Hampshire:202-3, 203-5
, 205-9 
(Published 1670 anonymously)
Benedict de Spinoza
1632 - 1677

Part 3 - Chapters XI to XV
Part 1Part 2 ,  Part 3 ,  Part 4 

Metaphors, Metaphor of Commandment of G-DReferred to G-DG:Bk.XI:42.

JBY Notes:

1.  Text was scanned from Book II and is a translation from 
     Bruder's 1843  Latin  text  by  R.H.M.  Elwes  (1883). 
     JBY  added  sentence  numbers.  

2.  (y:xx):  y = Chapter Number, if given;  xx = Sentence Number.
3.  Page numbers are those of Book II.
4.  Citation abbreviations.
5.  ( Spinoza's Footnote or the Latin word ), 
     ] Shirley's Bk. XI (or XIII) translation variance or note [ , 
     { JBY comment, emendation, or endnote }.    LINKS 
6.  Please  e-mail  errors,  clarification  requests,  disagreement,
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7.  TEXT version without links and without commentary.
     Latin version on a CD.
8.  There  is  much  in  this  work  that you will not agree with or even         Graetz's Censure  
     think  nonsensealthough  keep  in mind that Spinoza was under 
     the constraints of religious  intolerance.    Spinoza was born in the 
     very year (1632) that  the inquisitorial denunciation of Galileo took 
     place.  However,  partake  of  the work (and my commentaries) as 
     you  would  a  pomegranate; relish  the  flesh,  but spit-out the pits. 

9.  EL:[7]:viii, EL:[11]:xi, EL:[17]:xiii, EL:[22]:xvi, EL:[64]:xxxi, EL:xxxiii:J6,
     L19:296, L20:297, L23:301, L49:364,  old vocabulary in new bottles.
                                                             {Scriptural Theology}              Hampshire:205      
10. The  chief  aim  of  the whole treatise is to separate  faith ^ {Religion}          Smith:Divine Law
      from philosophy.  ]Shirley:37What emerges in the TTP, as far as is Spinoza           Hampshire:203 & 205
      concerned, is the possibility of a this-worldly blessedness for both the rational person               TL:L36(23):345
       (through philosophy)
and the common person (through purified religion),
[                    EL:L21:(73):298
      {By my defining Religion as an hypothesis, the two are synthesized.}                     Philosophy / Religion

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12.  Suggestion:  Do  not  read this Spinoza electronic text consecutively        Durant's Story
       as  you  would a novel, but rather follow a thread  by following all its          Schorsch
       links  in  turn.   You will then be putting hypertexting to its fullest and           EL:[3]:vi
       best advantage—the fuller discussion of a thread.  If you do not stick 
       to one thread (idea) at a timethis Web Site will be very convoluted,         Tickle the Fancy
       confusing, and an annoying maze. 

       If you prefer to read linearly, read these plain vanilla text versions,
       abridged versions, e-book versions,
or best, study the printed book
       book page numbers
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Table of Contents

Preface (at beginning of Part I)

   Part                   Chapters

Part 1 I II III IV V

Author's Notes to Theologico-Political Treatise - Part 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS:                                     BkII Page Numbers

Chap. XI.An Inquiry whether the Apostles
wrote their Epistles as Apostles and Prophets,
or merely as Teachers, and an Explanation
of what is meant by an Apostle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
The epistles not in the prophetic style.  157 
The Apostles not commanded to write or preach in particular places.  159 
Different methods of teaching adopted by the Apostles.
CHAPTER XII.- Of the true Original of the Divine Law,
and wherefore Scripture is called Sacred, and the
Word of  G-D. How that, in so far as it contains the
Word of G-D, it has come down to us uncorrupted
. . . 165   
CHAPTER XIII.- It is shown, that Scripture teaches
only very Simple Doctrines, such as suffice for
right conduct
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Error in speculative doctrine not impious—nor knowledge pious.
Piety consists in obedience.
CHAPTER XIV.Definitions of Faith, the True Faith,
and the Foundations of Faith, which is once for all
separated from Philosophy.
  TTP1:Divine Law    ]Bk.XIII:341377[ ..... 182
Danger resulting from the vulgar idea of faith.  182
The only test of faith; obedience and good works.  184
As different men are disposed to obedience by different opinions,
universal faith can contain only the simplest doctrines.
Fundamental distinction between faith and philosophy—the key-
stone of the present treatise.
CHAPTER XV.- Theology is shown not to be
subservient to Reason, nor Reason to Theology:
a Definition of the reason which enables
us to accept the Authority of the Bible
. . . . . . . . . . . 190
Theory that Scripture must be accommodated to Reason—maintained by
Maimonides—already refuted in Chapter vii.
Theory that Reason must be accommodated to Scripture—maintained by
And refuted.  194
Scriptur{al Theology} and Reason independent of one another.  195
Certainty of fundamental faith not mathematical but moral.  196
Great utility of Revelation.  198

Author's Notes to the Theologico-Political Treatise

Page 157

(11:1)   No  reader  of  the New Testament can doubt that the Apostles

were  prophets;  but  as a prophet does not always speak by revela-

tion,  but  only at rare intervals, as we showed at the end of Chap. I.,

we  may  fairly  inquire  whether  the Apostles wrote their Epistles as

prophets,  by  revelation and express mandate, as Moses, Jeremiah,
and  others  did,  or  whether only as private individuals or teachers,

especially   as   Paul,  in  Corinthians  xiv:6,  mentions  two  sorts  of


(11:2)  If  we  examine  the  style  of  the Epistles, we shall find it totally

different from that employed by the prophets.

(11:3)  The  prophets  are  continually  asserting that they speak by the

command  of  G-D: "Thus saith the Lord,"  "The Lord of hosts saith,"               Metaphors 

"The command of the Lord,"  &c.;  and  this  was  their habit not only       Chain of Natural Events 

in  assemblies  of  the  prophets, but also in their epistles containing

revelations,   as   appears   from  the  epistle  of  Elijah  to  Jehoram,

2 Chron. xxi:12, which begins, "Thus saith the Lord."

(11:4)   In  the  Apostolic  Epistles  we  find  nothing  of the sort.  (5) Con-

trariwise,  in  I Cor. vii:40  Paul  speaks according to his own opinion

and  in  many  passages  we  come  across  doubtful  and perplexed

phrase;  such  as,  "We  think,  therefore,"  Rom. iii:28;  "Now I think,"

(24)  Rom. viii:18,  and so on.  (11:6)  Besides these, other expressions

are met with very different from those used by the prophets.  (11:7)  For

instance,  1 Cor. vii:6,  "But  I  speak  this by permission, not by com-

mandment;"  "I  give  my  judgment  as one that hath obtained mercy

of  the  Lord  to  be  faithful"  (1 Cor. vii:25), and so on in many other

passages.   (11:8)  We  must  also  remark  that in the  page 158  aforesaid

chapter  the  Apostle  says  that  when  he  states that he has or has

not  the  precept  or  commandment  of  G-D,  he does not mean the

precept  or  commandment  of  G-D revealed to himself, but only the              Metaphors 
Mat 5:3-12
words  uttered  by  Christ in His Sermon on the Mount.  (11:9)  Further-

more,  if  we  examine  the  manner  in  which  the  Apostles give out

evangelical  doctrine,  we  shall  see that it differs materially from the

method  adopted  by  the prophets.  (11:10)  The  Apostles  everywhere

reason as  if  they were arguing rather than prophesying; the proph-

ecies,  on  the  other  hand,  contain  only  dogmas  and  commands.             

(11:11)  G-D  is  therein  introduced  not  as  speaking to reason, but as               Metaphors 

issuing  decrees  by  His  absolute  fiat.   (11:12)  The  authority  of  the

prophets  does  not submit  to  discussion,  for whosoever wishes to

find  rational  ground  for  his  arguments,  by  that very wish submits

them  to  everyone's  private  judgment.  (6:13)  This Paul, inasmuch as

he  uses  reason,  appears  to have done, for he says in 1 Cor. x:15,

"I  speak  as  to  wise  men, judge ye what I say.(11:14) The prophets,

as  we  showed  at  the end of Chapter I., did not perceive what was

revealed  by  virtue  of  their  natural  reason,  and  though there are

certain  passages  in  the  Pentateuch  which seem to be appeals to

induction,  they  turn  out,  on  nearer examination, to be nothing but

peremptory   commands.    (11:15)   For  instance,   when  Moses  says,

Deut. xxxi:27,  "Behold,  while  I  am  yet  alive  with  you, this day ye

have  been  rebellious  against  the  Lord; and how much more after

my  death,"  we  must  by  no means conclude that Moses wished to

convince  the  Israelites  by  reason  that  they would necessarily fall

away  from  the worship of the Lord after his death; for the argument

would  have  been  false,  as  Scripture  itself  shows:  the  Israelites

continued  faithful  during  the  lives  of  Joshua  and the elders, and

afterwards   during   the   time   of   Samuel,   David,   and  Solomon.

(11:16)  Therefore  the  words  of  Moses  are merely a moral injunction,

in  which he predicts rhetorically the future backsliding of the people

so as to impress it vividly on their imagination.  (11:17)  I say that Moses

spoke  of himself in order to lend likelihood to his prediction, and not

as  a  prophet  by revelation, because in verse 21 of the same chap-

ter  we  are told that G-D revealed the same thing to Moses in differ-              Metaphors 

ent  words,  and  there was no need to make Moses certain by argu-

ment  of  G-D's prediction and decree;   page159  it was only necessary

that it should be vividly impressed on his imagination, and this could

not  be  better  accomplished  than  by  imagining the existing contu-

macy  of  the  people,  of  which he had had frequent experience, as

likely to extend into the future.

(11:18)  All  the  arguments employed by Moses in the five books are to

be understood in a similar manner; they are not drawn from the arm-

oury  of reason,  but  are  merely  modes of expression calculated to

instil   with   efficacy,   and   present  vividly  to  the  imagination  the             Smith:108138

commands of G-D.                                                                                            Metaphors 

(11:19)  However,  I  do  not  wish  absolutely  to deny that the prophets

ever  argued from revelation;  I only maintain that the prophets made

more  legitimate  use  of  argument  in proportion as their knowledge

approached  more  nearly  to  ordinary  knowledge,  and  by  this we

know  that  they  possessed  a  knowledge above the ordinary, inas-

much  as  they  proclaimed absolute dogmas, decrees, or judgments.

(11:20)  Thus  Moses,  the  chief  of the prophets, never used legitimate

argument,  and,  on  the  other  hand, the long deductions and argu-

ments  of  Paul, such as we find in the Epistle to the Romans, are in

nowise written from supernatural revelation.

(11:21)  The  modes  of expression and discourse adopted by the Apos-

tles  in the Epistles, show very clearly that the latter were not written

by   revelation   and  Divine  command,  but  merely  by  the  natural

powers and judgment of the authors. 
(11:22)  They consist in brotherly             Smith:108137

admonitions  and  courteous  expressions  such  as  would never be

employed  in  prophecy,  as  for  instance, Paul's excuse in Romans

xv:15,   "I   have   written  the  more  boldly  unto  you  in  some  sort,            Smith:108136

my brethren."

(11:23) We  may  arrive at the same conclusion from observing that we

never  read  that  the  Apostles  were  commanded to write, but only

that  they  went  everywhere  preaching,  and  confirmed their words

with signs.  (11:24) Their personal presence and signs were absolutely

necessary  for  the  conversion  and  establishment in religion of the

Gentiles;  as  Paul  himself expressly states in Rom. i:11, "But I long

to  see  you,  that  I  may impart to you some spiritual gift, to the end

that ye may be established."

(11:25)  It  may  be objected  that  we might prove in similar fashion that

the  Apostles  did  not preach as prophets, for they did not go to par-

ticular  places,  as  the prophets did, by the  page 160 command of G-D.            Metaphors 

(11:26)  We  read  in  the {Hebrew Bible} that Jonah went to Nineveh to

preach,  and at the same time that he was expressly sent there, and

told  that  he  must preach.  (11:27)  So also it is related, at great length,

of  Moses  that he went to Egypt as the messenger of G-D, and was              Metaphors 

told  at  the  same  time  what  he should say to the children of Israel

and  to  king  Pharaoh,  and  what  wonders  he  should work before

them to give credit to his words.   (11:28)  Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel

were expressly commanded to preach to the Israelites.

(11:29)  Lastly,  the  prophets  only  preached  what  we are assured by

Scripture  they  had  received from God, whereas this is hardly ever

said  of  the  Apostles  in the New Testament when they went about

to   preach.   (11:29a)   On  the  contrary,  we  find  passages  expressly

implying  that  the  Apostles  chose  the  places  where  they  should

preach   on   their   own  responsibility,  for  there  was  a  difference             

amounting  to  a quarrel between Paul and Barnabas on the subject

(Acts  xv:37, 38).   (11:30)   Often  they  wished  to  go  to  a  place,  but

were  prevented,  as  Paul writes, Rom. i:13, "Oftentimes I purposed

to  come  to you, but was let hitherto;" and in I Cor. xvi:12, "As touch-

ing  our  brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with

the  brethren,  but  his  will was not at all to come at this time: but he

will come when he shall have convenient time."

(11:31)  From  these  expressions and differences of opinion among the

Apostles,  and  also  from the fact that Scripture nowhere testifies of

them,  as of the ancient prophets, that they went by the command of             Metaphors 

G-D,  one  might  conclude  that  they  preached  as well as wrote in

their  capacity  of  teachers, and not as prophets: but the question is

easily  solved  if  we  observe the difference between the mission of

an  Apostle  and  that  of an {Hebrew Bible} prophet.  (11:32)  The latter

were  not called to preach and prophesy to all nations, but to certain

specified ones, and therefore an express and peculiar mandate was              Constitution 

required  for  each of  them;  the  Apostles,  on the other hand, were

called to preach to all men absolutely, and to turn all men to religion.

(11:33) Therefore,  whithersoever they went, they were fulfilling Christ's

commandment;  there  was  no  need  to  reveal to them beforehand

what  they  should  preach,  for  they  were  the disciples of Christ to

whom their Master Himself said (Matt. X:19, 20): "But, when  page161

they  deliver  you  up,  take  no  thought how or what ye shall speak,

for  shall  be  given  you  in  that  same  hour  what  ye  shall speak."

