Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents)


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Bibliographic Information

Such statements may be given the meaning which we wish them to bear—the quoting of Scripture is ever an unsatisfactory form of evidence; but there is no direct statement in the New Testament in favour of war, no saying of Christ which, fairly interpreted, could be understood too regard this proof of human imperfection as less condemnable than any other. But man the individual can attain peace only when he has overcome the world, when, in the struggle with his lower self, he has come forth victorious.

This is the spiritual sword which Christ brought into the world—strife, not with the unbeliever, but with the lower self: meekness and the spirit of the Word of God are the weapons with which man must fight for the Faith. An elect people there was no longer: Israel had rejected its Messiah. Instead there was a complete brotherhood of all men, the bond and the free, as children of one God. The aim of the Church was a world-empire, bound together by a universal religion.

In this sense, as sowing the first seeds of a universal peace, we may speak [p.

The later attitude of Christians to war, however, by no means corresponds to the earliest tenets of the Church. If that, then, is a laudable custom, how much more so, that while others are engaged in battle, these too should engage as the priests and ministers of God, keeping their hands pure, and wrestling in prayers to God on behalf of those who are fighting in a righteous cause, and for the king who reigns righteously, that whatever is opposed to those who act righteously may be destroyed! And we do take our part in public affairs, when along with righteous prayers we join self-denying exercises and meditations, which teach us to despise pleasures, and not to be led away by them.

And none fight better for the king than we do. We do not indeed fight under him, although he require it; but we fight on his behalf, forming a special army—an army of piety—by offering our prayers to God. The pagan rites connected with the taking of the military oath had no doubt some influence in determining the feeling of the pious with regard to this life of bloodshed; but the reasons lay deeper.

And shall the son of peace take part in the battle when it does not become him even to sue at law? And shall he apply the chain, and the prison, and the torture, and the punishment, who is not the avenger even of his own wrongs? The doctrine of the Church developed early in the opposite direction. It was its fighting spirit and not a love of peace that made Christianity a state religion under Constantine. Nor was Augustine the first of the Church Fathers to regard military service as permissible. To come to a later time, this change of attitude has been ascribed partly to the rise of Mahometan power and the wave of fanaticism which broke over Europe.

To destroy these unbelievers with fire and sword was regarded as a deed of piety pleasing to God. Hence the wars of the Crusades against the infidel were holy wars, and appear as a new element in the history of civilisation. The nations of ancient times had known only civil and foreign war. In the Middle Ages there were, besides, religious wars and, with the rise of [p. It was in some respects a more warlike institution than the states of Greece and Rome. It struggled through centuries with the Emperor: [16] it pronounced its ban against disobedient states and disloyal cities: it pursued with its vengeance each heretical or rebellious prince: unmindful of its early traditions about peace, it showed in every crisis a fiercely military spirit.

For more than a thousand years the Church [p. This strange anomaly was, it must be said, at first rather suffered in deference to public opinion than encouraged by ecclesiastical canons and councils, but it gave rise to great discontent at the time of the Reformation.

Bibliographic Information

Perhaps custom and public opinion in feudal Europe were too strong, perhaps the Church showed a certain apathy in denouncing the evils of a military society: no doubt the theoretical tenets of its doctrine did less to hinder war than its own strongly military tendency, its [p. Hence, in spite of Christianity and its early vision of a brotherhood of men, the history of the Middle Ages came nearer to a realization of the idea of perpetual war than was possible in ancient times.


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The tendency of the growth of Roman supremacy was to diminish the number of wars, along with the number of possible causes of racial friction. It united many nations in one great whole, and gave them, to a certain extent, a common culture and common interests; even, when this seemed prudent, a common right of citizenship.

The fewer the number of boundaries, the less the likelihood of war. The establishment of great empires is of necessity a force, and a great and permanent force working on the side of peace. With the fall of Rome this guarantee was removed. Out of the ruins of the old feudal system arose the modern state as a free independent unity.

Private war between individuals or classes of society was now branded as a breach of the peace: it became the exclusive right of kings to appeal to [p. War, wrote Gentilis [22] towards the end of sixteenth century, is the just or unjust conflict between states. Peace was now regarded as the normal condition of society. Men began to consider the problem of the rightfulness or wrongfulness of war, to question even the possibility of a war on rightful grounds. Out of theses new ideas—partly too as one of the fruits of the Reformation, [23] —arose the first consciously formulated principles of the science of international law, whose fuller, but not yet complete, development belongs to modern times.

