What is NATURAL LAW?

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A rule of conduct arising out of the natural relations of human beings, established by the Creator, and existing prior to any positive precept Webster. The foundation of this law is placed by the best writers in the will of God, discovered by right reason, and aided by divine revelation ; and its principles, when applicable, apply with equal obligation to individuals and to nations. 1 Kent, Comm. 2, note; Id 4, note. See Jus NATURALE. The rule and dictate of right reason, showing the moral deformity or moral necessity there is in any act, according to its suitableness or unsuitableness to a reasonable nature. Tayl. Civil Law, 99. This expression, “natural law,” or jus naturale, was largely used in the philosophical speculations of the Roman jurists of the Antonine age, and was intended to denote a system of rules and principles for the guidance of human conduct which, independently of enacted law or of the systems peculiar to any one people, might be discovered by the rational intelligence of man, and would be found to grow out of and conform to his nature, meaning by that word his whole mental, moral, and physical constitution. The point of departure for this conception was the Stoic doctrine of a life ordered “according to nature,” which in its turn rested upon the purely supposititious existence, in primitive times, of a “state of nature;” that is, a condition of society in which men universally were governed solely by a rational and consistent obedience to the needs, impulses, aud promptings of their true nature, such nature being as yet undefaced by dishonesty, falsehood, or indulgence of the baser passions. See Maine, Anc. Law, 50, et seq. We understand all laws to be either human or divine, according as they have man or God for their author; and divine laws are of two kinds, that is to say: (1) Natural laws; (2) positive or revealed laws. A natural law is defined by Burlamaqui to be “a rule which so necessarily agrees with the nature and state of man that, without observing its maxims, the peace and happiness of society can never be preserved.” And he says that these are called “natural NATURALE EST QUIDLIBET 805

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