Short Treatise on G-D, Man,
and His Well-Being

Only links, comments, and endnotes are abridged, not Spinoza's Works. 

Baruch Spinoza
1632 - 1677 

Abridged and formatted for an eBook Reader conversion.
E-Book readers see the ST for the latest revision.

Notes by JBY:

1.  The text was taken from "The Book of G-D" as published by Philosophical Library, Inc.;
     edited and with an Introduction by Dagobert D. Runes. Page Numbers given below
     are of this book. The frontipiece of the book is shown below.The translation of the
     ST was by Dr. A Wolf.

     I express my appreciation to Philosophical Library, Inc., who published "The Book of God"
     in 1958. I have not been able to find them to ask for permission to scan the book.
     I assume it is in the public domain.


2.  For another version of Dr. A. Wolf's ST translation, see Terry Neff's Web Site.


4.  I have made the following changes in Dr. Wolf's spellings to reflect, in my opinion,
     Spinoza's intentions (hypotheses):
          god(s Polytheistic, Pagan, Idolatry.
          God   Monotheistic, Jewish-Christian, Anthropomorphic, Transcendent God.
         G-D or G-d Monotheistic, Spinoza's Immanent, Indwelling G-D.
           'G-D' and 'Nature' are interchangeable. Deus sive Natura.

     The above stages show the evolution of Religion's hypotheses.

     The importance of Spinoza's hypothesis 'G-D' is that it posits all as one interdependent
     organism and gives the logic for the Golden Rule. Analogy.

5.  Make my following emendations throughtout the Work.
         soul                   change to              mind
         [vital] spirits       change to            The Master, conscious

6.    The HTML version was abridged and formatted for conversion to an eBook.
       The abridged version is available to be read on various eBook Readers.

7.    This version was edited from "ST". The unedited file has more definitions,
       much more commentary, many more links, and latest revisions.



Copyright, 1958, by Philosophical Library, Inc.,  
15 East 40th Street, New York 16, N. Y. The present edition is
based on the text Spinoza's Short Treatise on God, Man
and His Well-Being, translated by Dr. A. Wolf from the
Dutch Korte Verhandeling van God, den Mensch,
en deszelfs Welstand. Revisions were made, consulting both
available Dutch versions. The Wolf text was originally pub-
lished in 1910 by Adam and Charles Black, of London.

All rights reserved. No part of this work may be
reprinted without written authorization.

Table of Contents.

Chapter   i.   Introduction—Word to the Reader
Chapter  1.  G-D Exists
Chapter  2.  On Divine Providence
Chapter  3.  On Natura Naturans
Chapter  4.  On Natura Naturata
Chapter  5.  What Good and Evil
Chapter  6.  G-D and Man
Chapter  7.  On Opinion, Belief, and Knowledge
Chapter  8.  On Passion
Chapter  9.  The Good in Man
Chapter 10.  On Love
Chapter 11.  On Hate
Chapter 12.  On Joy and Sorrow
Chapter 13.  On Esteem and Contempt, Etc.
Chapter 14.  On Hope and Fear
Chapter 15.  On Remorse and Repentance
Chapter 16.  On Derision and Jesting
Chapter 17.  On Glory and Shame
Chapter 18.  On Gratitude
Chapter 19.  On Grief
Chapter 20.  On the True and the False
Chapter 21.  On the Will
Chapter 22.  On Will and Desire
Chapter 23.  On Our Happiness
Chapter 24.  On Reason
Chapter 25.  On True Knowledge
Chapter 26.  On the Immortality of the Soul
Chapter 27.  On G-D's Love of Man
Chapter 28.  On Devils
Chapter 29.  On True Freedom

Page 1 of Book x
IntroductionA Word to the Reader

[i-1]    OUR SAGES say that the good Lord devised a way of keeping the unprepared from entering terra sancta—He placed before it an enticing anteroom. Thus, astronomy has its astrology; religion its theology; history its mythology; mysticism its superstition; philosophy its mathematical byplay.

[i-2]    Many of the casual readers of Spinoza become so involved with his geometrical prolegomena that they never reach the wide-open plains of the grandiose simplicity of his thoughts. Spinozistic Ideas

[i-3]    Spinoza's use of the mathematical shield as well as the terminology of an already obsolete scholasticism was based on good and valid reasons. While he was shunned by some of the fanatical elements among his coreligionists, whom he never deserted, he was also incessantly maligned and abused by leaders of his Christian contemporaries. Only an early death saved him from severe examination at their hands.

[i-4]    It is not surprising to note Spinoza closing this Page 2 little Book on G-D with an admonition to his student readers to exercise great caution in discussion of its theories.
Mark Twain's "Little Story

                            * * *

[i-5]    Spinoza's reputation was most seriously damaged during his lifetime. For a hundred years after his death Christian philosophers as well as theologians reacted to "that man of the Hague" with derogation or silence. The shining era of 18th century enlightenment opened its heart to the forgotten recluse. As the decades went by, and reason succeeded in lifting the leaden curtains of prejudice and superstition, the great and very great began in increasing numbers to pay homage to the philosophers' philosopher. Spinoza is considered today the Philosopher of Modern Times, as Aristotle stood as the Philosopher of Antiquity.

[i-6]    Still, Spinoza is the best known and least read of the great thinkers.

                        * * *

[i-7]    The small book before us, rarely mentioned in early literature, came to light only a hundred years ago in two slightly varying Dutch manuscripts entitled: Korte Verhandeling van God, den Mensch, en deszelfs Welstand [Short treatise of God, man, and his beatitude]. It is unevenly written within the framework of a logico-mathematical thesis, through Page 3 which, ever so often, breaks the benign light of incomparable wisdom.

         *  *  *

[i-8]    The author of this book, the young Spinoza, lived in turbulent times. Europe was torn by civil and religious strife: church bullies, bigots, and pseudo-prophets vied for the ear of a fearful people, and while the voices of reason were already audible, the crackling of the burning faggots under the feet of whimpering victims was gruesomely louder, no less among Protestants than among Catholics.

                     *   *   *

[i-9]    Spinoza's youth was dedicated to study of the Hebrew scriptures—the Torah, Talmud, and Cabbalah. Preparing for a Rabbinical career, he spent his nights in the perusal of early wisdom literature, but in the days following he was a horrified witness to the religious savagery of his period with all its bestial implements of torture and auto-da-fé.

[i-10]    Priestly pretensions drove him from the dogmas; and man's inhumanity to man, from society. When he was only twenty-four, he withdrew into himself. The condemnation by Jews and Christians was a natural sequence of his refusal to submit to either public observance or at least silence.

[i-11]    The heretic they expelled was a mere youth, but one whose sagacity was a thorn in the side of a bigoted world.

[i-12 ]    Page 4 While Europe was in uproar over the right church, Spinoza was seeking for the right God.

[i-13]    The book before us is the first known report of his findings.

* * *

[i-14]    They called him an atheist because he denied that God lived in a church; they called him a pantheist because he claimed that All is in God; they called him Anti-Christ because he said God is indwelling either in all men, or in none. They painted ugly pictures of him and named him only in contempt—this was done not by the Jews, but by the Christians of his days and after. All this because he preached a sermon that God be Love and man's love to man be the very same as his love to God; a displeasing thought indeed to the professionals who held up the crucifix with the right hand and the rack-screw with the left.

* * *

[i-15]    Spinoza's message is not new. It was heard by the men of Abraham and the men of Moses. It was written out by the two great kings of antiquity, David and Solomon. It is found in the teachings and legends of the Talmudic sages; it is hidden like a buried treasure in the dreamy symbolism of the Cabbalah—it is the essence of the testaments of all the prophets of all nations and times.

* * *

[i-16]    Spinoza was not an academic philosopher; he was Page 5 a teacher as well as writer of the people. His talks and theories were circulated among scholars and students for many decades and, with one exception, were not published until after his death.

[i-17]    The Book of God, appearing like a draft for his later Ethics, is a Guide for the Bewildered. Those who see in philosophy no more than an intellectual byplay in humanities will soon turn away, but the serious and sincere who are imbued with the longing for a better and freer life, a life of intuitive beatitude, will find here a most rewarding fountain of faith.

Page 7
Chapter 1.  God Exists

[1-1]    WHATEVER WE dearly and distinctly know to belong to the nature of a thing, we can also truly affirm of that thing. Now we can know clearly and distinctly that existence belongs to the nature of God.

The essence of things are from all eternity, and unto all eternity shall remain immutable.

The existence of God is essence.

* * *

[1-2]    We say that God is a being of whom all or infinite attributes are predicated of which attributes every one is infinitely perfect in its kind. Now, in order to express our views clearly, we shall premise the four following propositions:

Page 8
[1-3]    The reasons why we said that all these attributes, which are in Nature, are but one single being, and by no means different things (although we can know them clearly and distinctly the one without the other, and the other without another), are these:

Page 9
[1-4]    From all that we have so far said it is evident, then, that we posit extension as an attribute of God; and this seems not at all appropriate to a perfect being: for since extension is divisible, the perfect being would have to consist of parts, and this is altogether inapplicable to God, because He is a simple being. Moreover, when extension is divided it is passive, and with God (who is never passive, and cannot be affected by any other being, because He is the first efficient cause of all) this can by no means be the case.

[1-5]    To this we reply: (1) that "part" and "whole" are not true or real entities, but only "things of perception,'' and consequently there are in Nature neither whole nor parts. (2) A thing composed of different parts must be such that the parts thereof, taken separately, can be conceived and understood one without another. Take, for instance, a clock which is composed of many different wheels, cords, and other things; in it, I say, each wheel, cord, etc., can be conceived and understood separately, without the composite whole being necessary thereto. Similarly also in the case of water, which consists of straight oblong particles, each part thereof can be conceived and understood, and can exist without the whole; but ex tension, being a substance, one cannot say of it that it has parts, since it can neither diminish nor increase, and no parts thereof can be understood apart, because by its nature it must be infinite. And that it
Page 10 must be such, follows from this, namely, because if it were not such, but consisted of parts, then it would not be infinite by its nature, as it is said to be; and it is impossible to conceive parts in an infinite nature, since by their nature all parts are finite. Add to this still: if it consisted of different parts then it should be intelligible that supposing some parts thereof to be annihilated, extension might remain all the same, and not be annihilated together with the annihilation of some of its parts; this is clearly contradictory in what is infinite by its own nature and can never be, or be conceived, as limited or finite. Further, as regards the parts in Nature, we maintain that division, as has also been said already before, never takes place in substance, but always and only in the mode of substance. Thus, if I want to divide water, I only divide the mode of substance, and not substance itself. And whether this mode is that of water or something else it is always the same.

[1-6]    Division, then, or passivity, always takes place in the mode; thus when we say that man passes away or is annihilated, then this is understood to apply to man only in so far as he is such a composite being, and a mode of substance, and not the substance on which he depends.

[1-7]    Moreover, we have already stated, and we shall repeat it later, that outside God there is nothing at all, and that He is an Immanent Cause. Now, passivity, whenever the agent and the passivum are different Page 10 entities, is a palpable imperfection, because the passivum must necessarily be dependent on that which has caused the passivity from outside; it has, therefore, no place in God, who is perfect. Furthermore, of such an agent who acts in himself it can never be said that he has the imperfection of a passivum, because he is not affected by another; such, for instance, is the case with the understanding, which, as the philosophers also assert, is the cause of its ideas. Since, however, it is an immanent cause, what right, has one to say that it is imperfect, howsoever frequently it is affected by itself? Lastly, since substance is [the cause] and the origin of all its modes, it may with far greater right be called acting than passive. And with these remarks we consider all adequately answered.

[1-8]    It is further objected, that there must necessarily be a first cause which sets body in motion, because when at rest it is impossible for it to set itself in motion. And since it is clearly manifest that rest and motion exist in Nature, these must, they think, necessarily result from an external cause. But it is easy for us to reply, to this; for we concede that if body were a thing existing through itself, and had no other attributes than length, breadth, and depth, then, if it really rested there would be in it no cause whereby to begin to move itself; but we have already stated before that Nature is a being of which all attributes are predicated, and this being so, it can be Page 12 lacking in nothing wherewith to produce all that there is to be produced.

