The Ruins HTML version
Part II, Chapter 2
CHARACTERS OF THE LAW OF NATURE
Q. What are the characters of the law of nature?
A. There can be assigned ten principal ones.
Q. Which is the first?
A. To be inherent to the existence of things, and, consequently, primitive and anterior to
every other law: so that all those which man has received, are only imitations of it, and
their perfection is ascertained by the resemblance they bear to this primordial model.
Q. Which is the second?
A. To be derived immediately from God, and presented by him to each man, whereas all
other laws are presented to us by men, who may be either deceived or deceivers.
Q. Which is the third?
A. To be common to all times, and to all countries, that is to say, one and universal.
Q. Is no other law universal?
A. No: for no other is agreeable or applicable to all the people of the earth; they are all
local and accidental, originating from circumstances of places and of persons; so that if
such a man had not existed, or such an event happened, such a law would never have
Q. Which is the fourth character?
A. To be uniform and invariable.
Q. Is no other law uniform and invariable?
A. No: for what is good and virtue according to one, is evil and vice according to another;
and what one and the same law approves of at one time, it often condemns at another.
Q. Which is the fifth character?
A. To be evident and palpable, because it consists entirely of facts incessantly present to
the senses, and to demonstration.
Q. Are not other laws evident?