De lege humana
Of Human Law
Deinde considerandum est de lege humana. Et primo quidem, de ipsa lege secundum se; secundo, de potestate eius; tertio, de eius mutabilitate. Circa primum quaeruntur quatuor.
We must now consider human law; and (1) this law considered in itself; (2) its power; (3) its mutability. Under the first head there are four points of inquiry:
Primo, de utilitate ipsius.
(1) Its utility.
Secundo, de origine eius.
(2) Its origin.
Tertio, de qualitate ipsius.
(3) Its quality.
Quarto, de divisione eiusdem.
(4) Its division.
Utrum fuerit utile aliquas leges poni ab hominibus
Whether it was useful for laws to be framed by men?
Ad primum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non fuerit utile aliquas leges poni ab hominibus. Intentio enim cuiuslibet legis est ut per eam homines fiant boni, sicut supra dictum est. Sed homines magis inducuntur ad bonum voluntarii per monitiones, quam coacti per leges. Ergo non fuit necessarium leges ponere.
Objection 1: It would seem that it was not useful for laws to be framed by men. Because the purpose of every law is that man be made good thereby, as stated above (Q92, A1). But men are more to be induced to be good willingly by means of admonitions, than against their will, by means of laws. Therefore there was no need to frame laws.
Praeterea, sicut dicit philosophus, in V Ethic., ad iudicem confugiunt homines sicut ad iustum animatum. Sed iustitia animata est melior quam inanimata, quae legibus continetur. Ergo melius fuisset ut executio iustitiae committeretur arbitrio iudicum, quam quod super hoc lex aliqua ederetur.
Obj. 2: Further, as the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 4), men have recourse to a judge as to animate justice. But animate justice is better than inanimate justice, which is contained in laws. Therefore it would have been better for the execution of justice to be entrusted to the decision of judges, than to frame laws in addition.
Praeterea, lex omnis directiva est actuum humanorum, ut ex supradictis patet. Sed cum humani actus consistant in singularibus, quae sunt infinita, non possunt ea quae ad directionem humanorum actuum pertinent, sufficienter considerari, nisi ab aliquo sapiente, qui inspiciat singula. Ergo melius fuisset arbitrio sapientum dirigi actus humanos, quam aliqua lege posita. Ergo non fuit necessarium leges humanas ponere.
Obj. 3: Further, every law is framed for the direction of human actions, as is evident from what has been stated above (Q90, AA1,2). But since human actions are about singulars, which are infinite in number, matters pertaining to the direction of human actions cannot be taken into sufficient consideration except by a wise man, who looks into each one of them. Therefore it would have been better for human acts to be directed by the judgment of wise men, than by the framing of laws. Therefore there was no need of human laws.
Sed contra est quod Isidorus dicit, in libro Etymol., factae sunt leges ut earum metu humana coerceretur audacia, tutaque sit inter improbos innocentia, et in ipsis improbis formidato supplicio refrenetur nocendi facultas. Sed haec sunt maxime necessaria humano generi. Ergo necessarium fuit ponere leges humanas.
On the contrary, Isidore says (Etym. v, 20): Laws were made that in fear thereof human audacity might be held in check, that innocence might be safeguarded in the midst of wickedness, and that the dread of punishment might prevent the wicked from doing harm. But these things are most necessary to mankind. Therefore it was necessary that human laws should be made.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut ex supradictis patet, homini naturaliter inest quaedam aptitudo ad virtutem; sed ipsa virtutis perfectio necesse est quod homini adveniat per aliquam disciplinam. Sicut etiam videmus quod per aliquam industriam subvenitur homini in suis necessitatibus, puta in cibo et vestitu, quorum initia quaedam habet a natura, scilicet rationem et manus, non autem ipsum complementum, sicut cetera animalia, quibus natura dedit sufficienter tegumentum et cibum. Ad hanc autem disciplinam non de facili invenitur homo sibi sufficiens. Quia perfectio virtutis praecipue consistit in retrahendo hominem ab indebitis delectationibus, ad quas praecipue homines sunt proni, et maxime iuvenes, circa quos efficacior est disciplina. Et ideo oportet quod huiusmodi disciplinam, per quam ad virtutem perveniatur, homines ab alio sortiantur. Et quidem quantum ad illos iuvenes qui sunt proni ad actus virtutum, ex bona dispositione naturae, vel consuetudine, vel magis divino munere, sufficit disciplina paterna, quae est per monitiones. Sed quia inveniuntur quidam protervi et ad vitia proni, qui verbis de facili moveri non possunt; necessarium fuit ut per vim et metum cohiberentur a malo, ut saltem sic male facere desistentes, et aliis quietam vitam redderent, et ipsi tandem per huiusmodi assuetudinem ad hoc perducerentur quod voluntarie facerent quae prius metu implebant, et sic fierent virtuosi. Huiusmodi autem disciplina cogens metu poenae, est disciplina legum. Unde necessarium fuit ad pacem hominum et virtutem, ut leges ponerentur, quia sicut philosophus dicit, in I Polit., sicut homo, si sit perfectus virtute, est optimum animalium; sic, si sit separatus a lege et iustitia, est pessimum omnium; quia homo habet arma rationis ad explendas concupiscentias et saevitias, quae non habent alia animalia.
