine ways corresponding to the
nine passions which we have enumerated. Such an emotion as Laughter
affects the imagination and the sensitive part of man, and of course
the body visibly, but it does not stir the sensitive appetite, since
it does not prompt to action. To say then that a man has no passions,
means that the sensitive appetite never stirs within him, but is
wholly dead. But this is impossible, as the Stoic philosopher was fain
to confess when he got frightened in a storm at sea. Having no
passions cannot in any practical sense mean having no movements of the
sensitive appetite, for that will be afoot of its own proper motion
independent of reason: but it may mean cherishing no passions,
allowing none to arise unresisted, but suppressing their every
movement to the utmost that the will can. In that sense it is a very
intelligible and practical piece of advice, that the wise man should
labour to have no passions. It is the advice embodied in Horace's _Nil
admirari_, Talleyrand's "No zeal," Beaconsfield's "Beware of
enthusiasm." It would have man to work like a scientific instrument,
calm as a chronometer, regulated by reason alone. This was the Stoic
teaching, this the perfection that they inculcated, quite a possible
goal to make for, if not to attain. And it is worth a wise man's while
to consider, whether he should bend his efforts in this direction or
not. The determination here taken and acted upon will elaborate quite
a different character of man one way or the other. The effort made as
the Stoics direct, would mean no yielding to excitement, no poetry, no
high-strung devotion, no rapture, no ecstasy, no ardour of love, no
earnest rhetoric spoken or listened to, no mourning, no rejoicing
other than the most conventional, to the persistent smothering of
whatever is natural and really felt, no tear of pity freely let flow,
no touch of noble anger responded to, no scudding before the breeze of
indignation,--all this, that reason may keep on the even tenour of her
way undisturbed.

6. The fault in this picture is that it is not the picture of a man,
but of a spirit. He who being man should try to realize it in himself,
would fall short of human perfection. For though the sensitive
appetite is distinguished from the will, and the two may clash and
come in conflict, yet they are not two wholly independent powers, but
the one man is both will and sensitive appetite, and he rarely
operates according to one power without the other being brought into
corresponding play. There is a similar concomitance of the operations
of intellect and imagination. What attracts the sensitive appetite,
commonly allures also the _affective_ will, though on advertence the
_elective_ will may reject it. On the other hand, a strong affection
and election of the will cannot be without the sensitive appetite
being stirred, and that so strongly that the motion is notable in the
body,--in other words, is a passion. Passion is the natural and in a
certain degree the inseparable adjunct of strong volition. To check
one is to check the other. Not only is the passion repressed by
repressing the volition, but the repression of the passion is also the
repression of the volition. A man then who did his best to repress all
movements of passion indiscriminately, would lay fetters on his will,
lamentable and cruel and impolitic fetters, where his will was bent on
any object good and honourable and well-judged.

7. Again, man's will is reached by two channels, from above downwards
and from below upwards: it is reached through the reason and through
the imagination and senses. By the latter channel it often receives
evil impressions, undoubtedly, but not unfrequently by the former
also. Reason may be inconsiderate, vain, haughty, mutinous, unduly
sceptical. The abuse is no justification for closing either channel.
Now the channel of the senses and of the imagination is the wider, and
in many cases affords the better passage of the two. The will that is
hardly reached by reason, is approached and won by a pathetic sight, a
cry of enthusiasm, a threat that sends a tremor through the limbs.
Rather I should say the affective will is approached in this way: for
it remains with the elective will, on advertence and consultation with
reason, to decide whether or not it shall be won to consent. But were
it not for the channel of passion, this will could never have been
approached at all even by reasons the most cogent. Rhetoric often
succeeds, where mere dry logic would have been thrown away. God help
vast numbers of the human race, if their wills were approachable only
through their reasons! They would indeed be fixtures.

8. Another fact to notice is the liability of reason's gaze to become
morbid and as it were inflamed by unremitting exercise. I do not here
allude to hard study, but to overcurious scanning of the realities of
this life, and the still greater realities and more momentous
possibilities of the world to come. There is a sense of the
surroundings being too much for us, an alarm and a giddiness, that
comes of sober matter-of-fact thought over-much prolonged. Then it
happens that one or more undeniable truths are laid hold of, and
considered in strong relief and in isolation from the rest: the result
is a distorted and partial view of truth as a whole, and therewith the
mind is troubled. Here the kindlier passions, judiciously allowed to
play, come in to soothe the wound and soreness of pure intellect, too
keen in its workings for one who is not yet a pure spirit.

9. Moral good and evil are predicable only of _human acts_, in the
technical sense of the term. (c. i., nn. 2--4, p. 41.) As the passions
by definition (c. iv., s. i., n. 1, p. 41) are not human acts, they
can never be morally evil of themselves. But they are an occasion of
moral evil in this way. They often serve to wake up the slumbering
Reason. To that end it is necessary that they should start up of
themselves without the call of Reason. This would be no inconvenience,
if the instant Reason awoke, and adverted to the tumult and stir of
Passion, she could take command of it, and where she saw fit, quell
it. But Reason has no such command, except in cases where she has
acquired it by years of hard fighting. Passion once afoot holds on her
course against the dictate of Reason. True, so long as it remains mere
Passion, and Reason is not dragged away by it, no consent of the will
given, no voluntary act elicited, still less carried into outward
effect,--so long as things remain thus, however Passion may rage,
there is no moral evil done. But there is a great temptation, and in
great temptation many men fall. The evil is the act of free will, but
the pressure on the will is the pressure of Passion. But Passion
happily is a young colt amenable to discipline. Where the assaults of
Passion are resolutely and piously withstood, and the incentives
thereto avoided--unnatural and unnecessary incentives I mean--Passion
itself acquires a certain habit of obedience to Reason, which habit is
moral virtue. Of that presently.

10. In a man of confirmed habits of moral virtue, Passion starts up
indeed independently of Reason, but then Reason ordinarily finds
little difficulty in regulating the Passion so aroused. In a certain
high and extraordinary condition of human nature, not only has Reason
entire mastery over Passion wherever she finds it astir, but Passion
cannot stir in the first instance, without Reason calling upon it to
do so. In this case the torpor of the will deprecated above (n. 7) is
not to be feared, because Reason is so vigorous and so masterful as to
be adequate to range everywhere and meet all emergencies without the
goad of Passion. This state is called by divines the _state of
integrity_. In it Adam was before he sinned. It was lost at the Fall,
and has not been restored by the Redemption. It is not a thing in any
way due to human nature: nothing truly natural to man was forfeited by
Adam's sin. It is no point of holiness, no guerdon of victory, this
state of integrity, but rather a being borne on angel's wings above
the battle. But one who has no battle in his own breast against
Passion, may yet suffer and bleed and die under exterior persecution:
nay, he may, if he wills, let in Passion upon himself, to fear and
grieve, when he need not. So did the Second Adam in the Garden of

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a, q. 81, art. 2, in corp.; _id._, 1a 2æ, q.
23, art. 1, in corp.; _ib._, q. 23, art. 2, in corp.; Cicero, _Tusc.
Disp._, iv., cc. 17-26; St. Aug., _De Civitate Dei_, ix., cc. 4, 5;
Ar, _Eth._, III., v., 3, 4; _ib._, I., xiii., 15-17; St. Thos., 3a, q.
15, art. 4; _id._, 1a 2æ, q. 59, art. 5; Plato, _Timaeus_, 69, B, E:
70, A.

SECTION II.--_Of Desire_.

1. Desires are either _physical_ cravings, by moderns called
_appetites_; or _physical_ desires or _tastes_, called _desires_
proper. The appetites have their beginning in bodily uneasiness. They
are felt needs of something required for the animal maintenance of the
individual or of the race. The objects of the several appetites are
Meat and Drink, Warmth or Coolness, Exercise and Repose, Sleep, Sex.
The object of mere appetite is marked by quantity only, not by
quality. That is to say, the thing is sought for in the vague, in a
certain amount sufficient to supply the want, but not this or that
variety of the thing. The cry of a hungry man is, "Give me to eat," if
very hungry, "Give me much:" but so far as he is under the mere
dominion of appetite he does not crave any particular article of food,
vegetable or animal: he wants quantity merely. So of thirst, so of all
the appetites, where there is nothing else but appetite present.

2. But if a thirsty man cries for champagne, or a hungry man fancies a
venison pasty, there is another element beyond appetite in that
demand. On the matter of the physical craving there is stamped the
form of a psychical desire. The psychical element prescribes a quality
of the objects sought. The thirsty man thus prompted no longer wants
drink but wine: the man mewed up within doors no longer calls for
exercise, but for a horse or a bicycle. It is obvious that in man the
appetites generally pass into the further shape of psychical desire.
It is when the appetite is vehement, or the man is one who makes
slight study of his animal wants, that pure appetite, sheer physical
craving, is best shown. Darius flying before his conqueror is ready to
drink at any source, muddy or clear, a drink is all that he wants: it
is all that is wanted by St. Paul the first Hermit. But your modern
lounger at the clubs, what variety of liquors are excogitated to
please his palate!

3. Not all psychical desires are on the matter of appetite; they may
be fixed on any good whatsoever of body or of mind. Many psychical
desires are not passions at all, but reside exclusively in the
superior part of the soul, in the will prompted by the understanding,
and do not affect the body in any sensible way. Such for instance is
the great desire of happiness. Those desires that are passions are
prompted, not by the understanding, but by the imagination or fancy,
imaging to itself some particular good, not good in general, for that
the understanding contemplates. Fancy paints the picture; or if sense
presents it, fancy appropriates and embellishes it: the sensitive
appetite fastens upon the representation: the bodily organs sensibly
respond; and there is the passion of psychical desire.

4. _Physical cravings, or appetites, have limited objects: the objects
of psychical desires may be unlimited._ A thirsty man thirsts not for
an ocean, but for drink _quantum sufficit_: give him that and the
appetite is gone. But the miser covets all the money that he can get:
the voluptuary ranges land and sea in search of a new pleasure: the
philosopher ever longs for a higher knowledge: the saint is
indefatigable in doing good. Whatever a man takes to be an end in
itself, not simply a means, that he desires without end or measure.
What he desires as a means, he desires under a limitation, so far
forth as it makes for the end, so much and no more. As Aristotle says
of the processes of art, "the end in view is the limit," [Greek: peras
to telos] (cf. c. ii., s. iii., n. 3, p. 15) Whatever is desired as an
end in itself, is taken to be a part of happiness, or to represent
happiness. Happiness and the object that gives happiness is the one
thing that man desires for itself, and desires without end or measure.
Unfortunately he is often mistaken in the choice of this object. He
often takes for an end what is properly only a means. They "whose god
is their belly," have made this mistake in regard of the gratification
of appetite. It is not appetite proper that has led to this
perversion, but psychical desire, or appetite inflamed by the
artificial stimulus of imagination. For one who would be temperate, it
is more important to control his imagination than to trouble about his
appetite. Appetite exhausts itself, sometimes within the bounds of
what is good for the subject, sometimes beyond them, but still within
some bounds; but there is no limit to the cravings bred of

5. By this canon a man may try himself to discover whether or not a
favourite amusement is gaining too much upon him. An amusement is
properly a means to the end, that a man may come away from it better
fitted to do the serious work of his life. Pushed beyond a certain
point, the amusement ceases to minister to this end. The wise man
drops it at that point. But if one knows not where to stop: or if when
stopped in spite of himself, he is restless till he begin again, and
never willingly can forego any measure of the diversion that comes
within his reach, the means in that case has passed into an end: he is
enslaved to that amusement, inasmuch as he will do anything and
everything for the sake of it. Thus some men serve pleasure, and other
men money.

6. Hence is apparent the folly of supposing that crimes against
property are preventible simply by placing it within the power of all
members of the community easily to earn an honest livelihood, and
therewith the satisfaction of all their natural needs. It is not
merely to escape cold and hunger that men turn to burglary or
fraudulent dealing: it is more for the gratification of a fancy, the
satisfaction of an inordinate desire. Great crimes are not committed
"to keep the wolf from the door," but because of the wolf in the
heart, the overgrown psychical desire, which is bred in many a
well-nourished, warmly clad, comfortably housed, highly educated
citizen. There is a sin born of "fulness of bread."

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 30, art. 3, in corp.; _ib_., q. 30,
art. 4, in corp.; Ar., _Eth_., III., xi., 1-4: Ar., _Pol_., I., ix.,
13; _ib_., II., vii., 11-13.

N.B.--The division of desires into _physical_ and _psychical_ is first
suggested by Plato, who (_Rep._ 558 D to 559 C) divides them as
_necessary_ and _unnecessary_. Unnecessary desires he treats as evil.
What Plato calls a _necessary_, Aristotle calls a _physical_, and St.
Thomas a _natural_ desire. Unfortunately, Aristotle and St. Thomas had
but one word for our English two, _physical_ and _natural_. Desires
that are not physical, not natural nor necessary to man in his animal
capacity, may be highly natural and becoming to man as he is a
reasonable being, or they may be highly unbecoming. These psychical
desires, called by St. Thomas _not natural_, take in at once the
noblest and the basest aspirations of humanity.

SECTION III.--_Of Delight_.

1. Delight like desire may be either physical or psychical. All that
has been said above of desire under this division applies also to
delight, which is the realization of desire. This division does not
altogether fall in with that into _sensual_ delights and
_intellectual_ delights. A professional wine-taster could hardly be
said to find intellectual delight in a bottle of good Champagne, real
_Veuve-Clicquot_: yet certainly his is a psychical delight, no mere
unsophisticated gratification of appetite. Sensual delights then are
those delights which are founded on the gratification of appetite,
whether simple--in which case the delight is physical--or studied and
fancy-wrought appetite, the gratification of which is psychical
delight. Intellectual delights on the other hand are those that come
of the exercise of intellect, not unsupported by imagination, but
where appetite enters not at all, or only as a remote adjunct, albeit
the delight may turn upon some sight or sound, as of music, or of a
fine range of hills. Or the object may be a thing of intellect, pure
and removed from sense as far as an object of human contemplation can
be, for instance, the first elements of matter, freewill, the
immensity of God. The study of such objects yields a purer
intellectual delight than that of the preceding. But this is a high
ground and a keen upper air, where few can tread and breathe.

2. A man has more complacency in himself upon attaining to some
intellectual delight than upon a sensual satisfaction: he is prouder
to have solved a problem than to have enjoyed his dinner. Also, he
would rather forego the capacity of sensual enjoyment than that of
intellectual pleasure; rather lose his sense of taste than his science
or his scholarship, if he has any notable amount of either. Again, put
sensual delight in one scale, and in the other the intellectual
delight of honour, no worthy specimen of a man will purchase the
pleasure at the price of honour. The disgrace attaching to certain
modes of enjoyment is sufficient to make men shun them, very pleasant
though they be to sense. Again, sensual delight is a passing thing,
waxing and waning: but intellectual delight is steady, grasped and
held firmly as a whole. But sensual delight comes more welcome of the
two in this that it removes a pre-existing uneasiness, as hunger,
weariness, nervous prostration, thus doing a medicinal office: whereas
no such office attaches in the essential nature of things to
intellectual delight, as that does not presuppose any uneasiness; and
though it may remove uneasiness, the removal is difficult, because the
uneasiness itself is an obstacle to the intellectual effort that must
be made to derive any intellectual delight. Sensual enjoyment is the
cheaper physician, and ailing mortals mostly resort to that door.

3. "I will omit much usual declamation on the dignity and capacity of
our nature: the superiority of the soul to the body, of the rational
to the animal part of our constitution; upon the worthiness,
refinement, and delicacy of some satisfactions, or the meanness,
grossness, and sensuality of others: because I hold that pleasures
differ in nothing but in continuance and intensity." (Paley, _Moral
Philosophy_, bk. i., c. vi.)

In opposition to the above it is here laid down that _delights do not
differ in continuance and intensity, that is, in quantity, alone, but
likewise in quality_, that is, some are nobler, better, and more
becoming a man than others, and therefore preferable on other grounds
than those of mere continuance and intensity. I wish to show that the
more pleasant pleasure is not always the better pleasure; that even
the pleasure which is more durable, and thereby more pleasant in the
long run, is not the better of the two simply as carrying the greater
_cumulus_ of pleasure. If this is shown, it will follow that pleasure
is not identical with good; or that pleasure is not happiness, not the
last end of man.

4. Delight comes of activity, not necessarily of change, except so far
as activity itself involves change, as it always does in mortal man.
Delight sits upon activity, as the bloom upon youth. Bloom is the
natural sign of maturity; and the delight that we come to take in
doing a thing shows that we are at least beginning to do it well: our
activity is approaching perfection. In this sense it is said that
_delight perfects activity_. As the activity, so will be the delight.
But the activity will be as the power of which it is an exercise.
Powers like in kind will supply like activities, and these again will
yield delights alike in kind. There is no difference of quality in
such delights, they differ in quantity alone. Thus taste and smell are
two senses: the difference between them can hardly be called one of
kind: therefore the delights of smelling and of tasting fall under one
category. We may exchange so much smell for an equal amount of taste:
it is a mere matter of quantity. But between sight and hearing on the
one hand, and taste and smell and touch on the other, there is a wider
difference, due to the fact that intellect allies itself more readily
to the operation of the two former senses.

5. Widest of all differences is that between sense and intellect. To
explain this difference in full belongs to Psychology. Enough to say
here that the object of sense is always particular, bound up in
circumstances of present time and place, as _this horse_: while the
object of intellect is universal, as _horse_ simply. The human
intellect never works without the concurrence either of sense or of
imagination, which is as it were sense at second hand. As pure
intellectual operation is never found in man, so neither is pure
intellectual delight, like that of an angel. Still, as even in man
sense and intellect are two powers differing in kind, so must their
operations differ in kind, and the delights consequent upon those
operations. Therefore, unless Paley would have been willing to allow
that the rational and animal parts of our nature differ only as _more_
and _less_--which is tantamount to avowing that man is but a magnified
brute--he ought not to have penned his celebrated utterance, that
pleasures differ only in continuance and intensity: he should have
admitted that they differ likewise in kind; or in other words, that
pleasures differ in quality as well as in quantity. The goodness of a
pleasure, then, is not the mere amount of it. To repeat St.
Augustine's reflection on the drunken Milanese: "It makes a difference
what source a man draws his delight from." [Footnote 2] As in man
reason is nobler than sense, preferable, and a better good to its
possessor--for reason it is that makes him man and raises him above
the brute--so the use of the reason and the delight that comes thereof
is nobler, preferable, and a better good to him than the pleasure that
is of the mere operation of his animal nature. A little of the nobler
delight outweighs a vast volume of the baser: not that the nobler is
the pleasanter, but because it is the nobler. Nor can it be pretended
that the nobler prevails as being the more durable, and thereby likely
to prove the pleasanter in the long run. The nobler is better at the
time and in itself, because it is the more human delight and
characteristic of the higher species. I have but to add that what is
better in itself is not better under all circumstances. The best life
of man can only be lived at intervals. The lower operations and the
delights that go with them have a medicinal power to restore the
vigour that has become enfeebled by a lengthened exercise of the
higher faculties. At those "dead points" food and fiddling are better
than philosophy.

[Footnote 2: Interest unde quis gaudeat. (S. Aug., Confess., vi., 6.)]

6. This medicinal or restorative virtue of delight is a fact to bear
in mind in debating the question how far it is right to act for the
pleasure that the action gives. It is certainly wrong to act for mere
animal gratification. Such gratification is a stimulus to us to do
that which makes for the well-being of our nature: to fling away all
intention of any good other than the delight of the action, is to
mistake the incentive for the end proposed. But this is a doctrine
easily misunderstood. An example may save it from being construed too
rigidly. Suppose a man has a vinery, and being fond of fruit he goes
there occasionally, and eats, not for hunger, but as he says, because
he likes grapes. He seems to act for mere pleasure: yet who shall be
stern enough to condemn him, so that he exceed not in quantity? If he
returns from the vinery in a more amiable and charitable mood, more
satisfied with Providence, more apt to converse with men and do his
work in the commonwealth, who can deny that in acting in view of these
ends, at least implicitly, he has taken lawful means to a proper
purpose? He has not been fed, but recreated: he has not taken
nourishment, but medicine, preventive or remedial, to a mind diseased.
It is no doubt a sweet and agreeable medicine: this very agreeableness
makes its medical virtue. It is a sweet antidote to the bitterness of
life. But though a man may live by medicine, he does not live for it.
So no man by rights lives for pleasure. The pleasure that a man finds
in his work encourages him to go on with it. The pleasure that a man
finds by turning aside to what is not work, picks him up, rests and
renovates him, that he may go forth as from a wayside inn, or
_diverticulum_, refreshed to resume the road of labour. Hence we
gather the solution of the question as to the lawfulness of acting for
pleasure. If a man does a thing because it is pleasant, and takes the
pleasure as an incentive to carry on his labour, or as a remedy to
enable him to resume it, he acts for pleasure rightly. For this it is
not necessary that he should expressly think of the pleasure as being
helpful to labour: it is enough that he accepts the subordination of
pleasure to work as nature has ordained it; and this ordinance he does
accept, if he puts forth no positive volition the other way, whether
expressly, as none but a wrong-headed theologian is likely to do, or
virtually, by taking his pleasure with such greediness that the motion
of his will is all spent therein as in its last end and terminus, so
that the pleasure ceases to be referable to aught beyond itself, a
case of much easier occurrence. Or lastly, the natural subordination
of pleasure to work may be set aside, defeated, and rendered
impossible by the whole tenour of an individual's life, if he be one
of those giddy butterflies who flit from pleasure to pleasure and do
no work at all. Till late in the morning he sleeps, then breakfasts,
then he shoots, lunches, rides, bathes, dines, listens to music,
smokes, and reads fiction till late at night, then sleeps again; and
this, or the like of this is his day, some three hundred days at least
in the year. This is not mere acting for pleasure, it is living for
pleasure, or acting for pleasure so continuously as to leave no scope
for any further end of life. It may be hard to indicate the precise
hour in which this man's pleasure-seeking passes into sin: still this
is clear, his life is not innocent. Clear him of gluttony and lust,
there remains upon him the sin of sloth and of a wasted existence.

7. Even the very highest of delights, the delight of contemplation, is
not the highest of goods, but a concomitant of the highest good. The
highest good is the final object of the will: but the object of the
will is not the will's own act: we do not will willing, as neither do
we understand understanding, not at least without a reflex effort.
What we will in contemplating is, not to be delighted, but to see.
This is the subjective end and happiness of man, to see, to
contemplate. Delight is not anything objective: neither is it the
subjective last end of humanity. In no sense then is delight, or
pleasure, the highest good.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth_., X., iv., 8; _ib_., X., iii., 8-13, _ib_.,
X., v., 1-5; Plato, _Gorgias_, pp. 494, 495; Mill, _Utilitarianism_,
2nd. edit., pp. 11-l6; St. Thos., la 2æ, q. 31, art. 5; _id_., _Contra
Gentiles_, iii., 26, nn. 8, 10, 11, 12.

SECTION IV.--_Of Anger_.

1. Anger is a compound passion, made up of displeasure, desire, and
hope: displeasure at a slight received, desire of revenge and
satisfaction, and hope of getting the same, the getting of it being a
matter of some difficulty and calling for some exertion, for we are
not angry with one who lies wholly in our power, or whom we despise.
Anger then is conversant at once with the good of vengeance and with
the evil of a slight received: the good being somewhat difficult to
compass, and the evil not altogether easy to wipe out. (Cf. s.i., n.4,
p. 43.)

2. Anger is defined: _A desire of open vengeance for an open slight,
attended with displeasure at the same, the slight being put upon self,
or upon some dear one, unbefittingly._ The vengeance that the angry
man craves is a vengeance that all shall see. "No, ye unnatural hags,"
cries Lear in his fury, "I will do such things,--what they shall be
yet I know not, but _they shall be the terror of the earth_." When we
are angry, we talk of "making an example" of the offender. The idea is
that, as all the world has seen us slighted and set at naught, so all
the world, witnessing the punishment of the offending party, may take
to heart the lesson which we are enforcing upon him, namely, that we
are men of might and importance whom none should despise. Whoever is
angry, is angry at being despised, flouted to his face and set at
naught, either in his own person, or in the person of one whom he
venerates and loves, or in some cause that lies near to his heart.
Anger is essentially a craving for vengeance on account of a wrong
done. If then we have suffered, but think we deserve to suffer, we are
not angry. If we have suffered wrong, but the wrong seems to have been
done in ignorance, or in the heat of passion, we are not angry, or we
are not so very angry. "If he had known what he was about," we say,
or, "if he had been in his right mind, he could not have brought
himself to treat me so." But when one has done us cool and deliberate
wrong, then we are angry, because the slight is most considerable.
There is an appearance of our claims to considerations having been
weighed, and found wanting. We call it, "a cool piece of
impertinence," "spiteful malevolence," and the like. Any other motive
to which the wrong is traceable on the part of the wrong-doer, lessens
our anger against him: but the motive of contempt, and that alone, if
we seem to discover it in him, invariably increases it. To this all
other points are reducible that move our anger, as forgetfulness,
rudely delivered tidings of misfortune, a face of mirth looking on at
our distress, or getting in the way and thwarting our purpose.

3. Anger differs from hatred. Hatred is a chronic affection, anger an
acute one. Hatred wishes evil to a man as it is evil, anger as it is
just. Anger wishes evil to fall on its object in the sight of all men,
and with the full consciousness of the sufferer: hatred is satisfied
with even a secret mischief, and, so that the evil be a grievous one,
does not much mind whether the sufferer be conscious of it or no. Thus
an angry man may wish to see him who has offended brought to public
confession and shame: but a hater is well content to see his enemy
spending his fortune foolishly, or dead drunk in a ditch on a lonely
wayside. The man in anger feels grief and annoyance, not so the hater.
At a certain point of suffering anger stops, and is appeased when full
satisfaction seems to have been made: but an enemy is implacable and
insatiate in his desire of your harm. St. Augustine in his Rule to his
brethren says: "For quarrels, either have them not, or end them with
all speed, lest anger grow to hatred, and of a mote make a beam."

4. Anger, like vengeance, is then only a safe course to enter on, when
it proceeds not upon personal but upon public grounds. And even by
this maxim many deceive themselves.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Rhet_., ii., 2; _ib_., 4, ad fin.; St. Thos., 1a
2æ, q. 46, art. 2, in corp.; _ib_., q. 46, art. 3, in corp.; _ib_., q.
46, art. 6; _ib_., q. 47, art. 2.



SECTION I.--_Of Habit_.

1. _A habit is a quality difficult to change, whereby an agent whose
nature it was to work one way or another indeterminately, is disposed
easily and readily at will to follow this or that particular line of
action_. Habit differs from _disposition_, as disposition is a quality
easily changed. Thus one in a good humour is in a _disposition_ to be
kind. Habit is a part of character: disposition is a passing fit.
Again, habit differs from faculty, or power: as power enables one to
act; but habit, presupposing power, renders action easy and
expeditious, and reliable to come at call. We have a power to move our
limbs, but a habit to walk or ride or swim. Habit then is the
determinant of power. One and the same power works well or ill, but
not one and the same habit.

2. A power that has only one way of working, set and fixed, is not
susceptible of habit. Such powers are the forces of inanimate nature,
as gravitation and electricity. A thing does not gravitate better for
gravitating often. The moon does not obey the earth more readily
to-day than she did in the days of Ptolemy, or of the Chaldean sages.
Some specious claim to habit might be set up on behalf of electricity
and magnetism. A glass rod rubbed at frequent intervals for six
months, is a different instrument from what it would have been, if
left all that time idle in a drawer. Then there are such cases as the
gradual magnetising of an iron bar. Still we cannot speak of
electrical habits, or magnetic habits, not at least in things without
life, because there is no will there to control the exercise of the
quality. As well might we speak of a "tumbledown" habit in a row of
houses, brought on by locomotives running underneath their
foundations. It is but a case of an accumulation of small effects,
inducing gradually a new molecular arrangement, so that the old powers
act under new material conditions. But habit is a thing of life, an
appurtenance of will, not of course independent of material conditions
and structural alterations, in so far forth as a living and volitional
is also a material agent, but essentially usable _at will_, and
brought into play and controlled in its operation by free choice.
Therefore a habit that works almost automatically has less of the
character of a true habit, and passes rather out of morality into the
region of physics. Again, bad habits, vices to which a man is become a
slave against his better judgment, are less properly called habits
than virtues are; for such evil habits do not so much attend on
volition (albeit volition has created them) as drag the will in their
wake. For the like reason, habit is less properly predicable of brute
animals than of men: for brutes have no intelligent will to govern
their habits. The highest brutes are most susceptible of habit. They
are most like men in being most educable. And, of human progeny, some
take up habits, in the best and completest sense of the term, more
readily than others. They are better subjects for education: education
being nothing else than the formation of habits.

3. Knowledge consists of intellectual habits. But the habits of most
consequence to the moralist lie in the will, and in the sensitive
appetite as amenable to the control of the will. In this category come
the virtues, in the ordinary sense of that name, and secondarily the

4. A habit is acquired by acts. Whereupon this difficulty has been
started:--If the habit, say of mental application, comes from acts of
study, and again the acts from the habit, how ever is the habit
originally acquired? We answer that there are two ways in which one
thing may come from another. It may come in point of its very
existence, as child from parent; or in point of some mode of
existence, as scholar from master. A habit has its very existence from
acts preceding: but those acts have their existence independent of the
habit. The acts which are elicited after the habit is formed, owe to
the habit, not their existence, but the mode of their existence: that
is to say, because of the habit the acts are now formed readily,
reliably, and artistically, or virtuously. The primitive acts which
gradually engendered the habit, were done with difficulty, fitfully,
and with many failures,--more by good luck than good management, if it
was a matter of skill, and by a special effort rather than as a thing
of course, where it was question of moral well-doing. (See c.ii.,
s.ii., n.9, p. 10.)

5. A habit is a living thing: it grows and must be fed. It grows on
acts, and acts are the food that sustain it. Unexercised, a habit
pines away: corruption sets in and disintegration. A man, we will say,
has a habit of thinking of God during his work. He gives over doing
so. That means that he either takes to thinking of everything and
nothing, or he takes up some definite line of thought to the exclusion
of God. Either way there is a new formation to the gradual ruin of the
old habit.

6. _Habit_ and _custom_ may be distinguished in philosophical
language. We may say that custom makes the habit. Custom does not
imply any skill or special facility. A habit is a channel whereby the
energies flow, as otherwise they would not have flowed, freely and
readily in some particular direction. A habit, then, is a
determination of a faculty for good or for evil. It is something
intrinsic in a man, a real modification of his being, abiding in him
in the intervals between one occasion for its exercise and another:
whereas custom is a mere denomination, expressive of frequent action
and no more. Thus it would be more philosophical to speak of a
_custom_ of early rising, and of a _custom_ of smoking, rather than of
a _habit_ of smoking, except so far as, by the use of the word
_habit_, you may wish to point to a certain acquired skill of the
respiratory and facial muscles, and a certain acquired temper of the
stomach, enabling one to inhale tobacco fumes with impunity.

7. Habits are acquired, but it is obvious that the rate of acquisition
varies in different persons. This comes from one person being more
predisposed by _nature_ than another to the acquiring of this or that
habit. By nature, that is by the native temper and conformation of his
body wherewith he was born, this child is more prone to literary
learning, that to mechanics, this one to obstinacy and
contentiousness, that to sensuality, and so of the rest. For though it
is by the soul that a man learns, and by the act of his will and
spiritual powers he becomes a glutton or a zealot, nevertheless the
bodily organs concur and act jointly towards these ends. The native
dispositions of the child's body for the acquisition of habits depend
to an unascertained extent upon the habits of his ancestors. This is
the fact of _heredity_.

8. Man is said to be "a creature of habits." The formation of habits
in the will saves the necessity of continually making up the mind
anew. A man will act as he has become habituated, except under some
special motive from without, or some special effort from within. In
the case of evil habits, that effort is attended with immense
difficulty. The habit is indeed the man's own creation, the outcome of
his free acts. But he is become the bondslave of his creature, so much
so that when the occasion arrives, three-fourths of the act is already
done, by the force of the habit alone, before his will is awakened, or
drowsily moves in its sleep. The only way for the will to free itself
here is not to wait for the occasion to come, but be astir betimes,
keep the occasion at arm's length, and register many a determination
and firm protest and fervent prayer against the habit. He who neglects
to do this in the interval has himself to blame for being overcome
every time that he falls upon the occasion which brings into play the
evil habit.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 49, art. 4, ad 1, 2; _ib_., q. 50,
art. 3, in corp., ad. 1, 2; _ib_., q. 51, art. 1, in corp.; _ib_., q.
53, art. 3, in corp.; Ar., _Eth_., II., i.; _ib_., III., v., 10-14;
_ib_., II., iv., 1, 2, 4.

SECTION II.--_Of Virtues in General_.

1. Virtue in its most transcendental sense means the excellence of a
thing according to its kind. Thus it is the virtue of the eye to see,
and of a horse to be fleet of foot. Vice is a _flaw_ in the make of a
thing, going to render it useless for the purpose to which it was
ordained. From the ethical standpoint, virtue is a habit that a man
has got of doing moral good, or doing that which it befits his
rational nature to do: and vice is a habit of doing moral evil. (See
c. i., n. 5.) It is important to observe that virtue and vice are not
acts but habits. Vices do not make a man guilty, nor do virtues make
him innocent. A man is guilty or innocent according to his acts, not
according to his habits. A man may do a wicked thing and not be
vicious, or a good action and not be virtuous. But no man is vicious
who has not done one, two, aye, many wicked things: and to be
virtuous, a man must have performed many acts of virtue. Children do
right and wrong, but they have neither virtues nor vices except in a
nascent state: there has not yet been time in them for the habits to
be formed. When sin is taken away by God and pardoned, the vice, that
is, the evil habit, if any such existed before, still remains, and
constitutes a danger for the future. The habit can only be overcome by
watchfulness and a long continuance of contrary acts. But vice is not
sin, nor is sin vice, nor a good deed a virtue.

2. The name of virtue is given to certain habits residing in the
intellect, as _intuition_ or _insight_ (into self-evident truths),
_wisdom_ (regarding conclusions of main application), _science_ (of
conclusions in special departments), and _art_. These are called
_intellectual virtues_.

It was a peculiarity of Socrates' teaching, largely shared by Plato,
to make all virtue intellectual, a doctrine expressed in the formula,
_Virtue is knowledge_; which is tantamount to this other, _Vice is
ignorance_, or _an erroneous view_. From whence the conclusion is
inevitable: _No evil deed is wilfully done_; and therefore, _No man is
to blame for being wicked_.

3. Undoubtedly there is a certain element of ignorance in all vice,
and a certain absence of will about every vicious act. There is
likewise an intellectual side to all virtue. These positions we
willingly concede to the Socratics. Every morally evil act is borne of
some voluntary inconsiderateness. The agent is looking the wrong way
in the instant at which he does wrong. Either he is regarding only the
solicitations of his inferior nature to the neglect of the superior,
or he is considering some rational good indeed, but a rational good
which, if he would look steadily upon it, he would perceive to be
unbefitting for him to choose. No man can do evil in the very instant
in which his understanding is considering, above all things else, that
which it behoves him specially to consider in the case. Again, in
every wrong act, it is not the sheer evil that is willed, but the good
through or with the evil. Good, real or supposed, is sought for: evil
is accepted as leading to good in the way of means, or annexed thereto
as a circumstance. Moreover, no act is virtuous that is elicited quite
mechanically, or at the blind instance of passion. To be virtuous, the
thing must be done _on principle_, that is, at the dictate of reason
and by the light of intellect.

4. Still, virtue is not knowledge. There are other than intellectual
habits needed to complete the character of a virtuous man. "I see the
better course and approve it, and follow the worse," said the Roman
poet. [Footnote 3] "The evil which I will not, that I do," said the
Apostle. It is not enough to have an intellectual discernment of and
preference for what is right: but the will must be habituated to
embrace it, and the passions too must be habituated to submit and
square themselves to right being done. In other words, a virtuous man
is made up by the union of enlightened intellect with the moral
virtues. The addition is necessary for several reasons.

[Footnote 3: Video meliora proboque,/Deteriora sequor. (Ovid,
_Metamorph_., vii., 21.)]

(a) Ordinarily, the intellect does not necessitate the will. The will,
then, needs to be clamped and set by habit to choose the right thing
as the intellect proposes it.

(b) Intellect, or Reason, is not absolute in the human constitution.
As Aristotle (_Pol_., I., v., 6) says: "The soul rules the body with a
despotic command: but reason rules appetite with a command
constitutional and kingly": that is to say, as Aristotle elsewhere
(_Eth_., I., xiii., 15, 16) explains, passion often "fights and
resists reason, opposes and contradicts": it has therefore to be bound
by ordinances and institutions to follow reason's lead: these
institutions are good habits, moral virtues, resident there where
passion itself is resident, in the inferior appetite. It is not enough
that the rider is competent, but the horse too must be broken in.

(c) It is a saying, that "no mortal is always wise." There are times
when reason's utterance is faint from weariness and vexation. Then,
unless a man has acquired an almost mechanical habit of obeying reason
in the conduct of his will and passions, he will in such a conjuncture
act inconsiderately and do wrong. That habit is moral virtue. Moral
virtue is as the fly-wheel of an engine, a reservoir of force to carry
the machine past the "dead points" in its working. Or again, moral
virtue is as discipline to troops suddenly attacked, or hard pressed
in the fight.

5. Therefore, besides the habits in the intellect that bear the name
of _intellectual virtues_, the virtuous man must possess other habits,
as well in the will, that this power may readily embrace what the
understanding points out to be good, as in the sensitive appetite in
both its parts, concupiscible and irascible, so far forth as appetite
is amenable to the control of the will, that it may be so controlled
and promptly obey the better guidance. These habits in the will and in
the sensitive appetite are called _moral virtues_, and to them the
name of _virtue_ is usually confined.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 71, art. 1, in corp.; _ib_., q. 58,
art. 2; _ib_., q. 58, art. 3, in corp., ad 3; _ib_., q. 56, art. 4, in
corp., ad 1-3.

SECTION III.--_Of the Difference between Virtues, Intellectual and

1. St. Thomas (1a 2æ, q. 56, art. 3, in corp.) [Footnote 4] draws this
difference, that an intellectual virtue gives one a facility in doing
a good act; but a moral virtue not only gives facility, but makes one
put the facility in use. Thus a habit of grammar he says, enables one
readily to speak correctly, but does not ensure that one always shall
speak correctly, for a grammarian may make solecisms on purpose:
whereas a habit of justice not only makes a man prompt and ready to do
just deeds, but makes him actually do them. Not that any habit
necessitates volition. Habits do not necessitate, but they facilitate
the act of the will. (s. i., nn. 1, 2, 8, pp. 64, 68.)

[Footnote 4: By _doing good_ St. Thomas means the determination of the
appetite, rational or sensitive, to good. He says that intellectual
virtue does not prompt this determination of the appetite. Of course
it does not: it prompts only the act of the power wherein it resides:
now it resides in the intellect, not in the appetite; and it prompts
the act of the intellect, which however is cot always followed by an
act of appetite in accordance with it.]

2. Another distinction may be gathered from St. Thomas (1a 2æ, q. 21,
art. 2, ad 2), that the special intellectual habit called _art_
disposes a man to act correctly towards some particular end, but a
moral habit towards the common end, scope and purpose of all human
life. Thus medical skill ministers to the particular end of healing:
while the moral habit of temperance serves the general end, which is
final happiness and perfection. So to give a wrong prescription
through sheer antecedent ignorance, is to fail as a doctor: but to get
drunk wittingly and knowingly is to fail as a man.

3. The grand distinction between intellectual and moral habits seems
to be this, that moral habits reside in powers which may act against
the dictate of the understanding,--the error of Socrates, noticed
above (c. v., s. ii., n. 2, p. 70), lay in supposing that they could
not so act: whereas the power which is the seat of the intellectual
habits, the understanding, cannot possibly act against itself. Habits
dispose the subject to elicit acts of the power wherein they reside.
Moral habits induce acts of will and sensitive appetite: intellectual
habits, acts of intellect. Will and appetite may act against what the
agent knows to be best: but intellect cannot contradict intellect. It
cannot judge that to be true and beautiful which it knows to be false
and foul. If a musician strikes discords on purpose, or a grammarian
makes solecisms wilfully, he is not therein contradicting the
intellectual habit within him, for it is the office of such a habit to
aid the intellect to judge correctly, and the intellect here does
correctly judge the effect produced. On the other hand, if the
musician or grammarian blunders, the intellect within him has not been
contradicted, seeing that he knew no better: the habit of grammar or
music has not been violated, but has failed to cover the case.
Therefore the intellectual habit is not a safeguard to keep a man from
going against his intelligent self. No such safeguard is needed: the
thing is impossible, in the region of pure intellect. In a region
where no temptation could enter, intellectual habits would suffice
alone of themselves to make a perfectly virtuous man. To avoid evil
and choose good, it would be enough to know the one and the other. But
in this world seductive reasonings sway the will, and fits of passion
the sensitive appetite, prompting the one and the other to rise up and
break away from what the intellect knows all along to be the true good
of man. Unless moral virtue be there to hold these powers to their
allegiance, they will frequently disobey the understanding. Such
disobedience is more irrational than any mere intellectual error. In
an error purely intellectual, where the will has no part, the
objective truth indeed is missed, but the intelligence that dwells
within the man is not flouted and gain-sayed. It takes two to make a
contradiction as to make a quarrel. But an intellectual error has only
one side. The intellect utters some false pronouncement, and there is
nothing within the man that says otherwise. In the moral error there
is a contradiction within, an intestine quarrel. The intellect
pronounces a thing not good, not to be taken, and the sensitive
appetite will throw a veil over the face of intellect, and seize upon
the thing. That amounts to a contradiction of a man's own intelligent

4. It appears that, absolutely speaking, intellectual virtue is the
greater perfection of a man: indeed in the act of that virtue, as we
have seen, his crowning perfection and happiness lies. But moral
virtue is the greater safeguard. The breach of moral virtue is the
direr evil. Sin is worse than ignorance, and more against reason,
because it is against the doer's own reason. Moral virtue then is more
necessary than intellectual in a world where evil is rife, as it is a
more vital thing to escape grievous disease than to attain the highest
development of strength and beauty. And as disease spoils strength and
beauty, not indeed always taking them away, but rendering them
valueless, so evil moral habits subvert intellectual virtue, and turn
it aside in a wrong direction. The vicious will keeps the intellect
from contemplating the objects which are the best good of man: so the
contemplation is thrown away on inferior things, often on base things,
and an overgrowth of folly ensues on those points whereupon it most
imports a man to be wise.

To sum up all in a sentence, not exclusive but dealing with
characteristics: _the moral virtues are the virtues for this world,
intellectual virtue is the virtue of the life to come_.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 58, art. 2, in corp.; Ar., _Eth_.,
I., xiii., 15-19; St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 66, art. 3.

SECTION IV.--_Of the Mean in Moral Virtue_.

1. Moral virtue is a habit of doing the right thing in the conduct of
the will and the government of the passions. Doing right is opposed to
overdoing the thing, and to underdoing it. Doing right is taking what
it suits a rational nature to desire, and eschewing what is unsuitable
under the circumstances. (c. i., n. 5.)

But a thing may be unsuitable in two ways, by excess, and by defect:
the rational choice is in the mean between these two. The moral order
here is illustrated from the physical. Too much exercise and too
little alike impair the strength; so of meat and drink in regard to
health; but diet and exercise in moderation, and in proportion to the
subject, create, increase, and preserve both health and strength. So
it is with temperance, and fortitude, and all varieties of moral
virtue. He who fights shy of everything, and never stands his ground,
becomes a coward; while he who never fears at all, but walks boldly up
to all danger, turns out rash. The enjoyer of every pleasure, who
knows not what it is to deny himself aught, is a libertine and loose
liver; while to throw over all the graces and delicious things of
life, not as St. Paul did, who counted all things dross, that he might
gain Christ, but absolutely, as though such things were of themselves
devoid of attraction, is boorishness and insensibility. Thus the
virtues of temperance and fortitude perish in excess and defect, and
live in the mean. It is to be noticed in this illustration that the
mean of health is not necessarily the mean of virtue. What is too
little food, and too much exercise, for the animal well-being of a
man, may be the right amount of both for him in some higher relation,
inasmuch as he is more than a mere animal; as for a soldier in a hard
campaign, where a sufficiency of food and rest is incompatible with
his serving his country's need.

2. The taking of means to an end implies the taking them in
moderation, not in excess, or we shall overshoot the mark, nor again
so feebly and inadequately as to fall short of it. No mere instrument
admits of an unlimited use; but the end to be gained fixes limits to
the use of the instrument, thus far, no more, and no less. Wherever
then reason requires an end to be gained, it requires a use of means
proportionate to the end, not coming short of it, nor going so far
beyond as to defeat the purpose in view. The variety of good that is
called the Useful lies within definite limits, between two
wildernesses, so to speak, stretching out undefined into the distance,
wilderness of Excess on the one side, and wilderness of Defect on the

3. A true work of art cannot be added to or taken from without
spoiling it. A perfect church would be spoiled by a lengthening of the
chancel or raising the tower, albeit there are buildings, secular and
ecclesiastical, that might be drawn out two miles long and not look
any worse. The colouring of a picture must not be too violent and
positive; but artistic colouring must be chaste, and artistic
utterance gentle, and artistic action calm and indicative of
self-command. Not that voice and action should not be impassioned for
a great emergency, but the very passion should bear the mark of
control: in the great master's phrase, you must not "tear a passion to
tatters." It is by moderation sitting upon power that works of art
truly masculine and mighty are produced; and by this sign they are
marked off from the lower host of things, gorgeous and redundant, and
still more from the order of "the loose, the lawless, the exaggerated,
the insolent, and the profane."

4. On these considerations Aristotle framed his celebrated definition
of moral virtue: _the habit of fixing the choice in the golden mean in
relation to ourselves, defined by reason, as a prudent man would
define it_. All virtue is a _habit_, as we have seen--a habit of doing
that which is the proper act of the power wherein the habit resides.
One class of moral virtues is resident in the will, the act of which
power is properly called _choice_. The rest of the moral virtues
reside in the sensitive appetite, which also may be said to _choose_
that object on which it fastens. Thus moral virtue is a habit of
_fixing the choice_. The _golden mean_ between two extremes of excess
and defect respectively has been already explained, and may be further
shown by a review of the virtues. Besides fortitude and temperance,
already described, _liberality_ is a mean between prodigality and
stinginess; _magnificence_ between vulgar display and pettiness:
_magnanimity_ between vainglory and pusillanimity; _truthfulness_
between exaggeration and dissimulation; _friendship_ between
complaisance, or flattery, and frowardness,--and so of the rest. The
golden mean must be taken _in relation to ourselves_, because in many
matters of behaviour and the management of the passions the right
amount for one person would be excessive for another, according to
varieties of age, sex, station, and disposition. Thus anger that might
become a layman might be unbefitting in a churchman; and a man might
be thought loquacious if he talked as much as a discreet matron.
[Footnote 5] The golden mean, then, must be _defined by reason_
according to the particular circumstances of each case. But as Reason
herself is to seek where she is not guided by Prudence, the mean of
virtue must be defined, not by the reason of the buffoon Pantolabus,
or of Nomentanus the spendthrift, but _as a prudent man_ would define
it, given an insight into the case.

[Footnote 5: Ar., _Pol_., III., iv., 17, says just the converse, which
marks the altered position of woman in modern society.]

5. The "golden mean," as Horace named it (_Od_., ii., 10), obtains
principally, if not solely, in living things, and in what appertains
to living things, and in objects of art. A lake, as such, has no
natural dimensions: it may be ten miles long, it may be a hundred; but
an elephant or an oak-tree cannot go beyond a certain growth. There is
a vast range between the temperature of a blast-furnace and the
temperature of the ice-pack on the Polar Sea, but very limited is the
range possible in the blood of a living man. Viewed artistically, a
hill may be too low, or a lake want width, for man's eye to rest upon
it with perfect satisfaction. The golden mean, then, is an artistic
conception, and what I may call an _anthropological_ conception: it
suits man, and is required by man, though Nature may spurn and
over-ride it. The earthquake, the hurricane, and the angry ocean are
not in the golden mean, not at least from a human point of view. If
man chooses to personify and body forth the powers of nature, he
creates some monstrous uncouth figure, like the Assyrian and Egyptian
idols; but if man makes a study of man, and brings genius and patient
elaboration to bear on his work, there emerges the symmetry and
perfect proportion of the Greek statue. No people ever made so much of
the beauty of the human form as the ancient Greeks: they made it the
object of a passion that marked their religion, their institutions,
their literature, and their art. Their virtues and their vices turned
upon it. Hence the golden mean is eminently a Greek conception, a
leading idea of the Hellenic race. The Greek hated a thing overdone, a
gaudy ornament, a proud title, a fulsome compliment, a high-flown
speech, a wordy peroration. _Nothing too much_ was the inscription
over the lintel of the national sanctuary at Delphi. It is the
surpassing grace of Greek art of the best period, that in it there
shines out the highest power, with _nothing too much_ of straining
after effect. The study of Greek literary models operates as a
corrective to redundancy, and to what ill-conditioned minds take to be
fine writing. The Greek artist knew just how far to go, and when to
stop. That point he called, in his own unsurpassed tongue, the [Greek:
kairos]. "The right measure (_kairos_) is at the head of all," says
Pindar. "Booby, not to have understood by how much the half is more
than the whole," is the quaint cry of Hesiod. Aeschylus puts these
verses in the mouth of his _Furies_;

  The golden mean is God's delight:
  Extremes are hateful in His sight.
  Hold by the mean, and glorify
  Nor anarchy nor slavery.

Characteristic of Socrates was his _irony_, or way of understating
himself, in protest against the extravagant professions of the
Sophists. In the reckoning of the Pythagoreans, the Infinite, the
Unlimited, or Unchecked, was marked as evil, in opposition to good,
which was the Limited. From thence, Plato, taking up his parable,
writes: "The goddess of the Limit, my fair Philebus, seeing insolence
and all manner of wickedness breaking loose from all limit in point of
gratification and gluttonous greed, established a law and order of
limited being; and you say this restraint was the death of pleasure; I
say it was the saving of it." Going upon the tradition of his
countrymen, upon their art and philosophy, their poetry, eloquence,
politics, and inmost sentiment, Aristotle formulated the law of moral
virtue, to hold by the _golden mean_, as discerned by the prudent in
view of the present circumstances, between the two extremes of excess
and defect.

6. There is only one object on which man may throw himself without
reserve, his last end, the adequate object of his happiness, God. God
is approached by faith, hope, and charity; but it belongs not to
philosophy to speak of these supernatural virtues. There remains to
the philosopher the natural virtue of religion, which is a part of
justice. Religion has to do with the inward act of veneration and with
its outward expression. To the latter the rule of the mean at once
applies. Moderation in religion is necessary, so far as externals are
concerned. Not that any outward assiduity, pomp, splendour, or
costliness, can be too much in itself, or anything like enough, to
worship God with, but it may be too much for our limited means, which
in this world are drawn on by other calls. But our inward veneration
for God and desire to do Him honour, can never be too intense:
"Blessing the Lord, exalt Him as much as you can: for He is above all
praise." (Ecclus. xliii. 33.)

7. The rule of the mean, then, is a human rule, for dealing with men,
and with human goods considered as means. It is a Greek rule: for the
Greeks were of all nations the fondest admirers of man and the things
of man. But when we ascend to God, we are out among the immensities
and eternities. The vastness of creation, the infinity of the
Creator,--there is no mode or measure there. In those heights the
Hebrew Psalmist loved to soar. Christianity, with its central dogma of
the Incarnation, is the meeting of Hebrew and Greek. That mystery
clothes the Lord God of hosts with the measured beauty, grace, and
truth, that man can enter into. But enough of this. Enough to show
that the Aristotelian doctrine of the mean is a highly suggestive and
wide-reaching doctrine beyond the sphere of Morals. It throws out one
great branch into Art, another into Theology.

8. The vicious extremes, on this side and on that of a virtue, are not
always conterminous with the virtue itself, but sometimes another and
more excellent virtue intervenes; as in giving we may pass from
justice to liberality, and only through passing the bounds of
liberality, do we arrive at the vicious extreme of prodigality. So
penitential fasting intervenes between temperance in food and undue
neglect of sustenance. But it is to be noted that the _central
virtue_, so to speak, as justice, sobriety, chastity, is for all
persons on all occasions: the more excellent _side-virtue_, as
liberality, or total abstinence, is for special occasions and special
classes of persons.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth_., II., ii., 6, 7; _ib_., II., cc. 6-9; Hor.,
_Odes_, II., 10; Ruskin, _Modern Painters_, p. 3, s. i., c. x.

SECTION V.--_Of Cardinal Virtues_.

