Are there any precepts contained in
the Old Law in addition to
the moral, ceremonial, and judicial
It seems that there are precepts
contained in the Old Law in addition to the moral, ceremonial,
and judicial precepts:
Objection 1: The judicial
precepts have to do with the act of justice, which is
between man and man, whereas the ceremonial precepts
have to do with the act of religion, by which God is
worshipped. But as was explained above (q. 60,
a. 5), there are many other virtues besides these two,
e.g., temperance, fortitude, generosity, and many others.
Therefore, the Old Law contains many other precepts
in addition to those mentioned above.
Deuteronomy 11:1 says, “Love the Lord your God and observe
His precepts and ceremonies, His judgments and mandates.”
But as has been explained (a. 4), ‘precepts’ (praecepta)
refers here to the moral precepts. Therefore, besides the
moral, judicial, and ceremonial precepts, there are still
other precepts contained in the Law, and these are called
Deuteronomy 6:17 says, “Keep the precepts of the Lord your
God, and the testimonies and ceremonies which I have
commanded you.” Therefore, in addition to all the other
precepts mentioned above, there are also testimonies (testimonia)
contained in the Law.
Psalm 118:93 says, “I will never forget Your
justifications (iustificationes),” Therefore, the
precepts of the Old Law include not only the moral,
ceremonial, and judicial precepts, but justifications as
But contrary to this:
Deuteronomy 6:1 says: “Here are the precepts, and
ceremonies, and judgments which the Lord your God
commanded you.” And these three are set forth at the
beginning of the Law. Therefore, all the precepts of the
Law are included in them.
Certain things are posited in the Law as precepts, whereas
others are posited as ordered toward the fulfillment
of the precepts. The precepts concern things that
are to be done. For the fulfillment of these precepts
man has two inducements, viz., (a) the authority of
the one commanding and (b) the advantage associated
with the fulfillment, i.e., the acquisition of some
useful, pleasurable, or noble good, or the avoidance
of some contrary evil.
Therefore, certain things had to be proposed in the
Old Law which would indicate the authority of God commanding,
e.g., Deuteronomy 6:4 (“Hear, O Israel, the Lord God
your God is one”) and Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning
God created the heaven and the earth”). These
are called testimonies (testimonia).
Again, certain things had to be proposed as rewards
for those who observed the law and punishments for those
who transgressed it, as is clear from Deuteronomy 28:1
(“If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God,
He will make you higher than all the nations .....”).
And these are called justifications (iustificationes),
insofar as God justly punishes some or rewards others.
Now things that are to be done fall under a precept
only insofar as they have something of the character
of what is owed. But there are two kinds of debts,
one having to do with the rule of reason and the other
having to do with the rule of a specifying law—just
as the Philosopher in Ethics 5 distinguishes
two modes of the just, viz., the morally just and the
There are two kinds of moral debts. For reason
dictates that a thing is to be done either (a) as something
necessary, without which the order of virtue cannot
exist, or (b) as something useful for preserving the
order of virtue in a better way. Accordingly,
certain things pertaining to what is moral are either
precisely commanded or precisely forbidden in the Law—e.g.,
“You shall not kill” and “You shall not steal.”
And these are called precepts (praecepta)
in the proper sense.
On the other hand, certain things are commanded or forbidden
not as precisely owed, but for the sake of what is better.
And these can be called mandates (mandata),
since they contain a certain inducement and persuasiveness—e.g.,
Exodus 22:26 (“If you take a garment from your neighbor
in pledge, you should return it to him before sunset”)
and others of this sort. This is why Jerome says
that there is justice in the precepts and charity in
Now debts arising from a specification of law have to
do with the judicial precepts in human matters and with
the ceremonial precepts in divine matters—although those
having to do with punishments and rewards can also be
called testimonies, insofar as they are declarations
of divine justice. On the other hand, all the
precepts of the Law can be called justifications, insofar
as they are executions of legal justice.
In addition, there is alternative way to distinguish
mandates from precepts, viz., what are called precepts
are such that God issues them through Himself, whereas
mandates are such that He gives them through others,
as the name ‘mandate’ seems to suggest.
all of this it is clear that all the precepts of the
Law are included among the moral, ceremonial, and judicial
precepts, whereas the other things do not have the character
of precepts, but instead, as has been explained, are
ordered toward the observance of the precepts.
Reply to objection 1:
Justice alone, among the other virtues, implies the notion
of what is owed. And so the moral is specifiable by law
to the extent that it pertains to justice, a certain part
of which is religion, as Tully says. Hence, legal justice
cannot include anything except besides the ceremonial
precepts and judicial precepts.
Reply to objection 2 and objection 3
and objection 4: The
replies to the other objections are clear from what has