[1-9]    Having so far discussed what God is, we shall say but a word, as it were, about His attributes: that those which are known to us consist of two only, namely, Thought and Extension; for here we speak only of attributes which might be called the proper attributes of God, through which we come to know Him [as He is] in Himself, and not [merely] as He acts [towards things] outside Himself. All else, then, that men ascribe to God beyond these two at tributes, all that (if it otherwise pertains to Him) must be either an "extraneous denomination," such as that He exists through Himself, is Eternal, One, Immutable, etc., or, I say, has reference to His activity, such as that He is a cause, predestines, and rules all things: all which are properties of God, but give us no information as to what He is.

[1-10]    God is a being of whom all attributes are predicated; whence it clearly follows that all other things can by no means be, or be understood, apart from or outside Him. Wherefore we may say with all reason that God is a cause of all things.

[1-11]    That God alone is the only free cause is clear not only from what has just been said, but also from this, namely, that there is no external cause outside Him to force or constrain Him; all this is not the case with created things.

Page 13
Chapter 2.  On Divine Providence

[2-1]    PROVIDENCE IS nothing else than the striving which we find in the whole of Nature and in individual things to maintain and preserve their own existence. For it is manifest that no thing could, through its own nature, seek its own annihilation, but, on the contrary, that every thing has in itself a striving to preserve its condition, and to improve itself. Following these definitions of ours we, therefore, posit a general and a special providence. The general [providence] is that through which all things are produced and sustained in so far as they are parts of the whole of Nature. The special providence is the striving of each thing separately to preserve its existence [each thing, that is to say], considered not as a part of Nature, but as a whole [by itself]. This is explained by the following example: All the limbs of man are provided for, and cared for, in so far as they are parts of man, this is general providence; while special [providence] is the striving of each separate limb (as a whole in itself, and not as a part of man) to preserve and maintain its own well-being.

[2-3]    Against all this others object: how is it possible that God, who is said to be supremely perfect, and the sole cause, disposer, and provider of all, nevertheless permits such confusion to be seen everywhere in Nature ? Also, why has He not made man so as not to be able to sin?

[2-4]    Now, in the first place, it cannot be rightly said that there is confusion in Nature, since nobody knows all the causes of things so as to be able to judge accordingly. This objection, however, originates in this kind of ignorance, namely, that they have set up general Ideas, with which, they think, particular things must agree if they are to be perfect. These Ideas, they state, are in the understanding of God, as many of Plato's followers have said, namely, that these general Ideas (such as Rational, Animal, and the like) have been created by God; and although those who follow Aristotle say, indeed, that these things are not real things, only things of the mind, they nevertheless regard them frequently as [real] things, since they have clearly said that His providence does not extend to particular things, but only to kinds; for example, God has never exercised His providence over Bucephalus, etc., but only over Page 15 the whole genus Horse. They say also that God has no knowledge of particular and transient things, but only of the general, which, in their opinion, are imperishable. We have, however, rightly considered this to be due to their ignorance. For it is precisely the particular things, and they alone, that have a cause, and not the general, because they are nothing.

[2-5]    God then is the cause of, and providence over, particular things only. If particular things had to conform to some other Nature, then they could not conform to their own, and consequently could not be what they truly are. For example, if God had made all human beings like Adam before the fall, then indeed He would only have created Adam, and no Paul or Peter; but no, it is just perfection in God, that He gives to all things, from the greatest to the least, their essence, or, to express it better, that He has all things perfectly in himself.

[2-6]    As regards the other [objection], why God has not. made mankind so that they should not sin, to this it may serve [as an answer], that whatever is said about sin is only said with reference to us, that is, as when we compare two things with each other, or [consider one thing] from different points of view. For instance, if some one has made a clock precisely in order to strike and to show the hours, and the mechanism quite fulfills the aims of its maker, then we say that it is good, but if it does not do so, then we say that it is bad, notwithstanding that even then Page 16  it might still be good if only it had been His intention to make it irregular and to strike at wrong times.

[2-7]    We say then, in conclusion, that Peter must, as is necessary, conform to the Idea of Peter, and not to the Idea of Man; good and evil, or sin, these are only modes of thought, and by no means real, or any thing that has reality, as we shall very likely show yet more fully in what follows. For all things and works which are in Nature are perfect.

Page 17
Chapter 3.  On Natura Naturans

[3-1]    WE SHALL briefly divide the whole of Nature—namely, into Natura naturans and Natura naturata. By Natura naturans we understand a being that we conceive clearly and distinctly through itself, and without needing anything beside itself (like all the attributes which we have so far described), that is, God.

[3-2]    The Natura naturata we shall divide into two, a general, and a particular. The general consists of all attributes which depend immediately on God, of which we shall treat in the following chapter; the particular consists of all the particular things which are produced by the general mode. So that the Natura naturata requires some substance in order to be well understood.

Page 19
Chapter 4.  On Natura Naturata

[4-1]    Now, as regards the general Natura naturata, or attributes, or creations which depend on, or have been created by, God immediately, of these we know no more than two, namely, motion in matter, and the understanding in the thinking thing. These, then, we say, have been from all eternity, and to all eternity will remain immutable. A work truly as great as becomes the greatness of the work's master.

[4-2]    All that specially concerns Motion, such as that it has been from all eternity, and to all eternity will remain immutable; that it is infinite in its kind; that it can neither be, nor be understood through itself, but only by means of Extension,—all this, I say, since it [Motion] more properly belongs to a treatise on Natural Science rather than here, we shall not consider in this place, but we shall only say this about it, that it is a Son, Product, or Effect created immediately by G-D.

[4-3]    As regards the Understanding in the thinking thing, this, like the first, is also a Son, Product, or immediate Creation of G-D, also created by Him Page 20  from all eternity, and remaining immutable to all eternity. It has but one function, namely, to under- stand clearly and distinctly all things at all times; which produces invariably an infinite or most perfect satisfaction, which cannot omit to do what it does.

Page 21
Chapter 5.  What Good and Evil Are

[5-1]    SOME THINGS are in our understanding and not in Nature, and so they are also only our own creation, and their purpose is to understand things distinctly: among these we include all relations, which have reference to different things, and these we call Entia Rationis [things of thought]. Now the question is, whether good and evil belong to the Entia Rationis or to the Entia Realia [real things]. But since good and evil are only relations, it is beyond doubt that they must be placed among the Entia Rationis; for we never say that something is good except with reference to something else which is not so good, or is not so useful to us as some other thing. Thus we say that a man is bad, only in comparison with one who is better, or also that an apple is bad, in comparison with another which is good or better.

[5-2]    All this could not possibly be said, if that which is better or good, in comparison with which it [the bad] is so called, did not exist.

[5-3]    Therefore, when we say that something is good, we only mean that it conforms well to the general Idea which we have of such things. But, as we have already said before, the things must agree with their Page 22 particular Ideas, whose essence must be a perfect essence, and not with the general [Ideas], since in that case they would not exist.

[5-4]    As to confirming what we have just said, the thing is dear to us; but still, to conclude our remarks, we will add yet the following proofs:

[5-5]    All things which are in Nature, are either things or actions. Now good and evil are neither things nor actions. Therefore good and evil do not exist in Nature.

[5-6]    For, if good and evil are things or actions, then they must have their definitions. But good and evil (as, for example, the goodness of Peter and the wickedness of Judas) have no definitions apart from the essence of Judas or Peter, because this alone exists in Nature, and they cannot be defined without their essence. Therefore, as above—it follows that good and evil are not things or actions which exist in Nature.

Page 23 of Book x
Chapter 6 - God and Man.

[6-1]    HAVING, in the first part, discoursed on God, and on the universal and infinite things, we shall proceed now, in the second part, to the treatment of particular and finite things; though not of all, since they are innumerable, but we shall only treat of those which concern man; and, in the first place, we shall consider here what man is, in so far as he consists of certain modes (contained in the two attributes, things and ideas, which we have remarked in God). I say of certain modes, for I by no means think that man, in so far as he consists of spirit, soul, or body, is a real substance. Because, already at the beginning of this book, we proved (1) that no real sub stance can have a beginning; (2) that one substance cannot produce another; and lastly (3), that there cannot be two like substances.

[6-2]    As man has not been in existence from eternity, is finite, and is like many men, he can be no real sub- stance; so that all that he has of thought are only modes of the attribute thought which we have at- tributed to God. And, again, all that he has of form, motion, and other things, are likewise [modes] of the other attribute which is attributed by us to God.

[6-3]    And although from this, [namely,] that the nature of man can neither be, nor be understood without the Page 24 attributes which we ourselves admit to constitute sub stance, some try to prove that man is a substance, yet this has no other ground than false supposition. For, since the nature of matter or body existed before the form of this human body existed, that nature cannot be peculiar to the human body, because it is clear that during the time when man was not, it could never belong to the nature of man.

[6-4]    And what they set up as a fundamental principle, [namely,] that that pertains to the nature of a thing, without which the thing can neither be, nor be understood, we deny. For we have already shown that without God no thing can be or be understood. That is, God must first be and be understood before these particular things can be and be understood. We have also shown that genera do not belong to the nature of definition, but that only such things as cannot exist without others, can also not be understood without these. This being so, what kind of a rule shall we, then, state, whereby it shall be known what belongs to the nature of a thing?

[6-5]    Well, the rule is this: That belongs to the nature of a thing, without which the thing can neither be, nor be understood; not merely so, however, but in such wise that the judgment must be convertible, that is, that the predicate can neither be, nor be understood without the thing. Of these modes, then, of which man consists, we shall begin to treat at the commencement of the following first chapter.

Page 25 of Book x
Chapter 7 - On Opinion, Belief, and Knowledge.

[7-1]    To BEGIN our consideration of the modes of which man consists, we shall state (1) what they are, (2) their effects, and (3) their cause.

[7-2]    As regards the first, let us begin with those that are first known to us: namely, certain ideas or the consciousness of the knowledge of ourselves, and of the things which are outside us.

[7-3]    Now we get these ideas (1) either merely through belief (which belief arises either from experience, or from hearsay), (2) or, in the second place, we acquire them by way of a true belief, (3) or, thirdly, we have them as the result of clear and distinct conception.

[7-4]    The first is commonly subject to error.

[7-5]    The second and third, however, although they differ from one another, cannot err.

[7-6]    To make all this somewhat clearer and more intelligible, we shall give the following illustration taken from the Rule of Three.

[7-7]    Someone has just heard it said that if, in the Rule of Three, the second number is multiplied by the third, and then divided by the first, a fourth number will then be obtained which has the same relation to the third as the second has to the first. And notwithstanding Page 26 the possibility that he who put this before him might have been lying, he still made his calculations accordingly, and he did so without having acquired any more knowledge of the Rule of Three than a blind man has of color, so that whatever he may have said about it, he simply repeated as a parrot repeats what it has been taught.

[7-8]    Another, having a more active intelligence, is not so easily satisfied with mere hearsay, but tests it by some actual calculations, and when he find they agree with it, then he gives credence to it. But we have rightly said that this one also is subject to error; for how can he possibly be sure that his experience of a few particulars can serve him as a rule for all?

[7-9]    A third, who is not satisfied with hearsay, because it may deceive, nor with experience of a few particulars, because this cannot possibly serve as a rule, examines it in the light of true Reason, which, when properly applied, has never deceived. This then tells him that on account of the nature of the proportion in these numbers it had to be so, and could not happen otherwise.

[7-10]    A fourth, however, having the clearest knowledge of all, has no need of hearsay, or experience, or the art of reasoning, because by his penetration he sees the proportion in all such cogitations intuitively.

[7-11]    We come now to the consideration of the effects of the different grades of knowledge, of which we spoke in the preceding chapter, and, in passing as it were, Page 27 we shall explain what Opinion, Belief, and clear Knowledge are.

[7-12]    The first [kind of knowledge], then, we call Opinion, the second Belief, but the third is what we call dear Knowledge.