1. The enumeration of cardinal virtues is a piece of Greek philosophy
that has found its ways into the catechism. Prudence, justice,
fortitude, and temperance are mentioned by Plato as recognised heads
of virtue. They are recognised, though less clearly, by Xenophon,
reporting the conversations of Socrates. It does not look as though
Socrates invented the division: he seems to have received it from an
earlier source, possibly Pythagoras. They are mentioned in Holy
Scripture (Wisdom viii., 7, which is however a Greek book), and
Proverbs viii., 14. They make no figure in the philosophies of India
and China.

2. The cardinal virtues are thus made out.--Virtue is a habit that
gives a man readiness in behaving according to the reason that is in
him. Such a habit may be fourfold. (a) It may reside in the reason, or
intellect itself, enabling it readily to discern the reasonable thing
to do, according to particular circumstances as they occur. That habit
is the virtue of _prudence_. (b) It may reside in the rational
appetite, otherwise called the will, disposing a man to act fairly and
reasonably in his dealings with other men. That is _justice_. (c) It
may reside in the irrational, or sensitive, appetite, and that to a
twofold purpose; (a) to restrain the said appetite in its
concupiscible part from a wanton and immoderate eagerness after
pleasure; that is _temperance_: (b) to incite the said appetite in its
irascible part not to shrink from danger, where there is reason for
going on in spite of danger; that is _fortitude_.

3. Plato compares the rational soul in man to a charioteer, driving
two horses: one horse representing the concupiscible, the other the
irascible part of the sensitive appetite. He draws a vivid picture of
the resistance of the concupiscible part against reason, how madly it
rushes after lawless pleasure, and how it is only kept in restraint by
main force again and again applied, till gradually it grows
submissive. This submissiveness, gradually acquired, is the virtue of
temperance. Clearly the habit dwells in the appetite, not in reason:
in the horse, not in the charioteer. It is that habitual state, which
in a horse we call _being broken in_.

The concupiscible appetite is _broken in_ to reason by temperance
residing within it. Plato lavishes all evil names on the steed that
represents the concupiscible part. But the irascible part, the other
steed, has its own fault, and that fault twofold, sometimes of
over-venturesomeness, sometimes of shying and turning tail. The habit
engendered, in the irascible part, of being neither over-venturesome
nor over-timorous, but going by reason, is termed fortitude. [Footnote

[Footnote 6: It will help an Englishman to understand Plato's
comparison, if instead of _concupiscible part_ and _irascible part_,
we call the one steed Passion and the other Pluck. Pluck fails, and
Passion runs to excess, till Pluck is formed to fortitude, and Passion
to temperance.]

4. As the will is the rational appetite, the proper object of which is
rational good, it does not need to be prompted by any habit to embrace
rational good in what concerns only the inward administration of the
agent's own self. There is no difficulty in that department, provided
the sensitive appetite be kept in hand by fortitude and temperance.
But where there is question of external relations with other men, it
is not enough that the sensitive appetite be regulated, but a third
virtue is necessary, the habit of justice, to be planted in the will,
which would otherwise be too weak to attend steadily to points, not of
the agent's own good merely, but of the good of other men.

5. Thus we have the four cardinal virtues: prudence, a habit of the
intellect; temperance, a habit of the concupiscible appetite;
fortitude, a habit of the irascible appetite; and justice, a habit of
the will. Temperance and Fortitude in the Home Department; Justice for
Foreign Affairs; with Prudence for Premier. Or, to use another
comparison, borrowed from Plato, prudence is the health of the soul,
temperance its beauty, fortitude its strength, and justice its wealth.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 61, art. 2, in corp.; _ib_., q. 56,
art. 4, in corp., ad 1-3; _ib_., q. 56, art. 6, in corp., ad 1, 3;
_ib_., q. 59, art. 4, in corp., ad 2; Plato, _Laws_, 631 B, C.

SECTION VI.--_Of Prudence_.

1. Prudence is _right reason applied to practice_, or more fully it
may be defined, the habit of intellectual discernment that enables one
to hit upon the golden mean of moral virtue and the way to secure that
mean. Thus prudence tells one what amount of punishment is proper for
a particular delinquent, and how to secure his getting it. It is to be
observed that prudence does not will the golden mean in question, but
simply indicates it. To will and desire the mean is the work of the
moral virtue concerned therewith: as in the case given it is the work
of vindictive justice.

2. From the definition of moral virtue above given (c. v., s. iv., n.
4, p. 79), it is clear that no moral virtue can come into act without
prudence: for it is the judgment of the prudent man that must define
in each case the _golden mean_ in relation to ourselves, which every
moral virtue aims at. Thus, without prudence, fortitude passes into
rashness, vindictive justice into harshness, clemency into weakness,
religion into superstition.

3. But may not one with no prudence to guide him hit upon the _golden
mean_ by some happy impulse, and thus do an act of virtue? We answer,
he may do a good act, and if you will, a virtuous act, but not an act
of virtue, not an act proceeding from a pre-existent habit in the
doer. The act is like a good stroke made by chance, not by skill; and
like such a stroke, it cannot be readily repeated at the agent's
pleasure. (See c. v., s. i., n. 4, p. 66; and Ar., _Eth_., II., iv.,

4. Prudence in its essence is an intellectual virtue, being a habit
resident in the understanding: but it deals with the subject-matter of
the moral virtues, pointing out the measure of temperance, the bounds
of fortitude, or the path of justice. It is the habit of intellectual
discernment that must enlighten every moral virtue in its action.
There is no virtue that goes blundering and stumbling in the dark.

5. He is a prudent man, that can give counsel to others and to himself
in order to the attainment of ends that are worthy of human endeavour.
If unworthy ends are intended, however sagaciously they are pursued,
that is not prudence. We may call it _sagacity_, or _shrewdness_,
being a habit of ready discernment and application of means to ends.
Napoleon I. was conspicuous for this sagacity. It is the key to
success in this world. But prudence discovers worthy ends only, and to
them only does it provide means. The intellect is often blinded by
passion, by desire and by fear, so as not to discern the proper end
and term to make for in a particular instance and a practical case.
The general rules of conduct remain in the mind, as that, "In anger be
mindful of mercy:" but the propriety of mercy under the present
provocation drops out of sight. The intellect does not discern the
golden mean of justice and mercy in relation to the circumstances in
which the agent now finds himself. In other words, the habit of
prudence has failed; and it has failed because of the excess of
passion. Thus prudence is dependent on the presence of the virtues
that restrain passion, namely, fortitude and temperance. A like
argument would hold for the virtue of justice, that rectifies
inordinate action in dealing with another. The conclusion is, that as
the moral virtues cannot exist without prudence, so neither can
prudence exist without them: for vice corrupts the judgment of

6. Hence we arrive at a settlement of the question, whether the
virtues can be separated, or whether to possess one is to possess all.
We must distinguish between the rudimentary forms of virtue and the
perfect habit. The rudimentary forms certainly can exist separate:
they are a matter of temperament and inherited constitution: and the
man whom nature has kindly predisposed to benevolence, she has perhaps
very imperfectly prepared for prudence, fortitude, or sobriety. But
one perfect habit of any one of the four cardinal virtues, acquired by
repeated acts, and available at the call of reason, involves the
presence, in a matured state, of the other three habits also. A man
who acts irrationally upon one ground, will behave irrationally on
other grounds also: or if his conduct be rational there, it will not
be from regard for reason, but from impulse, temperament, or from some
other motive than the proper motive of the virtue which he seems to be

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 54, art. 4; _ib_., q. 58, art. 5, in
corp.; _ib_., 2a 2æ, q. 47, art. 7, 12, 13; Ar., _Eth_., VI., v.;
_ib_., VI., xii., 9, 10; _ib_., VI., xiii., 6; St. Francis of Sales,
_Of the Love of God_, bk. xi., c. vii.

SECTION VII.--_Of Temperance_.

1. Temperance is a virtue which regulates by the judgment of reason
those desires and delights which attend upon the operations whereby
human nature is preserved in the individual and propagated in the
species. Temperance is the virtue contrary to the two deadly sins of
Gluttony and Lust. As against the former, it represents Abstinence, or
moderation in solid food, and Sobriety, which is moderation in drink.
As against the latter, it is the great virtue of Chastity. The student
must bear in mind that, to a philosopher, Temperance does not mean
Total Abstinence, and Abstinence is quite independent of Fridays and
flesh-meat. Temperance then is made up of Abstinence, Sobriety, and

Aristotle writes: "Cases of falling short in the taking of pleasure,
and of people enjoying themselves less than they ought, are not apt to
occur: for such insensibility is not human: but if there be any one to
whom nothing is pleasant, and all comes alike in the matter of taste,
he must be far from the state and condition of humanity: such a being
has no name, because he is nowhere met with." This is true, because
where there is question of a virtue, such as Temperance, resident in
the concupiscible appetite, we are not concerned with any sullenness
or moroseness of will, nor with any scrupulosity or imbecility of
judgment, refusing to gratify the reasonable cravings of appetite, but
with the habitual leaning and lie of the appetite itself. Now the
concupiscible appetite in every man, of its own nature, leans to its
proper object of delectable good. No virtue is requisite to secure it
from too little inclination that way: but to restrain the appetite
from going out excessively to delight is the function, and the sole
function, of Temperance. The measure of restraint is relative, as the
golden mean is relative, and varies with different persons and in view
of different ends. The training of the athlete is not the training of
the saint.

3. Besides the primary virtue of Temperance, and its subordinate
species (enumerated above, n. 1), certain other virtues are brought
under Temperance in a secondary sense, as observing in easier matters
that moderation and self-restraint which the primary virtue keeps in
the matter that is most difficult of all. St. Thomas calls these
_potential parts_ of Temperance. There is question here of what is
most difficult to man as an animal, not of what is most difficult to
him as a rational being. To rational man, as such, ambition is harder
to restrain than sensuality: which is proved by the fact that fewer
men, who have any ambition in them, do restrain that passion than
those who restrain the animal propensities that are common to all. But
to man as an animal (and vast numbers of the human race rise little
above the animal state), it is hardest of all things to restrain those
appetites that go with the maintenance and propagation of flesh and
blood. These then are the proper matter of Temperance: other virtues,
potential parts of Temperance, restrain other cravings which are less
animal. Of these virtues the most noticeable are humility, meekness,
and modesty. [Footnote 7]

[Footnote 7: This is St. Thomas's arrangement, placing Humility under
Temperance. The connection of Humility with Magnanimity, and thereby
with Fortitude, is indicated pp. 100, 101.]

4. There is a thirst after honour and preeminence, arising from
self-esteem, and prevalent especially where there is little thought of
God, and scant reverence for the present majesty of heaven. A man who
thinks little of his Maker is great in his own eyes, as our green
English hills are mountains to one who has not seen the Alpine heights
and snows. Apart from the consideration of God there is no humility;
and this is why Aristotle, who treats of virtues as they minister to
the dealings of man with man, makes no mention of this virtue. There
are certain outward manifestations in words, acts, and gestures, the
demeanour of a humble man, which is largely identified with modesty
and with submission to others as representing God.

5. Modesty is that outward comportment, style of dress, conversation,
and carriage, which indicates the presence of Temperance, "set up on
holy pedestal" (Plato, _Phaedr_., 254 B) in the heart within.

6. Meekness is moderation in anger, and is or should be the virtue of
all men. Clemency is moderation in punishment, and is the virtue of
men in office, who bear the sword or the rod.

7. As regards the vices opposite to Temperance, an important
distinction is to be drawn between him who sins by outburst of passion
and him whose very principles are corrupt. [Footnote 8] The former in
doing evil acknowledges it to be evil, and is prone to repent of it
afterwards: the latter has lost his belief in virtue, and his
admiration for it: he drinks in iniquity like water, with no
after-qualms; he glories in his shame. The former is reclaimable, the
latter is reprobate: his intellect as well as his heart is vitiated
and gone bad. If there were no miracles, he would be a lost man: but
God can work miracles in the moral as in the physical order: in that
there is hope for him.

[Footnote 8: See the note in _Aquinas Ethicus_, Vol. I., pp. 170,

8. A nation need not be virtuous in the great bulk of her citizens, to
be great in war and in dominion, in laws, in arts, and in literature:
but the bulk of the people must possess at least the sense and
appreciation of virtue in order to such national greatness. When that
sense is lost, the nation is undone and become impotent, for art no
less than for empire. Thus the Greece of Pericles and of Phidias fell,
to be "living Greece no more."

9. As in other moral matters, no hard and fast line of division exists
between sinning from passion and sinning on principle, but cases of
the one shade into cases of the others, and by frequent indulgence of
passion principle is brought gradually to decay.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth._, III., x.; St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 141, art. 2;
_ib._, q. 141, art. 3, in corp.; _ib._, q. 142, art. 1; _ib._, q. 143,
art. 1, in corp., ad 2, 3; _ib._, q. 161, art. 1, ad 5; _ib._, q. 161,
art. 2, in corp.; _ib._, q. 161, art. 6, in corp., ad 1; _ib._, q.
157, art. 1, in corp., ad 3; _ib_, q. 156, art. 3; Ar., _Eth._, VII.,

SECTION VIII.--_Of Fortitude_.

1. As Temperance is a curb, restraining animal nature in the pursuit
of the good to which it goes out most eagerly, namely, life and the
means of its continuance, so Fortitude also is a curb, withholding
that nature from irrational flight from the evil which it most dreads.
Aristotle tells us what that evil is: "Most dreadful of all things is
death, for it is the limit, and for the dead man there appears to be
no further good nor evil left." (_Eth._, III, vi., b.) Death is truly
the limit to human existence: for, though the soul be immortal, the
being of flesh and blood, that we call man, is dissolved in death,
and, apart from supernatural hope of the resurrection, extinct for
ever. Death therefore is the direst of all evils in the animal
economy; and as such, is supremely abhorred by the sensitive appetite,
which is the animal part of man. Fortitude moderates this abhorrence
and fear by the dictate of reason. Reason shows that there are better
things than life, and things worse than death, for man in his
spiritual capacity as an intellectual and immortal being.

2. Fortitude is a mean between Cowardice and Rashness, to which
opposite extremes we are carried by the contrary passions of Fear and
Daring respectively. Fortitude thus is a two-sided virtue, moderating
two opposite tendencies: while Temperance is one-sided, moderating
Desire alone. Life, rationally considered, bears undoubtedly a high
value, and is not to be lightly thrown away, or risked upon trivial or
ignoble objects. The brave man is circumspect in his ventures, and
moderate in his fears, which implies that he does fear somewhat. He
will fear superhuman visitations, as the judgments of God. He will
dread disgrace, and still more, sin. He will fear death in an unworthy
cause. And even in a good cause, it has well been said: "The truly
brave man is not he who fears no danger, but the man whose mind
subdues the fear, and braves the danger that nature shrinks from." The
Duke of Marlborough is said to have quaked in the saddle as he rode
into action, saying: "This poor body trembles at what the mind within
is about to do." Fortitude then is the virtue that restrains fear and
regulates venturesomeness by the judgment of reason, in danger
especially of a grand and glorious death.

3. To the ancients, there was no grander object of devotion than the
State, their native city: no direr misfortune than its dissolution, or
the loss of its self-government: no nobler death than to die in arms
in its defence. As old Tyrtæus sang:

  A noble thing it is to lie dead, fallen in the front ranks,
  A brave man in battle for his country. [Footnote 9]

[Footnote 9:
  [Greek: tethnamenai gar kalon, eni promachoisi pesonta,
  andr' agathon peri hae patridi marnamenon.]
([Greek: Tyrtaeus apud Lycurg])]

Such a death was taken to be the seal and stamp of the highest
fortitude. Nor has Christianity dimmed the glory that invests a
soldier's death. Only it points to a brighter glory, and a death in a
still nobler cause, the death of the martyr who dies for the faith,
and becomes valiant in battle for what is more to him than any earthly
city, the Church, the City of God. Nor must the martyr of charity, who
dies in succouring his neighbour, go without the praise of fortitude:
nor, in short, any one who braves death, or other heavy affliction, in
the discharge of duty, or when forwarding a good cause.

4. A man may brave death in a good cause, and not be doing an act of
fortitude. So he may subscribe a large sum to a charitable purpose
without any exercise of the virtue of charity. A virtue is then only
exercised, when its outward act is performed from the proper motive of
the virtue, and not from any lower motive. Thus the proper motive of
Fortitude is the conviction that death is an evil, the risk of which
is to be left out of count as a circumstance relatively
inconsiderable, when there is question of the defence of certain
interests dearer to a good man than life. An improper motive would be
anger, which, however useful as an accessory, by itself is not an
intellectual motive at all, and therefore no motive of virtue. The
recklessness of an angry man is not Fortitude. It is not Fortitude to
be brave from ignorance or stupidity, not appreciating the danger: nor
again from experience, knowing that the apparent danger is not real,
at least to yourself. The brave man looks a real danger in the face,
and knows it, and goes on in spite of it, because so it is meet and
just, with the cause that he has, to go on.

5. We may notice as _potential_ parts of Fortitude (s. vii., n. 3, p.
92), the three virtues of Magnificence, Magnanimity, and Patience. It
is the part of Patience, philosophically to endure all sufferings
short of death. It is the part of the former two, to dare wisely, not
in a matter of life and death, but in the matter of expense, for
Magnificence, and of honour, for Magnanimity. Magnificence,
technically understood, observes the right measure in the expenditure
of large sums of money. As being conversant with large sums, it
differs from Liberality. A poor man may be liberal out of his little
store, but never magnificent. It is a virtue in the rich, not to be
afraid of spending largely and lavishly on a great occasion, or a
grand purpose. The expense may be carried beyond what the occasion
warrants: that is one vicious extreme. The other extreme would be to
mar a costly work by sordid parsimony on a point of detail. It is not
easy to be magnificent: in the first place, because not many are rich;
and then because riches are seldom united with greatness of soul and
good judgment. Something analogous to the virtue of Magnificence is
shown in the generous use of great abilities, or, in the supernatural
order, of great graces. The destinies of the world lie with those men
who have it in their power to be magnificent.

6. We are come to Magnanimity and the Magnanimous Man, the great
creation of Aristotle. As Magnanimity ranks under Fortitude, there
must be some fear to which the Magnanimous Man rises superior, as the
brave man rises superior to the fear of death. What Magnanimity
overcomes is the fear of undeserved dishonour. The Magnanimous Man is
he who rates himself as worthy of great honours, and is so worthy
indeed. When honour is paid to such a one, he makes no great account
of it, feeling that it is but his due, or even less than his due. If
he is dishonoured and insulted, he despises the insult as an
absurdity, offered to a man of his deserts. He is too conscious of his
real worth to be much affected by the expression of his neighbour's
view of him. For a man is most elated, when complimented on an
excellence which he was not very sure of possessing: and most sensibly
grieved at an insult, where he half suspects himself of really making
a poor figure, whereas he would like to make a good one. It is
doubtless the serene and settled conviction that Englishmen generally
entertain of the greatness of their country, that enables them to
listen with equanimity to abase of England, such as no other people in
Europe would endure levelled at themselves.

7. _Proud_ is an epithet pretty freely applied to Englishmen abroad,
and it seems to fit the character of the Magnanimous Man. He seems a
Pharisee, and worse than a Pharisee. The Pharisee's pride was to some
extent mitigated by breaking out into that disease of children and
silly persons, vanity: he "did all his works to be seen of men." But
here the disease is all driven inwards, and therefore more malignant.
The Magnanimous Man is so much in conceit with himself as to have
become a scorner of his fellows. He is self-sufficient, a deity to
himself, the very type of Satanic pride. These are the charges brought
against him.

8. To purify and rectify the character of the Magnanimous Man, we need
to take a leaf out of the book of Christianity. Not that there is
anything essentially Christian and supernatural in what we are about
to allege: otherwise it would not belong to philosophy: it is a truth
of reason, but a truth generally overlooked, till it found its
exponent in the Christian preacher, and its development in the
articles of the Christian faith. The truth is this. There is in every
human being what theologians have called _man and man_: man as he is
of himself, man again as he is by the gift and gracious mercy of God.
The reasonably Magnanimous Man is saved from pride by this
distinction. Of himself, he knows that he is nothing but nothingness,
meanness, sinfulness, and a walking sore of multitudinous actual sins.
"I know that there dwelleth not in me, that is, in my flesh, any
good." (Rom. vii. 18.) If he is insulted, he takes it as his due, not
any questionable due, for then he would resent the insult, but as
being undoubtedly what he deserves. If he is honoured, he smiles at
the absurdity of the compliments paid to him. It is as if an old
gentleman, a prey to gout and rheumatism, were lauded for his
fleetness of foot. He is then truly magnanimous on this side of his
character by a kind of obverse magnanimity, that bears insults
handsomely, as deserved, and honours modestly, as undeserved.

9. But let us go round to the other side of the reasonably Magnanimous
Man. He was defined to be, "one that deems himself worthy of great
honours, and is so worthy indeed." Now, nothing is truly worthy of
honour but virtue. He must then be a good man, full of all virtues;
and all this goodness that he has, he recognises as being in him of
God. He has "received God's Spirit"--or something analogous in the
natural order to the gift of the Holy Ghost--"that he may know the
things that are given him of God." (2 Cor. ii. 12.) It is told of St.
Francis of Assisi, the humblest of men, that on one occasion when he
and his companions received from some persons extraordinary marks of
veneration, he, contrary to his usual wont, took it not at all amiss:
and said to his companions, who wondered at his behaviour, "Let them
alone: they cannot too much honour the work of God in us." This
magnanimity bears honours gracefully, and insult unflinchingly, from a
consciousness of internal worth, which internal worth and goodness
however it takes not for its own native excellence, but holds as
received from God, and unto God it refers all the glory.

10. Thus the genuine Magnanimous Man is a paradox and a prodigy. He
despises an insult as undeserved, and he takes it as his due. He is
conscious of the vast good that is in him; and he knows that there is
no good in him. Highly honoured, he thinks that he gets but his due,
while he believes that vials of scorn and ignominy may justly be
poured upon him. He will bear the scorn, because he deserves it, and
again, because it is wholly undeserved. The Magnanimous Man is the
humble man. The secret of his marvellous virtue is his habit of
practical discernment between the abyss of misery that he has within
himself, as of himself, and the high gifts, also within him, which
come of the mercy of God. Aristotle well says, "Magnanimity is a sort
of robe of honour to the rest of the virtues: it both makes them
greater and stands not without them: therefore it is hard to be truly
magnanimous, for that cannot be without perfect virtue." We may add,
that in the present order of Providence none can be magnanimous
without supernatural aid, and supernatural considerations of the life
of Christ, which however are not in place here.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth_., III., vii.; St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 123, art 3,
in corp.; Ar., _Eth_., III., viii.; St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 123, art. i,
ad 2; Ar., _Eth_., III., vi.; St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 123, art. 4, 5. For
the Magnificent and Magnanimous Man, Ar., _Eth_., IV., ii., iii.; St.
Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 129, art. 3, ad 4, 5.

SECTION IX.--_Of Justice_.

1. Justice is a habit residing in the will, prompting that power
constantly to render unto everyone his own. The fundamental notion of
Justice is some sort of equality. Equality supposes two terms,
physically distinct, or capable of existing separately, one from the
other. Between such terms alone can equality be properly predicated.
Any less distinction than this leaves room only for equality
improperly so called, and therefore no room for what is properly
termed Justice. When therefore Plato, going about to find a definition
of Justice, which is a main object in his _Republic_, acquiesces in
this position, that Justice consists in every part of the soul,
rational, irascible, and concupiscible, fulfilling its own proper
function, and not taking up the function of another, he fails for this
reason, that all Justice is relative to another, but the different
parts of one soul are not properly _other_ and _other_, since all go
to make up one man: therefore, however much Justice may be identical
with doing your own business, and leaving your neighbour free to do
his, yet this relation obtaining among the various parts of the soul
cannot properly be called Justice. What Plato defines is the beauty,
good order, and moral comeliness of the soul, but not Justice in any
sense, inasmuch as it is not referred to any being human or divine,
collective or individual, outside of the man himself.

2. Going upon the principle that all Justice is of the nature of
_equality_, and is therefore relative to _another_, we arrive at the
definition of _general justice_, which is all virtue whatsoever,
inasmuch as it bears upon another person than him who practises it.
This Justice is perfect social virtue, the crown and perfection of all
virtue from a statesman's point of view; and in that aspect, as
Aristotle says, "neither morning star nor evening star is so
beautiful." Whoever has this virtue behaves well, not by himself
merely, but towards others--a great addition. Many a one who has done
well enough as an individual, has done badly in a public capacity:
whence the proverb, that office shows the man. This Justice may well
be called _another man's good_: though not in the sense of the
sophists of old, and the altruists of our time, that virtue is a very
good thing for everyone else than its possessor. Virtue, like health,
may be beneficial to neighbours, but the first benefit of it flows in
upon the soul to whom it belongs: for virtue is the health of the

3. Another elementary notion of Justice connects it with Law, taking
Justice to be conformity to Law. This notion exhibits _legal justice_,
which is the same thing, under another aspect, as the _general
justice_ mentioned above, inasmuch as _general justice_ includes the
exercise of all virtues in so far as they bear upon the good of
others: and the law, to which _legal justice_ conforms a man, enjoins
acts of all virtues for the common good. It must be observed, however,
that though there is no natural virtue of which the law of man may not
prescribe some exercise, still no human law enjoins all acts of all
virtues, not even all obligatory acts. A man may fail in his duty
though he has kept all the laws of man. In order then that _legal
justice_ may include the whole duty of man, it must be referred to
that natural and eternal law of God, revealed or unrevealed, of which
we shall speak hereafter. By being conformed to this divine law a man
is a _just man_, a _righteous man_. It is this sense of Justice that
appears in the theological term, _justification_. In this sense,
Zachary and Elizabeth "were both just before God, walking in all the
commandments of the Lord without blame." (St. Luke i. 6.)

4. _General_, or _legal, justice_ is not the cardinal virtue so
called, but is in one point of view identical with all virtue.
Distinguished from the other three cardinal virtues is _particular
justice_, which is divided into _distributive_ and _commutative
justice_. _Distributive justice_ is exercised by the community through
its head towards its individual members, so that there be a fair
distribution of the common goods, in varying amount and manner,
according to the various merits and deserts of the several recipients.
The matters distributed are public emoluments and honours, public
burdens, rewards, and also punishments. _Distributive justice_ is the
virtue of the king and of the statesman, of the commander-in-chief, of
the judge, and of the public functionary generally. It is violated by
favouritism, partiality, and jobbery. _Distributive justice_ is the
Justice that we adore in the great Governor of the Universe, saying
that He is "just in all His works," even though we understand them
not. When it takes the form of punishing, it is called _vindictive
justice_. This is what the multitudes clamoured for, that filled the
precincts of the Palace of Whitehall in the days of Charles I. with
cries of Justice, Justice, for the head of Strafford.

5. Neither legal nor distributive justice fully answers to the
definition of that virtue. Justice disposes us to give _to another his
own_. The party towards whom Justice is practised must be wholly other
and different from him who practises it. But it is clear that the
member of a civil community is not wholly other and different from the
State: he is partially identified with the civil community to which he
belongs. Therefore neither the tribute of _legal justice_ paid by the
individual to the State, nor the grant of _distributive justice_ from
the State to the individual, is an exercise of Justice in the
strictest sense. Again, what the individual pays to the State because
he is legally bound to pay it, does not become the _State's own_ until
after payment. If he withhold it, though he do wrong, yet he is not
said to be keeping any portion of the public property in his private
hands: he only fails to make some of his private property public,
which the law bids him abdicate and make over. If this be true of
money and goods, it is still more evidently true of honour and
services. In like manner, in the matter of _distributive justice_, the
emoluments which a subject has a claim to, the rewards which he has
merited of the State, does not become _his_ till he actually gets them
into his hands. It may be unfair and immoral that they are withheld
from him, and in that case, so long as the circumstances remain the
same, the obligation rest with and presses upon the State, and those
who represent it, to satisfy his claim: still the State is not keeping
the individual from that which is as yet his own. In the language of
the Roman lawyers, he has at best a _jus ad rem_, a right that the
thing be made his, but not a _jus in re_; that is, the thing is not
properly his before he actually gets it.

6. _Commutative justice_ alone is Justice strictly so called: for
therein alone the parties to the act are perfectly other and other,
and the matter that passes between them, if withheld by one of the
parties, would make a case of keeping the other out of that which he
could still properly call by right his own. _Commutative justice_ runs
between two individuals, or two independent States, or between the
State and an individual inasmuch as the latter is an independent
person, having rights of his own against the former. This justice is
called _commutative_, from being concerned with _exchanges_, or
contracts, _voluntary_ and _involuntary_. The idea of voluntary
contract, like that between buyer and seller, is familiar enough. But
the notion of an _involuntary contract_ is technical, and requires
explanation. Whoever, then, wrongfully takes that which belongs to
another, enters into an involuntary contract, or makes an involuntary
exchange, with the party. This he may do by taking away his property,
honour, reputation, liberty, or bodily ease and comfort. This is an
involuntary transaction, against the will of the party that suffers.
It is a contract, because the party that does the damage takes upon
himself, whether he will or no, by the very act of doing it, the
obligation of making the damage good, and of restoring what he has
taken away. This is the obligation of _restitution_, which attaches to
breaches of _commutative justice_, and, strictly speaking, to them
alone. Thus, if a minister has not promoted a deserving officer in
face of a clear obligation of _distributive justice_, the obligation
indeed remains as that of a duty unfulfilled, so long as he remains
minister with the patronage in his hands: but the promotion, if he
finally makes it, is not an act of restitution: it is giving to the
officer that which was not his before. And if the opportunity has
passed, he owes the officer nothing in compensation. But if he has
insulted the officer, he owes him an apology for all time to come: he
must give back that honour which belonged to the officer, and of which
he has robbed him. This is restitution. In a thousand practical cases
it is important, and often a very nice question to decide, whether a
particular offence, such as failure to pay taxes, be a sin against
_commutative justice_ or only against some more general form of the
virtue. If the former, restitution is due: if the latter, repentance
only and purpose of better things in future, but not reparation of the

7. The old notion, that Justice is minding your own business, and
leaving your neighbour to mind his, furnishes a good rough statement
of the obligations of _commutative justice_. They are mainly negative,
to leave your neighbour alone in his right of life and limb, of
liberty and property, of honour and reputation. But in two ways your
neighbour's business may become yours in justice. The first way is, if
you have any contract with him, whether a formal contract, as that
between a railway company and its passengers, or a virtual contract,
by reason of some office that you bear, as the office of a bishop and
pastor in relation to the souls of his flock. The second way in which
commutative justice binds you to positive action, is when undue damage
is likely to occur to another from some activity of yours. If, passing
by, I see my neighbour's house on fire, not having contracted to watch
it for him, and not having caused the fire myself, I am not bound in
strict justice to warn him of his danger. I am bound indeed by
charity, but that is not the point here. But if the fire has broken
out from my careless use of fire, _commutative justice_ binds me to
raise the alarm.

8. The most notable potential parts of Justice--Religion, Obedience,
Truthfulness--enter into the treatise of Natural Law.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth_., V., i.; Plato, _Rep_., 433 A; _ib_., 443 C,
D, E; St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 58, art. 2, in corp; _ib_., q. 58, art. 5;
_ib_., q. 58, art. 6, in corp; _ib_., q. 58, art. 7; _ib_., q. 58, art
9, in corp.; _ib_., q. 61, art. 1, in corp.; _ib_., q. 61, art. 3, in
corp.; Ar., _Eth_., V., ii., 12, 13; St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 62, art. 1,
in corp., ad 2.

       *       *       *       *       *




SECTION I.--_Of the natural difference between Good and Evil_.

1. A granite boulder lying on an upland moor stands indifferently the
August sun and the January frost, flood and drought. It neither blooms
in spring, nor fades in autumn. It is all one to the boulder whether
it remain in the picturesque solitude where the glacier dropped it, or
be laid in the gutter of a busy street. It has no growth nor
development: it is not a subject of evolution: there is no goal of
perfection to which it is tending by dint of inward germinal capacity
seconded by favourable environment. Therefore it does not matter what
you do with it: all things come alike to that lump of rock.

2. But in a cranny or cleft of the same there is a little flower
growing. You cannot do what you will with that flower. It has its
exigencies and requirements. Had it a voice, it could say, what the
stone never could: "I must have this or that: I must have light, I
must have moisture, a certain heat, some soil to grow in." There is a
course to be run by this flower and the plant that bears it, a
development to be wrought out, a perfection to be achieved. For this
end certain conditions are necessary, or helpful: certain others
prejudicial, or altogether intolerable. In fact, that plant has a
_progressive nature_, and therewith is a subject of good and evil.
Good for that plant is what favours its natural progress, and evil is
all that impedes it.

3. All organic natures are progressive: that is, each individual of
them is apt to make a certain progress, under certain conditions, from
birth to maturity. But man alone has his progress in any degree in his
own hands, to make or to mar. Man alone, in the graphic phrase of
Appius Claudius, is _faber fortunæ suæ_, "the shaper of his own
destiny." Any other plant or animal, other than man, however miserable
a specimen of its kind it finally prove to be, has always done the
best for itself under the circumstances: it has attained the limit
fixed for it by its primitive germinal capacity, as modified by the
events of its subsequent environment. The miserable animal that howls
under your window at night, is the finest dog that could possibly have
come of his blood and breeding, nurture and education. But there is no
man now on earth that has done all for himself that he might have
done. We all fall short in many things of the perfection that is
within our reach. Man therefore needs to stir himself, and to be
energetic with a free, self-determined energy to come up to the
standard of humanity. It is only his free acts that are considered by
the moralist. Such is the definition of Moral Science, that it deals
with _human acts_; acts, that is, whereof man is master to do or not
to do. (c. i., nn. 1, 2.)

4. We have it, then, that a morally good act is an act that makes
towards the progress of human nature in him who does it, and which is
freely done. Similarly, a morally evil act is a bar to progress, or a
diversion of it from the right line, being also a free act. Now, that
act only can make for the progress of human nature, which befits and
suits human nature, and suits it in its best and most distinctive
characteristic. What is best in man, what characterises and makes man,
what the old schoolmen called the _form_ of man, is his reason. To be
up to reason is to be up to the standard of humanity. Human progress
is progress on the lines of reason. To make for that progress, and
thereby to be morally good, an act must be done, not blindly,
brutishly, sottishly, or on any impulse of passion, however beneficial
in its effects, but deliberately, and in conscious accordance with the
reasonable nature of the doer.

5. Whatever be man's end and highest good, he must go about to compass
it reasonably. He must plan, and be systematic, and act on principle.
For instance, if the public health be the highest good, the laws which
govern it must be investigated, and their requirements carried out,
without regard to sentiment. If pleasure be the good, we must be
artists of pleasure. If, however, as has been seen (c. ii.) the
highest good of man is the highest play of reason herself in a life of
contemplation, to be prepared for, though it cannot be adequately and
worthily lived, in this world, then it is through following reason,
through subjecting appetite to reason by temperance, and the will to
reason by justice, and reason herself by a "reasonable service" to
God, that this end and consummation must be wrought out. Thus, in
Plato's phrase (_Rep._, 589 B), the moral man acts so that "the inner
man within him, the rational part of his nature, shall be strongest;
while he watches with a husbandman's care over the many-headed beast
of appetite, rearing and training the creature's tame heads, and not
letting the wild ones grow; for this purpose making an ally of the
lion, the irascible part of his nature, and caring for all the parts
in common, making them friends to one another and to himself." In this
way he will meet the true exigency of his nature _as a whole_, with
due regard to the proper order and subordination of the parts. He who
lives otherwise, acts in contradiction to his rational self. (c. v.,
s. iii., n. 3, p. 74).

6. The result of the above reasoning, if result it has, should be to
explain and justify the Stoic rule, _naturae convenienter vivere_, to
live according to nature. But some one will say: "That is the very
ideal of wickedness: all good in man comes of overcoming nature, and
doing violence to natural cravings: live according to nature, and you
will go straight to the devil." I answer: "Live _according to a part
of your nature_, and that the baser and lower, though also the more
impetuous and clamorous part, and you will certainly go where you say:
but live _up to the whole of your nature_, as explained in the last
paragraph, and you will be a man indeed, and will reach the goal of
human happiness." But again it may be objected, that our very reason,
to which the rest of our nature is naturally subordinate, frequently
prompts us to do amiss. The objection is a just one, in so far as it
goes upon a repudiation of the old Platonic position, that all moral
evil comes of the body, wherein the soul is imprisoned, and of the
desires which the body fastens upon the soul. Were that so, all sins
would be sins of sensuality. But there are spiritual sins, not
prompted by any lust or weakness of the body, as pride and mutiny,
self-opinionatedness, rejection of Divine revelation. The objection
turns on sins such as these. The answer is, that spiritual sins do not
arise from any exigency of reason, but from a deficiency of reason;
not from that faculty calling upon us, as we are reasonable men, to
take a certain course, in accordance with a just and full view of the
facts of the case, but from reason failing to look facts fully in the
face, and considering only some of them to the neglect of others, the
consideration of which would alter the decision. Thus a certain proud
creature mentioned in Scripture thought of the magnificence of the
throne above the stars of God, on the mountain of the covenant, on the
sides of the north: he did not think how such a pre-eminence would
become him as a creature. He had in view a rational good certainly,
but not a rational good for him. Partial reason, like a little
knowledge, is a dangerous thing.

7. As it is not in the power of God to bring it about, that the angles
of a triangle taken together shall amount to anything else than two
right angles, so it is not within the compass of Divine omnipotence to
create a man for whom it shall be a good and proper thing, and
befitting his nature, to blaspheme, to perjure himself, to abandon
himself recklessly to lust, or anger, or any other passion. God need
not have created man at all, but He could not have created him with
other than human exigencies. The reason is, because God can only
create upon the pattern of His own essence, which is imitable, outside
of God, in certain definite lines of possibility. These possibilities,
founded upon the Divine essence and discerned by the Divine
intelligence, are the Archetype Ideas, among which the Divine will has
to choose, when it proceeds to create. The denial of this doctrine in
the Nominalist and Cartesian Schools, and their reference to the
arbitrary will of God of the eternal, immutable, and absolutely
necessary relations of possible things, is the subversion of all
science and philosophy.

8. Still less are moral distinctions between good and evil to be set
down to the law of the State, or the fashion of society. Human
convention can no more constitute moral good than it can physical
good, or mathematical or logical truth. It is only in cases where two
or more courses are tolerable, and one of them needs to be chosen and
adhered to for the sake of social order, that human authority steps in
to elect and prescribe one of those ways of action, and brand the
others as illegitimate, which would otherwise be lawful. This is
called the making of a _positive law_.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 18, art. 5, in corp.; 1a 2æ, q. 71,
art. 2; Plato, _Rep_., 588 B to end of bk. ix.; Ar., _Eth_., IX., iv.,
nn. 4-10; Suarez, _De Legibus_, II., vi., nn. 4, 11; Cicero, _De
Legibus_, i., cc. 15-17.

SECTION II.--_How Good becomes bounden Duty, and
Evil is advanced to Sin_.

1. The great problem of Moral Philosophy is the explanation of the
idea, _I ought_, (c. i., n. 6). We are now come close up to the
solution of that problem. The word _ought_ denotes the necessary
bearing of means upon end. To every _ought_ there is a pendent _if_.
The means _ought_ to be taken, _if_ the end is to be secured. Thus we
say: "You _ought_ to start betimes, _if_ you are to catch your train."
"You _ought_ to study harder, _if_ you are to pass your examination."
The person spoken to might reply: "But what if I do miss my train, and
fail in my examination?" He might be met with another _ought_: "You
_ought_ not to miss the one, _if_ you are to keep your appointment: or
to fail in the other, _if_ you are to get into a profession." Thus the
train of _oughts_ and _ifs_ extends, until we come finally to a
concatenation like the following: "You _ought_ not to break your word,
or to give needless pain to your parents, _if_ you don't want to do
violence to that nature which is yours as a reasonable being," or "to
thwart your own moral development,"--and so on in a variety of phrases
descriptive of the argument of the last section. Here it seems the
chain is made fast to a staple in the wall. If a person goes on to
ask, "Well, what if I do contradict my rational self?" we can only
tell him that he is a fool for his question. The _oughts_, such as
those wherewith our illustration commenced, Kant calls the
_hypothetical imperative_, the form being, "You must, unless:" but the
_ought_ wherein it terminated, he calls the _categorical imperative_,
the alternative being such as no rational man can accept, and
therefore no alternative at all.

2. This doctrine of the Categorical Imperative is correct and valuable
so far as it goes. But then it does not go far enough. The full notion
of what a man _ought_, is what he _must do under pain of sin_. Sin is
more than folly, more than a breach of reason. It is mild reproach to
a great criminal to tell him that he is a very foolish person, a
walking unreasonableness. If he chooses to contradict his rational
self, is not that his own affair? Is he not his own master, and may he
not play the fool if he likes? The answer is, "No, he is not his own
master; he is under law, and his folly and self-abuse becomes criminal
and sinful, by being in contravention of the law that forbids him to
throw himself away thus wantonly."

3. Kant readily takes up this idea, shaping it after his own fashion.
He contends,--and herein his doctrine is not merely deficient, but
positively in error,--that the Categorical Imperative, uttered by a
man's own reason, has the force of a law, made by that same reason; so
that the legislative authority is within the breast of the doer, who
owes it obedience. This he calls the _autonomy of reason_. It is also
called Independent Morality, inasmuch as it establishes right and
wrong without regard to external authority, or to the consequences of
actions, or to rewards and punishments. The doctrine is erroneous,
inasmuch as it undertakes to settle the matter of right and wrong
without reference to external authority; and inasmuch as it makes the
reason within a man, not the promulgator of the law to him, but his
own legislator. For a law is a precept, a command: now no one issues
precepts, or gives commands, to himself. To command is an act of
jurisdiction; and jurisdiction, like justice (see c. v., s. ix., n. 1,
p. 102) requires a distinction of persons, one ruler, and another
subject. But the reason in a man is not a distinct subject from the
will, appetites, or other faculties within him, to which reason
dictates: they are all one nature, one person, one man; consequently,
no one of them can strictly be said to command the rest; and the
dictate of reason, as emanating from within oneself, is not a law. But
without a law, there is no strict obligation. Therefore the whole
theory of obligation is not locked up in the Categorical Imperative,
as Kant formulated it.

4. The above argumentation evinces that God is not under any law; for
there is no other God above Him to command Him. As for the ideas of
what is meet and just in the Divine intelligence, though the Divine
will, being a perfect will, is not liable to act against them, yet are
those ideas improperly called a law to the Divine will, because
intellect and will are identified in one God. Kant's doctrine makes us
all gods. It is a deification of the human intellect, and
identification of that intellect with the supreme and universal
Reason; and at the same time a release of the human will from all
authority extraneous to the individual. This amounts to a putting off
of all authority properly so called, and makes each man as sovereign
and unaccountable as his Maker. "Thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast
said: I am God, and sit in the chair of God: and hast set thy heart as
if it were the heart of God: whereas thou art a man and not God."
(Ezech. xxviii. 2.) Kant is thus the father of the pantheistic school
of Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel.

5. But it has been contended that this phrase about a man who does
wrong _breaking a law_, is only a metaphor and figure of speech,
unless it be used with reference to the enactment of some civil
community. Thus John Austin says that a _natural law_ is a law which
is not, but which he who uses the expression thinks ought to be made.
At this rate _sin_ is not a transgression of any law, except so far as
it happens to be, in the lawyer's sense of the word, a _crime_, or
something punishable in a human court of justice. There will then be
no law but man's law. How then am I _obliged_ to obey man's law? Dr.
Bain answers: "Because, if you disobey, you will be _punished_." But
that punishment will be either just or unjust: if unjust, it
originates no obligation: if just, it presupposes an obligation, as it
presupposes a crime and sin, that is, an obligation violated. There
seems to be nothing left for John Austin but to fall back upon Kant
and his Categorical Imperative, and say that whoever rebels against
the duly constituted authority of the State in which he lives, is a
rebel against the reason that dwells within his own breast, and which
requires him to behave like a citizen. So that ultimately it is not
the State, but his own reason that he has offended; and the State has
no authority over him except what his own reason gives.

6. If this were true, there would be no sin anywhere except what is
called _philosophical sin_, that is, a breach of the dignity of man's
rational nature; and the hardest thing that could be said in
reprobation of a wrongdoer, would be that he had gone against himself,
and against his fellow-men, by outraging reason, the common attribute
of the race.

7. Far worse than that has the sinner done. He has offended against
his own reason, and thereby against a higher Reason, substantially
distinct from his, standing to it in the relation of Archetype to
type, a Living Reason, [Greek: hepsychos logos] (cf. Ar., _Eth_., V.,
iv., 7), purely and supremely rational. The Archetype is outraged by
the violation of the type. Moreover, as the two are substantially
distinct, the one being God, the other a faculty of man, there is room
for a command, for law. A man may transgress and sin, in more than the
_philosophical_ sense of the word: he may be properly a _law-breaker_,
by offending against this supreme Reason, higher and other than his

8. Here we must pause and meditate a parable.--There was a certain
monastery where the monks lived in continual violation of monastic
observance. Their Abbot was a holy man, a model of what a monk ought
to be. But though perfectly cognisant of the delinquencies of his
community, he was content to display to his subjects the edifying
example of his own life, and to let it appear that he was aware of
their doings and pained at them. He would croon softly as he went
about the house old Hell's words: "Not so, my sons, not so: why do ye
these kind of things, very wicked things?" But the monks took no
notice of him. It happened in course of time that the Abbot went away
for about ten days. What he did in that time, never transpired: though
there was some whisper of certain "spiritual exercises," which he was
said to have been engaged in. Certain it is, that he returned to his
monastery, as he left it, a monk devout and regular: the monk was the
same, but the Abbot was mightily altered. The morning after his
arrival, a Chapter was held; the Abbot had the Rule read from cover to
cover, and announced his intention of enforcing the same. And he was
as good as his word. Transgressions of course abounded: but the monks
discovered that to transgress was quite a different thing now from
what it had been. Seeing the law proclaimed, and the Abbot in earnest
to enforce it, they too reformed themselves: the few who would not
reform had to leave. The subsequent holy lives of those monks do not
enter into this history.

9. Now, we might fancy God our Lord like the Abbot of that monastery
in the early years of his rule. We might fancy the Supreme Reason,
displeased indeed, as Reason must be, at the excesses and follies of
mankind, but not otherwise commanding men to avoid those evil courses.
Were God to be thus quiescent, what we have called (n. 6)
_philosophical sin_, would indeed carry this additional malice, beyond
what was there set down, of being an offence against God, but it would
not be a grievous offence: for it would not be a sin in the proper
sense of the term, not being a transgression of the law of God,
inasmuch as God, by the supposition, would have given no law. But the
supposition itself is absurd. God could not so withhold His command.
He is free indeed not to command, but that only by not creating. If He
wills to have creatures, He must likewise will to bind them to certain
lines of action: which will to bind in God is a law to the creature.

10. This assertion, that _God cannot but will to bind His creatures to
certain lines of action_, must be proved, though in the ascent we have
to mount to high regions, and breathe those subtle airs that are
wafted round the throne of the Eternal. As God is the one source of
all reality and of all power, not only can there be no being which He
has not created and does not still preserve, but no action either can
take place without His concurrence. God must go with His every
creature in its every act: otherwise, on the creature's part, nothing
could be done. Now, God cannot be indifferent what manner of act He
shall concur unto. A servant or a subject may be indifferent what
command he receives: he may will simply to obey,--to go here or there,
as he is bid, or to be left without orders where he is. That is
because he leaves the entire direction and management of the household
to his master. But for God to be thus indifferent what action He
should lend His concurrence to, would be to forego all design and
purpose of His own as to the use and destiny of the creatures which He
has made and continually preserves. This God cannot do, for He cannot
act aimlessly. It would be renouncing the direction of His own work,
and making the creature His superior. God is incapable of such
renunciation and subservience. He must, then, will the cooperation
which He lends, and the concurrent action of the creature, to take a
certain course, regulated and prescribed by Himself: which is our
proposition, that God cannot but will to bind His creatures to certain
lines of action. If His free creatures choose to stray from these
lines, God indeed still cooperates, and to His cooperation is to be
ascribed the _physical goodness_ of the action, not its _moral
inordinateness and inopportuneness_. Still, as the action is morally
inordinate, God may be said to cooperate, in a manner, where He would
not: whence we gather some conception of the enormity of sin. (See c.
vii., nn. 5, 6, pp. 130, 131.)

11. The lines of action laid down and prescribed by God are not
arbitrary and irrespective of the subject of the command. They are
determined in each case by the nature of the subject. The Author of
Nature is not apt to subvert that order which proceeds from Himself.
He bids every creature act up to that nature wherein He has created
it. His commands follow the line of natural exigency. What this
natural exigency amounts to in man in regard to his human acts, we
have already seen, (c. vi., s. i., p. 109.)

12. The difference between a necessary and a free agent is, that the
former is determined by its nature to act in a certain way, and cannot
act otherwise: the latter may act in more ways than one. Still, as we
have seen, the nature even of a free agent is not indifferent to all
manner of action. It requires, though it does not constrain, the agent
to act in certain definite ways, the ways of moral goodness. Acting
otherwise, as he may do, the free agent gainsays his own nature, taken
as a whole, a thing that a necessary agent can nowise do. God
therefore who, as we have shown, wills and commands all creatures
whatsoever to act on the lines of their nature, has especial reason to
give this command to His rational creatures, with whom alone rests the
momentous freedom to disobey.

13. We are now abreast of the question, of such burning interest in
these days, as to the connection of Ethics with Theology, or of
Morality with Religion. I will not enquire whether the dogmatic
atheist is logically consistent in maintaining any distinction between
right and wrong: happily, dogmatic atheists do not abound. But there
are many who hold that, whether there be a God or no, the fact ought
not to be imported into Moral Science: that a Professor of Ethics, as
such, has no business with the name of the Almighty on his lips, any
more than a lecturer on Chemistry or Fortification. This statement
must be at once qualified by an important proviso. If we have any
duties of worship and praise towards our Maker: if there is such a
virtue as religion, and such a sin as blasphemy: surely a Professor of
Morals must point that out. He cannot in that case suppress all
reference to God, for the same reason that he cannot help going into
the duties of a man to his wife, or of an individual to the State, if
marriage and civil government are natural institutions. If there is a
God to be worshipped, any book on Moral Science is incomplete without
a chapter on Religion. But the question remains, whether the name of
God should enter into the other chapters, and His being and authority
into the very foundations of the science. I do not mean the
metaphysical foundations; for Metaphysics are like a two-edged sword,
that cleaves down to the very marrow of things, and must therefore
reveal and discover God. But Morality, like Mathematics, takes certain
metaphysical foundations for granted, without enquiring into them. On
these foundations we rear the walls, so to speak, of the science of
Ethics without reference to God, but we cannot put the roof and crown
upon the erection, unless we speak of Him and of His law. Moral
distinctions, as we saw (c. vi., s. i. n. 7, p. 113), are antecedent
to the Divine command to observe them: and though they rest ultimately
on the Divine nature, that ultimate ground belongs to Metaphysics, not
to Ethics. Ethics begins with human nature, pointing out that there
are certain human acts that do become a man, and others that do not.
(c. vi., s. i., p. 109.) To see this, it is not necessary to look up
above man. Thus we shall prove lying, suicide, and murder to be wrong,
and good fellowship a duty, without needing to mention the Divine
Being, though by considering Him the proof gains in cogency. Or
rather, apart from God we shall prove certain acts wrong, and other
acts obligatory as duties, _philosophically_ speaking, with an initial
and fundamental wrongness and obligation. In the present section we
have proved once for all, that what is wrong philosophically, or is
philosophically a duty, is the same also _theologically_. Thus the
initial and fundamental obligation is transformed into an obligation
formal and complete. Therefore, hereafter we shall be content to have
established the philosophical obligation, knowing that the theological
side is invariably conjoined therewith. As St. Thomas says (1a 2æ, q.
71, art. 6, ad 5): "By theologians sin is considered principally as it
is an offence against God: but by the moral philosopher, inasmuch as
it is contrary to reason." But what is contrary to reason offends God,
and is forbidden by Divine law, and thus becomes a _sin_. No God, no
sin. Away from God, there is _indecency_ and _impropriety,
unreasonableness, abomination_, and _brutality_, all this in view of
outraged humanity: there is likewise _crime_ against the State: but
the formal element of _sin_ is wanting. With sin, of course,
disappears also the punishment of sin as such. Thus to leave God
wholly out of Ethics and Natural Law, is to rob moral evil of half its
terrors, and of that very half which is more easily "understanded of
the people." A consideration for school-managers.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a, q. 22, art. 2, in corp. (against
Lucretius, ii. 646-651); Suarez, _De Legibus_, II., vi., nn. 3, 5-9,
13, 14, 17, 20-24.



