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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brownson on the Natural Law-The Law as Ligament

IN THIS SHORT PARAGRAPH, Brownson rejects those who would deny a telos or teleology in the natural law, which is nothing other than the expression of the Eternal Law with respect to man, and thus whose final cause is God. He also rejects the Kantian notion of autonomy, and establishes morality by linking it to our submission and obedience to God as our Alpha and our Omega, our beginning and our end.

"Man before God as final cause has no more autonomy than he has before God as first cause, that is to say, none at all. He has before God, then, no rights, no independence, but is bound to absolute submission to his law. The law is the copula, the ligament that binds man to his final end, or supreme good, and is in the second cosmic cycle what the creative act is the first; that is, the law in the order of palingenesis* is what the creative act is in the order of genesis. As there is no physical cosmos save mediante the law of God, so is there no moral cosmos save mediante the law of God. As all physical existence is from God as first cause, mediante creation, so all moral existence is from God as final cause, mediante obedience to his law. Without seeking God as final cause, as his law commands, there is no proper morality, any more than there is or can be holy living, or supernatural sanctity."

[From Brownson's Works, "Vincenzo Gioberti" (H. F. Brownson: Detroit, 1898), Vol. 2, p. 127-28.]

*The term palingenesis or rather palingenesia is derived from Greek "palin" (which means again) and genesis (birth, becoming). Thus it may be translated by the term rebirth, regeneration, or even restoration. Conceptually, the term was used by the Stoics whose doctrine taught that the universe or cosmos was constantly being re-created by the Demiurge. The term was used by the Jewish philosopher Philo to refer to Noah and his progeny as the group that would renovate or give rebirth to humanity. The term is used by Plutarch, as it was by the Pythagoreans, to refer to metempsychosis or rebirth of souls in new bodies (as part of his belief in re-incarnation).

The term is used by Jesus in the New Testament, specifically in the Gospel of Matthew: "And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration (παλιγγενεσία), when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. 19:28 Douay Rheims). It is also used in Titus 3:5 to refer to the rebirth of a Christian in Christ. As used in the New Testament, the term does not bear any of its Pythagorean connotations of re-incarnation or metempsychosis.

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