Congress Hall Cafe

The Highest Law of Civil Society – Moral Divinity

Hallam 301 “’The prince’s command is like a thunderbolt; his command upon our allegiance like the roaring of a lion. To his command there is no contradiction; but how or in what manner we should now proceed to perform obedience, that will be the question.” Commons Journal i.166

Psalms 78:41:48 They turned again and tempted God, and provoked the Holy One of Israel…. He gave over their livestock also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.”


Jesus said, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and having stripped him and inflicted blows, they went away, leaving [him] half dead. And by a coincidence a certain priest was going down in that way, and having seen him, he passed over on the opposite side; and in like manner also, a Levite, having been about the place, having come and seen, passed over on the opposite side. But a certain Samaritan, journeying, came along him, and having seen him, he was moved with compassion, and having come near, he bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and having lifted him up on his own beast, he brought him to an inn, and was careful of him; and on the morrow, going forth, taking out two denaries, he gave to the innkeeper, and said to him, Be careful of him, and whatever thou mayest spend more, I, in my coming again, will give back to thee.” Luke 10:30-35

Cicero “Now in rendering helpful service to people, we usually consider either their character or their circumstances. And so it is an easy remark, and one commonly made, to say that in investing kindnesses we look not to people’s outward circumstances, but to their character. The phrase is admirable! But who is there, pray, that does not in performing a service set the favour of a rich and influential man above the cause of a poor, though most worthy, person? For, as a rule, our will is more inclined to the one from whom we expect a prompter and speedier return. But we should observe more carefully how the matter really stands: the poor man of whom we spoke cannot return a favour in kind, of course, but if he is a good man he can do it at least in thankfulness of heart….” B2.68

Note: Public duty and ownership is part of the social compact. Jesus’ parable may be interpreted as legal ruling. That ownership is a possession taken out Common, and if there is need that can satisfied without personal injury then private ownership of property gives way to Common property of all including time and money. The Samaritan upheld the social compact by rendering services to a victim and restored private property (time and money) into Common in order to meet a serious need. Cicero offers altruist view of the good Samaritan which belies the temptation to serve for personal benefit versus sacrificially.

Good Morals

John of Salisbury writes that public power strives to keep all sorrows from existing in the community by the science of good morals which grows many delightful flowers and abundant fruit; one would rejoices in the delights of Paradise itself. 74


Jesus “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another.” John 13:34 

Henry I law 5.20a states that everyone is to be loved equally, but since it is hard to do good to all persons, those accorded a preference ought to be based on circumstances and proximity. 93


Jeremiah Smith, Chief Justice of New Hampshire “For what is the common law of which we speak? It is made just as the English common law was made; a collection of the general customs and usages of the community; maxims, principles, rules of action, founded in reason, and found suitable to the first condition of society; if not created by the wisest and most favored, sanctioned and approved by them.” hisCL.498

Smith “every member of society is a legislator; every maxim, which by long usage acquires the force of law, must have been stated, opposed, defended, adopted by rulers and judges, slowly and at first timidly, but so acceptable that all approve.”  hisCL.498

Note: The actions and behavior, the approval and disapproval of every member is a planting of a seed into society. This seed may grow a root, a root that may intertwine all society; customs are roots that take hold, and if the custom is good then society is benefited but if the custom is evil then society suffers. The work of the gospels of the Jesus Christ is to create a holy society through beneficial customs.

Pufendorf “so likewise Moral Divinity does mightily promote the Practice of all the main Duties that are enjoyn’d us in our Civil Deportment: So that,  if you should observe any one behave himself like a restless and troublesome Member in the Common-wealth, you may fairly conclude, that the Christian Religion has made but a very slight Impression on that Person, and that it has taken no Root in his Heart.”

Note: Although the law of Moses sets the standards of legal right and wrong, it is the laws revealed in the letters of the New Testament that allow for society to be made civil. Without the laws of Moses, society would fall into moral depravity, and without the laws of grace and decency of Jesus, Paul and the Apostles, society could neither be civil, descent or perfected.

Marcianus “The orator Demosthenes thus defined it. “A law is something which it is proper for all men to obey for many reasons, and principally because every law was devised by, and is a gift of God.” just.b2.2


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This entry was posted on November 17, 2013 by .
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