[7-13]    We call it Opinion because it is subject to error, and has no place when we are sure of anything, but only in those cases when we are said to guess and to surmise. The second we call Belief, because the things we apprehend only with our reason are not seen by us, but are only known to us through the conviction of our understanding that it must be so and not otherwise. But we call that clear Knowledge which comes, not from our being convinced by reasons, but from our feeling and enjoying the thing itself, and it surpasses the others by far.

[7-14]    After these preliminary remarks let us now turn to their effects. Of these we say this, namely, that from the first proceed all the "passions" which are opposed to good reason; from the second, the good desires; and from the third, true and sincere Love, with all its offshoots.

[7.-15]    We thus maintain that Knowledge is the proximate cause of all the "passions" in the soul. For we consider it once for all impossible that anyone, who neither thinks nor knows in any of the preceding ways and manners, should be capable of being incited to Love or Desire or any other mode of emotion.

Page 29 of Book x
Chapter 8 - On Passion.

[8-1]   HERE, THEN, let us see how, as we have said, the passions derive their origin from opinion. To do this well and intelligently we shall take some special ones, and prove what we say by using these as illustration.

[8-2]   Let Surprise, then, be the first. This is found in one who knows a thing after the first manner [of knowledge]; for, since from a few particulars he draws a conclusion which is general, he stands surprised whenever he sees anything that goes against his conclusion; like one who, having never seen any sheep except with short tails, is surprised at the sheep from Morocco which have long ones. So it is related of a peasant that he had persuaded himself that beyond his fields there were no others, but when he happened to miss a cow, and was compelled to go and look for her far away, he was surprised at the great number of fields that there were beyond his few acres. And, to be sure, this must also be the case with many Philosophers who have persuaded themselves that beyond this field or little globe, on which they are, there are no more [worlds] (because they have seen no others). But surprise is never felt by him who draws true inferences. This is the first.

Page 20
[8-3]    The second is Love. Since this arises either from true ideas, or from opinions, or, lastly, from hearsay only, we shall see first how [it arises] from opinion, then how [it arises] from [true] ideas; for the first tends to our ruin, and the second to our supreme happiness; and then [we shall see how it arises] from the last

[8-4]   As regards the first, it is certain that whenever anyone sees, or thinks he sees, something good, he is always inclined to unite himself with it, and, for the sake of the good which he discerns therein, he chooses it as the best, outside which he then knows nothing better or more agreeable. Yet if ever it happens (as it mostly does happen in these things) that he gets to know something better than this good at present known to him, then his love changes immediately from the one (first) to the other (second). All this we shall show more clearly when we treat of the freedom of man.

[8-5]   As to love from true ideas, since this is not the place to speak of it, we shall pass it over now, and speak of the third, and last, namely, the Love that comes from hearsay only. This we generally observe in the attitude of children to their father: because their father tells them that this or that is good they incline towards it, without knowing anything more about it. We see it also in those who from Love give their lives for the Fatherland, and also in those who from hearsay about some thing fall in love with it. Page 31 Next, Hatred, the exact opposite of Love, arises from error which is the outcome of opinion. For when someone has come to the conclusion that a certain thing is good, and another happens to do something to the detriment of the same thing, then there arises ia him a hatred against the one who did it, and this, as we shall explain afterwards, could never happen if the true good were known. For, in comparison with the true good, all indeed that is, or is conceived, is naught but wretchedness itself; and is not such a lover of what is wretched much more deserving of pity than of hatred?

[8-6]   Hatred, lastly, comes also from mere hearsay, as we see it in the Moslems against Jews and Christians, in the Jews against the Moslems and Christians, in the Christians against the Jews and Moslems, etc. For, among all these, how ignorant is the one multitude of the religion and morals of the others!

[8-7]   Desire. Whether (as some will have it) it consists only in a longing or inclination to obtain what is wanting, or (as others will have it) to retain the things which we already enjoy, it is certain that it cannot be found to have come upon any one except for an apparent good. It is therefore clear that Desire, as also Love which we have already discussed, is the outcome of the first kind of knowledge. For if anyone has heard that a certain thing is good, he feels a longing and inclination for the same, as may be seen in the case of an invalid who, through hearing Page 32 the doctor say that such or such a remedy is good for his ailment, at once longs for the same, and feels a desire for it.

[8-8]   Desire arises also from experience, as may be seen in the practice of doctors, who when they have found a certain remedy good several times are wont to regard it as something unfailing.

[8-9]   All that we have just said of these, the same we can say of all other passions, as is clear to everyone. And as, in what follows, we shall begin to inquire which of them are rational, and which of them are irrational, we shall leave the subject now, and say no more about it.

[8-10]   What has now been said of these few though most important [passions] can also be said of all others; and with this we conclude the subject of the Passions which arise from Opinion.

Page 33 of Book x
Chapter 9 - The Good in Man

[9-1]   SINCE WE have shown in the preceding chapter how the Passions arise from the error of Opinion, let us now see here the effects of the two other modes of Knowing. And first of all, [the effect] of what we have called True Belief.

[9-2]   his shows us, indeed, what a thing ought to be, but not what it really is. And this is the reason why it can never unite us with the object of our belief. I say, then, that it only teaches us what the thing ought to be, and not what it is; between these two there is a great difference. For, as we remarked with reference to the example taken from the Rule of Three, when anyone can, by the aid of proportion, find a fourth number that shall be related to the third as the second is to the first, then (having used division and multiplication) he can say that the four numbers must be proportional; and although that is so, he speaks of it none the less as of a thing that is beyond him. But when he comes to see the proportion in the way which we have shown in the fourth example, then he says with truth that the thing is so, because then it is in him and not beyond him. Let this suffice as regards the first [effect].

Page 34
[9-3]   The second effect of true belief is that it brings us to a clearer understanding, through which we love God, and thus it makes us intellectually aware of the things which are not in us, but outside us.

[9-4]   The third effect is, that it gives us the knowledge of good and evil, and shows us all the passions which should be suppressed. And as. we have already said that the passions which come from opinion are liable to great evil, it is worth the pains to see how these also are sifted out by this second kind of knowledge, so that we may see what is good and what is bad in them.

[9-5]   To do so conveniently, let us, using the same method as before, look at them closely, so that we may know through it which of them should be chosen and which rejected. But, before proceeding to this, let us first state briefly what is the good and evil of man.

[9-6]   We have already said before that all things are I necessarily what they are, and that in Nature there is no good and no evil. So that whatever we want man to be [in this respect] must refer to his kind, which is nothing else than a thing of thought. And when we have conceived in our mind an Idea of a perfect man, it should make us look (when we examine ourselves) to see whether we have any means of attaining to such perfection.

[9-7]   Hence, then, whatever advances us towards perfection, we call good, and, on the contrary, what Page 35 hinders, or also what does not advance us toward it, bad.

[9-8]   I must therefore, I say, conceive a perfect man, if I want to assert anything concerning the good and evil of man, because if I were to consider the good and evil of some individual man, say, e.g., of Adam, I should be confusing a real thing with a thing of imagination, which must be most scrupulously avoided by an upright Philosopher, for reasons which we shall state in the sequel, or on another occasion. Furthermore, since the destiny of Adam, or of any other individual creature, is not known to us except through the result, so it follows that what we can say even of the destiny of man must be based on the idea which our understanding forms of a perfect man, which destiny, since it is a thing of Reason, we may well know; so also, as already remarked, are good and evil, which are only modes of thinking.

[9-9]   To come gradually to the point: We have already pointed out before how the movement, passions, and activities of the soul arise from ideas, and these ideas we have divided into four kinds, namely, [according they are based on] mere hearsay, experience, belief, clear knowledge. And from what we have now seen of the effects of all these, it is evident that the fourth, namely, clear knowledge, is the most perfect of all. For opinion on often leads us into error. True belief is good only because it is the way to true knowledge, and awakens us to things which are really lovable. So that the final end that we seek, and Page 36 the highest that we know, is true knowledge. But even this true knowledge varies with the objects that come before it: the better the object is with which it happens to unite itself, so much the better also is this knowledge. And, for this reason, he is the most perfect man who is united with God (who is the most perfect being of all), and so enjoys Him.

[9-10]   Now, in order to find out what is good and bad in the affects or passions, let us, as suggested, take them one by one.

Page 37
Chapter 10 - On Love

[10-1]   LOVE, WHICH is nothing else than the enjoyment of a thing and union therewith, we shall divide according to the qualities of its object; the object, that is, which man seeks to enjoy, and to unite himself with.

[10-2]   Now some objects are in themselves transient; others, indeed, are not transient by virtue of their cause. There is yet a third that is eternal and imperishable through its own power and might.

[10-3]   The transient are all the particular things which did not exist from all time, or have had a beginning.

[10-4]   The others are all those modes which we have stated to be the cause of the particular modes.

[10-5]   But the third is God, or, what we regard as one and the same, Truth.

[10-6]   Love, then, arises from the idea and knowledge that we have of a thing; and according as the thing shows itself greater and more glorious, so also is our love greater.

[10-7]   In two ways it is possible to free ourselves from love: either by getting to know something better, or by discovering that the loved object, which is held by us to be something great and glorious, brings in its train much woe and disaster.

Page 38
[10-8]   It is also characteristic of love that we never think of emancipating ourselves from it (as from surprise and other passions); and this for the following two reasons: (1) because it is impossible, (2) because it is necessary that we should not be released from the same.

[10-9]   It is impossible because it does not depend on us, but only on the good and useful which we discern in the object; it is necessary that these should never have become known to us, if we would not or should not love it; and this is not a matter of our free choice, or dependent on us, for if we knew nothing, it is certain that we should also be nothing.

[10-10]   It is necessary that we should not be released from it, because, owing to the weakness of our nature, we could not exist without enjoying something with which we become united, and from which we draw strength.

[10-11]   Now which of these three kinds of objects are we to choose or to reject?

[10-12]   As regards the transient (since, as remarked, we must, owing to the weakness of our nature, necessarily love something and become united with it in order to exist), it is certain that our nature becomes nowise strengthened through our loving, and becoming united with, these, for they are weak themselves, and the one cripple cannot carry the other. And not only do they not advance us, but they are even harmful to us. For we have said that love is a union with
Page 39 the object which our understanding judges to be good and glorious; and by this we mean such a union whereby both the lover and what is loved become one and the same thing, or together constitute one whole. He, therefore, is indeed always wretched who is united to transient things. For, since these are beyond his power, and subject to many accidents, it is impossible that, when they are affected, he should be free from these effects. And, consequently, we conclude: If those who love transient things that have some measure of reality are so wretched, how wretched must they be who love honor, riches, and pleasures, which have no reality whatever!

[10-13]   Let this suffice to show us how Reason teaches us to keep away from things so fleeting. For what we have just said shows us dearly the poison and the evil which lurk concealed in the love of these things. But we see this yet incomparably clearer when we observe from what glorious and excellent a good we me kept away through the enjoyment of this.

[10-14]   We said before that the things which are transient are beyond our power. But let us be well understood; we do not mean to say that we are a free cause depending upon nothing else; only when we say that some things are in, others beyond our Power, we mean by those that are in our power such as we can produce through the order of or together with Nature, of which we are a part; by those which are not in our power, such as, being outside us, are not liable Page 40 to suffer any change through us, because they are very far removed from our real essence as thus fashioned by Nature.

[10-15]   To proceed, we come now to the second kind of objects, which though eternal and imperishable, are not such through their own power. However, if we institute a brief inquiry here, we become immediately aware that these are only mere modes which depend immediately on God. And since the nature of these is such, they cannot be conceived by us unless we, at the same time, have a conception of God. In this, since He is perfect, our Love must necessarily rest. And, to express it in a word, if we use our understanding aright it will be impossible for us not to love God.

