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.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Schubert on St. Augustine's Teaching on the Eternal Law, Part 8

Augustine's Lex Aeterna Teaching
Its Content and its Source

by: P. Alois Schubert, S.V.D.

Bust of Cicero

Part II
What Sources Inform St. Augustine's Teaching on the Eternal Law?

c) The Eternal Law is the Foundational Norm of all Human Law, Especially the Law of the State.

Cicero links all temporal law to the eternal law (cf. S. 29). Included within the temporal law is human law, such as family law, the law of the State, the law of Nations. It follows that these laws' ultimate end is the eternal law.

Cicero links the concerns of the law of the State with the concerns of the laws that govern families, and the law that governs families upon the law of nature, and the law of nature on the eternal law.

Cicero views the State as a living organism. He distinguishes between the unity of the entire body and the composition of limbs. Just like the soul rules over the limbs of the body, so do the princes and rulers govern the citizens of the State.(32) Under the term "people" (Volk), Cicero understands not merely the unification of individual men, which in some way are bound together, but rather the unity of the many (Vielheit), which through the conforming nature of the law and with respect of their common needs have bound themselves together.(33) The reason for the State, therefore, is based in a conformity with law and in a community of interests. The ground for which men bind themselves together is not based upon the insecurity of the weak, but rather the desire for social life that is implanted in the nature of man.(34) Whoever does not desire to live in a community of justice (Rechtsgemeinschaft) with other men and does not allow himself to be bound to such a community, ought not to be called a man.(35) Human nature is so designed that it has an inborn sense for establishing cities and social pacts, what the Greeks called politikon.(36) So lies in human nature in germ or seminally (Keime) the building of States.

How did the State come to be in nature? The human tendency to live in common and to produce their kind forced men to build families. The family is the first circle of life in common, the foundation and the beginning of the state and the seminary (Pflanzschule) of the State.(37) The family grows through its broadening: kinship, friendship, neighborship, are organic mediating institutions between an individual and the State. Families compose certain homes, places, cities, and states.(38) Any kind of peoples must be ruled by some sort of plan in order for it to stand. The government must always be aimed at the basic principle that has brought it to be in the first place (Nature),(39) so likewise must this government, whether it is held by one or is held by many, or even the entire people. If one person has the highest power, he will be called king, and his domain a kingdom. If the highest power is held by a presiding group, so will the state be ruled through the most noble (an aristocracy). A commonwealth (Democracy) is that in which the entire power is held by the people.(40) The ruling power rests therefore in the State, the State upon the family, and the family upon nature.(41) The laws of the State likewise refer back to the laws of the family, and these both to the natural law, with the latter linked to the eternal law.

Cicero teaches also directly that the laws of the State must be in accord with the eternal law. He writes with respect to that issue: "This is the law of distinguishing between what is just and what is unjust, the most ancient and plenary principle expressed in nature, upon which the laws of men are based, which punishes the sinner, and vindicates and protects the good."(41) But Cicero goes further than that. He speaks of the positive rules that have been given before the dawn of time, which he calls law. "These regulations relay more upon favor that objective reasons for the name of law."(42) At bottom there is only one law the recta ratio summi Iovis.

The ius gentium or law of nations (Völkerrecht) is tied to the natural law, and is viewed by Cicero as a development of it. The ius gentium contains nothing but the reasonable development of the natural law, insofar as the latter is drawn from and recognized by all peoples.(43) Cicero identifies therefore often the ius gentium with the us naturae.(44) Consequently, according to Cicero, the ius gentium is nothing other than a part of the natural law, and through the natural law finally drawn from the eternal law. So does Cicero tie the law of nations or ius gentium to the recta ratio summi Iovis. So it is that all human law, above all the law of the State, rest upon the eternal law.

Drawing now the similarities between the notion of the derivation of the law of the State from the eternal law discussed above with that of Cicero, we see the following important points of similarity.

