John Fortescue.

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,,. HEN in tlie depth of our mind we contemplnte the fupreme power of God,
'^ whereby out of nothing He called into exiftence the fabric of this world and all
that it contains, and when in like manner we fearch out Plis vvifdom, whereby He
created fo many good and fair things, and things fo various in kinds and qualities, which
iill the world, we humble ourfelves, and wonder not a little. But when \\ t beliold His
goodnefs, whereby He hath bound together all thcfe things in fuch an order that all thofe
creatures uniformly direfl their mdividual movements and courfcs to His praifc and glory
and to the good ot man, we blels and praifc God with yet incrcafed admiration. In tli's
order hot things are in liarmony with cold ; dry with moill ; heavy wiih light ; great with
little ; high with low. In this order angel is fet over angel, rank upon rank in the Kin[. -
dom of Heaven ; man is fet over man, bead: over beaft, bird over bird, and fifli over fiil , o i
the earth, m the air, and in the lea ; fo that there is no worm that crawls upon the gro uk ,
no bird that riies on high, no fifh that fwims in the depths, which the chain of this o/dcr
binds not in moft harmonious concord. Hell alone, inhabited bv none but finners, alTerts its
claim to efcape the embraces of this order. The Philofopher alfo (iij. De Citlo et Mundo)
fays tliat order is the proper nature of natural things ; and again (xi. Metaphys ) he fays th^t
the good of the univerfe confifts in order. But when a man abandons order, his aiftion; ari
wicked, his alms are turned into hypocrify, his vows into an abomination, his prayers become
hateful, and his fafting brings nothing but punifhment upon the farter. What more fhaljl I
fay ? There is nothing virtuous and nothing good which doth not obferve the law of ord;r.
Wherefore St. Auguftine, defining virtue, fays, " V'irtue is the order of love" (xv. 1. De C'v.
Dei). And hence not even charity, the greatefl: of the virtues, has efcaped the tie of order,
for the Bride fings thus : " God hath ordered love in me." And what is this order but a difpoTi-
tion of equal and unequal things aligning to each its proper place? (xviij. 1". De Civ. Dei ) And
what is the proper place of afuperior but the condition and degree by which a fuperior is fet over
an inferior .? and what is the place of an interior but the condition and degree whi reby he is
placed under the fuperior in the order of the univerfe ? For it is true that God creatt. I as many
different kinds of things as He did creatures, fo that tliere is no creature which do':h not
differ in fome refpeft from all the other creatures, and by which it is in fome refped luperior or
inferior to all the reft. So that from the higheft angel down to the loweft of his kind there is
abfolutely not found an angel that hath not a fuperior and inferior; nor from man down to
the meaneft worm is there any creature which is not in fome refpcrt fuperior to one creature

PART II.] On the Law of Nature. 323

and iiilerior to another. So that there is nothing which the bund of order doth not embrace.
And fmce God haili thus regulated all creatures, it is impious to think that lie left unregu-
lated the human race, which Me made the highell of all earthly creatures. And feeing that
He matie that race twofold by means of two fexes, the male, namely, and the female,
inafmuch as we cannot imagine that He fubordinated the male fex, which was hrlt created,
and which God defired to be over all other earthly creatures, to the female fex, which was
created for the help of man, we are of necellity compelled to acknowledge that the female
lex was in this creation fubordinated to the male. I'his, therefore, is the order in which at
its origin human nature was ellabliflied. Thefe are the natural degrees of man and woman.
At their creation it was enjoined them that in this order the man iliould be over the woman,
and ihe be fubjed to the man. And therefore to forfake this order would be to forfike the
order of the univerfe, and would therefore be fin, which is defined to be a defertion o;' order.

Chap. LX.

ly/iat tvas the nature of the Alan's Pre-e>ninence {or Prelacy) in the time of his innocence.

JNCE, therefore, we have dilcovered in what degree man was appointed over the
woman and all the other earthly creatures, it behoves us now to inveftigate what
■^^^J^ was the nature of his Itate and dignity in that degree over the woman, when neither
of them had as yet fallen into fm. For the man was not then fet over [prufiiit) the woman,
as a niafter over a icrvant, a judge over a criminal, or a guardian over his ward. For
at that time the man did not poliefs a dominion of fear over the woman, whom the
Lord gave to him for a companion ; nor was there any fin in the wonirn which the man
could correft as a judge ; nay, if by threats or blows the woman had been driven, like a
fchoolboy, to be virtuous, flie would not have had the merit of righteouiliefs, as the man
had, who at that time obferved righteouinefs without being compelled thereto; but, as is
mentioned above, St. Thomas fays that in a time ot innocence man would have been fet over
man, as one who holds an office is let over, not a flave, but a tree man, direc'ling him to his
(the free man's) interell:, or to the common good ; and this pre-eminence St. Thomas in the
fame place calls a dominion. Yet becaufe the condition of the human race was fo changed
after fin, that there can no longer be found on the earth a pre-eminence (^prelatia), which
could be juftly likened to the pre-eminence (or prelacy), which man had before he finred, it
will be well for us to inveftigate the pre-eminence of tlie angels, vdiich lias not been chiinged
by fin, in order that we may more certainly underfiand, by comparifon ot it, what kind of pre-
eminence was that of man, while he preferved, like an angel, his innocence.
I. .T T. 2

