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‘And an offence against the unwritten laws of right’ (is worse than the violation of a written or positive law): ‘because it is indicative of a better character and disposition, of a higher degree of virtue, to do right without compulsion’. (Any external force destroys the voluntary character of an act, and therefore its virtue. And if this voluntary obedience to the unwritten law implies a more virtuous disposition than that which is enforced by the positive enactments which have power to compel it, then the opposite is true, an act of disobedience to the unwritten law is a worse offence, and a sign of a more vicious disposition, than the violation of the other.) ‘Now the written laws are compulsory, the unwritten are not’. ‘From another point of view’, (in another way of arguing or looking at the case; Rhetoric συλλογίζεται τἀναντΐα, I § 12) the crime is worse ‘if it be a breach of the written law: for (it may be argued) if a man does wrong when it is dangerous (fearful) and liable to penalty, (a fortiori) he would do it when it is not’. This again is by the rule omne maius continet in se minus; the greater and more powerful inclination to wrong necessarily involves the less. φοβερά] acts fearful, alarming, formidable, from the probable consequences. Supply the cogn. accus. ἀδικήματα. ἐπιζήμια] Note on I 4. 9, ἐπίδοξον, p. 66. εἴρηται] ‘so much for’, ‘enough of’, ‘no more of’: note on εἰρήσθω, I 11. 29.
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