[10-16]   The Reasons why, are clear. First of all, because we find that God alone has essence only, and all other things are not essences but modes. And since the modes cannot be rightly understood without the entity on which they immediately depend; and [as] we have already shown before that if, when loving something, we get to know a better thing than that which we then love, we always prefer it immediately, and forsake the first; it follows, therefore, incontrovertibly that when we get to know God, who has all perfection in Himself, we must necessarily love Him. Secondly, if we use our understanding well in acquiring a knowledge of things, then we must know Page 41 them in [relation to] their causes. Now then, since God is a first cause of all other things, therefore, from the nature of the case (ex return natura), the knowledge of God is, and remains, before the knowledge of all other things: because the knowledge of all other things must follow from the knowledge of the first cause. And true love results always from the knowledge that the thing is glorious and good. What else, then, can follow but that it can be lavished upon no one more ardently than upon the Lord our God? For He alone is glorious, and a perfect good. So we see now, how we can make love strong, and also how it must rest only in God.

[10-17]   What more we had still to say about love, we shall bear in mind to say it when we consider the last kind of knowledge. In what follows here we shall inquire, as we promised before, as to which of the passions we are to entertain, which we are to reject.

Page 43
Chapter 11 - On Hate

[11-1]   HATRED is an inclination to ward off from us that which has caused us some harm. Now it is to be remarked that we perform our actions in two ways, namely, either with or without passion. With passion, as is commonly seen in the [conduct of] masters towards their servants who have done something amiss. Without passion, as is related of Socrates, who, when he was compelled to chastise his slave for [the latter's own good, never did so when he felt that he was enraged against his slave.

[11-2]   Now that we see that out actions are performed by us either with or without passion, we think that it is clear that those things which hinder or have hindered us can be removed, when necessary, without any perturbation on out part. And so, which is better: that we should flee from the things with aversion and hatred, or that, with the strength of reason, we should (for we think it possible) endure them without loss of temper? First of all, it is certain that when we do what we have to do without passion, then no evil can result therefrom. And, since there is no mean between good and evil, we see that, as it is bad to do anything in a passion, so it must he good to act without it.

Page 44
[11-3]   But let us examine whether there is any harm in fleeing from things with hatred and aversion.

[11-4]   As regards the hatred which comes from opinion, it is certain that it should have no place in us, because we know that one and the same thing is good for us at one time, bad for us at another time, as is always the case with medicínal herbs.

[11-5]   It therefore depends, in the end, on whether the hatred arises in us only through opinion, and not also through true reasoning. But to ascertain this properly we deem it right to explaín distinct1y what hatred is, and to distinguísh it from aversion.

[11-6]   Now I say that Hatred is a perturbation of the soul against someone who has done some ill to us willíngly and knowingly. But aversion ís the perturbation which arises in us against: a thing on account of some infirmity or injury which we either know or think is in it by nature. 1 say, by nature; for when we do not suppose or think that it ís so, then, even if we have suffered some hindrance or injury from it, we have no aversion for it, because we may, on the contrary, expect something useful from ¡t. Thus, when someone is hurt by a stone or a knife, he does not on that account feel any aversion for the same.

[11-7]   After these observatíons let us now briefly consider the consequences of both of them. From hatred there ensues sorrow; and when the hatred is great, it produces anger, which not only, like hatred, seeks to Page 45 flee from. what is hated, but also to annihilate it, when that is practicable: from thís great hatred comes also envy. But from aversion there comes a certain sorrow, because we consider ourselves to be deprived of something whích, since it is real, must always have its essence and perfection.

[11-8]   From what has just been said it may be easily understood that, if we use our Reason aright, we, can feel no hatred or aversion for anything, because, if we do, we deprive ourselves of that perfection which is to be found in everything. We see likewise with our Reason that we can never [reasonably] feel any hatred whatever against anybody, because whatsoever exists in Nature, if we entertain any wish about it, then we must always improve it, whether for our sake or for the sake of the thing itse1f. And since a perfect man is the best thing for us that we know of all that we have around us or before our eyes, it is by far the best both for us and for all people individually that we should at all times seek to educate them to this perfect state. For only then can we reap the greatest benefit from them, and. they from us. The means thereto is, to give regard to them always in the manner in which we are constantly taught and exhorted to do by our good Conscience; for this never prompts us to our undoing, but always to our happiness and well-being.

[11-9]   In conclusion, we say that Hatred and Aversion Page 46 have in them as many imperfections as Love, on the contrary, has perfections. For this always produces improvement, invigoration, and enlargement, which constitute perfection; while Hatred, on the contrary, always makes for desolation, enervation, and annihilation, which constitute imperfection itself.

Page 47
Chapter 12 - On Joy and Sorrow

[12-1]   HAVING SEEN that Hatred and Aversion are such that we may freely say, that they can have no place in those who use their understanding as they should, we shall now proceed in the same manner to speak of the other passions. To begin with, Desire and Joy shall come first. Since these arise from the same causes from which love ensues, we shall only say concerning them, that we must remember and, call to mind what we then said; and with this we leave the subject.

[12-2]   We turn next to Sorrow, of which we may say that it arises only from opinion and imagination which follows therefrom: for it comes from the loss of some good.

[12-3]   Now we have already remarked above, that whatsoever we do should tend towards progress and amelioration. But ít is certain that so long as we are sorrowing we render ourselves unfit to act thus; on this account it is necessary that we should free ourselves from it. This we can do by thinking of the means whereby we may recover what we have lost, if it is in our power to do so. If not, [we must reflect] that it is just as necessary to make an end of Page 48 it, lest we fall a prey to all the míseries and disasters which sorrow necessarily brings in its train. And either course must be adopted with joy; for it is foolish to try to restore and make good a lost good by means of a self-sought and provoked evil.

[12-4]   Lastly, he who uses his understanding aright must necessarily know God first. Now God, as we have shown, is the highest good and all that is good. Hence it follows incontrovertibly, that one who uses his understanding aright can fall a prey to no sorrow. How should he? since he finds repose in that good which is all that is good, and in which there is the fullness of all joy and contentment.

[12-5]   Sorrow, then, comes from opinion or want of understanding, as explained.

Page 49
Chapter 13 - On Esteem and Contempt, Etc.

[13-1]   WE SHALL now proceed to speak of Esteem. and Contempt, of Self-respect and Humility, of Conceit and Culpable Humility. We shall take them in the above order, and try to distinguish accurately what is good and what is bad in them.

[13-2]   Esteem and Contempt are felt in so far as we know a thing to be something great or small, be this great or little thing in us or outside us.

[13-3]   Self-respect does not extend [to anything] outside us, and is only attributed to one who, knows the real worth of his perfection, dispassionately and without seeking esteem for himself.

[13-4]   Humility is felt when anyone knows his own imperfection, without regard to the contempt [of others] for himself; so that Humility does not refer to anything outside the humble man.

[13-5]   Conceit is this, when someone attributes to himself a perfection which is not to be found in him.

[13-6]   Culpable humility is this, when some one attributes to himself an imperfection which he has not. I am not speaking of those hypocrites who, without meaning it, humble themselves in order to deceive others; but only of those who really think they have the im­perfections which they attribute to themselves.

Page 50
[13-7]   From these observations it ¡s sufficiently evident what good and evil there ¡s in each of these passions. For, as regards Self-respect and Humility, these show their excellence through themselves. For we say that the possessor thereof knows his perfection and imperfection for what it is. And this, according to what Reason teaches us, is the most important thing for the attainment of our perfection. Because if we know exactly our powers and perfection, we see thereby clearly what it ¡s we have to do in order to attain our good end. And, on the other hand, if we know our fault and frailty, then we know what we have to avoid.

[13-8]   As regards Conceit and Culpable Humility, the definition of them already shows sufficiently that they aríse from a certain opinion; for we said that it [conceit] is attributed to one who ascribes to himself a certain perfection, although he does not possess it, and culpable humility is the precise opposite.

[13-9]   From what has just been said it is evident, then, that just as Self-respect and True Humility are good and salutary, so, on the contrary, Conceit and Culpable Humility are bad and pernicious. For those [Self-respect and True Humility] not only put theír possessor into a very good attitude, but are also, besides, the right ladder by which we may rise to supreme bliss. But these [Conceit and Culpable Humility] not only prevent us from attaining to our perfection, but also lead us to utter ruin. Culpable Page 51 Humility is what prevents us from doing that we should otherwise have to do in order to be perfect; we see this, for instance, in the case of the Skeptics, who, just because they deny that man attain to any truth, deprive themselves thereof through this very denial. Conceit on the other hand is what makes us undertake things which straight to our ruin; as is seen in the case of all these who had the conceit, and have the conceit, that they stood, and stand, wondrously well in the opinion of God, and consequently brave fire and water. and thus, avoiding no danger, and facing every risk, they die most miserably.

[13-10]   As regards Esteem and Contempt, there ¡s no more to be said about them, we have only to recall memory what we said before about Love

Page 53
Chapter 14 - On Hope and Fear, Etc.

[14-1]   WE SHALL now begin to speak of Hope and Fear, of Confidence, Despair, and Vacillation, of Courage, Boldness and Emulation, of Pusillanimity and Timidity and lastly of jealousy, and, as is our wont, we shall take them one by one, and then indicate which of these can hinder us, and which can profit us. We shall he able to do all this very easily, if only we attend closely to the thoughts that we can have about a thing that is yet to come, be it good, be it had.

The ideas which we have about things have reference either

1. To the things themselves; or,

2. To the person who has the ideas.

The ideas that we have as regards the thing itself are these, either the thing is regarded by us as accidental, that is as something which may come or may not come, or [we think) that it necessarily must come. So much as regards the thing itself.

Next, as regards him who thinks about the thing, the case is this: he must do something either in order to advance the thing, or in order to prevent it. Now from these thoughts all these passions result as follows: when we think that a certain thing which is Page 54 yet to come is good and that it can happen, the soul assumes, in consequence of this, that form which we call hope, which is nothing else than a certain kind of joy, though mingled with some sorrow.

And, on the other hand, if we judge that that which may be coming is bad, then that form enters into our soul which we call fear.

If, however, the thing is regarded by us as good, and, at the same time, as something that necessarily must come, then there comes into the soul that repose which we call confidence; which is a certain joy not mingled with sorrow, as hope is.

But when we think that the thing is bad, and that it necessarily must come, then despair enters into the soul; which is nothing else than a certain kind of sorrow.

Page 59
Chapter 15 - On Remorse and Repentance

[15-1]   ON THE present occasion we shall speak, though briefly, about remorse and repentance. These never arise except as the result of rashness; because remorse comes only from this, that we do something about which we are then in doubt whether it is good, or whether it is bad; and repentance, from this, that we have done something which is bad.

[15-2]   And since many people (who use their understanding aright) sometimes (because they lack that habitual readiness which is required in order that the understanding may at all times be used aright) go astray, it might perchance be thought that such Remorse and Repentance might soon set thern right again, and thence it might he inferred, as the whole world does infer, that they are good. If, however, we will get a proper insight into them, we shall find that they are not only not good, but that they are, on the contrary, pernicious, and that they are consequently bad. For it is obvious that we always succeed better through Reason and the love of truth than through remorse and sorrow. They are, therefore, harmful and bad, because they are a certain Page 60 kind of sorrow, which [sorrow] we have already shown above to be injurious, and which, for that reason, we must try to avert as an evil, and consequently we must likewise shun and flee from these also, which are like it.

Page 61
Chapter 16 - On Derision and Jesting

[16-1]   DERISION AND jesting rest on a false opinion and betray an imperfection in him who derides and Jests.

[16-2]   The opinion on which they rest is false, because it is supposed that he who is derided is the first cause of the effects which he produces, and that they do not necessarily (like the other things in Nature) depend on God. They betray an imperfection in the Derider; because either that which is derided is such that it is derisible, or it is not such. If it is not such, then it shows bad manners, to deride that which is not to be derided; if it is such, then they [who deride it] show thereby that they recognize some imperfection in that which they deride, which they ought to remedy, not by derision, but much rather by good reasoning.