(11:34)  We  therefore  conclude  that  the  Apostles were only indebted

to  special  revelation  in  what  they  orally preached and confirmed

by  signs (see the beginning of Chap. 11.); that which they taught in

speaking  or  writing  without  any  confirmatory  signs  and wonders

they taught from their natural knowledge.  (See I Cor. xiv:6.)   (35)  We

need  not  be deterred by the fact that all the Epistles begin by citing

the  imprimatur  of  the  Apostleship, for the Apostles, as I will shortly

show,  were  granted,  not  only the faculty of prophecy, but also the

authority  to  teach.  (11:36)  We  may  therefore  admit  that  they wrote

their  Epistles  as  Apostles,  and  for  this  cause every one of  them

began by citing the Apostolic imprimatur, possibly with a view to  the

attention of the reader by asserting that they were the persons  who

had made such mark among the faithful by their preaching,  and had

shown   by  many  marvelous  works  that  they  were  teaching  true

religion and the way of salvation (11:37)  I observe that what is said in

the Epistles with regard to the Apostolic vocation and the Holy Spirit

of God which inspired them, has reference to their former preaching,

except  in  those  passages  where  the  expressions  of the Spirit of

God  and  the  Holy  Spirit  are  used  to  signify a mind pure, upright,

and  devoted  to  God.  (11:38)  For instance, in 1 Cor. vii:40, Paul says:

"But  she  is  happier  if  she so abide, after my judgment, and I think

also  that  I  have  the Spirit  of  God. (11:39)  By  the Spirit of God the

Apostle  here  refers  to  his  mind,  as  we may see from the context:

his meaning is as follows:  "I account blessed a widow who does not

wish  to  marry  a second  husband;  such  is  my  opinion, for I have

settled  to  live unmarried, and I think that I am blessed. (11:40)  There

are other similar passages which I need not now quote.

(11:41)  As  we  have  seen  that the Apostles wrote their Epistles solely

by  the  light  of  natural  reason,  we  must  inquire  how  they  were

enabled  to  teach  by  natural  knowledge  matters outside its scope.

(11:42)   However,  if  we  bear in mind what we said in Chap. VII. of this

treatise  our  difficulty  will  vanish:  for  although  the contents of the

Bible  entirely  surpass  our understanding, we may safely discourse

of  them,   provided       page 162   we  assume  nothing  not  told  us  in

Scripture:  by  the  same  method  the  Apostles, from what they saw

and  heard,  and  from  what was revealed to them, were enabled to

form  and  elicit  many conclusions which they would have been able

to teach to men had it been permissible.

(11:43)  Further,  although  religion,  as preached by the Apostles, does

not  come  within  the sphere of reason, in so far as it consists in the

narration  of  the life of Christ, yet its essence, which is chiefly moral,

like  the  whole  of  Christ's doctrine, can readily be apprehended by

the natural faculties of all.

(11:44)  Lastly, the Apostles had no lack of supernatural illumination for

the  purpose  of  adapting  the religion they had attested by signs to

the  understanding  of  everyone so that it might be readily received;

nor for exhortations on the subject:  in fact, the object of the Epistles

is  to teach and exhort men to lead that manner of life which each of

the  Apostles  judged  best  for  confirming them in religion.
  (11:45)  We

may  here  repeat our former remark, that the Apostles had received

not  only  the  faculty  of  preaching the history of Christ as prophets,

and  confirming  it  with signs, but also authority for teaching and ex-

horting  according  as  each  thought  best.  (11:46)   Paul  (2 Tim. i:11),           Smith:110149

"Whereunto  I  am  appointed  a  preacher,  and  an  apostle,  and a

teacher  of  the  Gentiles;"  and  again (I Tim. ii:7),  "Whereunto I am

ordained a  preacher  and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ and

lie  not),  a  teacher  of  the Gentiles in faith and verity.(11:47)  These

passages, I say, show clearly the stamp both of the apostleship and

the  teachership:  the  authority  for  admonishing  whomsoever  and

wheresoever  he  pleased is asserted by Paul in the Epistle to Phile-

mon,  1:8: "Wherefore,  though  I might be much bold in Christ to en-

join  thee  that  which is convenient, yet," &c., where we may remark

that  if  Paul  had received from God as a prophet what he wished to

enjoin  Philemon,  and  had  been  bound  to  speak  in his prophetic

capacity,  he  would  not have been able to change the command of

God  into  entreaties.
   (11:48)  We  must  therefore  understand  him  to

refer  to  the  permission  to  admonish  which  he had received as a

teacher,  and  not  as a prophet.  (11:49)  We have not yet made it quite

clear  that  the  Apostles  might  each  choose his own  
page163  way of             Smith:110

teaching,  but  only  that  by  virtue  of  their  Apostleship  they  were

teachers  as  well  as prophets; however, if we call reason to our aid

we  shall  clearly  see  that  an authority to teach implies authority to

choose the method.  (11:50)  It will nevertheless be, perhaps, more sat-

isfactory  to  draw  all our proofs from Scripture; we are there plainly

told  that  each  Apostle  chose  his  particular method (Rom. xv: 20):

"Yea,  so  have  I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was

named,  lest  I  should build upon another man's foundation."  (11:51)  If

all  the Apostles had adopted the same method of teaching, and had

all built up the Christian religion on the same foundation, Paul would

have  had  no  reason  to  call  the work of a fellow-Apostle "another

man's  foundation,"  inasmuch  as  it  would have been identical with

his  own:  his  calling  it another man's proved that each Apostle built

up  his religious instruction on different foundations, thus resembling

other  teachers  who  have  each  their  own  method,  and prefer in-

structing  quite  ignorant people who have never learnt under anoth-

er  master,  whether  the subject be science, languages, or even the

indisputable   truths   of   mathematics. 
(11:52)  Furthermore,  if  we  go

through the Epistles at all attentively, we shall see that the Apostles,

while agreeing about religion itself, are at variance as to the founda-

tions  it  rests  on.  (11:53)  Paul,  in  order  to strengthen men's religion,

and  show  them  that salvation depends solely on the grace of God,

teaches  that  no  one  can boast of works, but only of faith, and that

no one can be justified by works (Rom. iii:27,28); in fact, he preach-             Smith:110150.

es  the  complete doctrine of predestination {the foreordination by God of 

whatever comes to pass, esp. the salvation and damnation of souls.
. (11:54)  James,  

on  the other  hand,  states  that  man  is justified by works, and not

by faith only (see his Epistle, ii:24), and omitting all the disputations             

of Paul, confines religion to a very few elements.

(11:55)  Lastly,  it  is  indisputable  that  from  these different ground; for

religion  selected  by  the  Apostles, many quarrels and schisms dis-

tracted  the  Church,  even  in the earliest times, and doubtless they

will  continue  so  to distract it for ever, or at least till religion is sepa-

rated   from  philosophical  speculations
,   and  reduced  to  the  few

simple  doctrines  taught  by Christ to His disciples; such a task was            Smith:110151.

impossible for the Apostles, because the Gospel was then unknown

to  mankind,  and lest its novelty should offend  page 164  men's ears it

had  to  be  adapted  to  the  disposition  of  contemporaries  (2 Cor.

ix:19, 20),  and built up on the groundwork most familiar and accept-

ed  at  the time.  
(11:56)  Thus none of the Apostles philosophized more

than did Paul, who was called to preach to the Gentiles; other Apos-
tles   preaching  to  the  Jews,  who  despised  philosophy,  similarly             Smith:109143 

adapted  themselves  to  the temper of their hearers (see Gal. ii. 11),

and  preached  a  religion  free  from  all  philosophical  speculations.

(11:57)   How  blest  would  our  age  be  if  it  could  witness  a  religion

freed  also  from  all  the trammels of superstition  { 
any blindly accepted              Smith:109144

belief or notion }.!   

Page 165


(12:1)  Those  who  look  upon  the  Bible  as a message sent down by

God  from  Heaven to men, will doubtless cry out that I have commit-

ted  the sin against the Holy Ghost because I have asserted that the
Bk.XIX:57b, 575.
Word  of  God  is  faulty,  mutilated, tampered with, and inconsistent;             Metaphors

that  we  possess  it  only  in  fragments,  and  that the original of the

covenant  which  God  made with the Jews has been lost.  (12:2)  How-

ever,  I  have no doubt that a little reflection will cause them to desist

from  their  uproar: for not only reason but the expressed opinions of

prophets  and apostles openly proclaim that G-D's eternal Word and

hearts, that is, in the human mind, and that this is the true original of            

G-D's  covenant,  stamped  with  His  own  seal,  namely, the idea of

Himself, as it were, with the image of His Godhood.

(12:3)  Religion  was  imparted  to  the  early  Hebrews as a law written            Constitution

down,  because  they  were  at  that  time in the condition of children,

but afterwards Moses (Deut. xxx:6) and Jeremiah (xxxi:33) predicted

a  time  coming  when  the  Lord should  write His law in their hearts.             Evolution

(12:4)  Thus  only  the Jews, and amongst them chiefly the Sadducees,

struggled  for  the  law written on tablets; least of all need those who            Smith:108139

bear  it  inscribed  on  their  hearts  join  in  the  contest.  (12:5)  Those,

therefore,  who  reflect, will find nothing in what I have written repug-

nant  either to the Word of God or to true religion and faith, or calcu-

lated  to  weaken  either  one or the other: contrariwise, they will see

that  I  have  strengthened  religion, as I showed at the end of Chap-

ter X.;  indeed,   page 166  had  it  not  been  so,  I should certainly have

decided  to  hold  my  peace,  nay,  I would even have asserted as a

way  out  of  all  difficulties that the Bible contains the most profound

hidden  mysteries;  however, as this doctrine has given rise to gross

superstition  and other pernicious results spoken of at the beginning

of  Chapter V., I have thought such a course unnecessary, especial-

ly as religion stands in no need of superstitious adornments, but is,

on   the   contrary,   deprived   by   such  trappings  of  some  of  her


(12:6)  Still,  it will be said, though the law of G-D is written in the heart,          Yovel's Mtaphors 

the  Bible  is none the less the Word of G-D, and it is no more lawful

to  say  of  Scripture  than  of G-Ds Word that it is mutilated and cor-

rupted.  (12:7)   I  fear  that  such  objectors are too anxious to be pious,

and  that  they are in danger of turning religion into superstition, and
worshipping paper and ink in place of G-D's Word.

(12:8)  I  am  certified  of  thus  much:  I  have  said nothing unworthy of

Scripture  or  God's  Word,  and  I  have  made no assertions which I            pejorative

could  not prove by most plain argument to be true.  (12:9)  I can, there-

fore,  rest  assured that I have advanced nothing which is impious or

even savours of impiety.

(12:10)   I confess that some profane men, to whom religion is a burden,

may,  from  what  I  have  said,  assume a licence to sin, and without

any  reason,  at the simple dictates of their lusts conclude that Scrip-

ture  is  everywhere faulty and falsified, and that therefore its author-

ity  is  null;  but  such men are beyond the reach of help, for nothing,

as  the  proverb  has  it, can be said so rightly that it cannot be twist-

ed into wrong.  (12:11)  Those who wish to give rein to their lusts are at

no  loss  for  an  excuse,  nor were those men of old who possessed

the  original  Scriptures,  the  ark  of the covenant, nay, the prophets

and  apostles  in  person among them, any better than the people of

to-day.   (12:12)  Human  nature,  Jew  as  well  as  Gentile, has always

been  the  same,  and in every age virtue has been exceedingly rare.

(12:13)  Nevertheless,  to remove every scruple, I will here show in what
sense  the  Bible or any inanimate thing should be called sacred and                I-thee 

Divine;  also  wherein  the law of G-D consists, and how it cannot be

contained  in  a  certain  number of books; and, lastly, I will show that

Scripture,  in  so  far    page 167   as  it  teaches  what  is  necessary  for

obedience  and  salvation cannot  have  been corrupted.  (12:14)  From

these  considerations  everyone  will  be  able  to  judge  that  I  have

neither   said   anything   against  the  Word  of  God  nor  given  any

foothold to impiety.

(12:15)   A  thing is called sacred and Divine when it is designed for pro-

moting  piety,  and  continues sacred so long as it is religiously used:

if  the users cease to be pious, the thing ceases to be sacred: if it be

turned  to  base  uses,  that which was formerly sacred becomes un-

clean  and profane(12:16)  For instance, a certain spot was named by

the  patriarch Jacob the house of God, because he worshipped God

there revealed to him: by the prophets the same spot was called the

house of iniquity (see Amos v:5, and Hosea x:5), because the Israel-

ites  were  wont,  at  the instigation of Jeroboam, to sacrifice there to

idols(12:17)   Another  example  puts  the  matter  in  the  plainest light.

(12:18)  Words  gain  their  meaning  solely from their usage, and if they

are  arranged according to their accepted signification so as to move

those  who  read them to devotion, they will become sacred, and the

book  so  written  will  be  sacred  also.  (12:19)  But  if their usage after-

wards  dies  out  so  that  the  words  have  no meaning, or the book

becomes   utterly   neglected,  whether  from  unworthy  motives,  or

because  it  is  no  longer  needed,  then the words and the book will

lose  both  their use and their sanctity: lastly, if these same words be

otherwise  arranged, or if their customary meaning becomes pervert-

ed  into  its  opposite,  then  both the words and the book containing

them become, instead of sacred, impure and profane.

(12:20)  From  this it follows that nothing is in itself absolutely sacred, or              JBYnote1 

profane, and unclean, apart from the mind, but only relatively thereto.

(12:21)  Thus  much is clear from many passages in the Bible.  (12:22)  Jer-

emiah  (to  select  one  case  out of many) says (chap. vii:4), that the

Jews  of  his time were wrong in calling Solomon's Temple, the Tem-

ple  of  God,  for,  as  he  goes  on to say in the same chapter, God's

name  would only be given to the Temple so long as it was frequent-

ed  by  men who worshipped Him, and defended justice, but that, if it

became the resort of murderers, thieves, idolaters, and other wicked

persons, it would be turned into a den of malefactors.

