Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brownson on the Natural Law--God as Final Cause is Lawgiver

IN THIS EXCERPT from his "A Letter to Protestants," Orestes Brownson stresses how it is Man's end, in God's design, toward which the natural law ultimately points. All law is founded on reason, and the reason for the law is its end. The end of the natural law is God. It is with focus on God as our last end, or final cause, that we consider him in the role of Lawgiver. It is with focus on God as our first cause, or the source of our beginning, that we consider him in his role as Creator. The Law, in other words, has no other purpose than to aim us towards God, which is our ultimate good. That is why there is ultimately no contradiction between Law, Justice, Mercy, and Love. All these have their end and fulfillment in God who is absolute Law, Justice, Mercy, and Love.

"God is the final as he is the first cause of all existences. He is our origin and end, the cause that created us, and the cause for which we are created, as you have seen in the fact that we are his and not our own, and are morally bound to render unto him the tribute of our whole being. The good of every creatures is the end for which it exists, and if we could conceive a creature existing for no end, such a creature would and could have no good. Hence God is our supreme good, because he is the supreme good in itself, and because he is our ultimate end. Our true good lies then in the possession of God, and we tend to it as we tend to him, that is, render ourselves unto him, or give him the worship that is his due, as has already been established.

The final cause is legislative, and the law every existence must be subject to is imposed by the end for which it exists. God as the first cause is our Creator; as final cause he is our Lawgiver. The law he imposes must be obeyed as the indispensable condition of attaining to our end, and without obedience to it there is and can be in the nature of things no good for us, since it is the law imposed by eternal justice, and the sovereign good; for God as the final cause of all existences is the sovereign good, and as sovereign Legislator is eternal justice."

[From Brownson's Works, "A Letter to Protestants" (H. F. Brownson: Detroit, 1902), Vol. 5, p. 328.]

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