Propositions 28-71

September 9, 2015

28. The mind’s highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind’s highest virtue is to know God.

29. No individual thing, which is entirely different from our own nature, can help or check our power of activity, and absolutely nothing can do us good or harm, unless it has something in common with our nature.

30. A thing cannot be bad for us through the quality which it has in common with our nature, but it is bad for us in so far as it is contrary to our nature.

31. In so far as a thing is in harmony with our nature, it is necessarily good.


It follows, that, in proportion as a thing is in harmony with our nature, so is it more useful or better for us, and vice versâ, in proportion as a thing is more useful for us, so is it more in harmony with our nature. For, in so far as it is not in harmony with our nature, it will necessarily be different therefrom or contrary thereto. If different, it can neither be good nor bad (4.29.). if contrary, it will be contrary to that which is in harmony with our nature, that is, contrary to what is good—in short, bad. Nothing, therefore, can be good, except in so far as it is in harmony with our nature; and hence a thing is useful, in proportion as it is in harmony with our nature, and vice versa

32. In so far as men are a prey to passion, they cannot, in that respect, be said to be naturally in harmony.

33. Men can differ in nature, in so far as they are assailed by those emotions, which are passions, or passive states; and to this extent one and the same man is variable and inconstant.

  1. In so far as men are assailed by emotions which are passions, they can be contrary one to another

Note= I said that Paul may hate Peter, because he conceives that Peter possesses something which he (Paul) also loves; from this it seems, at first sight, to follow, that these two men, through both loving the same thing, and, consequently, through agreement of their respective natures, stand in one another’s way; If this were so, Props. 30 and 31 of this part would be untrue. But if we give the matter our unbiased attention, we shall see that the discrepancy vanishes. For the two men are not in one another’s way in virtue of the agreement of their natures, that is, through both loving the same thing, but in virtue of one differing from the other. For, in so far as each loves the same thing, the love of each is fostered thereby (3.31.), that is (Def. of the Emotions, vi.) the pleasure of each is fostered thereby. Wherefore it is far from being the case, that they are at variance through both loving the same thing, and through the agreement in their natures. The cause for their opposition lies, as I have said, solely in the fact that they are assumed to differ. For we assume that Peter has the idea of the loved object as already in his possession, while Paul has the idea of the loved object as lost. Hence the one man will be affected with pleasure, the other will be affected with pain, and thus they will be at variance one with another. We can easily show in like manner, that all other causes of hatred depend solely on differences, and not on the agreement between men’s natures. –>

  1. In so far only as men live in obedience to reason, do they always necessarily agree in nature.

Corollary 1= There is no individual thing in nature, which is more useful to man, than a man who lives in obedience to reason.

For that thing is to man most useful, which is most in harmony with his nature (4.31. Coroll.). That is, obviously, man. But man acts absolutely according to the laws of his nature, when he lives in obedience to reason (3. Def. 2), and to this extent only is always necessarily in harmony with the nature of another man (by the last Prop.). Wherefore among individual things nothing is more useful to man, than a man who lives in obedience to reason. Q.E.D.

Corollary 2= As every man seeks most that which is useful to him, so are men most useful one to another.

For the more a man seeks what is useful to him and endeavours to preserve himself, the more is he endowed with virtue (4.20.), or, what is the same thing (4. Def. 8), the more is he endowed with power to act according to the laws of his own nature, that is to live in obedience to reason. But men are most in natural harmony, when they live in obedience to reason (by the last Prop.). Therefore (by the foregoing Coroll.) men will be most useful one to another, when each seeks most that which is useful to him. Q.E.D.

Note= What we have just shown is attested by experience so conspicuously, that it is in the mouth of nearly everyone= “Man is to man a God.” Yet it rarely happens that men live in obedience to reason, for things are so ordered among them, that they are generally envious and troublesome one to another. Nevertheless they are scarcely able to lead a solitary life, so that the definition of man as a social animal has met with general assent; in fact, men do derive from social life much more convenience than injury. Let satirists then laugh their fill at human affairs, let theologians rail, and let misanthropes praise to their utmost the life of untutored rusticity, let them heap contempt on men and praises on beasts. When all is said, they will find that men can provide for their wants much more easily by mutual help, and that only by uniting their forces can they escape from the dangers that on every side beset them= not to say how much more excellent and worthy of our knowledge it is, to study the actions of men than the actions of beasts. But I will treat of this more at length elsewhere.