PAGE 168

(12:23)  Scripture,  curiously  enough,  nowhere tells us what became of

the  Ark  of  the  Covenant,  though there is no doubt that it was des-

troyed,  or  burnt  together  with  the  Temple;  yet there was nothing

which  the  Hebrews  considered  more  sacred,  or  held  in  greater

reverence.   (12:24)  Thus  Scripture  is  sacred,  and  its  words  Divine

so  long   as  it  stirs  mankind  to  devotion  towards  G-D:   but  if  it

be   utterly  neglected,  as  it  formerly  was by the Jews, it becomes

nothing  but paper and ink, and is left to be desecrated or corrupted:

still,  though  Scripture  be thus corrupted or destroyed, we must not

say  that  the Word of God has suffered in like manner, else we shall

be  like  the  Jews,  who  said  that  the Temple which would then be

the  Temple  of  God had perished in the flames.  (12:25)  Jeremiah tells

us  this  in  respect  to  the law, for he thus chides the ungodly of his
Jer 8:8
time,  "Wherefore,  say  you we are masters, and the law of the Lord

is  with  us?   (12:26)  Surely  it  has  been given in vain, it is in vain that

the  pen  of  the  scribes" (has been made)—that is,  you say falsely

that  the  Scripture is in your power, and that you possess the law of

God; for ye have made it of none effect.

(12:27)  So  also,  when  Moses  broke  the first tables of the law, he did

not  by  any  means  cast  the  Word  of God from his hands in anger

and  shatter  it—such  an  action  would  be  inconceivable, either of

Moses  or  of God's Word—he only broke the tables of stone, which,

though  they  had  before  been  holy  from  containing  the covenant

wherewith  the  Jews  had  bound  themselves  in obedience to God,

had entirely lost their sanctity when the covenant had been violated

by the worship of the calf, and were, therefore, as liable to perish as

the  ark  of  the covenant.  (12:28)  It is thus scarcely to be wondered at,

that  the  original documents of Moses are no longer extant, nor that

the  books  we  possess  met with the fate we have described, when

we  consider  that  the  true original of the Divine covenant, the most

sacred object of all, has totally perished.

(12:29)  Let them cease, therefore, who accuse us of impiety, inasmuch

as  we  have said nothing against the Word of God, neither have we

corrupted  it,  but  let  them  keep  their  anger, if they would wreak it

justly,   for   the   ancients   whose  malice  desecrated  the  Ark,  the

Temple,  and  the Law of God, and all that was held sacred, subject-         Yovels's Metaphors

ing  them  to  corruption.  (12:30)  Furthermore,   page 169  if,  according  to

the  saying  of the Apostle in 2 Cor. iii:3, they possessed "the Epistle

of  Christ,  written  not  with  ink,  but with the Spirit of the living God,

not  in  tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart," let them

cease   to   worship   the  letter,  and  be  so  anxious  concerning  it.

(12:31)  I  think  I  have now sufficiently shown in what respect Scripture

should  be  accounted  sacred  and  Divine;  we  may  now see what
Bk.XIX:57b, 575.
should  rightly  be  understood  by  the  expression,  the  Word of the 

Lord; debar  (the Hebrew original),  {daw-vawr'Strong:1697},  signifies         Chain of natural events

word,  speech,  command,  and  thing.   (12:32)  The causes for which a

thing  is  in  Hebrew  said  to  be  of  G-D, or is referred to Him, have

been  already  detailed  in  Chap. I.,   and  we  can  therefrom  easily

gather  what  meaning  Scripture  attaches  to the phrases, the word,

the  speech,  the  command,  or  the  thing  of  God.  (12:33)  I need not,

therefore,  repeat  what  I  there said, nor what was shown under the

third  head  in  the chapter on miracles.   (12:34)  It is enough to mention

the  repetition  for  the  better  understanding  of  what  I am about to

say—viz., that the Word of the Lord when it has reference to anyone

but  G-D  Himself,  signifies that Divine law treated of in Chap. IV.; in

other  words,  religion,  universal  and  catholic  to  the whole human

race,   as  Isaiah  describes  it  (chap. i:17),  teaching  that  the  true

way  of  life  consists,  not  in  ceremonies,  but in charity, and a true

heart,   and   calling   it   indifferently  G-D's  Law  and  G-D's  Word.

(12:35)  The  expression  is  also  used  metaphorically  for  the order of

nature  and  destiny (which, indeed, actually depend and follow from

the  eternal  mandate  of  the  Divine nature), and especially for such

parts  of such order as were foreseen by the prophets, for the proph-

ets  did  not  perceive  future  events  as the result of natural causes,

but  as  the fiats  and decrees of God.  (12:36)   Lastly, it is employed for

the  command of any prophet, in so far as he had perceived it by his

peculiar  faculty  or  prophetic  gift,  and  not  by  the  natural  light of

reason;  this use springs chiefly from the usual prophetic conception

of God as a legislator, which we remarked in Chap. IV.   (12:36a)  There

are, then, three causes for the Bible's being called the Word of God:

because   it   teaches   true   religion,  of  which  God  is  the  eternal

Founder;  because it narrates predictions of future events as though

they  were   page 170  decrees of God;  because  its actual authors gen-

erally  perceived  things not by their ordinary natural faculties, but by

a  power  peculiar  to  themselves,  and  introduced these things per-

ceived, as told them by G-D.

(12:37)  Although  Scripture  contains  much that is merely historical and

can be perceived by natural reason, yet its name is acquired from its

chief subject matter.

(12:38)  We  can  thus  easily see how God can be said to be the Author

of  the  Bible: it is because of the true religion therein contained, and

not  because He wished to communicate to men a certain number of

    (12:39)   We  can  also  learn  from  hence  the  reason  for  the

division into {Christian and Hebrew Bibles}(12:40) It was made because

the  prophets  who  preached religion before Christ, preached it as a
Exo 2:24 }
national  law  in  virtue  of  the  covenant  entered  into under Moses;

while  the  Apostles  who came after Christ, preached it to all men as

a  universal  religion solely in virtue of Christ's Passion:
the cause for        TTP3:Bk.XIA:106116.

the   division   is   not  that  the  two  parts  are  different  in  doctrine,

nor  that  they  were  written  as  originals of the covenant, nor, lastly,

that  the catholic religion (which is in entire harmony with our nature)

was  new  except in relation to those who had not known it: "it was in
the world,
"  as John the Evangelist says, "and the world knew it not."
NKJ (1982) John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him,
                                     and the world did not know Him.

{Hebrew Bible,}
(12:41) Thus,  even  if we had fewer books of the ^ Old, and New Testa-

ment  than  we  have,  we  should still not be deprived of the Word of          Yovel's Metaphors
 { EL:[64]:xxxi. }
God  (which, as we have said, is identical with true religion), even as

we  do  not  now  hold ourselves to be deprived of it, though we lack

many  cardinal  writings  such  as  the  Book  of  the Law, which was

religiously  guarded  in  the  Temple  as the original of the Covenant,

also  the  Book  of  Wars,  the  Book of Chronicles, and many others,

from  whence  the  extant  {Hebrew Bible}  was  taken and compiled.

(12:42)  The  above  conclusion  may  be  supported  by  many reasons.

  (12:43)   Because  the  books  of both Testaments were not written by

express  command  at  one  place  for  all  ages,  but  are a fortuitous

collection  of the works of men, writing each as his period and dispo-

sition  dictated.  (12:44)  So  much  is  clearly  shown  by  the  call of the

prophets  who  were bade to admonish the ungodly of their time, and

also by the Apostolic Epistles.

(12:45)  Because it is one thing to understand the meaning of  page 171

Scripture  and  the  prophets,  and quite another thing to understand

the  meaning of G-D, or the actual truth.  (12:46)  This follows from what           G-D sive Natura

we  said  in Chap. II.  (12:47)  We showed, in Chap. VI., that it applied to

historic  narratives,  and  to  miracles:  but  it by no means applies to

questions concerning true religion and virtue.

 (12:48)  Because  the  books  of  the  {Hebrew Bible} were selected

from  many,  and  were  collected and sanctioned by a council of the

Pharisees, as we showed  in Chap. X (12:49)  The books of the {Christ-

ian Bible}
 were  also chosen from many by councils which rejected

as   spurious  other  books  held  sacred  by many.    (12:50)   But  these

councils,   both   Pharisee   and  Christian,  were  not  composed  of

prophets,  but  only of learned men and teachers.  (1251)  Still, we must

grant  that  they  were  guided  in  their  choice  by  a  regard  for the

Word of God; and they must, therefore, have known what the law of

God was.

 (12:52)   Because  the Apostles wrote not as prophets, but as teach-

ers  (see  last  Chapter),  and  chose  whatever method they thought

best  adapted  for  those  whom  they  addressed: and consequently,

there  are  many  things  in the Epistles (as we showed at the end of

the last Chapter) which are not necessary to salvation.

    (12:53)   Lastly,  because there are four Evangelists in the New Test-

ament,  and  it  is  scarcely  credible  that  God can have designed to

narrate  the  life of Christ four times over, and to communicate it thus

to  mankind.  (12:54)   For  though  there are some details related in one

Gospel  which  are  not  in another, and one often helps us to under-

stand  another,  we  cannot thence conclude that all that is set down

is  of vital importance to us, and that God chose the four Evangelists

in  order  that  the  life of Christ  might be better understood; for each

one  preached  his  Gospel in a separate locality, each wrote it down

as  he  preached  it,  in  simple  language, in order that the history of

Christ  might  be  clearly  told,  not  with  any  view  of  explaining his


(12:55)  If  there  are  some  passages  which  can  be  better, and more

easily  understood  by  comparing  the various versions, they are the

result of chance, and are not numerous: their continuance in obscur-

ity  would  have  impaired  neither  the clearness of the narrative nor

the blessedness of mankind.

(12:56)   We have now shown that Scripture can only be called   page 172 

the  Word of God in so far as it affects religion, or the Divine law; we             metaphors

must  now  point  out  that, in respect to these questions, it is neither

faulty,  tampered  with,  nor  corrupt.  (12:57)  By  faulty,  tampered with,

and  corrupt,  I  here  mean  written  so  incorrectly  that the meaning

cannot be arrived at by a study of the language, nor from the author-

ity  of  Scripture.   (12:58)   I will not go to such lengths as to say that the

Bible,  in  so  far  as it contains the Divine law, has always preserved

the  same  vowel-points, the same letters, or the same words (I leave

this  to  be  proved  by  the Massoretes and other worshippers of the

letter),  I only maintain that the meaning by which alone an utterance

is  entitled  to  be  called  Divine,  has come down to us uncorrupted,

even   though   the   original   wording  may  have  been  more  often

changed  than  we  suppose.  (12:59)  Such  alterations,  as  I have said

above,  detract  nothing  from  the  Divinity  of the Bible, for the Bible

would  have  been  no  less  Divine  had  it  been  written in different

words  or  a  different language.  (12:60)  That the Divine law has in this

sense  come  down  to  us uncorrupted, is an assertion which admits

of  no  dispute.
  (12:61)  For  from  the  Bible  itself  we learn, without the

smallest   difficulty   or   ambiguity,   that  its cardinal  precept  is:  To

love God   above   all  things,  and   one's  neighbour  as  one's  self.

(12:62)  This  cannot  be  a  spurious  passage,  nor  due to a hasty and

mistaken scribe, for if the Bible had ever put forth a different doctrine

it  would  have had to change the whole of its teaching, for this is the

corner-stone  of  religion,  without  which  the  whole fabric would fall

headlong  to  the ground.  (12:63)  The  Bible  would not be the work we
have been examining, but something quite different.

(12:64)  We  remain,  then,  unshaken  in  our belief that this has always

been  the  doctrine  of  Scripture,  and,  consequently,  that  no error

sufficient   to   vitiate  it  can  have  crept  in  without  being  instantly

observed  by  all; nor can anyone have succeeded in tampering with

it and escaped the discovery of his malice.

(12:65)  As  this corner-stone is intact, we must perforce admit the same

of  whatever  other  passages  are indisputably dependent on it, and

are  also  fundamental,  as,  for instance,  that  a God exists, that He

foresees  all things,  that He is Almighty, that by His decree the good

prosper  and  the  wicked  page 173  come  to  naught, and, finally, that

our salvation depends solely on His grace.

(12:66)  These  are  doctrines  which  Scripture plainly teaches through-

out,  and  which it is bound to teach, else all the rest would be empty

and  baseless;  nor  can  we  be less positive about other moral doc-

trines,  which  plainly  are  built  upon  this universal foundation—for

instance,  to  uphold  justice,  to  aid  the  weak,  to do no murder, to

covet  no  man's  goods, &c.   (12:67)  Precepts, I repeat, such as these,

human  malice  and the lapse of ages are alike powerless to destroy,

for  if  any  part  of them perished, its loss would immediately be sup-

plied   from   the  fundamental  principle,  especially  the  doctrine  of
loving kindness—Bk.XIA:81131. 
charity,  which  is  everywhere in both Testaments extolled above all

others.   (12:68)  Moreover, though it be true that there is no conceivable

crime  so  heinous  that  it has never been committed, still there is no

one  who  would  attempt  in excuse for his crimes to destroy the law,

or  introduce  an  impious doctrine in the place of what is eternal and

salutary;  men's  nature  is  so  constituted that everyone (be he king

or  subject)  who  has  committed  a base action, tries to deck out his

conduct  with  spurious  excuses, till he seems to have done nothing

but what is just and right.

(12:69)   We  may  conclude,  therefore,  that  the  whole  Divine  law, as

taught by Scripture, has come down to us uncorrupted.  (12:70)  Besides

this  there  are  certain facts which we may be sure have been trans-

mitted  in  good  faith.  (12:71)  For  instance,  the  main facts of Hebrew

history,  which  were  perfectly  well  known  to  everyone.   (12:72)  The

Jewish people were accustomed in former times to chant the ancient

history  of  their  nation  in  psalms.    (12:73)  The  main  facts,  also,  of

Christ's  life  and  passion  were  immediately spread abroad through

the  whole  Roman  empire.   (12:73a)  It  is  therefore  scarcely  credible,

unless  nearly  everybody  consented thereto, which we cannot sup-

pose,  that  successive  generations  have  handed  down the broad

outline  of  the  Gospel  narrative  otherwise  than as they received it.