The lex aeterna is the basic norm of the law of the State.
1. Nihil esse iustum atque legitimum quod non ex aeterna lege homines sibi derivaverint. S.14, Anm. 30.
The lex aeterna s the basic norm of the law of the State.
1. Constituendi vero iuris ab illa summa lege capiamus exordium, quae sacelis omnibus ante nata est. S. 29 Anm. 2.
2. Ad illam antiquissimam naturam ad quam leges hominum dirigintur. S. 29, Anm. 4.
2. The State is predicated upon the family, the family upon nature, and nature upon the Godhead.
Civitas est rationabilium multitude unius societate devincta. S.15, Anm. 35.
Singuli homines tanquam elementa semina civitatum. S. 15, Anm. 37.
Domus est initium sive particula civitatis. S. 16, Anm. 42.
Homo fertur naturae legibus ad ineundam societatem. S. 15, Anm. 39.
The State is founded upon the family, the family upon nature, and nature upon the Godhead.
Res publica est res populi. S. 35, Anm. 33.
Augustine adopts this definition. cf. Aug., De civ. Dei 19, 31.
Homines seminarium rei publicae. S. 36, Anm. 37.
In connubio est prima societas. S. 36, Anm. 37.
Duce natura congregantur homines. S. 36, Anm. 38.
The desire for social life and to propagate are the driving forces of social union.
Deus est omnium naturam sapientissimus conditor et iustissimus ordinator. S. 16, Anm. 44.
The desire for social life and to propogate are the driving forces of social union.
Natura id est deus est huius legis inventor, deceptator et lator. S. 25, Anm. 19.
3. Non est potestas nisi a Deo. S. 17, Anm. 46-49.
3. Divina mens summa lex est. S. 37, Anm. 42.

Augustine and Cicero trace the laws of the State, in their final source, upon the Godhead. The same or similar concepts and termini show that Augustine relies upon Cicero.

5. Conclusions regarding Cicero's Teaching on the Eternal Law.

Cicero travels from the concept of order to his analysis of the eternal law. He understands under the term order the inner direction of things, the hanging togetherness of things, the law-like course of the stars. Order is measure, beauty, equal measure in thought and in deed. Order is the harmony of the parts. Order is that the awareness that our acts must be done at the right time and right place. Cicero defines law as right reason in both command and prohibition. It indicates the eternal law as the understanding that all things are ordered and prohibited according to the reason of the Godhead. Cicero calls this law eternal, eternal, all-encompassing. It binds all creatures; even the evil are under that law. The eternal law is the fundamental source, the fundamental norm of the temporal law, the natural law, the moral law, and the law of the State. The eternal law is stamped upon the nature of man. This, in summary, is the teaching of Cicero on the eternal law.

The similarity of this teaching with Augustine, as indicated above, displays itself in the similar concepts, the similar understanding, and the similar terminology that exist between them. The similarity of Augustine to Cicero establishes the reliance of Augustine upon Cicero.