1. A law is defined to be: A precept just and abiding, given for
promulgation to a perfect community. A law is primarily a rule of
action. The first attribute of a law is that it be _just_: just to the
subject on whom it is imposed, as being no harmful abridgment of his
rights: just also to other men, as not moving him to injustice against
them. An unjust law is no law at all, for it is not a rule of action.
Still, we may sometimes be bound, when only our own rights are
infringed, to submit to such an imposition, not as a law, for it is
none, but on the score of prudence, to escape direr evils. A law is no
fleeting, occasional rule of conduct, suited to meet some passing
emergency or superficial disturbance. The reason of a law lies deep
down, lasting and widespread in the nature of the governed. A law,
then, has these two further attributes of permanence in duration and
amplitude in area. Every law is made for all time, and lives on with
the life of the community for whom it is enacted, for ever, unless it
be either expressly or implicitly repealed. A law in a community is
like a habit in an individual, an accretion to nature, which abides as
part of the natural being, and guides henceforth the course of natural
action. This analogy holds especially of those laws, which are not
enacted all of a sudden--and such are rarely the best laws--but grow
upon the people with gradual growth unmarked, like a habit by the
repetition of acts, in the way of immemorial custom. I have said that
a law is for a community, that it requires amplitude and large area. A
law is not laid down for an individual, except so far as his action is
of importance to the community. The private concerns of one man do not
afford scope and room enough for a law. Neither do the domestic
affairs of one family. A father is not a legislator. A law aims at a
deep, far-reaching, primary good. But the private good of an
individual, and the domestic good of a family, are not primary goods,
inasmuch as the individual and the family are not primary but
subordinate beings: not complete and independent, but dependent and
partial; not wholes but parts. The individual is part of the family,
and the family is part of a higher community. It is only when we are
come to some community which is not part of any higher, that we have
found the being, the good of which is primary good, the aim of law.
Such a community, not being part of any higher community in the same
order, is in its own order a perfect community. Thus, in the temporal
order, the individual is part of the State. The State is a perfect
community; and the good of the State is of more consequence than the
temporal well-being of any individual citizen. The temporal good of
the individual, then, is matter of law, in so far as it is subservient
to the good of the State. We have, then, to hold that a law is given
to the members of a perfect community for the good of the whole. Not
every precept, therefore, is a law: nor every superior a lawgiver: for
it is not every superior that has charge of the good of a perfect
community. Many a precept is given to an individual, either for his
private good, as when a father commands his child, or for the private
good of him that issues the precept, as when a master commands a
servant. But every law is a precept: for a law is an imperative rule
of action, in view of a good that is necessary, at least with the
necessity of convenience. To every law there are counsels attached. A
law may be said to be a _nucleus_ of precept, having an _envelope_ of
counsel. Every law has also a pendent called punishment for those who
break it: this is called the _sanction_ of the law. A law is also for
_promulgation_, as a birch rod for _application_. The promulgation, or
application, brings the law home to the subject, but is not part of
the law itself. So much for the definition of Law.

2. We have to learn to look upon the whole created universe, and the
fulness thereof, angels, men, earth, sun, planets, fixed stars, all
things visible and invisible, as one great and perfect community,
whose King and Lawgiver is God. He is King, because He is Creator and
Lord. But lordship and kingship are different things, even in God. It
is one thing to be lord and master, owner and proprietor of a chattel,
property and domain: it is another thing to be king and governor,
lawgiver and judge of political subjects. The former is called _power
of dominion_, or right of ownership, the latter is _power of
jurisdiction_. Power of dominion is for the good of him who wields it:
but power of jurisdiction is for the good of the governed. As God is
Lord of the universe, He directs all its operations to His own glory.
As He is King, He governs as a king should govern, for the good of His
subjects. In intellectual creatures, whose will is not set in
opposition to God, the subject's good and the glory of the Lord
finally coincide. God's power of dominion is the concern of
theologians: the moralist is taken up with His power of jurisdiction,
from whence emanates the moral law.

3. In the last chapter (s. ii., nn. 9, 10, pp. 120, 121), we stated
the moral law in these terms, that _God wills to bind His creatures to
certain lines of action_, not arbitrary lines, as we saw, but the
natural lines of each creature's being. The law thus stated takes in
manifestly a wider field than that of moral action. There is in fact
no action of created things that is not comprehended under this
statement. It comprises the laws of physical nature and the action of
physical causes, no less than the moral law and human acts. It is the
one primeval law of the universe, antecedent to all actual creation,
and co-eternal with God. And yet not necessary as God: for had God not
decreed from all eternity to create--and He need not have decreed
it--neither would He have passed in His own Divine Mind this second
decree, necessarily consequent as it is upon the decree of creation,
namely, that every creature should act in the mode of action proper of
its kind. This decree, supervening from eternity upon the creative
decree, is called the Eternal Law.

4. This law does not govern the acts of God Himself. God ever does
what is wise and good, not because He binds Himself by the decree of
His own will so to act, but because of His all-perfect nature. His own
decrees have not for Him the force of a precept: that is impossible in
any case: yet He cannot act against them, as His nature allows not of
irresolution, change of mind, and inconsistency.

5. Emanating from the will of God, and resting upon the nature of the
creature, it would seem that the Eternal Law must be irresistible.
"Who resisteth His will?" asks the Apostle. (Rom. ix. 19.) "The
streams of sacred rivers are flowing upwards, and justice and the
universal order is wrenched back." (Euripides, _Medea_, 499.) It is
only the perversion spoken of by the poet, that can anywise supply the
instance asked for by the Apostle. The thing is impossible in the
physical order. The rivers cannot flow upwards, under the conditions
under which rivers usually flow: but justice and purity, truth and
religion may be wrenched back, in violation of nature and of the law
eternal. The one thing that breaks this law is sin. Sin alone is
properly unnatural. The world is full of physical evils, pain, famine,
blindness, disease, decay and death. But herein is nothing against
nature: the several agents act up to their nature, so far as it goes:
it is the defect of nature that makes the evil. But sin is no mere
shortcoming: it is a turning round and going against nature, as though
the July sun should freeze a man, or the summer air suffocate him.
Physical evil comes by the defect of nature, and by permission of the
Eternal Law. But the moral evil of sin is a breach of that law.

6. A great point with modern thinkers is the inviolability of the laws
of physical nature, _e.g_., of gravitation or of electrical induction.
If these laws are represented, as J. S. Mill said they should be, as
_tendencies_ only, they are truly inviolable. The law of gravitation
is equally fulfilled in a falling body, in a body suspended by a
string, and in a body borne up by the ministry of an angel. There is
no law of nature to the effect that a supernatural force shall never
intervene. Even if, as may be done perhaps in the greatest miracles,
God suspends His concurrence, so that the creature acts not at all,
even that would be no violation of the physical law of the creature's
action: for all that such a law provides is, that the creature, if it
acts at all, shall act in a certain way, not that God shall always
give the concurrence which is the necessary condition of its acting at
all. The laws of physical nature then are, strictly speaking, never
violated, although the _course_ of nature is occasionally altered by
supernatural interference, and continually by free human volition. But
the laws of physical nature, in the highest generality, are identified
with the moral law. The one Eternal Law embraces all the laws of
creation. It has a physical and a moral side. On the former it
_effects_, on the latter it _obliges_, but on both sides it is
imperative; and though in moral matters it be temporarily defeated by
sin, still the moral behest must in the end be fulfilled as surely as
the physical behest. The defeat of the law must be made good, the sin
must be punished. Of the Eternal Law working itself out in the form of
punishment, we shall speak presently.

7. It is important to hold this conception of the Eternal Law as
embracing physical nature along with rational agents. To confine the
law, as modern writers do, to rational agents alone, is sadly to
abridge the view of its binding force. The rigid application of
physical laws is brought home to us daily by science and by
experience: it is a point gained, to come to understand that the moral
law, being ultimately one with those physical laws, is no less
absolute and indefeasible, though in a different manner, than they.

It is hard for us to conceive of laws being given to senseless things.
We cannot ourselves prescribe to iron or to sulphur the manner of its
action. As Bacon says (_Novum Organum_, i., Aphorism 4): "Man can only
put natural bodies together or asunder: nature does the rest within."
That is, man cannot make the laws of nature: he can only arrange
collocations of materials so as to avail himself of those laws. But
God makes the law, issuing His command, the warrant without which no
creature could do anything, that every creature, rational and
irrational, shall act each according to its kind or nature. Such is
the Eternal Law.

_Readings_.--Suarez, _De Legibus_, I., xii.; St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 90,
art. 2-4; _ib_., q. 91, art. 1, in corp., ad 1; _ib_., q. 93, art. 1,
in corp.; _ib_., q. 93, art. 4, in corp.; _ib_., q. 93, art. 5, in
corp.; _ib_., q. 93, art. 6, in corp.; Suarez, _De Legibus_, II., vi.;
Cicero, _De Legibus_, II., iv.; _id_., _De Republica_, iii. 22.



SECTION I.--_Of the Origin of Primary Moral Judgments_.

1. It is an axiom of the schools, that whatever is received, is
received according to the manner of the recipient. We have spoken of
the law that governs the world, as that law has existed from eternity
in the mind of God. We have now to consider that law as it is received
in creatures, and becomes the inward determinant of their action.
Action is either necessary or free. The great multitude of creatures
are wholly necessary agents. Even in free agents, most of what is in
them, and much that proceeds from them, is of necessity, and beyond
the control of their will. Of necessary action, whether material or
mental, we shall have nothing further to say. It is governed by the
Eternal Law, but it is not matter of moral philosophy. Henceforth we
have to do with that law, only as it is received in free agents, as
such, to be the rule of their conduct. The agents being free, the law
must be received in a manner consonant with their freedom. It is
proper to a free and rational being to guide itself, not to be dragged
or pushed, but to go its own way, yet not arbitrarily, but according
to law. The law for such a creature must be, not a physical
determinant of its action, but a law operating in the manner of a
motive to the will, obliging and binding, yet not constraining it: a
law written in the intellect after the manner of knowledge: a law
within the mind and consciousness of the creature, whereby it shall
measure and regulate its own behaviour. This is the _natural law of
conscience_. It is the Eternal Law, as made known to the rational
creature, whereby to measure its own free acts. The Eternal Law is in
the Mind of God: the Natural Law in the minds of men and angels. The
Eternal Law adjusts all the operations of creatures: the Natural Law,
only the free acts of intellectual creatures. And yet, for binding
force, the Natural Law is one with the Eternal Law. On a summer
evening one observes the sunset on the west coast; the heavens are all
aglow with the sun shining there, and the waters are aglow too,
reflecting the sun's rays. The Eternal Law is as the sun there in the
heavens, the Natural Law is like the reflection in the sea. But it is
one light.

2. It is called the _Natural Law_, first, because it is found, more or
less perfectly expressed, in all rational beings: now whatever is
found in all the individuals of a kind, is taken to belong to the
_specific nature_, or type of that kind. Again it is called the
_Natural Law_, because it is a thing which any rational nature must
necessarily compass and contain within itself in order to arrive at
its own proper perfection and maturity. Thus this inner law is
natural, in the sense in which walking, speech, civilization are
natural to man. A man who has it not, is below the standard of his
species. It will be seen that dancing, singing--at least to a pitch of
professional excellence--and a knowledge of Greek, are not, in this
sense, _natural_. The Natural Law is not _natural_, in the sense of
"coming natural," as provincial people say, or coming to be in man
quite irrespectively of training and education, as comes the power of
breathing. It was absurd of Paley (_Mor. Phil._, bk. i., c. v.) to
look to the wild boy of Hanover, who had grown up in the woods by
himself, to display in his person either the Natural Law or any other
attribute proper to a rational creature.

3. We call this the _natural law of conscience_, because every
individual's conscience applies this law, as he understands it, to his
own particular human acts, and judges of their morality accordingly.
What then is conscience? It is not a faculty, not a habit, it is an
act. It is a practical judgment of the understanding. It is virtually
the conclusion of a syllogism, the major premiss of which would be
some general principle of command or counsel in moral matters; the
minor, a statement of fact bringing some particular case of your own
conduct under that law; and the conclusion, which is conscience, a
decision of the case for yourself according to that principle: _e.g._,
"There is no obligation of going to church on (what Catholics call) a
_day of devotion_: this day I am now living is only a day of devotion;
therefore I am not bound to go to church to-day." Such is the train of
thought, not always so explicitly and formally developed, that passes
through the mind, when conscience works. It is important to remember
that conscience is an act of intellect, a judgment, not on a matter of
general principle, not about other people's conduct, but about _my own
action_ in some particular case, and the amount of moral praise or
blame that I deserve, or should deserve, for it. As regards action
already done, or not done, conscience _testifies, accusing_ or
_excusing_. As regards action contemplated, conscience _restrains_ or
_prompts_, in the way of either obligation or counsel.

4. Conscience is not infallible: it may err, like any other human
judgment. A man may be blind, if not exactly to his own action, at
least to the motives and circumstances of his action. He may have got
hold of a wrong general principle of conduct. He may be in error as to
the application of his principle to the actual facts. In all these
ways, what we may call the _conscientious syllogism_ may be at fault,
like any other syllogism. It may be a bad syllogism, either in logical
form, or in the matter of fact asserted in the premisses. This is an
_erroneous conscience_. But, for action contemplated, even an
erroneous conscience is an authoritative decision. If it points to an
obligation, however mistakenly, we are bound either to act upon the
judgment or get it reversed. We must not contradict our own reason:
such contradiction is moral evil, (c. v., s. iii., n. 3, p. 74.) If
conscience by mistake sets us free of what is objectively our bounden
duty, we are not there and then bound to that duty: but we may be
bound at once to get that verdict of conscience overhauled and
reconsidered. Conscience in this case has proceeded in ignorance,
which ignorance will be either _vincible_ or _invincible_, and must be
treated according to the rules provided in the matter of _ignorance_,
(c. iii., s. i., nn. 3-5, p. 27). An obligation, neglected in
invincible ignorance, makes a merely _material sin_. (c. iii., s. ii.,
n. 7, p. 33.)

5. There is another element of mind, often confounded under one name
with conscience, but distinct from it, as a habit from an act, and as
principles from their application. This element the schoolmen called
_synderesis_. [Footnote 10]

[Footnote 10: On the derivation of this word, whether from [Greek:
synedaesis] or [Greek: syntaeresis], see _Athenæum_, 1877, vol. i.,
pp. 738, 798, vol. iii. pp. 16, 48.]

_Synderesis_ is an habitual hold upon primary moral judgments, as,
that we must do good, avoid evil, requite benefactors, honour
superiors, punish evil-doers. There is a hot controversy as to how
these primary moral judgments arise in the mind. The coals of dispute
are kindled by the assumption, that these moral judgments must needs
have a totally other origin and birth in the mind than speculative
first principles, as, that the whole is greater than the part, that
two and two are four, that things which are equal to the same thing
are equal to one another. The assumption is specious, but unfounded.
It looks plausible because of this difference, that moral judgments
have emotions to wait upon them, speculative judgments have not.
Speculative judgments pass like the philosophers that write them down,
unheeded in the quiet of their studies. But moral judgments are rulers
of the commonwealth: they are risen to as they go by, with majesty
preceding and cares coming after. Their presence awakens in us certain
emotions, conflicts of passion, as we think of the good that we should
do, but have not done, or of the evil that goes unremedied and
unatoned for. Commonly a man cannot contemplate his duty, a difficult
or an unfulfilled duty especially, without a certain emotion, very
otherwise than as he views the axioms of mathematics. There is a great
difference emotionally, but intellectually the two sets of principles,
speculative and moral, are held alike as necessary truths, truths that
not only are, but must be, and cannot be otherwise: truths in which
the _predicate_ of the proposition that states them is contained under
the _subject_. Such are called _self-evident propositions_; and the
truths that they express, _necessary truths_. The enquiry into the
origin of our primary moral judgments is thus merged in the question,
how we attain to necessary truth.

6. The question belongs to Psychology, not to Ethics: but we will
treat it briefly for ethical purposes. And first for a clear notion of
the kind of judgments that we are investigating.

"The primary precepts of the law of nature stand to the practical
reason as the first principles of scientific demonstration do to the
speculative reason: for both sets of principles are self-evident. A
thing is said to be self-evident in two ways, either _in itself_, or
_in reference to us. _In itself_ every proposition, the predicate of
which can be got from consideration of the subject is said to be
self-evident. But it happens that to one who is ignorant of the
definition of the subject, such a proposition will not be
self-evident: as this proposition, _Man is a rational being_, is
self-evident in its own nature, because to name man is to name
something rational; and yet, to one ignorant what man is, this
proposition is not self-evident. And hence it is that, as Boethius
says: "there are some axioms self-evident to all alike." Of this
nature are all those propositions whose terms are known to all, as,
_Every whole is greater than its part_; and, _Things which are equal
to the same thing are equal to one another_. Some propositions again
are self-evident only to the wise, who understand the meaning of the
terms: as, to one who understands that an angel is not a body, it is
self-evident that an angel is not in a place by way of
circumscription; [Footnote 11] which is not manifest to others, who do
not understand the term." (St. Thos., 1a 2æ q. 94, art. 2, in corp.)

[Footnote 11: _Circumscriptive_, which word is explained by St. Thos.,
1a, q. 52. art. 1.]

One more extract. "From the very nature of an intellectual soul it is
proper to man that, as soon as he knows what a whole is, and what a
part is, he knows that every whole is greater than its part; and so of
the rest. But what is a whole, and what a part, that he cannot know
except through sensory impressions. And therefore Aristotle shows that
the knowledge of principles comes to us through the senses." (St.
Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 51, art. 1, in corp.)

7. Thus the propositions that _right is to be done, benefactors to be
requited_, are self-evident, necessary truths, to any child who has
learned by experience the meaning of _right_, of _kindness_, and of a
_return of kindness._ "Yes, but"--some one will say--"how ever does he
get to know what _right_ and _wrong_ are? Surely sensory experience
cannot teach him that." We answer, man's thoughts begin in sense, and
are perfected by reflection. Let us take the idea of _wrong_, the key
to all other elementary moral ideas. The steps by which a child comes
to the fulness of the idea of _wrong_ may be these. First, the thing
is _forbidden_: then one gets _punished_ for it. Punishment and
prohibition enter in by eye and ear and other senses besides. Then the
thing is _offensive_ to those we love and revere. Then it is _bad for
us_. Then it is _shameful, shabby, unfair, unkind, selfish, hateful to
God_. All these points of the idea of wrong are grasped by the
intellect, beginning with sensory presentations of what is seen and
felt and heard said. Again with the idea of _ought_. This idea is
sometimes said to defy analysis. But we have gone about (c. vi.) to
analyse it into two elements, _nature requiring, nature's King
commanding_. The idea of _wrong_ we analysed into a breach of this
natural requirement, and this Divine command or law. Primary moral
ideas, then, yield to intellectual analysis. They are of this style:
_to be done, as I wish to be rational and please God: not to be done,
unless I wish to spoil myself and disobey my Maker_. But primary moral
ideas, compared together, make primary moral judgments. Primary moral
judgments, therefore, arise in the intellect, by the same process as
other beliefs arise there in matters of necessary truth.

8. Thus, applying the principle known as _Occham's razor_, that
"entities are not to be multiplied without reason," we refuse to
acknowledge any Moral Sense, distinct from Intellect. We know of no
peculiar faculty, specially made to receive "ideas, pleasures and
pains in the moral order." (Mackintosh, _Ethics_, p. 206.) Most of
all, we emphatically protest against any blind power being accredited
as the organ of morality. We cannot accept for our theory of morals,
that everything is right which warms the breast with a glow of
enthusiasm, and all those actions wrong, at which emotional people are
prone to cry out, _dreadful, shocking_. We cannot accept emotions for
arbitrators, where it most concerns reasonable beings to have what the
Apostle calls "enlightened eyes of the heart" (Ephes. i. 18), that we
may "know to refuse the evil and to choose the good." (Isaias vii.
15.) A judge may have his emotions, but his charge to the jury must be
dictated, not by his heart, but by his knowledge of the law. And the
voice of conscience, whatever feelings it may stir, must be an
intellectual utterance, and, to be worth anything in a case of
difficulty, a reasoned conclusion, based on observation of facts, and
application of principles, and consultation with moral theologians and
casuists. A subjective and emotional standard of right and wrong is as
treacherous and untrustworthy as the emotional justification of those
good people, who come of a sudden to "feel converted."

9. It would be unnecessary, except for the wrong-headedness of
philosophers, to observe that conscience requires educating. As moral
virtue is a habit of appetite, rational or irrational, a formation
resulting from frequent acts; and as the child needs to be aided and
assisted from without towards the performance of such acts, in order
to overcome the frequent resistance of appetite to reason (c. v., s.
ii., n. 4, p. 71): so the springs of conscience are certain
intellectual habits, whereby the subject is cognisant of the
principles of natural law, and of their bearing on his own conduct,
habits which, like the habits of moral virtue, require to be formed by
acts from within and succour from without, since merely the rudiments
of the habit are supplied by nature. Even the first principles of
morality want formulating and pointing out to children, like the
axioms of geometry. The mother tells her little one: "Ernest, or
Frank, be a good boy:" while the schoolmaster explains to Master
Ernest that two straight lines cannot possibly enclose a space. There
is something in the boy's mind that goes along with and bears out both
the teaching of his master and his mother's exhortation: something
that says within him: "To be sure, those lines can't enclose a space:"
"Certainly, I ought to be good." It is not merely on authority that he
accepts these propositions. His own understanding welcomes and
approves them: so much so, that once he has understood them, he would
not believe the contrary for being told it. You would not persuade a
child that it was right to pull mother's hair; or that half an orange
was literally, as Hesiod says, "more than the whole." He would answer
that it could not be, that he knew better.

10. On one ground there is greater need of education for the
conscience than for any other intellectual formation: that is because
of the power of evil to fascinate and blind on practical issues of
duty. Cicero well puts it:

"We are amazed and perplexed by variety of opinions and strife of
authorities; and because there is not the same divergence upon matters
of sense, we fancy that the senses afford natural certainty, while,
for moral matters, because some men take one view, some another, and
the same men different views at different times, we consider that any
settlement that can be arrived at is merely conventional, which is a
huge mistake. The fact is, there is no parent, nor nurse, nor
schoolmaster, nor poet, nor stage play, to corrupt the judgments of
sense, nor consent of the multitude to wrench them away from the
truth. It is for minds and consciences that all the snares are set, as
well by the agency of those whom I have just mentioned, who take us in
our tender and inexperienced age, and ingrain and fashion us as they
will, as also by that counterfeit presentment of good, which lurks in
the folds of every sense, the mother of all evil, pleasure, under
whose seductive blandishments men fail to recognise the moral good
that nature offers, because it is unaccompanied by this itching desire
and satisfaction." (Cicero, _De Legibus_, i, 17.)

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a, q. 79, art. 11-13; Plato, _Protagoras_,
325, 326; John Grote, _Examination of Utilitarian Philosophy,_ pp.
169, 207, 208; Cardinal Newman, _Grammar of Assent_, pp. l02-112.

SECTION II.--_Of the invariability of Primary Moral Judgments_.

1. The following narrative is taken from Grote's History of Greece, c.

"It was a proud day for the Carthaginian general [Footnote 12] when he
stood as master on the ground of Himera; enabled to fulfil the duty,
and satisfy the exigencies, of revenge for his slain grandfather.
Tragical indeed was the consummation of this long-cherished
purpose.... All the male captives, 3,000 in number, were conveyed to
the precise spot where Hamilkar had been slain, and there put to death
with indignity, as an expiatory satisfaction to his lost honour. No
man can read the account of this wholesale massacre without horror and
repugnance. Yet we cannot doubt, that among all the acts of Hannibal's
life, this was the one in which he most gloried; that it realized in
the most complete and emphatic manner, his concurrent _aspirations of
filial sentiment, religious obligation, and honour as a patriot_;
[Footnote 13] that to show mercy would have been regarded as a mean
dereliction of these esteemed impulses.... Doubtless, the feelings of
Hannibal were cordially shared, and the plenitude of his revenge
envied, by the army around him. So different, sometimes so totally
contrary, is the tone and direction of the moral sentiments, among
different ages and nations."

[Footnote 12: Hannibal, B.C. 409, therefore not the victor of Cannae.]
[Footnote 13: Italics mine.]

We may supplement this story by another from Herodotus (iii., 38):

"Darius, after he had got the kingdom, called into his presence
certain Greeks who were at hand, and asked, 'What he should pay them
to eat the bodies of their fathers when they died.' To which they
answered, that there was no sum that would tempt them to do such a
thing. He then sent for certain Indians, of the race called
Callatians, men who eat their fathers, and asked them, while the
Greeks were standing by, and knew by the aid of an interpreter all
that was said--'What he should give them to burn the bodies of their
fathers, at their decease?' The Indians exclaimed aloud, and bade him
forbear such language. Such is the way of men; and Pindar was right in
my judgment, when he said, 'Convention is king over all.'"

2. If any one held that the natural law of conscience was natural in
the same way as the sense of temperature: if one held to the existence
of a Moral Sense in all men, settling questions of right and wrong, as
surely as all men know sweet things from bitter by tasting them: these
stories, and they could be multiplied by hundreds, abundantly suffice
to confute the error. There is no authentic copy of the moral law,
printed, framed, and hung up by the hand of Nature, in the inner
sanctuary of every human heart. Man has to learn his duties as he
learns the principles of health, the laws of mechanics, the
construction and navigation of vessels, the theorems of geometry, or
any other art or science. And he is just as likely to go wrong, and
has gone wrong as grievously, in his judgments on moral matters as on
any other subject of human knowledge. The knowledge of duties is
_natural_ (as explained in the previous section, n. 2), not because it
comes spontaneously, but because it is necessary to our nature for the
development and perfection of the same. Thus a man _ought_, so far as
he can, to learn his duties: but we cannot say of a man, as such, that
he _ought_ to learn geometry or navigation. If a man does not know his
duties, he is excused by ignorance, according to the rules under which
ignorance excuses (c. iii., s. i., nn. 3-5, p. 27). If a man does not
know navigation, there is no question of _excuse_ for what he was not
bound to learn, but he may suffer _loss_ by his want of knowledge.

3. It was furthermore observed above (l.c.), that the _natural_ law
was so called as being found expressed more or less perfectly in the
minds of all men, and therefore being a proper element of human
nature. It remains to see how much this universal natural expression
amounts to. That is at once apparent from our previous explanation of
_synderesis_. (s. i., nn. 5, seq., p. 139.) Not a complete and
accurate knowledge of the natural law is found in all minds, far from
it; but _synderesis_ is found in all. This is apparent from Mr.
Grote's own phrases, "aspirations of filial sentiment," "religious
obligation," "honour as a patriot," _Parents are to be honoured, we
must do our duty to God and to our country_: there Hannibal was at one
with the most approved teachers of morality. Callatian and Greek
agreed in the recognition of the commandment, _Honour thy father and
thy mother_. That was the major premiss of them both, in the moral
syllogism (s. i., n. 3, p. 135), which ruled their respective
consciences. Their difference was upon the _applying minor_, as it is
called; the Greek regarding the dissolution of the body into its
elements by fire, and so saving it from corruption, as the best means
of honouring the dead: the Callatians preferring to raise their
parents as it were to life again, by making them the food of their
living children. Hannibal, again, had before his mind the grand
principle of retribution, that wrongdoing must be expiated by
suffering. But he had not heard the words "Vengeance is Mine;" and
mistakenly supposed it to rest with himself to appoint and carry out
his own measure of revenge. Whether he was quite so invincibly
ignorant on this point, as Grote represents, is open to doubt. At any
rate he was correct in the primary moral judgment on which he

_Reading_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 94, art. 6.

SECTION III.--_Of the immutability of the Natural Law_.

1. Besides printing, many methods are now in vogue for multiplying
copies of a document. Commonly the document is written out with
special ink on special paper: the copy thus used is called a
_stencil_; and from it other copies are struck off. We will suppose
the stencil to be that page of the Eternal Law written in the Mind of
God, which regulates _human acts_, technically so called. The copies
struck off from that stencil will be the Natural Law in the mind of
this man and of that. Now, as all who are familiar with copying
processes know too well, it happens at times that a copy comes out
very faint, and in parts not at all. These faint and partial copies
represent the Natural Law as it is imperfectly developed in the minds
of many men. In this sense, and as we may say _subjectively_, the
Natural Law is mutable, very mutable indeed. Still, as no one would
say that the document had been altered, because some copies of it were
bad, so it is not strictly correct to say that the Natural Law varies
with these subjective varieties. Appeal would be made to a full and
perfectly printed impression of the document, one that rendered the
stencil exactly. The Natural Law must be viewed in like manner, as it
would exist in a mind perfectly enlightened concerning the whole duty
of man, and exactly reproducing in itself that portion of the Eternal
Law which ordains such duty. Were such a mind to discern a natural
obligation to lie differently at two different times, all the relevant
circumstances being alike in both cases, and the moral solution
different, then only could the Natural Law be held to have changed.

2. But this is clearly impossible. The conclusion of a geometrical
theorem is a truth for all time. There is no difference here between a
complicated theorem, having many conditions, and a simpler theorem
with fewer. It is indeed easier for a few than for many conditions to
be all present together: but the enunciation of the conclusion
supposes _all_ the conditions, whatever their number. The same in a
practical manner, as in the stability of a bridge. The bridge that
would stand in England, would stand in Ceylon. If it would not, there
must have occurred some change in the conditions, as the heat of the
tropical sun upon the girders. A point of casuistry also, however
knotty, once determined, is determined for ever and aye, for the
circumstances under which it was determined. The Natural Law in this
sense is absolutely immutable, no less in each particular application
than in the most general principles. We must uniformly pass the same
judgment on the same case. What is once right and reasonable, is
always right and reasonable, in the same matter. Where to-day there is
only one right course, there cannot to-morrow be two, unless
circumstances have altered. The Natural Law is thus far immutable,
every jot and tittle.

3. No power in heaven above nor on earth beneath can dispense from any
portion of the Natural Law. For the matter of the negative precepts of
that law is, as we have seen, something bad in itself and repugnant to
human nature, and accordingly forbidden by God: while the matter of
the positive precepts is something good and necessary to man,
commanded by God. If God were to take off His command, or prohibition,
the intrinsic exigency, or intolerableness, of the thing to man would
still remain, being as inseparable from humanity as certain
mathematical properties from a triangle. Pride is not made for man,
nor fornication, nor lying, nor polygamy [Footnote 14]: human nature
would cry out against them, even were the Almighty in a particular
instance to withdraw His prohibition. What would be the use, then, of
any such withdrawal? It would not make the evil thing good. An evil
thing it would still remain, unnatural, irrational, and as such,
displeasing to God, the Supreme Reason. The man would not be free to
do the thing, even though God did not forbid it. It appears,
therefore, that the Divine prohibition, and similarly the Divine
command, which we have proved (c. vi., s. ii., nn. 10, 11, p. 121) to
be necessarily imposed in matters of natural evil and of naturally
imperative good, is imposed as a hard and fast line, so long as the
intrinsic good or evil remains the same.

[Footnote 14: There is a theological difficulty about the polygamy of
the patriarchs, which will be touched on in _Natural Law_, c. vi., s.
ii., n. 4. p. 272.]

4. There is, therefore, no room for Evolution in Ethics and Natural
Law any more than in Geometry. One variety of geometrical
construction, or of moral action, may succeed another; but the truths
of the science, by which those varieties are judged, change not. There
is indeed this peculiarity about morality, distinguishing it from art,
that if a man errs invincibly, the evil that he takes for good is not
_formally_ evil, or evil as he wills it, and the good that he takes
for evil is _formally_ evil to him. (c. iii., s. ii., n. 7, p. 33.) So
there is variation and possible Evolution in bare _formal_ good and
bare _formal_ evil, as ignorance gradually changes into knowledge; and
likewise Reversion, as knowledge declines into ignorance. Even this
Evolution and Reversion have their limits: they cannot occur in the
primary principles of morality, as we saw in the last section. But
morality _material_ and objective,--complete morality, where the
formal and material elements agree, where real wrong is seen to be
wrong, and real right is known for right--in this morality there is no
Evolution. If Hannibal offered human sacrifices to his grandfather
because he knew no better, and could not have known better, than to
think himself bound so to do, he is to be excused, and even praised
for his piety: still it was a mistaken piety; and the act, apart from
the light in which the doer viewed it, was a hideous crime. An
incorrupt teacher of morals would have taught the Carthaginian, not
that he was doing something perfectly right for his age and country,
which, however, would be wrong in Germany some centuries later, but
that he was doing an act there and then evil and forbidden of God,
from which he was bound, upon admonition, instantly to desist.
[Footnote 15]

[Footnote 15: The author has seen reason somewhat to modify this view,
as appears by the Appendix. (Note to Third Edition.)]

5. There are Evolution and Reversion in architecture, but not in the
laws of stability of structure, nor in the principles of beauty as
realized in building. A combination, ugly now, was not beautiful in
the days of Darius. Tastes differ, but not right tastes; and moral
notions, but not right moral notions. It is true that questions of
right and wrong occur in one state of society, that had no relevance
in an earlier state, the conditions of the case not having arisen. But
so it is in architecture; there are no arches in the Parthenon. The
principle of the arch, however, held in the age of Pericles, though
not applied.

6. The progress of Moral Science is the more and more perfect
development of the Natural Law in the heart of man, a psychological,
not an ontological development. And Moral Science does progress. No
man can be a diligent student of morality for years, without coming to
the understanding of many things, for which one would look in vain in
Aristotle's _Ethics_ and _Politics_, or in Cicero, _De Officiis_, or
even in the _Summa_ of St. Thomas, or perhaps in any book ever
written. New moral questions come for discussion as civilization
advances. The commercial system of modern times would furnish a theme
for another De Lugo. And still on this path of ethical discovery, to
quote the text that Bacon loved, "Many shall pass over, and knowledge
shall be multiplied." (Daniel xii. 4.)

_Readings_.--St. Thos., Supplement, q. 65, art. 1, in corp.; _ib_., q.
65, art. 2, in corp., and ad 1; Hughes, _Supernatural Morals_, pp. 67,
68, reviewed in _The Month_ for August, 1891, pp. 542, 543.

SECTION IV.--_Of Probabilism_.

1. Sometimes conscience returns a clear, positive answer as to the
morality of an act contemplated. True or false the answer may be, but
the ring of it has no uncertain sound. At other times conscience is
perplexed, and her answer is, _perhaps_, and _perhaps not_. When the
woman hid Achimaas and Jonathan in the well, and said to Absalom's
servants, "They passed on in haste" (2 Kings xvii. 17-21), did she do
right in speaking thus to save their lives? A point that has perplexed
consciences for centuries. A man's hesitation is sometimes subjective
and peculiar to himself. It turns on a matter of fact, which others
know full well, though he doubts; or on a point of law, dark to him,
but clearly ruled by the consent of the learned. In such cases it is
his duty to seek information from people about him, taking so much
trouble to procure it as the importance of the matter warrants, not
consulting ten doctors as to the ownership of one hen. But it may be
that all due enquiries fail. The fact remains obscure; or about the
law, doctors differ, and arguments conflict indecisively. What is the
man to do? Take the _safe_ course: suppose there is an obligation, and
act accordingly? This principle, put as a command, would make human
life intolerable. It is, moreover, false, when so put, as we shall
presently prove. Take the _easy_ course, and leave the obligation out
of count? This principle is more nearly correct than the other: but it
needs interpretation, else it may prove dangerously lax.

2. To return to Achimaas and Jonathan and their hostess. Some such
reckoning as this may have passed through her mind: "Lying lips are an
abomination to the Lord: but is it a lie to put murderers off the
scent of blood?" To that question finding no answer, she may have made
up her mind in this way: "Well, I don't know, but I'll risk it." If
that were her procedure, she did not walk by the scientific lines of
Probabilism. The probabilist runs no risk, enters upon no uncertainty,
and yet he by no means always follows what is technically termed the
_safe_ course, that is, the course which supposes the obligation,
_e.g._, in the case in point, to have said simply where the men were.
How then does the probabilist contrive to extract certainty out of a
case of insoluble doubt? By aid of what is called a _reflex_
principle. A _reflex_ is opposed to a _direct_ principle. A direct
principle lays down an obligation, as it would bind one who had a
perfect discernment of the law and of the facts of the case, and of
the application of the one to the other, and who was perfectly able to
keep the law. By a _reflex_ principle, a man judges of his own act,
taking account of the imperfection of his knowledge and the
limitations of his power. Probabilism steps in, only where a case is
practically insoluble to an agent upon direct principles. The
probabilist thereupon leaves the direct speculative doubt unsolved. He
relinquishes the attempt of determining what a man should do in the
case in question, who had a thorough insight into the lie of the law.
He leaves that aside, and considers what is his duty, or not his duty,
in the deficiency of his knowledge. Then he strikes upon the
principle, which is the root of Probabilism, _that a doubtful law has
no binding power_. It will be observed that this is a _reflex_
principle. For objectively nothing is doubtful, but everything is or
is not in point of fact. To a mind that had a full grasp of the
objective order of things, there would be no doubtful law: such a mind
would discern the law in every case as holding or not holding. But no
human mind is so perfect. Every man has to take account of his own
limitations of vision in judging of his duty. The question for me is,
not the law absolutely, but the law as far as I can make it out. Our
proposition, then, states that when an individual, using such moral
diligence of enquiry as the gravity of the matter calls for, still
remains in a state of honest doubt as to whether the law binds, in
that mental condition it does not bind _him_.

3. What the law does not forbid, it leaves open. Aristotle indeed
(_Eth_., V., xi., 1) says the contrary, that what the law does not
command (he instances suicide), it forbids. All that he seems to mean
is, that if there be an act which at times might appear advantageous,
and yet is never commanded, there is a presumption of the legislator
being averse to that act. Again, there are special occasions, in view
of which the legislator undertakes to regulate the whole outward
conduct of a man by positive enactment, as with a soldier on parade:
what is not there commanded, is forbidden. But these instances do not
derogate from our general proposition, which is proved in this way.
The office of law is not to loose, but to bind. It declares, not what
the subject may do, but what he must or must not. It does not bring
liberty, but restriction. Therefore, if any one wishes to assert a
restriction, he must go to a law to prove it. If he can find none,
liberty remains. The law is laid on liberty. Liberty is not the
outcome of law, but prior to it. Liberty is in possession. The burden
of proof rests with those who would abridge liberty and impose an
obligation. It is an axiom of law itself, a natural, not an arbitrary
axiom, that _better is the condition of the possessor_: which amounts
in this matter to another statement, also axiomatic, _that a law binds
not till it is promulgated_. But a law of which I have serious
outstanding doubts whether it exists at all, or, if existent, whether
it reaches my case, is for this occasion a law not duly promulgated to
me. Therefore it binds me not, and my liberty remains.

4. It remains to consider what constitutes a _serious outstanding
doubt_. The word _outstanding_ has been already explained. It means
that we have sought for certain information, and cannot procure it.
Now what is a _serious_ doubt? It is a doubt founded on a _positive_
opinion against the existence of the law, or its applicability to the
case in point, an opinion fraught with probability, _solid,
comparative, practical probability_. The doubt must not be mere
negative doubt, or ignorance that cannot tell why it doubts; not a
vague suspicion, or sentimental impression that defies all
intellectual analysis; not a mere subjective inability to make up
one's mind, but some counter-reason that admits of positive statement,
as we say, _in black and white_. It is true that many minds cannot
define their grounds of doubt, even when these are real. Such minds
are unfit to apply the doctrine of Probabilism to themselves, but must
seek its application from others. The opinion against the law, when
explicitly drawn out, must be found to possess a _solid_ probability.
It may be either an intrinsic argument from reason and the nature of
the case, or an extrinsic argument from the word of some authority:
but the reason or the authority must be grave. The opinion is thus
said to be _intrinsically_ or _extrinsically_ probable. The
probability must also be _comparative_. There is many an argument, in
itself a very good one, that perishes when we come to consider the
crushing weight of evidence on the other side. An opinion is
_comparatively_ probable, when after hearing all the reasons and all
the authorities on the other side, the said opinion still remains _not
unlikely_, which is all that we mean to say of an opinion here, when
we call it _probable_. In ordinary English, the word _probable_ means
_more likely than otherwise_, which is not the signification of the
Latin _opinio probabilis_. Lastly, the probability must be
_practical_: it must take account of all the circumstances of the
case. Practical probability is opposed to _speculative_, which leaves
out of count certain circumstances, which are pretty sure to be
present, and to make all the difference in the issue. Thus it is
speculatively probable that a Catholic might without sin remain years
without confession, never having any grievous sins to confess,
grievous sin alone being necessary matter for that sacrament. There is
no downright cogent reason why a man might not do so. And yet, if he
neglected such ordinary means of grace as confession of venial sin,
having it within reach, month after month, no one, considering "the
sin which surrounds us," would expect that man to go without grievous
scathe. In mechanics, there are many machines that work prettily
enough in speculation and on paper, where the inventors do not
consider the difficulties of imperfect material, careless handling,
climate, and other influences, that render the invention of no
practical avail.

5. The safest use of Probabilism is in the field of property
transactions and of positive law. There is greatest risk of using it
amiss in remaining in a false religion. All turns upon the varying
amount of trouble involved in _moral diligence_ of enquiry, according
as the matter at issue is a point of mere observance or of vital

6. The point on which the probability turns must be the lawfulness or
unlawfulness of the action, not any other issue, as that of the
physical consequences. Before rolling boulder-stones down a hill to
amuse myself, it is not enough to have formed a probable opinion that
there is no one coming up. That would be Probabilism misapplied. The
correct enquiry is: Does any intrinsic reason or extrinsic authority
make the opinion probable, that it is lawful for mere amusement to
roll down rocks with any belief short of certainty that no one will be
crushed thereby? The probability, thus turned on to the lawfulness of
the action, breaks down altogether. This explanation, borne in mind,
will save much misapprehension.



SECTION I.--_Of a Twofold Sanction, Natural and Divine_.

1. The sanction of a law is the punishment for breaking it. The
punishment for final, persistent breach of the natural law is failure
to attain the perfect state and last end of the human soul, which is
happiness. If existence be prolonged under this failure, it must be in
the contrary state of misery. This failure and misery is at once a
_natural result_ and a _divine infliction_. It is the natural result
of repeated flagrant acts of moral evil, whereby a man has made his
nature hideous, corrupted and overthrown it. (c. vi., s. i., nn. 4, 5,
p. 111.) For an end is gained by taking the means, and lost by neglect
of the means thereto. Now, as we have seen, happiness is an
intellectual act, the perfection of an intellectual or rational nature
(c. ii., s. ii., p. 6); and the means to it are living rationally: for
a reasonable being, to do well and fare well, must live by that
reason, which is the _form_ of his being. (c. vi., s. i., n. 4, p.
111.) Whoever therefore goes about contradicting the reason that is
within him (c. v., s. iii., n. 3, p. 74) is not in the way to attain
to happiness. Happiness the end of man, the creature of all others the
most complex, is not to be stumbled upon by chance. You may make two
stones lean upright one against the other by chance, but otherwise
than by a methodical application of means to the end you could not
support the spire of Salisbury Cathedral.

2. Man's is a progressive nature (c. vi., s. i., nn. 2,3, p. 109),
himself being the director of his own progress. Other progressive
natures may be spoilt by their requirements being denied, and contrary
things done to them. Man has his requirements. It depends mainly on
himself whether he acts up to them or against them. If he acts against
them, he so far spoils himself; and once he is thoroughly spoilt by
his own doing, the final perfection of humanity is gone from him for
ever. It is the natural result.

3. I have spoken (n. 1) of _repeated flagrant acts_: not that I would
ignore the evil _set_ of the will that results from one gross and
deliberate evil deed (see c. ix., s. ii., n. 6, p. 168): but because
the case is clearer where the acts have been multiplied. However we
must not omit to observe, that it is not any _vice_, or evil habit,
that formally unfits a man for his final happiness, but an actual evil
_set_ of the will, coming of actual sin unrepented of, which _set_ is
more decided, when that uncancelled sin is the last of many such, and
the outcome of a habit. But supposing an habitual sinner to have
repented, and his repentance to have been ratified by God, and that he
dies, not actually in sin, but before the habit of sin has been
eradicated (c. v., s. ii., n. 1, p. 69),--we may say of him, that his
"foot is set in the right way," that is, his will is actually right,
and the obstacle to happiness is removed. The evil habit in him is not
an actual adhesion of his will to evil, but a proneness to relapse
into that state. It is only remotely and potentially evil. It is a
seed of evil, which however will not germinate in the good and
blissful surroundings to which the soul has been transplanted, but
remain for ever sterile, or rather, will speedily decay.

4. If we leave God out of morality, and take account only of the
_philosophical_ aspect of sin (c. vi., s. ii., n. 6, p. 119), we have
nothing further to say of the sanction than this, which has been said:
"Act against nature, and you will end by ruining your nature, and fail
of your final perfection and happiness." But now God comes in, the
giver of the law of nature; and the failure, already a natural result,
must henceforth be viewed also as a Divine chastisement. There is no
law without a sanction. There is no law, the giver of which can allow
it to be broken with impunity. A legislator who dispensed with all
sanction, would rightly be taken by young and old not to be in earnest
in his command. If then God must give a law to man whom He has created
(c. vi., s. ii., n. 9, p. 120), He must attach a sanction to that law;
and if the law is according to the exigency of human nature (c. vi.,
s. ii., n. 11, p. 122), so will the sanction also be the natural
outcome of that exigency set at naught and that law broken.

5. Our position gains by the consideration, that the object, in the
contemplation of which man's soul is to be finally and perfectly
blessed in the natural order, is the Creator seen through the veils of
His works. (c.ii., s.iv., p. 21.) This mediate vision of God, albeit it
is to be the work of a future existence, needs practice and
preparation in this life. God will not be discerned by the man who has
not been accustomed to look for Him. He will not be seen by the swine,
who with head to earth has eaten his fill of sensual pleasures, and
has cared for nothing better. He will not be seen by the covetous man
and the oppressor, who never identified His image hidden away under
the labour-stained dress of the poor. He will not be seen by the man,
who never looked up into His face in prayer here below. He will not be
seen by the earth-laden spirit, that cared nothing at all for God,
that hated the mention of His name, that proclaimed Him, or at least
wished Him, not to be at all.

6. It will be said that this argumentation supposes the habits of
vice, contracted on earth, to remain in the soul after departure: but
there is no proof of that: nay of some vices--those that have more to
do with the body, as drunkenness--the habits cannot possibly remain,
seeing that the appetite wherein they were resident has perished with
the body. First, as regards the instance cited, I reply that we may
consider drunkenness in two ways, on the one hand as a turning to the
creature, on the other as a turning away from reason and the Creator.
The craving for liquor cannot remain in the soul after death exactly
as it was before, though it probably continues in some analogous form,
as a thirst for wild and irregular excitement: but the loathing and
horror of the ways of reason and of God, engendered by frequent
voluntary intoxication, still continues in the soul. And from this
observation we draw the general answer, that whereas in every sin,
whether sensual or spiritual, the most important part is played by the
will, and the will is a spiritual, not an organic faculty, a faculty
which is a main element of the soul whether in or out of the
body,--therefore the evil bent and inclination of the will, which sin
involves, must remain even in the departed spirit. Lastly, we may ask:
To what purpose is our free-will given us, if all souls, good and bad
alike, users and abusers of the liberty they had on earth, enter into
their long home all of one uniform and spotless hue?

7. Thus then it comes to be, by order of nature and good consequence,
that the man who has abandoned God, goes without God; and he who has
shunned his last end and final good, arrives not unto it; and he who
would not go, when invited, to the feast, eats not of the same: and
whoso has withdrawn from God, from him God withdraws. "A curse he
loved, and it shall come upon him; and he would not have a blessing,
and it shall be far from him. He put on the curse like a garment, and
it has gone in like water into his entrails, and like oil into his
bones,--like a garment which covereth him, and like a girdle wherewith
he is girded continually." (Psalm cviii. 18, 19.)

8. Conversely, we might argue the final happiness which attaches to
the observance of the law of nature. (c. ii., s. v., p. 26.)

_Readings._--St. Thos., _Cont. Gent._, iii., cc. 140, 141, 143, 145.

SECTION II.--_Of the Finality of the aforesaid Sanction_.

1. By a _final_, as distinguished from an _eternal_ state, is here
meant the last state of existence in a creature, whether that state go
on for ever, in which case it is _final_ and _eternal_, or whether it
terminate in the cessation of that creature's being, which is a case
of a state _final_, but not _eternal_. Whether the unhappy souls of
men, who have incurred the last sentence of the natural law, shall
exist for eternity, is not a question for philosophy to decide with
certainty. The philosopher rules everything _a priori_, showing what
must be, if something else is. Of the action of God in the world, he
can only foretell that amount which is thus hypothetically necessary.
Some divine action there is, of which the _congruity_ only, not the
_necessity_, is apparent to human eyes: there the philosopher can tell
with _probability_, but not with _certainty_, what God will do. Other
actions of God are wholly beyond our estimate of the reasons of them:
we call them simply and entirely free. In that sphere philosophy has
no information to render of her own; she must wait to hear from
revelation what God has done, or means to do. Philosophers have given
_reasons of congruence_, as they call them, for the reprobate sinner
not being annihilated, and therefore for his _final_ punishment being
_eternal_. Those reasons go to evince the probability of eternal
punishment, a probability which is deepened into certainty by
revelation. We shall not enter into them here, but shall be content to
argue that a term is set to the career of the transgressor, arrived at
which he must leave hope behind of ever winning his way to happiness,
or ever leading any other existence than one of misery.

2. The previous question has shown that some punishment must attend
upon violation of the natural law. Suppose a trangressor has suffered
accordingly for a certain time after death, what shall be done with
him in the end? If he does not continue to suffer as long as he
continues to be, then one of three things: he must either pass into
happiness, or into a new state of probation, or his very punishment
must be a probation, wherein if he behaves well, he shall be rewarded
with happiness at last, or if ill, he shall continue in misery until
he amend. All this speculation, be it understood, lies apart from
revelation. If then the sufferer passed out of this world,
substantially and in the main a good man, it is not unreasonable that,
after a period of expiatory suffering for minor delinquencies, he
should reach that happiness which is the just reward of his
substantial righteousness. But what of him who closed his career in
wickedness exceeding great? Mere suffering will never make of him a
good man, or a fit subject for happiness. But the suffering may be
probationary, and he may amend himself under the trial. Against that
hypothesis philosophers have brought _a priori_ arguments to show that
the period of probation must end with the separation of the soul from
the body. But waiving all such arguments, let us suppose that there
might be probation after probation even in the world to come. But some
human souls would continue obstinately and unrepentingly set in
wickedness, age after age, and probation after probation: for the
possible malice of the will is vastly great. What is to become of such
obstinate characters? It seems against the idea of probation, that
periods of trial should succeed one another in an endless series. It
would be a reasonable rule in a university, that an undergraduate who
had been plucked twenty-five times, should become ineligible for his
degree. Coming after so many failures, neither would the degree be any
ornament to him, nor he to the university. A soul cannot look for
seasons without end of possible grace and pardon to shine upon it. The
series of probations must end somewhere. And then? We are come round
to where we began. When all the probation is over, the soul is found
either in conformity with the natural law, which means ultimate
happiness, or at variance with the law, and becomes miserable with a
misery that shall never terminate, unless the soul itself ceases to

3. It may be asked, how much conformity to the natural law is
requisite and sufficient, to exempt a person at the end of his trial
from a final doom of misery, or to ensure his lasting happiness? The
question resolves itself into three:--how do sins differ in point of
gravity? is grave sin ever forgiven? is the final award to be given
upon the person's whole life, a balance being struck between his good
and evil deeds, or is it to be simply upon his moral state at the last
moment of his career of trial?

4. It was a paradox of the Stoics, that all offences are equal, the
treading down of your neighbour's cabbage as heinous a crime as
sacrilege. (Horace, _Satires_, i., 3, 115-119.) But it is obvious that
there is a vast difference, as well _objectively_ in the matter of the
offence, _e.g_., in the instance just quoted from Horace, as also
_subjectively_ in the degree of knowledge, advertence, and will,
wherewith the offender threw himself into the sin. Thus offences come
to be distinguished as _grave_ and _light_: the latter being such as
with a human master would involve a reprimand, the former, instant
dismissal. Final misery is not incurred except by grave offending.

5. The second question, whether grave sin is ever forgiven, cannot be
answered by philosophy. Of course the sinner may see by the light of
reason his folly and his error, and thereby conceive some sort of
sorrow for it, and retract, and to some extent withdraw his will from
it on natural grounds. This amendment of sin on its moral and
philosophical side may deserve and earn pardon at human hands. But the
offence against God remains to be reckoned for with God. Now God is
not bound to forgive without receiving satisfaction; and He never can
receive due satisfaction from man for the contempt that a deliberate,
grave, and flagrant violation of the moral law puts upon the Infinite
Majesty of the Lawgiver. The first thing that revelation has to teach
us is whether, and on what terms, God is ready to pardon grievous sin.