(12:74)  Whatsoever,  therefore,  is  spurious or faulty can only have ref-

erence  to  details—some  circumstances  in one or the other history

or  prophecy  designed  to  stir  the  people to greater devotion; or in

some  miracle,  with  a  view  of  page 174 confounding philosophers; or,

lastly,  in  speculative  matters  after  they had become mixed up with

religion,  so  that  some  individual  might prop up his own inventions

with  a  pretext  of  Divine authority.  (12:75)  But such matters have little

to  do  with  salvation,  whether  they be corrupted little or much, as I

will  show  in  detail  in  the  next chapter, though I think the question

sufficiently   plain   from   what   I  have  said  already,  especially  in

Chapter II.

Page 175


] It is shown that Scripture teaches only very simple doctrines,
  and  inculcates  nothing  but obedience, and that concerning
  the  nature of God it teaches only what men can imitate by a 
  definite code of conduct. [    { Constitution }  

(13:1)  In  the  second  chapter  of  this  treatise we pointed out that the

prophets  were  gifted  with extraordinary powers of imagination, but

not  of  understanding;  also  that  God  only  revealed  to them such

things  as  are very simple—not philosophic mysteries,—and that He

adapted  His  communications  to  their  previous  opinions.  (13:2)  We

further showed in Chap. V. that Scripture only transmits and teaches

truths  which  can readily be comprehended by all; not deducing and

concatenating  its  conclusions  from definitions and axioms, but nar-

rating  quite  simply, and confirming its statements, with a view to in-

spiring  belief, by an appeal to experience as exemplified in miracles

and  history,  and  setting forth its truths in the style and phraseology
which  would  most  appeal  to  the  popular mind (cf. Chap. VI., third


(13:3)  Lastly, we demonstrated in Chap. VIII. that the difficulty of under-

standing Scripture lies in the language only, and not in the abstruse-

ness of the argument.

(13:4)   To  these  considerations  we may add that the Prophets did not

preach  only  to  the learned, but to all Jews, without exception, while

the  Apostles  were  wont  to  teach  the  gospel doctrine in churches

where  there  were  public meetings; whence it follows that Scriptural

doctrine  contains  no  lofty  speculations  nor philosophic reasoning,

but  only  very  simple  matters,  such as could be understood by the
slowest intelligence.

(13:5)  I am consequently lost in wonder at the ingenuity of those whom

I  have  already  mentioned,  who  detect  in  the  Bible  mysteries so

profound that they cannot be explained in human language, and who

have  introduced  so many philosophic speculations into religion that

the  Church   page 176  seems  like  an  academy,  and  religion  like  a
science, or rather a dispute.

(13:6)  It  is  not  to  be wondered at that men, who boast of possessing

supernatural  intelligence,  should  be  unwilling  to  yield the palm of

knowledge  to  philosophers  who  have  only their ordinary faculties;

still  I  should  be surprised if I found them teaching any new specula-
tive  doctrine, which was not a commonplace to those Gentile philos-

ophers  whom,  in  spite  of  all,  they  stigmatize  as  blind; for, if one

inquires  what  these  mysteries  lurking  in  Scripture may be, one is
confronted  with  nothing  but  the  reflections of Plato or Aristotle, or

the like,  which it would often be easier for an ignorant man to dream
than  for  the  most  accomplished  scholar  to  wrest  out of the Bible.

(13:7)  However,  I  do  not  wish to affirm absolutely that Scripture con-

tains no doctrines in the sphere of philosophy, for in the last chapter

I pointed out some of the kind, as fundamental principles; but I go so

far  as  to  say  that  such  doctrines  are  very  few  and very simple.

(13:8)  Their precise nature and definition I will now set forth.   (13:9)  The

task will be easy, for we know that Scripture does not aim at impart-

ing  scientific  knowledge,   and,   therefore,  it  demands  from  men

nothing  but  obedience, and censures obstinacy, but not ignorance.

(13:10) Furthermore, as obedience to G-D consists solely in love to our

neighbour—for  whosoever  loveth  his  neighbour,  as  a  means  of
obeying God, hath, as St. Paul says (Rom. xiii:8), fulfilled the law,—

it  follows  that  no  knowledge  is  commended in the Bible save that

which  is  necessary for enabling all men to obey God in the manner

stated,  and  without which they would become rebellious, or without

the discipline of obedience.

(13:11)  Other  speculative  questions,  which have no direct bearing on

this  object,  or  are concerned with the knowledge of natural events,

do  not  affect  Scripture,   and  should  be  entirely  separated  from             TTP1:Divine Law


quite obvious [
(13:12)  Now,  though  everyone,  as  we have said, is now quite able to

see  this  truth  for  himself,  I  should nevertheless wish, considering

that  the  whole  of  Religion  depends  thereon,  to explain the entire

question  more  accurately  and  clearly.
  (13:13)  To this end I must first
demonstrate[        Bk.XIV:2:3062.              Bk.XIV:2:3063 Bk.XIV:2:306. 
prove  that  the  intellectual  page 177  or accurate knowledge of God is
   shared by all the faithful,       [ 
not  a gift, bestowed upon all good men like obedience; and, further,

that  the  knowledge  of  God, required by Him through His prophets

from  everyone  without exception, as needful to be known, is simply
a  knowledge  of  His  Divine  justice  and  charity.    (13:14)  Both these

points   are   easily   proved  from  Scripture.  
(13:15)   The  first  plainly

follows  from  Exodus vi:2,  where God, in order to show the singular

grace  bestowed  upon  Moses,  says  to  him:  "And I appeared unto

Abraham,  unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of El Sadai (A. V.

Almighty)  but  by  my  name  Jehovah  was  I  not known to them"—            Bk.XIV:1:144.

for  the  better  understanding  of  which  passage  I may remark that
                                                          HirPent: Exo 6:3
El Sadai, in Hebrew, signifies the God who suffices, in that He gives         
HirPent:Gn 43:14

to  every  man  that  which  suffices  for  him;  and, although Sadai is

often  used  by  itself,  to signify God, we cannot doubt that the word

 (God)  is  everywhere  understood.  (13:16)   Furthermore,  we  must

note  that Jehovah is the only word found in Scripture with the mean-
Bk.XIV:2:3065.                                                  Bk.XIV:2:3068. 
ing  of  the  absolute  essence  of  God, without reference to created

things.   (13:17)   The Jews maintain,  for this reason, that this is, strictly

speaking,  the only name of God; that the rest of the words used are

merely  titles; and, in truth, the other names of God, whether they be

substantives or adjectives, are merely attributive, and belong to Him,

in  so far as He is conceived of in relation to created things, or mani-

fested  through  them.  (13:18)  Thus El, or Eloah, signifies powerful, as

is  well  known, and only applies to God in respect to His supremacy,

as  when  we  call Paul an apostle;  the faculties of his power are set

forth in an accompanying adjective, as El, great, awful, just, merciful,

&c.,  or  else all are understood at once by the use of El in the plural

number,   with   a   singular   signification,  an  expression  frequently

adopted in Scripture.

(13:19) Now,  as  God  tells  Moses  that He was not known to the patri-

archs  by  the  name  of Jehovah,  it follows that they were not cogni-
zant  of  any attribute of God which expresses His absolute essence,

but  only  of  His  deeds and promises that is, of His power, as mani-
fested  in  visible  things(13:20)  God does not thus speak to Moses in

order  to accuse the patriarchs of infidelity, but, on the contrary, as a

means  of  extolling  their  belief and faith,  inasmuch as, though they

 page 178  possessed  no  extraordinary  knowledge  of  God  (such  as

Moses had),  they  yet  accepted  His  promises as fixed and certain;

whereas  Moses, though his thoughts about God were more exalted,

nevertheless doubted about the Divine promises, and complained to

God  that,  instead of the promised deliverance, the prospects of the

Israelites had darkened.

(13:21)  As the patriarchs did not know the distinctive name of God, and

as  God  mentions  the  fact  to  Moses,  in  praise  of  their  faith and

single-heartedness,  and in contrast to the extraordinary grace grant-

ed  to Moses, it follows, as we stated at first, that men are not bound

by  decree  to  have  knowledge of the attributes of God, such know-

ledge  being  only  granted  to  a  few of the faithful: it is hardly worth

while  to  quote  further  examples from Scripture,  for everyone must

recognize  that  knowledge  of God is not equal among all good men.

(13:22)  Moreover,  a  man  cannot be ordered to be wise any more than

he can be ordered to live and exist.   (13:23)  Men, women, and children

are all alike able to obey by commandment, but not to be wise. If any

tell us that it is not necessary to understand the Divine attributes, but
that  we  must  believe them simply without proof, he is plainly trifling.

(13:24)  For  what  is  invisible  and  can  only  be perceived by the mind,

cannot be apprehended by any other means than proofs; if these are
absent  the  object  remains  ungrasped;  the  repetition  of  what has

been  heard  on  such  subjects  no more indicates or attains to their

meaning  than  the words  of  a  parrot  or a puppet speaking without

sense or signification.

(13:25)  Before  I  proceed  I  ought  to  explain how it comes that we are

often  told  in  Genesis  that  the  patriarchs preached in the name of

Jehovah,  this  being  in  plain contradiction to the text above quoted.

  (13:26)  A  reference  to what was said in Chap. VIII. will readily explain

the  difficulty.  (13:27)  It  was  there  shown  that the writer of the Penta-

teuch  did not always speak  of things and places by the names they

bore  in  the  times  of  which  he  was writing, but by the names best

known  to  his  contemporaries.  (13:28)  God  is  thus said in the Penta-

teuch  to  have  been  preached by the patriarchs under the name of

Jehovah,  not  because  such  was the name by which the patriarchs

knew  Him,  but  because  this name  was page 179 the one most rever-

enced  by  the  Jews.  (13:29)  This  point,  I  say,  must  necessarily  be

noticed,  for in Exodus it is expressly stated that God was not known

to  the  patriarchs  by  this name;  and  in  chap. iii:13,  it  is said that

Moses  desired  to  know  the  name  of God.  (13:30)  Now, if this name

had   been  already  known  it  would  have  been  known  to  Moses.

(13:31)  We  must therefore draw the conclusion indicated, namely, that

the  faithful  patriarchs  did  not know this name of God, and that the

knowledge  of  God  is  bestowed  and not commanded by the Deity.

(13:32)  It  is  now  time  to  pass  on  to our second point, and show that

God  through  His  prophets  required  from men no other knowledge

of Himself than is contained in a knowledge of His justice and charity

—that  is, of attributes which a certain manner of life will enable men
to  imitate.  (13:33)  Jeremiah  states  this in so many words (xxii:15, 16):

"Did not thy father eat, and drink, and do judgment and justice?  and

then it was well with him.  (13:34)  He judged the cause of  the poor and

needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know Me?  saith the

Lord."  (13:35) The  words  in  chap. ix:23  of the same book are equally

clear.  (13:36)  "But  let  him  that  glorieth  glory  in  this,  that  he under-

standeth   and   knoweth   Me,  that  I  am  the  Lord  which  exercise

loving-kindness,  judgment,  and  righteousness  in  the  earth;  for in

these  things I delight, saith the Lord."  (13:37)  The same doctrine may-

be  gathered  from Exod. xxxiv:6, where God revealed to Moses only

those  of  His  attributes  which display the Divine justice and charity.

(13:38)  Lastly,  we  may  call  attention  to  a passage in John which we

shall  discuss  at  more  length  hereafter;  the  Apostle  explains  the

nature of God (inasmuch as no one has beheld Him) through charity

only,  and concludes that he who possesses charity possesses, and

in very truth knows God.

(13:39)  We  have  thus seen that Moses, Jeremiah, and John sum up in

a  very short compass the knowledge of God needful  for all, and that

they  state  it  to  consist in exactly what we said, namely, that God is

supremely  just,  and  supremely  merciful—in  other  words,  the one

perfect  pattern  of  the  true  life.  (13:40)   We  may  add  that  Scripture

nowhere  gives  an express definition of God, and does not point out

any  other  of  His  attributes  which  should  be  apprehended  save

these,   nor    page 180    does   it   in   set   terms   praise   any   others.

(13:41)  Wherefore  we  may  draw  the general conclusion that an intel-
lectual  knowledge  of  God, which takes cognizance of His nature in

so  far  as  it actually is, and which cannot by any manner of living be

imitated  by  mankind  or  followed  as  an  example,  has no bearing
whatever  on  true  rules of conduct, on faith, or on revealed religion;

consequently  that  men  may  be  in  complete  error  on the subject

without  incurring  the  charge  of  sinfulness.  (13:42)  We need now no

longer  wonder  that  God  adapted  Himself  to  the existing opinions

and  imaginations  of  the  prophets,  or that the faithful held different

ideas  of  God,  as we showed in Chap. II.; or, again, that the sacred

books speak very inaccurately of God, attributing to Him hands, feet,

eyes,  ears,  a  mind,  and  motion  from one place to another; or that

they  ascribe  to  Him emotions,  such  as  jealousy,  mercy,  &c.,  or,

lastly,  that  they  describe  Him  as  a  Judge  in  heaven sitting on a

royal  throne  with  Christ  on His right hand.  (13:43)  Such expressions

are  adapted  to  the  understanding  of  the  multitude,   it  being  the

object   of   the   Bible   to   make  men  not   learned   but   obedient.

(13:44)  In  spite  of  this the general run of theologians, when they come

upon  any  of  these  phrases which they cannot rationally harmonize

with  the  Divine  nature,  maintain  that  they  should  be  interpreted

metaphorically,  passages  they  cannot  understand they say should

be  interpreted  literally.  (13:45)  But  if  every  expression of this kind in

the  Bible  is necessarily to be interpreted and understood metaphor-

ically,  Scripture  must  have  been  written,  not  for  the  people and
the  unlearned  masses,  but  chiefly  for  accomplished  experts and


(13:46)  If it were indeed a sin to hold piously and simply the ideas about

God  we  have  just  quoted, the prophets ought to have been strictly

on  their  guard  against  the  use  of  such  expressions,  seeing  the

weak-mindedness  of  the  people,  and  ought, on the other hand, to

have  set  forth  first  of  all,  duly and clearly, those attributes of God

which are needful to be understood.

(13:47)   This  they  have  nowhere  done;  we  cannot,  therefore,  think

that  opinions  taken  in  themselves  without  respect  to  actions are

either  pious  or  impious,  but  must  maintain  that a man is pious or

impious in  his  beliefs  only  in so far  as  page 181 he is thereby incited

to   obedience,   or   derives   from   them  license  to  sin  and  rebel.