(1) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 1, c. 6, § 19. A lege ducendum est iuris exordium, ea est enim naturae vis, ea mens ratioque prudentis, ea iuris atque iniuriae regula.
(2) Cic., De leg. lib. 1, c. 6. Constituendi vero iuris ab illa summa lege capiamus exordiu, quae saeclis omnibus ante nata est, quam script lex ulla aut quam omnino civitas constituta.
(3) Ibidem: Repetam stirpem iuris a natura.
(4) Cic., De leg. lib. 2, c. 4, § 25. Lex est ratio summi Jovis . . . § 13 lex est iustorum iniustorumque distinctio ad illam antiquissimam et rerum omnium principem naturam expressa, ad quam leges hominum diriguntur, quae supplicio improbos afficunt, defendunt et tuentur bonos.
(5) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 2, c. 39. Licet iam remota subtilitate disputandi oculis, quodammodo contemplari pulchritudinem rerum earum, quas divina providentia dicimus constitutas.
(6) Ibidem. c. 31, § 80. Omnia regi divina mente atque prudentia.
(7) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 11, c. 2, § 4. Sunt autem alii philophi et ii quidem magni atque nobiles, qui deorum mente atque ratione mundum administrari et regi censeat.
(8) Cic., De nat. deorum c. 22. Zeno igitur natura ita definit, ut eam dicat ignem esse artificiosum ad gignendum progredientem in via. cf. Diels, Doxographi Graeci 1879, S. 305.
(9) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 1, c. 14. . . . rationem quandam per omnem naturam rerum pertinentem.
(10) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 2, c. 33. (Natura) gravidata seminibus omnia pareat et fundat ex se . . .
(11) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 2, c. 34. Omnium rerum quae natura administrantur, seminator et sator et parens, ut ita dicam atque educator et altor est mundus omniaque sicut membra et partes suas nutricatur et continet (mundus = natura = deus).
(12) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 2, c. 38. Licet iam remota subtilitate disputandi oculis quadammodo contemplari pulchritudinem rerum, quas divina providentia dicimus constitutas.
(13) Cic., De nat. deorum lib. 2, c. 53. Sic undique omni ratione concluditur, ment consilioque divino, omnia in hoc mundo ad salutem omnium conservationemque admirabiliter administrari. Mente divina constitutas esse . . .
(14) Cic., De harusp. resp. c. 9. Pietate ac religione atque una sapientia quod deorum immortalium numine omnia regi gubernarique perspexium omnes gentes nationesque superavimus.
(15) Cic., De off., 1, c. 4, § 14. Non vero illa prava vis naturae est rationisque, quod unum hoc animal sentit, quid sit ordo, quid sit quod deceat, in factis dictisque qui modus. Itaque eorum ipsorum, quae aspectu sentiuntur, nullum aliud animal pulchritudinem, venustatem, convenientiam partium sentit, quam similitudinem natura ratioque ab oculis ad animum transferens, multo etiam magis pulchritudinem, constantiam, ordinem in consiliis factisque conservandam putat cavetque ne quid indecore effeminative faciat, tum in omnibus et opinionibus et factis ne quid lubidinose aut faciat aut cogitet.
(16) Cic., De off. 1, c. 4, § 14. Quibus ex rebus conflatur et efficitur id, quod quaerimus honestum.
(17) cf. Cic., De off. 1, c. 4.
(18) Cic., De off. lib. 1, c. 5. Sed omne quod est honestum, id quattuor partium oritur ex aliqua . . .
(19) cf. Cic., De off. 1, c. 4 and c. 5.
(20) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 17. Ipsum enim bonum non est opinionibus, sed natura.
(21) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 17. Quare quam et bonum et malum natura iudicetur et ea sint principia naturae, certe honesta quoque et turpia simili ratione diiudicanda et ad naturam referenda sunt.
(22) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 18, § 49. Atque etiam si emolumentis, non suapte vi virtus expetitur, una erit virtus, quae malitia rectissime dicetur, ut enim quisque maxime ad suum commodum refert, quaecumque agit. Ita minime est vir bonus.
(23) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 16, § 44. Quodsi populorum jussis, si principum decretis, si sententiis iudicum iura constituerentur, ius esset latrocinari, ius adulterare, ius testamenta falsa supponere, si haec suffragiis aut scitis multitudinis probarentur.
(24) Ibidem. Atqui nos legem bonam a mala, nulla alia, nisi naturae norma dividere possumus, nec solum ius et natura diiudicatur, sed omnino omnia honesta et turpia. Cic., De leg. 1, c. 15, § 42. Est enim unum ius quo divincta est hominum societas et quod lex constituit una . . . quae lex est recta ratio.
