The ultimate sanctions of the moral code were the infinite rewards and punishments awaiting the immortal soul hereafter; but the church early felt the necessity of withdrawing the privileges of membership from apostates and allowing them to be gradually regained only by a solemn ceremonial expressive of repentance, protracted through several years.
For example, we find him arguing for the legitimacy of judicial punishments and military service against an over-literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount; and he took an important part in giving currency to the distinction between evangelical " counsels " and " commands," and so defending the life of marriage and temperate enjoyment of natural good against the attacks of the more extravagant advocate of celibacy and self-abnegation; although he fully admitted the superiority of the latter method of avoiding the contamination of sin.
At first they are little more than mere inventories of sins, with their appropriate ecclesiastical punishments; gradually cases of conscience come to be discussed and decided, and the basis is laid for that system of casuistry which reached its full development in the 14th and 15th centuries.
His account of the sanction, again, is sufficiently comprehensive, including both the internal and the external rewards of virtue and punishments of vice; and he, like later utilitarians, explains moral' obligation to lie in the force exercised on the will by these sanctions; but as to the precise manner in which individual is implicated with universal good, and the operation of either or both in determining volition, his view is indistinct if not actually inconsistent.
On the contrary, a belief that conduct necessarily results upon the presence of certain motives, and that upon the application of certain incentives, whether of pain or pleasure, upon the presence of certain stimuli whether in the shape of rewards or punishments, actions of a certain character will necessarily ensue, would seem to vindicate the rationality of ordinary penal legislation, if its aim be deterrent or reformatory, to a far greater extent than is possible upon the libertarian hypothesis.