From the beginning of history every age, every [p. We may instance the Amphictyonic League in Greece which, while it had a merely Hellenic basis and was mainly a religious survival, shows the germ of some attempt at arbitration between Greek states. Among the Romans we have the jus feciale [24] and the jus gentium , as distinguished from the civil law of Rome, and certain military regulations about the taking of booty in war.

Ambassadors were held inviolate [p. Many Roman writers held the necessity of a just cause for war. But nowhere do these considerations form the subject matter of a special science. In the Middle Ages the development of these ideas received little encouragement. All laws are silent in the time of war, [25] and this was a period of war, both bloody and constant.

There was no time to think of the right or wrong of anything. Moreover, the Church emphasised the lack of rights in unbelievers, and gave her blessing on their annihilation. Not such as that in the minds of Greek and Jew and Roman who had been able to picture international peace only under the form of a great national and exclusive empire. In this great Christian state there were to be no distinctions between nations; its sphere was bounded by the universe. But, here, there was no room or recognition for independent national states with equal and personal rights.

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This recognition, opposed by the Roman [p. The Reformation was the means by which the personality of the peoples, the unity and independence of the state were first openly admitted. On this foundation, mainly at first in Protestant countries, the new science developed rapidly.

Like the civil state and the Christian religion, international law may be called a peace institution. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, Grotius laid the foundations of a code of universal law De Jure Belli et Pacis , independent of differences of religion, in the hope that its recognition might simplify the intercourse between the newly formed nations. Grotius originally meant to explain only one chapter of the law of nations: [27] his book was to [p. He obtained, moreover, a general recognition for the doctrine of the Law of Nature which exerted so strong an influence upon succeeding centuries; indeed, between these two sciences, as between international law and ethics, he draws no very sharp line of demarcation, although, on the whole, in spite of an unscientific, scholastic use of quotation from authorities, his treatment of the [p.

Grotius made the attempt to set up an ethical principle of right, in the stead of such doctrines of self-interest as had been held by many of the ancient writers. There was a law, he held, established in each state purely with a view to the interests of that state, but, besides this, there was another higher law in the interest of the whole society of nations.

Its origin was divine; the reason of man commanded his obedience. This was what we call international law.

Transition, Transformation and Turnaround

Grotius distinctly holds, like Kant and Rousseau, and unlike Hobbes, that the state can never be regarded as a unity or institution separable from the people; the terms civitas , communitas , coetus , populus , he uses indiscriminately. But these nations, these independent units of society cannot live together side by side just as they like; they must recognise one another as members of a European society of states. War is not to be [p. A terrible scourge it must ever remain, but as the only available form of legal procedure, it is sanctioned by the practice of states and not less by the law of nature and of nations.

Grotius did not advance beyond this position.

Perpetual Peace, by Immanuel Kant—A Project Gutenberg eBook

Every violation of the law of nations can be settled but in one way—by war, the force of the stronger. The necessary distinction between law and ethics was drawn by Puffendorf, [31] a successor of Grotius who gave an outwardly systematic form to the doctrine of the great jurist, without adding to it [p. His views, when they were not based upon the system of Grotius, were strongly influenced by the speculation of Hobbes, his chronological predecessor, to whom we shall have later occasion to refer.

In the works of Vattel, [32] who was, next to Rousseau, the most celebrated of Swiss publicists, we find the theory of the customs and practice in war widely developed, and the necessity for humanising its methods and limiting its destructive effects upon neutral countries strongly emphasised. Grotius and Puffendorf, while they recommend acts of mercy, hold that there is legally no right which requires that a conquered enemy shall be spared. This is a matter of humanity alone.

Religion and Politics

It is to the praise of Vattel that he did much to popularise among the highest and most powerful classes of society, ideas of humanity in warfare, and of the rights and obligations of nations. He is, moreover, the first to make a clear separation between this science and the Law of Nature. What, he asks, is international law as distinguished from the Law of Nature?

What are the powers of a state and the duties of nations to one another? What are the causes of quarrel among nations, and what the means by which they can be settled without any sacrifice of dignity? They are, in the first place, a friendly conciliatory attitude; and secondly, such means of settlement as mediation, arbitration and Peace Congresses.

These are the refuges of a peace-loving nation, in cases where vital interests are not at stake. At the same time, it is never advisable that a nation should forgive an insult which it has not the power to resent.

Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents) Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents)
Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents) Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents)
Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents) Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents)
Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents) Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents)
Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents) Of The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity (With Active Table of Contents)

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