II i)!'' ■ J

» ■.\? hriA,

3^4 0)1 the Law of Nature. \vhKT ii.

Chap. LXI.

In zvhat way the Pre-eminence of Man upon earth refembkd the Pre-eminence
of an Angel in heaven.

WT is not to be doubted that tlie fuperior angels have dignity and power above
^-^ ' the inferior, fo that the inferior are obedient and fubjetT: to them. I-'or in the
Apocalypfe it is written, " Michael fought, and ail hi. angels with him." Thofe
then, who are called his angels were his fubjeds. And (loth chapter of Daniel) an angel
frnl to Daniel, " Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me." Behold, he acknow-
ledged that Michael had not only the power of helping, but alfo the rani of prince for
lumielf and other angels. The names alfo of the different orders of angels, n- hich are called
Principalities and Powers, teach us that fome angels fliine in power and dignity above others
So too Cherubyn, which is interpreted to be fulnefs of knowledge, implies by the name that
angels excel angels in the greatnefs of knowledge, and fo are worthy to enlighten their inferic rs
So, too, the name of Gabriel, which is interpreted to mean Jlrength of God proJai ns
that angels excel angels in ftrength. The names alfo of the other angels teach lis tha, th n-
differ m virtues, and that fome excel others therein, and have the pre-eminence over th -ir
interiors. So likewife their divifion into nine orders, each of which, from the higheft
Seraphyn, is placed under fome other. There is no need, therefore, to dilcufs this fubjr^f
at greater length, flnce thefe things fuffice to reveal that pre-eminence among angels wh^^h
was the objec^i of our fearch. I^or it is thereby fhown tliat the fuperior aifgels^are bee
(/>r^#) the inferior in virtues, rank, power, and office, virtues whereby they are al le to
dired and enlighten them, and fo are made worthy to hold power and office over them
And hence the inferior angels are rightly fubjefted to the iliperior, and on account of ^heir
dignities venerate them, and on account of their powers and offices obey them, and thereby
obey God, and preferve in heaven the order which, as we have (liid, exi/ls alfo on earth. In this
way, too, the firft man had the pre-eminence over the firft woman in right of the virtue, by
which he was able to guide and teach her. and thereby he was made worthy to have, and m
fac^ had over her the office and power of direfting her to her own intereft and the common
intereft of both. And for the fake of thefe virtues it was to the woman's advantage to be
lubjeft to the man, and ilie was fubjec^t ; and by reafon of his rank it was beconrng^'that fhe
ffiould refpec^ the man, and on accpunt of his power and office ffie was bound to obey him
by doing which ffie alfo obeyed God, and herein preferved the order of the uni^ erfe, which
to keep was to pradife innocence, and which to abandon was to forfakerighteoufnefs'

( ■-■. : T.

-V;i 4,voJ;



On the Law of Nature.


Chap. LXII.

In what Virtues the Male Sex excels the Female.

