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Be just before you're generous warning against indulgence or sentimentality; proverbial saying, mid 18th century.

just war in the Middle Ages, a debate among moral theologians on the circumstances in which participation in war by Christians could be justified led to St Thomas Aquinas's laying down three conditions which a just war must meet: it had to be authorized by the sovereign, the cause must be just, and those engaging in it must have the intention of advancing good or avoiding evil. In the 16th century a fourth condition was added by the Spanish theologian Francisco de Vitoria (d. 1546), saying that the war must be fought by ‘proper means’. The phrase is recorded in English from the late 15th century.

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