Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION XCV.: OF HUMAN LAW. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1)
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QUESTION XCV.: OF HUMAN LAW. - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 1 (Summa Theologica - Prima Secundae, Secunda Secundae Pt.1) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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OF HUMAN LAW.
Article I.—Was there any use in laws being enacted by men?
R. Man has a certain innate aptitude for virtue, but the perfection of virtue must accrue to him by discipline and training: as we see that he is aided by industry in his necessities, notably in food and clothing. Nature has given him the beginnings of the satisfaction of his wants in these respects, in giving him reason and a pair of hands; but not complete satisfaction, as to other animals, to whom she has given in sufficiency clothing and food. For the purposes of this training and discipline it is not easy to find a man who suffices for himself: because the perfection of virtue principally consists in withdrawing man from undue pleasures, to which all men are prone, and especially the young, with whom discipline goes further. And therefore one man must receive from another this training and discipline whereby virtue is arrived at. Now for those young people who are prone to acts of virtue by a good natural disposition, or by custom, or rather by the gift of Heaven, the paternal discipline suffices, which is by admonitions. But because of wanton and saucy spirits, prone to vice, who cannot easily be moved by words, it was found necessary to provide means of restraining them from evil by force and fear, that so at least they might desist from evil-doing, allow others to live in quiet, and themselves at length be brought by habituation of this sort to do willingly what formerly they accomplished out of fear, and thus might become virtuous. This discipline, coercive by fear of punishment, is the discipline of the laws.
§ 2. The Philosopher says: “It is better for all things to be regulated by law than to be left to the judges’ discretion;” and that for three reasons. First, because it is easier to find a few wise men capable of framing right laws, than to find the many who would be requisite to judge rightly of particular cases. Secondly, because the framers of laws consider long beforehand what is to be enacted: but judgments are framed on particular facts from cases that have arisen on a sudden. Now it is easier to see what is right from the consideration of many instances than from one only. Thirdly, because lawgivers judge in the general and with an eye to futurity: but men sitting in judgment judge of the present, which they regard with love or hate or other passion; and thus their judgment is warped.
Article II.—Is every law framed by man derived from the natural law?
R. Every law framed by man bears the character of a law exactly to that extent to which it is derived from the law of nature. But if on any point it is in conflict with the law of nature, it at once ceases to be a law: it is a mere perversion of law. But there are two modes of derivation from the law of nature. Some enactments are derived by way of conclusion from the common principles of the law of nature; as the prohibition of killing may be derived from the prohibition of doing harm to any man. Other enactments are derived by way of determination of what was in the vague: for instance, the law of nature has it that he who does wrong should be punished; but that he should be punished with this or that punishment, is a determination of the law of nature. Both sort of enactments are found in human law. But the former are not mere legal enactments, but have some force also of natural law. The latter sort have force of human law only.