I answer that, As stated above (Q63, A1; Q94, A3), man has a natural aptitude for virtue; but the perfection of virtue must be acquired by man by means of some kind of training. Thus we observe that man is helped by industry in his necessities, for instance, in food and clothing. Certain beginnings of these he has from nature, viz., his reason and his hands; but he has not the full complement, as other animals have, to whom nature has given sufficiency of clothing and food. Now it is difficult to see how man could suffice for himself in the matter of this training: since the perfection of virtue consists chiefly in withdrawing man from undue pleasures, to which above all man is inclined, and especially the young, who are more capable of being trained. Consequently a man needs to receive this training from another, whereby to arrive at the perfection of virtue. And as to those young people who are inclined to acts of virtue, by their good natural disposition, or by custom, or rather by the gift of God, paternal training suffices, which is by admonitions. But since some are found to be depraved, and prone to vice, and not easily amenable to words, it was necessary for such to be restrained from evil by force and fear, in order that, at least, they might desist from evil-doing, and leave others in peace, and that they themselves, by being habituated in this way, might be brought to do willingly what hitherto they did from fear, and thus become virtuous. Now this kind of training, which compels through fear of punishment, is the discipline of laws. Therefore in order that man might have peace and virtue, it was necessary for laws to be framed: for, as the Philosopher says (Polit. i, 2), as man is the most noble of animals if he be perfect in virtue, so is he the worst of all, if he be severed from law and righteousness; because man can use his reason to devise means of satisfying his lusts and evil passions, which other animals are unable to do.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod homines bene dispositi melius inducuntur ad virtutem monitionibus voluntariis quam coactione, sed quidam male dispositi non ducuntur ad virtutem nisi cogantur.
Reply Obj. 1: Men who are well disposed are led willingly to virtue by being admonished better than by coercion: but men who are evilly disposed are not led to virtue unless they are compelled.
Ad secundum dicendum quod, sicut philosophus dicit, I Rhetor., melius est omnia ordinari lege, quam dimittere iudicum arbitrio. Et hoc propter tria. Primo quidem, quia facilius est invenire paucos sapientes, qui sufficiant ad rectas leges ponendas, quam multos, qui requirerentur ad recte iudicandum de singulis. Secundo, quia illi qui leges ponunt, ex multo tempore considerant quid lege ferendum sit, sed iudicia de singularibus factis fiunt ex casibus subito exortis. Facilius autem ex multis consideratis potest homo videre quid rectum sit, quam solum ex aliquo uno facto. Tertio, quia legislatores iudicant in universali, et de futuris, sed homines iudiciis praesidentes iudicant de praesentibus, ad quae afficiuntur amore vel odio, aut aliqua cupiditate; et sic eorum depravatur iudicium.
Reply Obj. 2: As the Philosopher says (Rhet. i, 1), it is better that all things be regulated by law, than left to be decided by judges: and this for three reasons. First, because it is easier to find a few wise men competent to frame right laws, than to find the many who would be necessary to judge aright of each single case. Second, because those who make laws consider long beforehand what laws to make; whereas judgment on each single case has to be pronounced as soon as it arises: and it is easier for man to see what is right, by taking many instances into consideration, than by considering one solitary fact. Third, because lawgivers judge in the abstract and of future events; whereas men presiding in judgment judge of things present, towards which they are affected by love, hatred, or some kind of cupidity; wherefore their judgment is perverted.
Quia ergo iustitia animata iudicis non invenitur in multis; et quia flexibilis est; ideo necessarium fuit, in quibuscumque est possibile, legem determinare quid iudicandum sit, et paucissima arbitrio hominum committere.
Since then the animated justice of the judge is not found in every man, and since it can be deflected, therefore it was necessary, whenever possible, for the law to determine how to judge, and for very few matters to be left to the decision of men.