[16-3]   Laughter does not refer to another, but only to the man who observes some good in himself; and since it is a certain kind of joy, there is nothing else to be said about it than what has already been said about joy. I speak of such laughter as is caused by a certain Idea which provokes one to it, and not at all of such laughter as is caused by the movement of the [vital] spirits; as to this (since it has no reference Page 62 to good or to evil) we had no intention to speak here.

[16-4]   As to Envy, Anger, Indignation, we shall say nothing about them here, but only just refer back to what we have already said above concerning hatred.

Page 63
Chapter 17 - On Glory and Shame

[17-1]   WE SHALL now also briefly consider glory, shame, and glory, shame, and shamelessness. The first is a certain kind of joy everyone feels in himself whenever he becomes aware that his conduct is esteemed and praised by others, without regard to any other advantage or profit which they may have in view.

[17-2]   Shame is a certain kind of sorrow which arises in one when he happens to see that his conduct is despised by others, without regard to any other disadvantage or injury that they may have in view.

[17-3]   Shamelessness is nothing else than a want, or shaking off, of shame, not through Reason, but either from innocence of shame, as is the case with children, savage people, etc., or because, having been beld in great contempt, one goes now to any length without regard for anything.

[17-4]   Now that we know these passions, we also know, at the same time, the vanity and imperfection which they have in them. For Glory and Shame are not only of no advantage, because of what we have observed in their definitions, but also (inasmuch as they are based on self-love, and on the opinion that man is the first cause of his action, and therefore Page 64 deserving of praise and blame) they are harmful and must be rejected.

[17-5]   I will not, however, say that one ought to live among men in the same way that one would live away from them, where Glory and Shame have no place; quite the contrary, I admit that we are not only free to utilize them, when we apply them in the service of mankind and for their amelioration, but that we may even do so at the price of curtailing our own (otherwise perfect and legitimate) freedom. For example: if anyone wears costly clothes in order to be respected, he seeks a Glory which results from his self-love without any consideration for his fellow-men; but when someone observes that his wisdom (wherewith he can be of service to his neighbors) is despised and trampled under foot simply because he is dressed in shabby clothes, then he will do well if (from the motive to help them) he provides himself with clothes to which they cannot take exception, thereby becoming like his fellow-man in order that he may win over his fellow-man.

[17-6]   Further, as regards Shamelessness, this shows itself to be such that in order to see its deformity all that we need is merely its definition, and that will be enough for us.

Page 65
Chapter 18 - On Gratitude

[18-1]   NOW FOLLOWS [the consideration] of favor gratitude, and ingratitude. As regards the first two, they are the inclinations which the soul has to wish and to do some good to one's neighbor. I say, to wish, [this happens] when good is returned to one who has done some good; I say, to do, [this is the case] when we ourselves have obtained or received some good.

[18-2]   I am well aware that almost all people consider these effects to be good; but, notwithstanding this, I venture to say that they can have no place in a perfect man. For a perfect man is moved to help his fellow-man by sheer necessity only, and by no other cause, and therefore he feels it all the more to be his duty to help the most godless, seeing that his misery and need are so much greater.

[18-3]   Ingratitude is a disregard or shaking off of Gratitude, as Shamelessness is of Shame, and that without any rational ground, but solely as the result either of greed or of immoderate self-love; and that is why it can have no place in a perfect man.

Page 67
Chapter 19 - On Grief

[19-1]   GRIEF SHALL be the last of which we shall speak in our treatment of the passions, and with it we will conclude. Now grief is a certain kind of sorrow arising from the contemplation of some good which we have lost, and [lost] in such a way that there is no hope of recovering the same. It makes its imperfection so manifest that as soon as we only examine it we think it bad. For we have already shown above that it is bad to bind and link ourselves to things which may easily, or at some time, fail us, and which we cannot have when we want them. And since it is a certain kind of sorrow, we have to shun it, as we have already remarked above, when we were treating of sorrow.

[19-2]   I think, now, that I have already shown and proved sufficiently that it is only True Belief or Reason that leads us to the knowledge of good and evil. And so when we come to prove that Knowledge is the first and principal cause of all these passions, it will be clearly manifest that if we use our understanding and Reason aright, it should he impossible ior us ever to fall a prey to one of these passions which we ought to reject. I say our Understanding, Page 68 because I do not think that Reason alone is competent to free us from all these: as we shall afterwards show in its proper place.

[19-3]   We must, however, note here as an excellent thing about the passions, that we see and find that all the passions which are good are of such kind and nature that we cannot be or exist without them, and that they belong, as it were, to our essence; such is the case with Love, Desire, and all that pertains to love.

[19-4]   But the case is altogether different with those which are bad and must be rejected by us; seeing that we can not only exist very well without these, but even that only then, when we have freed ourselves from them, are we really what we ought to be.

[19-5]   To give still greater clearness to all this, it is useful to note that the foundation of all good and evil is Love bestowed on a certain object: for if we do not love that object which alone is worthy of being loved, namely, God, as we have said before, but things which through their very character and nature are transient, then (since the object is liable to so many accidents, aye, even to annihilation) there necessarily result hatred, sorrow, etc., according to the changes in the object loved. Hatred, when anyone deprives him of what he loves. Sorrow, when he happens to lose it. Glory, when he leans on self-love. Favor and Gratitude, when he does not love his fellow-man for the sake of God.

[19-6]   But, in contrast with all these, when man comes to Page 69 love God who always is and remains immutable, then it is impossible for him to fall into this welter of passions. And for this reason we state it as a fixed and immovable principle that God is the first and only cause of all our good and delivers us from all evil.

[19-7]   Hence it is also to be noted lastly, that only Love, etc., are limitless: namely, that as it increases more and more, so also it grows more excellent, because it is bestowed on an object which is infinite, and can therefore always go on increasing, which can happen in the case of no other thing except this alone. And, maybe, this will afterwards give us the material from which we shall prove the immortality of the soul, and how or in what way this is possible.

Page 71
Chapter Part 20 - On the True and the False

[20-1]   LET US now examine the true and the false, which indicate to us the fourth, and last, consequence of true belief. Now, in order to do this, we shall first state the definitions of Truth and Falsity. Truth is an affirmation (or a denial) made about a certain thing, which agrees with that same thing; and Falsity is an affirmation (or a denial) about a thing, which does not agree with the thing itself. But this being so, it may appear that there is no difference between the false and the true Idea, or, since the [affirmation or] denial of this or that are mere modes of thought, and [the true and the false Idea) differ in no other way except that the one agrees with the thing, and the other does not, that they are therefore, not really, but only logically different; and if this should be so, one may justly ask, what advantage has the one from his Truth, and what harm does the other incur through his falsity? and how shall the one know that his conception or Idea agrees with the thing more than the other does? lastly, whence does it come that the one errs, and the other does not?

[20-2]   To this it may, in the first place, serve as an answer that the clearest things of all make known both Page 72 themselves and also what is false, in such a manner that it would be a great folly to ask how we are to become aware of them: for, since they are said to be clearest of all, there can never be any other clearness through which they might be made clear; it follows, therefore, that truth is made clear through truth. that is through itself; and through it also is falsity made clear; but falsity is never revealed and made manifest through itself. So that anyone who is in possession of the truth cannot doubt that he possesses it, while one who is sunk in falsity or in error can well suppose that he has got at the truth; just as someone who is dreaming can well think that he is awake, but one who is actually awake can never think that he is dreaming.

[20-3]   These remarks also explain to some extent what we said about God being the Truth, or that the Truth is God Himself.

[20-4]   Now the reason why the one is more conscious of his truth than the other is, is because the Idea of [his] affirmation (or denial) entirely agrees with the nature of the thing, and consequently has more essence. It may help some to grasp this better if it be observed that Understanding (although the word does not sound like it) is a mere or pure passivity; that is, that our soul is changed in such a way that it receives other modes of thought, which it did not have before. Now when someone, in consequence of the whole object having acted upon him, receives Page 73 corresponding forms or modes of thought, then it is clear that he receives a totally different feeling of the form or character of the object than does another who has not had so many causes [acting upon him], and is therefore moved to make an affirmation or denial about that thing by a different and slighter action (because he becomes aware of it only through a few, or. the less important, of its attributes). From this, then, we see the perfection of one who takes his stand upon Truth, as contrasted with one who does not take his stand upon it. Since the one changes easily, while the other does not change easily, it follows therefrom that the one has more stability and essence than the other has: likewise, more causes [to produce them] they have also more stability and essence in them: and, since they entirely agree with the thing, it is impossible that they should after a time be made different or undergo some change, all the less so because we have already seen before that the essence of a thing is unchangeable. Such is not the case with falsity. And with these remarks all the above questions will be sufficiently answered.

Page 75
Chapter 21 - On the Will

[21-1]   NOW  THAT we know the nature of Good and Evil, Truth and Falsity, and also wherein the well-being of a perfect man consists, it is time to begin to examin. ourselves, and to see whether we attain to such well-being voluntarily or of necessity.

[21-2]   To this end it is necessary to inquire what the Will is, according to those who posit a Will and wherein it is different from Desire. Desire, we have said, is the inclination which the soul has towards something which it chooses as a good; whence it follows that before our desire inclines towards something outside, we have already inwardly decided that such a thing is good, and this affirmation, or, stated more generally, the power to affirm and to deny, is called the Will.

[21-3]   It thus turns on the question whether our Affirmations are made voluntarily or necessarily, that is, whether we can make any affirmation or denial about a thing without some external cause compelling us to do so. Now we have already shown that a thing which is not explained through itself, or whose existence does not pertain to its essence, must necessarily have an external cause; and that a cause which Page 76 is to produce something must produce it necessarily; it must therefore also follow that each separate act of willing this or that, each separate act of affirming or denying this or that of a thing, these, I say, must also result from some external cause: so also the definition which we have given of a cause is, that it cannot be free.

[21-4]   Possibly this will not satisfy some who are accustomed to keep their understanding busy with things of imagination more than with Particular things which really exist in Nature; and, through doing so, they come to regard a thing of thought not as such, but as a real thing. For, because man has now this, now that volition, he forms in his soul a general mode which he calls Will, just as from this man and that man he also forms the Idea of man; and because he does not adequately distinguish the real things from the things of imagination, he comes to regard the things of the mind as things which really exist in Nature, and so he regards himself as a cause of some things. This happens not infrequently in the treatment of the subject about which we are speaking. For if anyone is asked why people want this or that, the answer usually given is, because they have a will. But, since the Will, as we have said, is only an Idea of our willing this or that, and therefore only a mode of thought, a thing of imagination, and not a real thing, nothing can be caused by it; for out of nothing, nothing comes. And so, as we have shown that the Page 77 will is not a thing in Nature, but only in fancy I also think it unnecessary to ask whether the will is free or not free.

[21-5]   I say this not [only] of will in general, which we have shown to be a mode of thought, but also of the particular act of willing this or that, which act of willing some have identified with affirmation and denial. Now this should be clearly evident to everyone who only attends to what we have already said. For we have said that the understanding is purely passive; it is an awareness, in the soul, of the essence and existence of things; so that it is never we who affirm or deny something of a thing, but it is the thing itself that affirms or denies, in us, something of itself.

[21-6]   Possibly some will not admit this, because it seems to them that they are well able to affirm or to deny of the thing something different from what they know about the thing. But this is only because they have no idea of the conception which the soul has of the thing apart from or without the words [in which it is expressed]. It is quite true that (when there are reasons which prompt us to do so) we can, in words or by some other means, represent the thing to others differently from what we know it to be; but we can never bring it so far, either by words or by any other means, that we should feel about the things differently from what we feel about them; this is impossible, and clearly so to all who have for Page 78 once attended to their understanding itself apart from the use of words or other significant signs.

[21-7]   Against this, however, some perchance may say: If it is not we, but the thing itself, that makes the affirmation and denial about itself in us, then nothing can be affirmed or denied except what is in agreement with the thing; and consequently there is no falsity. For we have said that falsity consists in affirming (or denying) aught of a thing which does not accord with that thing; that is, what the thing does not affirm or deny about itself. I think, however, that if only we consider well what we have already said about Truth and Falsity, then we shall see at once that these objections have already been sufficiently answered. For we have said that the object is the cause of what is affirmed or denied thereof, be it true or false: falsity arising thus, namely, because, when we happen to know something or a part of an object, we imagine that the object (although we only know very little of it) nevertheless affirms or denies that of itself as a whole; this takes place mostly in feeble souls, which receive very easily a mode or an idea through a slight action of the object, and make no further affirmation or denial apart from this.