.^ f^^MUT it is now worth while alfo to examine in what virtues, other than thofe
ftj C^^ already mentioned in this difcullion, the male fex has been created pre-eminent
@\a g ^^^ over the female, and fo by way of fitnefs polTefTes the dignity and power above
dated over the woman. The male fex was made fuperior to the female in all that kind of
mora! virtue by which the world is ruled and its peace preferved. Hence Solomon, in
Kcclefiafles, fpeaking of both lexes, lays, "One man among a thoufand have I fo ind, but
a woman among all have I not found." But Solomon found woman to be as porftft in
faith, hope, and charity, as devout and as holy as man, but not his equal in the moral virtues.
In the time of innocence the woman did not abound in wifdom ; for Eve was deceived, but
Adam was not deceived, (i Timothy, chap, ii.) And therefore, after the fm of man, the
Apollle decreed that the woman fhould learn in filence with all iiibjedion, but permitted her
not to teach. The Church alfo feems to think that the woman is not by nature equal to
the man in courage and felf-control, fince, fpeaking of female martyrs, fhe fays, " Even in
the frail fex Thou had granted vidrory," by which words flie diftinguifhes the female from
the male fex by the mark ot frailty, and marvels, as it were, at the miracle of courage given
by grace. The Wife Man alfo feems to be aftonifhed at courage in a woman, when he (ays,
" Who can find a brave woman ? Her price is far beyond all bounds." Nor does the Church
confider women to be as fteady or confiitent in juftice as men, fince fhe has denied ail judicial
power to them (jjrd Ouellion V" Mnliereiii). Scripture abounds alfo with very many
fimilar leflbns, which for brevity we now omit, by which we are taught that as God made
man a little lefs than the angels, fo alfo He made woman Icfs than man, and thereby man in
the times of innocence was worthy to have the power and office of dire6ling her, as one
angel doth another. For there is no fex in fouls ; tor fpirits arc neither male nor female ;
fex exifts only in bodies. Now no orie doubts that the bodies of men furpafs the bodies
of women in natural gifts; for women are not, like men, robuft in ilrength, fagacious
in intellecft and nature, active in body, bold in fpirit, or fuperior in any bodilv virtue •
and hence it is certain that nature has made the female fex inferior to the m dc"^in
natural gifts. And fince order is fuch an arrangement of like and unlike thinj;s as
affigns to each its proper place, the order of nature has alfigned a higher place to
the male than to the female fex. Wherefore we fee of necelllty that the female fex is
fubordinate to the male by the Law of Nature, and is therefore hibjecfl to it in the order
of the univerfe. And if women are more beautiful to look upon than men, this confers

'I r: iv/ s

326 On the Lcnv of Nature. [part ii,

upon them no fuperiority. For woman's beauty delights men more than it delights women
themfelves, and women thereby minilk-r greater pleafure to men than to themfelves, and are
ferviceable to men, like plants that prodiice delicious flc^wers for their ufe.

Chap. LXIII.

The Pre-eminence of the Man over the Woman is likened to the Pre-eminence of the Soul over
the Fleffj, a)u{ of the fuperior part of the Reafun over the i)iferior.

M^^lf^UT feeing that the likenefs of the angelic pre-eminence, which is heavenly and
mi '^S^% ^'^^'^^^■> ft-'cnis to differ from the likenefs of man's pre-eminence over the woman,

1^3^^^ who both flourilli in the body, we will come yet nearer to the matte , fo that this
pre-eminence o\ the man in his itate ot innocence, which we are trying to explain, may be
put in a clearer light. St. Gregory, writing to Augulline, the .Vpoltle of the EngliOi, fay^
that three things are neceilary to conlummate a fin, fuggelfiun, enjoyment, and confent. So
that as the fcrpent fuggefted the fin to the woman, and fiie rook delight therein, and
the man confented to it, fo fin has its beginning in the Devil's fuggeltion, its growth in
the delight of the flelli, but its accomplinmient in the confent of the mind. And :he
Mailer of the Sentences, in Ins fecond Book, affirming the fame, feems alio to be of opin.on
that if Adam's confent had not been given to the woman's fin, original fin would not
have been confummated. St. Auguftine alfo, in reference to this text, " Nor of the will
of the flefli," fays, that the woman ought to be fubjecff to the man, as the flefh is to the
fpirit ; and that as the poffefiions of a houfe are fquandered in which tlie woman bears rale
and the man is fubjedt, fo is that man loft in whom the flefli rules over the fpirit, and the
lower powers over the higher part of him; in which fentences the pre-eminence of tile
man over the woman feems to be compared to the pre-eminence of the reafoning faculties
over the fenfual appetites, or of the foul over the flefli. But the Mafter himfelf, not only Jn
the faid Book, but alfo on St. Paid's ift Kpiftle to the Corinthians, chap, xi., when treating
of this fubjecft, feems to compare the higher part of the reafon to man, and the \ovj^r
part to woman. So that the higher part, cleaving to God, and ftretching itfelf out .oward
that which is eternal, in the contemplation of unchangeable triith, is held to be made after
God's image ; but it was not good for it to be alone, and therefore there was made as a
help for it fomething like unto itfelf, the lower part, namely, of the reafon, that take; thought
of thmgs temporal, which cannot, any more than woman, be called the image of ( iod ; but
as the woman is the glory of the man, it too deferves to be called the glory of the fuperior
part of the mind, feeing it is fubjecT: and obedient to it. And hence this pre-eminence of
the fuperior part of reafon feems very like the pre-eminence which in the time of innocence
the man had over the woman. And, indeed, the refemblance is very ftrong, fince, as the

