Thursday, October 14, 2004

On October 14, 1860
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:

Cardinal Virtues—Justice

1. INTROD.—Justice a name for all virtue. The robe of justice—justification. How great then must be the virtue proper so-called.

2. And so the beatitude: 'Who hunger and thirst after justice.'

3. The attribute of God enhances this, for the first attribute we know Him by is justice; viz. in conscience—before experience, before the knowledge of providence, before we look out into the visible framework of the world. Justice and all-knowledge the two; and in Christianity it is the two, love and justice. And where should we be without Christ's justice? Merits of saints founded on the covenant.

4. What is justice? Giving to all their due; text in the Romans, 'Honour to whom honour,' etc. Hence it is synonymous with the habit of 'doing one's duty,' whether to God or our neighbour. To God adoration, devotion, etc., and to the holy angels, etc., but I shall not insist on this part of the subject.

5. To man it is summed up in the maxim, 'Do as you would be done by.' This is placing conduct on the basis of justice. This basis of justice, for not 'as others would like you to do,' but 'ought to wish you to do.' And so 'forgive us our trespasses, as,' etc.; Matt. xviii. 23, parable ; 'If I have washed your feet,' John xiii. 14.

6. Parts of justice: (1) truth, (2) honesty—restitution; the terrible onus of restitution shows how important a virtue justice is.

7. (3) Faithfulness, and (4) gratitude, e.g. to parents.

8. (5) Liberality—detachment from money as being the opposite to rapacity and avarice.

9. (6) Courtesy in manner and act.

10. (7) Equity, consideration, kindness in judging, putting oneself into other person's situation. Not 'swift to wrath,' James i. 19; Ephes. iv., last verses.

11. Application on the contrary—our only notion commonly of justice, is justice to ourselves, hence anger [dia ten phainomenen hubrin], etc., etc.

12. CONCLUSION.—At the judgment this is the attribute God will exercise. Our justice will then have a peculiar claim, while we are invoking God's promises.


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