(13:48)  If  a  man,  by  believing  what  is  true,  becomes rebellious, his

creed  is  impious;  if by believing what is false he becomes obedient,

his  creed is pious; for the true knowledge of God comes not by com-

mandment,  but  by  Divine  gift(13:49)  God has required nothing from

man  but  a knowledge of His Divine justice and charity, and that not

as necessary to scientific accuracy, but to obedience.

Page 182
] Bk.XIII:341377. [

WHICH IS ONCE FOR ALL SEPARATED                                       TTP1:Divine Law

(14:1)  For  a  true  knowledge of faith it is above all things necessary to

understand  that  the  Bible  was adapted to the intelligence, not only
of  the  prophets,  but  also of the diverse and fickle Jewish multitude.

(14:2)  This  will  be  recognized  by all who give any thought to the sub-

ject,  for  they  will  see  that  a  person who accepted promiscuously

everything in Scripture as being the universal and absolute teaching

of God, without accurately defining what was adapted to the popular

intelligence,  would  find  it  impossible  to  escape  confounding  the

opinions  of  the  masses with the Divine doctrines, praising the judg-

ments  and  comments of man as the teaching of God, and making a

wrong use of Scriptural authority.  (14:3)  Who, I say, does not perceive

that  this  is  the  chief  reason  why  so many sectaries teach contra-

dictory  opinions as Divine documents, and support their contentions

with  numerous  Scriptural  texts,  till  it  has passed  in  Belgium  into

a  proverb,  geen  ketter  sonder  letter—no  heretic  without  a  text?

(14:4)  The  sacred  books  were not  written  by  one  man,  nor  for the

people  of  a single period, but by many authors of different tempera-

ments,  at  times extending from first to last over nearly two thousand

years,  and perhaps much longer.
  (14:5)  We will not, however, accuse

the  sectaries  of  impiety  because  they  have adapted the words of

Scripture  to  their  own  opinions;  it  is  thus  that  these words were

adapted  to  the  understanding  of the masses originally, and every-

one  is  at  liberty  so  to  treat  them if he sees that he can thus obey

God in matters relating to justice and charity with a more full consent:

but  we  do  accuse  those  who  will  not  grant  this freedom to their

fellows,  but  who  persecute  all  who  differ  from   page 183   them,  as

God's  enemies,  however  honourable  and  virtuous  be  their  lives;

while,  on  the  other  hand,  they cherish those who agree with them,

however  foolish  they  may be, as God's elect.
 (14:6)  Such conduct is
as wicked and dangerous to the state as any that can be conceived.

(14:7)  In order, therefore, to establish the limits to which individual free-

dom should extend, and to decide what persons, in spite of the diver-

sity  of  their  opinions, are to be looked upon as the faithful, we must

define  faith and its essentials.  (14:8)  This task I hope to accomplish in       TTP1:Divine Law
                                                         { See Einstein endnote }
the  present  chapter,  and  also  to  separate  faith  from  philosophy,          

which is the chief aim of the whole treatise.                                                 Resurrection

(14:9)  In  order  to proceed duly to the demonstration let us recapitulate

the  chief  aim and object of Scripture; this will indicate a standard by

which we may define faith.

(14:10)  We  have  said  in  a  former  chapter  that the aim and object of

Scripture  is  only  to  teach  obedience.   (14:11)  Thus much, I think, no
one  can  question.  (14:12)  Who  does  not  see  that  both Testaments

are nothing else but schools for this object, and have neither of them

any   aim  beyond  inspiring  mankind  with  a  voluntary  obedience?

(14:13)  For  (not  to  repeat  what I said in the last chapter) I will remark

that  Moses did not seek to convince the Jews by reason, but bound
a constitution}                                                                                     Hampshire:181[2] 
them by a covenant, by oaths, and by conferring benefits; further, he

threatened the people with punishment if they should infringe the law,
and  promised  rewards  if  they  should  obey  it.  (14:14)  All  these  are

not   means   for  teaching  knowledge,  but  for  inspiring  obedience.

(14:15)  The  doctrine  of  the  Gospels  enjoins  nothing but simple faith,

namely,  to  believe  in  God  and  to  honour Him, which is the same

thing  as  to  obey  him.  (14:16)  There  is  no  occasion for me to throw

further  light  on  a  question  so  plain  by citing Scriptural texts com-
mending  obedience, such as may be found in great numbers in both
Testaments.   (14:17)  Moreover,  the  Bible  teaches  very  clearly  in  a

great  many  passages  what  everyone  ought to do in order to obey

God;  the  whole  duty  is  summed  up  in  love  to  one's  neighbour.

  (14:18)  It cannot, therefore, be denied that he who by God's command

loves  his neighbour as himself is truly obedient and blessed accord-

ing  to  the law, whereas he who hates his neighbour or neglects him
is rebellious and obstinate.

PAGE 184

(14:19)  Lastly,  it is plain to everyone that the Bible was not written and

disseminated only for the learned, but for men of every age and race;

wherefore  we  may rest assured that we are not bound by Scriptural

command  to  believe anything beyond what is absolutely necessary

for fulfilling its main precept.

(14:20)  This  precept,  then,  is  the only standard of the whole Catholic

faith, and by it alone all the dogmas needful to be believed should be

determined.  (14:21)  So much being abundantly manifest, as is also the

fact  that  all  other doctrines of the faith can be legitimately deduced

therefrom  by  reason alone, I leave it to every man to decide for him-

self  how  it  comes to pass that so many divisions have arisen in the

Church:  can it be from any other cause than those suggested at the

beginning of Chap. VIII. (14:22)  It is these same causes which compel

me to explain the method of determining the dogmas of the faith from

the  foundation  we  have discovered,  for if I neglected to do so, and

put  the  question  on  a  regular  basis, I might justly be said to have

promised  too  lavishly,  for  that anyone might, by my showing, intro-

duce  any doctrine he liked into religion, under the pretext that it was

a  necessary  means to obedience: especially would this be the case

in questions respecting the Divine attributes.

(14:23)  In  order,  therefore,  to  set  forth the whole matter methodically,
I  will  begin  with  a  definition  of  faith, which on the principle above
given, should be as follows:— 

(14:24)  Faith consists in a knowledge of God,  without which obedience
to Him would be impossible, and which the mere fact of obedience to
Him  implies.  (14:25)  This  definition  is  so clear, and follows so plainly 
from  what  we  have  already  proved,  that  it  needs no explanation. 
(14:26)  The  consequences  involved  therein  I  will  now  briefly  show.  

I.  (14:27) Faith  is  not  salutary in itself, but only in respect to the obedi-
 it implies, or as James puts it in his Epistle, ii:17, "Faith without
works is dead" (see the whole of the chapter quoted).   Bk.XIA:116171.

II.   (14:28)  He  who  is  truly  obedient  necessarily  possesses true and
saving  faith;  for if obedience be granted, faith must be granted also,
as the same Apostle expressly says in these words (ii:18), "Show me 
thy  faith  without  thy  works,  and  I  will  show  thee  my faith by my 
works." (14:29) So also John, I Ep. iv:7: "Everyone that loveth is born of 
God, and   page 185  knoweth God: he that loveth not, knoweth not God; 
for  God  is  love.(14:30)  From  these  texts, I repeat, it follows that we 
can  only  judge  a  man faithful or unfaithful by his works.  (14:31)  If his 
works  be good, he is faithful, however much his doctrines may differ 
from  those  of  the  rest of the faithful: if his works be evil, though he 
may  verbally  conform,  he  is unfaithful.  (14:32)  For obedience implies 
faith, and faith without works is dead. 

(14:33)  John,  in  the 13th verse of the chapter above quoted, expressly

teaches  the  same  doctrine:  "Hereby,"  he says,  "know we that we
dwell  in  Him  and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit,"

i.e.  love(14:34)  He had said before that God is love, and therefore he

concludes  (on  his  own  received principles), that whoso possesses

love  possesses  truly  the  Spirit of God.  (14:35)  As no one has beheld

God  he  infers that no one has knowledge or consciousness of God,

except  from  love  towards  his  neighbour, and also that no one can

have  knowledge  of any of God's attributes, except this of love, in so

far as we participate therein.

(14:36)  If  these  arguments  are not conclusive, they, at any rate, show

the  Apostle's  meaning,  but  the  words  in chap. ii:3, 4, of the same

Epistle  are  much  clearer,  for  they state in so many words our pre-

cise  contention:  "And  hereby  we  do know that we know Him, if we

keep His commandments.  (14:37)  He that saith, I know Him, and keep-

eth  not  His  commandments,  is  a  liar,  and  the truth is not in him."

(14:38)  From  all  this,  I repeat, it follows that they are the true enemies

of  Christ who persecute honourable and justice-loving men because

they  differ  from them, and do not uphold the same religious dogmas
Spinoza Hebrew }        
as  themselves: for whosoever loves justice and charity we know, by

that  very fact, to be faithful: whosoever persecutes the faithful, is an
enemy to Christ.

(14:39) Lastly,  it follows that faith does not demand that dogmas should
be  true  as that they should be pious—that is, such as will stir up the

heart  to  obey;  though  there  be  many  such  which  contain  not  a

shadow  of  truth,  so  long  as  they  be held in good faith, otherwise

their  adherents  are  disobedient,  for  how  can anyone, desirous of

loving  justice  and  obeying  God, adore as Divine what he knows to

be  alien  from  the  Divine nature?  (14:40)  However, men may err from

  page 186  simplicity  of  mind,  and  Scripture,  as  we  have seen, does

not  condemn  ignorance,  but obstinacy.  (14:41)  This is the necessary

result  of  our  definition  of  faith,  and all  its branches should spring

from  the  universal  rule  above  given, and from the evident aim and

object  of  the  Bible,  unless  we  choose  to  mix our own inventions

therewith.  (14:42)  Thus  it  is  not  true  doctrines  which  are expressly

required  by  the  Bible,  so  much  as doctrines necessary for obedi-

ence, and to confirm in our hearts the love of our neighbour, wherein                Lev 19:18
                          ] 1 John 4:7-8. [
(to  adopt  the  words  of  John)   we   are  in  G-D,  and  G-D  in  us.

(14:43)  As,  then,  each  man's  faith  must  be  judged  pious or impious

only  in  respect  of  its producing obedience or obstinacy, and not in

respect  of  its  truth;  and  as  no one will dispute that men's disposi-

tions  are  exceedingly  varied,  that all do not acquiesce in the same

things,  but  are ruled some by one opinion some by another, so that

what  moves  one  to  devotion  moves  another to laughter and con-

tempt,  it  follows  that  there  can  be no doctrines in the Catholic, or
universal,  religion,  which  can  give rise to controversy among good

men.  (14:44)  Such  doctrines  might  be  pious  to some and impious to

others,   whereas   they   should   be   judged  solely  by  their  fruits.

Bk.XIB:17579; Bk.XIX:2916.                                           Bk.XIX:564.
(14:45) To the universal religion, then, belong only such dogmas as are

absolutely  required  in order to attain obedience to G-D, and without

which  such  obedience  would  be  impossible;  as for the rest, each

man—seeing  that  he  is  the best judge of his own character should
adopt  whatever  he  thinks  best  adapted  to  strengthen his love of                Need

justice(14:46)  If  this  were  so, I think there would be no further occa-

sion for controversies in the Church.

(14:47)  I have now no further fear in enumerating the dogmas of univer-

sal  faith  or the fundamental dogmas of the whole of Scripture, inas-       Universal Religion

much  as  they all tend (as may be seen from what has been said) to

this one doctrine, namely, that there exists a G-D, that is, a Supreme

Being,  Who  loves  justice and charity, and Who must be obeyed by

whosoever  would  be  saved; that the worship of this Being consists

in  the practice of justice and love towards one's neighbour, and that

they contain nothing beyond the following doctrines :—

(14:48)  That  G-D  or  a  Supreme  Being  exists,  sovereignly  just                 Posit 
        and  merciful,  the  Exemplar  of  the  true  life;  that  whosoever 
            page 187  is  ignorant   of  or  disbelieves in His existence cannot                Immanent  
        obey Him or know Him as a Judge.   

II.      (14:49) That He is One (14:50) Nobody will dispute that this doctrine
        is absolutely necessary for entire devotion, admiration, and love                {
        towards  G-D(14:51)  For  devotion,  admiration,  and  love spring            interdependence }
        from the superiority of one over all else.

III.     (14:52)  That  He  is omnipresent, or that all things are open to Him,           { Analogy.  You know
        for  if  anything could be supposed to be concealed from Him, or            when one of your
        to  be  unnoticed  by  Him,  we might doubt or be ignorant of the            organs don't function. }
        equity of His judgment as directing all things.   

IV.    (14:53)  That  He  has  supreme  right and dominion over all things,            { Free }
        and  that  He  does  nothing under compulsion, but by His abso- 
        lute fiat and grace.  (14:54)  All things are bound to obey Him, He is            { Fear }
        not bound to obey any.  

V.      (14:55)  That  the  worship  of  G-D  consists  only  in  justice  and
         charity,  or  love towards  one's  neighbour.

VI.    (14:56)  That  all  those,  and  those  only,  who obey  G-D by their            { Metaphors }
        manner  of  life  are  saved; the rest of mankind, who live under 
        the  sway  of their pleasures, are lost.  (14:57)  If we did not believe 
        this,  there  would  be  no  reason  for  obeying G-D rather than 

VII.    (14:58)  Lastly,  that  G-D  forgives  the  sins  of  those who repent.             Analogy. }
              (14:59)  No one is free from sin, so that without this belief all would 
        despair of salvation, and there would be no reason for believing 
        in  the  mercy of G-D.  (14:60)  He who firmly believes that G-D, out             Pragmatism } 
        of the mercy and grace with which He directs all things, forgives 
        the  sins  of men, and who feels his love of G-D kindled thereby, 
        he,  I  say,  does  really  know Christ according to the Spirit, and 
        Christ is in him.     Bk.XIA:114160, 163. 

(14:61)  No  one  can  deny  that all these doctrines are before all things

necessary to be believed, in order that every man, without exception,

may  be able to obey G-D according to the bidding of the Law above

explained,  for  if  one of these precepts be disregarded obedience is
 Model }
destroyed. (14:62)   But  as  to what G-D, or the Exemplar of the true life,

may be,  whether  fire,  or  spirit, or light, or thought, or what not, this,

I  say,  has  nothing  to  do with faith any more than has the question

how  He  comes  to  be  the  Exemplar  of  the  true life, whether it be

because He has a just and merciful mind,  or because all things exist

and  act  through Him, and consequently  page 188  that we understand

through  Him,  and  through  Him  see  what  is  truly  just  and  good.