[21-8]   Lastly, it might also be objected that there are many things which we sometimes want and [sometimes also] do not want, as, for example, to assert something about a thing or not to assert it, to speak Page 79 the truth, and not to speak it, and so forth. But this results from the fact that Desire is not adequately distinguished from Will. For the Will, according to those who maintain that there is a Will, is onIy the activity of the understanding whereby we affirm or deny something about a thing, with regard to good or evil. Desire, however, is the disposition of the soul to obtain or to do something for the sake of the good or evil that is discerned therein; so that even after we have made an affirmation or denial about the thing, Desire still remains, namely, when we have ascertained or affirmed that the thing is good; such is the Will, according to their statements, while desire is the inclination, which we only subsequently feel, to advance it—so that, even according to their own statements, the Will may well exist without the Desire, but not the Desire without the Will, which must have preceded it.

[21-9]   All the activities, therefore, which we have discussed above (since they are carried out through the mind under the appearance of good, or are hindered by thought under the appearance of evil) can only be subsumed under that inclination which is called Desire, and by no means under the designation of Will, which is altogether inappropriate.

Page 81
Chapter 22 - On Will and Desire

[22-1]   NOW THAT it is known that we have no free will to make an affirmation or a denial, let us just see what is the correct and true distinction between will and desire.

[22-2]   According to Aristotle's definition, Desire appears to be a genus containing two species. For he says that the Will is the longing or inclination which one feels towards that which is or seems good. Whence appears to me that by Desire he means any inclination, be it towards good, be it towards evil; but the inclination is only towards what is or appears to be good, or when the man who has such inclination, has it under the appearance of good, then he calls it good will; while, if it is bad, that is, when we observe in another an inclination towards something which is bad, he calls that bad will. So that the inclination of the soul is not something whereby affirmations or denials are made, but only an inclination to obtain something which appears to be good, and to flee from what appears to be bad.

[22-3]   It therefore, remains to inquire now whether the Desire is free or not free. In addition to what we already said, namely, that Desire depends on Page 82 the idea of its objects, and that this understanding must have an external cause, and in addition also to what we have said about the will, it still remains to prove that Desire is not free. Many people, although they see quite well that the knowledge which man has of various things is a medium through which his longing or inclination passes over from one thing to another, yet fail to observe what that may be which thus lures the inclination from the one to the other.

[22-4]   However, to show that this inclination of ours is not of our own free will (and in order to present vividly before our eyes what it is to pass over, and to be drawn, from one thing to another), we shall imagine a child becoming aware of something for the first time. For example, I hold before him a little bell, which produces a pleasant sound for his ears, so that he conceives a longing for it; consider now whether he could really help feeling this longing or desire. If you say, Yes, then I ask, how, through what cause is this to happen? Certainly not through something which he knows to be better, because this is all that he knows; nor, again, through its appearing to be bad to him, for he knows nothing else, and this pleasure is the very best that has ever come to him. But perchance he has the freedom to banish from him the longing which he feels; whence it would follow that this longing may well arise in us without our free will, but that all the same we have in us the Page 83 freedom to banish it from us. This freedom, however, will not bear examination; for what, indeed, might it be that shall be able to annihilate the longing? The longing itself? Surely no, for there is nothing that through its own nature seeks its own undoing. What then might it ultimately be that shall be able to wean him from his longing? Nothing else, forsooth, except that in the natural order and course of things he is affected by something which he finds more pleasant than the first. And, therefore, just as, when we were considering the Will, we said that the human Will is nothing but this and that Volition, so also man has no other than this and that Desire which is caused by this and that idea; Desire [in the abstract] is not anything actually existing in Nature, but is only an abstraction from the particular acts of desiring this or that. Desire, then, as it is not really anything, can also not really cause anything. So that when we say that Desire is free, it is just as much as if' we said that this or that Desire is its own cause—that is, that before it existed it had already arranged that it should exist; which is absurdity itself, and cannot be.

[22-5]   Thus we see now that man, being a part of the whole of Nature, on which he depends, and by which also he is governed, cannot of himself do anything for his happiness and well-being; let us, then, just see what Uses we can derive from these propositions Page 84 of ours. And this [is] all the more [necessary] because we have no doubt that they will appear not a little offensive to some.

[22-6]   In the first place, it follows therefrom that we are truly servants, aye, slaves, of G-D, and that it is our greatest perfection to be such necessarily. For, if we were thrown back upon ourselves, and thus not dependent on G-D, we should be able to accomplish very little, or nothing, and that would justly give us cause to lament our lot; especially so in contrast with what we now see, namely, that we are dependent on that which is the most perfect of all, in such a way that we exist also as a part of the whole, that is, of Him; and we contribute, so to say, also our share to the realization of so many skillfully ordered and perfect works, which depend on Him.

[22-7]   Secondly, this knowledge brings it about that we do not grow proud when we have accomplished something excellent (which pride causes us to come to a standstill, because we think that we are already great, and that we need do nothing further; thereby militating precisely against our own perfection, which consists in this—that we must at all times endeavor to advance further and further); but that, on the contrary, we attribute all that we do to G-D, who is the first and only cause of all that we accomplish and succeed in effecting.

[22-8]   Thirdly, in addition to the fact that this knowledge inspires us with a real love of our neighbor, it Page 85 shapes us so that we never hate him, nor are we angry with him, but love to help him, and to improve hIs condition. All these are the actions of such men as have great perfection or essence.

[22-9]   Fourthly, this knowledge also serves to promote Ilie greatest Common Good, because through it a judge can never side with one party more than with the other, and when compelled to punish the one, and to reward the other, he will do it with a view to help and to improve the one as much as the other.

[22-10]   Fifthly, this knowledge frees us from Sorrow, from Despair, from Envy, from Terror, and other evil passions, which, as we shall presently say, constitute the real hell itself.

[22-11]   Sixthly, this knowledge brings us so far that we (cease to stand in awe of G-D, as others do of the devil (whom they imagine), lest He should do them harm. For why indeed should we fear G-D, who is the highest good itself, through whom all things are what they are, and also we who live in Him?

[22-12]   Seventhly, this knowledge also brings us so far that we attribute all to G-D, love Him alone because He is the most glorious and the most perfect, and thus offer ourselves up entirely to Him; for these really constitute both the true service of G-D and our own eternal happiness and bliss. For the sole perfection and the final end of a slave and of a tool is this, that they duly fulfill the task imposed on them. For example, if a carpenter, while doing some Page 86 work, finds his hatchet of excellent service, then this hatchet has thereby attained its end and perfection; but if he should think: this hatchet has rendered me such good service now, therefore I shall let it rest, and exact no further service from it, then precisely this hatchet would fail of its end, and be a hatchet no more. Thus also is it with man, so long as he is a part of Nature he must follow the laws of Nature, and this is divine service; and so long as he does this, it is well with him. But if G-D should (so to say) will that man should serve Him no more, that would be equivalent to depriving him of his well-being and annihilating him; because all that he is consists in this, that he serves G-D.

Page 87
Chapter 23 - On Our Happiness

[23-1]   NOW THAT we have seen the advantages of this True Belief, we shall endeavor to fulfill the promise we have made, namely, to inquire whether through the knowledge which we already have (as to what is good, what is evil, what truth is, and what falsity is, and what, in general, the uses of all these are), whether, I say, we can thereby attain to our well­being, namely, the Love of G-D (which we have remarked to be our supreme happiness), and also in what way we can free ourselves from the passions which we have judged to be bad.

[23-2]   To begin with the consideration of the last, namely, of the liberation from the passions, I say that, if we suppose that they have no other causes than those which we have assigned to them, then, provided only we use our understanding aright, as we can do very easily (now that we have a criterion to truth and falsity), we shall never fall into them.

[23-3]   But what we have now to prove is that they have no other causes; for this, methinks, it is required that we should study ourselves in our entirety, having regard to the body as well as to the spirit.

[23-4]   And first [we have] to show that in Nature there Page 88 is a body through whose form and activities we are affected, and thus become aware of it. And the reason why we do this is, because when we get an insight into the activities of the body and the effects which they produce, then we shall also discover the first and foremost cause of all those passions; and, at the same time, also that through which all those passions might be annihilated. From this we shall then also be able to see whether it is possible to do such a thing by the aid of Reason. And then we shall also proceed to speak about our love of G-D.

[23-5]   Now to prove that there is a body in Nature, can be no difficult task for us, now that we already know that G-D is, and what G-D is; whom we have defined as a being of infinite attributes, each of which is infinite and perfect. And since extension, or thing, is an attribute which we have shown to he infinite in its kind, it must therefore also necessarily be an attribute of that infinite being. And as we have also already demonstrated that this infinite being exists, it follows at once that this attribute also exists.

[23-6]   Moreover, since we have also proved, that outside Nature, which is infinite, there is, and can be, no being, it is clearly manifest that this effect of body through which we become aware [of it] can proceed from nothing else than from extension itself, and by no means from something else which (as some will have it) has extension in an eminent degree: for (as Page 89 we have already shown in the first chapter) there is no such thing.

[23-7]   We have to remark, therefore, that all the effects which are seen to depend necessarily on extension or things must be attributed to this attribute; such as Motion and Rest. For if the power to produce these did not exist in Nature, then (even though it [Nature] might have many other attributes) it would be impossible that these should exist. For if a thing is to produce something then there must be that in it through which it, rather than another, can produce that something.

[23-8]   What we have just said here about extension, the same we also wish to be regarded as though it had been said about thought, and further about all that is.

[23-9]   It is to be observed further, that there is nothing whatever in us, but we have the power to become aware of it: so that if we find that there is nothing else in us except the effects of the thinking thing and those of extension, then we may say with certainty that there is nothing else in us.

[23-10]   In order that the workings of both these may be clearly understood, we shall take them up first each by itself only, and afterwards both together; as also the effects of both the one and the other.

[23-11]   Now when we consider extension or bodies alone, then we become aware of nothing else in it except Motion and Rest, from which we then discover all Page 90 the effects that result therefrom. And these two forms of body are such that it is impossible for any other thing to change them, except only themselves. Thus, for example, when a stone lies still, then it is impossible that it should be moved by the power of thought or anything else, but [it may] well [be moved] by motion, as when another stone, having greater motion than this has rest, makes it move. Likewise also the moving stone will not be made to rest except through something else which has less motion. It follows, accordingly, that no mode of thought can bring motion or rest into a body. In accordance, however, with what we observe in ourselves, it may well happen that a body which is moving now in one direction may nevertheless turn aside in another direction; as when I stretch out my arm and thereby bring it about that the [vital) spirits which were already moving in a different direction, nevertheless move now in this direction, though not always, but according to the disposition of the [vital] spirits, as will be stated presently.

[23-12]The cause of this can be none other than that the soul, being an Idea of this body, is united with it in such a way that it and this body, thus constituted, together form a whole.

[23-13]   The most important effect of the other or thinking attribute is an Idea of things, which is such that, according to the manner in which it apprehends them, there arises either Love or Hatred, etc. This Page 91 effect, then, as it implies no extension, can also not be attributed to the same, but only to thought; so that, whatever the changes which happen to arise in this mode, their cause must on no account be sought for in extension, but only in the thinking thing. We can see this, for instance, in the case of Love, which, whether it is to be suppressed or whether it is to be awakened, can only be thus affected through the idea itself, and this happens, as we have already remarked, either because something bad is perceived to be in the object, or because something better comes to be known. Now whenever these attributes happen to act the one on the other, there results a passivity which one suffers from the other; namely [in the case of extension), through the determination of movements which we have the power to direct in whatever direction we please. The process, then, whereby the one comes to be passively affected by the other, is this: namely, the soul in the body, as has already been remarked, can well bring it about that the [vital] spirits, which would otherwise move in the one direction, should nevertheless move in the other direction; and since these [vital] spirits can also be made to move, and therefore directed, by the body, it may frequently happen that, when the body directs their movements towards one place, while the soul directs them towards another place, they bring about and occasion in us those peculiar fits of depression which we sometimes feel without Page 92 knowing the reasons why we have them. For other­wise the reasons are generally well known to us.