Ad tertium dicendum quod quaedam singularia, quae non possunt lege comprehendi, necesse est committere iudicibus, ut ibidem philosophus dicit, puta de eo quod est factum esse vel non esse, et de aliis huiusmodi.
Reply Obj. 3: Certain individual facts which cannot be covered by the law have necessarily to be committed to judges, as the Philosopher says in the same passage: for instance, concerning something that has happened or not happened, and the like.
Utrum omnis lex humanitus posita a lege naturali derivetur
Whether every human law is derived from the natural law?
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod non omnis lex humanitus posita a lege naturali derivetur. Dicit enim philosophus, in V Ethic., quod iustum legale est quod ex principio quidem nihil differt utrum sic vel aliter fiat. Sed in his quae oriuntur ex lege naturali, differt utrum sic vel aliter fiat. Ergo ea quae sunt legibus humanis statuta, non omnia derivantur a lege naturae.
Objection 1: It would seem that not every human law is derived from the natural law. For the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 7) that the legal just is that which originally was a matter of indifference. But those things which arise from the natural law are not matters of indifference. Therefore the enactments of human laws are not derived from the natural law.
Praeterea, ius positivum dividitur contra ius naturale, ut patet per Isidorum, in libro Etymol., et per philosophum, in V Ethic. Sed ea quae derivantur a principiis communibus legis naturae sicut conclusiones, pertinent ad legem naturae, ut supra dictum est. Ergo ea quae sunt de lege humana, non derivantur a lege naturae.
Obj. 2: Further, positive law is contrasted with natural law, as stated by Isidore (Etym. v, 4) and the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 7). But those things which flow as conclusions from the general principles of the natural law belong to the natural law, as stated above (Q94, A4). Therefore that which is established by human law does not belong to the natural law.
Praeterea, lex naturae est eadem apud omnes, dicit enim philosophus, in V Ethic., quod naturale iustum est quod ubique habet eandem potentiam. Si igitur leges humanae a naturali lege derivarentur, sequeretur quod etiam ipsae essent eaedem apud omnes. Quod patet esse falsum.
Obj. 3: Further, the law of nature is the same for all; since the Philosopher says (Ethic. v, 7) that the natural just is that which is equally valid everywhere. If therefore human laws were derived from the natural law, it would follow that they too are the same for all: which is clearly false.
Praeterea, eorum quae a lege naturali derivantur, potest aliqua ratio assignari. Sed non omnium quae a maioribus lege statuta sunt, ratio reddi potest, ut iurisperitus dicit. Ergo non omnes leges humanae derivantur a lege naturali.
Obj. 4: Further, it is possible to give a reason for things which are derived from the natural law. But it is not possible to give the reason for all the legal enactments of the lawgivers, as the jurist says. Therefore not all human laws are derived from the natural law.
Sed contra est quod Tullius dicit, in sua Rhetor., res a natura profectas, et a consuetudine probatas, legum metus et religio sanxit.
On the contrary, Tully says (Rhet. ii): Things which emanated from nature and were approved by custom, were sanctioned by fear and reverence for the laws.
Respondeo dicendum quod, sicut Augustinus dicit, in I de Lib. Arb., non videtur esse lex, quae iusta non fuerit. Unde inquantum habet de iustitia, intantum habet de virtute legis. In rebus autem humanis dicitur esse aliquid iustum ex eo quod est rectum secundum regulam rationis. Rationis autem prima regula est lex naturae, ut ex supradictis patet. Unde omnis lex humanitus posita intantum habet de ratione legis, inquantum a lege naturae derivatur. Si vero in aliquo, a lege naturali discordet, iam non erit lex sed legis corruptio.
I answer that, As Augustine says (De Lib. Arb. i, 5) that which is not just seems to be no law at all: wherefore the force of a law depends on the extent of its justice. Now in human affairs a thing is said to be just, from being right, according to the rule of reason. But the first rule of reason is the law of nature, as is clear from what has been stated above (Q91, A2, ad 2). Consequently every human law has just so much of the nature of law, as it is derived from the law of nature. But if in any point it deflects from the law of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law.
Sed sciendum est quod a lege naturali dupliciter potest aliquid derivari, uno modo, sicut conclusiones ex principiis; alio modo, sicut determinationes quaedam aliquorum communium. Primus quidem modus est similis ei quo in scientiis ex principiis conclusiones demonstrativae producuntur. Secundo vero modo simile est quod in artibus formae communes determinantur ad aliquid speciale, sicut artifex formam communem domus necesse est quod determinet ad hanc vel illam domus figuram. Derivantur ergo quaedam a principiis communibus legis naturae per modum conclusionum, sicut hoc quod est non esse occidendum, ut conclusio quaedam derivari potest ab eo quod est nulli esse malum faciendum. Quaedam vero per modum determinationis, sicut lex naturae habet quod ille qui peccat, puniatur; sed quod tali poena puniatur, hoc est quaedam determinatio legis naturae.
