Harvard Law School Library

Bracton Online -- English

Previous   Volume 2, Page 22  Next    

Go to Volume:      Page:    

[001] that men utter.24 Who can escape his impending wrath?25 For the Son of Man shall
[002] send His angels and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend
[003] and them that do iniquity26 and bind them into bundles to be burnt,27 and shall
[004] cast them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and gnashing of
[005] teeth,28 groans and screams, outcries, lamentation and torment, roaring and
[006] shouting, fear and trembling, sorrow and suffering, fire and stench, doubt and
[007] anxiety, violence and cruelty, ruin and poverty, distress and dejection, oblivion
[008] and confusion, tortures and woundings, troubles and terrors, hunger and thirst,
[009] cold and heat, brimstone and burning fire for ever and ever. Therefore let each
[010] beware of that judgment where the judge is terribly strict, intolerably severe,
[011] offended beyond measure and vehemently angered, whose sentence none can
[012] commute, from whose prison there is no escape, whose punishments are without
[013] end, his tormentors horrible, who never grow weary, never pity, whom fear does
[014] not disturb, conscience condemn, thoughts reproach, and who may not flee. Hence
[015] the blessed Augustine, ‘O how far too great are my sins, wherefore when one has
[016] God as a rightful judge and his conscience as witness, let him fear nothing except
[017] his cause.’29

What law is and what custom.

[019] 30We must see what law is. Law is a general command, the decision of judicious
[020] men, the restraint of offences knowingly or unwittingly committed, the general
[021] agreement of the res publica.3132Justice proceeds from God, assuming that justice
[022] lies in the Creator,33 [jus from man], and thus jus and lex are synonymous.34
[023] And though law (lex) may in the broadest sense be said to be everything that is
[024] read (legitur) its special meaning is a just sanction, ordering virtue and prohibiting
[025] its opposite.35 Custom, in truth, in regions where it is approved by the practice of
[026] those who use it,36 is sometimes observed as and takes the place of lex. For the
[027] authority of custom and long use is not slight.37

What justice is.

[029] 38Since from justice, as from a fountain-head, all rights arise and what justice
[030] commands jus provides, let us see what justice is and whence it is so called.39 Also
[031] what jus is and whence it is so called and what its precepts are, and


24. Matth. 12:36

25. Matth. 3:7

26. Matth. 13:41

27. Matth. 13:30

28. Matth. 13:42; infra 110

29. Br. and Azo. 17; C. 11, qu. 3, c. 54

30. Br. and Azo, 19-21, 24, 29, 31; belongs infra 24, following the portions on justitia and jus, as 23, line 1; cf. Br. and Azo, 29, but a number of sections are misplaced

31. D. 1.3.1

32-35. Azo, Summa Inst. 1.1, no. 4

33. Infra 23; E. Cortese, Norma Giuridica, ii, 11

34. Azo: ‘auctor iuris est homo, auctor iustitiae est deus, et secundum hoc ius et lex idem significant. Licet autem largissime ...’

36. Supra 21,infra 27

37. C. 8. 52. 2.; X. 1.4.9.

38. Br. and Azo, 18, 20-23, 31

38-39. Azo, Summa Inst. 1.1, pr.; Cortese, ii, 24 ff.

Contact: specialc@law.harvard.edu
Page last reviewed April 2003.
© 2003 The President and Fellows of Harvard College