6. The balance between deeds good and evil is not struck merely at the
instant of death. It is being struck continually; and man's final
destiny turns on how that balance stands at the close of his time of
probation. So long as he keeps the substance of the moral law, the
balance is in his favour. But one downright wilful and grievous
transgression outweighs with God all his former good deeds. It is a
defiance of the Deity, a greater insult than all his previous life was
a service and homage. It is as though a loyal regiment had mutinied,
or a hitherto decent and orderly citizen were taken red-handed in
murder. If however God deigns to draw the offender to repentance, and
to pardon him, the balance is restored. Thus everything finally
depends on man being free from guilt of grievous transgression at the
instant of death, or at the end of his period of probation, whenever
and wherever that end may come.

_Reading_.--Lessius, _De perfectionibus divinis_, 1.xiii., c. xxvi.,
nn. 183, seq.

SECTION III.--_Of Punishment Retrospective and Retributive_.

1. The doctrine of the last section might stand even in the mind of
one who held that all punishment is probational, and destined for the
amendment of him who undergoes it, to humble him, to awaken his sense
of guilt, and to make him fear to transgress again. On this theory of
punishment, the man who in his last probational suffering refuses to
amend, must be let drop out of existence as incorrigible, and so
clearly his final state is one of misery. The theory is not
inconsistent with _final_ punishment, but with _eternal_ punishment,
unless indeed we can suppose a creature for all eternity to refuse,
and that under stress of torment, a standing invitation to repentance.
It is however a peculiar theory, and opposite to the common tradition
of mankind, which has ever been to put gross offenders to death, not
as incorrigible, not simply as refuse to be got rid of, but that their
fate may be a _deterrent_ to others. Punishment, in this view, is
_medicinal_ to the individual, and _deterrent_ to the community.
Eternal punishment has been defended on the score of its _deterrent_
force. Both these functions of punishment, the _medicinal_ and the
_deterrent_ function, are prospective. But there is asserted a third
function, which is retrospective: punishment is said to be
_retributive_. It is on this ground that the justification of eternal
punishment mainly rests. We are however here concerned, not with that
eternity, but in an endeavour to give a full and adequate view of
punishment in all its functions.

2. If punishment is never _retributive_, the human race in all
countries and ages has been the sport of a strange illusion. Everyone
knows what _vengeance_ means. It is a desire to punish some one, or to
see him punished, not prospectively and with an eye to the future, for
his improvement, or as a warning to others, but retrospectively and
looking to the past, that he may suffer for what he has done. Is then
the idea of vengeance nothing but an unclean phantom? Is there no such
thing as vengeance to a right-minded man? Then is there an evil
element, an element _essentially_ and _positively_ evil, in human
nature. No one will deny that the idea, and to some extent the desire,
of vengeance, of retaliation, of retrospective infliction of suffering
in retribution for evil done, of what we learn to call in the nursery
_tit for tat_, is natural to mankind. It is found in all men. We all
respond to the sentiment:

  Mighty Fates, by Heaven's decree accomplish,
  According as right passes from this side to that.
  For hateful speech let speech of hate be paid back:
  Justice exacting her due cries this aloud:
  For murderous blow dealt let the murderer pay
  By stroke of murder felt.
  Do and it shall be done unto thee:
  Old is this saying and old and old again.

[Footnote 16: Æschylus, _Choephori_, 316, seq. These lines embody the
idea on which the dramas of the Shakespeare of Greece are principally
founded. But when was a work of the highest art based upon an idea
unsound, irrational and vicious?]

Nor must we be led away by Mill (_Utilitarianism_, c.v.) into
confounding retaliation, or vengeance, with self-defence. Self-defence
is a natural idea also, but not the same as retaliation. We defend
ourselves against a mad dog, we do not retaliate on him. Hence we must
not argue that, because self-defence is prospective, therefore so is

3. A thing is _essentially_ evil, when there is no possible use of it
which is not an abuse. Not far different is the conception of a thing
_positively_ evil, evil, that is, not by reason of any deficiency, or
by what it is not, but evil by what it is in itself. Such an
essential, positive evil in human nature would vengeance be, a natural
thing for which there was no natural use, unless punishment may in
some measure be retributive. We cannot admit such a flaw in nature.
All healthy philosophy goes on the principle, that what is natural is
so far forth good. Otherwise we lapse into Manicheism, pessimism,
scepticism, abysses beyond the reach of argument. Vengeance
undoubtedly prompts to many crimes, but so does the passion of love.
Both are natural impulses. It would scarcely be an exaggeration to set
down one third of human transgressions to love, and another third to
revenge: yet it is the abuse in each case, not the use, that leads to
sin. If the matrimonial union were wicked and detestable, as the
Manicheans taught, then would the passion of love be an abomination
connatural to man. Such another enormity would be the affection of
vengeance, if punishment could never rightly be retributive.

4. Aristotle, _Rhetoric_, I., x., 17, distinguishes two functions of
punishment thus: "Chastisement is for the benefit of him that suffers
it, but vengeance is for him that wreaks it, that he may have
satisfaction." Add to this the warning given to the commonwealth by
the example that is made of the offender, and we have the three
functions of punishment, _medicinal_, _deterrent_, and _retributive_.
As it is _medicinal_, it serves the _offender_: as it is _deterrent_,
it serves the _commonwealth_: as it is _retributive_, it serves the
_offended party_, being a reparation offered to him. Now, who is the
offended party in any evil deed? So far as it is a sin against
justice, an infringement of any man's right, he is the offended party.
He is offended, however, not simply and precisely by your violation of
the moral law, but by your having, in violation of that law, taken
away something that belonged to him. Consequently, when you make
restitution and give him back what you took away, with compensation
for the temporal deprival of it, he is satisfied, and the offence
against him is repaired. If you have maliciously burnt his house down,
you bring him the price of the house and furniture, together with
further payment for the fright and for the inconvenience of being, for
the present, houseless. You may do all that, and yet the moral guilt
of the conflagration may remain upon your soul. But that is no affair
of his: he is not the custodian of the moral law: he is not offended
by your sin, formally viewed as sin: nor has he any function of
punishing you, taking vengeance upon you, or exacting from you
retribution for that. But what if his wife and children have perished,
and you meant them so to perish, in the fire? Your debt of restitution
still lies in the matter which you took away. Of course it is a debt
that cannot be paid. You cannot give back his "pretty chickens and
their dam" whole and alive again. Still your inability to pay one debt
does not make you liable to that creditor for another debt, which is
part of a wholly different account. He is not offended by, nor are you
answerable to him for, your sin in this case any more than in the

5. We may do an _injury_ to an individual, commit a _crime_ against
the State, and _sin_ against God. The injury to the individual is
repaired by restitution, not by punishment, and therefore not by
vengeance, which is a function of punishment. There is no such thing
as vengeance for a private wrong, and therefore we have the precept to
forgive our enemies, and not to avenge ourselves, in which phrase the
emphasis falls on the word _ourselves_. The clear idea and strong
desire of vengeance, which nature affords, shows that there is such a
thing as vengeance to be taken by some one: it does not warrant every
form of vengeance, or allow it to be taken by each man for himself. It
consecrates the principle of retribution, not every application of the
principle. It is a point of _synderesis_, not of particular conduct.
The reader should recall what was said of the vengeance of Hannibal at
Himera. (c. viii., s. ii., p. 144.)

6. It belongs to the State to punish _political sin_, or crime, and to
God to punish _theological sin_, which is sin properly so called, a
breach of the Eternal Law. The man who has burnt his neighbour's house
down, though he has compensated the individual owner, may yet be
punished by the State. The owner, acting in his capacity as citizen,
even when he has been compensated as an individual, may still hand him
over to the State for punishment. The arson was a violation, not only
of _commutative_, but of _legal_ justice (c. v., s. ix., nn. 3, 6, pp.
103, 106), a disturbance of the public peace and social order, an
outrage upon the majesty of the law. For this he may be punished by
the State, which is the guardian of all these things, and which has
jurisdiction over him to make laws for him, and to enforce their
sanction against him. Civil punishment, besides being deterrent, is
retributive for the breach of social order. It is the vengeance of the
commonwealth upon the disturber of the public peace. Whether the State
can punish on pure grounds of retribution, away from all hope or need
of deterring possible imitators of the crime, is a question irrelevant
to our present enquiry. Probably a negative answer should be returned.

7. We come now to the punishment of sin by God, the Living
Reasonableness, the Head of the Commonwealth of Creation, the
Legislator of the Eternal Law, the Fountain of all Jurisdiction, Him
in whose hands rests the plenitude of the power to punish. An evil
deed may be no wrong to any individual man, no crime against the
State, but it must ever be an offence against God. It is a departure
from the order of man's progress as a reasonable being (c. v., s.
iii., n. 3, p. 74: c. vi., s. i., nn. 1-5, p. 109), which is founded
on the nature of God Himself (c. vi., s. i., n. 7, p. 113), of which
order God is the official guardian (c. vi., s. ii., nn. 8-10, p. 119),
and which is enjoined by God's Eternal Law. (c. vii., n. 3, p. 129.)
This law extends to all creation, rational and irrational, animate and
inanimate. It bids every creature work according to his or its own
nature and circumstances. Given to irrational beings, the law is
simply irresistible and unfailing: such are the physical laws of
nature, so many various emanations of the one Eternal Law. Given to
rational creatures, the law may be resisted and broken: sin is the one
thing in the universe that does break it. (c. vii., nn. 5-7, p. 130.)
A man may act in disregard of the Eternal Law on one or other of its
physical sides, and so much the worse for him, though he has not
broken the law, but merely ignored its operation, as when one eats
what is unwholesome. Much more shall he suffer for having broken the
law, in the only possible way that it can be broken, by sin. This
peculiar violation draws after it a peculiar consequence of suffering,
penal and retributive. If a man gets typhoid fever in his house, we
sometimes say it is a _punishment_ on him for neglecting his drains,
even when the neglect was a mere piece of ignorance or inadvertence.
It is an evil consequence certainly,--the law, which he thought not
of, working itself out in the form of disease. But it is not properly
punishment: no natural law has been really broken: there has been no
guilt, and the suffering is not retributive and compensatory. It does
not go to restore the balance of the neglect. It is a lamentable
consequence, not a repayment. As, when man wrongs his fellow-man, he
makes with him an _involuntary contract_ (c. v., s. ix., n. 6, p.
106), to restore what he takes away: so in sinning against God, man
makes another involuntary contract, to pay back in suffering against
his will what he unduly takes in doing his own will against the will
of the Legislator. As St. Augustine says of Judas (Serm. 125, n. 5):
"He did what he liked, but he suffered what he liked not. In his doing
what he liked, his sin is found: in his suffering what he liked not,
God's ordinance is praised." Thus it is impossible for the Eternal
Law, which bears down all so irresistibly in irrational nature,
finally to fail of its effect even upon the most headstrong and
contumacious of rational creatures; but, as St. Thomas says (1a 2æ, q.
93, art. 6, in corp.), "The defect of doing is made up by suffering,
inasmuch as they suffer what the Eternal Law prescribes for them to
the extent to which they fail to do what accords with the Eternal
Law." And St. Anselm (_Cur Deus homo_, nn. 14, 15): "God cannot
possibly lose His honour: for either the sinner spontaneously pays
what he owes, or God exacts it of him against his will. Thus if a man
chooses to fly from under the will of God commanding, he falls under
the same will punishing." Punishment is called by Hegel, "the other
half of sin." Lastly, they are God's own spoken words (Deut. xxxii.
35): "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay."

_Readings_.--St. Thos., _Cont. Gent_., iii. 140, n. 5, Amplius; _ib_.,
iii., 144, nn. 8, Per hoc, and 9, Est autem.

For Plato's views on punishment see _Protag_. 324 A, B; _Gorgias_,
525; _Rep_. 380 B, 615; _Phaedo_, 113 E; _Laws_, 854 D; 862 D, E; 934
A; 957 E. Plato recognizes only the _medicinal_ and the _deterrent_
functions of punishment, and ignores the _retributive_. This is not to
be wondered at in one who wrote: "No one is wicked voluntarily; but it
is an evil habit of body and a faulty education that is the cause of
every case of wickedness" (_Timaeus_, 86 E; cf. _Laws_, 731 C, D),
which error receives a masterly confutation in Aristotle, _Ethics_,
III, v.



1. Though the name _utilitarian_ is an English growth of this century,
the philosophy so called probably takes its origin from the days when
man first began to speculate on moral matters. Bentham and the two
Mills, Austin, and George Grote, have repeated in England the
substance of what Protagoras and Epicurus taught in Greece, two
thousand years before. It is the system of Ethics to which all must
incline, who ignore the spiritual side of man's nature and his hopes
of a better world. It is a morality of the earth, earthy.

2. Utilitarianism has not been formulated like the Athanasian Creed.
It is impossible to state it and combat it in a form to which all
Utilitarians will subscribe. Indeed, it is an amiable weakness of
theirs, when confronted with the grosser consequences that flow from
their theories, to run off to some explanation, true enough, but quite
out of keeping with the primary tenets of their school. We will take
what may be called a "mean reading" of the indications which various
Utilitarian thinkers afford of their mind and philosophy. These
authorities, then, teach two main heads of doctrine:--

(1) That the last end and final good of man lies in this world, and
consists in the greatest happiness of the greatest number of mankind,
happiness being taken to mean pleasure as well of the senses as of the
understanding, such pleasure as can be had in this world, along with
immunity from pain. (Mill's _Utilitarianism_, 2nd Ed., pp. 9, seq.)

(2) That human acts are _right_ or _wrong_, according as they are
_useful_ or _hurtful_, that is, according as their consequences make
for or against the above-mentioned end of social happiness.

3. Consequences, as Utilitarians very properly point out, are either
_general_ or _particular_. They add that, in pronouncing an action to
be good or evil according to its consequences, they mean the general
and not the particular consequences. In other words, they bid us
consider, not the immediate results of _this action_, but what would
be the result to society, if _this sort of action_ were generally
allowed. This point is well put by Paley (_Moral Philosophy_, bk. ii.,
c. vii.: all three chapters, vi., vii., viii., should be read, as the
best explanation of the Principle of General Consequences):

"You cannot permit one action and forbid another, without showing a
difference between them. Consequently the same sort of actions must be
generally permitted or generally forbidden. Where, therefore, the
general permission of them would be pernicious, it becomes necessary
to lay down and support the rule which generally forbids them.... The
assassin knocked the rich villain on the head, because he thought him
better out of the way than in it. If you allow this excuse in the
present instance, you must allow it to all who act in the same manner,
and from the same motive; that is, you must allow every man to kill
any one he meets, whom he thinks noxious or useless: ... a disposition
of affairs which would soon fill the world with misery and confusion,
and ere long put an end to human society."

My contention is, not with the Principle of General Consequences,
which has a certain value in Ethics, and is used by many writers other
than Utilitarian, but with the two stated above, n. 2, which are
called the Greatest Happiness Principle and the Principle of Utility.

4. Against the Greatest Happiness Principle I have these complaints:

(1) Utilitarians from Paley to John Stuart Mill aver that their
teaching is no bar to any man hoping for and striving after the
happiness of the world to come. They say that such happiness cannot be
better attained than by making it your principal aim to improve all
temporal goods and dissipate all temporal evil. Their maxim in fact
is: "Take care of the things of earth, and the things of heaven will
take care of themselves." Whereas it was the very contrary teaching of
Him, whom moderns, who see in Him no higher character, still love to
call the greatest of moral teachers: "That which fell among thorns are
they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares
and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit." (St. Luke
viii. 14.)

(2) It will be said that these thorns grow of selfishness, and that
these cares are the cares of individual interest, whereas the
Utilitarian's delight and glory is to live, not for himself, but for
the commonwealth. But how can a man, who takes pleasure to be his
highest good and happiness, live otherwise than for himself? Here we
come upon the unobserved fault and flaw, which entirely vitiates the
Utilitarian structure. It is an union of two opposite and incompatible
elements. An old poet has said:

  Vinegar and oil in one same vessel pour,
  They stand apart, unfriendly, all the more.

(Aeschylus, _Agam_., 330, 331.)

Utilitarianism consists of a still more unfriendly and unwholesome
mixture of two elements, both of them bad, and unable to stand
together, Hedonism and Altruism. Hedonism is the doctrine that the
main object and end of life is pleasure: which is the position laid
down in so many words by Mill (1. c.), that "actions are right in
proportion as they tend to promote happiness;" and "by happiness is
intended pleasure and the absence of pain." If Hedonism were sound
doctrine, the Pleasant and the Good would be identical, and the most
pleasant pleasure would ever be the best pleasure. That would take
away all distinction of _kind_ or _quality_ among pleasures, and
differentiate them only by intensity and duration. This was Paley's
doctrine, a fundamental point of Hedonism, and therefore also of the
Utilitarian philosophy. John Mill, very honourably to himself, but
very fatally to the system that he was writing to defend, parted
company with Paley. We have argued against Paley (c. iv., s. iii., nn.
3-5, p. 55), that there is a _better_ and a _worse_ in pleasures,
quite distinct from the _more_ or _less_ pleasurable, even if that
_more_ be taken _in the long run_ in this world.

Again it may be considered that pleasure, even the best and highest,
is a sort of efflorescence from activity, and is for activity, not
activity for it; and better is the activity, whatever it be, than the
pleasure which comes thereof; wherefore no pleasure, as pleasure, can
be the highest good and happiness of man.

Hedonism then is an error. But errors may be opposed to one another as
well as to the truth. Hedonism is opposed to Altruism in this way. A
man may take pleasure in seeing other people enjoy themselves. Nothing
is more common, except the pleasure taken in enjoying one's own self.
But if a man only feeds the hungry that he may have the satisfaction
of seeing them eat, is it the hungry or himself that he finally seeks
to gratify? Clearly, himself. That is the behaviour of the Hedonist,
he acts for his own pleasure even in his benevolence. The Altruist, on
the contrary, professes never to act for self, but for society. So
that society flourish, he is ready to be crushed and ruined, not in
the matter of his pleasure only, but even in that of his own good.
Selfishness, by which he means all manner of regard to self, is, upon
his conscience, the unforgiven sin. But Hedonism is selfishness in the
grossest form, being the mere pursuit in all things of pleasurable
feeling--feeling being always particular and limited to self, in
contradistinction to good, which is universal and diffuses itself all
round. The Hedonist seeks his own pleasure, where the Altruist forbids
him to take thought, let alone for his gratification, but even for his
good. Thus an Hedonist cannot be Altruist to boot; and, trying to
combine the two characters, the Utilitarian is committed to a

If he relinquishes Hedonism, and holds to Altruism, pure and simple,
his position is not much improved. Altruism overlooks the fact, that
man, as compared with other men, is a _person_, the centre of his own
acts, not a _thing_, to be entirely referred to others. He is in
relation with others, as child, father, husband, master, citizen; but
these relations do not take up the whole man. There is a residue
within,--an inner being and life, which is not referable to any
creature outside himself, but only to the Creator. For this inner
being, man is responsible to God alone. The good of this, the "inner
man of the heart," is each individual's proper and primary care.
Altruism, and Utilitarianism with it, ignore the interior life of the
soul, and substitute human society, that is, ultimately, the
democratic State, in place of God.

(3) Another confusion that the Greatest Happiness Principle involves,
is the mistaking the political for the ethical end of life. The
political end, which it is the statesman's business to aim at, and the
citizen's duty to subserve, is "the natural happiness of the
commonwealth, and of individuals as members of the commonwealth, that
they may live in it in peace and justice, and with a sufficiency of
goods for the preservation and comfort of bodily life, and with that
amount of moral rectitude which is necessary for this outward peace
and preservation of the commonwealth, and the perpetuity of the human
race." (Suarez, _De Legibus_, III., xi., 7.) This is all the good that
the Utilitarian contemplates. He is satisfied to make a good
_citizen_, a good _husband_, a good _father_, for the transactions of
this life. He has no concern to make a good _man_ up to the ethical
standard, which supposes the observance of the whole natural law,
duties to God, and duties within himself, as well as duties to human
society, and by this observance the compassing of the everlasting
happiness of the man's own individual soul.

Against the Principle of Utility I find these charges:

(1) It takes the sign and indication of moral evil for the evil
itself, as if the physician should take the symptom for the disease.
It places the wickedness of an act in the physical misery and
suffering that are its consequences. This is, I say, a taking of the
indication for the thing indicated. An act is bad in itself and by
itself, as being a violation of the rational nature of the doer (c.
vi., s. i.), and being bad, it breeds bad consequences. But the
badness of the act is moral; the badness of the consequences,
physical. There is an evident intrinsic irrationality, and thereby
moral evil, in such sins as intemperance, peevishness, and vanity. But
let us take an instance of an act, apparently harmless in itself, and
evil solely because of the consequences. Supposing one insists upon
playing the piano for his own amusement, to the disturbance of an
invalid who is lying in a critical state in the next room. Do the mere
consequences make this otherwise innocent amusement evil? Yes, if you
consider the amusement in the abstract: but if you take it as _this
human act_, the act is inordinate and evil in itself, or as it is
elicited in the mind of the agent. The volition amounts to this: "I
prefer my amusement to my neighbour's recovery," which is an act
unseemly and unreasonable in the mind of a social being. Utilitarians
fall into the capital error of ignoring the intrinsic value of an act,
and estimating it wholly by extrinsic results, because they commonly
follow the phenomenalist philosophy, which breaks away from all such
ideas as _substance_ and _nature_, and regards nothing but sequences
and coexistences of phenomena. To a phenomenalist the precept, _Live
up to thy nature_, can have no meaning.

(2) Aristotle (_Ethics_, II., iv., 3) draws this distinction between
virtue and art, that "the products of art have their excellence in
themselves: it suffices therefore that they are of this or that
quality: but acts of virtue are not done virtuously according to the
quality of the thing done, but according to the state of mind of the
doer; first, according to his knowledge of what he was about; then,
according to his volition, as that was guided or not guided by the
proper motives of the virtue; thirdly, according to the steadiness and
fixedness of his will; whereas all these considerations are of no
account in a work of art, except the single one of the artist being
aware of what he was about." Elsewhere (_Ethics_, VI., iv., 2), he
says that virtue is distinguished from art as being _action_, not
_production_. The Principle of Utility confounds virtue with art, or
perhaps I should say, with manufactures. It judges conduct, as one
would shoemaking, by trial of the product, or net result. So far from
being solicitous, with Aristotle, that volition should be "guided by
the proper motives of the virtue" which there is question of
practising (c. v., s. viii., n. 4, p. 96: Ar. _Eth_., III., viii.),
Mill (_Utilitarianism_, p. 26) tells us that "utilitarian moralists
have gone beyond almost all others in affirming that the motive has
nothing to do with the morality of the action." By _motive_ he
understands what we have called _the end in view_. (c. iii., s. ii.,
n. 2, p. 31.) So that, if one man waits on the sick for the love of
God, and another in hope of a legacy, the morality of these two acts
is the same, just as it makes no difference to the usefulness of a
pair of boots, what motive it was that set the shoemaker to work.
True, Mill admits that the motive has "much to do with the worth of
the agent:" but that, he hastens to explain, is inasmuch as "it
indicates ... a bent of character from which useful, or from which
hurtful actions are likely to arise." Even so,--the shoemaker who
works to earn money for a carousal, is not likely to go on producing
useful articles so long as another, who labours to support his family.
Such is the moral difference that Mill places between the two men; one
instrument of production is longer available than the other.

(3) Another well established distinction is that between _harm_ and
_injury_, injury being wilful and unjust harm. The housemaid, who in
arranging the room has burned your manuscript of "sugared sonnets,"
has done you no injury, for she meant none, but how vast the _harm_ to
the author and to mankind! Harm is visible in the effects: but injury
only upon examination of the mind of the agent. Not so, however, the
Utilitarian thinks: harm being equal, he can make no difference
between a tyrant and a man-eating tiger. Thus George Grote says of a
certain murderous usurper of the kingdom of Macedon: "You discover
nothing while your eye is fixed on Archelaus himself.... But when you
turn to the persons whom he has killed, banished, or ruined--to the
mass of suffering that he has inflicted--and to the widespread
insecurity which such acts of iniquity spread through all societies
where they become known--there is no lack of argument which prompts a
reflecting spectator to brand him as [a most dangerous and destructive
animal, no] a disgraceful man." (Grote's _Plato_, ii., p. 108.) Why
Archelaus is described in terms of the tiger, and then branded as a
disgraceful man, we are at a loss to conceive, except in this way,
that the writer's philosophy forsook him at the end of the sentence,
and he reverted to the common sense of mankind. But he should have
either ended the sentence as suggested in the parenthesis, or have
been willing to call the man-eater of the Indian jungle, who has
"learned to make widows, and to lay waste their cities," _a
disgraceful tiger_; or lastly, he should have looked back, where he
declared it was vain to look, upon Archelaus himself, and discerned in
him that moral deformity, and contradiction of reason, whereof a brute
beast is incapable, but which is a disgrace and a stain upon humanity.

A later writer, who presses Utilitarianism into the service of
Socialism, is plainer-spoken than Grote, and says bluntly: "To be
honestly mistaken avails nothing. Thus Herbert Spencer--who is under
the delusion that we have come into this world each for the sake of
himself, and who opposes, as far as he can, the evolution of
society--is verily an immoral man.... Right is every conduct which
tends to the welfare of society; wrong, what obstructs that welfare."
(Gronlund, _Co-operative Commonwealth_, pp. 226, 227.) Thus is
overlaid the difference between harm and injury, between physical and
moral evil: thus is the meaning of a _human act_ ignored: in this
abyss of chaos and confusion, which Utilitarianism has opened out,
Moral Philosophy finds her grave.

(4) The Principle of Utility sees in virtue a habit of self-sacrifice,
useful to the community, but not naturally pleasant, and therefore not
naturally good and desirable, to him that practises it, but made
pleasurable and good and desirable to him by practice. (Mill, pp.
53-57.) In this way virtue becomes naturally a very good thing for
every one else but its possessor, but to him it is a natural evil,
inasmuch as it deprives him of pleasure, which natural evil by habit
is gradually converted into a factitious and artificial good, the man
becoming accustomed to it, as the proverb says, "like eels to
skinning." This theory is the resuscitation of one current among the
Sophists at Athens, and described by Plato thus.--The natural good of
man is to afford himself every indulgence, even at the expense of his
neighbours. He follows his natural good accordingly: so do his
neighbours follow theirs, and try to gratify themselves at his
expense. Fights ensue, till mankind, worried and wearied with
fighting, make a compact, each to give up so much of his natural good
as interferes with that of his neighbour. Human society, formed on
this understanding, enforces the compact in the interest of society.
Thus the interest of society is opposed to the interest of the
individual, in this that it keeps him out of his best natural good,
which is to do as his appetite of pleasure bids him in all things,
though it compensates him with a second-class good, by preventing his
neighbours from pleasure-hunting at his expense. If then his
neighbours could be restrained, and he left free to gratify himself,
that would be perfect bliss. But only a despot here or there has
attained to it. The ordinary man must pay his tax of virtue to the
community, a loss to him, but a gain to all the rest: while he is
compensated by the losses which their virtue entails upon them.

Such was the old Athenian theory, which John Mill, the Principle of
Utility in his hand, completes by saying that by-and-bye, and little
by little (as the prisoner of Chillon came to love his dungeon), the
hampered individual comes to love, and to find an artificial happiness
in, those restrictions of his liberty, which are called Virtue.

It was against this theory that Plato wrote his _Republic_, and, to
compare a little thing to a great, the whole account of moral good
being in consonance with nature, and of moral obligation rising out of
the nature of the individual man, as has been set forth in this brief
Text-book, may serve for a refutation of the perverse doctrine of

_Readings_.--Plato, _Republic_, pp. 338 E, 339 A, 343 C, D, E, 344 A,
B, C, 358 E, 359 A, B, 580 B, C.

       *       *       *       *       *


We assume in Natural Law the preceding treatise on Ethics, and also
the principal truths of Natural Theology.



SECTION I.--_Of the Worship of God_.

1. _Worship_ is divided into _prayer_ and _praise_. To pray, and
present our petitions to the Most High, is a privilege; a privilege,
however, which we are bound to use at times, as the necessary means
for overcoming temptations and inclinations to evil. We praise and
adore God for His sovereign excellence, which excellence,
nevertheless, would found in us no positive duty if we stood free of
all dependence upon God. In such an hypothesis we should lie simply
under the negative duty of not thinking of God, speaking of Him, or
acting towards Him otherwise than with all reverence. So we should
behave to the Great Stranger, with civility, with admiration even and
awe, but not with cordiality, not with loyalty, not with homage, not
with love. Very different are our relations and our duties to God our
Lord, "in whom we live, move, and have our being." There is nothing in
us or about us, no positive perfection of ours whatsoever, that is not
His gift, and a gift that He is not giving continually, else it would
be lost to us. We are therefore bound in His regard, not merely to
abstention but to act. And first, for inward acts, we must habitually
feel, and at notable intervals we must actually elicit, sentiments of
adoration and praise, of thanksgiving, of submission, of loyalty and
love, as creatures to their Creator, and as vassals to their very good
Lord, for He is our Creator and Lord in the natural order, not to say
anything here of the supernatural filiation, by which, as the Church
says, "we dare" to call God "Our Father."

2. We must also express these sentiments by outward act. All the signs
of reverence, which man pays to his human superior, must be paid to
God "with advantages": bowing passes into prostration, uncovering the
head into kneeling, kissing the hand into offering of incense: not
that these particular developments are necessary, but some such
development must take place. We shall not be content to think
reverential thoughts, but we shall say, or even sing, great things of
God's greatness and our indebtedness and duty: such a vocal exercise
is psalmody. We shall represent in symbolic action our dependence on
the Lord of life and death, and also our sinfulness, for which He
might justly strike us dead: such a representation is sacrifice.

3. All this we must do, first, for the sake of our own souls, minds
and hearts, to quicken the inward sentiment of adoration and praise.
"Worship, mostly of the silent sort," worship, that finds no
expression in word or gesture,--worship away from pealing organs and
chants of praise, or the simpler music of the human voice, where no
hands are uplifted, nor tongues loosened, nor posture of reverence
assumed, becomes with most mortals a vague, aimless reverie, a course
of distraction, dreaminess, and vacancy of mind, no more worth than
the meditations of the Lancashire stone-breaker, who was asked what he
thought of during his work,--"Mostly nowt."

4. Again, what the body is to the soul, that is exterior devotion to
interior. From the soul interior devotion springs, and through the
body it manifests itself. Exterior devotion, without the inward spirit
that quickens it, is worship unprofitable and dead: it tends at once
to corruption, like the body when the soul has left it. Interior
devotion, on the other hand, can exist, though not with its full
complement, without the exterior. So that it is only in the union of
the two together that perfect worship is given to God by men as men.
Upon which St. Thomas has this naïve remark, that "they who blame
bodily observances being paid to God, evidently fail to remember that
they themselves are men."

Thus we pay tithe to God for soul and body, by acts of religion
interior and exterior. But man is, under God, the lord of this earth
and of the fulness thereof. He must pay tithe for that too by devoting
some portion of it to the direct service of God, to whom it all
primarily belongs. For "mine is the gold and mine the silver." (Aggeus
ii. 9.) Such are the words that God spoke through His prophet to
incite His people to restore his sanctuary.

6. It is therefore not true to say that the sole reason of outward
worship is to move the worshipper to interior devotion. It is not true
that St. Peter's at Rome, and Cologne Cathedral, and the Duomo of
Milan, with all their wealth and elaborate ceremonial, exist and are
kept up solely because, things of earth as we are, we cannot be
depended upon to praise God lovingly within the white-washed walls of
a conventicle, or according to the simple ritual of the Society of
Friends. We would not, even if we could, pray habitually among such
surroundings, where we could afford to better them. We have before us
the principle of St. Thomas (1a 2æ, q. 24, art. 3, in corp.):

"Since man's good consists in reason as in its root, the more actions
proper to man are performed under the direction of reason, the more
perfect will man's good be. Hence no one doubts that it belongs to the
perfection of moral good, that the actions of our bodily members
should be directed by the law of reason, ... as also that the passions
of the soul should be regulated by reason."

This means, not merely that if the bodily members or the passions stir
at all, it is a good and desirable thing for them to be ruled by
reason; but further that it is a positive addition to human perfection
that they should stir and be active, provided reason guide them.
(_Ethics_, c. iv., s. i., n. 6, p. 45.)

It certainly is an action proper to man to express in gesture, in
voice, in concert and company with his fellow-men, and by employment
of whatever is best and fairest and brightest under his command in the
material creation, his inward affections of loyalty, of homage and
devotion, of awe and reverence, of gratitude and love to his Creator.

Good as these affections are in the heart of the worshipper, they
receive an external complement of goodness and perfection by being
blazoned forth in vocal utterance, singing, bending of knees,--by the
erection and embellishment of temples, and offerings of gold, silver,
precious stones, and incense,--and by men thronging those temples in
multitudes for social worship,--provided always that the inward
devotion of the heart be there, to put a soul into these outward
demonstrations and offerings.

7. Concerning these religious observances interior and exterior, it is
as idle to pretend that they are _useful_ to Almighty God as it is
irrelevant to object that they are _useless_ to Him. Of course they
are useless to Him. All creation is useless to God. A Being who can
never receive any profit, increment, or gain, dwells not within the
region of utilities. Theologians indeed distinguish between intrinsic
and extrinsic glory, that is, between the glory which God gives
Himself by His own contemplation of His own essence, and the glory
which His creatures give Him. They say that God is thus capable of
extrinsic increment, to which increment the praise and worship of His
creatures is useful. But, after all, they are fain to avow that the
whole of this extrinsic increment and glory is no real gain to God,
giving Him nothing but what He had before in an infinitely more
excellent mode and manner from and of Himself. Thus it appears that
the extrinsic glory of God, to which the worship paid Him by man
contributes, is valued, not because it is properly _useful to Him_,
but because He is most properly and highly _worthy of it_. "Thou art
worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and power: because
thou hast created all things, and for thy will they were, and have
been created." (Apoc. iv. II.) And being worthy of this glory, He
wills to have it, and does most strictly exact it, for which reason He
is called in the Scripture _a jealous God_. So those who reflect some
sparkle of God's Majesty, and under some aspect represent His person
upon the earth, as do princes, lay and ecclesiastical, have many
observances of honour and respect paid to them, which are not _useful_
as supplying a _need_--for who needs a salute of twenty-one guns?
nevertheless their dignity is _worthy_ of them, and they require them

8. What man feels strongly, he expresses in word and action. What all
men feel strongly, they express by meeting together for the purpose.
So that, if strong religious feeling is an element in every good and
reasonable man's character, it is bound to find expression, and that a
social expression. Men must worship together according to some
external form and ritual. God may reveal what He wills that ritual to
be. In fact He did give such a revelation and prescription to the
Jews. To Christians He has spoken in His Son, and still speaks in His
Church. Any other than the one sacrifice that He has instituted, or
any other public religious ritual than is approved by the religious
authority which He has established, is to Him of itself, and apart
from the invincibly erroneous devotion of them that pay it, an
abomination: for He has "not chosen it." Still we cannot say that, in
every possible state of things, God is bound to reveal the ritual that
He desires, or is bound Himself to designate the authority that shall
fix the ritual which alone He will accept and allow of. If the will of
God is not thus expressed, a ritual must still be drawn up. In a
matter that excites the mind, as religion does, and where a large
field is open for hallucination and eccentricity, it will not do to
have individuals parading methods of worship of their own invention.
Here the Greek maxim comes in, [Greek: tima tho daimonion katha tha
patria], "honour the Deity after the fashion of thy country."
Religious authorities must be set up, in the same way that the civil
power is set up. These authorities will determine, not the object, but
the outward manner of worship. Every great nation, or important member
of the human family, would come probably to have its own
characteristic rite; and within each rite there would be local

_Readings_.--St. Thos., _Contra Gentiles_, iii., 119; 2a 2æ, q. 81,
art. 4, in corp.; _ib_., q. 81, art. 7 _ib_., q. 84, art. 2: _ib_., q.
85, art. 1, in corp., ad 1, 3; _ib_., q. 91.

SECTION II.--_Of Superstitious Practices_.

1. Superstition is the abuse of religion. It is superstition, either
to worship false gods, or to worship the true God with unauthorized
rites, or to have dealings with wicked spirits, whether those spirits
have once animated human bodies or not. Of the first head, the only
avowed instance within our civilization is the Positivist worship of
the _Great Being_, that is, of the collective Worthies of Humanity, if
indeed it amounts to worship. The second head might have been
meditated by Archbishop Cranmer with advantage, when he was drawing up
the Edwardine Ordinal. Under the third head comes Spiritualism, which
we shall here not discuss in detail, but merely indicate certain
principles upon which it must be judged.

2. "There is nothing superstitious or unlawful in simply applying
natural agencies to the production of certain effects, of which they
are supposed to be naturally capable.... We must consider whether
there is a fair appearance of the cause being able to produce the
effect naturally. If there is, the experiment will not be unlawful:
for it is lawful to use natural causes in order to their proper
effects." (2a 2æ, q. 96, art. 2, in corp., ad 1.) But this we must
understand under two provisos. First, that the "fair appearance"
spoken of be not opposed by a considerable force of evidence, whether
of authority or of reason, tending the other way: for in this matter,
which is not a mere matter of legality, it is not permissible to run
risks of becoming familiar with God's enemies. Secondly, that the
cause, though natural, be not morally prejudicial. Not even a natural
cause, brandy for instance, may be used to all its effects. Thus for
the mesmeric sleep, though that should be proved to be purely natural,
yet the weakening of the will thence ensuing, and the almost
irresistible dominion acquired by the operator over his patient,
render it imperative that such a remedy should not be applied without
grave necessity, and under an operator of assured moral character.

3. St. Thomas continues in the place last quoted: "Wherefore, if there
is no fair appearance of the causes employed being able to produce
such effects, it needs must be that they are not employed to the
causation of these effects as causes, but only as signs, and thus they
come under the category of preconcerted signals arranged with evil

The modern Spiritualist is only too forward to avow his understanding
with the unseen powers; but he will have it that the spirits that he
deals with are good and harmless. We must prove the spirits by the
general effects of their communications--whether they be in accordance
with the known laws of morality, and the assured teachings of
religion, natural and revealed. Also we must consider, from what we
know from approved sources concerning God, and His holy angels, and
the spirits of the just, either already made perfect, or still
suffering for a time, whether they are likely to respond to such signs
as Spiritualists commonly employ. Also we must not ignore, what
revelation tells us, of an "enemy," a "father of lies," who "changes
himself into an angel of light," and who is ever ready, so far as it
is permitted him, to eke out curiosity, folly, and credulity, such as
he found in Eve.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 93; _ib_., q. 95, art. 4, in corp.

SECTION III.--_Of the duty of knowing God_.

1. Religious worship is bound to its object, and cannot possibly be
fixed in the hearts of men and the institutions of society, if the
object be doubtful and fluctuating. False religion has often been set
off with elaborate and gorgeous ceremonial, which has been kept up
even after the performers had come to see in all that light and lustre
a mere vain and unsubstantial show. Such were the rites of Roman
polytheism, as enacted by augurs and pontiffs, the colleagues of
Cicero and Cæsar. But though that worship was maintained, and even
augmented, for political purposes, without a creed, yet never could it
have arisen without some creed, however mistaken, earnestly held of
old. A firm interior conviction is the starting-point of all outward
worship. But if the modern living worshipper is without creed and
conviction; if he be a scoffer at heart, or at least a doubter; what a
hollow, horrid skeleton thing is his religion,--all the more horrid,
the grander its dress! That is not worship, but mummery.

2. If then to worship God is a duty, as we have proved, it is a duty
likewise to know God. This supposes that God is knowable, a fact which
it does not lie within the province of this work to prove. To an
unknown God, all the worship we could render would be to build Him an
altar, without priest, prayer, or sacrifice, and so leave Him in His
solitude. God is knowable by the _manifestation_ of His works (Rom. i.
19); and where He is pleased to speak, by the _revelation_ of His
word. Apart from revelation--and, under a certain order of Providence,
God might have left us without revelation--we should study our Creator
as He is made manifest in the world around us, in the existence of
perishable things, in the order of the universe, in the region of
things eternally possible and knowable, in moral truths, in the mental
life and conscience of man. Philosophy would be our guide in the
search after God. Men with less leisure or ability for speculation
would acquiesce in the pronouncements of philosophers on things
divine; and, in the hypothesis which we are contemplating, Providence
would doubtless arrange for the better agreement and harmony of
philosophers among themselves. Their trumpet would not send forth so
uncertain a blast, were that the instrument, in the counsels of God,
whereby the whole duty of religion was to be regulated. As it is, we
know better than philosophy could teach us: for God hath spoken in His

_Readings_.--_C. Gent_., i., 4; 1a 2æ, q. 91, art. 4, in corp.



SECTION I.--_Of Killing, Direct and Indirect_.

1. In a hilly country, two or three steps sometimes measure all the
interval between the basins of two rivers, whose mouths are miles
apart. In the crisis of an illness the merest trifle will turn the
scale between death and recovery. In a nice point of law and intricate
procedure, the lawyer is aware that scarcely more than the thickness
of the paper on which he writes lies between the case going for his
client or for the opposite party. To rail at these fine technicalities
argues a lay mind, unprofessional and undiscerning. _Hair-splitting_,
so far as it is a term of real reproach, means splitting the wrong
hairs. The expert in any profession knows what things to divide and
distinguish finely, and what things to take in the gross. Moral
Science in many respects gives its demonstrations, and can give them,
only "in the way of rough drawing," as Aristotle says. ([Greek:
pachulos kai tupo], _Ethics_, I., iii., 4.) But there are lines of
division exceeding fine and nice in natural morality no less than in
positive law. The student must not take scandal at the fine lines and
subtle distinctions that we shall be obliged to draw in marking off
lawful from unlawful action touching human life.

2. _It is never lawful directly to kill an innocent man_. Understand
_innocent_ in the social and political sense, of a man who has not, by
any _human act_ (_Ethics_, c. i., n. 2, p. 1) of his own, done any
harm to society so grievous as to compare with loss of life. To kill,
or work any other effect, _directly_, is to bring about that death, or
other effect, willing the same, _either as an end desirable in
itself_, as when a man slays his enemy, whose death of its own sheer
sake is to him a satisfaction and a joy, or _as a means to an end_, as
Richard III. murdered his nephews to open his own way to the throne.
We must then in no case compass the death of the innocent, either
_intending_ it as an _end_, or _choosing_ it as a _means_. The
assertion is proved by these considerations. To kill a man is to
destroy the human nature within him: for, though the soul survives, he
is man no more when he is dead. Now to destroy a thing is to
subordinate that thing entirely to your self and your own purposes:
for that individual thing can never serve any other purpose, once it
is destroyed. The man that is killed is then subordinated to the
slayer, wholly given up, and as we say, _sacrificed_, to the aims and
purposes of him who slays him. But that ought not to be, for man is a
_person_. Body and soul in him make one person, one personal nature,
which _human personality_ is destroyed in death. Now it is the
property of a person to be what we may call _autocentric_, referring
its own operations to itself as to a centre. Every _person_--and every
intelligent nature is a person [Footnote 17]--exists and acts
primarily for himself. A _thing_ is marked off from a _person_ by the
aptitude of being another's and for another. We may venture to
designate it by the term _heterocentric_. A person therefore may
destroy a thing, entirely consume and use it up for his own benefit.
But he may not treat a person as a thing, and destroy that, either for
any end of pleasure that he finds in destroying it, or in view of any
gain or good, whereunto that destruction serves him as a means.

[Footnote 17: The exception apparent in the Incarnation is not
relevant here.]

3. In the above argumentation account has not been taken of God, to
whom for His sovereign dominion all created personalities stand in the
light of _things_, and may be destroyed at His pleasure. But account
has been taken of the State, to which the individual is subordinate as
a citizen, but not as a man and a person. It is permitted no more to
the State than to the individual ever to destroy the innocent

4. An effect is brought about _indirectly_, when it is neither
_intended_ as an _end_ for its own sake, nor _chosen_ as a _means_
making towards an end, but attaches as a circumstance concomitant
either to the end intended or to the means chosen. The case of a
circumstance so attaching to the means chosen is the only case that we
need consider here in speaking of _indirect_, _concomitant_, or
_incidental_ effects. The study of these incidents is of vast
importance to the moralist. Most cases of practical difficulty to
decide between right and wrong, arise out of them. They are best
illustrated in the manner of killing. That one matter, well worked
out, becomes a pattern for other matters in which they occur.
(_Ethics_, c. iii., s. ii., p. 31.)

5. A man is killed _indirectly_, or _incidentally_, when he perishes
in consequence of certain means employed towards a certain end,
without his death being willed by the employer of those means, or in
any way serving that agent to the furtherance of the end that he has
in view. If a visitor to a quarry were standing on a piece of rock,
which a quarryman had occasion to blast, and the man fired the train
regardless of the visitor, the latter would be _incidentally_ killed.
Now incidental killing, even of the innocent, is not under all
circumstances unlawful. Where the end in view is in the highest degree
important, the means may be taken thereto, provided always that such
an issue as the shedding of innocent blood be not itself the means
discerned and elected as furthering the end: for no end however urgent
can justify the employment of any evil means. (_Ethics_, c. iii., s.
ii., nn. 3, 13, pp. 32, 36.) Suppose in the instance just given the
quarryman saw that, unless that piece of rock where the visitor stood
were blown up instantly, a catastrophe would happen elsewhere, which
would be the death of many men, and there were no time to warn the
visitor to clear off, who could blame him if he applied the explosive?
The means of averting the catastrophe would be, not that visitor's
death, but the blowing up of the rock. The presence or absence of the
visitor, his death or escape, is all one to the end intended: it has
no bearing thereon at all.

6. We must then distinguish between _means_ and _circumstances_. The
means help to the end, the circumstances of the means do not. When the
end is of extreme urgency, circumstances may be disregarded: the means
become morally divested of them. So I have seen an island in a river,
a nucleus of rock with an environment of alluvial soil. While the
stream was flowing placidly in its usual course, the island remained
intact, both rock and earth. But when the water came rushing in a
flood, which was as though the island itself had gone speeding up the
river, the loose matter at its sides was carried away, and only the
central rock remained. The ordinary flow of the river past the island,
or the gentle motion of the island up-stream, keeping all its bulk,
represents a man acting for an end to which reason attaches no great
importance. He must then take a diligent review of all the
circumstances that have any close connection with his action, to see
if there is any that it would be wrong for him to will directly. And
if there is, he must abstain from willing it even indirectly: that is,
he must abstain from doing the action, which cannot be done without
that objectionable circumstance attending it. On the other hand, the
floating island being towed rapidly up-stream, with its loose sides
falling away, portrays the condition of one acting for a purpose of
imperative urgency: he considers the means to that end, and if they
are good, he concentrates his will upon them and uses them,
disregarding, or even deploring, but nowise willing or being
responsible for, the evil concomitants which go with those means, but
do not make for his end. Thus it is, that a circumstance which in
ordinary cases goes to make the adoption of certain means reasonable
or unreasonable, comes, in a case of great urgency, to weigh for
nothing in the balance of reason, owing to the extreme and crying
reasonableness of the end in view. Nor is this the end justifying the
means, for that unhappy circumstance is never a means to the end.
(_Ethics_, c. iii., s. ii., n. 8, p. 34.)

7. To illustrate by a diagram:


 (   )
   A-----------------------------------E(   )V

A, the _agent_, a bead on a wire, can move only on the line AE, that
alone being the line of means to the end.

EV, _reasonableness of end in view_, attracting A.

UC, the amount of moral evil which the _untoward circumstance_ would
involve, if it were willed directly. This UC repels A, tending to jam
it on the line AE, which is absolutely rigid.

AE, remoteness, difficulty, and uncertainty of the end in view.

AU, remoteness of untoward circumstance from means chosen, which A is
just in the act of taking. Then, for lawful action, the reasonableness
required in the end in view is represented by the variation--

              UC . AE
  EV *varies* -------

We observe that when AU is zero, while UC . AE remains a finite
quantity (representing an appreciable evil), then EV becomes infinite:
that is to say, when the distance, difference, or distinction between
the evil circumstance and the means comes down to nothing at all, and
the evil thing actually is the very means taken, then an infinite
urgency of end in view would be requisite to justify the using of that
means: in other words, no end possible to man can ever justify an evil

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q.64, art. 6; Cardinal de Lugo, _De
Justitia et Jure_, disp. 10, n. 125.

SECTION II.--_Of Killing done Indirectly in Self-defence_.

1. On the question, whether it is lawful for one man to kill another
in self-defence, St. Thomas writes (2a 2æ, q. 64, art. 7):

"There is nothing to hinder one act having two effects, of which one
only is within the intention [and election] of the doer, while the
other is beside his intention [and election, that is, is neither
intended as an end nor elected as a means].... From the act therefore
of one defending himself a twofold effect may follow, one the
preservation of his own life, the other the killing of the aggressor.
Now such an act, in so far as the preservation of the doer's own life
is intended, has no taint of evil about it, seeing that it is natural
to everything to preserve itself in being as much as it can.
Nevertheless, an act coming of a good intention may be rendered
unlawful, if it be not in proportion to the end in view. And
therefore, if any one uses greater violence than is necessary for the
defence of his life, it will be unlawful. But if he repels the
violence in a moderate way, it will be a lawful defence: for according
to the Civil and Canon Laws it is allowable _to repel force by force
with the moderation of a blameless defence_. Nor is it necessary to
salvation for a man to omit the act of moderate defence in order to
avoid the killing of another; because man is more bound to take
thought for his own life than for the life of his neighbour. But
because to kill a man is not allowable except by act of public
authority for the common good, it is unlawful for a man to intend
[that is, elect and choose as a means] to kill another man in order to
defend himself, unless he be one who has public authority, who
intending [electing] to kill a man in order to his own defence, refers
this to the public good."

2. The right then of self-defence even to the shedding of blood
involves a mere exercise of indirect killing for a proportionably
grave cause. The cause in question is the defence of your own life, or
your friend's, or of some other good or possession that can weigh with
life, as the honour and inviolability of your person, or a large sum
of money. This must be in present danger of being taken away otherwise
than in due course of justice. The danger must be present, and even
imminent, not prospective. The right of self-defence even to the
grievous harming of the aggressor, endures only while the danger from
him is imminent, not when it is past, or the evil is already done. The
right supposes no moral obliquity, no formal injustice on the part of
the aggressor: he may be a madman making for you with a drawn sword.
Nay further, not even _material_ injustice--that is, the quality of an
act which would be _formally_ unjust, if only the agent knew what he
was about--is required. All that is requisite is that your life, or
something equivalent to life, be threatened, _not in due course of

3. The essential idea of self-defence is that of stopping a
trespasser, one who, however innocently, is going about to trench on
that good which you have a right to maintain and reserve to yourself.
It is then no act of authority that you perform, but the dealing of
one private person with another. Indeed, the party stopped is hardly
regarded as a person: no account is taken of his demerits: he is
regarded simply as an abridger and diminisher of what you have a right
to preserve intact. You stop a man as you stop a horse, only with more
regard to _the moderation of a blameless self-defence_, not using more
violence than is necessary here and now to preserve what you have to

4. The stopping, unfortunately, has often to be done in a hurry: there
is no time to wait: for the next moment, unless you act promptly, it
will be all too late, or all to no purpose, to act at all. Being done
in a hurry, it has to be done in a rough-and-ready way, with such
instruments as are to hand: you cannot afford to be nice about the
means, carefully purifying them, and shaking off the dust of
objectionable circumstances. Now to stop a man in mid career all on a
sudden, to render him powerless where he was about to strike,
motionless in the direction whither he was about to go, and that in an
instant, is of common necessity a rude treatment, very dangerous to
him who experiences it, and under some conceivable circumstances
hopelessly fatal. Still the fatality--in plain words, the death of the
aggressor--is not _directly willed_. It is neither _intended_ as an
_end_, nor _chosen_ as a _means to an end_. It is not welcomed as an
end and desirable consummation: on the contrary, it is put up with
most reluctantly as coming from your act: for you, a private
individual, have no right to will and effect the death of any man,
however guilty, as will be proved hereafter. It is not chosen as a
means: for, formally as his death, it is no means to your end, which
was the averting of all present danger to your right. For that it was
enough to _stop_ the trespasser; and you chose the means as a
_stopping_ means, not as a _killing_ means. True, in stopping him you
killed him, but you did not kill him to stop him. You struck him to
stop him: that your blow was a mortal blow, was a circumstance which
you did not choose and could not help. All killing then in
self-defence is indirect.