(14:63)  Everyone may think on such questions as he likes.

(14:64)  Furthermore,  faith  is  not affected, whether we hold that G-D is

omnipresent  essentially  or  potentially;  that  He directs all things by

absolute fiat, or by the necessity of His Nature; that He dictates laws

like  a  prince,  or  that He sets them forth as eternal truths; that man

obeys  Him  by  virtue  of free will, or by virtue of the necessity of the
Bk.XIB:1528, 29.
Divine  decree  { Bk.X:54 };  lastly,  that the reward of the good and the

punishment  of the wicked is natural or supernatural: these and such

like  questions  have no bearing on faith, except in so far as they are

used  as  means  to  give us license to sin more, or to obey G-D less.          { Metaphors }

(14:65)  I  will  go further, and maintain that every man is bound to adapt

these  dogmas  to  his  own  way  of  thinking,  and  to interpret them

according  as  he  feels  that  he  can  give  them his fullest and most

unhesitating  assent,  so  that he may the more easily obey G-D with
Bk.XIA:118179; Bk.XIB:17579; Bk.XX:281101. 
his whole heart.

(14:66)   Such  was  the  manner,  as  we  have  already  pointed  out, in

which  the  faith  was  in old time revealed and written, in accordance

with  the  understanding  and  opinions of the prophets and people of

the  period;  so,  in like fashion,  every man is bound to adapt it to his

own opinions, so that he may accept it without any hesitation or men-

tal  repugnance.  (14:67)  We  have  shown  that  faith does not so much
require truth as piety, and that it is only quickening and pious through

obedience, consequently no one is faithful save by obedience alone.

(14:68) The best faith is not necessarily possessed by him who displays
the  best  reasons,  but  by  him who displays the best fruits of justice

and  charity
(14:69)  How  salutary  and necessary this doctrine is for a

state,  in  order  that  men  may  dwell together in peace and concord;
 inner cities  }
and  how  many  and  how great causes of disturbance and crime are

thereby cut off, I leave everyone to judge for himself!

(14:70)  Before  we  go  further,  I  may remark that we can, by means of

what  we  have  just  proved,  easily  answer  the objections raised in

Chap. I., when we were discussing God's speaking with the Israelites

on  Mount  Sinai.  (14:71)  For,  though  the voice heard by the Israelites

could  not  give  page 189  those men any philosophical or mathematical

certitude  of  God's  existence,  it  was yet sufficient to thrill them with

admiration  for God, as they already knew Him, and to stir them up to

obedience: and such was the object of the display.  (14:72)  God did not

wish  to  teach  the  Israelites  the  absolute attributes of His essence

(none  of  which He then revealed), but to break down their hardness

of heart, and to draw them to obedience: therefore He did not appeal

to  them  with  reasons,  but with the sound of trumpets, thunder, and


(14:73)   It  remains  for  me  to  show that between faith or theology, and
will  dispute  the  fact who has knowledge of the aim and foundations

of   the   two   subjects,   for  they  are  as  wide  apart  as  the  poles.

(14:75)  Philosophy  has  no  end  in  view  save  truth: faith, as we have
 peace-of-mind }                   { Mark Twain }
abundantly   proved,   looks   for  nothing  but  obedience  and  piety.
 See Einstein endnote }
(14:76)  Again,  philosophy  is  based  on  axioms  which must be sought

from  nature  alone: faith is based on history and language, and must

be  sought  for  only  in  Scripture  and  revelation,  as  we showed in

Chap. VII(14:77)  Faith,  therefore,  allows the greatest latitude in philo-

sophic  speculation,  allowing  us  without blame to think what we like
about  anything,  and  only  condemning, as heretics and schismatics,

those  who  teach  opinions  which tend to produce obstinacy, hatred,

strife,  and  anger;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  only  considering  as

faithful  those  who  persuade us, as far as their reason and faculties

will permit, to follow justice and charity.

(14:78)  Lastly,  as  what we are now setting forth are the most important

subjects  of  my treatise, I would most urgently beg the reader, before

I  proceed,  to read these two chapters with especial attention, and to

take  the trouble to weigh them well in his mind: let him take for grant-

ed  that  I  have not written with a view to introducing novelties, but in

order  to  do  away with abuses, such as I hope I may, at some future

time, at last see reformed.

Page 190
It is demonstrated that neither is theology ancillary to reason nor reason to theology.
  The reason why we are convinced of the authority of the Holy Scripture.
Bk.XIV:2:2647, 2:3283.

Those  who  know  not  that  philosophy  and  reason are distinct,

dispute  whether  Scripture  should  be  made  subservient to reason,            Resurrection

or  reason  to  Scripture:  that  is,  whether  the  meaning of Scripture

should  be  made  to  agreed  with  reason; or whether reason should

be  made  to  agree  with  Scripture: the latter position is assumed by

the  sceptics  who  deny  the  certitude  of  reason,  the former by the

dogmatists.  (15:2)  Both  parties  are,  as  I  have  shown,  utterly  in the

wrong,  for  either  doctrine  would  require  us  to tamper with reason
or with Scripture.

(15:3)  We  have  shown  that  Scripture  does not teach philosophy, but

merely  obedience,  and  that  all  it contains has been adapted to the
understanding and established opinions of the multitude.  (15:4)  Those,

therefore,  who  wish to adapt it to philosophy, must needs ascribe to

the  prophets  many  ideas  which  they  never even dreamed of, and

give  an  extremely  forced  interpretation to their words: those on the

other  hand,  who  would make reason and philosophy subservient to
theology, will be forced to accept as Divine utterances the prejudices
of  the  ancient  Jews,  and  to  fill  and  confuse  their mind therewith.

(15:5)  In  short,  one  party  will  run wild with the aid of reason, and the

other will run wild without the aid of reason.

(15:6) The   first   among   the  Pharisees  who  openly  maintained  that
Bk.XIA:7181. Bk.XIA:107124; Bk.XIII:241230.
Scripture  should  be  made  to  agree  with reason, was Maimonides,

whose  opinion  we  reviewed,  and  abundantly refuted in  Chap. VII.:

now,  although  this  writer had much authority among his contempor-

aries,  he  was deserted on this question by almost all, and the major-

ity  went  straight  page 191 over  to  the  opinion  of a certain R. Jehuda
 See Shirley's footnote }    
Alpakhar,  who,  in  his  anxiety to avoid the error of Maimonides, fell
Bk.XIA:6654.                              Bk.XIA:6652.
into  another,  which  was its exact contrary.  (15:7)  He held that reason

should  be  made  subservient,  and  entirely  give  way  to  Scripture.

(15:8)  He  thought  that a passage should not be interpreted metaphori-

cally,  simply  because  it  was  repugnant  to  reason,  but only in the

cases  when  it  is  inconsistent  with  Scripture itself—that is, with its

clear  doctrines.  (15:9)  Therefore  he  laid down the universal rule, that

whatsoever  Scripture  teaches  dogmatically,  and  affirms expressly,

must  on  its  own  sole  authority  be admitted as absolutely true: that

there  is  no doctrine in the Bible which directly contradicts the gener-

al  tenour  of  the  whole: but only some which appear to involve a dif-

ference,  for  the  phrases of Scripture often seem to imply something

contrary  to  what  has  been  expressly  taught.   (15:10)  Such  phrases,

and such phrases only, we may interpret metaphorically.

(15:11)  For  instance,  Scripture  clearly  teaches  the  unity of God (see

Deut. vi:4),  nor  is  there  any  text  distinctly  asserting  a  plurality of

gods;   but  in  several  passages  God  speaks  of  Himself,  and  the

prophets  speak  of  Him,  in  the  plural  number;  such  phrases  are

simply  a  manner  of  speaking,  and  do not mean that there actually

are   several   gods:  they  are  to  be  explained  metaphorically,  not

because  a  plurality  of  gods  is  repugnant  to  reason, but because

Scripture distinctly asserts that there is only one.

(15:12) So,  again,  as  Scripture  asserts  (as  Alpakhar  thinks) in Deut.

iv:15,  that  God  is incorporeal, we are bound, solely by the authority

of  this  text,  and  not  by  reason,  to  believe  that God has no body:

consequently  we  must  explain metaphorically, on the sole authority

of  Scripture,  all  those  passages which attribute to God hands, feet,

&c.,  and  take  them  merely  as  figures  of speech. (15:13)  Such is the

opinion  of  Alpakhar.  (13a)  In  so  far as he seeks to explain Scripture

by  Scripture,  I praise him, but I marvel that a man gifted with reason

should  wish  to  debase  that  faculty.  (15:14)  It  is  true  that  Scripture

should  be  explained  by  Scripture,  so  long as we are in difficulties

about  the  meaning and intention of the prophets, but when we have

elicited  the  true  meaning,  we  must  of  necessity  make use of our

judgment   and   reason  in  order  to  assent  thereto.  (15:15)  If  reason,

however,  much  as  page 192 she  rebels,  is  to  be entirely subjected to

Scripture,  I  ask,  are  we to effect her submission by her own aid, or

without  her, and blindly?  (15:16) If the latter, we shall surely act foolish-

ly  and  injudiciously;  if  the  former,  we  assent  to  Scripture  under

the  dominion  of  reason,  and  should  not  assent  to  it  without her.

(15:17)  Moreover, I may ask now, is a man to assent to anything against

his reason?  (15:18) What is denial if it be not reason's refusal to assent?

(15:19)  In  short,  I  am  astonished  that  anyone  should wish to subject

reason,  the  greatest  of  gifts  and  a  light from on high, to the dead

letter   which  may  have  been  corrupted  by  human  malice;  that  it

should  be  thought no crime to speak with contempt of mind, the true

handwriting  of  God's  Word, calling it corrupt, blind, and lost, while it

is  considered  the  greatest  of  crimes  to  say the same of the letter,

which  is  merely  the  reflection and image of God's Word(15:20)  Men

think  it  pious to trust nothing to reason and their own judgment, and

impious  to  doubt  the  faith  of  those who have transmitted to us the

sacred books. (15:21)  Such conduct is not piety, but mere folly.  (21a) And,

after  all, why are they so anxious? What are they afraid of?  (15:22)  Do

they  think  that  faith  and  religion  cannot  be  upheld  unless—men

purposely  keep  themselves  in  ignorance,  and  turn  their backs on
reason?  (15:22a)  If  this  be  so,  they  have but a timid trust in Scripture.

(15:23)  However,  be  it  far  from  me to say that religion should seek to

enslave  reason,  or  reason  religion or that both should not be able

to  keep  their  sovereignty  in  perfect  harmony.  (15:24)  I  will  revert to

this  question  presently,  for  I  wish  now  to  discuss Alpakhar's rule.

(15:26)  He  requires,  as  we have stated, that we should accept as true,

or  reject as false, everything asserted or denied by Scripture, and he

further   states   that   Scripture   never  expressly  asserts  or  denies

anything  which  contradicts  its  assertions  or  negations  elsewhere.

(15:27)   The rashness of such a requirement and statement can escape

no  one.  (15:28)  For  (passing over the fact that he does not notice that

Scripture  consists  of  different  books,  written  at different times, for

different  people,  by  different  authors: and also that his requirement

is  made  on  his own authority without any corroboration from reason

or Scripture) he would be bound to show that all passages which are

indirectly   contradictory    page 193   of  the  rest,  can  be   satisfactorily

explained  metaphorically through the nature of the language and the

context: further, that Scripture has come down to us untampered with.

(15:29)  However, we will go into the matter at length.

(15:30)  Firstly,  I  ask  what  shall  we  do  if  reason  prove  recalcitrant?

(15:31)  Shall  we  still  be  bound  to  affirm  whatever  Scripture  affirms,

and  to  deny  whatever  Scripture  denies?  (15:32)   Perhaps  it  will  be

answered   that   Scripture   contains  nothing  repugnant  to  reason.

(15:33)  But  I  insist  that  it  expressly  affirms  and  teaches  that God is

jealous  (namely,  in  the  decalogue itself, and in Exod. xxxiv:14, and

in  Deut. iv:24,  and  in  many  other  places),  and  I  assert that such

a  doctrine  is  repugnant  to  reason.  (15:34)  It must, I suppose, in spite

of  all,  be  accepted  as  true.  If  there are any passages in Scripture

which  imply  that  God  is  not jealous, they must be taken metaphor-

ically   as   meaning  nothing  of  the  kind.   (15:35)   So,  also,  Scripture
expressly  states  (Exod. xix:20,  &c.)  that  God came down to Mount

Sinai,  and  it  attributes  to Him other movements from place to place,

nowhere  directly  stating  that  God  does not so move.  (15:36)  Where-

fore,   we   must  take  the  passage  literally,  and  Solomon's  words

(I Kings viii:27),  "But  will  God  dwell  on the earth?  (15:37)  Behold the

heavens  and  earth  cannot  contain thee,"  inasmuch as they do not

expressly  state that God does not move from place to place, but only

imply  it,  must  be explained away till they have no further semblance

of  denying  locomotion  to  the  Deity.   (15:38)  So also we must believe

that the sky is the habitation and throne of God, for Scripture express-

ly  says  so;  and  similarly  many  passages  expressing the opinions

of  the  prophets  or  the multitude, which reason and philosophy, but

not  Scripture,  tell  us  to  be false, must be taken as true if we are to

follow  the  guidance  of  our author, for according to him, reason has

nothing  to do with the matter.  (15:39)  Further, it is untrue that Scripture

never  contradicts  itself  directly,  but  only  by  implication.  (15:40)  For

Moses  says,  in so many words (Deut. iv:24), "The Lord thy God is a

consuming  fire,"  and  elsewhere  expressly denies that God has any

likeness  to  visible things. (Deut. iv. 12.)  (15:41) If it be decided that the

latter  passage  only  contradicts  the  former by implication, and must

be  adapted  thereto,  lest it seem to negative it, let us grant that God

is  a  fire; or rather, lest   page 194  we should seem to have taken leave

of  our senses, let us pass the matter over and take another example.