(25) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 16. Nam ut communis intelligentia nobis nostras res efficit easque in animis nostris inchoavit honesta in virtute ponunutr, in vitiis turpia, ea autem in opinion existimare, non in natura posita dementis est.
(26) cf. Schmekel, Philosophie der Stoa, Berlin 1892, S. 53. Vgl. Cic., Tuscul. disp. lib. 3, c. 1
(27) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 10, § 30. Quaeque in animis imprimuntur, de quibus ante dixi, inchoatae intelligentiae, similiter in omnibus imprimuntur, interpresque mentis oratio verbis discrepat, sententiis congruens. Cic. De fin. bon. mal. lib. 5, c. 21, § 59. Natura ingenuit notitias parvas rerum maximarum, elementa virtutum.
(28) Cic. Tuscul. disp. lib. 3, c. 1, § 2. Natura nunc parvulos nobis dedit igniculos, quos celeriter malis moribus opinionisbusque depravati, sic restinguimus ut nusquam naturae lumen appareat. Sunt enim ingeniis nostris semina innata virtutum quae si adolescere liceret, ipsa nos ad beatam vitam natura perduceret.
(29) Cic. Pro Mil, c. 4, § 10. Est igitur haec (lex iustae tutelae), iudices non scripta, sed nata lex, quam non didicimus, accepimus, legimus, verum a natura ipsa arribpuimus, hausimus, expressimus, ad quam non docti, sed facti, non insituti, sed imbuti sumus.
(30) Cic., De leg. 1, c. 6, § 18. Lex est ratio summa, insita in natura, quae iubet ea, quae facienda sunt prohibetque contraria. Cic., De rep. lib. 3, c. 20. Est quidem vera lex recta ratio, diffus in omnes, quae vocat ad officium iubendo, vetando a fraude deterreat.
(31) Cic., De leg. lib. 2, c. 40, § 10. Erat enim ratio profecta a rerum natura et ad recte faciendum impellens et a delicto avocans quae non tum denique incipit lex esse, quum scripta est, sed tum, quam orta est, orta autem simul est cum mente divina. Quam ob rem lex vera atque princeps apta ad iubendum et vetandum, ratio est recta summi Jovis.
(32) Cic., De rep. 3.25. Nam ut animus corpori dicitus imperare sic regum, sic imperatorum, sic magistratuum, sic patrum, sic populorum imperia civius sociisque praesunt. Cf. Aug., De civ. Dei 14, 32.
(33) Cic., De rep. 3, 25, § 29. Est igitur, inquit Africanus, res publica res populi, populus autem non omnis hominum coetus quoquo modo congregatus, sed coetus multitudinis iuris consensu et utilitatis communione sociatus.
(34) Cic., De rep. 1.25, § 39. Eius autem prima causa coeundi est non tam imbecillitas, quam naturalis hominum congregatio.
(35) Cic., De rep. 2, c. 26. Quis enim hunc hominem rite dixerit, qui sibi cum suis civibus, qui denique cum omnium hominum genere nullam iuris communionem, nullam humanitatis societatem velit.
(36) Cic., De fin. bon. mal. c. 5, n. 23. Nam cum sic hominis natura generata sit ut habeat quiddam ingenitum quasi civile atque populare quod graeci politikon vocant. (cf. Aristotle, Pol., I, 1. Anthropos physei politikon zoon.)
(37) Cic., De off. lib. 1, c. 17. Nam cum sit hoc natura communi animalium ut habeant lubidenem procreandi, prima societas in ipso connubio est urbis quasi seminarium rei publicae. Cic., De off. lib. 2, c. 21. Duce natura homines congregabantar.
(38) Cic., De rep. lib. 1, c. 17. Sequuntur fratrum coiunctiones post-consorbrinorum sobrinorumque, qui cum una domo iam capi non possunt in alias domos tamquam colonias exeunt. Sequuntur connubia et affinitates . . . quae propogatio et sobulus origo est rerum publicarum.
(39) Cic., De rep. lib. 1, c. 26. Omnis populus, omnis civitas, omnis res publica consilio quodam regenda est, ut diuturna sit. Id autem consilium primum semper ad eam causam referendum est, quae causa genuit civitatem.
(40) Ibidem. Deinde aut uni tribuendum est aut delectis quibusdam aut suscipiendum est multitudini atque omnibus. Quare paenes unum est omnium summa rerum regem illum unum vocamus et regnum eius rei publicae statum. Cum autem est paenes delectos, tum illa civitas optimatium arbitrio regi dicitur. Illa autem est civitas popularis . . . in qua in populo sunt omnia.
(41) Cic., De leg. lib. 2, c. 5, § 13. Lex est iustorum iniustorumque distinctio ad illam antiquissimam et rerum omnium principem naturam expressa, ad quam leges hominum diriguntur, quae supplicio improbos adficiunt, defendunt et tuentur bonos.
(42) Cic., De leg. lib. 2, c. 5. Quae leges varie et ad tempus descriptae populis favore magis quam re legum nomen tenent . . . ergo illa divina mens summ lex est.
(43) Cf. Cic., De off. III, 17.
(44) Cf. Tusc. I, 13, 20; De off. III, 6, 27; De harusp. resp. XV, 32.

No comments:

Post a Comment