[23-14]   Furthermore, the power which the soul has to move the [vital] spirits may well be hindered also either because the motion of the [vital] spirits is much diminished, or because it is much increased. Diminished, as when, having run much, we bring it about that the [vital] spirits, owing to this running, impart to the body much more than the usual amount of motion, and by losing this [potion] they are necessarily that much weakened; this may also happen through taking all too little food. Increased, as when, by drinking too much wine or other strong drink, we thereby become either merry or drunk, and bring it about that the soul has no power to control the body.

[23-15]   Having said thus much about the influences which the soul exercises on the body, let us now consider the influences of the body on the soul. The most important of these, we maintain, is that it causes the soul to become aware of it, and through it also of other bodies. This is effected by Motion and Rest conjointly, and by nothing else: for the body has nothing else than these wherewith to operate; so that whatever else comes to the soul, besides this awareness, cannot be caused through the body. And as the first thing which the soul gets to know is the body, the result is that the soul lov es it so, and becomes united with it. But since, as we have already Page 93 said before, the cause of Love, Hatred, and Sorrow must not be sought for in the body but only in the soul (because all the activities of the body must proceed from motion and rest), and since we see clearly and distinctly that one love comes to an end as soon as we come to know something else that is better, it follows clearly from all this that, If once we get to know G-D, at least with a knowledge as clear as that with which we also know own body, then we must become united with Him even more closely than we are with our body, and he, as it were, released from the body. I say more closely, because we have already proved before that without Him we can neither be, nor be known and this is so because we know and must know Him, not through something else, as is the case with all other things, but only through Himself, as we have already said before. Indeed, we know Him better even than we know ourselves, be­ cause without Him we could not know ourselves at all.

[23-16]   From what we have said so far it is easily gathered which are the chief causes of the passions. For, as regards the Body with its effects, Motion and Rest, these cannot affect the soul otherwise except so as to make themselves known to it as objects; and according to the appearances which they present to it, that is according as they appear good or bad, so also is the soul affected by them, and that [happens] not inasmuch as it is a body (for then the body would Page 94 be the principal cause of the passions), but inasmuch as it is an object like all other things, which would also act in the same way if they happened to reveal themselves to the soul in the same way. (By this, however, I do not mean to say that the Love, Hatred, and Sorrow which proceed from the contemplation of incorporeal things produce the same effects as those which arise from the contemplation of corporeal things; for, as we shall presently say, these have yet other effects according to the nature of the thing through the apprehension of which Love, Hatred, and Sorrow, etc., are awakened in the soul which contemplates the incorporeal things.) So that, to return to our previous subject, if something else should appear to the soul to be more glorious than the body really is, it is certain that the body would then have no power to produce such effects as it certainly does now. Whence it follows, not alone that the body is not the principal cause of the passions, but also that even if there were in us something else besides what we have just stated to be capable, in our opinion, of producing the passions, such a thing, even if there were such, could likewise affect the soul neither more nor differently than the body does in fact now. For it could never be anything else than such an object as would once for all be different from the soul, and would consequently show itself to be such and no other, as we have likewise stated also Page 95 of the body. So that we may, with truth, conclude that Love, Hatred, Sorrow, and other passions are produced in the soul in various forms according to the kind of knowledge which, from time to time, it happens to have of the thing; and consequently, if once it can come to know the most glorious of all, it should be impossible for any of these passions to succeed in causing it the least perturbation.

[23-17]   Now, as regards what we have said in the preceding chapter, the following difficulties might be raised by way of objection.

[23-18]   First, if motion is not the cause of the passions then why is it possible, nevertheless, to banish sorrow by the aid of certain means, as is often done by means of wine? To this it serves [as an answer] that a distinction must be made between the soul's awareness, when it first becomes aware of the body, and the judgment which it presently comes to form as to whether it is good or bad for it.

[23-19]   Now the soul, being such as just stated, has, as we have already shown before, the power to move the [vital] spirits whithersoever it pleases; but this power may, nevertheless, be taken away from it, as when, owing to other causes [arising out] of the body generally, their form, constituted by certain proportions [of motion and rest], disappears or is changed; and when it becomes aware of this [changel in it, there arises sorrow, which varies with Page 96 the change which the [vitaI] spirits undergo. This sorrow results from its love for, and union with, the body.

[23-20]   That this is so may be easily deduced from the fact that this sorrow can be alleviated in one of these two ways; either by restoring the [vital] spirits to their original form, that is by relieving him of the pain, or by being persuaded by good reasons to make no ado about this body. The first is temporary, and [the sorrow] is liable to return; but the second is eternal, permanent, and unchangeable.

[23-21]   The second objection may be this: as we see that the soul, although it has nothing in common with the body, can yet bring it about that the [vital] spirits, although they were about to move in one direction, nevertheless move now in the other direction, why should it not also be able to effect that a body which is perfectly still and at rest should begin to move itself? Likewise, why should it not also be able to move in whatever direction it pleases all other bodies which are already in motion?

[23-22]   But if we recall what we have already said before concerning the thinking thing, it can remove this difficulty for us quite easily. Namely, we then said that although Nature has various attributes, it is, all the same, but one only Being, of which all these attributes are predicated. Besides this we have also said that the thinking thing, too, was but one only Page 97 thing in Nature, and is expressed in infinite Ideas, in accordance with the infinite things which exist in Nature; for if the body receives such a mode as, for example, the body of Peter, and again another such as is the body of Paul, the result of this is that there are in the thinking thing two different Ideas: namely, one idea of the body of Peter, which constitutes the Soul of Peter, and another of [the body of] Paul, which constitutes the Soul of Paul. Now the thinking thing can well move the body of Peter by means of the Idea of the body of Peter, but not by means of the Idea of the body of Paul; so that the soul of Paul can well move its own body, but by no means that of another, such as that of Peter. And for this reason also it cannot move a stone which rests or lies still: because the stone, again, makes another Idea in the Soul. Hence also it is no less clear that it is impossible that a stone, which is perfectly at rest and still, should be made to move by any mode of thought, for the same reasons as above.

[23-23]   The third objection may be this: We seem to be able to see clearly that we can, nevertheless, produce a certain stillness in the body. For, after we have kept moving our [vital] spirits for a long time, we find that we are tired; which, assuredly, is nothing else than a certain stillness in the [vital] spirits brought about by ourselves. We answer, however, that it is quite true that the soul is a cause of this stillness, but Page 98 only indirectly; for it puts a stop to the movement not directly, but only through other bodies which it has moved, and which must then necessarily have lost as much as they had imparted to the [vital] spirits. It is therefore clear on all sides that in Nature there is only one and the same kind of motion.

Page 99
Chapter 24 - On Reason

[24-1]   AT PRESENT we have to inquire why it happens that sometimes, although we see that a certain thing is good or bad, we nevertheless do not find in us the power either to do the good or to abstain from the bad, and sometimes, however, we do indeed [find this power in us]. This we can easily understand if we consider the causes that we assigned to opinions which we stated to be the causes of all effects . These, We then said, [arise] either from hearsay, or from experience. And since all that we find in ourselves has greater power over us than that which comes to us from outside, it certainly follows that Reason can be the cause of the extinction of opinions which we have got from hearsay only (and this is so because reason has not like these come to us from outside), but by no means of those which we have got from experience. For the power which the thing itself gives us is always greater than that which we obtain by way of consequence through a second thing; we noted this difference when speaking of reasoning and of clear understanding, and we did so with the Rule of Three as an illustration. For more power comes to us from the understanding of proportion itself, than Page 100 from the understanding of the rule of proportion. And it is for this reason that we have said so often that one love may be extinguished by another which is greater, because in saying this we do not, by any means, intend to refer to desire which does not, like love, come from true knowledge, but comes from opinion.

Page 101
Chapter 25 - On True Knowledge

[25-1]   SINCE MERE comprehension has no power to lead us to the attainment of our well-being, it remains for us to inquire whether we can attain it through the fourth, and last, kind of knowledge. Now we have said that this kind of knowledge does not result from something else, but from a direct revelation of the object itself to the understanding. And if that object is glorious and good, then the soul becomes necessarily united with it, as we have also remarked with refer­ence to our body. Hence it follows incontrovertibly that it is this knowledge which evokes love. So that when we get to know G-D after this manner then (as He cannot reveal Himself, nor become known to us otherwise than as the most glorious and best of all) we must necessarily become united with Him. And only in this union, as we have already remarked, does our blessedness consist.

[25-2]   I do not say that we must know Him just as He is, or adequately, for it is sufficient for us to know Him to some extent, in order to be united with Him. For even the knowledge that we have of the body is not such that we know it just as it is, or perfectly; and yet, what a union! what a love!

Page 102
[25-3]   That this fourth [kind of] knowledge, which is the knowledge of G-D, is not the consequence of something else, but immediate, is evident from what we have proved before, [namely] that He is the cause of all knowledge that is acquired through itself alone, and through no other thing; moreover, also from this, that we are so united with Him by nature that without Him we can neither be, nor be known. And for this reason, since there is such a close union between G-D and us, it is evident that we cannot know Him except directly.

[25-4]   We shall endeavor to explain, next, this union of ours with Him through nature and love.

[25-5]  We said before that in Nature there can be nothing of which there should not be an Idea in the soul of that same thing. And according as the thing is either more or less perfect, so also is the union and the influence of the Idea with the thing, or with G-D himself, less or more perfect. For as the whole of Nature is but one only substance, and one whose essence is infinite, all things are united through Nature, and they are united into one [being], namely, G-D. And now, as the body is the very first thing of which our soul becomes aware (because as already remarked, no thing can exist in Nature, the Idea of which is not in the thinking thing, this Idea being the soul of that thing) so that thing must necessarily be the first cause of the Idea.

Page 103
[25-6]   But, as this Idea can by no means find rest in the knowledge of the body without passing on to the knowledge of that without which the body and Idea could neither be, nor be understood, so (after knowing it first) it becomes united with it immediately through love. This union is better understood, and one may gather what it must be like, from its action with the body, in which we see how through knowledge of, and feelings towards corporeal things, there arise in us all the effects which we are constantly becoming aware of in the body, through the movements of the [vital] spirits; and therefore (if once our knowledge and love come to embrace that without which we can neither be, nor be understood, and which is in no way corporeal) how incomparably greater and more glorious will and must be the kind of effects resulting from this union; for these must necessarily be commensurate with the thing with which it is united. And when we become aware of these excellent effects, then we may say with truth, that we have been horn again. For our first birth took place when we were united with the body, through which the activities and movements of the [vital] spirits have arisen; but this our other or second birth will take place when we become aware in us of entirely different effects of love, commensurate with the knowledge of this incorporeal object, and as different from the first as the corporeal is different from the Page 104 incorporeal, spirit from flesh. And this may, therefore, all the more justly and truly be called Regeneration, inasmuch as only from this love and union does Eternal and unchangeable existence ensue, as we shall prove.

Page 105
Chapter 26 - On the Immortality of the Soul

[26-1]   IF ONLY we consider attentively what the Soul is, and whence its change and duration originate, then we shall easily see whether it is mortal or immortal.

[26-2]   Now we have said that the Soul is an Idea which is in the thinking thing, arising from the reality of a thing which exists in Nature. Whence it follows that according to the duration and change of the thing, so must also be the duration and change of the Soul. We remarked, at the same time, that the Soul can become united either with the body of which it is the Idea, or with G-D, without whom it can neither be, nor be known.

