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De Moor IV:45: God's Essential Righteousness

Righteousness is attributed to God in a manifold sense; commonly it is rightly said to be Threefold, Divine, Dominical, and Judiciary: the first is an Absolute Attribute; the remaining two involve a Relation to creatures, about which Divine Righteousness exerts itself and is revealed.

According to ARISTOTLE, book V Ethicorum, Righteousness is to be divided into Universal and Particular. Under Universal Reighteousness absolutely all Virtues are comprehended, especially relatively πρὸς ἕτερον, to the other, whence he says in book V, chapter III, Καὶ παροιμιαζόμενοί φαμεν, and we speak proverbially,

Ἐν δὲ δικαιοσύνῃ συλλήβδην πᾶσ᾽ ἀρετή ᾽στι,

In righteousness every virtue is comprehended.

This verse is found in THEOGNIS,[1] verse 147. Particular Righteousness, τὴν ἐν μέρει δικαιοσύνην, righteousness in turn, or τὴν κατὰ μέρος δικαιοσύνην, righteousness according to one’s duty, he in turn divides into Commutative and Distributive, book V Ethicorum, chapters IV-VIII: the former is that which good men are obliged to observe in their contracts and commerce, which things were formerly used in the exchange of commodities; the later concerns the distribution of rewards and punishments. Whatever might be made of that distinction, it is certain that Universal Righteousness in the Aristotelian sense is not able to be attributed to God without the already explicated divine Goodness being also contained under it: in accommodating Particular Righteousness to God, various cautions also are to be noted, as we will observe on § 46. At the same time, if we consider Divine Righteousness, Dominical and Judiciary, in relation to each other and to their objects, Divine and Dominical Righteousness is able not incorrectly to be called Universal, as Judiciary Righteousness is able to be called Particular.

Divine Righteousness is God’s Natural Holiness, or that Divine Perfection, through which God, being altogether pure from every vice, most perfectly loves Himself and the good pleasure of His own Will; this is attributed to Him most emphatically, Isaiah 6:3, concerning which passage the occasion for speaking will come again, Chapter V, § 15. From the notion of separation and purification, which the verb קדש, to be sanctified, to be consecrated, involves (see the Most Illustrious VRIEMOET’S Adnotationes ad Dicta Classica Veteris Testamenti, part I, chapter III, pages 154, 155), in the Holiness of God the separation and purity of His Nature, altogether free from every defect, come to be considered, Job 34:10. With which is joined consummate Love, whereby God embraces Himself and the good pleasure of His own Will: while in Himself and His Perfections nothing is discovered, except what is in every way agreeable to His Infinitely Perfect Nature; and He will nothing except what perfectly suits Him and is most exactly conformable to His Perfections, and altogether foreign to any moral defect: whence the good pleasure of the divine Will is also the norm of all human Sanctity, and God in His hatred of sin and love of righteousness sets Himself forward for imitation by men, Leviticus 11:45; 1 Peter 1:15, 16. And this Divine Holiness is not incommodiously believed also to come with the title of Righteousness, John 17:25, in comparison with verse 11.

[1] Theognis of Megara was a Greek lyric Poet of the sixth century BC. Ancient commentators valued and cited him as a moralist.

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