PART II. 3 On the Law of Nature. 327

Apoflle fays, " the man was not created for the fake of the vvomati, but the woman for the
fike of the man, nor is the man of the woman, hut the woman of the nian." So, likewife,
the lower part of the reafon is for the higher, and of it, fo that there is no good aftion amontr
men which doth not proceed from the liigher part, and is done for the fake of it. And as
the man and the woman are two perfons in one flelh, io the fuperior and inferior parts of the
reafon are two faculties in one foul. Man has been iet over the macrocofm, the higher part
of the reafon is over the microcofm. Of this part the Apoftle fpoke, when he fiid, " Be
renewed in the fpirit of your mind ;" and, in another place, " Put ye on the new man, which
is renewed in the knowledge of God after the image of Him who created him." I'^or, as is
mentioned above, the faid Mailer fays, on the Epilile above referred to, " None can tloubt
that man was mad.e in God's image, not in refpedl of the body, nor in refpeft of any part
of the foul indifcriminately, but in refpecl of the rational mind, wherein there can
be the knowledge of God, which fubfills in the higher part of the reafon. And that only is
the image of God which inheres in unchangeable truth. This mind on account of
its union with the flefh, by which it and the flefli form one man, is called man made after
the image o\ God." So he writes. What then can be more like to the man than the
fupremeft part of the mind, which, being joined to the flefli. Is entitled even to be called
man \ And what can be more like the woman than the inferior part of the reafon, which
was made out ol the fuperior part, and as a help to it, and which together form one mind,
as Eve, made from Adam as a help to him, was with him one flefh ? Nor is it any objeftion
to this analogy that the woman is capable of committing mortal fin apart from the man, and
even in contradldion to him, which the flefh cannot do apart from the foul; fince the man
and woman have two rational fouls, in which they have f-parate wills, and therefore t'le Lord
fays of them, " Two fhall be in one bed, the one fhall be taken and the other left ;" but this
cannot be the cafe with the foul, which is one and one only in the flefli and in the rational
part, fo that neither the former can be condemned without the latter, nor the latter without
the former. But among things the moft like there are of necelTity certain difterences, becaufe
that which differs in nothing is not like, but the fixme.

Chap. LXIV.

The Writer here combines the different kinds of Pre-eminence taken notice of above.

V^\ yiy HE higher part of the mind has the pre-eminence over the lower in theological
^^~A "*^ virtues, and fo is worthy to have power over the lower, and the office of direding
^d^;^^ it, and therefore, by reafon of its rank, it is entitled to receive veneration fiom
the lower ; and the lower is bound to obey the higher by reafon of its power and office, and

328 _ 0)1 the Law of Nature. [


fo is defervedly fubJL'LT:ed to the higher, and owes it obedience and honour. For the inferior
part is not ftrong in hiith, like the higheft part, which, by unwearied contemplation ot
unchangeable truth, draws therefrom the truth of faith, of whicl the lower part knowt
nothing, except fo far as the higheft part fliail have revealed it. \\\ hope alfo this fuperior
part is pre-eminent, feeing it hath not wet its wings with the waters of this world, but
haftening heavenwards flies forth., rejoicing to know no hindrance, {o that of it can be faid
(in the laft of Canticles), " Who is this that cometh up through the wildernefs, abounding
in delight, leaning upon her beloved ?" This part alfo, cleaving to God like a Seraph,
glows with the fweetell: love, and of this the Apoflle fays, " He that is joined unto the Lord
becomes one fpirit with Him." (i Cor. vi.) But this higher part needs not to be extolled
with thefe human laudations, nor to be preferred by the praiies of men above the part which
is nitent upon worldly things {cigibilia). For tlie I lighelt Truth faid coiiceri ing Mary, who
chofe to live according thereto, " Mary hath chofen the beft part." And hcice, as we have
fhown above that the man furpafTes the woman in moral virtues and the gifts of nature, and
therefore worthily holds the power of guiding her, fo too this higher part of the lealjn,
fhining pre-eminently in taith, hope, and charity, is worthy to have over the lower, wh ch
Hiines in thefe virtues only throuL',h it, pre-eminence and the power and oflke of both gi;idi:ig .
and ruling. There refults, then, from what has been written this moft certain truth, t lat in
the time of man's innocence the pre-eminence of the man over the woman was of the fai le
kind, as is now that of a fuperior angel in heaven over an angel next inferior to himlclf in
rank ; and as on earth is the pre-eminence ol" the foul over the flefh, ol the reafon over t'le
fenfual nature, and of the higher part of the realon over tlie lower i\\\d, therefore, as
an interior angel cannot exalt himfelt above his fuperior, nor om- fenfual nature gover.i oar
reafon, nor the lower part of the reafon excrciie dominion over the higher, fo neither can
the woman exalt herlelf over the man, wliether, by the law of nature, to riile him, as
fovereign, or in any way to hold lupreme lordfhip over him. And, confequently, the
woman cannot aflume the lofty pofition of a king who knows no fuperior, nor is fhe cap:|ble
of it, feeing that nature hath eflranged her from that topmoft lieight of dignity, and that
the decifion of law likewife hath excluded her fex therefrom. Thefe arguments fr^m
analogies have very great force m law, inafmuch as there is a rule of law in harmony
therewith, that concerning like matters there is like judgment.