[26-3]   From this, then, it can easily be seen, (1) that, if it is united with the body alone, and that body happens to perish, then it must perish also; for when it is deprived of the body, which is the foundation of its love, it must perish with it. But (2) if it becomes united with some other thing which is and remains unchangeable, then, on the contrary, it must also remain unchangeable and lasting. For, in that case, through what shall it be possible for it to perish? Not through itself; for as little as it could begin to exist through itself when it did not yet exist, so little Page106 also can it change or perish through itself, now that it does exist.

[26-4]   Consequently, that thing which alone is the cause of its existence, must also (when it is about to perish) be the cause of its non-existence, because it happens to change itself or to perish.

Page 107
Chapter 27 - On G-D's Love of Man

[27-1]   THUS FAR we have shown sufficiently, we think, what our love of G-D is, also its consequences, namely, our eternal duration. So we do not think it necessary here to say anything about other things, such as joy in G-D, peace of mind, etc., as from what has been said it may easily be seen what there is to or should be said about them. Thus (as we have, so far, only considered our love of G-D) it still remains to be seen whether there is also a divine love of us, that is, whether G-D also loves mankind, namely, when they love Him. Now, in the first place, we have saidthat to G-D no modes of thought can be ascribed except those which are in His creatures; therefore, it cannot be said that G-D loves mankind, much less [can it be said] that He should love them because they love Him, or hate them because they hate Him. For in that case we should have to suppose that people do so of their own free will, and that they do not depend on a first cause; which we have already before proved to be false. Besides, this would necessarily involve nothing less than a great mutability on the part of G-D, who, though He neither loved nor hated before, would now have to begin to love and Page 108 to hate, and would be induced or made to do so by something supposed to be outside Him; but this is absurdity itself.

[27-2]   Still, when we say that G-D does not love man, this must not be taken to mean that He (so to say) leaves man to pursue his course all alone, but only that because man together with all that is, are in G-D in such a way, and G-D consists of all these in such a way, therefore, properly speaking, there can be in Him no love for something else: since all form only one thing, which is G-D Himself.

[27-3]   From this it follows also that G-D gives no laws to mankind so as to reward them when they fulfill them [and to punish them when they transgress them] or, to state it more clearly, that G-D's laws are not of such a nature that they could be transgressed. For the regulations imposed by G-D on Nature, according to which all things come into existence and continue to exist, these, if we will call them laws, are such that they can never be transgressed; such, for instance, is [the law] that the weakest must yield to the strongest, that no cause can produce more than it contains in itself, and the like, which are of such a kind that they never change, and never had a beginning, but all things are subjected and subordinated to them. And, to say briefly something about them: all laws that cannot be transgressed, are divine laws; the reason [is this], because whatsoever happens, is not contrary to, but in accordance Page 109 with, His own decision. All laws that can be transgressed are human laws; the reason [is this], because all that people decide upon for their own well-being does not necessarily, on that account, tend also to the well-being of the whole of Nature, but may, on the contrary, tend to the annihilation of many other things.

[27-4]   When the laws of Nature are stronger, the laws of men are made null; the divine laws are the final end for the sake of which they exist, and not subordinate; human [laws] are not. Still, notwithstanding the fact that men make laws for their own well-being, and have no other end in view except to promote their own well-being by them, this end of theirs may yet (in so far as it is subordinate to other ends which another has in view, who is above them, and lets them act thus as parts of Nature) serve that end [which] coincides with the eternal laws established by G-D from eternity, and so, together with all others, help to accomplish everything. For example, although the bees, in all their work and the orderly discipline which they maintain among themselves, have no other end in view than to make certain provisions for themselves for the winter, still, man who is above them, has an entirely different end in view when he maintains and tends them, namely, to obtain honey for himself. So also [is it with] man, in so far as he is an individual thing and looks no further than his finite character can reach; but, in Page 110 so far as he is also a part and tool of the whole of Nature, this end of man cannot be the final end of Nature, because she is infinite, and must make use of him, together also with all other things, as an instrument.

[27-5]   Thus far [we have been speaking) of the law imposed by G-D; it is now to be remarked also that man is aware of two kinds of law even in himself; I mean such a man who uses his understanding aright, and attains to the knowledge of G-D; and these [two kinds of law] result from his fellowship with G-D, and from his fellowship with the modes of Nature. Of these the one is necessary, and the other is not. For, as regards the law which results from his fellowship with G-D, since he can never be otherwise but must always necessarily he united with Him, therefore he has, and always must have before his eyes the laws by which he must live for and with G-D. But as regards the law which results from his fellowship with the modes, since he can separate himself from men, this is not so necessary.

[27-6]   Now, since we posit such a fellowship between G-D and men, it might justly be asked, how G-D can make Himself known to men, and whether this happens, or could have happened, by means of spoken words, or directly through Himself, without using any other thing to do it with.

[27-7]   We answer, not by means of words, in any case; for in that case man must have known the signification Page 111 of the words before they were spoken to him. For example, if G-D had said to the Israelites, I am Jehovah your G-D, then they would have had to know first, apart from these words, that G-D existed, before they could be assured thereby that it was He [who was speaking to them]. For they already knew quite well then that the voice, thunder and lightning were not G-D, although the voice proclaimed that it was G-D. And the same that we say here about words, we also mean to hold good of all external signs.

[27-8]   We consider it, therefore, impossible that G-D should make Himself known to men by means of external signs.

[27-9]   And we consider it to be unnecessary that it should happen through any other thing than the mere essence of G-D and the understanding of man; for, as the Understanding is that in us which must know G-D, and as it stands in such immediate union with Him that it can neither be, nor be understood without Him, it is incontrovertibly evident from this that no thing can ever come into such close touch with the Understanding as G-D Himself can. It is also impossible to get to know G-D through something else. 1. Because, in that case, such a thing would have to be better known to us than G-D Himself, which is in open conflict with all that we have hitherto clearly shown, namely, that G-D is a cause both of our knowledge and of an essence, and that without Page 112 Him all individual things not only cannot exist, but cannot even be understood. 2. Because we can never attain to the knowledge of G-D through any other thing, the nature of which is necessarily finite, even if it were far better known to us; for how is it pos­ sible that we should infer an infinite and limitless thing from a finite and limited thing? For even if we did observe some effects or work in Nature the cause of which was unknown to us, still it would be impossible for us to conclude from this that there must be in Nature an infinite and limitless thing in order to produce this result. For how can we know whether many causes have concurred in order to produce this, or whether there was only one? Who is to tell us?

[27-10]We therefore conclude, finally, that, in order to make Himself known to men, G-D can and need use neither words, nor miracles, nor any other created thing, but only Himself.

Page 113
Chapter 28 - On Devils

[28-1]   WE SHALL now briefly say something about devils, whether they exist or do not exist, and it is this:

[28-2]   If the Devil is a thing that is once for all opposed to G-D, and has absolutely nothing from G-D, then he is precisely identical with Nothing, which we have already discussed before.

[28-3]   If, with some, we represent him as a thinking thing that absolutely neither wills nor does any good, and so sets himself, once for all, in opposition to G-D, then surely he is very wretched, and, if prayers could help, then one ought to pray for his conversion.

[28-4]   But let us just see whether such a wretched thing could even exist for a single moment. And, if we do so, we shall immediately find out that it cannot; for whatever duration a thing has results entirely from the perfection of the thing, and the more essense antigodliness things possess, the more lasting are they: therefore, as the Devil has not the least perfection in him, how should he then, I think to myself, be able to exist? Add to this, that the persistence or duration of a mode of the thinking thing only results from the union in which such a mode is, through love, joined to G-D. As the precise opposite Page 114 of this union is supposed in the case of the Devils, they cannot possibly exist.

[28-5]   As, however, there is no necessity whatever why we should posit the existence of Devils, why then should they be posited? For we need not, like others, posit Devils in order to find [in them] the cause of Hatred, Envy, Wrath, and such-like passions, since we have found this sufficiently, without such fictions.

Page 115
Chapter 29 - On True Freedom

[29-1]   BY THE assertion of what precedes we not only wanted to make known that there are no Devils, but also, indeed, that the causes (or, to express it better, what we call Sins) which hinder us in the attainment of our perfection are in ourselves. We have also shown already, in what precedes, how and in what manner, through reason as also through the fourth kind of knowledge, we must attain to our blessedness, and how the passions which are bad and should be banished must be done away with: not as is commonly urged, namely, that these [passions] must first be subdued before we can attain to the knowledge, and consequently to the love, of G-D. Ihat would be just like insisting that someone who is ignorant must first forsake his ignorance before he can attain to knowledge. But [the truth is] this, that only knowledge can cause the disappearance thereofas is evident from all that we have said. Similarly, it may also be clearly gathered from the above that without Virtue, or (to express it better) without the guidance of the Understanding, all tends to ruin, so that we can enjoy no rest, and we live, as it were, outside our element. So that even if from the power Page 116 of knowledge and divine love there accrued to the understanding not an eternal rest, such as we have shown, but only a temporary one, it is our duty to seek even this, since this also is such that if once we taste it we would exchange it for nothing else in the world.

[29-2]   This being so, we may, with reason, regard as a great absurdity what many, who are otherwise esteemed as great theologians, assert, namely, that if no eternal life resulted from the love of G-D, then they would seek what is best for themselves: as though they could discover anything better than G-D! This is just as silly as if a fish (for which, of course, it is impossible to live out of the water) were to say: if no eternal life is to follow this life in the water, then I will leave the water for the land; what else, indeed, can they say to us who do not know G-D?

[29-3]   Thus we see, therefore, that in order to arrive at the truth of what we assert for sure concerning our happiness and repose, we require no other principles except only this, namely, to take to heart our own interest, which is very natural in all things. And since we find that, when we pursue sensuousness, pleasures, and worldly things, we do not find our happiness in them, but, on the contrary, our ruin, we therefore choose the guidance of our understanding. As, however, this can make no progress, unless it has first attained to the knowledge and love of G-D, Page 117 therefore it was highly necessary to seek this (G-D); and as (after the foregoing reflections and considerations) we have discovered that He is the best good of all that is good, we are compelled to stop and to rest here. For we have seen that, outside Him, there is nothing that can give us any happiness. And it is a true freedom to be, and to remain, bound with the loving chains of His love.

[29-4]   Lastly, we see also that reasoning is not the principal thing in us, but only like a staircase by which we can climb up to the desired place, or like a good genius which, without any falsity or deception, brings us tidings of the highest good in order thereby to stimulate us to pursue it, and to become united with it; which union is our supreme happiness and bliss.

[29-5]   So, to bring this work to a conclusion, it remains to indicate briefly what human freedom is, and wherein it consists. For this purpose I shall make use of these following propositions, as things which are certain and demonstrated.

[29-11]   Now let us just see what we must concede from the above propositions. In the first place, then,

[29-16]   From all that has been said it may now be very easily conceived what is human freedom, which I define to be this: it is, namely, a firm reality which our understanding acquires through direct union with G-D, so that it can bring forth ideas itself, and effects outside itself, in complete harmony with its nature; without, however, its effects being subjected to any external causes, so as to be capable of being changed or transformed by them. Thus it is, at the same time, evident from what has been said, what things there are that are in our power, and are not subjected to any external causes; we have like­wise also proved here, and that in a different way from before, the eternal and lasting duration of our understanding; and, lastly, which effects it is that we have to value above all others.

[29-17]   So, to make an end of all this, it only remains for me still to say to my friends to whom I write this:

Page 121
[29-18]   Be not astonished at these novelties; for it is very well known to you that a thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many. And also, as the character of the age in which we live is not unknown to you, I would beg of you most earnestly to be very careful about the communication of these things to others. I do not want to say that you should absolutely keep them to yourselves, but only that if ever you begin to communicate them to anybody, then let no other aim prompt you except only the happiness of your neighbor, being at the same time clearly assured by him that the reward will not disappoint your labor. Lastly, if on reading this through, you should meet with some difficulty about what I state as certain, I beseech you that you should not therefore hasten at once to refute it, before you have pondered it long enough and thoughtfully enough, and if you do this I feel sure that you will attain to the enjoyment of the fruits of this tree which you promise yourselves.



     Since April 16, 2002  hits.