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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Justice

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(צֶדֶק, righteousness, as an internal trait of character; מַשְׁפָּט, judgment, as a judicial act), as applied to men, is one of the four cardinal virtues. It consists, according to Cicero (De Finibus, lib. 5, cap. 23), in suo cuique tribuendo, in according to every one his right. By the Pythagoreans, and also by Plato, it was regarded as including all human virtue or duty. The word righteousness is used in our translation of the Scriptures in a like extensive signification. As opposed to equity justice (τὁ νομικόν ) means doing merely what positive law requires, while equity (τὸ ἴσον ) means doing what is, fair and right in the circumstances of every particular case. Justice is not founded in law, as Hobbes and others hold, but in our idea of what is right. Laws are just or unjust in so far as they do or do not conform to that idea. Justice may be distinguished as ethical, economical, and political. The first consists in doing justice between man and man as men; the second, in doing justice between the members of a family or household; and the third, in doing justice between the members of a community or commonwealth (More, Enchiridion Ethicum; Grove, Moral Philosophy). Dr. Watts gives the following rules respecting justice

"1. It is just that we honor, reverence, and respect those who are superiors in any kind (Ephesians 6:1; Ephesians 6:3; 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Timothy 5:17).

2. That we show particular kindness to near relations (Proverbs 16:17).

3. That we love those who love us, and show gratitude to those who have done us good (Galatians 4:15).

4. That we pay the full due to those whom we bargain or deal with (Romans 13; Deuteronomy 24:14).

5. That we help our fellow creatures in cases of great necessity (Exodus 22:4). 6. Reparation to those whom we have willfully injured" (Watts, Sermons, serm. 24, 26, vol. 2). See Wollaston, Religion of Nature, p. 137, 141; Jay, Sermons, 2, 131.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Justice'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/j/justice.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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