But it must be noted that something may be derived from the natural law in two ways: first, as a conclusion from premises, second, by way of determination of certain generalities. The first way is like to that by which, in sciences, demonstrated conclusions are drawn from the principles: while the second mode is likened to that whereby, in the arts, general forms are particularized as to details: thus the craftsman needs to determine the general form of a house to some particular shape. Some things are therefore derived from the general principles of the natural law, by way of conclusions; e.g., that one must not kill may be derived as a conclusion from the principle that one should do harm to no man: while some are derived therefrom by way of determination; e.g., the law of nature has it that the evil-doer should be punished; but that he be punished in this or that way, is a determination of the law of nature.
Utraque igitur inveniuntur in lege humana posita. Sed ea quae sunt primi modi, continentur lege humana non tanquam sint solum lege posita, sed habent etiam aliquid vigoris ex lege naturali. Sed ea quae sunt secundi modi, ex sola lege humana vigorem habent.
Accordingly both modes of derivation are found in the human law. But those things which are derived in the first way, are contained in human law not as emanating therefrom exclusively, but have some force from the natural law also. But those things which are derived in the second way, have no other force than that of human law.
Ad primum ergo dicendum quod philosophus loquitur de illis quae sunt lege posita per determinationem vel specificationem quandam praeceptorum legis naturae.
Reply Obj. 1: The Philosopher is speaking of those enactments which are by way of determination or specification of the precepts of the natural law.
Ad secundum dicendum quod ratio illa procedit de his quae derivantur a lege naturae tanquam conclusiones.
Reply Obj. 2: This argument avails for those things that are derived from the natural law, by way of conclusions.
Ad tertium dicendum quod principia communia legis naturae non possunt eodem modo applicari omnibus, propter multam varietatem rerum humanarum. Et exinde provenit diversitas legis positivae apud diversos.
Reply Obj. 3: The general principles of the natural law cannot be applied to all men in the same way on account of the great variety of human affairs: and hence arises the diversity of positive laws among various people.
Ad quartum dicendum quod verbum illud iurisperiti intelligendum est in his quae sunt introducta a maioribus circa particulares determinationes legis naturalis; ad quas quidem determinationes se habet expertorum et prudentum iudicium sicut ad quaedam principia; inquantum scilicet statim vident quid congruentius sit particulariter determinari.
Reply Obj. 4: These words of the Jurist are to be understood as referring to decisions of rulers in determining particular points of the natural law: on which determinations the judgment of expert and prudent men is based as on its principles; in so far, to wit, as they see at once what is the best thing to decide.
Unde philosophus dicit, in VI Ethic., quod in talibus oportet attendere expertorum et seniorum vel prudentum indemonstrabilibus enuntiationibus et opinionibus, non minus quam demonstrationibus.
Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 11) that in such matters, we ought to pay as much attention to the undemonstrated sayings and opinions of persons who surpass us in experience, age and prudence, as to their demonstrations.
Utrum Isidorus inconvenienter qualitatem legis positivae describat
Whether Isidore’s description of the quality of positive law is appropriate?
Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod Isidorus inconvenienter qualitatem legis positivae describat, dicens, erit lex honesta, iusta, possibilis secundum naturam, secundum consuetudinem patriae, loco temporique conveniens, necessaria, utilis; manifesta quoque, ne aliquid per obscuritatem in captionem contineat; nullo privato commodo, sed pro communi utilitate civium scripta. Supra enim in tribus conditionibus qualitatem legis explicaverat, dicens, lex erit omne quod ratione constiterit, dumtaxat quod religioni congruat, quod disciplinae conveniat, quod saluti proficiat. Ergo superflue postmodum conditiones legis multiplicat.
Objection 1: It would seem that Isidore’s description of the quality of positive law is not appropriate, when he says (Etym. v, 21): Law shall be virtuous, just, possible to nature, according to the custom of the country, suitable to place and time, necessary, useful; clearly expressed, lest by its obscurity it lead to misunderstanding; framed for no private benefit, but for the common good. Because he had previously expressed the quality of law in three conditions, saying that law is anything founded on reason, provided that it foster religion, be helpful to discipline, and further the common weal. Therefore it was needless to add any further conditions to these.