PART II.] 0?i the Law of N^ature.


Chap. LXV.

Pre-eminence is not repugnant to facial life.

iju^ ^^^^ now fhown by divers fimilitudes of what kind was and is, by the Law of
'/-^ Nature, the pre-eminence of the man over the woman. And we have fhown above
l5v^lM that the man had this fame pre-eminence over the woman in the time of their
innocence, although their life was at that time only focial ; becaufc the Lord had not yet fiid
to the woman, "Thou flialt be under the power of the man and he ihall rule over thee."
But before God pronounced that fentence Adam had faid to the Lord, when the Lord queftioned
liim concerning his crime, " The woman whom thou gaveft to me for a companion, llie gave
me of the tree and I did eat," by which words he fhows that the woman was givei to the
man for a companion and not for a handmaid. Yet, that in that focial life the woman was
fubjecft to the man, and that he had the pre-eminence over her, has been by difcourfe of
reafon already made plain. For the life of the citizens of heaven above, to whofe fociety
the Church prays that we may come, is a focial life ; the life of the foul with the body is
focial, as is alfo that of the higher part of the reafon with the lower ; and yet in all thefe
cafes there is no lack of pre-eminence, becaufe, as is fliown in the former Part of the Treatife,
pre-eminence ilrengthens and does not divide fociety. Wherefore, fmce the Law of Nature is
the truth of juftice which right reafon is cajxible of revealing, it has now been fliown that
by the Law of Nature the woman is naturally fubjei^l to the man, and that the man has the
pre-eminence over her.

Chap. LXVL

Tlie prejignrement of the Church under the form of a -woman proves the IVomans
J'ubjettio)! to the Man.

'OREOVER the producflion of the firfl: woman out of the fide of the fleeping
Adam was a figure of the future produdion of the Church out of the fide oi
the fecond Adam, who fhould fleep upon the crofs. Rut the wonian fo produced
from the man would not have been a type of Holy Church, unlefs fhe were fubjeift to the
man, as the Church is to Chrifl. For it was not a lion or other bloodthirfiiy beaft that was a
type of the mofl; gentle Jefus, who was to be facrificed to God the Father; but the lamh,
the gentleft of animals, as He was of men, prefigured him typically. What is a figure but a
material prefage of things future, juft as prophecy is a vocal one ? Hence figures fpeak by
means of refemblances, and prophecy by means of words. And therefore that which was
altogether unlike a future occurrence could not in any way have been a figure thereof. For
I. . u u .

3 30 0)1 the Law uf Nature. [i


the marriage ot our firll; parents could not have been a facranient of the marriage of Chrif:
and the Cluirch, if tlie firlT: uitc had not in her order o\ve(.l obci-lience to Adam, as the Churcli
doth to Chrirt. Therefore the firft woman owed obedience to the man, as the Church to
Chrift, ot the lame kind, l)ut not fo great, for (imihtuiies generally prove refemblance in
quality rather than in quantity.

Chap. LXVIl. I

The Grandfons title is firjl effetlually di/proved.

fejl nrSMllE laborious oration of the King's Grandfon, by which he hopes in right of his
f5^'l "^^ mother ro obtain the kingdom in difpute, though Ihe herfelf be, iccording to all
^f^^^ right, abfolutely excluded therefrom, is refuted by fo many unai iwerable argu-
ments, that it needs no further difculTion ; and therefore it now only remains for the parties
to hear what we fhall decree in this cafe.


Matter intfodiulury to the Judg;ne}it.

KrUl B^HE purity of gold, the choiceft of metals, though the gold be cleft, cannot be knovn
(■^A ;;^ until it be proved by trial of the fiery furnace. I'he craftfman knows not the
S^l^^fc^ harmony of his bells until they be ftruck ; nor the harp-player the conc(/rd of
the ftrings until he has heard the notes from the highelT: to the lowefl. Who, without a

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