5. By this explanation, resting on St. Thomas--in opposition to
Cardinal de Lugo (_De Just. et Jure_. 10, 149) and others, who allow
killing in self-defence to be the actual means chosen, and therefore
directly willed--we save four grand positions in Moral Science:

(a) The axiom, that _it is never lawful directly to take the life of
an innocent man_. For the person who perishes by occasion of your
defending yourself, may be innocent _formally_, and even _materially_

(b) Likewise the axiom, that _it is never lawful for a private
individual to kill any one whatever_. We say, from a technical
standpoint, that he does not _kill_ but _arrests the onset of_ the

(c) We are in hearty accord with the positive law of all civilized
countries, which views with extreme suspicion all deaths said to be
done in self-defence, the law being jealous of the blood of its
citizens, and reserving the shedding thereof to itself. We teach that
only by process of law can a man ever be directly slain, his death
made a means of, and the person, who strikes him, really willing and
seeking, exactly speaking, to kill him.

(d) The initial error is revealed of a theory that we shall have to
combat at length hereafter, the theory of Hobbes and Locke, that the
power of the State is the mere agglomeration of the powers of the
individuals who compose it. It appears by our explanation that the
individual has no power strictly to take life in any case, or ever to
kill directly, as the State does when it executes a criminal.

As a fifth point gained, we may mention the efficacious argument
afforded, as will presently be shown, against the acceptance of a duel
under any conceivable circumstances, a thesis otherwise not easy to
establish by reason.

6. In view of the question of the origin of civil government, we must
carefully collect the differences between self-defence and punishment.
Death occasioned in self-defence is _indirect_: death inflicted as
punishment is _direct_. Punishment is an act of _authority_, of
_distributive justice_, which lies from ruler to subject (_Ethics_, c.
v., s. ix., n. 4, p. 104): self-defence is of equal against equal.
Punishment is _medicinal_ to him who suffers it, or _deterrent_ on
behalf of the community, or _retributive_ in the way of vengeance.
(_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., n. 4.) Self-defence is not on behalf of
the community, still less for the good of the aggressor, but for the
good of him who practises it and for the preservation of his right:
neither is it retributive and retrospective, as vengeance is, but
simply prospective and preventive of a harm immediately imminent.
Finally, the right to punish abides day and night: but the right of
self-defence holds only while instant aggression is threatened.

7. These two diverse ideas of _self-defence_ and _vengeance_ were
confounded by the Greeks under the one verb [Greek: amunesthai]. They
are confounded by Mill, _On Utility_, in the fifth chapter where he
speaks (p. 77) of the "instinct of self-defence," which nine lines
below he converts into "the natural feeling of retaliation or
vengeance." It is a common but a grave mistake, and the parent of much
bad philosophy.

_Reading_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 64, art. 7.

SECTION III.--_Of Suicide_.

1. By suicide we shall here understand the _direct compassing of one's
own death_, which is an act never lawful. There is no difficulty in
seeing the unlawfulness of suicide for ordinary cases. The world could
not go on, if men were to kill themselves upon every slight
disappointment. But neither are they likely so to do. It is the hard
cases, where men are apt to lay violent hands on themselves, that put
the moralist on his mettle to restrain them by reasons. Why should not
the solitary invalid destroy himself, he whose life has become a
hopeless torture, and whose death none would mourn? Why should not a
voluntary death be sought as an escape from temptation and from
imminent sin? Why should not the first victims of a dire contagion
acquiesce in being slaughtered like cattle? Or if it be deemed
perilous to commit the departure from life to each one's private whim
and fancy, why not have the thing licensed under certificate of three
clergymen and four doctors, who could testify that it is done on good

2. To all these questions there is one good answer returned by Paley
on the principle of General Consequences. (_Ethics_, c. x., n. 3, p.

"The true question of this argument is no other than this: May every
man who chooses to destroy his life, innocently do so? Limit and
distinguish the subject as you can, it will come at last to this
question. For, shall we say that we are then at liberty to commit
suicide, when we find our continuance in life becomes useless to
mankind? Any one who pleases, may make himself useless; and melancholy
minds are prone to think themselves useless when they really are not
so.... In like manner, whatever other rule you assign, it will
ultimately bring us to an indiscriminate toleration of suicide, in all
cases in which there is danger of its being committed. It remains,
therefore, to enquire what would be the effect of such a toleration:
evidently, the loss of many lives to the community, of which some
might be useful or important; the affliction of many families, and the
consternation of all: for mankind must live in continual alarm for the
fate of their friends, when every disgust which is powerful enough to
tempt men to suicide, shall be deemed sufficient to justify it."
(_Moral Philosophy_, bk. iv., c. iii.)

A word in confirmation of Paley on the plan of the medico-clerical
certificate. There would be doctors, and I fear clergymen too, who
would get a name for giving these certificates easily: under their
hand many a patient might be smothered by his attendants with or
without his own consent. Many another wretch would consider, that if
the learned and reverend gentlemen empowered to license his departure
from life only felt what he had to endure, there would be no
difficulty about the certificate: so he would depart on presumed
leave. The whole effect would be to make men less tender of their own
lives, and by consequence of those of others, to the vast unsettling
of society.

3. An argument from general consequences, however, does not go down
into the depths of things. There is always something morally crooked
and inordinate in an action itself, the general consequences whereof
are bad. It remains to point out the moral crookedness, inordination,
and unreasonableness, that is intrinsic to the act of suicide, apart
from its consequences. We find the inordination in this, that suicide
is an act falling upon undue matter, being an act destructive of that
which the agent has power over only to preserve. It is natural to
every being, animate and inanimate, to the full extent of its entity
and power, to maintain itself, and to resist destruction as long as it
can. This is the struggle for existence, one of the primary laws of
nature. Man has intelligence and power over himself, that he may
conduct his own struggle well and wisely. He may struggle more or
less, as he sees expedient, looking to higher goods even than
self-preservation in this mortal life: but he may not take that power
of managing himself, which nature invests him with for his
preservation, and use it to his own destruction. Should he do so, he
perverts the natural order of his own being, and thereby sins.
(_Ethics_, c. vi., s. i., nn. 1-5, p. 109.)

4. It may be objected, that man is only bound to self-preservation so
long as life is a blessing; that, when the scale of death far
outweighs that of life in desirableness, it is cruelty to himself to
preserve his life any longer, and a kindness to himself to destroy it;
that in such a plight, accordingly, it is not unnatural for a man to
put himself, not so much out of life as out of misery. To this
argument it is sometimes answered that, whereas death is the greatest
of evils, it is foolish and wicked to resort to dying as a refuge
against any other calamity. But this answer proves too much. It would
show that it is never lawful even to wish for death: whereas under
many conditions, such as those now under consideration, death is a
consummation devoutly to be wished, and may be most piously desired,
as a gain and by comparison a good: as Ecclesiasticus says (xxx. 17):
"Better is death than a bitter life, and everlasting rest than
continual sickness." The truth seems to be, that there are many things
highly good and desirable in themselves, which become evil when
compassed in a particular way. The death of a great tyrant or
persecutor may be a blessing to the universe, but his death by the
hand of an assassin is an intolerable evil. So is death, as the
schoolmen say, _in facto esse_, and everlasting rest, better than a
bitter life, but not death _in fieri_, when that means dying by your
own hand. There the unnaturalness comes in and the irrationality. A
mother, watching the death agony of her son, may piously wish it over:
but it were an unmotherly act to lay her own hand on his mouth and
smother him. To lay violent hands on oneself is abidingly cruel and
unnatural, more so than if the suicide's own mother slew him.

5. But though a man may not use actual violence against his own
person, may he not perhaps cease to preserve himself, abstain from
food, as the Roman noble did, in the tortures of the gout, and by
abstaining end them? I answer, a man's taking food periodically is as
much part of his life as the coursing of the blood in his veins. It is
doing himself no less violence to refuse food ready to hand, when he
is starving, on purpose that he may starve, than to open a vein on
purpose to bleed to death. This, when the food is readily accessible:
the case is otherwise when it is not procurable except by
extraordinary means.

6. Another consideration. To destroy a thing is the exclusive right of
the owner and master of the same. If therefore man is his own master,
in the sense that no one else can claim dominion over him, may he not
accordingly destroy himself? The metaphysician will point out that
_master_ denotes a relation, that every relation has two terms, that
consequently a man cannot be his own master any more than he can be
his own father; and that, not owning himself, he may not destroy
himself. But, leaving this metaphysical argument for what it is worth,
we observe that man has a Master, Owner, Proprietor, and Sovereign
Lord, God Almighty. To take your own life is to usurp the dominion of
God. It is wronging the Lord of life and death. But none is wronged
against his will: God is willing that murderers should be hung, may He
not also be willing that men in misery should hang themselves? To this
query suffice it for the present to reply, that God governs us for our
good; and that capital punishment makes for the good of the community,
but never suicide. (c. viii., s. viii., n. 7, p. 349.)

7. It was the doctrine of Aristotle and the Greeks, that the citizen
belongs to the State, and that therefore suicide was robbing the State
and doing it a formal injury. But no modern State takes this view of
its subjects. No modern mind would place suicide in the same category
of crime with robbing the Exchequer.

8. The great deterrent against suicide, in cases where misery meets
with recklessness, is the thought,

  In that sleep of death what dreams may come!--

above all, the fear of being confronted with an angry God. Away from
belief in God's judgments and a future state, our arguments against
suicide may be good logic, but they make poor rhetoric for those who
need them most. Men are wonderfully imitative in killing themselves.
Once the practice is come in vogue, it becomes a rage, an epidemic.
Atheism and Materialism form the best _nidus_ for the contagion of
suicide. It is a shrewd remark of Madame de Stael: "Though there are
crimes of a darker hue than suicide, yet there is none other by which
man seems so entirely to renounce the protection of God."

_Readings_.--Ar., _Eth_., III., vii., 13; _ib_., V., xi., nn. 1-3; St.
Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 64, art. 5; St. Aug., _De Civitate Dei_, i., cc. 26,
27; Paley, _Mor_. _Phil_., bk. iv., c. iii.

SECTION IV.--_Of Duelling_.

1. A duel may be defined: A meeting of two parties by private
agreement to fight with weapons in themselves deadly. The meeting must
be _by agreement_: a chance meeting of Montagues and Capulets, where
the parties improvise a fight on the spot is not a duel. The agreement
must be _private_; anything arranged by public authority, as the
encounter of David with Goliath, that in the legend of the Horatii and
Curiatii, or the _wager of battle_ in the Middle Ages is not a duel.
It is enough that the weapons be _in themselves deadly_, as swords or
pistols, though there be an express stipulation not to kill: but a
pre-arranged encounter with fists, with foils with buttons on, or even
perhaps with crab-sticks, is not a duel.

2. The hard case in duelling is the case of him who receives the
challenge. Let us make the case as hard as possible. In a certain
army, every challenge sent to an officer is reported to a Court of
Honour. If the Court decide that it ought to be accepted, accept the
officer must, or lose his commission and all hope of military
distinction. In this army, say, there is an officer of high promise
who is believed to object to duels on conscientious grounds. An enemy
pretends to have been insulted, and challenges him, on purpose to see
him refuse and have to go down into the ranks, his career spoilt. The
Court of Honour rules that the duel must come off. Of this very case,
Reiffenstuel, a canonist of repute, about the year 1700, writes:

"The answer is, ... that they who in such cases are so necessitated
and constrained to offer, or accept, a duel, as that unless they
offered, or accepted it, they would be held cowardly, craven, mean,
and unfit to bear office in the army, and consequently would be
deprived of the office that they actually enjoy, and support
themselves and their family by, or would for ever forfeit all hope of
promotion, otherwise their due and desert,--these I say in such a case
are free from all fault and penalty, whether they offer or accept a
duel." (In lib. v. decret., tit. 14, nn. 30, 31.)

The author protests in his Preface that he wishes his opinions "all
and each to be subject to the judgment, censure, and correction of the
Holy Catholic Church." The opinion above quoted was condemned, word
for word as it was uttered, by Pope Benedict XIV. in 1752.

Now for Reiffenstuel's reason. "The reason," he says, "is, because in
such a case as is supposed the acceptance and offering of a duel is an
absolutely necessary, and thereby a just and lawful, defence of your
reputation, or goods of fortune, and, by equivalence, even of your
life, against an unjust aggressor, who we suppose does you an injury,
and thereby gives you no choice but to call him out, or calls you out,
and accordingly assails you in words, &c. Hence, as for the needful
defence of reputation, or of goods of fortune of great consequence, it
is lawful, with the moderation of a blameless defence, to kill an
unjust aggressor, so it will be also lawful to offer and accept a
duel, and therein slay the other party." Reiffenstuel here evidently
supposes that killing done in self-defence is _direct_. Those who
agree with him on that point, proceed to draw differences between
self-defence and accepting a challenge. Of course the two are not the
same. The true difficulty for them lies in making out how the reasons
which justify self-defence in their view of it, do not also justify
the acceptance of a duel: how, if I may make another man's death a
means to the preservation of my vital right, I may not as well make
another man's risk of death and my own, which is all that a duel
amounts to, also a _means_, none other being at hand, to the
preserving of my no less vital right. This grave objection does not
touch us. We have denied that killing in self-defence is direct. On
the lines of that denial we meet Reiffenstuel's argument simply as

3. In self-defence, the aggressor is slain _indirectly_. In a duel,
not indeed the death itself, or mutual slaughter of the combatants, is
_directly_ willed, but the risk of mutual slaughter is directly
willed. But we may not directly will the risk of that which we may not
directly do. And the combatants may not directly do themselves or one
another to death. Therefore they may not directly risk each his own
and his antagonist's life. But this risk is of the essence of a duel.
Therefore duelling is essentially unlawful.

4. Such is the clenched fist, so to speak, of our argument. Now to
open it out, and prove in detail the several members. In self-defence,
neither the death of the aggressor nor the risk of his death is
directly willed, whereas the risk of death is directly willed in a
duel, which difference entirely bars the argument from self-defence to
duelling. For a duel is a means of recovering and preserving honour,
which is effected by a display of fortitude, which again consists in
exposing yourself to the risk of being killed, and, as part of the
bargain, of killing the other man. The risk to life is of the essence
of a duel: it only attains its end--of establishing a man's character
for courage--by being dangerous to life. Fortitude essentially
consists in braving death. (_Ethics_, c. v., s. viii., n. 1, p. 94.)
Deadly weapons, chosen because they are deadly and involve a risk of
life in fighting with such arms, are the apt and express means for
showing readiness to brave death. If the weapons were not deadly,
there would be no point in the duel. As a matter of fact, where our
definition of duel is verified, and weapons in themselves deadly are
used, the encounter cannot be other than dangerous, especially between
foes and where the blood is up. In the French army, where the
regimental fencing-master stands by, sword in hand, ready to parry any
too dangerous thrust, serious results still have occurred. If any man
will have it that short smooth-bore pistols at forty paces in a fog
are not to be counted dangerous weapons, all we can say is that MM.
Gambetta and De Fourton, the one being nearly blind, and the other
having lost an eye, did not fight a duel. In a duel then the danger of
being killed and of killing is _directly_ willed; it is the precise
_means chosen_ to the end in view.

5. We have proved already that it is not lawful directly to procure
one's own death, nor the death of another innocent man. If any one
contends that his antagonist is not innocent, not even in a
_political_ sense (c. ii., s. i., n. 2, p. 203), we must here assume
against him, what we shall afterwards prove, that the guilty are not
to be _directly_ put to death except by public authority. But what we
may not directly bring about, we may not directly risk the occurrence
of. As I may not throw myself down a cliff, so neither may I walk
along the edge precisely for the chance of a fall. I may often walk
there _with_ the chance of falling, but not _because_ of the chance.
It will be said that the English love of fox-hunting and Alpine
climbing is largely owing to the element of danger present in those
amusements. But it is not the danger pure and simple, that is chosen
for amusement: it is the prospect of overcoming danger by skill. The
same may be said of Blondin on the tight-rope: it was his skill, not
his mere risk, that was admired. There are some risks that no skill
can obviate, as those of Alpine avalanches. We may face a mountain
slope where avalanches occur, but we must not hang about there because
of the avalanches, making our amusement or bravado of the chance of
being killed. That would be willing the risk of death _directly_, as
it is willed in duelling.

_Readings_.--Paley, _Mor. Phil._, bk. iii., p. 2, c. ix.; St. Thos.,
2a 2æ, q. 72, art. 3.



SECTION I.--_Of the Definition of a Lie_.

1. "Let none doubt," says St. Augustine, "that he lies, who utters
what is false for the purpose of deceiving. Wherefore the utterance of
what is false with a will to deceive is unquestionably a lie." The
only question is, whether this definition does not contain more than
is necessary to the thing defined. The objective falseness of what is
said makes a _material_ falsehood: the will to utter what is false
makes a _formal_ falsehood (_Ethics_, c. iii., s. ii., n. 7, p. 33):
the will to create a false impression regards, not the falsehood
itself, but the effect to follow from it. If a person says what is not
true, but what he takes to be the truth, he tells indeed a material
lie, but at the same time he puts forth no _human act_ (_Ethics_, c.
i., n. 2, p. 1) of lying. If on the other hand he says what he
believes to be false, though it turns out true, he tells a formal lie,
though not a material one, and moreover, he does a _human act_ of
lying. But _human acts_ are the subject-matter of morality. The
moralist therefore is content to define the _formal lie_: the
_material_ aspect of the lie is irrelevant to his enquiry. A formal
lie is saying what one believes not to be true, or promising what one
intends not to perform: briefly, it is _speaking against one's mind_.

2. We shall show presently that to speak against one's mind is
intrinsically, necessarily, and always evil. But when a thing is thus
evil in itself, there is no need to bring into the definition of the
act, from a moral point of view, the intention with which it is done.
There is no use in prying into ends, when the means taken is an
unlawful means for any end. If a person blasphemes, we do not ask why
he blasphemes: the intention is not part of the blasphemy: the
utterance is a sin by itself. But if a person strikes, we ask why he
strikes, to heal or to slay, in self-defence or in revenge. So, if
speaking against one's mind is a thing indifferent and colourless in
point of morality, and all depends on the intention with which we do
it, so that we may speak against our minds to put another off, but not
to deceive him, then certainly the intention to deceive must be
imported into the definition of lying. But if, as we shall prove
presently, the act of so speaking is by no means indifferent and
colourless, but is fraught with an inordinateness all its own, then
the intention may be left out of the question, the act is to be
characterised on its own merits, and _speech against one's mind_ is
the definition of a lie.

3. Then, some one will say, it would be a lie for a prisoner in
solitary confinement to break the silence of his cell with the
exclamation, _Queen Anne is not dead_. The answer is simple: it takes
two to make a speech. A man does not properly speak to himself, nor
quarrel with himself, nor deal justly by himself. Not that it would be
a lie to deny the death of Queen Anne even in public: for speech is an
outward affirmation, the appearance of a serious will to apply
predicate to subject: but in this case there is no appearance of a
serious will: on the contrary, from the manifest absurdity of the
assertion, it is plain that you are joking and do not mean to affirm
anything. This perhaps is as far as we can go in permission of what
are called _lies in jest_.

_Readings_.--St Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 110, art. 1.

SECTION II.--_Of the Evil of Lying_.

1. Human society cannot go on, if men are to be allowed
indiscriminately to lie to one another. Thucydides (iii., 83) gives as
the reason of the extravagant length to which faction ran in Greece in
his time: "For there was no power to reconcile the parties, no
plighted word reliable, no oath held in awe." Even in trifles no one
likes to be lied to, and we are not to do to our neighbour what we
would not have done to ourselves. The laws of good fellowship require
that we should "put away lying, and speak the truth every man with his
neighbour: for we are members one of another." (Ephesians iv. 25.)
This at least in ordinary circumstances. The same good fellowship
requires that in ordinary circumstances we should respect the lives
and property of our fellow-men.

2. But it is lawful to take life in pursuance of the just judgment of
authority: it is lawful to seize upon property in self-preservation.
These exceptions stand very harmoniously with the well-being of
society, or rather are required by it, as we shall see later on. The
law against lying, so far as it is founded on the general prejudice
done to society by the shock of social confidence, and on the
particular annoyance of the party lied to, may seem to admit of
similar exceptions. Whoever has no reasonable objection to having life
and property taken from him in certain contingencies, can he
reasonably complain of any hurt or inconvenience that he may suffer
from a lie being told him at times?

3. I put forward this difficulty, not as though it were without its
answer in the principle of General Consequences: still it is a
difficulty. Besides, if the whole harm of lying is in the unpleasant
effect wrought upon the deceived hearer, and the scandal and bad
consequences to society at large, it is a long way to go round to show
that lying is impossible to God. He in whose dominion are all the
rights and claims of man, is not to be restrained by the mere
reluctance of His creatures to be deceived, or by the general bad
effects of a lie upon the edifice of human credit. As Master He might
impose this annoyance upon the individual, these bad consequences upon
society: or by His Providence He might prevent their occurring,
whenever He willed in His utterances to swerve from the truth. The
only help for the argument for the Divine veracity on these grounds,
is to urge with Plato that none of the motives which lead men to lie
can ever find place in the mind of God: that a lie is a subterfuge, an
economy, a device resorted to under stress of circumstances, such as
can never serve the turn of the Supreme Being. But though God be
inaccessible to human reasons for departing from the truth, may He not
have higher reasons, mysterious, and unsearchable, for such a
deviation? It is long arguing out this point. Better bring the
discussion sharp round with the question: Is there not some element in
the Divine Nature itself, which makes it impossible for God to speak

4. Undoubtedly there is such an element, deep down, even at the root
of the sanctity of God. God is holy in that, being by essence the
fulness of all being and all goodness, He is ever true to Himself in
every act of His understanding, of His will, and of His power. By His
understanding He abidingly covers, grasps, and comprehends His whole
Being. With His will He loves Himself supremely. His power is
exercised entirely for His glory--entirely, but not exclusively, for
God's last and best external glory is in the consummated happiness of
His creatures. Whatever God makes, He makes in His own likeness, more
or less so according to the degree of being which He imparts to the
creature. And as whatever God does is like Him, and whatever God makes
is like Him, so whatever God says is like Him: His spoken word answers
to His inward word and thought. It holds of God as of every being who
has a thought to think and a word to utter:

  To thine own self be true,
  And it must follow as the night the day,
  Thou canst not then be false to any man.

5. God's sanctity is in His being true to Himself. His veracity is
part of His sanctity. He cannot in His speech, or revelation of
Himself, contradict what He really has in His mind, without ceasing to
be holy and being no longer God. But the sanctity of intellectual
creatures must be, like their every other pure perfection, modelled on
the corresponding perfection of their Maker. Holiness must mean
truthfulness in man, for it means truthfulness in God. God's words
cannot be at variance with His thought, for God is essential holiness.
Nor can man speak otherwise than as he thinks without marring the
attribute of holiness in himself, that is, without doing wrong.

6. To speak against one's mind is an act falling upon undue matter.
Words are naturally signs of thoughts. Not that the words of any given
language, as English or German, have any natural connection with the
thoughts that they express; but it is natural to men, natural to every
intellectual being, to have some mode of expressing his thoughts by
outward signs; and once a sign is recognized as the sign of a certain
thought, so long as the convention remains unrepealed, whoever uses
that sign, not having in his mind at the time the thought which that
sign signifies, but the contradictory to it, is doing violence to the
natural bond between sign and thing signified, by putting forward the
former where the latter is not behind it. And since the due and proper
matter for the sign to be put upon is the presence in the mind of the
thought signified, to make that sign where the opposite thought is
present, is, as St. Thomas says, an act falling upon undue matter. The
peculiar spiritual and moral inviolability of the connection between
word and thought, appears from the consideration which we have urged
of the archetype holiness of God. This then is the real, intrinsic,
primary, and inseparable reason, why lying, or speech in contradiction
with the thought of the speaker, is everywhere and always wrong.

7. Grotius (_De Jure Belli et Pacis_, I. iii., c. i., nn. 11, seq.)
argues a lie to be wrong solely inasmuch as it is "in conflict with
the existing and abiding right of the person spoken to." If _right_
here means something binding in _commutative justice_ (_Ethics_, c.
v., s. ix., n. 6, p. 106), we deny that any such right is violated by
what is called a _simple_ lie, that is, an untruth not in the matter
of religion, and not affecting the character, property, or personal
well-being of our neighbour. For if a simple lie is a violation of
commutative justice, it carries the obligation of restitution
(_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 6, p. 107); that is, we are bound to tell
the truth afterwards to the person that we have lied to, even in a
matter of no practical consequence,--quite a new burden on the
consciences of men. Again, if the bar to lying were the hearer's
right, whoever had dominion over another's right might lie to him; the
parent might lie to the child, the State to the citizen, and God to
man, a doctrine which, away from its application to God, Grotius
accepts. Lastly since _volenti non fit injuria_, the presumed
willingness of the listener would license all manner of officious and
jocose lies, as the authority of the speaker would sanction official
fabrications. Thus, what with official, and what with officious
speeches, it would be very hard to believe anybody.

8. By our rejection of Grotius' theory we are enabled to answer
Milton's question: "If all killing be not murder, nor all taking from
another, stealing why must all untruths be lies?" Because, we say,
killing and taking away of goods deal with rights which are not
absolute and unlimited, but become in certain situations void; whereas
an untruth turns, not on another's right, but on the exigency of the
speaker's own rational nature calling for the concord of the word
signifying with the thought signified, and this exigency never varies.
_Untruth_ and _falsehood_ are but polite names for a _lie_.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 110, art. 3, in corp., ad. 4; _ib_.,
q. 109, art. 2, 3, in corp.; Ar., _Eth_., IV., vii.; Plato, _Rep_.,
382, 389 B, C.

SECTION III.--_Of the keeping of Secrets without Lying_.

1. There are _natural_ secrets, secrets of _promise_, and secrets of
_trust_. A _natural_ secret is all a man's own private history, which
he would not have made public, as also all that he discovers by his
own observation of the similar private history of his neighbours. If a
man finds out something about his neighbour, and, after he has found
it out for himself, the neighbour gets him to promise not to publish
it, that is a secret of _promise_. Lastly, if one man comes to
another, as to a lawyer, or a surgeon, for professional advice, or
simply to a friend for moral counsel, and in order thereto imparts to
him some of his natural secrets, those secrets, as they are received
and held by the person consulted, are called secrets of _trust_. This
latter kind of secret is privileged above the other two. A natural
secret, and also a secret of promise, must be delivered up on the
demand of an authority competent to inquire in the department where
the secret lies. But a secret of trust is to be given up to no
inquirer, but to be kept against all who endeavour to come by it,
except where the matter bodes mischief and wrong to a third party, or
to the community, and where at the same time the owner of the secret
cannot be persuaded to desist from the wrong. This proviso does not
hold for the _seal of confession_, which is absolutely inviolable.

2. The main art of keeping a secret is, not to talk about it. If a man
is asked an awkward question, and sees no alternative but to let out
or lie, it is usually his own fault for having introduced the subject,
or encouraged the questioner up to that point. A wise man lets drop in
time topics which he is unwilling to have pressed. But there are
unconscionable people who will not be put off, and who, either out of
malice or out of stupidity, ply you with questions against all rules
of good breeding. This direct assault may sometimes be retaliated, and
a rude question met by a curt answer. But such a reply is not always
prudent or charitable, and would not unfrequently convey the very
information required. Silence would serve no better, for silence gives
consent, and is eloquent at times. There is nothing left for it in
such cases but to lock your secret up, as it were, in a separate
compartment of your breast, and answer according to the remainder of
your information, which is not secret, private, and confidential. This
looks very much like lying, but it is not lying, it is speaking the
truth under a _broad mental reservation_.

3. _Mental reservation_ is an act of the mind, limiting the spoken
phrase so that it may not bear the full sense which at first hearing
it seems to bear. The reservation, or limitation of the spoken sense,
is said to be _broad_ or _pure_, according as it is, or is not,
indicated externally. A _pure mental reservation_, where the speaker
uses words in a limited meaning, without giving any outward clue to
the limitation, is in nothing different from a lie, and is wrong as a
lie is always wrong. A good instance is Archbishop Cranmer's oath of
fealty to the Pope, he having previously protested--of course out of
hearing of the Pope or the Pope's representative--that he meant that
oath in no way to preclude him from labouring at the reformation of
the Church in England, that is, doing all the evil work which Henry
VIII. had marked out for him in the teeth of the Roman Bishop.
[Footnote 18] Even _broad mental reservation_ is permissible only as a
last resource, when no other means are available for the preservation
of some secret which one has a duty to others, or grave reason of
one's own, to keep.

[Footnote 18: Strype's _Cranmer_, i., pp 27, 28; _ib_., ii.,
Appendices 5, 6; ed. Oxon., 1812.]

4. The point to make out is that no lie is told. To speak under a
reservation is a lie, if it is speech against the mind of the speaker.
But how can it be aught else than speech against the mind, when the
heart thinks _yea_, and the tongue says _nay_? We answer that, in the
case contemplated, the thought of the heart is, _secrets apart, nay_;
and though the word on the lips is _nay_ simply, yet we must not take
that word as the whole locution, but as a mere text, to which the
situation of the speaker and the matter spoken of form a commentary,
legible to any observant eye. The word is an _annotated text; nay_ in
the body of the page, with _secrets apart_ inscribed in the margin.
The adequate utterance is the whole page, text and gloss together;
that speech answers to the thought in the speaker's mind; therefore it
is no lie.

5. The essential requisite is that the gloss, _secrets apart_, be not
written in the speaker's private mind, but be outwardly and publicly
manifest in the matter spoken of, which must be one that clearly
admits of secrets, and in the circumstances of the speaker, who is
driven into a corner, and obliged to answer something, and yet cannot
by any prudent man be expected to answer out of the fulness of all the
knowledge that he may possibly possess.

6. Nor let it be said that all confidence in the replies given to our
questions is hereby destroyed. For most questions are in matters that
do not admit of a secret. There the qualification, _secrets apart_,
which may be said to attach to all answers, has no value and meaning:
it is mathematically equal to zero; and we may take the answer in full
assurance just as it reaches our ear. Again, when a person volunteers
a statement unasked, he cannot be supposed to be reserving secrets.
But when delicate subjects are touched on, and inquiry is pushed to
extremity by an unauthorized questioner, _secrets apart_ is the
handwriting on the wall.

7. But why is not this qualification spoken out with the tongue?
Sometimes it safely may be, and then it should be so added. But, as
the addition is unusual, our taking the trouble to express it would
often certify to the inquirer that his suspicions were correct, though
we ought not to tell him so. Our aim then must be to give such an oral
answer as we should return, were the suspicion quite unfounded. Our
questioner, if he is a prudent man, will piece out our phrase with the
addition, _secrets apart_; and he will understand that he can get
nothing out of us either way, which is exactly what we wish him to
understand. His unauthorized interrogatory has been met by speech that
amounts to silence, arguing indeed our prudence, but leaving him as
wise as before on the forbidden topic. If he is a thoughtless man, he
is deceived, not by any intention or election of ours, but indirectly
so far as we are concerned, an incidental deception which he has
brought on himself.

8. This then is a convention that obtains, not of positive
institution, but dictated by nature herself, that on a matter which
admits of being secret, any answer elicited under stress of necessity
must be so construed, as that any grave secret that may be touched,
not being morally in the power of the respondent to reveal, shall be
taken to remain reserved.

9. We may therefore sometimes avoid seeming to know what we know, or
to be what we are. But we may never of our own proper motion step
forward and court observation as being what we are not, or knowing
what is against or beyond our knowledge. We may dissemble
occasionally, but not simulate. The dissembler of a secret wishes for
obscurity and silence: he wants to have the eyes of men turned away
from him and their curiosity unroused. Whatever he says or does is to
divest the idea of there being anything particularly interesting about
him. But he who simulates--call him pretender, impostor, or quack--is
nothing, if not taken notice of. The public gaze is his sunshine:
obscurity gives him a deadly chill. His ambition is to appear out of
the ordinary, being really quite within common lines: the dissembler
is in some respect beyond the ordinary, but wishes not to show himself
otherwise than as an ordinary mortal with ordinary knowledge. The
pretender is on the offensive, challenging attention: the dissembler
is on his defence against notice. "Simulation," says Bolingbroke, "is
a stiletto, not only an offensive but an unlawful weapon, and the use
of it may be rarely, very rarely, excused, but never justified.
Dissimulation is a shield, as secrecy is armour: and it is no more
possible to preserve secrecy in the administration of public affairs
without dissimulation than it is to succeed in it without secrecy."
(_Idea of a Patriot King_.)

_Readings_.--De Lugo, _De Just. et Jure_, 14, nn. 135, 141, 142; _The
Month_ for March, 1883; Lockhart's _Life of Scott_, v., 26.



1. It is the difference between sensible apprehension and intellectual
knowledge, that the former seizes upon a particular object and it
only, as _this sweet_: the latter takes its object as the type of a
class of similars, _this and the like of this, this sweet as one of
the class of sweet things_. In like manner the love of passion, which
is the love of sense, regards one sole object. Titius is in love with
Bertha alone, not with woman in general. But an intellectual love is
the love of a type of beauty or goodness, of _this_ object and of
others as they approach in likeness to it. Whoever loves William from
an intellectual appreciation of his patriotism, in loving him loves
all patriots. Every animal loves itself with a brute, sensible love,
not a love to find fault with, nor yet a noble and exalted
sentiment--a love purely self-regarding, quite apart from the good
that is in self, but embracing self simply as self, and self alone.
This is the first love of self even in man. But over and above this
animal and sensible love, which no man lacks, there is in all men
worthy of the name a second self-regarding affection of an
intellectual cast, whereby a man loves himself as discerning with the
eye of his soul the excellence of his own nature--"how noble in
reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a
god, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals." Intellectual
self-complacence overflows from self to similars. It is not self-love,
it is love of the race, "the milk of human kindness," philanthropy.

2. But man is a disappointing creature, after all a mere "quintessence
of dust," unless he can rise above himself by relation with some
superhuman being, and make his final fortune in some better region
than this world. Reason requires that we love ourselves, and love our
fellow-men, for and in order to the development of the highest gifts
and capacities that are in us. These are gifts and capacities divine,
preparing us to find our everlasting happiness in God. (_Ethics_, c.
ii., s. iv., n. 2, p. 22.) The love that we bear to ourselves and our
neighbour, in view of our coming from God and going to God, is called
the love of _charity_. Charity differs from philanthropy in looking
beyond the present life, and above creatures. A materialist and
atheist may possess philanthropy, but not charity.

3. Beside the twofold love, animal and intellectual, which we bear
ourselves, we may also and should love ourselves with the love of
charity, seeing God's gifts in us, and desiring the perfection of
those gifts in a happy eternity occupied with God. The charity which
we should thus bear to ourselves is the model of that which we owe to
our neighbour, whom we are to love _as ourselves_, not with the same
intensity, but with the same quality of love, wishing him the good,
human and divine, temporal and eternal, which we wish for ourselves,
though not so earnestly as we wish it for ourselves. Our love for
ourselves is stronger than for our neighbour: for, if love comes of
likeness, much more does it come of identity. But by reason of the
vast preponderance of the good that is rational and eternal over that
which is material and temporal; and also by reason of the principle
laid down by St. Thomas, that "as to the sharing together of (eternal)
happiness, greater is the union of our neighbour's soul with our soul
than even of our own body with our soul" (2a 2æ, q. 26, art. 5, ad
2),--we are bound to love our neighbour's eternal good better than our
own temporal good, and in certain special conjunctures to sacrifice
the latter to the former. We have no duty and obligation of loving his
temporal good above our own temporal good. But it is often matter of
commendation and counsel to sacrifice our temporal interest to our
neighbour's. This sacrifice is no breach of the order of charity,
beginning at home: since what is resigned of material and perishable
profit is gained in moral perfection. Especially commendable is the
surrender of private good for the good of the community. Charity, or
philanthropy, taking this form, bears the name of patriotism and
public spirit.

4. Charity, like material forces, acts in a certain inverse ratio to
the distance of the object. Other considerations being equal, the
nearer, the dearer. Nay, nearness and likeness to ourselves goes
further than goodness in winning our love. This is natural, and
charity presupposes nature, and follows its order. As we have more
charity for ourselves than for others whom we acknowledge to be better
men, so likewise for our kinsmen and intimate friends. We may put the
matter thus. Charity consists in wishing and seeking to procure for a
person the good that leads to God. One element is the intensity and
eagerness of this wish and search; another is the greatness of the
good wished. Now we wish those who are better than ourselves to be
rewarded according to their deserts with a greater good than
ourselves: but this wish is but lukewarm compared to the intensity of
our desire that we and our friends with us may attain to all the good
that we are capable of.

5. The Christian precept to love our enemies is merely the enforcement
of a natural obligation. The obligation stands almost self-evident as
soon as it is cleared of misunderstanding. The love of enemies is not
based on the ground of their being hostile and annoying us. It would
be highly unnatural to love them on that score. Nor are we in duty
bound to show to one who hates us special offices of friendship,
except we find him in extreme need, _e.g._, dying in a ditch, as the
Good Samaritan found the Jew: otherwise it is enough that we be
animated towards him with that common charity, which we bear to other
men who are not further off from us than he is. If Lucius offend
Titius, there being no other tie between them than the tie of
friendship, Titius may, where the offence is very outrageous,
henceforth treat Lucius as a stranger. The question of scandal has
sometimes to be regarded, but that is an extrinsic circumstance to our
present subject. Nor are we concerned to say what is the better thing
for Titius to do, but to say all that he is bound to do. He is bound
to render himself as void of wilful malice, and as full of ordinary
courtesy and good feeling towards Lucius, as he is in the case of
Sempronius, a man whom he never heard of till this day. But if there
be some other antecedent tie between them besides the tie of
friendship,--for instance, if Titius and Lucius are two monks of the
same convent, two officers in the same regiment, two partners of one
firm,--Titius is no longer justified in treating Lucius as a stranger.
He must regard him with _ordinary_ charity; now ordinary charity
between two brother-officers, or two fellow-monks, is not the same as
between men who have no such tie one with another. This is why we laid
it down that we must be animated towards him who has offended us "with
that common charity, which we bear to other men _who are not further
off_ from us than he is."

6. This then being the exact obligation, the same is easily
established. We must love our enemies, because the reasons given for
loving all mankind (nn. 1, 2) are not vitiated by this or that man
having treated us shamefully. The human nature in him still remains
good actually, and still more, potentially; and if good and hopeful,
to that extent also lovable. Nor is this lovableness a mere separable
accident. Rather, it is the offensive behaviour of the man that is the
separable accident. At that we may well be disgusted and abominate it.
But the underlying substance remains good, not incurably tainted with
that vicious accident. We must attend to the substance, which is,
rather than to the accident, which _happens_, and may be abolished.
Let us endeavour to abolish the accident, still so that we respect and
regard the substance. Let us seek for redress under the guidance of
prudence according to the circumstances of the case, but not for the
ruin of our enemy. Let us not render evil for evil, but even in
exacting a just satisfaction, make it of the nature of that
compensatory evil, which is by consequence good. Let us _be angry_
with our enemy, but _sin not_ by hating him. (_Ethics_, c. iv., s.
iv., n. 3.) We may seek satisfaction for any _wrong_ we have suffered:
in grave cases we must have recourse to the State for that: but the
_sin_, if any, of our adversary is not our concern to punish or to
seek vengeance for. (_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., n. 4.)

7. The same reasoning holds good even of _public enemies_, tyrants,
persecutors, anarchists, assassins. We must include them in our
prayers, wish for their conversion, and, though their case appear
hopeless, we must not damn them before their time. If we found one of
them dying by accident of cold or asphyxia, we should be bound by a
grave obligation to use all ordinary efforts to bring him round and
recover him. Still we may use our best efforts to bring them to
justice, even to capital punishment, according to the procedure of
public law established in the country, and not otherwise. We may also
with an _inefficacious_ desire, that is, a desire that finds no vent
in action, desire their death under an alternative thus, that either
living they may cease to do evil, or that God may call them away to
where the wicked cease from troubling. But we must not desire, nor be
glad of, their death by any unlawful means, for that were to
sympathise with crime.

8. Real charity shows itself in action, succouring a neighbour in
need, which is sometimes a counsel, sometimes a duty. It is an axiom,
that _charity is not binding with grave inconvenience_. The gravity of
the inconvenience in prospect must be measured against the urgency of
the need to be relieved. A neighbour is technically said to be in
_extreme need_, when he is in imminent peril of deadly evil to soul or
body, and is unable to help himself. We are under severe obligation of
charity to succour any whom we find in this plight.

9. By charity we give of our own to another: by justice we render to
another that which is his. Charity neglected calls for no restitution,
when the need that required it is past away: justice violated cries
for restitution, for what we have taken away from our neighbour
remains still his. The obligations of justice are negative, except for
the fulfilment of contracts: obligations in charity are largely
positive. (_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 7, p. 108.)

_Readings_.--_C. Gent._, III., 117; 2a 2æ, q. 26, art. 4; _ib._, art.
7; _ib_., art. 8; 2a 2æ, q. 25, art. 8; _ib._, art. 9; _ib._, art. 6;
Ferrier, _Greek Philosophy_, Socrates, nn. 13, 26, 27, 29. (_Remains_,
vol. i., pp. 227, seq.)



SECTION I.--_Of the definition and division of Rights_.

1. A _right_ is that in virtue of which a person calls anything his
own. More elaborately, a right is a _moral power residing in a person,
in virtue whereof he refers to himself as well his own actions as also
other things, which stand referred to him in preference to other
persons_. A right is a _moral power_, as distinguished from physical
force or ability. It resides in a _person_, a being whom we call
_autocentric_, as distinguished from a _thing_, which is
_heterocentric_. (c. ii., s. i., n. 2, p. 203.) A person is his own, a
thing is another's. Every intellectual nature is a person except the
Humanity of Christ, an exception which does not concern us here. To
the Creator all created personalities are as things, but that again is
not our concern in this place, where we treat of the relations between
man and man. It will have to be noted hereafter with great emphasis,
that the _individual_ man is a _person_, not a thing and chattel, in
relation to the _State_, and consequently has rights against the

2. Every intellectual being has the attribute of _reflex
consciousness_. It may turn its regard in upon itself, and call itself
_me_, and its powers and activities _mine_. It certainly has the
physical ability of acting for self, and using its powers consciously
for its own ends. Does this physical ability represent also a _moral
power_? Is the agent justified in exercising it? and are his fellows
under a moral obligation of justice to leave him free to exercise it?
(_Ethics_, c. vi., s. i., nn. 5, 6, p. 111.) We have seen that
morality consists in acting up to one's own intellectual or rational
nature. Since then the calling oneself _me_, and one's power _mine_,
and the using those powers for purposes which one's reason approves,
is the distinguishing feature of an intellectual, or rational, and
personal being, that being is morally warranted so to act. He calls
himself his own, and his powers his own, and they are his own by the
very fact of his calling them so by a natural act. And, as justice is
to give to another his own, others are bound in justice to leave him
free to dispose of himself and his powers, at least within certain
limits. But this would be for man a barren freedom, were he not
empowered to lay hold of and make his own some things, nay many
things, outside of himself, for man is not self-sufficient, but has
many natural necessities, and many psychical cravings to boot.
Therefore man's right of preference extends, not only to his own
actions, but also to external things, which he may make his own to act

3. Rights are either _connatural_ or _acquired_. Connatural rights
spring from the very being of a man, as he is a person. Such are the
rights to life, to honour, to personal liberty--that is, freedom to go
where you will--to civil liberty--that is, not being a slave--also the
rights to marry and to acquire property. Acquired rights spring from
some deed of man, annexing something to his personality. Such are the
rights to property, duly entered upon, to reputation, to the political
franchise, and all rights that come by contract. Acquired rights may
descend to heirs.

4. Rights again are _alienable_ and _inalienable_, which division does
not coincide with the preceding. Those rights are inalienable, shorn
of which a man cannot work out his last end. Some rights are thus
permanently and universally inalienable, as the right to life: others
are so occasionally and for particular persons.

5. The correlative of _right_ is _duty_: so that, wherever one man has
a right, his neighbours have a duty in justice to leave him free to
exercise the same. But the converse is not true, that wherever one man
has a duty towards another, that other has a right to its performance,
for there are duties of charity, which do not impart a corresponding
right, but only a _claim_. _Duties_ that correspond to _rights_ are
called by English moralists _perfect_ duties. _Duties_ answering to
_claims_ only they call _imperfect_.

6. Of duties, some are _positive_, which bind _always, not for
always_, as the duty of adoring God. We are always bound to adore, we
are not bound to be always adoring. Other duties are negative, and
bind _always, for always_, as the duties of sobriety and chastity. The
former class of duties we may more easily be excused from, because
they can be deferred, and it is at times morally impossible to take
them up. But negative duty, as Mr. Gladstone has finely said, "rises
with us in the morning, and goes to rest with us at night: it is the
shadow that follows us wheresoever we go, and only leaves us when we
leave the light of life."

7. Only a _person_ has rights, as appears by the definition of a
_right_. Again, only persons have duties, for they only have free
will. No one has duties without rights, and no man has rights without
duties. Infants and idiots, in whom the use of reason is impeded,
having notwithstanding rights, are said to have duties also
_radically_. Hence it is wrong to make an idiot commit what is in him
a _material_ breach of some negative duty, as of temperance. Positive
duties he is excused from.

8. Some have taught that all human rights are consequences of duties;
a man having first a duty to perform, and then a right to the means
necessary to its performance. But this doctrine appears more pious
than probable. For, first, the type and example of sovereign right,
God, has no duties. (_Ethics_, c. vi., s. ii., n. 4, p. 130.) Then
again, a man may have a right conjoined with a duty--not of justice,
of course, but of some other virtue, as of religion--not to use that
right. But if rights were consequent upon duties, the right would
cease in such a case; and to pretend to exercise it would be a sin
against justice, which it is not.

SECTION II.--_Of the so-called Rights of Animals_.

1. Brute beasts, not having understanding and therefore not being
persons, cannot have any rights. The conclusion is clear. They are not
autocentric. They are of the number of _things_, which are another's:
they are chattels, or cattle. We have no duties to them,--not of
justice, as is shown; not of religion, unless we are to worship them,
like the Egyptians of old; not of fidelity, for they are incapable of
accepting a promise. The only question can be of charity. Have we
duties of charity to the lower animals? Charity is an extension of the
love of ourselves to beings like ourselves, in view of our common
nature and our common destiny to happiness in God. (c. iv., nn. 1, 2,
p. 239.) It is not for the present treatise to prove, but to assume,
that our nature is not common to brute beasts but immeasurably above
theirs, higher indeed above them than we are below the angels. Man
alone speaks, man alone hopes to contemplate for ever, if not--in the
natural order--the Face of his Father in Heaven, at least the
reflected brightness of that Divine Face. (_Ethics_, c. ii., s. iv.,
nn. 3, 4.) We have then no duties of charity, nor duties of any kind,
to the lower animals, as neither to stocks and stones.

2. Still we have duties _about_ stones, not to fling them through our
neighbour's windows; and we have duties _about_ brute beasts. We must
not harm them, when they are our neighbour's property. We must not
break out into paroxysms of rage and impatience in dealing with them.
It is a miserable way of showing off human pre-eminence, to torture
poor brutes in malevolent glee at their pain and helplessness. Such
wanton cruelty is especially deplorable, because it disposes the
perpetrators to be cruel also to men. As St. Thomas says (1a 2æ, q.
102, art. 6, ad 8):

"Because the passion of pity arises from the afflictions of others,
and it happens even to brute animals to feel pain, the affection of
pity may arise in man even about the afflictions of animals.
Obviously, whoever is practised in the affection of pity towards
animals, is thereby more disposed to the affection of pity towards
men: whence it is said in Proverbs xii. 10: 'The just regardeth the
lives of his beasts, but the bowels of the wicked are cruel.' And
therefore the Lord, seeing the Jewish people to be cruel, that He
might reclaim them to pity, wished to train them to pity even towards
brute beasts, forbidding certain things to be done to animals which
seem to touch upon cruelty. And therefore He forbade them to seethe
the kid in the mother's milk (Deut. xiv. 21), or to muzzle the
treading ox (Deut. xxv. 4), or to kill the old bird with the young."
(Deut. xxii. 6, 7.)

3. It is wanton cruelty to vex and annoy a brute beast _for sport_.
This is unworthy of man, and disposes him to inhumanity towards his
own species. Yet the converse is not to be relied on: there have been
cruel men who have made pets of the brute creation. But there is no
shadow of evil resting on the practice of causing pain to brutes _in
sport_, where the pain is not the sport itself, but an incidental
concomitant of it. Much more in all that conduces to the sustenance of
man may we give pain to brutes, as also in the pursuit of science. Nor
are we bound to any anxious care to make this pain as little as may
be. Brutes are as _things_ in our regard: so far as they are useful to
us, they exist for us, not for themselves; and we do right in using
them unsparingly for our need and convenience, though not for our
wantonness. If then any special case of pain to a brute creature be a
fact of considerable value for observation in biological science or
the medical art, no reasoned considerations of morality can stand in
the way of man making the experiment, yet so that even in the quest of
science he be mindful of mercy.

4. Altogether it will be found that a sedulous observance of the
rights and claims of other men, a mastery over one's own passions, and
a reverence for the Creator, give the best assurance of a wise and
humane treatment of the lower animals. But to preach kindness to
brutes as a primary obligation, and capital point of amendment in the
conversion of a sinner, is to treat the symptom and leave unchecked
the inward malady.

_Reading_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 25, art. 3.

SECTION III.--_Of the right to Honour and Reputation_.

1. _Honour_ is the attestation of another's excellence. _Reputation_
is the opinion of many touching another's life and conduct. Honour is
paid to a man to his face, whereas his reputation is bruited behind
his back. Honour is taken away by _insult_, reputation by
_detraction_. If the detraction involve a falsehood, it is called
_calumny_ or _slander_. The name _backbiting_, given to detraction,
points to the absence of the person spoken of. But no one meets with
an insult except where he is present, either in person or by his

2. Both honour and reputation are goods that a man can call his own,
and has a right to, but on different titles. Honour, some honour at
least, appertains to a man simply for his being a man: reputation is
won by deeds. Honour is primarily a connatural right: reputation is
acquired. An entire stranger has no reputation, but a certain honour
is his due to start with.

3. As there is a right to honour and a right to reputation, so insult
and detraction are sins, not against charity, but against commutative
justice, calling for restitution. (_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 6, p.
106.) We must tender an apology for an insult, and labour to restore
the good name that our detracting tongue has taken away.

4. Calumny is a double sin, one sin against truth, and another sin,
the heavier of the two, against justice. If the blackening tale be
true, the first sin is absent, but the second is there. The truth of
the story is no justification for our publishing it. Though it is
wrong to lie, it is not always right to blurt out the truth,
especially when we are not asked for it. There are unprofitable
disclosures, unseasonable, harmful, and wrongful. But, it will be
said, does not a man forego his right to reputation by doing the evil
that belies his fair fame? No, his right remains, unless the evil that
he does, either of its own proper working or by the scandal that it
gives, be subversive of social order. If he has committed a crime
against society, he is to be denounced to the authorities who have
charge of society: they will judge him, and, finding him guilty, they
will punish him and brand him with infamy. If, again, he does evil,
though not immediately against society, yet in the face of society and
before the sun; he shocks the public conscience and rends his own
reputation. But the evil private and proper to himself that any man
works in secret, is not society's care, nor affects his social
standing, nor brings any rightful diminution to his good name. If all
our secret and personal offences are liable to be made public by any
observer, which of us shall abide it? Our character is our public
character; and that is not forfeit except for some manner of public

5. Suppose a veteran, long retired, has made a name for military
prowess by boasting of battles wherein he never came into danger, is
the one old comrade who remembers him for a skulker and a runaway,
justified in showing him up? No, for that reputation, however
mendaciously got together, is still truly a good possession: it is not
a fruit of injustice, therefore it is no matter of restitution: nor is
it any instrument of injustice, which the holder is bound to drop:
thus, as he is not bound to forego it, now that he has got it, so his
neighbour may not rightfully take it from him.

_Reading_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 73, art. 1.

SECTION IV.--_Of Contracts_.

1. A _contract_ is a bargain productive of an obligation of
commutative justice in each of the contracting parties. A _bargain_ is
a consent of two wills to the same object. Thus a promise, before it
is accepted, is not a bargain. But even after acceptance a promise is
not a contract, for the promiser may not choose to bind himself in
justice, but only in good faith, while the promisee is under no
obligation whatever.

2. There are such things as _implicit contracts_, attached to the
bearing of certain offices, whereby a man becomes his brother's
keeper. The liability contracted is limited by the nature of the
office: thus a physician is officially bound in justice as to his
patient's pulse, but not officially as to his purse. Where there is no
explicit contract, the duties which the subjects of a person's
official care have towards him are not duties of commutative justice.
Thus these _implicit contracts_ are not strictly contracts, as failing
to carry a full reciprocity.

