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CHAPTER LXXVIIIThat Intelligent Creatures are the Medium through which other Creatures are governed by God

SINCE the preservation of order in creation is a concern of divine providence, and it is a congruous order to descend by steps of due proportion from highest to lowest,665665Such was the order of the feudal system, the order of the political world for centuries, not yet broken up when St Thomas wrote; and he made out the order of nature and of divine providence on the principle of feudalism. See Chap. XCI. divine providence must reach by a certain rule of proportion to the lowest things. The rule of proportion in this, that as the highest creatures are under God and are governed by Him, so lower creatures should be under the higher and be governed by them. But of all creatures intelligent creatures are the highest (Chap. XLIX). Therefore the plan of divine providence requires that other creatures should be governed by rational creatures.666666St Thomas has five more a priori arguments to the same effect, none of which, when tested by experience, evinces more than this, that rational creatures have some partial control over the rest of creation. A partial control, for, so far as we can pronounce, what rational or intelligent creature has anything to say to the ice at the North Pole, to the inner fires of the earth, to the courses of the stars?

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