Indictments From the Common Lawyers
What does a Christian society look like? What might be some of the key features of the Second Christendom when it emerges in redemptive history? There are many. One central feature will be the grounding of civil and criminal law upon the higher law of God. This, of course, is not novel. It is the way it used to be in the First Christendom.
The basic assumptions in this doctrine [of natural justice] are that God exists and that immanent in all creation is God’s eternal law. St. Germain’s Doctor defines [in the early sixteenth century] the eternal law as:
the reason of the wisdom of God, moving all things by wisdom made to a good end.
The eternal law is not wholly known to men. It is known in part through revelation, as recorded in the New and Old Testaments, that part being called the law of God or positive divine law; and it is known further through reason, that part being called the law of nature or the law of reason. So, natural law is unequivocally established on a divine basis. Since it is part of God’s will or plan for mankind natural law is neither parochial or temporary. According to the Doctor of Divinity
This law ought to be kept as well among Jews and Gentils, as among Christian men . . . it is never changeable by no diversity of place, ne time (sic).
F.E. Dowrick [Justice According to the English Common Lawyers (London: Butterworths, 1960), p.49]
The divine law provided the primary or fundamental precepts. Reason assisted in applying those precepts (by means of subordinate premises and the rules and laws of logic) to situations and circumstances. The fundamental principles laid down in the law of God included:
1. Good is to be loved and evil is to be fled.
2. Do to another that thou wouldst another should do to thee.
3. Do nothing against truth.
4. A man must live peacefully with others.
5. Men should live in society.
6. Actions by which a human life is to be preserved are to be pursued.
7. Male and female should join together and children be educated. (Ibid., p. 50)
By the nineteenth century, the First Christendom was in terminal decline. The hearts of the people and their rulers and teachers decided they had a better idea. The law of God as the foundation of all human law and justice was gradually, yet ineluctably, replaced by the mind of man as the ultimate lawgiver. We see the fruits on every hand today. “Reason” now dictates that an unborn child can be killed at will. It has “discovered” eternal and irrevocable rights to homosexuality, homosexual “marriage”, and no-fault divorce. It has declared, on the grounds of its own recognizance, that the state must impose “equality” upon its citizens, thereby sanctifying and glorifying envy and covetousness.
All these, and many other perversions, the common lawyers of Christendom would have called madness, not reason. They would have been right. They testify against us and the resulting indictment leaves us without excuse.
Nevertheless, the “reason” and “laws” of autonomous man will inevitably run their course, to produce their fruit, and to bring their self-immolating sentence of death and destruction, before a generation will arise, by God’s grace, to toss this ghastly human idolatry into the lake of fire, and to repent, and to replace it with the principles and doctrines of the First Christendom, thereby building the Second Christendom.
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