3. Contracts are either _consensual_ or _real_, according as they are
either complete by the mere consent of the parties, or further require
that something should change hands and pass from one to the other.
What contracts are consensual, and what real, depends chiefly on
positive law. No natural law can tell whether buying and selling, for
instance, be a consensual or a real contract. The interest of this
particular case is when the goods are lost in transmission: then
whichever of the two parties at the time be determined to be the
owner, apart from culpable negligence or contrary agreement of the
sender, he bears the loss, on the principle, _res perit domino_.

4. Contracts are otherwise divided as _onerous_ and _gratuitous_. In
an onerous contract either party renders some advantage in return for
the advantage that he receives, as when Titius hires the horse of
Caius. In a gratuitous contract all the advantage is on one side, as
when Titius does not hire but borrows a horse. The Roman lawyers
further distinguish contracts, somewhat humorously, into _contracts
with names_ and _contracts without names_, or _nominate_ and
_innominate_, as anatomists name a certain bone the _innominate bone_,
and a certain artery the _innominate artery_. _Innominate contracts_
are reckoned four: _I give on the terms of your giving_, otherwise
than as buying and selling,--to some forms of this there are English
names, as _exchange_ and _barter_: _I do on the terms of your doing: I
do on the terms of your giving: I give on the terms of your doing_.

_Readings_.--De Lugo, _De Just. et Jure_, 22, nn. 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 16,
17. For buying and selling and the frauds incident thereto, Paley,
_Moral Philosophy_, bk. iii., p. 1, c. vii.

SECTION V.--_Of Usury_.

1. We must distinguish _use value_ and _market value_. The use value
of an article of property is the esteem which the owner has of it from
every other point of view except as a thing to sell. Thus a man values
his overcoat on a journey as a protection from cold and rain. A book
is valued that was held in the dying hand of a parent. This is use
value. The market value of an article is the estimate of society,
fixing the rate of exchange between that and other articles, so much
of one for so much of another, _e.g._, between mahogany and cedar
wood, considered as things to sell.

2. Answering to this twofold value is a twofold exchange, _private
exchange_, which regards use value; and _commercial exchange_, which
is founded on market value. If I part with my watch to a sailor for
carrying me across an arm of the sea where there is no public ferry,
that is private exchange. If I pay the ordinary fare where there is a
public ferry, that is commercial exchange.

3. Private exchange begins in the need of at least one of the
contracting parties. It is an act of charity in the other party to
accommodate him by offering the thing needed. If the offer is made
otherwise than as a gift, and is accepted, he who avails himself of it
is bound in justice to see that the afforder of the accommodation is
compensated for the loss that he suffers in affording it. Thus far the
recipient is bound in justice, and no further in that virtue. However
wholesome or profitable the thing be to him that gets it, the supplier
cannot charge for that but only for the loss that he himself suffers,
or the gain that he foregoes, in handing the thing over, or the pains
that he takes, or the hardship that he endures, or the risk that he
runs, in rendering the service desired. If all the labour to be
undergone, or damage incurred, or risk encountered, by the sailor who
goes about by private bargain to be my ferryman, is fairly met by the
remuneration of a thirty-shilling watch, he has no right to stipulate
for any more, not though the passage that he gives me sets me on the
way to a throne. The peculiar advantage that I have in prospect does
not come out of him, but out of myself. He must not pretend to sell
what is not his, what attaches, not to him, but to me. He can only
sell his own loss, risk, pains and labour. At the same time, if I have
any gentlemanly or generous feeling in me, I shall be forward to
bestow extra remuneration on one who has rendered me so timely a
service: but this is matter of my gratitude, not of his right and
claim in justice. Gratitude must not be put into the bill. And this
much of private exchange.

4. Commercial exchange is conducted according to market value. Apart
from dire necessity--and one in dire necessity is not fit to enter
into commercial exchanges--the rule is, that a seller may always ask
the market value of his article, however much that may be above what
the thing cost him, or the use value which it bears to him. Thus, if
one finds in his garden a rare Roman coin--so far as his tastes go, a
paltry bit of metal--he may sell it for whatever price numismatists
will offer: whereas, if there were no market for coins, but only one
individual who doted on such things, the finder could make no profit
out of that individual, the coin having neither market value with the
community, nor use value in the eyes of the finder.

5. As there is a twofold value, and a twofold exchange, so a twofold
character is impressed on the great instrument of exchange, money.
Money, in one character, is an instrument of private exchange: in its
other character, to mercantile men more familiar, it is an instrument
of commercial exchange. In the one, it represents use value to the
particular owner, more or less to him than it would be to some other
owner: in the other, it represents market value, the same to all at
the same time.

6. Leo X. in the Fifth Council of Lateran, 1515, ruled that--"usury is
properly interpreted to be the attempt to draw profit and increment,
without labour, without cost, and without risk, out of the use of a
thing that does not fructify." In 1745 Benedict XIV. wrote in the same
sense to the Bishops of Italy: "That kind of sin which is called
usury, and which has its proper seat and place in the contract of
_mutuum_, consists in turning that contract, which of its own nature
requires the amount returned exactly to balance the amount received,
into a ground for demanding a return in excess of the amount
received." _Mutuum_, be it observed, is a loan for a definite period,
of some article, the use of which lies in its consumption, as matches,
fuel, food, and, in one respect, money. We shall prove this to be
properly a _gratuitous_ contract. (s. iv., n. 4, p. 254.)

7. Usury then is no mere taking of exorbitant interest. There is no
question of more or less, but it is usury to take any interest at all
upon the loan of a piece of property, which

(a) is of no use except to be used up, spent, consumed:

(b) is not wanted for the lender's own consumption within the period
of the loan:

(c) is lent upon security that obviates risk:

(d) is so lent that the lender foregoes no occasion of lawful gain by
lending it.

8. When all these four conditions are fulfilled, and yet interest is
exacted upon a loan, such interest is usurious and unjust. And why?
Simply by reason of the principle that we laid down before, speaking
of private exchange (n. 3), a principle that is thus stated by St.

"If one party is much benefited by the commodity which he receives of
the other, while the other, the seller, is not a loser by going
without the article, no extra price must be put on. The reason is,
because the benefit that accrues to one party is not from the seller,
but from the condition of the buyer. Now no one ought to sell to
another that which is not his, though he may sell the loss that he
suffers. He, however, who is much benefited by the commodity he
receives of another, may spontaneously bestow some extra recompense on
the seller: that is the part of one who has the feelings of a
gentleman." (2a. 2æ, q. 77, art. 1, in corp.)

9. St. Thomas speaks of sales, but the principle applies equally to
loans. It is upon loans of money that interest is commonly taken, and
of money-loans we speak. Clearly, according to the doctrine stated,
the lender can claim the compensation of interest, if he has to pinch
himself in order to lend, or lends at a notable risk. He is selling
his own loss,--or risk, which is loss once removed. But supposing he
has other monies in hand, and the security is good, and he has enough
still left for all domestic needs, and for all luxuries that he cares
to indulge in,--moreover he has nothing absolutely to do with his
money, in the event of his not lending it, but to hoard it up in his
strong box, and wait long months till he has occasion to use it: in
that case, if he lends it he will be no worse off on the day that he
gets it back, no worse off in the time while it is away, than if it
had never left his coffers. Such is the contract of _mutuum_, shorn of
all accidental attendant circumstances, a contract, which "of its own
nature," as Benedict XIV. says, that is, apart from circumstances,
"requires the amount returned exactly to balance the amount received."
Not though the borrower has profited of the loan to gain kingdoms, is
any further return in strict justice to be exacted of him on that
precise account.

10. But now an altered case. Suppose land is purchaseable, and it is
proposed to stock a farm with cattle, and rear them, and convey them
to a large town where there is a brisk demand for meat--the
supposition is not always verified, nor any supposition like it, but
suppose it verified in some one case--then, though the lender has
other monies in hand for the needs of his household, and the security
is good, yet the money is not so lent as that he foregoes no occasion
of lawful gain by lending it. He foregoes the purchase of land and
farm stock, or at least delays it, and delay is loss where profit is
perennial. On that score of gain forfeited he may exact interest on
the money that he lends, which interest will be no usury. The title of
interest here given is recognized by divines as _lucrum cessans_,
"interruption of profit." The interest is taken, so far as it goes
upon a lawful title, not upon the fact of the borrower's profit--that
is irrelevant--but upon the profit that the lender might have made,
had he kept the money in hand.

11. This latter case (n. 10) represents that putting of money out to
interest, which is an essential feature of modern commerce. The former
case (n. 9) is the aspect that money-lending commonly bore in the
Middle Ages. In those days land was hard to buy, agriculture backward,
roads bad, seas unnavigable, carrying-trade precarious, messages slow,
raids and marauders frequent, population sparse, commerce confined to
a few centres, mines unworked, manufactures mostly domestic, capital
yet unformed. Men kept their money in their cellars, or deposited it
for safety in religious houses: whence the stories of treasure-trove
belonging to those days. They took out the coin as they wanted it to
spend on housekeeping, or on war, or feasting. It was very hard, next
to impossible, to lay out money so as to make more money by it. Money
was in those days really barren--a resource for housekeeping, not for
trade--a medium of private, not of commercial exchange--a
representative of use value, not of market value. Apart from risk of
non-repayment, to take interest for money that you had no use for but
to hoard, was getting "a breed of barren metal:" it was taking up what
you laid not down: it was making profit out of your neighbour's need,
or your neighbour's gain, where there was no corresponding need
unsatisfied, or gain forfeited, on your part: it was that "attempt to
draw profit and increment, without labour, without cost, and without
risk, out of the use of a thing that does not fructify," which the
Fifth Lateran Council defines to be usury.

12. In our time, thanks to steam and electricity, the increase of
population, and continued peace, the whole world has become one
trading community, representing now more, now less abundant
opportunities for the investment of money, and the conversion of it
into other lucrative commodities. Money consequently with us is not a
mere medium of private exchange for the purposes of housekeeping: it
is a medium of commercial exchange. It represents, not use value, but
market value. To be a thousand pounds out of pocket for a year means
an opportunity of gain irretrievably lost, gain that could have been
made otherwise than by money-lending. Where this is so, and so far as
it is so, the lender may without violation of justice point to _lucrum
cessans_, gain lost, and arrange beforehand with the borrower for
being reimbursed with interest.

13. The transition from mediaeval housekeeping, with its use values
and private exchange, to the mercantile society of modern times, was
not made in a day, nor went on everywhere at the same rate. It was a
growth of ages. In great cities commerce rapidly ripened, and was well
on towards maturity five centuries ago. Then the conditions that
render interest lawful, and mark it off from usury, readily came to
obtain. But those centres were isolated. Like the centres of
ossification, which appear here and there in cartilage when it is
being converted into bone, they were separated one from another by
large tracts remaining in the primitive condition. Here you might have
a great city, Hamburg or Genoa, an early type of commercial
enterprise, and, fifty miles inland, society was in its infancy, and
the great city was as part of another world. Hence the same
transaction, as described by the letter of the law, might mean lawful
interest in the city, and usury out in the country--the two were so
disconnected. In such a situation the legislator has to choose between
forbidding interest here and allowing usury there; between restraining
speculation and licensing oppression. The mediaeval legislator chose
the former alternative. Church and State together enacted a number of
laws to restrain the taking of interest, laws that, like the clothes
of infancy, are not to be scorned as absurd restrictions, merely
because they are inapplicable now, and would not fit the modern growth
of nations. At this day the State has repealed those laws, and the
Church has officially signified that she no longer insists on them.
Still she maintains dogmatically that there is such a sin as usury,
and what it is, as defined in the Fifth Council of Lateran.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 77, art. 1; Ar., _Pol_., I., ix.;
St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 77, art. 4; _The Month_ for September, 1886; _The
Nineteenth Century _for September, 1877, pp. 181, seq.



SECTION I.--_Of the Institution of Marriage_.

1. Marriage is defined by the Canonists: _the union of male and
female, involving their living together in undivided intercourse_. In
the present order of Providence, the marriage contract between
baptized persons is a sacrament, under the superintendence of the
Church, the fertile theme of canonists and theologians. As
philosophers, we deal with marriage as it would be, were there no
sacraments, no Church, and no Incarnation, present or to come. This is
marriage in the order of pure nature.

2. It is natural to all animals to propagate their kind, natural
therefore also to man; and being natural, it is so far forth also a
good thing, unless we are to say with the Manicheans, that the whole
of corporeal nature is an evil creation. Nay, so urgent is the natural
appetite here, that we must argue the existence, not of a mere
permission, but of an exigency of nature, and consequent command of
God (_Ethics_, c. vi., s. ii., nn. 11, 12, p. 122), for the
propagation of the human species. Besides, there is in the individual
the duty of self-preservation, therefore likewise in the race. Again,
the old cannot subsist at all without the support of the young, nor
lead a cheerful existence without their company. Imagine a world with
no youth in it, a winter without a spring!

3. There is this difference between self-preservation and the
preservation of the race, that if a man will not eat, none can eat for
him; but if one man omit the propagation of his kind, another can take
it up. There are many things necessary for the good of mankind, which
are not to be done by every individual. Not all are to be soldiers,
nor all builders, though houses are needful, and sometimes war. Nor is
it desirable that the human race should be multiplied to its utmost
capacity. It is enough here to mention without discussing the teaching
of Malthus, how population presses on the means of subsistence, the
latter increasing in an arithmetical, the former in a geometrical
ratio. Without going the whole way with Malthus, modern economical
writers are commonly a little Malthusian, and shrink from giving to
all and each of their species the word to "increase and multiply."

4. But, it will be said, sickly and consumptive subjects, and still
more those who have any tendency to madness, may well be excused from
having children; so too may they be excused whose poverty cannot keep
a family; excused too is the inveterate drunkard, and all habitual
criminals, by the principle of heredity, lest they transmit to
posterity an evil bodily predisposition; but the healthy and the
virtuous, men sound of mind and limb, of life unspotted, and in
circumstances easy, the flower of the race,--none of these surely
should omit to raise up others to wear his lineaments: we want such
men multiplied. I answer, on natural grounds alone: You may counsel,
but you cannot compel, either by positive law or ethical precept, any
man or woman to seek to have children. You surely will not breed men
by selection, like cattle, as Plato proposed. The union of the sexes,
especially the married union, is an act to be of all others the most
entirely free, spontaneous, uncommanded, and unconstrained. It should
be a union of intense mutual love. But a man may not meet with any
woman that he can love with passion; or, meeting such, he may not be
able to win her. Nor, considering the indeterminateness of points of
health, capacity, and character, could any certain list be drawn up of
persons bound to have issue. Thus the utmost that can be argued is a
counsel in this direction, a counsel that mankind ordinarily are ready
enough to comply with. But if any one of seeming aptitude excuses
himself on the score of finding no partner to his liking, or of a
desire to travel, or of study, or still more, of devotion--and why
should not a man, ever of natural piety, go out into solitude, like
St. Antony, to hold communion with his Maker?--all these excuses must
be taken. It is lawful then in the state of mere nature, upon any one
of many sufficient grounds, to stand aside and relinquish to your
neighbour the privilege and responsibility of giving increase to the
human family.

5. But if it is no one individual's duty to propagate his kind, how is
it that we have laid down that there is such a duty? For the duty is
incumbent upon them that alone can do it, and it can only be done by
individuals. The answer rests on a distinction between _proximate_ and
_remote_ duty. The propagation of the race is the remote duty of every
individual, but at present the proximate, duty of none. A _remote_
duty is a duty not now pressing but which would have to be performed
in a certain contingency, which contingency happening, the duty
becomes _proximate_. If there appeared a danger of our race dying out,
the survivors would be beholden, especially those in power, to take
steps for its continuance. Rewards might then be held out, like the
_jus trium liberorum_ instituted at Rome by Augustus; and if
necessary, penalties inflicted on celibacy. In this one extreme case
the matrimonial union might be made matter of legal constraint. But
when will such constraint become necessary?

6. The continuance of the human race must be wrought out by man and
woman standing in that abiding and exclusive relation to one another,
which constitutes the state of marriage. Nature abhors promiscuity, or
free love. It is the delight of writers who use, perhaps abuse,
Darwin's name, to picture primitive mankind as all living in this
infrabestial state. But "the state supposed is suicidal, and instead
of allowing the expansion of the human race, would have produced
infertility, and probably disease, and at best only allowed the
existing numbers to maintain, under the most favourable circumstances,
a precarious existence. To suppose, therefore, that the whole human
race for any considerable time were without regular marriage, is
physiologically impossible. They could never have survived it."
(Devas, _Studies of Family Life_, § 101.)

7. Even if the alleged promiscuity ever did prevail--and it may have
obtained to some extent in certain degraded portions of humanity--its
prevalence was not its justification. The practice cannot have been
befitting in any stage of the evolution of human society. As in all
things we suppose our readers to have understanding, we leave it to
them to think out this matter for themselves. Suffice it here to put
forward two grand advantages gained and ends achieved, which are
called by theologians "the goods of marriage."

8. The first good of marriage is the _offspring_ that is born of it.
Nature wills, not only the being, but the well-being of this
offspring, and that both in the physical and in the moral order. Very
important for the physical health of the child it is, that it be born
of parents whose animal propensities are under some restraint; such
restraint the bond of marriage implies. Then, in the moral order, the
child requires to be educated with love, a love that shall be guided
by wisdom, and supported by firmness. Love, wisdom, and firmness, they
are the attributes of both parents; but love is especially looked for
from the mother, wisdom and firmness from the father. And, what is
important, both have an _interest_ in the child such as no other human
being can take. We are speaking of the normal father or mother, not of
many worthless parents that actually are; for, as Aristotle often lays
it down, we must not judge of a thing from its bad specimens. No
doubt, the State could establish public nurseries and infant schools,
and provide a staff of nurses and governesses, more scientific
educators than even the normal parent; but who, that has not been most
unhappy in his origin, would wish his own infancy to have been reared
in such a place? What certificated stranger can supply for a mother's

9. The second good of marriage is the _mutual faith_ of the partners.
Plato never made a greater mistake than when he wrote that "the female
sex differs from the male in mankind only in this, that the one bears
children, while the other begets them;" and consequently that "no
occupation of social life belongs to a woman because she is a woman,
or to a man because he is a man, but capacities are equally
distributed in both sexes, and woman naturally bears her share in all
occupations, and man his share, only that in all woman is weaker than
man." (_Republic_, 454 D; 455 D.) Over against this we must set
Aristotle's correction: "Cohabitation among human kind is not for the
mere raising of children, but also for the purposes of a partnership
in life: for from the first the offices of man and woman are distinct
and different: thus they mutually supply for one another, putting
their several advantages into the common stock." (Ar., _Eth_., VIII.,
xii. 7.) Elsewhere he sets forth these several offices in detail: "The
nature of both partners, man and woman, has been prearranged by a
divine dispensation in view of their partnership: for they differ by
not having their faculties available all to the same effect, but some
even to opposite effects, though combining to a common end: for God
made the one sex stronger and the other weaker, that the one for fear
may be the more careful, and the other for courage the more capable of
self-defence; and that the one may forage abroad, while the other
keeps house: and for work the one is made competent for sedentary
employments, but too delicate for an out-door life, while the other
makes a poor figure at keeping still, but is vigorous and robust in
movement; and touching children, the generation is special, but the
improvement of the children is the joint labour of both parents, for
it belongs to the one to nurture, to the other to chastise." (Ar.,
_Econ_., i. 3.)

These passages are enough to suggest more than they actually contain,
of two orders of qualities arranged antithetically one over against
another in man and woman, so that the one existence becomes
complementary to the other, and the two conjoined form one perfect
human life. This life-communion, called by divines _fides_, or mutual
faith, is then the second good fruit of marriage. Indeed it is the
more characteristically human good, _offspring_ being rather related
to the animal side of our nature. But as animal and rational elements
make one human being, so do _offspring_ and _mutual faith_ constitute
the adequate good of that human union of the sexes, which we call

10. Whatever good there is in marriage, connections formed by either
party beyond the marriage-bed, are agents of confusion to the undoing
of all that good and the practical dissolution of the marriage.

_Readings_.--_Contra Gentes_, iii., 122; _ib_., iii., 126; _ib_.,
iii., 136; Devas, _Studies of Family Life_, §§ 90-101, where he
disposes of the proof of primitive promiscuity, drawn from the fact
that in early societies kinship is traced and property claimed only
through the mother.

SECTION II.--_Of the Unity of Marriage_.

1. _Both man and woman are by nature incapable of a second marriage,
while their former marriage endures_. No woman can have two husbands
at the same time, which is _polyandry_; and no man can have two wives
at the same time, which is _polygamy_. The second marriage attempted
is not only _illicit_, but _invalid_: it is no contract, no marriage
at all, and all cohabitation with the second partner is sheer
adultery. This is a great deal more than saying that polyandry and
polygamy are unlawful.

2. That is by nature no marriage, which is inconsistent with the
natural ends of marriage, _offspring_ and _mutual faith_. But
polyandry is thus inconsistent with the good of offspring, and
polygamy with mutual faith. It is not meant that polyandry makes the
birth of children impossible. But nature is solicitous, not for the
mere birth, but for the rearing and good estate of the child born. Now
a child born fatherless is in an ill plight for its future education.
Posthumous children in lawful wedlock are born fatherless: that is a
calamity: but what shall we think of an institution which makes that
calamity to the child sure always to occur? Such an institution is
polyandry. For in it no man can ever know his own child, except by
likeness, and likeness in a baby face is largely as you choose to
fancy it. Again, is the polyandrous wife to be, or not to be, the head
of the family? If not, the family--for it ought to be one family,
where there is one mother--will have as many heads as she has
husbands, a pretty specimen of a house divided against itself. If she
is to be the head, that is a perversion of the natural order of
predominance between the sexes. In any case, polyandry is little
better than promiscuity: it is fatal to the family and, fatal to the
race; and children born of it are born out of marriage.

3. Against polygamy the case in natural law is not quite so strong as
against polyandry. Still it is a strong case enough in the interest of
the wife. The words spoken by the bride to the bridegroom in the
marriage rite of ancient Rome, _Ubi tu Caius, ego Caia_, "Where you
are master, I am mistress," declare the relation of _mutual faith_ as
it should be, namely, a relation of equality, with some advantage,
preference, and pre-eminence allowed to the husband, yet not so great
advantage as to leave _him_ free where _she_ is straitly bound, and
reduce her to the servile level of one in a row of minions to his
passion and sharers of his divided affections. Polygamy in all ages
has meant the lowering of womankind:

  He will hold thee--
  Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse

At its strongest, the love of man for woman, where polygamy obtains,
is a flame of passion, that quickly spends itself on one object, and
then passes to another; not a rational, enduring, human affection. It
is also a fact, that the increase of the race is not greater in
polygamy than in monogamy. Thus, as a practice that runs strongly
counter to one of the great purposes of marriage, and is, to say the
least, no help to the other, and carries with it the humiliation of
the female sex, polygamy is justly argued to be abhorrent to nature.

4. It is beside the purpose of this work to enter into the questions
of morality that arise out of Holy Scripture, considered as an
inspired record of the actions of the Saints. But the polygamy of the
patriarchs of old so readily occurs to mind, that it is worth while to
mention four conceivable explanations, if only to indicate which is
and which is not reconcilable with our philosophy. The first
explanation would be, that polygamy is not against the natural law,
but only against the positive divine law, which was derogated from in
this instance. We have made it out to be against the natural law. The
second explanation would be that God gave the patriarchs a
dispensation, strictly so called, from this point of the natural law.
We have maintained that God cannot, strictly speaking, dispense from
one jot or tittle of natural law. (_Ethics_, c. viii., s. iii., nn.
1-3, p. 147.) [Footnote 19] A third explanation would be founded on
the words of St. Paul to the Athenians (Acts xvii. 30), about "God
overlooking the times of this ignorance." This would suppose that
mankind, beginning in monogamy, from passion and ignorance lapsed
quickly into polygamy: that the patriarchs in good faith conformed to
the practice of their time; and that God, in their case as with the
rest of mankind, awaited His own destined hour for the light of better
knowledge to break upon the earth. A fourth explanation would be this.
God by His supreme dominion can dissolve any marriage. By the same
dominative power He can infringe and partially make void any marriage
contract without entirely undoing it. The marriage contract, existing
in its fulness and integrity, is a bar to any second similar contract,
as we have proved. But what, on this theory, the Lord God did with the
marriages of the patriarchs was this: He partially unravelled and
undid the contract, so as to leave room for a second contract, and a
third, each having the bare essentials of a marriage, but none of them
the full integrity.

[Footnote 19: _Dispensatio_ is the Latin for [Greek: oikonomia], and
in this case means an "economy" of law, in the sense that God did not
press the marriage law beyond the capacity of the subject (Matt. xix.
7,8). See my Newman Index, s.v. _Economy_. The schoolmen missed this
meaning, and took _dispensatio_ in the canonical sense.]

But, for the author's final view, see Appendix.

_Readings_.--_Contra Gent_., iii., 124; Suarez, _De Legibus_, II.,
xv., 28.

SECTION III.--_Of the Indissolubility of Marriage_.

1. This section is pointed not so much against a _separation_--which
may take place by mutual consent, or without that, by grievous
infidelity or cruelty of one party--as against a divorce _a vinculo_,
which is a dissolution of a marriage in the lifetime of the parties,
enabling each of them validly and lawfully to contract with some
other. The unity of marriage is more essential than its
indissolubility. Nature is more against polygamy than against divorce.
Even Henry VIII. stuck at polygamy. In the present arrangement, a
divorce _a vinculo_ is obtainable in three cases. First, when of two
unbaptized persons, man and wife, the one is converted, and the
unconverted party refuses to live peaceably in wedlock, the convert
may marry again, and thereupon also the other party. So the Church
understands St. Paul, I Cor. vii. 13, 15. Again, the Pope can grant a
divorce _a vinculo_ in the marriage of baptized persons before
cohabitation. Such a marriage in that stage is also dissolved by the
profession of one of the parties in a religious order. Beyond these
three cases, the Catholic Church allows neither the lawfulness nor the
validity of any divorce _a vinculo_ by whomsoever given to whatsoever

2. It is ours to investigate the lie of the law of nature, having due
regard to the points marked, antecedently to our search, by the
definition of infallible authority. Nothing can be done in the Church
against the law of nature: since therefore divorce _a vinculo_ is
sometimes recognized in the Church, it may be contended that marriage
is not by nature absolutely indissoluble. On the other hand, it is a
proposition censured by Pius IX. in the Syllabus, n. 67: "By the law
of nature the bond of marriage is not indissoluble." Thus it appears
we must teach that marriage is naturally indissoluble, still not
absolutely so, just as a safe is justly advertised as fire-proof, when
it will resist any conflagration that is likely to occur, though it
would be consumed in a blast-furnace or in a volcano. So marriage is
indissoluble, if it holds good for all ordinary contingencies, for all
difficulties that may be fairly reckoned with and regarded as not
quite improbable, for every posture of affairs that the contracting
parties before their union need at all consider. Or, if the three
cases of divorce actually allowed are to be traced to the dominative
power of God (_Ethics_, c. vii., n. 2, p. 129), we may teach that
marriage is by nature absolutely indissoluble, and that divorce is as
much against the law of nature as the killing of an innocent man,
excepting in the case of God's dominion being employed to quash the
contract or the right to life. But against this latter view is to be
set the consideration, that God is manifestly averse to using His
dominative power to overturn natural ordinances. He does not hand the
innocent over to death except in the due course of physical nature:
why then should He ever put forth His power against the marriage-tie,
unless it be that nature herself in certain cases postulates its
severance? But if such is ever nature's petition, the universal and
unconditional permanence of the marriage-tie cannot be a requisition
of nature, nor is divorce absolutely excluded by natural law.

3. Thomas Sanchez, than whom there is no greater authority on this
subject, records his opinion that "a certain inseparability is of the
nature of marriage," but that "absolute indissolubility does not
attach to marriage by the law of nature." He adds: "if we consider
marriage as it is an office of nature for the propagation of the race,
it is hard to render a reason why for the wife's barrenness the
husband should not be allowed to put her away, or marry another." (_De
Matrimonio_, I. ii., d. 13, n. 7.) We proceed to prove that "a certain
inseparability is of the nature of marriage," so that marriage may
truly be said to be indissoluble by the law of nature. Whether this
natural indissolubility is absolute, and holds for every conceivable
contingency, the student must judge by the proofs.

4. If a divorce _a vinculo_ were a visible object on the matrimonial
horizon, the parties would be strongly encouraged thereby to form
illicit connections, in the expectation of shortly having any one of
them they chose ratified and sanctified by marriage. Marriage would be
entered upon lightly, as a thing easily done and readily undone, a
state of things not very far in advance of promiscuity. Between
married persons little wounds would fester, trifling sores would be
angered into ulcers: any petty strife might lead to a fresh contract,
made in haste and repented of with speed: then fond, vain regrets for
the former partnership. Affinity would be a loose bond of friendship
between families; and after divorce it would turn to enmity. The fair
but weaker sex would suffer the more by this as by all other
matrimonial perversions: for the man has not so much difficulty in
lighting upon another love, but the woman--she illustrates the Greek
proverb of a fallen estate:

  Mighty was Miletus in the bygone days of yore.

The divorced wife offers fewer attractions than the widow.

5. It is well to bear in mind that, at least by the positive ordinance
of God in the present order of His Providence, the marriage of
baptized persons, after cohabitation, is absolutely indissoluble; and
no marriage can be dissolved except in the three cases specified. (n.

_Readings_.--Leo XIII., Encyclical on Christian Marriage, _Arcanum
divina sapientia_; St. Thomas, _Contra Gent_., iii, 123.



SECTION I.--_Of Private Property_.

1. Property was called by the Romans _res familiaris_, the stuff and
substance of the family. Property may be held by the individual for
himself alone: but any large accumulation of it is commonly held by
the head of a family, actual or potential, for the family; and he
cherishes it for the sake of his family as much as, or even more than,
for his own sake. This is to be borne in mind, for many errors in
theory and in practice spring from a large proprietor figuring as an
individual, and not as a sort of _corporation sole_ in his capacity of

2. We have seen (c. v., s. i., n. 2, p. 245) how man acquires a right
over external goods, as it were setting the seal of his own
personality upon them. It appears upon further consideration, that
this right must extend beyond the mere making things your own for
immediate use and consumption; it must extend to the _storing_ of
things for future and perennial use. Otherwise we have Communism.
Communism allows men to hold property collectively in a common stock,
and allows each member of the community to take for his peculiar own
out of that stock whatever for the moment he needs; but it will not
permit him to appropriate private means of subsistence against any
notable time to come. Communism is very good in a family, which is an
imperfect community, part of a higher community, the State. It is very
good in a monastery, which is like a family: again, very good in the
primitive Church at Jerusalem, which existed for the time on
quasi-monastic lines: very good even in a perfect community, if such
there be, of tropical savages, for whom nature supplies all things,
bananas to eat and palm-leaves to wear, without any human labour of
production; but very bad and quite unworkable everywhere else. St.
Thomas, following Aristotle, puts it pithily and sufficiently:
"Private property is necessary to human life for three reasons: first,
because every one is more careful to look after what belongs to
himself alone than after what is common to all or to many, since all
men shun labour and leave to others what is matter of joint concern,
as happens where there are too many servants: on another ground,
because human affairs are more orderly handled, if on each individual
there rests his own care of managing something, whereas there would be
nothing but confusion, if every one without distinction were to have
the disposal of any thing he chose to take in hand: thirdly, because
by this means society is the rather kept at peace, every member being
content with his own possession, whence we see that among those who
hold any thing in common and undivided ownership strifes not
unfrequently arise." (2a 2æ, q. 66, art. 2, in corp.)

3. If any revolutionist yet will have the hardihood to say with
Proudhon, "Property is theft," we shall ask him, "From whom?" He will
answer of course, "From the community." But that answer supposes the
community to have flourished, a wealthy corporation, before private
property began. Needless to say that history knows nothing of such a
corporation. The saying, that _in the beginning all things were in
common_, is not true in the sense that they were _positively_ in
common, like the goods of a corporation, which are collective
property: but simply that they were _negatively_ in common, that is,
not property at all, neither of corporation nor of individual, but
left in the middle open to all comers, for each to convert into
property by his occupation, and by his labour to enhance and multiply.
This must be modified by the observation, that the first occupants
were frequently heads of families, or of small clans, and occupied and
held for themselves and their people.

4. The saying, that _all things are in common by the law of nature_,
must be received with still greater reserve. Really with as much truth
it might be said that all men are unmarried, or unclad, or uneducated,
by the law of nature. Nature unaided by human volition provides
neither property, nor clothing, nor marriage, nor education, for man.
But nature bids, urges and requires man to bestir his voluntary
energies for the securing of all these things. The law of nature does
not prescribe this or that particular distribution of goods, as
neither does it join this man with that woman in marriage, nor insist
on plaids rather than coats, nor set all boys to learn algebra, nor
fix a ritual for divine worship; but it insists in the vague upon some
worship, some education, some clothing, some marriage, and some
distribution of goods, leaving the determination in each case to
choice, custom, and positive law, human and divine.

5. All property that can ever be immediately serviceable for saving
human life, is held under this burden, that a perishing
fellow-creature, who cannot otherwise help himself in a case of
_extreme need_ (c. iv., n. 8, p. 243), may make such use of the
property of another as shall suffice to rescue him from perishing
off-hand. If he draws largely on another for this purpose, he ought to
make compensation afterwards, if he has the means. This has been taken
for a piece of the primeval rock of Communism cropping up from
underneath subsequent human formations,--quite a mistaken notion.
There is no Communism whatever in the transaction. Up to the instant
when the needy man seizes the article that he requires to save him
from death, that article still belongs to the owner from whom he takes
it, who is bound in charity to give it to the needy party, but not in
justice. Extreme need does not confer ownership, nor dispossess any
previous owner: but it confers the right of taking what is another's
as though it belonged to no one; and in the taking, the thing passes
into the ownership of the new occupant, so that for the previous owner
forcibly to resume it would be a violation of justice. English law
does not recognise this right--properly enough, for with us it would
be made a plea for much stealing--but refers the destitute to the
parish. The law is considerately worked by the magistrates. A starving
man, who took a loaf off a baker's tray, has been known to be
sentenced to a few hours' imprisonment with two good meals.

6. As St. Paul says (2 Cor. xii. 14), "parents ought to lay up for
their children," that they in whom their own existence is continued,
may not be left unprovided for at their decease. The amount laid up
necessary for this purpose, ought not to be diverted from it. Thus
much at least Natural Law can tell us of the right of inheritance. And
concerning testamentary right these natural considerations are
forthcoming, that it adds to the desirability of property, that it
secures deference to the wealthy in their old age, and that the
abolition of it might be frustrated by an apparatus of confidential
_donationes inter vivos_, that is to say, making the property over in
trust before death. Further enlargement of the natural basis of
testamentary right may be effected by the judicious reader.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Pol_., II., v., nn. 1-16; De Lugo, _De just. et
jure_, vi., nn. 2-6; _ib_., xxi,, nn. 143, 144; Locke, _Of Civil
Government_, c.v.; _id_., _Of Government_, nn. 88, 89.

SECTION II.--_Of Private Capital_.

1. Reverting to a former section (c. v., s. v., nn. 1-5, p. 255) we
lay down this distinction: Goods held for their _use value_ are
_consumer's wealth_: goods held for their _market value_ are
_producer's wealth_, otherwise called _capital_. Capital then is that
wealth which a man holds for the purpose of gaining further wealth by
means of commercial exchange. It is represented by the razors that are
made, not to mow the manly beard, or youthful moustache, of the maker,
but, as the Yorkshire vendor put it, "to sell."

2. Those economists who would allow no private ownership of capital,
but would have all capital to be State property, are called
Socialists. They stand distinctly apart from the Communists, whom we
have been labouring to refute in the last section. The Communist
forbids all private property: the Socialist allows private property,
but in the shape of _consumer's wealth_ alone. The Communist ignores
the necessity of labour: the Socialist schemes to make all men work.
The Communist contemplates a hand-to-mouth dispensation of all things:
the Socialist locks all things up, wages in private coffers, capital
in government stores. The Communist is a madman: the speculations of
the Socialist are sometimes deep.

3. To what are we to attribute the rise of Socialism, and its growth
and propagation so fast and vigorous, that, its supporters say with
some colour of evidence, it is a theory destined within a measurable
space of time to pass into actual practice, whether men will or no?
The cause is not far to seek. There has lighted a plague upon all
civilized countries, an outbreak fearful and severe: only by the great
blessing of Providence, joined to drastic remedial measures on our
part, can we cope with the evil. The plague is a cancerous formation
of luxury growing out of a root of pauperism. It is a disease old as
the world, but the increase of commerce and intercommunication has
occasioned its bursting upon our generation in a peculiarly virulent
form. And what is more, ours being a talking age, the disease is made
the staple of speeches infinite, and the masses are clamouring for a
remedy. The remedy proposed is Socialism.

4. Socialism in its essence is an attempt to transfer to the State,
governed by universal suffrage, the wealth, and with the wealth the
social duties, of what have hitherto been the wealthy and governing
classes. It is not enough for the multitude that they are getting the
political power out of the hands of the landlord and the capitalist:
they envy the one his broad acres, and the other his investments. All
must be theirs, sovereignty and wealth alike. If wealth has its
duties, the people collectively with cheerful acceptance will
undertake those duties. "It shall be ours, not only to be king, but to
be employer, patron, landlord, educator. We will assign to the workman
his wages, just and ample and perennial: we will adjust production to
demand: we will be the restorers of agriculture: we will monopolise
the carrying-trade: we alone will sell whatever shall be sold: we will
wash the workman in public baths: his taste shall be elevated by our
statues and pictures, our theatres, our music-halls, and our churches;
we will gratify his curiosity with our news-agencies, feed his thought
with our popular philosophy, educate his children as our own in our
primary and secondary schools. Furthermore, we will provide the long
desiderated career open to talents. The stupid boy, though his father
was our Prime Minister, shall be made a cabin-boy, or a scavenger's
assistant, an awful example to young gentlemen who fail to pass the
Government examinations: while we will pick up, not the gutter child,
for there shall be no more children in gutters, but the son of the
woman at the mill, and testing him and assigning his career, first by
school examinations, and then by his official performances, we will
make him in time Poet Laureate or President of the Board of Trade,
according to the bent of his genius." The astonished workman turns
round upon the exhibitors of this fairy vision: "And pray who are
You?" "Oh, you, we, the people, all of us together. Come put your
shoulder to the wheel, and up goes our enterprise. Or rather our first
motion is downwards: down with landlords and cotton-lords and lords of
parliament, down with contractors and stock-jobbers and all who live
on the interest of their money, and then our honourable multitude will
possess and administer and govern."

5. If angels are to hold the collective ownership of capital and the
government of men in the Socialist Commonwealth; or if every citizen,
retaining in his private capacity all the follies and vices that human
flesh is heir to, shall still be vested in angelic attributes,
whenever he sits as legislator or judge, or acts on the executive of a
Socialist commission,--then this new Commonwealth is likely to prove a
blessed substitute for the rule of the higher classes, which in one
way or another has hitherto obtained in civilized society. But till
angelic attributes descend on earth, we shall not find a cure for the
evils of cities and countries in simply doubling the functions of
government, and placing all sovereign rights, and all the most
important of proprietory rights and duties, in the hands of a
numerical majority.

6. Capital, as we have seen, is a collection of market or exchange
values in view of further exchange. If we call supply S and demand D,
market value is a social estimate of the fraction D/S. Another
definition has been given: Market value is a social estimate of the
amount of socially useful labour which a given article contains. This
second definition contains this much of truth in it, that directly as
the demand for an article, and inversely as the supply of the same, is
the amount of labour which men find it worth their while to spend upon
that article for commercial purposes. Otherwise the definition is
unsatisfactory and involved, and leads to endless discussion. Without
entering into these discussions, we will remark an ambiguity in the
term on which they all roll, the term _labour_, which ambiguity is at
the bottom of three fourths of the sophistries of popular Socialism.

7. There were two pillars put at the entrance of Solomon's temple, one
on the right hand and the other on the left: that which was on the
right hand he called, according to the Septuagint, _Direction_,
[Greek: katorthosis], and that on the left hand, _Strength_, [Greek:
ischus]. (2 Par. iii. 17.) Further we are told that Solomon set
seventy thousand men to carry burdens on their shoulders, and eighty
thousand to hew stones in the mountains, and three thousand six
hundred to be overseers of the work of the people. (2 Par. ii. 18.)
The history is manifest. Strength and Direction build the Temple:
Strength, or Manual Labour, represented by the hodmen and quarrymen,
and the rest of the "hands:" Direction, or Mental Labour, represented
by the overseers. Yet not by them alone: surely we must count in as
doers of mental labour the designer of the Temple, or at least of its
decorations, that "most wise and skilful man, my father Hiram;" and
still more King Solomon himself and David, the two royal minds that
originated and perfected the idea; and David's generals, Joab and
Banaias, who secured the peace that was necessary as a condition of
the building; and innumerable other men of place and power in the
nation, but for whose thought and prudence the strength of the workman
would have been thrown away like a river poured out in the Libyan
desert. From this example, eked out with a little thought of his own,
the reader may estimate the wisdom and credit of those who tell
factory hands that it is their labour which produces all the wealth of
their employer, and that, in the day when every man shall receive his
due, the employer shall be made a workmen like themselves, and his
wealth shall go to the increase of their common wages.

8. Certainly, it will be said, the employer should be paid for his
mental labour, but why at so enormously higher a rate than the manual
labourers? If we say, "because his labour is more valuable," some
Socialists would join issue on the score that labour is valuable
according to the time that it takes, and the employer works shorter
hours than his men. But this taking account of _quantity_ alone in
labour is an ignoring of the distinction which we have drawn of two
_qualities_ or _orders_ of labour, mental and manual; one more
valuable than the other as being scarcer and in greater demand, so
that a short time of one may be set against a long time of another,
like a little gold against a heap of brass. Any man accustomed to both
orders of labour must have observed, that while he can work with his
hands at almost any time when he is well, the highest labour of his
intellect can be done only at rare intervals, and that in one happy
hour he will sometimes accomplish more than in a day. As the same man
differs from himself at different times, so does one man from another
in the average value of his mental efforts: this value is not measured
by time.

9. Abandoning this untenable position, Socialists still ask: "But is
the difference in the value of their labour quite so vast as is the
interval between the profits of the employer and the pay of his poor
drudges?" Honestly we cannot say that it is. We are fain to fall back
upon the consideration, that the employer contributes, not only his
brains to the work, but his capital. "Ah, that is just it," is the
Socialists' quick reply: "We propose to relieve him of his capital,
and remunerate his brainwork only: by that means we shall be able to
pay sufficiently handsome wages for management, according to the ratio
of mental and manual labour, and at the same time have a sufficiently
large surplus over to raise the wages of his needy comrades, those
seventy thousand hodmen and eighty thousand quarrymen."

10. Two reasons may be given for turning away from this seductive
proposal, and leaving capital (not _consumer's wealth_ merely) in
private hands,--and that not only in the hands of what we may call
_mentally productive capitalists_, men who oversee their own
enterprises and manage their own workmen, but even of _unproductive
capitalists_, men who have shares in and reap profits out of a
business which they never meddle with. The first reason is, because
this position of the productive, and still more that of the
unproductive capitalist, is a prize for past industry expended upon
production. To understand this, we must recollect once more that men
work, not as individuals, but as heads of families. Every working man,
from the sailor to the shop-boy, covets for himself two things, pay
and leisure. The same two things do mentally productive labourers
covet. But they covet them, not for themselves alone, but for their
families, and more even for their families than for themselves. They
weary their brains, planning and managing, that in old age they may
retire on a competence, and hand down that same competence,
undiminished by their having lived on it, to their children. Thus the
young man works and produces, that the old man, and the child to come,
may have exemption from productive labour, an abiding exemption, which
cannot be unless he is allowed to live on the interest of accumulated
capital. These positions of affluence and rest--sinecures they are, so
far as production is concerned--are the prizes awarded to the best
productive labour. What they who do that labour aim at, is not wages
but exemption from toil: their wish is not so much to be wealthy and
have leisure themselves as to found a family in wealth and
leisure,--the one possible foundation of such a family being a store
of private capital. Socialists of course will offer nobler prizes for
the best productive labour,--honour, and the satisfaction of having
served the community, a satisfaction which they would have men trained
from childhood to relish above all other joys. Unfortunately, this
taste is yet unformed, and the stimulus of these nobler prizes is
still unproved by experience. Meanwhile men do work hard, to the
advantage of the community, for the ignobler prize of family affluence
and ease. Socialists are going to take away the good boy's cake and
give him a sunflower.

11. The second reason for leaving capital in private, even
unproductive hands, begins from the consideration, that the highest
end of man on earth is not production, just as it is not consumption,
of the necessaries and luxuries of life. Aristotle bids us, as much as
possible in this life, "to play the immortal ([Greek: athanatizein]),
and do our utmost to live by the best element in our nature," that is,
the intellect. (_Ethics_, c. ii., s. ii., n. 7, p. 9.) There is the
intellectual life of the statesman in the practical order: and in the
speculative order, that of the poet, of the artist, of the scholar, of
the devout contemplative--the outcome of learned and pious leisure,
and freedom from vulgar cares. One man ascending into this higher and
better region helps his neighbour to follow. The neighbour can follow,
even though he be not free from productive cares, but the leader ought
to be free, if he is to soar a high, sustained and powerful flight,
and guide others aloft. These unproductive capitalist families then
form what we may call, by a figure which rhetoricians call _oxymoron_,
something which comes very near a bull,--we may call them an _endowed
lay-clergy_: they are told off from the rest of men to lead the way in
doing, and causing to be done, the highest work of humanity. The
absence of the First Class of Workers would render the Socialist
Utopia a very vulgar place.

12. Nature's ideal is: _To all, plenty: to some, superabundance_. The
superabundance of some is not necessarily incompatible with all having
plenty: nay it is a positive furtherance of that and of still higher
ends, as has been shown. But it is a position of advantage that may be
abused, and is abused most wantonly: hence there comes to be question
of Socialism.

13. The Socialism above described is of the old sort, called
Collectivism. A new variety has appeared, Syndicalism. Syndicalism is
opposed to nationalisation and centralisation of capital and power: it
would convert workers into owners in each separate department of
labour,--colliers to own the coal, railwaymen the lines and
rolling-stock, agricultural labourers the land, and so on.
Collectivism might conceivably be put in practice, given a
sufficiently high standard of social virtue, a quality which
Socialists are not in the way to get. As for Syndicalism in practice,
I leave that to the reader to imagine. Syndicalism stigmatises
Collectivism as a gross tyranny. Thus divided into two irreconcilable
factions, the Socialists are not a happy family.

_Readings_.--_The Creed of Socialism_, by Joseph Rickaby
(Anti-socialist Union, Victoria Street, Westminster).

SECTION III.--_Of Landed Property_.

1. Land, like cotton, timber, or iron-ore, is a raw material wrought
up by man. Land, like any other thing, becomes an article of property
originally by occupation, and its value is enhanced by labour. There
is no more reason why all land, or the rents of all land, should
belong to the State, than why all house property, or all house rents,
should belong to the State. If the people need land to live on, so do
they need houses to live in, coals to burn, and shoes to wear.
Socialism, once admitted, cannot be confined to land alone. It will
exterminate "the lord manufacturer" as remorselessly as it
exterminates the landlord.

2. Every man, it is contended, has a right to live on the fruits of
the soil. The proposition is needlessly long. It should be put simply:
Every man has a right to live. For as to living on the fruits of the
soil, there is absolutely nothing else that man can live on. All human
nutriment whatever is derived from what geologists call pulverised
rocks, that is, soil. But if it is meant that every man has a right to
live on the fruits of some soil or land of his own, where is the
proof? So long as the fruits of the earth do not fail to reach a man's
mouth, what matters it whose earth it is that grows them? Some of the
richest as well as the poorest members of the community are landless
men. Confiscate rent to take the place of taxation, and some of the
richest men in the community will go tax-free.

3. The land on which a nation is settled, we are told, belongs to that
nation. Yes, it belongs to them as individuals, yet not so that a
foreigner is excluded by natural law from owning any portion of it.
But the government have over the land, and over all the property upon
it, what is called _altum dominium_, or _eminent domain_, which is a
power of commanding private proprietors to part with their property
for public purposes, with compensation, whenever compensation is
possible. Thus when a railway gets its Act of Parliament, the owners
through whose estates the projected line is to run are compelled by an
exercise of _eminent domain_ to sell to the company. By the same power
the government in a besieged city, when hard pressed, might seize upon
all the stores of food and fuel within the walls, even without
compensation. _Altum dominium_, which is not dominion properly so
called, is sufficient for all national emergencies, without making the
State the universal landlord.

4. It seems impossible to imagine an emergency that would justify any
government in nationalizing all the land at once without compensation.
None but a wealthy government could afford the compensation requisite;
and the emergency would have to be severe indeed, to make it wise of
them to incur such an expense. We can imagine a government in a newly
settled country starting on the understanding that all land was State
land, and that all ground rents were to be paid into the State
exchequer. This would amount to taking rents for taxes; and instead of
a landlord in every district we should have a tax-gatherer. Probably
further taxation would be necessary: in England at any rate the annual
expenditure exceeds the rental by some twenty millions. Government, we
may suppose, would grant leases of land: when the lease fell in, the
rent would be raised for unearned increment, and lowered for
decrement, but not raised for improvements effected by the tenant
himself. In that case the tenant in two or three generations might be
a quasi-proprietor, his rent being ridiculously small in comparison
with the annual value of the holding. The improvements might be the
improvements of his grandfather, or even those of a complete stranger,
from whom he had bought the tenancy. Anyhow they might be the better
portion of the value of the land, and would not be government
property. Or would the government insist on purchasing the
improvements, and look out for a new tenant paying a higher rent?
Lastly, would the government themselves make such improvements as many
an English landlord makes now, for love of the country about him and
love of his own people?

5. It would be most difficult to prevent private property arising in
land, even if it all did belong to the State to start with. "Suppose
£10 paid for a piece of land for a year, and suppose the occupier
said, Let me have it for ten years, and I will give you £20 a year,
ought not the State to accept the offer? Then suppose he said, Give it
me for ever and I will pay £30 a year? Again, ought not the State to
agree? He would then be that hateful creature a landowner, subject to
a rent-charge. Now suppose the State wanted to do work and had to
borrow money, and suppose he offered to give for the redemption of the
rent-charge a sum which could not be borrowed for less than £40 a
year. Again, ought not the State to accept his offer? Yet in that case
he would become a hopelessly unmitigated landlord." (Lord Bramwell.)

6. When there is an alarm of fire in a theatre, any one who could
convince the audience that there was time enough for them all to file
out in slow succession by the door, would avert the greatest danger
that threatened them, that of being crushed and trampled on by one
another. Mankind in pursuit of wealth are like a crowd rushing
excitedly through a narrow place of exit. Whatever man, or body of
men, or institution, or doctrine, will moderate this "love of money"
([Greek: philargyria]), which St. Paul (1 Tim. vi. 10) declares to be
"the root of all evils," the same is a benefactor to the human race,
preventing that cruel oppression of the poor, which comes of
ruthlessly buying land, labour, everything, in the cheapest market and
selling it in the dearest. The landlord who always evicts, if he is
not paid the highest competition rent,--the employer who brings in
from afar the hands that will work at the lowest starvation
wage,--these vultures are worse enemies to society than Socialists,
for they occasion Socialism.

7. Socialism, whether in land alone or in all capital, is an endeavour
to accomplish by State control the results that ought to be achieved
by private virtue. A landlord, or an employer, who remembers his
position as being what Homer calls "a king of men," [Greek: anax
andron],--remembers too, with Aristotle, that a prince exists for his
people,--and who, besides a quasi-royal care for the body of tenantry
or workmen over whom he presides, has something too of a fatherly
interest in every one of them, their persons and their families,
holding it to be a personal tie with himself, to be in his employment
or settled upon his land,--such a man and the multitude of such men
form the best bulwark a country can possess against Socialism. Such a
landlord or employer is a _praesens numen_ to his workpeople or
tenants. In the absence of this protective, personal influence of the
rich over the poor; in the disorganization of society consequent upon
the misconduct of its subordinate chiefs; in the stand-off attitude of
the higher classes, and the defiant independence of the lower; and in
the greed of material goods that is common to them both, there lurks a
danger of unknown magnitude to our modern civilization.

