beings who cannot have too much of them, as perhaps the gods; there are others, again, to whom no particle of them is of use, those who are incurably wicked to whom all things are hurtful; others to whom they are useful to a certain degree: for this reason then the province of Justice is among Men.
[Sidenote: 1137b] We have next to speak of Equity and the Equitable, that is to say, of the relations of Equity to Justice and the Equitable to the Just; for when we look into the matter the two do not appear identical nor yet different in kind; and we sometimes commend the Equitable and the man who embodies it in his actions, so that by way of praise we commonly transfer the term also to other acts instead of the term good, thus showing that the more Equitable a thing is the better it is: at other times following a certain train of reasoning we arrive at a difficulty, in that the Equitable though distinct from the Just is yet praiseworthy; it seems to follow either that the Just is not good or the Equitable not Just, since they are by hypothesis different; or if both are good then they are identical.
This is a tolerably fair statement of the difficulty which on these grounds arises in respect of the Equitable; but, in fact, all these may be reconciled and really involve no contradiction: for the Equitable is Just, being also better than one form of Just, but is not better than the Just as though it were different from it in kind: Just and Equitable then are identical, and, both being good, the Equitable is the better of the two.
What causes the difficulty is this; the Equitable is Just, but not the Just which is in accordance with written law, being in fact a correction of that kind of Just. And the account of this is, that every law is necessarily universal while there are some things which it is not possible to speak of rightly in any universal or general statement. Where then there is a necessity for general statement, while a general statement cannot apply rightly to all cases, the law takes