(15:42)  Samuel  expressly denies that God ever repents, "for he is not a

man  that  he  should  repent" (I Sam. xv:29).  (15:43)   Jeremiah,  on  the
other  hand,  asserts that God does repent, both of the evil and of the

good  which  He  had  intended  to  do  (Jer. xviii:8-10).    (15:44)   What?

(15:45)  Are  not  these  two  texts  directly contradictory?  (15:46)  Which of

the  two,   then,  would  our  author  want  to  explain  metaphorically?

(15:47)  Both  statements  are  general,  and  each  is the opposite of the

other—what one flatly affirms, the other flatly denies.  (15:48)  So, by his

own rule,  he  would  be  obliged  at once to reject them as false, and

to accept them as true.

(15:49)  Again,  what is the point of one passage, not being contradicted

by  another  directly, but only by implication, if the implication is clear,

and  the  nature  and  context  of  the passage preclude metaphorical

interpretation?  (15:50)  There  are  many  such  instances  in  the  Bible,

as  we  saw in Chap. II. (where we pointed out that the prophets held

different  and  contradictory  opinions), and also in Chaps. IX. and X.,

where  we  drew  attention  to  the contradictions in the historical nar-

ratives.  (15:51)  There  is  no  need  for me to go through them all again,

for  what I have said sufficiently exposes the absurdities which would

follow  from  an  opinion  and  rule  such  as  we  are discussing, and

shows the hastiness of its propounder.

(15:52)  We  may,  therefore,  put this theory, as well as that of Maimoni-

des,  entirely  out  of  court;  and  we  may take it for indisputable that

theology  is not bound to serve reason, nor reason theology, but that
each has her own domain.

(15:53)  The  sphere  of  reason  is,  as  we have said, truth and wisdom;

the  sphere  of  theology  is  piety and obedience(15:54)  The power of

reason  does  not  extend  so far as to determine for us that men may

be   blessed   through   simple   obedience,   without   understanding.
(15:55)  Theology tells us nothing else,  enjoins on us no command save

obedience,  and has neither the will nor the power to oppose reason:

she defines the dogmas of faith (as we pointed out in the last chapter)

only  in  so  far  as they may be necessary for obedience, and leaves

reason  to  determine  their  precise  truth:  for  reason  is the   page 195

light of the mind, and without her all things are dreams and phantoms.

(15:56) By  theology,  I here mean, strictly speaking, revelation, in so far

as  it indicates the object aimed at by Scripture—namely, the scheme

and  manner  of  obedience,  or  the  true  dogmas of piety and faith.    Smith:13993Scriptural Theology 

(15:57)  This  may  truly  be called the Word of God, which does not con-

sist  in  a certain number of books (see Chap. XII.).  (58)  Theology thus

understood,  if  we  regard its precepts or rules of life, will be found in

accordance  with  reason; and, if we look to its aim and object, will be

seen  to  be  in  nowise repugnant thereto, wherefore it is universal to

all men.

(15:59)  As for its bearing on Scripture, we have shown in Chap. VII. that

the  meaning  of  Scripture  should  be  gathered from its own history,

and  not  from  the  history  of nature in general, which is the basis of


(15:60)   We  ought  not to be hindered if we find that our investigation of

the meaning of Scripture thus conducted shows us that it is here and

there  repugnant  to  reason;  for  whatever we may find of this sort in

the  Bible,  which  men  may be in ignorance of, without injury to their

charity,  has, we may be sure, no bearing on theology or the Word of

God,  and  may, therefore, without blame, be viewed by every one as

he pleases.

(15:61) To  sum  up, we may draw the absolute conclusion that the Bible 

must  not  be  accommodated  to  reason,  nor  reason  to  the  Bible.        Scriptural Theology 

(15:62)  Now,  inasmuch as the basis of theology—the doctrine that man
may  be  saved  by  obedience  alone—cannot  be  proved by reason

whether  it  be  true or false, we may be asked, Why, then, should we

believe it?  (15:63)   If  we  do  so  without the aid of reason, we accept it

blindly,  and  act  foolishly and injudiciously; if, on the other hand, we

settle  that  it  can  be  proved by reason, theology becomes a part of

philosophy,  and inseparable therefrom.  (15:64)  But I make answer that

I  have  absolutely  established  that  this basis of theology cannot be

investigated  by  the  natural  light  of  reason,  or, at any rate, that no

one  ever  has  proved  it  by  such  means, and, therefore, revelation

was  necessary.  (15:65)  We  should, however, make use of our reason,
in  order  to  grasp  with  moral certainty what is revealed—I say, with

moral   page 196 certainty,  for  we cannot hope to attain greater certain-

ty  than  the prophets: yet their certainty was only moral, as I showed

in Chap. II.

(15:66)  Those, therefore, who attempt to set forth the authority of Scrip-

ture  with  mathematical  demonstrations  are  wholly  in error: for the
authority  of  the  Bible is dependent on the authority of the prophets,

and  can  be  supported  by  no  stronger  arguments  than those em-

ployed  in  old time by the prophets for convincing the people of their

own authority.  (15:67)  Our certainty on the same subject can be found-

ed  on  no  other  basis  than  that which served as foundation for the

certainty of the prophets.

(15:68)  Now the certainty of the prophets consisted (as we pointed out)
in these elements:—

I.    (69)  A distinct and vivid imagination.

II.   (70)  A sign.

III.  (71)  Lastly,  and  chiefly,  a  mind  turned  to  what is just and good.
(71a) It was based on no other reasons than these, and consequent- 
     ly they cannot prove their authority by any other reasons, either to 
     the  multitude  whom  they  addressed orally, nor to us whom they 
     address in writing. 

(15:72)  The first of these reasons, namely, the vivid imagination, could

be valid only for the prophets; therefore, our certainty concerning re-

velation must, and ought to be, based on the remaining two—namely,

the  sign  and  the  teaching.  (15:73)  Such  is  the  express  doctrine  of

Moses,  for (in Deut. xviii.)  he  bids the people obey the prophet who

should  give  a true sign in the name of the Lord, but if he should pre-

dict falsely, even  though  it  were in the name of the Lord, he should

be  put  to  death,  as  should  also  he  who  strives to lead away the

people  from  the  true  religion,  though  he confirm his authority with

signs  and  portents.  (15:74)  We may compare with the above Deut. xiii.

 (15:75)  Whence  it  follows  that  a  true prophet could be distinguished

from   a  false  one,  both  by  his  doctrine  and  by  the  miracles  he

wrought,  for  Moses  declares such an one to be a true prophet, and

bids  the  people  trust him without fear of deceit.  (15:76)  He condemns

as  false,  and  worthy  of  death,  those  who predict anything falsely

even  in  the  name  of  the  Lord,  or  who  preach  false  gods, even

though their miracles be real.

(15:77)  The  only  reason,  then, which we have for belief in Scripture or

the  writings  of  the   prophets,  is the doctrine we find  page 197  therein,

and  the  signs  by  which it is confirmed.  (15:78)  For as we see that the

prophets extol charity and justice above all things, and have no other

object,  we  conclude  that  they  did  not write from unworthy motives,

but  because  they  really  thought  that  men  might  become blessed
through  obedience  and  faith: further, as we see that they confirmed

their   teaching   with   signs  and   wonders,  we  become  persuaded

that  they  did  not  speak  at  random,  nor run riot in their prophecies.

(15:79)  We  are  further  strengthened  in our conclusion by the fact that

the  morality  they  teach  is in evident agreement with reason, for it is
accidental  coincidence  that  the  Word  of  God  which we find in

the  prophets  coincides  with  the  Word  of God written in our hearts.

(15:80)  We may,  I say, conclude this from the sacred books as certainly

as  did  the  Jews  of  old  from the living voice of the prophets: for we

showed  in  Chap. XII.  that  Scripture  has  come down to us intact in

respect to its doctrine and main narratives.

(15:81)  Therefore  this  whole  basis of theology and Scripture, though it

does  not  admit  of mathematical proof, may yet be accepted with the

approval  of  our  judgment.  (15:82)   It  would be folly to refuse to accept

what  is  confirmed  by such ample prophetic testimony, and what has

proved such a comfort to those whose reason is comparatively weak,

and  such  a benefit to the state; a doctrine, moreover, which we may

believe  in  without the slightest peril or hurt, and should reject simply

because  it  cannot  be  mathematically  proved:  it  is  as  though  we

should  admit  nothing  as  true,  or  as a wise rule of life, which could

ever,  in  any  possible  way, be called in question; or as though most

of our actions were not full of uncertainty and hazards.

(15:83)  I  admit  that  those  who  believe  that  theology and philosophy

are  mutually contradictory, and that therefore either one or the other

must  be  thrust  from its throne—I admit, I say, that such persons are

not  unreasonable  in  attempting to put theology on a firm basis, and

to  demonstrate  its  truth  mathematically.  (15:84)  Who, unless he were

desperate  or  mad,   would  wish  to  bid  an  incontinent  farewell  to

reason,  or  to  despise  the  arts  and  sciences,  or to deny reason's

certitude?  (15:85)  But,  in  the  meanwhile,  we  cannot  wholly  absolve

them  from  blame,  inasmuch  as  they  invoke  the  aid  of reason for

her  own  defeat,  and  attempt  infallibly to prove her fallible.   page 198

(15:86)  While  they  are trying to prove mathematically the authority and

truth  of  theology,  and  to  take away the authority of natural reason,

they  are  in  reality  only  bringing  theology under reason's dominion,

and  proving  that  her  authority has no weight unless natural reason

be at the back of it.

(15:87)  If they boast that they themselves assent because of the inward

testimony  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  and  that  they  only  invoke the aid of

reason  because  of unbelievers, in order to convince them, not even

so  can  this meet with our approval, for we can easily show that they

have  spoken  either  from  emotion or vain-glory.  (15:88)  It most clearly

follows  from  the  last  chapter that the Holy Spirit only gives its testi-

mony  in  favour  of  works,  called  by Paul (in Gal. v:22) the fruits of

the  Spirit,  and is in itself really nothing but the mental acquiescence

which  follows  a  good  action in our souls(15:89)  No spirit gives testi-

mony  concerning the certitude of matters within the sphere of specu-

lation,  save  only reason, who is mistress, as we have shown, of the

whole  realm  of  truth. (15:90)  If  then they assert that they possess this

Spirit  which  makes  them  certain  of  truth,  they  speak falsely, and

according  to the prejudices of the emotions, or else they are in great

dread  lest  they should be vanquished by philosophers and exposed

to  public  ridicule, and therefore they flee, as it were, to the altar; but

their  refuge  is  vain,  for  what  altar  will shelter a man who has out-

raged  reason?  (15:91)  However,  I  pass  such persons over, for I think

I  have  fulfilled  my  purpose,  and  shown how philosophy should be         TTP1:Divine Law

separated  from  theology,  and  wherein  each  consists; that neither

should  be  subservient  to  the  other, but that each should keep her

unopposed   dominion.    (15:92)    Lastly,   as  occasion  offered,  I  have

pointed   out   the   absurdities,   the  inconveniences,  and  the  evils

following   from   the   extraordinary   confusion   which   has  hitherto

prevailed   between   the   two   subjects,   owing  to  their  not  being

properly  distinguished  and  separated.
  (15:93)   Before  I  go  further  I

would  expressly  state  (though I have said it before)  that  I consider
the  utility  and  the  need  for  Holy Scripture or Revelation to be very        Philosophy/Religion

great.   (15:94)   For as we cannot perceive by the natural light of reason

that simple obedience is the path of salvation (25), and are taught by

revelation  only  that  it  is  so  by the special grace of G-D, which our              TTPI:CI(65) 

reason cannot  attain,  it  follows  that  the Bible has  page 199  brought a

very  great  consolation to mankind.  (15:95)  All are able to obey, where-               Religion

as  there  are but very few, compared with the aggregate of humanity,

who  can  acquire  the  habit  of virtue under the unaided guidance of
reason.   (15:96)  Thus  if  we  had  not  the  testimony  of  Scripture,  we
should doubt of the salvation of nearly all men.

End of PART 3 - Chapters XI to XV incl.



Note 24
(p. 157)   (1)  "Now I think."     (2)  The    translators    render    the
{Greek}  word  "I infer",  and  assert  that  Paul uses it as synonymous 
with  {a Greek word} (3)  But  the  former  word has, in Greek, the same 
meaning  as  the Hebrew word rendered to think, to esteem, to judge. 
(4)  And  this signification would be in entire agreement with the Syriac 
translation.  (5)  This  Syriac  translation  (if it be a translation, which is 
very doubtful, for we know neither the time of its appearance, nor the 
translators  and  Syriac  was  the vernacular of the Apostles) renders 
the  text before us in a way well explained by Tremellius as "we think, 

PAGE 276


Note 25  (p. 198)    (1)  "That simple obedience is the path of salvation."
(2)  In  other  words,  it is enough for salvation or blessedness, that we 
should  embrace  the  Divine decrees as laws or commands; there is           or else
no need to conceive them as eternal truths.  (3) This can be taught us 
by  Revelation,  not  Reason,  as  appears  from  the demonstrations 
given in Chapter IV. 



Continued from TTP1:Harbinger}

TTP3:XI(48):162 - From Smith's Bk.XIA:110Legerdemain.

TTP3:XI(55):163 - From Smith's Bk.XIA:110Simple Doctrines. 

From Encyclopædia Britannica Online. [Accessed October 18, 2003]. 
The Cultural Background: Christianity.  

1. The Christian legacy  
[1:1]  The spread of rationalistic and scientific ideas since the 18th century has undermined many aspects of religion
{Mark Twain}, including many Christian beliefs. The church, moreover, although still seeking to exert its influence, has ceased to dominate civil life in the way it once did. Religion is no longer the pivot of all social relations as it once was in ancient Egypt and still is in some Islamic countries. The decline of the church is epitomized by the fact that, while it is still prepared to speak of the symbolic significance of the death of Jesus Christ (and of human death in general), it has ceased to emphasize many aspects of its initial eschatology {any system of religious doctrines concerning last or final matters, as death, judgment, or an afterlife} and to concern itself, as in the past, with the particular details of individual death. In the age of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the elaborate descriptions of heaven, purgatory, and hell in Dante's Divine Comedy, while remaining beautiful literature, at best raise a smile if thought of as outlines for humanity's future.  