_Reading_.--Leo XIII. on the Condition of Labour, Encyclical of 15th
May, 1891. [Footnote 20]

[Footnote 20: "The right of property attaches to things produced by
labour, but cannot attach to things created by God." So Henry George,
_Condition of Labour_, pp. 3, 4. How then do we read in _Progress and
Poverty_, bk. 7. ch. 1: "The pen with which I am writing is justly
mine," and that, in the last resort, on account of "the rights of
those who dug the material from the ground and converted it into a
pen"? Was not that material, iron-ore, "created by God," equally with
any other portion of the earth's crust that we may please to call



SECTION I.--_Of the Monstrosities called Leviathan and Social

1. Thomas Hobbes, than whom never was greater genius for riding an
idea, right or wrong, to the full length that it will go, was born in
1588: and notwithstanding his twelve pipes of tobacco daily, his
vigorous constitution endured to his ninety-second year. The first
half of his life fell in with the age of the greatest predominance of
Calvinism. In religion he was scarcely a Calvinist, indeed he laboured
under a suspicion of atheism: but his philosophy is accurately cast in
the mould of the grim theology of Geneva. We may call it the
philosophy of Calvinism. It has for its central tenet, that human
nature either was from the first, or is become, bad, "desperately
wicked," depraved, corrupt, and utterly abominable, so that whatever
is natural to man, in so far forth as it is natural, is simply evil.
The remedy for our evil nature Hobbes finds in no imputed merits of a
Redeemer, no irresistible victorious grace, but in the masterful
coercion of a despotic civil power. But, lest any one should suspect
that there was at least this good in man, a propensity to civil
society and obedience to the rulers of cities, Hobbes insists that man
is by nature wholly averse to society with his kind: that the type of
the race is an Ishmael, "a wild man, his hand against all men, and all
men's hands against him:" in fact that the state of nature is a state
of war all round. He writes (_Leviathan_, c. xiii.): "Men have no
pleasure, but on the contrary a great deal of grief, in keeping
company where there is no power able to overawe them all. For every
man looketh that his companion should value him at the same rate he
sets on himself; and upon all signs of contempt or undervaluing
naturally endeavours, as far as he dares (which among them that have
no common power to keep them quiet, is far enough to make them destroy
each other), to extort a greater value from his contemners by damage,
and from others by the example.... Hereby it is manifest, that during
the time that men live without a power to keep them all in awe, they
are in that condition which is called war, and such a war as is of
every man against every man.... In such condition there is no place
for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently
no culture of the earth: no navigation, nor use of the commodities
that may be imported by sea: no commodious building: no instruments of
moving and removing such things as require much force: no knowledge of
the face of the earth: no account of time: no arts, no letters, no
society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of
violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish,
and short.... To this war of every man against every man this also is
consequent, that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and
wrong, justice and injustice, have there no place. Where there is no
common power there is no law: where no law, no injustice.... It is
consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no
dominion, no _mine_ and _thine_ distinct, but only that to be every
man's that he can get, and for so long as he can keep it."

2. Such is what Hobbes is pleased to call "the natural condition of
mankind," a condition which man would have every natural reason for
getting out of with all speed, were he ever so unhappy as to fall into
it. It is true that, apart from civil government, violence would reign
on earth. But it is not true that to live apart from civil government
is the natural condition of mankind. It is not true that the only
motive which draws men into civil society is the fear of violence, as
though there were no such facts and exigencies of human nature as
sympathy, friendship, intellectual curiosity, art, religion. It is not
true that the one reason for the existence of the civil power consists
in this, that without the restraining hand of the magistrate men would
bite and devour one another. Lastly, it is not true that all rights,
notably rights of property, are the creation of the State. A man is a
man first and a citizen afterwards. As a man, he has certain rights
actual and potential (c. v., s. i., p. 244): these the State exists,
not to create, for they are prior to it in the order of nature, but to
determine them, where indeterminate, to sanction and to safeguard

Natural rights go before legal rights, and are presupposed to them, as
the law of nature before that law which is civil and positive. It is
an "idol of the tribe" of lawyers to ignore all law but that upon
which their own professional action takes its stand.

3. "In considering man as he must have come from the hands of nature,"
writes Jean Jacques Rousseau, "I behold an animal less strong than
some, less active than others, but upon the whole in organism having
the advantage of them all. I behold him appeasing his hunger under an
oak, slaking his thirst in the first brook, finding a bed at the foot
of the same tree that furnished his repast, and there you have all his
cravings satisfied." (_Discours sur l'origine de l'inégalité _.) This
noble savage--quite a contrast to Hobbes's ruffian primeval, "nasty,
brutish," and short-lived--observes and imitates the industry, and
gradually raises himself to the instinct, of the beasts among whom he
lives. His constitution is robust, and almost inaccessible to malady.
He attains to old age, free from gout and rheumatism. He surpasses the
fiercest wild beasts in address as much as they surpass him in
strength, and so arrives to dwell among them without fear. Yet withal
he is distinguished from brutes by freewill and perfectibility,
qualities which gradually draw him out of his primeval condition of
tranquil innocence, lead him through a long course of splendours and
errors, of vices and virtues, and end by making him a tyrant at once
over nature and over himself.

4. Rousseau's life, 1715-1778, was a continual protest against the
formalism, affectation, pedantry and despotism of the age of the
Bourbons. His ideal of man was the unconventional, unconstrained,
solitary, but harmless and easy-going savage. Hobbes was the growth of
a sterner and more serious age. The only reality to him in heaven and
on earth was force: his one idea in philosophy was coercion. Human
nature to him was an embodiment of brute violence ever in need of
violent restraint. Rousseau, an optimist, saw nothing but good in
man's original nature: to the pessimist mind of Hobbes all was evil
there. Neither of them saw any natural adaptation to social life in
the human constitution. To live in society was, in both their views,
an artificial arrangement, an arbitrary convention. But Hobbes found
in the intolerable evils of a state of nature an excellent reason why
men should quit it for the unnatural condition of citizens. Rousseau
found no reason except, as he says, _quelque funeste hasard_. The
problem for Hobbes stood thus: how men, entering society, might be
"cribbed, cabined, and confined" to the utmost in order to keep down
their native badness. Rousseau's concern was, how one might so become
a citizen as yet to retain to the full the delightful liberty of a
tropical savage. Hobbes's solution is the _Leviathan_, Rousseau's the
_Social Contract_. The prize, we think, rests with the Englishman: but
the reader shall judge.

5. And first of the Social Contract. Rousseau proposes "to find a form
of association which shall defend and protect with all the strength of
the community the person and the goods of each associate, and whereby
each one, uniting himself to all, may nevertheless obey none but
himself and remain as free as before." (_Contrat Social_, i. 6.) This
proposal is hopeless, it is a contradiction in terms. No man can
contract and remain as free as before, but he binds himself either
under a _wider_ obligation to do or abstain, where he was not bound
before, or under a _stronger_ obligation where he was bound already.
Nevertheless Rousseau finds a means of accomplishing the impossible
and the self-contradictory. "Each of us puts into a common stock his
person and all his power under the supreme direction of the general
will; and we receive in our turn the offering of the rest, each member
as an inseparable part of the whole. Instantly, instead of the private
person of each contracting party, this act of association produces a
moral and collective body, composed of as many members as the assembly
has voices, which body receives by this same act its unity, its common
Ego, its life and its will." (_ib_.) This awful signing away of all
your rights, so that your very personality is merged in that of the
community--a self-renunciation going far beyond that of profession in
any religious order--ought certainly, as Rousseau says, to be "the
most voluntary act in the world;" and he adds the characteristic
reason: "every man being born free and master of himself, none can,
under any pretence whatsoever, subject him without his own consent."
(_Contrat Social_, iv. 2.) Then you ask: When have I made this large
contract by the most voluntary act in the world? Rousseau replies:
"When the State is instituted, consent is in residing." (_ib_.) But,
you reply, my residence is anything but the most voluntary act in the
world: it would be awkward for me to emigrate; and if I did emigrate,
it would only be to some other State: I cannot possibly camp out and
be independent in the woods, nor appease my hunger under an oak. To
this plea Rousseau quite gives in, remarking that "family, goods, the
want of an asylum, necessity, violence, may keep an inhabitant in the
country in spite of himself; and in that case his mere sojourn no
longer supposes his consent to the contract." (_ib_.) Then none of us
have made the contract, for we have never had the option of living
anywhere except in some State.

6. Hobbes, after laying down the necessity of men combining for
protection against mutual injustice, observes that a mere promise or
agreement not to injure any one will not suffice: "for the agreement
of men is by covenant only, which is artificial; and therefore no
wonder if there be something else required besides covenant to make
their agreement constant and lasting, which is a common power to keep
them in awe and to direct their actions to the common benefit." He
continues: "The only way to erect such a common power ... is to confer
all their power and strength upon one man or upon one assembly of men,
that may reduce all their wills by plurality of voices unto one will:
which is as much as to say, to appoint one man or assembly of men to
bear their person; and every one to own, and to acknowledge himself to
be the author of, whatsoever he that so beareth their person shall act
or cause to be acted in those things which concern the common peace
and safety; and therein to submit their wills every one to his will,
and their judgments to his judgment. This is more than consent or
concord,--it is a real unity of them all in one and the same person,
made by covenant of every man with every man, in such manner as if
every man should say to every man: I authorise, and give up my right
of governing myself to this man or to this assembly of men, on this
condition, that thou give up thy right to him, and authorise all his
actions in like manner. This done, the multitude so united in one
person is called a _commonwealth_, in Latin _civitas_. This is the
generation of that great Leviathan, or rather, to speak more
reverently, of that mortal god, to whom we owe under the immortal God
our peace and defence." (_Leviathan_, c. xvii.) This idea of all the
rights and personalities of the individuals who contract to live
socially being fused and welded together into the one resultant
personality and power of the State, has evidently been borrowed by
Rousseau from Hobbes. We shall deal with the idea presently. Meanwhile
several points claim our notice.

7. The hideous piece of cynicism whereby Rousseau (_Contrat Social_,
iv. 2), after promising you that, if you join his commonwealth, you
shall obey none but yourself, then goes on to tell you that you obey
yourself in obeying the will of the majority, even when it puts you in
irons or leads you to death--because as a citizen you have once for
all renounced your own will, and can only wish what the majority
wishes,--has its root in the position of Hobbes, that "every subject
is author of every act the sovereign doth." (_Leviathan_, c. xxi.)

8. A real and important difference between the _Leviathan_ and the
_Social Contract_, is that Hobbes (c. xix.) allows various
distributions of sovereign power, but prefers monarchy: Rousseau (l.
ii., c. i.) will have it that sovereignty is vested inalienably in the
people: of which doctrine more to follow.

9. _Men are by nature equal_, say Rousseau and Hobbes and many more
respectable authors. Yes, in their specific nature, that is, they are
all equally men. Similarly you have it that all triangles are equal,
if that is a proposition of any value. But men as individuals are not
all equal. One is stronger in body, another more able in mind: one
predisposed to virtue, another to vice: one born in affluence and
honour, another in squalor. Not men in the abstract, but living men,
start at different points of vantage, and the distance between them
widens as they run the race of life. We may lay it down as an axiom,
in diametric opposition to Rousseau, that inequalities are natural,
equalities artificial.

10. _Man is born free_: so opens the first chapter of the _Contrat
Social_. If free of all duties, then void of all rights (c. v., s. i.,
nn. 5, 7, pp. 246, 247): let him then be promptly knocked on the head
as a sacrifice to Malthas; and with the misformed children born in
Plato's _Republic_, "they will bury him in a secret and unseen spot,
as is befitting."

11. Hobbes and Rousseau go upon this maxim, which has overrun the
modern world, that no man can be bound to obedience to another without
his own consent. The maxim would be an excellent one, were men framed
like the categories of Aristotle--substance, quantity, quality,
relation, and the rest--each peering out of his own pigeon-hole, an
independent, self-sufficient entity. But men are dependent, naturally
dependent whether they will or no, every human being on certain
definite others,--the child on the parent, the citizen on the State
whose protection he enjoys, and all alike on God. These natural
dependences carry with them natural uncovenanted obediences,--to
parents, filial duty--to country, loyalty--to God, piety: all which
are embraced in the Latin term _pietas_. (See St. Thomas, 2a 2æ, q.
101, art. 1, in corp.) The fatal maxim before us is the annihilation
of _pietas_. In lieu of loyal submission we get a contract, a
transaction of reasoned commercial selfishness between equal and
equal. This perverse substitution has called forth Leo XIII.'s remark
on the men of our time, "Nothing comes so amiss to them as subjection
and obedience," _Nihil tam moleste ferunt quam subesse et parere_.
(Encyclical on Christian Marriage.)

12. The common extravagance of the _Leviathan_ and the _Social
Contract_ is the suppression of the individual, with his rights and
his very personality, which is all blended in the State. (See
Rousseau's words above quoted, n. 5, and those of Hobbes, n. 6.) The
reservations in favour of the individual made by Hobbes, _Leviathan_,
c. xxi., and by Rousseau, _Contrat Social_, l. ii., c. iv., are either
trifles or self-contradictions. But it is not in man's power by any
contract thus to change his nature, so as to become from autocentric
heterocentric (c. ii., s. i., n. 2, p. 203; c. v., s. i., n. 1, p.
244), from a person a thing, from a man a chattel, void of rights and
consequently of duties, and bound to serve this Collective Monster,
this Aggregated Idol, with the absolute devotedness that is due to God
alone. The worship of the new Moloch goes well with the dark
misanthropism of Hobbes: but in Rousseau, the believer in the perfect
goodness of unrestrained humanity, it is about the most glaring of his
many inconsistencies. It is of course eagerly taken up by the
Socialists, as carrying all their conclusions. It is the political
aspect of Socialism.

_Reading_.--Burke, _Warren Hastings_, Fourth Day, the passage
beginning, "He have arbitrary power!"

SECTION II.--_Of the theory that Civil Power is an aggregate formed by
subscription of the powers of individuals_.

1. The Greeks had a name [Greek: eranos], which meant a feast where
the viands were supplied by each guest contributing in kind. If, in a
party of four, one man brought a ham, another a rabbit, a third a dish
of truffles, and a fourth a salmon, no one would expect that, when the
cover was raised, there should appear a pigeon-pie. That would not be
in the nature of an [Greek: eranos]. Now not only Hobbes and Rousseau,
but Locke and a great multitude of modern Englishmen with him, hold
that the power of the State is an aggregate, the algebraic sum of the
powers whereof the component members would have stood possessed, had
they lived in what is called, by a misleading phrase, "the state of
nature," that is, the condition of men not subject to civil authority.
These powers,--either, as Hobbes and Rousseau virtually say, _all_ of
them, or, as Locke and the common opinion has it, only _some_ of them,
--men are supposed to resign as they enter into the State. If
therefore there appears in the City, Nation, State, or Commonwealth, a
certain new and peculiar power, which belongs to no individual in the
"state of nature," or, as I prefer to call it, the _extra-civil
state_, then what we may designate as the Aggregation Theory breaks
down, and another origin must be sought of civil principality. But
there is such a power in the State, new and peculiar, and not found in
any of the component individuals: it is the power and authority to
punish on civil grounds. It is the right of the rods and axes, that
were borne before the Roman magistrate. It is, in its most crucial
form, the right to punish with death.

2. We are not here concerned with proving the existence of this right.
It is generally admitted: we assume it accordingly, and shall prove it
later on. Nor are we concerned with _domestic punishment_, inflicted
by the head of a family within his own household, for the good of that
household, stopping short of any _irreparable harm_ to the sufferer.
(St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 65, art. 2, ad. 2.) Leaving this aside, we say,
and have proved already, that one private individual has no right to
punish another, neither _medicinally_ for the amendment of the
delinquent, nor by way of _deterrent_ for the good of the community,
nor in the way of _retribution_ for his own satisfaction. He has the
right of self-defence, but not of punishment: the two things are quite
different. He may also exact restitution, where restitution is due:
but that again is not punishing. If he is in the extra-civil state, he
may use force, where prudence allows it, to recover what he has lost.
This _right of private war_ really is surrendered by the individual,
when the State is established: but war and punishment are two totally
different ideas. Subjects are punished: war is levied on independent
powers. (_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., nn. 4-6, pp. 171-174; _Natural
Law_, c. ii., s. ii., n. 6, p. 212.)

3. Opposite is the opinion of Locke, who writes:

"The execution of the law of nature is in that state [of nature] put
into every man's hands, whereby every one has a right to punish the
transgressors of that law to such a degree as may hinder its
violation: for the law of nature would, as all other laws that concern
men in this world, be in vain, if there were nobody that in the state
of nature had a power to execute that law." We observe that the
punishment of offenders against the law of nature, as such, belongs to
the Legislator, who is God alone. Certainly it is well, nay necessary,
that there should be human law to bear out the law of nature: but
human law is the creation of human society in its perfection, which is
the State. Man is punished by man for breaking the laws of man,
not--except remotely--for breaking the laws of God. Nor would it be
any inconvenience, if the law of nature were in vain in a state
wherein nature never intended men to live, wherein no multitude of men
ever for any notable time have lived, a state which is neither actual
fact nor ideal perfection, but a mere property of the philosophic
stage, a broken article, an outworn speculation. Such is "the state of
nature," as identified with the extra-civil state by Hobbes, Locke,
and Rousseau.

SECTION III.--_Of the true state of Nature, which is the state of
civil society; and consequently of the Divine origin of Power_.

1. The State is deemed by Aristotle (_Politics_, III., ix., 14): "the
union of septs and villages in a complete and self-sufficient life."
The first and most elementary community is the _family_, [Greek:
oikia]. A knot of families associating together, claiming
blood-relationship and descent, real or fictitious, from a common
ancestor, whose name they bear, constitute a [Greek: genos], called in
Ireland a _sept_, in Scotland a _clan_, nameless in England. When the
sept come to cluster their habitations, or encampments, in one or more
spots, and to admit strangers in blood to dwell among them, these
hamlets, or camps, gradually reach the magnitude of a _village_. When
a number of these _villages_, belonging to different _septs_, come to
be contiguous to one another, this mere juxtaposition does not make of
them a State. Nor does interchange of commodities, nor intermarriage,
nor an offensive and defensive alliance: these are the mutual
relations of a _confederacy_, [Greek: xymmaxia], but all these and
more are needed for a State, [Greek: polis]. To be a State, it is
requisite that these septs and villages should agree to regulate the
conduct of their individual members by a _common standard of social
virtue_, sufficient for their well-being as one community. This common
standard is fixed by common consent, or by the decision of some power
competent to act for all and to punish delinquents. The name of this
common standard is _law_. (_Ethics_, c. vii., n. 1, p. 126.) The
community thus formed leads a life _complete and self-sufficient_, not
being a member of another, but a body by itself,--not part of any
ulterior community, but complete in the fulness of social good and
social authority.

2. Among the ancient Greeks and Italians, and to some extent also in
mediæval Italy and Germany, the city or municipality, with the small
country district attached, was the State. With us the nation is the
State; and accordingly we say _my country_ where the Greek said _my
city_. Bearing this difference in mind, as also the fact that the
_sept_ is not known amongst us except to antiquarians, and likewise
that the _village_ with us coincides with the _parish_, and that there
are town as well as country parishes,--upon these modern data we may
amend Aristotle's definition thus: _The State is the union of parishes
and municipalities in a perfect and self-sufficient community_.

3. The City State is well illustrated in the following narrative of
Thucydides (ii., 15):

"In the time of Cecrops and the early kings as far as Theseus, Attica
was always divided among several independent cities, with their own
town-halls and magistrates; and when there was no alarm of an enemy,
the inhabitants did not resort for common deliberation to the King,
but severally managed their own affairs and took their own counsel,
and some of them even went to war. But when Theseus came to the
throne, he abolished the council-chambers and magistracies of the
other cities, and centralised all the people in what is now the city
[of Athens], where he appointed their one council-chamber and
town-hall; and while they continued to occupy their own properties as
before, he forced them to recognise this as their one city and State."
Attica before Theseus was a _confederacy_, [Greek: xymmaxia], not a
State, [Greek: polis].

4. A _citizen_ is defined: "one who has access to a share in
deliberative and judicial functions." (Ar., _Pol_. III., i., 12.) It
is not necessary that he actually should share these functions, but
the way to them should lie open to him: he should be a person
qualified to share in them. There are various degrees of citizenship.
Under a parliamentary government, we distinguish the member of
parliament, the elector, and him who will be an elector as soon as he
gets a house of his own; and again, the judge, and him who is liable
to serve on juries. In an absolute monarchy there are no _citizens_,
only _subjects_.

5. "The distribution of power in the State, and especially of the
sovereign power, is called the _polity_" ([Greek: politeia], Ar.,
_Pol_., III., vi., 1),--a word immortalised by the judicious Hooker,
and happily recovered recently to the English language. The _polity_
then is the distribution of the sovereignty. The person, singular or
collective, in whose hands the full sovereignty rests, is called the
_ruler_. Be it observed that what we call _the ruler_ is never one
man, except in absolute monarchy. By the theory of the British
Constitution, the _ruler_ is King, Lords, and Commons, together.

6. _Nature requires that men generally live in society, domestic and
civil, so that the individual be of the family, and families form
associations, which again conspire to form one perfect community,
which is the State_. The requirement of nature may be gathered from
the universal practice of mankind. "If it (the word _savage_) means
people without a settled form of government, without laws and without
a religion, then, go where you like, you will not find such a race."
(Max Müller, in _Nineteenth Century_, Jan. 1885, p. 114.) The same may
be gathered from a consideration of what the State is, and of the ends
which it serves. The State, as we have seen (n. 2), is a union of
septs and villages, or of parishes and municipalities. The individual
is born and nurtured in the family, and ordinarily becomes in time the
parent of a new family. Families must combine to form septs by blood,
or villages (or parishes) by locality. Municipalities we may leave
aside, for a municipality is a potential State. But we must consider
the sept, village, or parish, which is the community intermediate
between family and State. Among the cogent reasons which require
families to enter into this association, we may mention friendship,
intermarriage, the interchange of services and commodities, the
cultivation of the arts, the preservation of traditions and

7. But it is further necessary that these septs, villages, or
parishes, should band together and combine to form a higher community,
self-sufficient and perfect,--for the determining of rights which
Natural Law leaves undetermined,--for the punishing of disturbers of
the peace, if need be, even with death,--for defence against a common
enemy,--for a union of counsels and resources to the execution of
magnificent works. This self-sufficient and perfect community, which
is not part of any higher community, is the State.

8. We may observe that the whole reason for the being of the State is
not mutual need, nor the repression of violence. Main reasons these
are, no doubt, but not the whole main reason. Even if men had no need
of one another for the supply of their animal wants, they would still
desire to converse for the satisfaction of their intellectual
curiosity and their social affections. And even if we had all remained
as void of guile, and as full of light and love, as our first parents
were at their creation, we should still have needed the erection of
States. In a State there are not only criminal but civil courts, where
it is not wicked men alone who come to be litigants. From sundry
passages of Scripture it would appear that even angels may disagree as
to what is best and proper: angelic men certainly may and do. It is a
mistake to look upon civil government, with its apparatus of laws and
judgments, simply as a necessary evil, and remedy of the perverseness
of mankind. On the contrary, were all men virtuous, States would still
be formed, towering in magnificence above the States known to history,
as the cedars of Lebanon above the scanty growths of a fell-side in
our north country.

9. _There can be no State without a power to guide and govern it_. It
has indeed become the fashion to repeat, as the latest discovery in
politics, that what a State needs is not government but
administration. This saying comes of a theory, to be examined
presently, that sovereign power abides permanently with the people at
large, and that the sole function of princes, cabinets, and
parliaments, is to provide means of giving effect to the popular will.
This however is not quite a repudiation of government, but a peculiar
view as to the seat and centre of government. Those who hold it,
vigorously maintain the right of the Many to govern, control, and
command the Few. The need of some governing authority in a State can
be denied by none but an Anarchist, a gentleman who lives two doors
beyond Rousseau on the side of unreason.

10. _Every State is autonomous, self-governing, independent_. Either
the whole people taken collectively must rule the same whole taken
distributively, or a part must rule the rest. The ruler is either the
whole commonwealth, or more frequently a part of the commonwealth. An
autocrat is part of the State which he governs. Sovereignty whole and
entire is intrinsic to the State. A community that is to any extent
governed from without, like British India or London, is not a State,
but part of a State, for it is not a _perfect community_.

11. We have it therefore that _man is a social animal_. Naturally he
is a member of a family. Nature requires that families should coalesce
into higher communities, which again naturally converge and culminate
in the State. Nature further requires that in every State there should
be an authority to govern. But authority to govern and duty to obey
are correlatives. Nature therefore requires submission to the
governing authority in the State. In other words, Nature abhors
anarchy as being the destruction of civil society, and as cutting the
ground from under the feet of civilised man. The genuine _state of
nature_, that state and condition, which nature allows and approves as
proper for the evolution of the human faculties, is the state of man
in civil society. That is lost where there is no judge in the land.

12. There are men full of a sentimental deference to authority and
professions of obedience, who yet will not obey any of the authorities
that actually are over them. These are disobedient men. He is an
anarchist in practice, who meditates treason and rebellion against the
"powers that be" actually over him in the State wherein he lives. To
obey no actual power is to obey no power, as to wear no actual clothes
is to go naked. To keep up the comparison,--as a man may change his
clothes upon occasion, and thus go through a brief interval of
unclothedness without injury to health or violation of decency,
notwithstanding the requirement of nature to wear clothes: so it may
be or it may not be consonant with the exigency of our nature at times
to subvert by insurrection the existing government in order to the
substitution of a new authority; that does not concern us here. We are
stating the general rule under ordinary circumstances. The submission
to civil authority, which nature requires of us, must be paid in the
coin of obedience to the actual established "powers that be."

13. Any one who understands how morality comes from God (_Ethics_, c.
vi., s. ii. nn. 6-9, 13, pp. 119-125), can have no difficulty in
seeing how civil power is of God also. The one point covers the other.
We need no mention of God to show that disobedience, lying, and the
seven deadly sins, are bad things for human nature, things to be
avoided even if they were not forbidden. All the things that God
forbids are against the good of man. Their being evil is
distinguishable from their being prohibited, and antecedent to it. Now
as drunkenness and unchastity are evil for man, so too is anarchy. The
one remedy for anarchy is civil government. Even if there were no God,
it would be still imperatively necessary, as we have seen, for mankind
to erect political institutions, and to abide by the laws and
ordinances of constitutional power. But there would be no _formal
obligation_ of submission to these laws and ordinances; and resistance
to this power would be no more than _philosophic sin_. (_Ethics_, c.
vi., s. ii., n. 6, p. 119.) What makes anarchy truly sinful and wrong
is the prohibition of it contained in the Eternal Law, that law
whereby God commands every creature, and particularly every man, to
act in accordance with his own proper being and nature taken as a
whole, and to avoid what is repugnant to the same. (_Ethics_, c. vi.,
s. ii., n. 9, p. 120.)

Therefore, as man is naturally social, and anarchy is the dissolution
of society, God forbids anarchy, and enjoins obedience to the civil
power, under pain of sin and damnation. "They that resist, purchase to
themselves damnation" (Rom. xiii. 2): where the theological student,
having the Greek text before him, will observe that the same phrase is
used as in 1 Cor. xi. 29 of the unworthy communicant, as though it
were the like sin to rend our Lord's mystical Body by civil discord as
to profane His natural Body by sacrilege. But to enjoin obedience and
to bestow authority are the obverse and reverse of one and the same
act. God therefore gives the civil ruler power and authority to
command. This is the meaning of St. Paul's teaching that there is no
power but from God, and that the powers that be are ordained of God.
(Rom. xiii. 1.)

14. The argument is summed up in these seven consequent propositions:

(a) Civil society is necessary to human nature.
(b) Civil power is necessary to civil society.
(c) Civil power is naught without civil obedience.
(d) Civil obedience is necessary to human nature.
(e) God commands whatever is necessary to human nature.
(f) God commands obedience to the civil power.
(g) God commissions the civil power to rule.

15. If any one asks how the State and the civil power is of God any
otherwise than the railway company with its power, or even the fever
with its virulence, a moment's reflection will reveal the answer in
the facts, that railway communication, however convenient, is not an
essential feature of human life, as the State is: while diseases are
not requirements in order to good, but incidental defects and evils of
nature, permitted by God. Why God leaves man to cope with such evils,
is not the question here.

_Readings_.--Ar., _Pol_., I., ii.; III., i.; III., ix.: nn. 5-15.

SECTION IV.--_Of the Variety of Polities_.

1. _One polity alone is against the natural law; that is every polity
which proves itself unworkable and inefficient: for the rest, various
States exhibit various polities workable and lawful, partly from the
circumstances, partly from the choice, of the citizens: but the sum
total of civil power is a constant quantity, the same for all States_.
We proceed to establish the clauses of this statement in succession.

2. If a watch be necessary to a railway guard, and he is bound to have
one accordingly, it is also necessary, and he is bound to procure it,
that the watch shall go and keep time. A watch that will not keep time
is an unlawful article for him to depend upon, being tantamount to no
watch, whereas he is bound to have a watch. Otherwise, be his watch
large or small, gold, silver, or pinchbeck, all this is indifferent,
so long as it be a reliable timekeeper. In like manner, we must have a
State, we must have a government, and we must have a government that
can govern. Monarchy, aristocracy, parliaments, wide or narrow
franchise, centralisation, decentralisation, any one of these and
countless other forms--apart from the means whereby it is set up--is a
lawful government, where it is a workable one; unlawful, and forbidden
by God and nature, where it cannot work. A form of government that
from its own intrinsic defects could nowhere work, would be everywhere
and always unlawful.

3. You cannot argue from the accomplished fact the lawfulness of the
means whereby it was accomplished. Nor do we say that every form of
government, which succeeds in governing, was originally set up in
justice; nor again that the success of its rule is necessarily due to
the use of just means. The Committee of Public Safety in Paris in 1794
did manage to govern, but it was erected in blood, and it governed by
an unscrupulous disregard of everybody's rights. All that we say is,
that no distribution of civil power as a distribution, or no polity as
a polity (s. iii., n. 5, p. 312), is unlawful, if by it the government
can be carried on. And the reason is plain. For all that nature
requires is that there should be an efficient civil authority, not
that this man should have it, or that one man or other should have it
all, or that a certain class in council assembled should engross it,
or that all the inhabitants of the country should participate in it.
Any one of these arrangements that will work, satisfies the exigency
of nature for civil rule, and is therefore in itself a lawful polity.

4. Working, and therefore, as explained, lawful polities are as
multitudinous as the species of animals. Besides those that actually
are, there is a variety without end, as of animals, so of polities,
that might be and are not. We can classify only the main types. We
ground our classification upon Ar., _Pol._, III., vii., modernising it
so as to take in forms of representative government, whereof Aristotle
had no conception.

(1) _Monarchy_, or the rule of the Single Person, in whose hands the
whole power of the State is concentrated, e.g., Constantine the Great.

(2) _Aristocracy_, or the rule of the Few, which will be either
_direct_ or _representative_, according as either they themselves by
their own votes at first hand, or representatives whom they elect,
make the laws.

(3) _Democracy_, or the rule of the Many, that is, of the whole
community. Democracy, again, is either _direct_ (commonly called
_pure_) or _representative_. The most famous approach in history to
pure democracy is the government of Athens, B.C. 438-338.

(4) _Limited Monarchy_.

(a) _Monarchy with Aristocracy_, the government of England from 1688
to 1830.

(b) _Monarchy with Democracy_.

5. All civil government is for the governed, that is, for the
community at large. The perversion of a polity is the losing sight of
this principle, and the conducting of the polity in the interest of
the governing body alone. By such perversion monarchy passes into
_tyranny_, aristocracy into _oligarchy_, and democracy into
_ochlocracy_ or _mob-rule_. It might appear strange that, where the
power rests with the whole people collectively, government should ever
be carried on otherwise than in the interest of the entire community,
did we not remember that the majority, with whom the power rests in a
democracy, may employ it to trample on and crush the minority. Thus
the Many may worry and harass the Few, the mean and poor the wealthy
and noble: though commonly perhaps the worrying has been the other way
about. Anyhow it is important to observe that there is no polity which
of itself, and apart from the spirit in which it is worked, is an
adequate safeguard and rock of defence against oppression.

6. The wide range of polities that history presents is not drawn out
by the caprice of nations. The very fact of a certain nation choosing
a certain polity, where they are free to choose, is an indication of
the bent of the national character, and character is not a caprice. No
North American population are ever likely to elect an absolute monarch
to govern them. That polity which thrives on the shores of the
Caspian, can strike no root on the banks of the Potomac. The choice of
a polity is limited by the character of the electors and by the
circumstances in which the election is made. Not every generation in a
nation is free to choose its polity: but the choice and institution of
the fathers binds the children. Up to a certain point ancestral
settlements must be respected, or instability ensues, and anarchy is
not far off. Thus the spirit of freedom should always act as Burke
says, "as if in the presence of canonized forefathers."

7. The smallest State in the world is the little republic of Andorra
in the Pyrenees. Though it be a paradox to say it, there is as much
political power in Andorra as in Russia,--one and the same measure of
it in every State. In every State there is power for civil good to the
full height of the emergencies that may arise. The same emergencies
may arise everywhere, and everywhere there is full power to see that
the commonwealth take no harm by them. What a great empire can do for
this purpose, _e.g_., proclaim martial law, search houses, lay an
embargo on the means of transport, impress soldiers, the same can the
tiniest commonwealth do in the like need. And the ordinary functions
of government are the same in both.

8. This seems at variance with the theory of some constitutions,
according to which there are certain so-called _fundamental laws_,
which the legislature cannot call in question, nor deal with in any
way, but must take them in all its deliberations for positions
established and uncontrovertible. The British Constitution recognizes
no fundamental laws. There is no reform that may not legally be
broached in Parliament and enacted there. Parliament is said to be
"omnipotent," "able to do everything, except to make a man a woman."
But in many legislatures it is not so. At Athens of old there were
certain measures which no one could introduce for discussion in the
Sovereign Assembly without rendering himself liable to a prosecution
[Greek: graphae paranomon]. And there have been many monarchs termed
absolute, who yet were bound by their coronation-oath, or by some
other agreement with their people, to preserve inviolate certain
institutions and to maintain certain laws. It may be contended that
such a government as we have in England, which is theoretically
competent to pass any law within the limits of the natural law, has a
greater range of power than a government whose operation is limited by
a barrier of fundamental positive law. But this contention vanishes
when we observe that there must remain in the State, which has
fundamental laws, a power somewhere to reverse them. They can be
reversed at least by the consent of the whole people. Thus at Athens
the [Greek: graphae paranomon] could be suspended by a vote of the
Assembly. A people can release their monarch from his coronation-oath
in such portions of it as are not binding absolutely by divine law.
Where _fundamental law_ obtains, a portion of the civil power becomes
_latent_, and only a diminished remainder is left _free_ in the hands
of the person or persons who are there said to rule. Such person or
persons are not the _adequate ruler_ of the State, as they have not
the full power, but the people, with whom rests the latent authority
to cancel certain laws, are to that extent partakers in the
sovereignty. Where there is agreement of the whole people, great and
small, no part of the power remains _latent_, but all is set _free_.
With us, it may be observed, the omnipotence of parliament has become
a mere lawyer's theory. On every great issue, other than that on which
the sitting parliament has been elected, it is the practice of
ministers to "go to the country" by a new General Election. Thus only
a certain measure of available authority is _free_ at the disposal of
parliament: the rest remaining _latent_ in the general body of the
electorate. Such is our constitution in practice.

9. If in any State the whole power were _free_ in the hands of one
man, there we might look to see made good the _dictum_ of the
judicious Hooker (_Ecclesiastical Polity_, bk. i., s. x., n. 5): "To
live by one man's will became the cause of all men's misery." In a
monarchy untrammelled by senate or popular assembly, it were well that
some of the sovereign power should remain _latent_, and that His
Majesty should rule in accordance with certain laws, not within his
royal pleasure to revoke.

10. The State and the power of the State, apart from the polity, is of
God. (s. iii., n. 14, p. 318.) The State under this or that polity and
this or that ruler, is also of God. But, apart from the polity, the
State is of God _antecedently_ to any determination of any human will:
because, willy nilly, man must live in civil society and God commands
him so to do. But the State under _this_ polity and _this_ ruler is of
God _consequently_ to some determination of human volition. In this
consequent sense we write _Victoria Dei gratia_.

11. There is little use in the enquiry, Which is the best polity?
There is no polity which excels all other polities as man does the
rest of animals. We judge of polities as of the various types of
locomotives, according to the nature of the country where they are to
run. Aristotle tells us that if we meet with a Pericles, we shall do
best to make him our king, and hand over all our affairs to him. (Ar.,
_Pol_., III., xiii., 25: cf. Thucydides, ii., 65.) Otherwise, "for
most cities and for most men, apart from exceptional circumstances, or
a condition of ideal perfection, but having regard to what is
ordinarily possible," he recommends a moderate republic under
middle-class rule. (Ar., _Pol_., VI., xi., Ed. Congreve.) This he
calls _par excellence_ "a polity," [Greek: politeia]. _Democracy_,
[Greek: deimokratia] with Aristotle, always means that perversion of
democracy, which we call _mob-rule_. (Ar., _Pol._, III., vii., nn. 3,

12. In the English monarchy the whole majesty of the State shines
forth in the Single Person who wears the Crown. The Crown is the
centre of loyalty and gives dignity to the government. The Crown is
above all parties in the State, knows their secrets, their purposes
when in office as well as their acts, and is able to mediate, when
party feeling threatens to bring government to a standstill. The
British Crown has more weight of influence than of prerogative.
[Footnote 21]

[Footnote 21: Written in the month and year of jubilee, June, 1887.]

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 105, art. 1, in corp., ad 2, 5; Ar.,
_Pol_., III., xv.; _ib_., III., xvi., nn. 5-8; _ib_., VIII. (al. V.),
xi. nn. 1-3.

SECTION V.--_Of the Divine Right of Kings and the Inalienable
Sovereignty of the People._

1. "Those old fanatics of arbitrary power dogmatized as if hereditary
monarchy were the only lawful government in the world, just as our new
fanatics of popular arbitrary power maintain that a popular election
is the only lawful source of authority." (Burke, _Reflections on
French Revolution_.)

We here stand between two idols of the tribe of politicians. We may
call them Gog and Magog: Gog, the divine right of kings; Magog, the
inalienable sovereignty of the people.

2. The position known in history as "the divine right of kings" may be
best described as a _political popedom_. It is the belief of Catholics
that our Divine Redeemer, instituting His Church by His own personal
act as a perfect society and spiritual commonwealth, instituted in
like manner the polity under which He willed it to be governed,
namely, the Papal monarchy, begun in St. Peter and carried to
completion according to our Lord's design under the line of Popes,
Peter's successors. The monarchy thus established is essential to the
Catholic Church. We speak not here of the temporal power which the
Pope once enjoyed in the Roman States, but of his spiritual
sovereignty over all Christendom. The Pope cannot validly resign and
put out of his own and his successors' hands, nor can the Cardinals
take away from him, nor the Episcopate, one jot or tittle of this
spiritual prerogative. He cannot, for instance, condition his
infallibility on the consent of a General Council, or surrender the
canonization of saints to the votes of the faithful at large. Such are
the inalienable, Christ-given prerogatives of the Papacy. Henry VIII.
feloniously set himself up for Pope within the realm of England.
Blending together temporal and spiritual jurisdiction, he made out his
rights and prerogatives as a monarch, even in the civil order, to be
inalienable as in the spiritual. Spiritual and civil attributes
together formed a jewelled circlet, one and indivisible, immoveably
fixed on the brow of the King's Most Sacred Majesty. Grown and swollen
by their union with the spirituality, the civil attributes of the
Crown were exaggerated to the utmost, and likewise declared
inalienable. They were exaggerated till they came to embrace all the
powers of government. The privileges of Parliament, and the
limitations to the royal authority, set forth in the Petition of Right
in 1628, were regarded as mere concessions tenable at the King's
pleasure: from which point of view we understand the readiness of so
conscientious a monarch as Charles I. to act against such privileges
after he had allowed them. But to vest all the powers of government
inalienably in the King, so that whoever else may seem to partake in
them, shall partake only by royal sufferance, is tantamount to
declaring monarchy the sole valid and lawful polity. This declaration
the ministers, lay and clerical, of our Charleses and Jameses do not
seem to have made in express terms. It is, however, contained by
implication in their celebrated phrase of "the inalienable
prerogatives of the Crown," as interpreted by the stretches of
prerogative which they advised. They virtually asserted of one
particular polity, or distribution of civil power (c. viii., s. iii.,
n. 5, p. 312), that which is true only of civil power taken nakedly,
apart from the mode of its distribution--they said of _monarchy_ what
is true of _government_--that the sum of its power is a constant
quantity (c. viii., s. iv., n. 7, p. 322), and that it is of God
_antecedently_ to and irrespectively of any determination of popular
will. (c. viii., s. iv., n. 10, p. 325.)

3. Such a position is easily refuted, _negatively_, by its being
wholly unproven, unless the English Reformation, and the servile
spirit in Church and State that promoted and was promoted by the
Reformation, can pass for a proof; and again the position is
_positively_ refuted, when we come to consider how all that nature
requires and God commands, is government under some polity, not
government everywhere under monarchy; there being many workable
polities besides monarchy. (s. iv., nn. 1-4, p. 319.)

4. The same argument that demolishes Gog, also overturns Magog. The
two idols, opposed to one another, stand upon the same pedestal, the
identification of government in general with one particular polity, as
though _a_ polity were _the_ polity. The great assertor and worshipper
of the inalienable sovereignty of the people is Jean Jacques Rousseau.
He starts from postulates which we have already rejected--that all men
are equal (c. viii., s. i., n. 9, p. 305)--that man is born free
(_ib._, n. 10)--that none can be bound to obey another without his own
consent (_ib._, n. 11)--that civil society is formed by an arbitrary
convention (_ib._, n. 4)--which convention is the Social Contract.
(_ib._, n. 5.) From these unreasonable postulates Rousseau draws the
conclusion, logically enough, that the sovereign will in every State
is the will of the majority of the citizens: but the will of the
majority, he goes on, cannot be alienated from the majority: therefore
neither can the sovereignty be alienated, but must abide permanently
with the people ruling by a majority of votes. The argumentation is
excellent, but the premisses are all false. The conclusion is vastly
popular, few minds considering from what premisses it is drawn.

5. If sovereignty rests inalienably with the people, the one valid
polity is pure democracy. This proposition, however, Rousseau was not
forward to formulate. The Stuarts had shrunk from formulating a
similar proposition about monarchy, though they virtually held and
acted upon it. They were willing enough to allow of a parliament,
whose privileges and functions should be at His Majesty's gracious
pleasure. Thus Rousseau will allow you to have your senate, king,
emperor, if you will: only remember that he is _the prince_, not _the
sovereign_. (_Contrat Social_, l. iii., c. i.) The people collectively
are the sovereign, always sovereign. The _prince_, that is, he or they
to whom the administration is entrusted--since all the citizens cannot
administer jointly--is the mere official and bailiff of the Sovereign
People, bound to carry out their mandate in all things, and removable
at their pleasure. The people must meet periodically, not at the
discretion of the prince. "These meetings must open with two
questions, never to be omitted, and to be voted on separately. The
first is: Whether it pleases the Sovereign (People) to continue the
present form of government. The second is: Whether it pleases the
People to leave the administration to the persons at present actually
charged with it." (_Contrat Social_, ,l. iv., c. xviii.)

6. The claim of a pure democracy like this to supersede all other
polities cannot be established by abstract arguments. That we have
seen in examining the Social Contract. The alternative way of
establishing such an exclusive claim would be to prove that the
practical efficiency of pure democracy immeasurably transcends the
efficiency of every other possible polity. There is indeed yet a third
mode of proof resorted to. It is said that pure democracy everywhere
is coming and must come; and that what is thus on the line of human
progress must be right and best for the time that it obtains. A grand
invention this of Positivist genius, the theory, that whatever is is
right; and the practice, always to swim with the stream! But supposing
that pure democracy is coming, how long is it likely to last? The
answer may be gathered from a review of the working difficulties of
such a polity.

7. It is made only for a small State. Railway and telegraph have
indeed diminished the difficulty; and have removed the need of all the
voters meeting in one place, as was done at Athens. Newspapers echo
and spread with addition the eloquence of popular orators, beyond the
ears that actually listen to them. Still, think what it would be to
have a general election, upon every bill that passes through
Parliament: for that is what pure democracy comes to. The plan would
scarcely work with a total electorate of thirty thousand. You say the
people would entrust a committee with the passing of ordinary
measures, reserving to themselves the supervision. I am not arguing
the physical impossibility, but the moral difficulties of such an
arrangement. For either the people throw the reins of government on
the neck of this committee, or they keep a tight hold upon the
committee and guide it. In the former case the popular sovereignty
becomes like that of a monarch who leans much on favourites, a
sovereignty largely participated in by others than the nominal holder
of the control. On the other hand, if the people do frequently
interfere, and take a lively interest in the doings of the subordinate
assembly, the people themselves must be a small body. An active
governing body of three hundred thousand members would be as great a
wonder as an active man weighing three hundred pounds. Only in a small
State is that intense political life possible, which a pure democracy
must live. There only, as Rousseau requires, can the public service be
the principal affair of the citizens. "All things considered," he
says, "I do not see how it is any longer possible for the Sovereign
(People) to preserve amongst us the exercise of his rights, if the
city is not very small." (_Contrat Social_, l. iii., c. xv.) And the
difficulty of size in a democracy is aggravated, if, as Socialists
propose, the democratic State is to be sole capitalist within its own
limits. The perfect sovereignty of the people means the disruption of
empires, and the pushing to extremity of what is variously described
as _local government, home rule, autonomy_, and _decentralisation_,
till every commune becomes an independent State. But for defence in
war and for commerce in peace, these little States must federate; and
federation means centralisation, external control over the majority at
home, restricted foreign relations, in fact the corruption of pure

8. Again, the perfect sovereignty of the people cannot subsist except
upon the supposition that one man is as much a born ruler as another,
which means a levelling down of the best talent of the community, for
that is the only way in which capacities can be equalised--a very
wasteful and ruinous expedient, and one that the born leaders of the
people will not long endure. Then there is the proverbial fickleness
of democracy, one day all aglow, and cooled down the next, never
pursuing any course steadily, in foreign policy least of all, though
there the dearest interests of the State are often at stake. As one
who lived under such a government once put it: "Sheer democracy is of
all institutions the most ill-balanced and ill put together, like a
wave at sea restlessly tossing before the fitful gusts of wind:
politicians come and go, and not one of them cares for the public
interest, or gives it a thought." (Quoted by Demosthenes, Speech on
the Embassy, p. 383 A.) What they do care for and think of sedulously,
is pleasing the people and clinging to office. In that respect they
are the counterparts of the favourites who cluster round the throne of
a despotic monarch, and suck up his power by flattering him. Peoples
have their favourites as well as kings. To these persons, the Cleon or
Gracchus of the hour, they blindly commit the management of their
concerns, as the _roi fainéant_ of old Frankish times left everything
to his Mayor of the Palace, till the Mayor came to reign in his
master's stead; and so has the popular favourite ere now developed
into the military despot. Strong-minded kings of course are not ruled
by favourites, nor are highly intelligent and capable peoples; but it
is as hard to find a people fit to wield the power of pure democracy
as to find an individual fit for an absolute monarch, especially where
the State is large.

9. From all this we conclude that the new-fashioned Magog of pure
democracy, or the perfect sovereignty of the people, is not to be
worshipped to the overthrow and repudiation of all other polities, any
more than the old-fashioned Gog of pure monarchy, idolised by Stuart
courtiers under the name of "the divine right of kings." Neither of
these is _the polity_: each is _a polity_, but not one to be commonly
recommended. The study of polities admirably illustrates the
Aristotelian doctrine of the Golden Mean (_Ethics_, c. v., s. iv., p.
77), teaching us ordinarily to affect limited monarchy or limited
democracy. But as the mean must ever be chosen in _relation to
ourselves_, a Constantine or an Athenian Demos may represent the
proper polity in place under extraordinary circumstances.

_Reading_.--_The Month_ for July, 1886, pp. 338, seqq.

SECTION VI.--_Of the Elementary and Original Polity_.

1. "All things are double, one against another." (Ecclus. xlii. 25.)
The son of Sirach may have had in view the human body as divisible by
a vertical median line into two symmetrical halves. But in each of the
halves thus made, the same organ or limb is never repeated twice in
exact likeness, nor do any two parts render exactly the same service.
This variety of organs in the bodies of the higher animals is called
_differentiation_. As we descend in the animal series we find less and
less of differentiation, till we reach the lowest types, which are
little more than a mere bag, whence their name of Ascidians. In that
State which has London for its capital city, we behold one of the
highest types of political existence. Sovereignty is there divided, as
usual in modern States, into three branches, Legislative, Judicial,
and Executive. Each of these branches is shared among many persons in
various modes and degrees, so that in practice it is not easy to
enumerate and specify the holders of sovereignty, nor to characterize
so complex a polity. At the other end of the scale we may represent to
ourselves 250 "squatters" forming an independent State in the far West
of America. They are a pure democracy, and the sovereignty belongs to
them all jointly. Is a man to be tried for his life? The remaining 249
are his judges. Is a tax to be levied on ardent spirits? The 250 vote
it. Is there a call to arms? The 250 marshal themselves to war. That
clearly is the condition of minimum differentiation, where one citizen
is in all political points the exact counterpart of all the rest. Of
all polities it is the most _simple and elementary_ possible. And so
far forth as the natural order of evolution in polities, as in all
other things, is from simple to compound, this is also the _original_
polity. It is also the _residuary_ polity, that, namely, which comes
to be, when all other government in the State vanishes. Thus, if the
Powder Plot had succeeded, and King James I., with the royal family,
Lords and Commons, with the judges and chief officers of the
Executive, had all perished together, the sovereign authority in
England would have devolved upon the nation as a whole.

2. Certain monarchical writers shrink from the recognition of pure
democracy as either the first or the last term of the series of
polities. They do not recognize it as a polity at all. When there is
no governing body distinct from the mass of people at large, a
government must be formed, they say, by popular suffrage. Meanwhile,
according to them, the sovereign power rests not with the body of
electors: either it is not yet created, or it has lapsed: but as soon
as the election is made, they see sovereignty breaking forth like the
sun rising, in the person, single or composite, who is the object of
the people's choice. This would be the correct view of the matter, if
no choice were left to the electors, but they were obliged to
acquiesce in some prearranged polity, as a Monarchy, or a Council of
Ten, and could do nothing more than designate the Monarch or the
Council. Under such a restriction the Cardinals elect the Pope. But
our electors can institute any polity they see fit. They are a
Constituent Assembly. They may fix upon a monarchy or a republic, two
or one legislative chambers, a wide or a narrow franchise, home rule
or centralization: or they may erect a Provisional Government for five
years with another appeal to the people at the end of that term. More
than that. They could impose a protective duty upon corn, or endow the
Roman Catholic religion, making such protection or endowment a
fundamental law (s. iv., n. 8, p. 323), and withholding from the
government, which they proceed to set up, the power of meddling with
that law. They are then not only a Constituent but likewise a
Legislative Assembly. But this power of making laws and moulding the
future constitution of the State, what else is it but sovereign power,
and indeed the very highest manifestation of sovereignty?

3. So far we follow Suarez in his controversy with James I. The
_natural_ order of evolution certainly is, that the State should be
conceived in pure democracy, and thence develop into other polities.
But in speaking as though the natural order had always been the
_actual_ order, Suarez seems to have been betrayed by the ardour of
controversy into the use of incorrect expressions. It is true in the
abstract, as he says, that "no natural reason can be alleged why
sovereignty should be fixed upon one person, or one set of persons,
rather than upon another, short of the whole community." This is true,
inasmuch as in the abstract we view men as men, in which specific
character they are all equal. But in the concrete and real life, the
primeval citizens who start a commonwealth are rarely alike and equal,
as the founders of the American Republic at the separation from Great
Britain pretty well were, but some men, or some order of men, will so
much excel the rest in ability, position, or possessions, that the
rest have really no choice but to acquiesce in those gifted hands
holding the sovereignty.

_Readings_.--Suarez, _De Legibus_, III., iii., 6; _ib._, III., iv.,
nn. 2, 3, 4; _Defensio Fidei_, III., ii., nn. 7, 8, 9; Ar., _Pol._,
III., xiv., 12; _ib._, VIII., x., nn. 7, 8; _The Month_ for July,
1886, pp. 342-345.

SECTION VII.--_Of Resistance to Civil Power_.

"When they say the King owes his crown to the choice of his people,
they tell us that they mean to say no more than that some of the
King's predecessors have been called to the throne by some sort of
choice. Thus they hope to render their proposition safe by rendering
it nugatory." (Burke, _Reflections on French Revolution_.)

1. The great question about civil power is, not whence it first came
in remote antiquity, but whence it is now derived and flows
continually as from its source, whether from the free consent of
subjects so long as that lasts, or whether it obtains independently of
their consent. Can subjects overthrow the ruler, or alter the polity
itself, as often as they have a mind so to do? or has the ruler a
right to his position even against the will of his people? A parallel
question is, can a province annexed to an empire secede when it
chooses, as South Carolina and other Confederates once attempted
secession from the American Union?

2. These questions raise two totally different issues, which must be
first carefully distinguished and then severally answered. The first
point at issue is whether subjects may dethrone their ruler, a people
alter their polity, or a province secede from an empire, _at
discretion_. The second point is, whether the same may be done _under
pressure of dire injustice_. One little matter of phraseology must be
rectified before an answer is returned to this first point. The
question whether _subjects_ may dethrone their _ruler_ at discretion,
from the terms in which it is drawn, can lead to none but a negative
answer. From the fact that they are subjects, and this man, or this
body of men, their ruler, their allegiance cannot be wholly
discretionary. That sovereign is a mere man of straw, there is no soul
and substance of sovereign power in him, who may be knocked down and
carted away for rubbish, any moment his so-called subjects please.
Rousseau is quite clear on this point. The true debateable form of the
question is, whether the people, being themselves sovereign, can
remove at will the official persons who actually administer the State;
whether they can change the polity, and whether the inhabitants of a
province can secede. The answer now is simple: all depends upon the
polity of the particular country where the case comes for discussion.
And if so it be that the constitution makes no provision one way or
another, any dispute that may occur must be settled by amicable
arrangement among the parties concerned: if they cannot amicably
agree, they must fight. To save this last eventuality, it were well
that any claim which the people in any country may have to remove
princes and statesmen from office, to alter the polity, or to divide
the empire, should be made matter of the clearest understanding and
most express and unambiguous stipulation. Even so, such a provision
must be generally viewed with disfavour by the political philosopher,
seeing how it tends to the weakening and undermining of government;
whereas the same considerations that make out government to be at all
a boon and a necessity to human nature, argue incapacity and
instability in the governing power to be a deplorable evil. We must
add, that where the people keep in their hands any power to alter the
polity, or transfer the administration to other hands, there they hold
part at least of the sovereignty; and the alteration or transference
is effected by them, not as subjects, but as partial ruler.

3. The second point we raised was, whether a dethronement, or an
alteration of polity, or a secession, may be brought about, not indeed
at discretion for any cause, but under pressure of dire injustice. It
comes to this: May the civil power be resisted when it does grievous
wrong? Let us begin our reply with another question: May children
strike their parents? No. Not even in self-defence? when the parent is
going about to do the child some grievous bodily hurt? That is an
unpleasant question, but the answer is plain. We can make no
exceptions to the rule of self-defence. Self-defence in extreme cases
may raise the arm of a child against its parent: in a similar
extremity it may set a people in conflict with their civil ruler.
Still we regard with horror the idea of striking a parent, and speak
of it generally as a thing never to be done: so should we regard and
speak of rebellion. We should not parade it before men's eyes as a
deed to be contemplated, admired, and readily put in execution. "I
confess to you, Sir," writes Burke, "I never liked this continual talk
of resistance and revolution, or the practice of making the extreme
medicine of the constitution its daily bread."

4. The conditions under which the civil authority may be withstood in
self-defence, are fairly stated in the _Dublin Review_ for April,
1865, p. 292. We must premise, that such a course of self-defence once
publicly entered upon is like a rock rolled over the brow of a steep
mountain: down it rolls and rebounds from point to point, gathering
momentum in the descent, till in the end the ruler, once defied, has
to be dethroned, the polity subverted, the empire rent, or they who
made the resistance must perish.

"Resistance is lawful:--(1) When a government has become substantially
and habitually tyrannical, and that is when it has lost sight of the
common good, and pursues its own selfish objects to the manifest
detriment of its subjects, especially where their religious interests
are concerned. (2) When all legal and pacific means have been tried in
vain to recall the ruler to a sense of his duty. (3) When there is a
reasonable probability that resistance will be successful, and not
entail greater evils than it seeks to remove. (4) When the judgment
formed as to the badness of the government, and the prudence of
resistance thereto, is not the opinion only of private persons or of a
mere party: but is that of the larger and better portion of the
people, so that it may morally be considered as the judgment of the
community as a whole."

5. Side by side with this we will set the teaching of Leo XIII.,
Encyclical, _Quod Apostolici_.

"If ever it happens that civil power is wielded by rulers recklessly
and beyond all bounds, the doctrine of the Catholic Church does not
allow of insurgents rising up against them _by independent action
(proprio marte)_, lest the tranquillity of order be more and more
disturbed, or society receive greater injury thereby: and when things
are come to such a pass that _there appears no other ray or hope of
preservation_, the same authority teaches that a remedy must be sought
in the merits of Christian patience and in earnest prayers to God."

The words we have italicized seem to point to conditions (4) and (3)
respectively, as laid down by the writer in the _Dublin Review_.

For an instance of a king dethroned, not _proprio marte_, but with
every appearance at least of an act of the whole nation, see the
dethronement of Edward II., as related by Walsingham, _Historia
Anglicana_, I., pp. 186, 187, Rolls Series.

6. "We save ourselves the more virulent and destructive diseases of
revolution, sedition, and civil war, by submitting to the milder type
of a change of ministry." (_Times_, April 7, 1880.)

7. It is not monarchical governments alone that can ever be resisted
lawfully: but what is sauce for the king's goose is sauce also for the
people's gander. There is no special sanctity attaching to democracy.

It might seem that, since resistance requires to be justified by the
approval of "the larger and better portion of the people" (n. 4,
condition [4]) no just resistance can ever be offered to the will of
the democratic majority. But the said majority may be in divers ways
coerced and cajoled, a mere packed majority, while the malcontents may
be, if not "the larger," clearly "the better" portion of the
community. (s. iv., n. 5, p. 321.)

_Readings_.--St. Thos., _De Regimine Principum_, i., 6; 2a 2æ, q. 42,
art. 2; 2a 2æ, q, 69, art. 4, in corp.; Locke, _Of Civil Government_,
nn. 200, 201, 203, 204, 208, 209, 223, 224, 225, 227, 229, 230, 232.

SECTION VIII.--_Of the Right of the sword_.

1. _By the right of the sword_ is technically meant the right of
inflicting capital punishment, according to the Apostle's words: "But
if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in
vain." (Rom. xiii. 4.) We commonly call it _the power of life and

2. That a government may be a working government, as it should be (s.
iv., n. 2, p. 319), it must not only make laws, but bear out and
enforce its legislation by the sanction of punishment. "If talk and
argumentation were sufficient to make men well-behaved, manifold and
high should be the reward of talkers.... But in fact it appears that
talking does very well to incite and stimulate youths of fine mind;
and lighting upon a noble character and one of healthy tastes, it may
dispose such a person to take up the practice of virtue: but it is
wholly unable to move the multitude to goodness; for it is not their
nature to obey conscience, but fear, nor to abstain from evil because
it is wrong, but because of punishments. The multitude live by
feeling: they pursue the pleasures that they like and the means
thereto, and shun the opposite pains, but they have no idea, as they
have had no taste, of what is right and fair and truly sweet.... The
man who lives by feeling will not listen to the voice of reason, nor
can he appreciate its warning. How is it possible to divert such a one
from his course by argument? Speaking generally, we say that passion
yields not to argument but to constraint.... The multitude obey on
compulsion rather than on principle, and from fear of pains and
penalties rather than from a sense of right. These are grounds for
believing that legislators, while exhorting to virtue and putting
certain courses of conduct forward as right and honourable, in the
expectation that good men will obey the call, as their habits lead
them, should at the same time inflict chastisements and punishments
upon the crossgrained and disobedient; and as for the incurably
vicious, put them beyond the pale altogether. The result will be, that
the decent and conscientious citizen will listen to the voice of
reason, while the worthless votary of pleasure is chastened by pain
like a beast of burden.... Law has a coercive function, appealing to
force, notwithstanding that it is a reasoned conclusion of practical
wisdom and intelligence. The interference of persons is odious, when
it stands out against the tide of passion, even where it is right and
proper to interfere; but no odium attaches to statute law enjoining
the proper course." (Aristotle, _Ethics_, X., ix.)

3. Aristotle seems hard upon the masses, likening them to brutes who
must be governed by the whip. He may be supposed to speak from
experience of the men of his time. If humanity has somewhat improved
in two and twenty centuries, yet it cannot be contended that the whip
is grown unnecessary and beyond the whip the sword. But we must
observe a certain _modus operandi_ of punishment which Aristotle has
not noted, a more human mode than the terror of slavish fear. Just
punishment, felt as such, stimulates the conscience to discern and
abhor the crime. Men would think little of outraging their own nature
by excess, did they not know that the laws of God and man forbid such
outrage. Again, they would think little even of those laws, were not
the law borne out by the sanction of punishment. A law that may be
broken with impunity is taken to be the toying of a legislator not in
earnest. Men here are as children. A child is cautioned against lying.
He reckons little of the caution: he tells a lie, and a flogging
ensues. Thereupon his mind reverts to what he was told: he sees that
the warning was meant in earnest. He reflects that it must have been a
wicked thing, that lie which his father, the object of his fond
reverence, chastises so sternly. If the thing had been let pass, he
would scarcely have regarded it as wicked. Next time he is more on his
guard, not merely because he fears a beating, but because he
understands better than before that lying is wrong. The awe in which
grown-up people stand of "a red judge," is not simple fear, like that
which keeps the wolf from the flock guarded by shepherds and their
dogs: but they are alarmed into reflection upon the evil which he is
God's minister to avenge, and they are moved to keep the law, "not
only for wrath, but for conscience sake." From this we see that for
punishment to be really salutary, its justice must be manifest to the
culprit, or to the lookers on, at least in their cooler moments. A
punishment the justice of which is not discernible, may quell for the
moment, but it does not moralise, nor abidingly deter. There must be
an apparent proportion between the offence and the punishment. A
Draconian code, visiting petty offences with the severity due to high
misdemeanours, is more of an irritant than a represser of crime,
because it goes beyond men's consciences.

4. There is in every human breast a strong sense of what the learned
call _lex talionis_, and children _tit for tat_. "If a man has done to
him what he has done to others, that is the straight course of
justice;" so says the canon of Rhadamanthus, quoted by Aristotle.
(_Eth_., V., v., 3.) We have argued the fundamental correctness of
this rule. (_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., n. 2, p. 169.) It appears in
the divine direction given to Nod: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, his
blood shall be shed." (Gen. ix. 6.) It appears in that popular
sentiment, which in some parts of America displays itself in the
lynching of murderers, who have unduly escaped the hands of the law;
and which, under a similar paralysis of law in Corsica, broke out in
blood-feuds, whereby the nearest relative of the deceased went about
to slay the murderer. Such taking of justice into private hands is
morally unlawful, as we have proved. (_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., n. 4,
p. 171; _Natural Law_, c. viii., s. ii., nn. 2, 3, pp. 308, 309.) It
is a violent outburst of a natural and reasonable sentiment deprived
of its legitimate vent. Unquestionably then there is an apparent and
commonly recognized fairness of retribution in the infliction of
capital punishment for murder. Thus the first condition of appropriate
punishment is satisfied, that it be _manifestly proportioned to the

5. Capital punishment is moreover expedient, nay, necessary to the
State. The right to inflict it is one of the essential prerogatives of
government, one of those prerogatives the sum of which, as we have
seen, is a constant quantity everywhere, (s. iv., n. 7, p. 322). No
Government can renounce it. The abolition of capital punishment by law
only makes the power of inflicting it _latent_ in the State (s. iv.,
n. 8, p. 323); it does not and cannot wholly take the power away. You
ask: Is there not hope, that if humanity goes on improving as it has
done, capital punishment will become wholly unnecessary? I answer
that--waiving the question of the prospect of improvement--in a State
mainly consisting of God-fearing, conscientious men, the _infliction_
of capital punishment would rarely be necessary, but the _power to
inflict it_ could never be dispensed with. If men ever become so
ideally virtuous, the right of the State to visit gross crime with
death cannot hurt them, and it will strengthen their virtue, as all
human social virtue will ever need strengthening.

6. The abiding necessity of this _right of the sword_ is argued from
the strength and frequency of the provocations to deeds of bloodshed
and violence that must ever be encountered in human society. What
these provocations are, how many and how strong, may be left to the
reflection of the student who reads his newspaper, or even his novel.
Not the least appalling thing about crime, atrocious crime especially,
is the example that it gives and the imitators whom it begets. It is
not merely that it sets the perpetrator himself on the downward path,
so that, unless detected and punished, a man's first deed of blood is
rarely his last: it draws others after him by a fatal fascination.
Like the images which the Epicureans supposed all visible objects to
slough off and shed into the air around them, such phantoms and images
of guilt float about a great crime, enter into the mind of the
spectator and of the hearer, and there, upon slight occasion, turn to
actual repetitions of the original deed. The one preventive is to
append to that deed a punishment, the image of which shall also enter
into the mind, excite horror, and disenchant the recipient. This is
not to be done by mere banishment of the criminal, nor by his
perpetual incarceration. Exile and prison--particularly in view of the
humanity of a modern penitentiary--do not sufficiently strike the
imagination. One sweet hour of revenge will often appear cheap at the
price of ten years' penal servitude. There is nothing goes to the
heart like death. Death is the most striking of terrors; it is also
the penalty that most exactly counterpoises in the scales of justice
the commission of a murderous crime. All States need this dread figure
of the Sword-bearer standing at the elbow of the Sovereign.

7. But is not every capital sentence a trespass upon the dominion of
God, Lord of life and death? No, for that same God it is who has
endowed man with a nature that needs to grow up in civil society,
which civil society again needs for its maintenance the power to make
laws, to sit in judgment on transgressors, and in extreme cases, as we
have proved, having tried them and found them guilty, to take away
even their lives, to the common terror and horror of the crime. God,
who wills human nature to be, wills it to be on the terms on which
alone it can be. To that end He has handed over to the civil ruler so
much of His own divine power of judgment, as shall enable His human
delegate to govern with assurance and effect. That means the right of
the sword.

8. It may be objected that to kill any man is to treat him as a
_thing_, not a person, as an _heterocentric_, not an _autocentric_
being, which is a proceeding essentially unnatural and wrong, (c. ii.,
s. i., n. 2, p. 203.) St. Thomas's answer here is peculiarly valuable:

"Man by sinning withdraws from the order of reason, and thereby falls
from human dignity, so far as that consists in man being naturally
free and existent for his own sake [autocentric]; and falls in a
manner into the state of servitude proper to beasts, according to that
of the Psalm (xlviii. 15): _Man when he was in honour did not
understand: he hath matched himself with senseless beasts and become
like unto them_; and Proverbs xi. 29: _The fool shall serve the wise_.
And therefore, though to kill a man, while he abides in his native
dignity, be a thing of itself evil, yet to kill a man who is a sinner
may be good, as to kill a beast. For worse is an evil man than a
beast, and more noxious, as the Philosopher says." (2a 2æ, q. 64, art.
2, ad 3.)

Hence observe:--(1) That a Utilitarian who denies free will, as many
of that school do, stands at some loss whence to show cause why even
an innocent man may not be done to death for reasons of State, _e.g._,
as a sanitary precaution.

(2) That the State must come to a conclusion about inward dispositions
by presumption from overt acts, arguing serious moral guilt before
proceeding to capital punishment. To this extent the State is remotely
a judge of sin. But it does not punish sin _retributively_ as sin, nor
even _medicinally_. It punishes the violation of its own laws, to
_deter_ future offenders. (_Ethics_, c. ix., s. iii., nn. 4-6, pp.

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 64, art. 2, 3; 2a 2æ, q. 108, art.

SECTION IX.--_Of War_.

1. War, a science by itself, has no interest for the philosopher
except as an instance on a grand scale of self-defence. When the
theory of self-defence has been mastered (c. ii. s. ii., p. 208),
little further remains to be said about war. In a State, the
self-defence of citizen against citizen is confined to the moment of
immediate physical aggression. But in a region where the State is
powerless and practically non-existent, self-defence assumes a far
greater amplitude. (S. ii., n, 2, p. 309.) When the Highland chief
lifted the cattle of the Lowland farmer, and the King of Scotland lay
unconcerned and unable to intervene, feasting at Holyrood, or fighting
on the English border, then, if there were a fair hope of recovering
the booty without a disproportionate effusion of blood, the farmer did
right to arm his people, march after the robber, and fight him for the
stolen oxen, as the gallant Baron of Bradwardine would fain have done.
(_Waverley_, c. xv.) Here is the right of self-defence in its full
development, including the right of private war. But in a private
individual this is an undesirable, rank, and luxuriant growth; and
when the individual comes to live, as it should be his aim to live, in
a well-organized State, the growth is pruned and cut down: he may then
defend himself for the instant when the State cannot defend him; but
after the wrong is done, he must hold his hand, and quietly apply to
the State to procure him restitution and redress. But there is no
State of States, no King of Kings, upon earth; therefore, when of two
independent States the one has wronged, or is about to wrong the
other, and will not desist nor make amends, nothing is left for it;
Nature has made no other provision, but they must fight. They must
fall back upon the steel and the shotted gun, the _ratio ultima

2. The Lowland farmer above mentioned might be spoken of as
_punishing_ the Highland robber, _chastising_ his insolence, and the
like. This is popular phraseology, but it is not accurate. Punishment,
an act of _vindictive justice_, is from superior to inferior.
(_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 4, p. 104.) War, like other self-defence,
is between equals. War is indeed an act of authority, of the authority
of each belligerent State over its own subjects, but not of one
belligerent over the other. We are not here considering the case of
putting down a rebellion: rebels are not properly belligerents, and
have no belligerent rights.

3. The study of Civil and Canon Law flourished in the Middle Ages,
while moral science, which is the study of the Natural Law, was still
in its infancy. No wonder that the mediaeval jurists occasionally
formulated maxims, which can only be squared with the principles of
Natural Law by an exceeding amount of interpretation,--which are in
fact much better dropped, quoted though they sometimes be by moralists
of repute. One such maxim is this, that _a wrong-doer becomes the
subject of the injured party by reason of the offence_. Admit this,
and you can hardly keep clear of Locke's doctrine of the origin of
civil power, (s. ii., _per totum_, p. 307; cf. Suarez, _De Caritate_,
d. xiii., s. iv., nn. 5, 6).

4. We have only to repeat about war what we said of self-defence, that
all the killing that takes place in it is _incidental_, or _indirect_.
The cannon that you see in Woolwich Arsenal, the powder and torpedoes,
have for their end what St. Thomas (_De Potentia_, q. 7, art. 2, ad
10) declares to be the end and object of the soldier, "to upset the
foe," to put him _hors de combat_. This is accomplished in such rough
and ready fashion, as the business admits of; by means attended with
incidental results of extremest horror. But no sooner has the bayonet
thrust or the bullet laid the soldier low, and converted him into a
non-combatant, than the ambulance men are forward to see that he shall
not die. If indeed even in the dust he continues to be aggressive,
like the wounded Arabs at Tel-el-Kebir, he must be quieted and
repressed a second time. Probably he will not escape with life from a
second repression: still, speaking with philosophic precision, we must
say that "to quiet, not to kill him," is, or should be, the precise
and formal object of the will of his slayer in war. St. Thomas indeed
(2a 2æ, q. 64, art. 7, in corp.) seems to allow the soldier fighting
against the enemy to mean to kill his man. But by _enemy_ in this
passage we should probably understand _rebel_. The soldier spoken of
is the instrument of the feudal lord bringing back to duty his
rebellious vassal. In the Middle Ages, till the end of the fifteenth
century, the notion of independent nations scarcely found place.

In war, as all cases of self-defence, the killing is indirect. In
capital punishment, on the other hand, the killing is direct: it being
_chosen as a deterrent means_, that the offender be "hanged by the
neck" till he is "dead, dead, dead." This disposes of the error, that
capital punishment is an act of self-defence on the part of the State
against evildoers. We may observe finally that by the right of the
sword, and by that alone, not in self-defence, not in war, but by the
hand of public justice raised against a guilty subject, can human life
ever be taken _directly_.

_Reading_.--St. Thos., 2a 2æ, q. 40, art. 1.

SECTION X.--_Of the Scope and Aim of Civil Government_.

1. I beseech the pious reader not to be shocked and scandalised by the
conclusions of this section. He will find them in the end a valuable
support to theology. The most religious mind can have no difficulty in
allowing that cookery, as such, is a business of this world only: that
you retain your cook, not to save your soul, but to prepare palatable
and wholesome nourishment for your body; that honesty, sobriety, and
good temper are officially requisite qualifications, simply inasmuch
as the contrary vices would be the plague of your kitchen and the
spoiling of your dinner. In a Catholic house the soup on a Friday is
made without meat. That restriction is observed, not as a point of
culinary art, but because, whereas eternal salvation is the main end
of life, and cookery a subordinate end, the latter must be so
prosecuted as not to interfere with the former. She who uses
ingredients forbidden by the Church, is the worse Christian, but she
may be the better cook. Now, to compare a great thing with a little,
the State equally with the kitchen is a creation of this world,--there
are no nationalities, nor kitchen-ranges either, beyond the grave.
Civil government is a secular concern. The scope and aim intrinsic to
it, and attainable by its own proper forces, is a certain temporal
good. Suarez (_De Legibus_, III., xi., 7) sets forth that good to
be,--"the natural happiness of the perfect human community, whereof
the civil legislature has the care, and the happiness of individuals
as they are members of such of a community, that they may live therein
peaceably and justly, and with a sufficiency of goods for the
preservation and comfort of their bodily life, and with so much moral
rectitude as is necessary for this external peace and happiness of the
commonwealth and the continued preservation of human nature."

2. The intrinsic scope and aim of civil government is the good of the
citizens as citizens. That, we have to show, is not any good of the
world to come; nor again the full measure of good requisite for
individual well-being in this world. The good of the citizens as such
is that which they enjoy in common in their social and political
capacity: namely, security, wealth, liberty, commerce, the arts of
life, arms, glory, empire, sanitation, and the like, all which goods,
of their own nature, reach not beyond this world. True, a certain
measure of moral rectitude also is maintained in common, but only "so
much as is necessary for the external peace and happiness of the
commonwealth," not that rectitude of the whole man which is required
in view of the world to come. (Ethics, c. x., n. 4 [3], p. 182.) The
intrinsic aim of the State, then, falls short of the next life.
Neither does it cover the entire good of the individual even for this
life. The good of the State, and of each citizen as a citizen, which
it is the purpose of civil government to procure, is a mere grand
outline, within which every man has to fill in for himself the little
square of his own personal perfection and happiness. Happiness, as we
have seen, lies essentially in inward acts. The conditions of these
acts, outward tranquillity and order, are the statesman's care: the
acts themselves must be elicited by each individual from his own
heart. Happiness also depends greatly on domestic life, the details of
which, at least when they stop short of wife-beating, come not within
the cognisance of the civil power. It remains, as we have said, that
the scope and aim of the State, within its own sphere and the compass
of its own powers, is the temporal prosperity of the body politic, and
the prosperity of its members as they are its members and citizens,
but not absolutely as they are men. We cannot repeat too often the
saying of St. Thomas: "Man is not ordained to the political
commonwealth to the full extent of all that he is and has." (1a 2æ, q.
21, art. 4, ad 3.)

3. From this view it appears that the end for which the State exists
is indeed an important and necessary good, but it is not all in all to
man, not his perfect and final happiness. To guide man to that is the
office of the Christian Church in the present order of Providence.
Cook and statesman must so go about the proper ends of their several
offices, as not to stand in the way of the Church, compassing as she
does that supreme end to which all other ends are subordinate. This
limitation they are bound to observe, not as cook and statesman, but
as men and Christians. A perfectly Christian State, as Christian, has
a twofold duty. First, it has a _positive_ duty, at the request of the
Church, to follow up ecclesiastical laws with corresponding civil
enactments, _e.g_., laws against criminous clerks and excommunicates.
On this spiritual ground, being beyond its jurisdiction, the State
must be careful not to forestall but to second the precept of
spiritual authority. It is no business of the State, as such, to
punish a purely religious offence. The second duty of a Christian
State, and a more urgent duty even than the former, is the _negative_
one of making no civil enactment to the prejudice of the Church:
_e.g._, not to subject clerics to the law of conscription. Useful as
their arms might be for the defence of the country, the State must
forego that utility for the sake of a higher end.

4. In the order of pure nature, which is the order of philosophy,
there is of course no Church. Still there would be, as we have seen
(c. i., s. i., n. 8, p. 197), erected on the same lines as the civil
power, and working side by side with it, a religious power competent
to prescribe and conduct divine worship. This power the State would be
bound to abet and support, both positively and negatively; something
in the same manner, but not to the same degree, as the Christian State
is bound to abet the Church. The supreme direction of the natural
religious power would conveniently be vested in the person of the
Civil Ruler. Thus the Roman Emperor was also Chief Pontiff.

5. How in the mere natural, as distinguished from the Christian order,
the provinces of marriage and education should be divided between the
civil and the religious power, is perhaps not a very profitable
enquiry. The only use of it is a polemic use in arguing with men of no
Christianity. Among all men of any religion, marriage has ever been
regarded as one of those occasions of life that bring man into special
relation with God, and therefore into some dependence on God's
ministers. Education, again, has a religious element, to be
superintended by the religious power. Education has a secular element
also, the general superintendence of which cannot be denied to the
State. Though children are facts of the domestic order, and the care
and formation of them belongs primarily to their parents, yet if the
parents neglect their charge, the State can claim the right of
intervention _ab abusu_. It certainly is within the province of the
State to prevent any parent from launching upon the world a brood of
young barbarians, ready to disturb the peace of civil society. The
practical issue is, who are _barbarians_ and what is understood by
_peace_. The Emperor Decius probably considered every Christian child
an enemy of the _Pax Romana_. But the misapplication of a maxim does
not derogate from its truth. It also belongs to the State to see that
no parent behaves _like a Cyclops_ ([Greek: kyklopikos], Ar., _Eth_.,
X., ix., 13) in his family, ordering his children, not to their good,
as a father is bound to do, but to his own tyrannical caprice. For
_instruction_, as distinguished from _education_, it is the parent's
duty to provide his child with so much of it as is necessary, in the
state of society wherein his lot is cast, to enable the child to make
his way in the world according to the condition of his father. In many
walks of life one might as well be short of a finger as not know how
to read and write. Where ignorance is such a disadvantage, the parent
is not allowed to let his child grow up ignorant. There, if he
neglects to have him taught, the State may step in with compulsory
schooling. Compulsory schooling for all indiscriminately, and that up
to a high standard, is quite another matter.

_Readings_.--Suarez, _De Legibus_, III., xi.; _ib_., IV., ii., nn. 3,
4: St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 93, art. 3, ad 3; _ib_., q. 96, art. 2; _ib_.,
q. 98, art. 1, in corp.;_ib._, q. 99, art. 3, in corp.; _ib_., q. 100,
art. 2, in corp.

SECTION XI.--_Of Law and Liberty_.

1. The student of Natural Law does not share the vulgar prejudice
against civil law and lawyers. He knows it for a precept of the
Natural Law, that there should be a State set up, and that this State
should proceed to positive legislation. This legislation partly
coincides with Natural Law in urging the practice of that limited
measure of morality, which is necessary for the State to do its office
and to be at all. (s. x., n. 2, p. 355.) This partial enforcement of
the Law of Nature is the main work of the criminal law of the State.
But State legislation goes beyond the Natural Law, and in the nature
of things must go beyond it. Natural Law leaves a thousand conflicting
rights undetermined, which in the interest of society, to save
quarrels, must be determined one way or another.

2. An illustration. It is an axiom of Natural Law, that _res perit
domino_; that is, the owner bears the loss. If an article under sale
perishes before delivery, the loss falls, apart from contracts to the
contrary, upon whichever of the two parties is the owner at the time.
So far nature rules. But who is the owner at any given time, and at
what stage of the transaction does the dominion pass? That can only be
settled by custom and the law of the land. "If I order a pipe of port
from a wine-merchant abroad; at what period the property passes from
the merchant to me; whether upon delivery of the wine at the
merchant's warehouse; upon its being put on shipboard at Oporto; upon
the arrival of the ship in England at its destined port; or not till
the wine be committed to my servants, or deposited in my cellar; all
are questions which admit of no decision but what custom points out."
(Paley, _Mor. Phil_., bk. iii., p. i, c. vii.)

This leads us to remark upon the much admired sentence of Tacitus, _in
corruptissima republica plurimae leges_, that not merely the multitude
of transgressions, but the very complexity of a highly developed
civilization, requires to be kept in order by a vast body of positive

3. Incidentally we may also remark, that the law of the State does not
create the right of property; otherwise, abolishing its own creation,
the State could bring in Communism, (c. vii., s. i., p. 278). But
finding this right of property unprotected and undetermined, the State
by its criminal law protects property against robbers, and by its
_civil_ as distinguished from _criminal_ law, it defines numerous open
questions between possessors as to manner of acquirement and
conditions of tenure.

4. All civil laws bind the conscience: some by way of a categorical
imperative, _Do this_: others by way of a disjunctive, _Do this, or
being caught acting otherwise, submit to the penalty_. The latter are
called _purely penal laws_, an expression, by the way, which has no
reference to the days of religious persecution. Civil law binds the
conscience categorically whenever the civil ruler so intends. In the
absence of express declaration, it must be presumed that he so intends
whenever his law is an enforcement of the Natural Law, or a
determination of the same; as when the observance is necessary to the
preservation of the State, or when the ruler determines what lapse of
time shall be necessary for the acquisition of property by
prescription. Very frequently, the parties to a contract tacitly
accept the dispositions of the civil law as forming part of their
agreement; and in this indirect fashion the civil law becomes binding
on the conscience. In this way an Englishman who accepts a bill of
exchange tacitly binds himself to pay interest at five per cent., if
the bill is not met at maturity, for such is the disposition of the
English Law. It may be further observed that no prudent legislator
would attach a severe penalty to what was not already wrong.

5. In Roman times it was part of the flattery of the imperial jurists
to their master, to tell him that he was above the laws, _legibus
solutus_. In the trial of Louis XVI., the Sovereign People, or they
who called themselves such, dispensed with certain legal formalities
on that same plea. Against the law at Athens, the generals who had
fought at Arginusae were condemned by one collective sentence, the
anger of the Sovereign People being too impatient to vote on them
separately, as the law required. Hereupon we must observe in the first
place, that the Supreme Ruler, whether one man or a multitude, can
never be brought to trial in his own court for any legal offence. As
all justice requires two terms: no power can do justice on itself.
(_Ethics_, c. v., s. ix., n. 1, p. 102.) This truth is embodied in the
English maxim, that _the king can do no wrong_. Again, the Sovereign
is either expressly or virtually exempted from the compass of many
laws, _e.g_. those which concern the flying of certain flags or
ensigns, and other petty matters. Thirdly, we have the principle, that
no being can give a law to himself. (_Ethics_, c. vi. s. ii., n. 3, p.
117.) Lastly, we must observe that there is no law so fundamental but
what the Supreme Power, taken in its entirety, can alter it, and by
consequence dispense from it. From these considerations it follows
that the Sovereign--the complete and absolute Sovereign, be he one man
or many--lies under no legal obligation to obey any law of his own
making as such. It does not follow that he is perfectly free to ignore
the laws. He is bound in conscience and before God to make his
government effectual; and effectual it cannot be, if the laws are
despised; and despised they will be, if the Sovereign gives scandal by
ignoring them in his own practice. Therefore the Sovereign, be he
King, Council, or Assembly, is bound in conscience and before God,
though not legally of his own jurisdiction, so far himself to stand to
the observance of the law as not to render it nugatory in the eyes and
practice of others.

6. Law and liberty are like the strings and meshes of a net. In the
one limit of minimum of mesh, the net passes into sack-cloth, where
nothing could get through. In the other limit of maximum of mesh, the
net vanishes, and everything would get through. We cannot praise in
the abstract either a large mesh or a small one: the right size is
according to the purpose for which the net is to be used in each
particular case. So neither can law nor liberty be praised, as Burke
says, "on a simple view of the subject, as it stands stripped of every
relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical
abstraction." We can only praise either as it is "clothed in
circumstances." Commonly we are led to praise the one by getting too
much of the other. Confounded in a tangle of fussy, vexatious, perhaps
malicious restrictions, men cry loudly for liberty. When people all
about us are doing things by their own sweet will, we are converted to
praise of regulation and discipline and the wholesome restraint of

_Readings_.--St. Thos., 1a 2æ, q. 96, art. 5, ad 3; Suarez, _De
Legibus_, III., xxxv.; _ib_., V., iv.; Ruskin, _Seven Lamps of
Architecture_, c. vii., §§ I, 2.

SECTION XII.--_Of Liberty of Opinion_.

1. We are here dealing with liberty only so far as it means exemption
from State control. So far as the State is concerned, a man has the
fullest liberty to hold in his heart the most seditious opinions, and
to think the foulest thoughts, so long as they do not appear in his
public language and conduct. The heart is free from all mere human
law, resting in subjection to His law alone, and in responsibility to
His judgment, who is the Searcher of Hearts.

2. We are dealing then not properly with opinion, but with the public
expression of opinion. We are dealing with that expression as
controllable by the State, not acting in deference to the invitation
of any religious power, but of its own initiative and proper
authority, in view of its own end, scope and aim, which is social
order and public prosperity for this life. (s. x., nn. 2, 3, p. 355.)

3. That there are doctrines dangerous to social order, cannot be
denied, unless we are to cease to believe in any influence of thought
upon conduct. It is important to the State, that men should have the
greatest possible horror of crime. (s. viii., nn. 3, 6, pp. 345, 348.)
This horror is notably impaired when all idea of sin is taken away.
Now the idea of sin vanishes with that of God. (_Ethics_, c, vi., s.
ii., nn. 6, 7, 13, pp. 119, 123.) Therefore to pull down the idea of
God among a nation of theists, whether by the wiles of a courtly
Professor at a University, or by the tub-thumping blasphemy of an
itinerant lecturer, is to injure the State. The tub-thumper however is
the more easily reached by the civil authority, especially when his
discourses raise a tumult among the people. But where attacks upon
theism have become common, and unbelief is already rampant among the
masses, for the State to interfere with either "leader of thought,"
high or low, would be a shutting of the stable-door after the steed
was stolen. Similarly we should speak of those who subvert the
received notions touching the sanctity of the marriage-tie and the law
of external purity generally, the obligation of civil allegiance, the
rights of property and of life.

4. It will be objected: "The doctrines that you wish to express as
inimical to the peace of the commonwealth, possibly may be true. Did
not the first heralds of Christianity trouble the peace of the Roman
world?" We reply: Let the new teachers come to us as those apostolic
men came, "in weakness and in fear and in much trembling," and yet
withal "in the showing of the spirit and power," with an "exhortation
not of uncleanness," nor upon "an occasion of covetousness," "holily
and justly and without blame" (1 Cor. ii. 3, 4; 1 Thess. ii. 3, 5,
10); and we will receive them as angels of God, even to the plucking
out of our own eyes, if need be, and giving to them. (Gal. iv. 15.)
Any hostile reception that they may meet with at first from a
misapplication of our principle, will soon be made up for by welcome
and veneration. There is no principle that may not be momentarily
misapplied in all good faith. But the mistake in this case will
readily be rectified.

5. But, writes J. S. Mill, _On Liberty_, "we can never be sure that
the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion." If we
cannot, then is there no such thing as certainty upon any point of
morals, politics, or religion. Assassination of tyrants, whether in
public or private life, may be wickedness, or it may be a laudable
outburst of public spirit, who knows? Which of us is sure that all
property is not theft? Plato's views on marriage and infanticide may
be correct: the Nihilist may be your true politician; and all our
religious knowledge dwindles down to the confession of Protagoras:
"Concerning Gods, I find no clear evidence whether they are or are
not, or what manner of beings they are." These are the sceptical
tremors which this denial induces. But even scepticism has its proof,
which Mill furnishes as follows: "All silencing of discussion is an
assumption of infallibility." The very name _infallibility_ has an
effect upon the modern Englishman like that of _Popery_ upon his
forefathers. It shakes his nerves, obscures his judgment, and scares
his seated reason to leap up from her throne. But after we have
recovered from our fright, we recollect that, whereas infallibility is
an all-round attribute, compassing an entire subject, certainty goes
out to one particular point on the circumference; we may then be
certain without being infallible. Extremely fallible as I am in
geography, I am nevertheless certain that Tunis is in Africa.
Silencing discussion is an assumption, not of infallibility, but of
certainty. The man who never dares assume that he is certain of
anything, so certain as to close his ears to all further discussion,
comes nothing short of a universal sceptic.

6. We are told, free discussion promotes discovery. Yes, free
discussion in philosophical circles, free discussion among competent
persons. But free discussion of a subject among the incompetent and
the incapable, and the passionate and the prejudiced, is not good for
the cause of truth; and if the subject be practical and momentous, it
is not good for the disputants either, nor for the community. If we
allow that the science and practice of morality is not advanced by
free debate of ethical questions in nurseries and boarding-schools, we
must also bear in mind that a vast proportion of the human family
remain all their lives long, for the purpose of such discussions, as
incompetent as children. The multitude cannot be philosophers. They
have neither time, nor intelligence, nor love of hard thinking
sufficient to arrive at the final and adequate _why_ and _wherefore_
of their every duty. Though capable of doing right, they are quite
incapable of doing so philosophically. They do it according as they
are led by custom and authority. Their inheritance is the traditionary
wisdom of mankind, which they live upon as an infant on his estate,
not understanding whence their support comes. It is dangerous to
batter them with objections against the received moral law. You will
overthrow them, not confirm them by the result of your reasonings: you
will perplex their intellect, you will confound their good purpose,
you will awaken their evil passions. Surely it is a more necessary
point to secure that right be done somehow, than that it be
philosophically done. The one is difficult enough, the other quite
impossible for the mass of mankind. Therefore, adapting to our purpose
the old Greek oracle: "let us not disturb the foundations of popular
morality: they are better undisturbed"--

  [Greek: Mae kinei Kamarinan akinaetos gar ameinoon]

7. But is it not immoral to interfere with conscience, and to attempt
to stifle sincere convictions? The State, we repeat, has nothing to do
with conscience as such, nor with the inward convictions of any man.
But if the State is sincerely convinced, that the convictions openly
professed and propagated by some of its subjects are subversive of
social order and public morality, whose sincere conviction is it that
must carry the day in practice? It is of the essence of government
that the convictions, sincere or otherwise, of the governed shall on
certain practical issues be waived in the external observance in
favour of the convictions of the ruling power. After all, this talk of
conscience and sincere convictions is but the canting phrase of the
day, according to which conscience means mere wild humour and
headstrong self-will. Such teachings as those which we would have the
State to suppress, _e.g.: An oath is a folly: There is no law of
purity: There is no harm in doing anything that does not annoy your
neighbour_: are not the teachings of men sincerely convinced: they
deserve no respect, consideration, or tenderness on that score. We do
not say, that the teachers of these monstrosities are not convinced,
but that they are not honestly and conscientiously convinced: they
have blinded themselves, and become the guilty authors of their own
delusion. Not all strong convictions are honestly come by or
virtuously entertained.

8. Arraigned for their utterances, men protest their sincerity, as
parties indicted for murder do their innocence. We can set but small
store by such protestations. It is a question of evidence to come from
other sources than from the accused person's own mouth. A man indeed
must be held to be sincere until he is proved to be the contrary. That
is the general rule. But there are what Roman lawyers call
_præsumptiones juris_; circumstances which, if proved, will induce the
court to take a certain view of a case, and give judgment accordingly,
unless by further evidence that view is proved to be a false one. Now
when a man proclaims some blatant and atrocious error in a matter
bearing directly upon public morals--and it is for the restraint of
these errors alone that we are arguing--there is a decided _præsumptio
juris_, that the error in him, however doggedly he maintains it, is
not a sincere, candid, and innocently formed conviction. The light of
nature is not so feeble as that, among civilized men. Let the offender
be admonished and given time to think: but if, for all warning to the
contrary, the wilful man will have his way, and still propagate his
error to the confusion of society, he must be treated like any other
virtuous and well-meaning criminal: he must be restrained and coerced
to the extent that the interests of society require.

9. At the same time it must be confessed that when an error, however
flagrant and pestilential, has ceased to shock and scandalize the
general body of the commonwealth; when the people listen to the
doctrine without indignation, and their worst sentence upon it
pronounces it merely "queer," there is little hope of legal restraints
there enduring long or effecting much. Penalties for the expression of
opinion are available only so far as they tally with the common
feeling of the country. When public opinion ceases to bear them out,
it is better not to enforce them: for that were but to provoke
resentment and make martyrs. No regulations can be maintained except
in a congenial atmosphere. Allowance too must be made for the danger
of driving the evil to burrow underground.

10. The censorship of opinions even in a model State would vary in
method according to men and times. The censorship of the Press in
particular might be either by _Imprimatur_ required before printing,
or by liability to prosecution after. The _Imprimatur_ might be either
for all books, or only for a certain class. It might be either
obligatory, or merely matter of counsel, to obtain it. We are not to
adopt promiscuously all the praiseworthy institutions of our

_Readings_.--Cardinal Newman, _Letter to Duke of Norfolk_, § 5; _The
Month_ for June, 1883, pp. 200, seqq.

       *       *       *       *       *


Of the precepts of Natural Law, some are more simple and of wider
extension; others are derivative, complex, and extend to fewer cases.
It is a question of more and less, and no hard and fast line of
demarcation can be drawn between them. The former however are called
_primary_, the latter _secondary_ precepts. Again, the nature of man
is the same in all men and at all periods of history for its essential
elements, but admits of wide, accidental variation and declension for
the worse. Thirdly, it is clear that Natural Law is a law good and
suitable for human nature to observe. Starting from these three
axioms, we apply the reasoning of St. Thomas, 1a 2æ, q. 96, art. 2,
not to human law alone, of which he is speaking, but to sundry
secondary precepts of Natural Law. These are his words:

"A law is laid down as a rule or measure of human acts. Now a measure
ought to be homogeneous with the thing measured. Hence laws also must
be imposed upon men according to their condition. As Isidore says: 'A
law ought to be possible both according to nature and according to the
custom of the country.' Now the power or faculty of action proceeds
from interior habit or disposition. The same thing is not possible to
him who has no habit of virtue, that is possible to a virtuous man; as
the same thing is not possible to a boy and to a grown man, and
therefore the same rule is not laid down for children as for adults.
Many things are allowed to children, that in adults are visited with
legal punishment or with blame, and in like manner many things must be
allowed to men not perfect in virtue, which would be intolerable in
virtuous men."

This reasoning leads us up to a conclusion, which St. Thomas states
thus (la 2æ, q. 94. art. 5):

"A conceivable way in which the Natural Law might be changed is the
way of subtraction, that something should cease to be of the Natural
Law that was of it before. Understanding change in this sense, the
Natural Law is absolutely immutable in its first principles; but as to
secondary precepts, which are certain detailed conclusions closely
related to the first principles, the Natural Law is not so changed as
that its dictate is not right in most cases steadily to abide by; it
may however be changed in some particular case, and in rare instances,
through some special causes impeding the observance of these secondary

The reason for this conclusion, more pregnant, it may be, than St.
Thomas himself discerned, is given briefly as follows (2a 2æ, q. 57,
art. 2, ad 1):

"Human nature is changeable; and therefore what is natural to man may
sometimes fail to hold good."

The precepts of Natural Law that fail to be applicable when human
nature sinks below par, are only secondary precepts, and few even of
them. Christianity brings human nature up to par, and _fulfils_ the
Natural Law (St. Matt. v. 17), enjoining the observance of it in its
integrity. This is the meaning of St. John Chrysostom's saying: "Of
old not such an ample measure of virtue was proposed to us; ... but
since the coming of Christ the way has been made much narrower." (_De
Virginitate_, c. 44: cf. his 17th Homily on St. Matt. v. 37; indeed
the doctrine is familiar in his pages.) Thus the prohibition of
polygamy, being a secondary precept of the natural law, failed in its
application in that age of lapsed humanity, when a woman was better
one of many wives, protected by one husband, than exposed to
promiscuous violence and lust. (Isaias iv. i.)


The ruler is the servant of the _good_ of the people, not of the
_will_ of the people, except inasmuch as--

a. the _will_ of the people is an indication of their _good_, of which
they are probable judges;

b. it is usually impossible to do _good_ to the people against their
steady _will_.

       *       *       *       *       *


Aggregation theory of civil power,


Altum dominium,

  differs from hatred,

Appetite in the modern sense,
  in the scholastic sense,
  appetite and desire,

Archetype Ideas,

Aristotle, imperfect as a moral philosopher,
  on happiness,
  on the passions,
  on the mean of virtue,
  on death,
  his Magnanimous Man,
  distinguishes chastisement from vengeance,
  virtue from art,
  on property,
  defines a State, a citizen, a polity,
  on the State's need to punish,

Atheism, effects of social and political,

Autocentric and heterocentric,

Bain, Alexander, on content,
  on punishability,

Beatific vision,

Capital Punishment,
  not inconsistent with God's dominion over life, nor
  with the personality (autocentric) of man,
  power of (right of the sword), the distinguishing mark of sovereignty,
  sole instance of rightful direct killing,

  to enemies,
  obligation of, how differing from justice,

Church and State, elementary philosophy of,

Circumstances of act,
  distinguished from means,

Civil authority, of God,
  binds the conscience,
  latent or free,
  various distributions of,
  not tied to any one polity,
  when rightfully resisted,

Comfort, no specific against crime,


Conscience, natural law of,
  erroneous conscience,
  requires educating,
  Conscience and the State,

Contemplation, essence of happiness,


Delight, or pleasure, quality of,
  said to perfect activity,
  not happiness,

Democracy, may be tyrannical,
  not the sole valid polity,
  sheer democracy difficult to work,
  original and special sanctity attaching to democracy,


Desire, physical and psychical,

Direct and indirect (or incidental) defined,


Duelling, essential wrong of,

Dumb animals, our relations with,

Duty, matter not of mere goodness, but of law;
  duties of justice, correlative of a right;
  duties negative and positive,

Education, the State's part in,

End in view; end does not justify means;
  itself limitless, sets a limit to the means,

English monarchy,

Ethics, strict view of,

Evil, none essential and positive in human nature,

Fear, as an excuse,

Food and fiddling, when better than philosophy,


Francis of Assisi, St.,

General Consequences, principle of,

God, transcends created being,
  object of human happiness,
  God and possibilities,
  cannot but enforce morality,
  how entering into Moral Philosophy,
  does not dispense from the natural law,
  punishes sin,
  twofold worship of,
  God beyond the sphere of utilities,
  duty of knowing Him,
  why He cannot lie,
  no God, no sin,

Greek taste,

Grotius and Milton, on lying,

Habit, defined,
  acquired by acts,
  a living thing, needs exercise,
  habit and custom,
  man a creature of habits,
  habits remain in the departed soul,

Happiness, defined,
  open to man,
  final in contemplation of God,
  other than contentment,
  desired without limit,
  not pleasure,

Hatred and anger,


Hobbes, his _Leviathan_,

Honour and reputation,

Horace, his phrase, _aurea mediocritas_,

Human act,
  outward and inward, one,



Ignorance, as an excuse,

Integrity, state of,

Intellectual error, sometimes voluntary,
  in that case not mere intellectual error,

Jurisdiction, differs from dominion,

Justice, always relative to another,
  legal (or general),distributive, commutative (corrective),
  justice and charity differ,

Kant, his Categorical Imperative,

Killing, direct and indirect,
  indirect in self-defence,
  and in war,
  direct only in capital punishment,

Knowledge of God, obligatory,

Labour, qualitative as well as quantitative,
  capital not simply an embodiment of labour,

Land, a raw material, nationalisation of,

Law, defined,
  the Eternal Law,
  irresistible and yet resisted,
  extends to all agents, rational and irrational,
  co-eternal with, yet not necessary as God,
  laws of physical nature,
  law of conscience,
  fundamental laws of a state,
  civil law, necessary complement of natural law,
  civil law, how binding in conscience,
  the King, _legibus solutus_, how far,
  law and liberty,

Lay mind,

Liberty, the meshes of the net of law,
  liberty of opinion and the press,

Locke, on the state of nature,

Lying, definition of,
  intention to deceive, no part of the definition,
  intrinsically and always wrong,
  why God cannot lie,
  not against commutative justice,
  mental reservation not in every case a lie,

Magnanimous man,


Marriage, duty of the race, not of the individual,
  two goods of marriage,

Material and formal,

Marx, Karl,

Means to end, truly willed,
  four sorts of,
  how far and how not sanctified by the end,
  distinguished from circumstances,
  limited by the end,

Meekness and clemency,

Mental reservation, not in every case a lie,

Mill, John, confounds self-defence with vengeance,
  his Utilitarianism,
  on Liberty,


Morality, meaning of,
  determinants of,

Moral Philosophy, definition and division,
  a progressive science,
  subtlety of,

Moral Sense, no peculiar faculty distinct from Intellect,

Money, ancient and modern use of,

Nature, does nothing in vain,
  living according to nature,
  laws of nature, inviolable as tendencies,
  state of nature,

Natural, in contrast with supernatural,
  natural and physical confounded by ancients,
  does not mean "coming natural",

Natural law of conscience,
  mutable subjectively,
  immutable, situation remaining unchanged,
  primary and secondary precepts, some of the latter fail to
         hold even objectively, where human nature has sunk below par,
  not open to dispensation,

Nominalism, subversion of philosophy,

Obedience, not wholly of the nature of a contract,

Ought, or Obligation, analysis of the idea,

Passion, as an excuse,
  definition of,
  species of,
  not to be extirpated,
  never morally evil by itself,
  passion and principle, two different sources of sin,

People, the, all government for,
  sovereignty of,
  not philosophers,

Person, autocentric, as distinguished from a thing (hetero-centric),
  to have a right, you must be a person,

Plato, on desires,
  on the mean of virtue,
  his similitude of the charioteer,
  his phrase, "set up on holy pedestal",
  fails to discover justice in his _Republic_,
  his ignoring of spiritual sins,
  ignores retributive punishment,
  object of his _Republic_,

Pleasure, or delight, quality of,
  perfects activity,
  how far wrong to act or live for pleasure,
  not happiness,

Polity, defined,
  variety of polities,
  no one polity best, universal and exclusive,
  elementary and original polity,
  the polity the standard of the politically allowable,

Polygamy; patriarchal practice,

Powers that be, ordained of God,

Private war, right renounced by civilised man,

Probable opinion, what, how a lawful ground of action,

Property, _res familiaris_,


Punishment, naturally consequent upon sin,
  also a divine infliction,
  final, eternal,
  medicinal, deterrent, retributive,
  human punishment perhaps never purely retributive,
  capital punishment,
  punishment a stimulus to conscience,
  war not punishment,

Pyramid of capacities,

Reiffenstuel, on duelling,

Religion, how connected with morality,
  duties of religion,
  natural religious power,
  the State and religion,

Restitution, when due,
  not retribution,


Revolution, is it ever right?

Right, a, defined,
  connatural, acquired, alienable, inalienable,
  one man's right imports another man's duty, but not conversely,
  not all rights consequences of duties,
  not wholly the creation of the State,

Ritual, needs regulation,

Rousseau, his Social Contract,
  his inalienable sovereignty of the people,


Self-defence, differs from punishment and from vengeance,
  a wrong maxim of the jurists,
  duelling not self-defence,

Simulation and dissimulation,

Sin, material and formal,
  differs from vice,
  some by mere passion, other on principle,
  spiritual sins,
  philosophical sin,
  sin alone properly unnatural,
  entails punishment,
  grave and light,
  forgiveness of, an uncertainty in philosophy,
  sin against God, crime against the State,
  atheism the abolition of sin,

Socialism, Collectivism and Syndicalism,
  an endeavour to supersede private virtue,

Soldier's death,


State, individual not all blended in,
  definition of,
  a natural requisite, more than a necessity of nature,
  involves authority, to be obeyed,
  a perfect community,
  commanded and commissioned by God,
  a secular concern with a secular end,
  the State and virtue,
  State and Church,
  State and education,
  doctrines dangerous to the State,
  State and Conscience,
  remotely a judge of sin, but does not punish it as such,

Stoics, would extirpate passion,
  their _naturae convenienter vivere_,
  a paradox of theirs,

Suarez, explains the natural rise of civil authority,
  neglects the historical,



Superstitious practices,



Testamentary right,

Usury, defined,
  principle upon which it is wrong,
  commercial loans not usurious, gradual opening for such,

Utilitarianism, an ill-concerted blend of Hedonism and Altruism,

Value, use value, market value,

Vice and Virtue, habits, not acts,
  not in children,
  vice not sin,

Virtue, a habit,
  not reducible to knowledge,
  intellectual and moral,
  how moral and intellectual virtues differ,
  need of moral virtue,
  moral virtue (not theological) observes the mean,
  cardinal virtues,
  are the virtues separable?,
  potential parts of a virtue,
  sense of virtue necessary to national greatness,
  virtue not "another man's good,",
  how differing from art,
  how far the care of the State,

Virtuous man, acts on motives of virtue,

War, the self-defence of nations,
  not a punitive operation,
  direct and proper object, not to kill but to put out of action,

Wild boy of Hanover,

Worship, interior and exterior, reasons for the latter,
  not as useful to God, but because He is worthy of it,

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