{EB Christianity}                                                                 Hampshire:202a
[1:2]  Death is at the very core of the Christian religion.
Not only is the cross to be found in cemeteries and places of worship alike, but the premise of the religion is that, by their own action, humans have forfeited immortality. Through abuse of the freedom granted in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve not only sinned and fell from grace, but they also transmitted sin to their descendants: the sins of the fathers are visited on the children. And as “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), death became the universal fate: “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men” (Rom. 5:12). Christian theologians spent the best part of two millennia sorting out these implications and devising ways out of the dire prognosis implicit in the concept of original sin. The main salvation was to be baptism into the death of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:3–4).  
{EB Christianity} 
[1:3]  Among early Christians, delay in the promised Second Coming of Christ led to an increasing preoccupation with what happened to the dead as they awaited the resurrection and the Last Judgment. One view was that there would be an immediate individual judgment and that instant justice would follow: the deceased would be dispatched forthwith to hell or paradise. This notion demeaned the impact of the great prophecy of a collective mass resurrection, followed by a public mass trial on a gigantic scale. Moreover, it deprived the dead of any chance of a postmortem (i.e., very belated) expiation of their misdeeds. The Roman Catholic notion of purgatory
{a place or state following death in which penitent souls are purified of venial sins or undergo the temporal punishment still remaining for forgiven mortal sins and thereby are made ready for heaven} sought to resolve the latter problem; regulated torture would expiate some of the sins of those not totally beyond redemption. {The unlearned take all this literally; the learned take it metaphorically or allegorically.} 

{EB Christianity}
[1:4]  The second view was that the dead just slept, pending the mass resurrection. But as the sleep might last for millennia, it was felt that the heavenly gratification of the just was being arbitrarily, and somewhat unfairly, deferred. As for the wicked, they were obtaining an unwarranted respite. The Carthaginian theologian Tertullian, one of the Church Fathers, outlined the possibility of still further adjustments. In his Adversus Marcionem, written about 207, he described “a spatial concept that may be called Abraham's bosom for receiving the soul of all people.” Although not celestial, it was “above the lower regions and would provide refreshment (refrigerium) to the souls of the just until the consummation of all things in the great resurrection.” The Byzantine Church formally endorsed the concept, which inspired some most interesting art in both eastern and western Europe.  
{EB Christianity} 
[1:5]  During its early years, the Christian Church debated death in largely religious terms. The acerbitas mortis (“bitterness of death”) was very real, and pious deathbeds had to be fortified by the acceptance of pain as an offering to God. Life expectancy fell far short of the promised threescore years and 10. Eastern medicine remained for a long time in advance of that practiced in the West, and the church's interventions were largely spiritual. It was only during the Renaissance and the later age of Enlightenment that an intellectual shift became perceptible.  
{EB Christianity} 
2.  Descartes, the pineal  soul, and brain-stem death 
{EB Christianity} 
[2:1]  The first attempts to localize the soul go back to classical antiquity. The soul had originally been thought to reside in the liver, an organ to which no other function could, at that time, be attributed. Empedocles, Democritus, Aristotle, the Stoics, and the Epicureans had later held its abode to be the heart. Other Greeks (Pythagorus, Plato, and Galen) had opted for the brain. Herophilus (flourished c. 300 BC), a famous physician of the Greek medical school of Alexandria, had sought to circumscribe its habitat to the fourth ventricle of the brain; that is, to a small area immediately above the brain stem. Controversy persisted to the very end of the 16th century.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:2]  The departure of the soul from the body had always been central to the Christian concept of death. But the soul had come to mean different things to various classical and medieval thinkers. There was a “vegetative soul,” responsible for what we would now call autonomic
{internally caused; spontaneous} function; a “sensitive soul,” responsible for what modern physiologists would describe as reflex responses to environmental stimuli; and, most importantly, a “reasoning soul,” responsible for making a rational entity (res cogitans) of human beings. The reasoning soul was an essentially human attribute and was the basis of thought, judgment, and responsibility for one's actions. Its departure implied death. The Anatome Corporis Humani (1672) of Isbrand van Diemerbroeck, professor at Utrecht, appears to have been the last textbook of anatomy that discussed the soul within a routine description of human parts. Thereafter, the soul disappeared from the scope of anatomy.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:3]  The modern and entirely secular concept of brain-stem death can, perhaps rather surprisingly, find both a conceptual and a topographical
{the features, relations, or configuration of a structural entity, as the mind} foundation in the writings of René Descartes (1596–1650), the great French philosopher and mathematician who sought to bring analytical geometry, physics, physiology, cosmology, and religion into an integrated conceptual framework. Descartes considered the body and the soul to be ontologically {the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such} separate but interacting entities, each with its own particular attributes. He then sought to specify both their mode and site of interaction; the latter he deduced to be the pineal gland. The pineal {gland} was to become, in the words of Geoffrey Jefferson, “the nodal point of Cartesian dualism.”  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:4]  Before Descartes, the prevailing wisdom, largely derived from Greece, had regarded the soul both as the motive force of all human physiological functions and as the conscious agent of volition, cognition, and reason. Descartes succeeded in eliminating the soul's general physiological role altogether and in circumscribing its cognitive role to the human species. Descartes's writings about death show that his concept of the soul clearly implied both mind and the immaterial principle of immortality. It had to mean both things, for no one had ever conceived of survival after death without a mind to verify the fact of continued existence, to enjoy its pleasures, and to suffer its pains.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:5]  The relation between body and soul had been discussed in patristic
{of or pertaining to the fathers of the Christian church or their writings} literature, and, because of his Jesuit education, Descartes would have been familiar with these discussions. The church's interest in these matters was strictly nonmedical, seeking only to reconcile earlier Greek theories with its own current doctrines. Descartes was the first to tackle these problems in a physiological way. With one foot still firmly on consecrated ground (and with Galileo's difficulties with the Inquisition very much in mind), he sought to give a materialistic, even mechanistic, dimension to the discussion. In this sense, his De Homine (On Man; published posthumously in 1662) can be thought of as an updating of Plato's Timaeus. His contemporaries viewed Descartes as having delivered the coup de grace to an earlier Greek tradition (dating back to several centuries before Christ) that had claimed that animals, as well as humans, had souls. This had been the subject of much discussion in the early Christian Church. During the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom (onetime archbishop of Constantinople) had denounced the idea {that animals had souls}, attributing it to the devil, who had allegedly managed by various maneuvers to deceive people as varied as Pythagoras, Plato, Pliny, and even Zoroaster.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:6]  Descartes probably was impressed by the central location of the unpaired pineal gland, situated where neural pathways from the retinas converge with those conveying feelings from the limbs. This “general reflector of all sorts of sensation” is, moreover, sited in the immediate proximity of the brain ventricles, from which (according to the wisdom of the day) “animal spirits” flowed into the hollow nerves, carrying instructions to the muscles. In his Excerpta Anatomica, Descartes had even likened the pineal to a penis obturating
{to stop up; close} the passage between the third and fourth ventricles.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:7]  Descartes proved wrong in his beliefs that all sensory inputs focused on the pineal gland and that the pineal itself was a selective motor organ, suspended in a whirl of “animal spirits,” dancing and jigging “like a balloon captive above a fire,” yet capable in humans of scrutinizing inputs and producing actions “consistent with wisdom.” He was also wrong when he spoke of the “ideas formed on the surface” of the pineal gland, and in his attribution to the pineal of such functions as “volition, cognition, memory, imagination, and reason.” But he was uncannily correct in his insight that a very small part of this deep and central area of the brain was relevant to some of the functions he stressed. We now know that immediately below the pineal gland there lies the mesencephalic tegmentum (the uppermost part of the brain stem), which is crucial to generating alertness (the capacity for consciousness), without which, of course, there can be no volition, cognition, or reason.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:8]  It is a matter of vocabulary whether one considers the mesencephalic tegmentum either as being involved in generating a “capacity for consciousness or as preparing the brain for the exercise of what Descartes would have considered the “functions of the soul (volition, cognition, and reason). In either case, the total and irreversible loss of these functions dramatically alters the ontological status of the subject. Descartes specifically considered the example of death. In “La Description du corps humain” (1664) he wrote that “although movements cease in the body when it is dead and the soul departs, one cannot deduce from these facts that the soul produced the movements.” In a formulation of really modern tenor, he then added “one can only infer that the same single cause (a) renders the body incapable of movement and (b) causes the soul to absent itself.” He did not, of course, say that this “same single cause” was the death of the brain stem. Some 300 years later, in 1968, the Harvard Committee spoke of death in terms of “irreversible coma” (where Descartes had spoken of the “now absent soul”) and stressed, as had Descartes, the immobility of the comatose body. The religious and secular terms seem to describe the same reality.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:9]  There have been other neurological controversies concerning the locus of the soul. Early in the 18th century Stephen Hales, an English clergyman with a great interest in science, repeated an experiment originally reported by Leonardo da Vinci. Hales tied a ligature around the neck of a frog and cut off its head. The heart continued to beat for a while, as it usually does in the brain dead. Thirty hours later, the limbs of the animal still withdrew when stimulated. In fact, the elicited movements only ceased when the spinal cord itself had been destroyed. This observation gave rise to a great controversy. Reflex action at spinal cord level was not then fully understood, and it was argued that the irritability implied sentience, and that sentience suggested that the soul was still present. The “spinal cord soul” became the subject of much debate. It is now known that such purely spinal reflex movements may occur below a dead brain. It was shown during the 19th century that individuals executed on the guillotine might retain the knee jerk reflex for up to 20 minutes after decapitation.  
{EB Christianity} 
[2:10]  The church is still concerned with the diagnosis of death, but the theological argument has, during the last half of the 20th century, moved to an entirely different plane. As mentioned earlier, in 1957 Pope Pius XII raised the question whether, in intensive care units, doctors might be “continuing the resuscitation process, despite the fact that the soul may already have left the body.” He even asked one of the central questions confronting modern medicine, namely whether “death had already occurred after grave trauma to the brain, which has provoked deep unconsciousness and central breathing paralysis, the fatal consequences of which have been retarded by artificial respiration.” The answer, he said, “did not fall within the competence of the Church.”  

[End] {EB Christianity} 


TTP3:XI(57):164 - From Smith's Bk.XIA:109Synthesis, Harbinger, This-worldly.
TTP1:V(53):75   -
 From Smith's Bk.XIA:108138

{Continued with Smith:110—Legerdemain.}


TTP3:XII(39):170 - From Smith's Bk.XIA:106Distinction of Bibles:


Note XIII:15  (p. 177)   Exodus  vi:,3;   "And  I  appeared  unto  Abraham, 
unto  Isaac,  and unto Jacob by the name of El Sadai (A. V. Almighty)
but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them."                                Bk.XIV:1:144.  

           {a.  Elohim—  El-o-heem, Strong:0430, Plural of El; unifying all powers. 
                                 El — ale, Strong:0410—power, might, god;  
                                 from ah'-yil, Strong:0352—strength, strong, a chief,
                                                                            a ram, an oak.

            b.  Sh-daishad-dah'ee, Strong:7706—Almighty;                                  Bk.XIV:1:144. 
                                 root shaw-dad ',  Strong:7703—powerful, impregnable, 
                                                                                ravage, destroyer.
            c. J---vahyeh-ho-vah ', Yahweh, Strong:3068—                               Bk.XIV:1:144, 145.
                                 self-Existent or Eternal (E1:Def.1:45) 
                                 from haw-yaw ', Strong:1961—to exist, to be,   
                                                                                  become, continue. Being.}

                                JPs  Exodus 3:14   "And   God   said  unto  Moses,            TTP1:2:24
                                 I AM THAT I AM
{J---vah is a tenseless form of the Hebrew
                                         verb "to be." Wienphal:3.
: and he said, Thus shalt thou  
                                say  unto  the  children of Israel, I AM hath sent me 
                                unto you."  

            d. Adonayad-o-noy ',
    an emphatic form of Strong:0113; the Lord (used as 
                                  a proper name of G-D only):—(my) Lord. 
                                  Ges:12— The Jews from an over scrupulous super- 
                                  stition  and  reverence  for  the  name of G-D, when- 
                                  ever  in  the sacred  text yeh-ho-vah ' occurs, read it 
                                  ad-o-noy ', .... {as a circumlocution.} 


14:47 (p.186) From Popkin's "Spinoza"; 2004; ISBN 1851683399; Page 71Universal Religion 

14:8    (p. 183)
14:75  (p. 189)
{See  Einstein's  definition  of the proper realms of science and religion;
and  is  "Religion and  Science: Irreconcilable?" }


15:6  (p. 190)  From Shirley's Bk.XI:2281         {Shirley  adds  this  footnote}
] R.  Jehuda Alpakhar was the able philosopher of an anti-Maimonidean
movement,   which  was  influential for a moment.  Many orthodox Jews
considered  that  Maimonides  was  setting  reason  above the revealed 
word of God. [

15:56From Smith's Bk.XIA:139.

The rules circumscribing the exemplary way of life are set out in the fourth
chapter  of  the Treatise  in Spinoza's account of philosophical theology or
the  Divine Law.  Even  to  attribute a doctrine of philosophical theology to 
Spinoza  might  appear  to be an oxymoron.  In the preface to the Treatise 
he  urges  the  strongest  possible separation between truth or philosophy 
and faith or religion.  A philosophical theology would seem to be premised 
on  a  fundamental confusion, a category mistake, as it were, between the 
realms of truth and obedience. On the basis of later statements, however, 
a  new  or  at  least  different teaching emerges.  What Spinoza means by 
the  separation  of  religion  and philosophy turns out to be the separation 
                          {literal biblical views of God}
of philosophy from scriptural theology. Only scriptural religion, not religion    Philosophy/Religion
as  such,  is inimical to truth.  At the highest level, philosophy and religion, 
far  from  being  incompatible, are identical.  Perhaps no thinkerwith the 
possible  exception  of Platohas endowed religion with a higher claim to 
truth,  or  philosophy  with  a  greater share in the redemption of mankind. 
It  is  no exaggeration to say that Spinoza's divine law lays the basis for a 
new  kind  of religion and a new kind of church: the church of reason and 
the cult of the rational individual. 

End of Part 3 of 4 - Chapters XI to XV.

Since November 6, 1997 Part 3 hits.

A Theologico-Political Treatise - Part 3
Revised: January 17, 2006 


"A Dedication to Spinoza's Insights"

Top of Page - Part 4