  1. The highest good of those who follow virtue is common to all, and therefore all can equally rejoice therein.

Note= Someone may ask how it would be, if the highest good of those who follow after virtue were not common to all? Would it not then follow, as above (4.34), that men living in obedience to reason, that is (4.35), men in so far as they agree in nature, would be at variance one with another? To such an inquiry, I make answer, that it follows not accidentally but from the very nature of reason, that main’s highest good is common to all, inasmuch as it is deduced from the very essence of man, in so far as defined by reason; and that a man could neither be, nor be conceived without the power of taking pleasure in this highest good. For it belongs to the essence of the human mind (II. xlvii.), to have an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God.

  1. The good which every man, who follows after virtue, desires for himself he will also desire for other men, and so much the more, in proportion as he has a greater knowledge of God.

Note 1= He who, guided by emotion only, endeavours to cause others to love what he loves himself, and to make the rest of the world live according to his own fancy, acts solely by impulse, and is, therefore, hateful, especially, to those who take delight in something different, and accordingly study and, by similar impulse, endeavour, to make men live in accordance with what pleases themselves. Again, as the highest good sought by men under the guidance of emotion is often such, that it can only be possessed by a single individual, it follows that those who love it are not consistent in their intentions, but, while they delight to sing its praises, fear to be believed. But he, who endeavours to lead men by reason, does not act by impulse but courteously and kindly, and his intention is always consistent. Again, whatsoever we desire and do, whereof we are the cause in so far as we possess the idea of God, or know God, I set down to Religion. The desire of well-doing, which is engendered by a life according to reason, I call piety. Further, the desire, whereby a man living according to reason is bound to associate others with himself in friendship, I call honour[13]; by honourable I mean that which is praised by men living according to reason, and by base I mean that which is repugnant to the gaining of friendship. I have also shown in addition what are the foundations of a state; and the difference between true virtue and infirmity may be readily gathered from what I have said; namely, that true virtue is nothing else but living in accordance with reason; while infirmity is nothing else but man’s allowing himself to be led by things which are external to himself, and to be by them determined to act in a manner demanded by the general disposition of things rather than by his own nature considered solely in itself. [13] Honestas

Such are the matters which I engaged to prove in Prop. 18. of this Part, whereby it is plain that the law against the slaughtering of animals is founded rather on vain superstition and womanish pity than on sound reason. The rational quest of what is useful to us further teaches us the necessity of associating ourselves with our fellow men, but not with beasts, or things, whose nature is different from our own; we have the same rights in respect to them as they have in respect to us. Nay, as everyone’s right is defined by his virtue, or power, men have far greater rights over beasts than beasts have over men. Still I do not deny that beasts feel= what I deny is, that we may not consult our own advantage and use them as we please, treating them in the way which best suits us; for their nature is not like ours, and their emotions are naturally different from human emotions (3.57. note). It remains for me to explain what I mean by just and unjust, sin and merit. On these points see the following note.

Note 2= In the Appendix to Part 1, I undertook to explain praise and blame, merit and sin, justice and injustice. Concerning praise and blame I have spoken in 3.29. note. The time has now come to treat of the remaining terms. But I must first say a few words concerning man in the state of nature and in society.

Every man exists by sovereign natural right. Consequently, by sovereign natural right performs those actions which follow from the necessity of his own nature. Therefore by sovereign natural right every man judges what is good and what is bad, takes care of his own advantage according to his own disposition (4.19. and 4.20), avenges the wrongs done to him (3.40 Coroll. 2), and endeavours to preserve that which he loves and to destroy that which he hates (3.28). Now, if men lived under the guidance of reason, everyone would remain in possession of this his right, without any injury being done to his neighbour (4.35. Coroll. 1). But seeing that they are a prey to their emotions, which far surpass human power or virtue (4.6), they are often drawn in different directions, and being at variance one with another (4.33, 4.34), stand in need of mutual help (4.35. note). Wherefore, in order that men may live together in harmony, and may aid one another, it is necessary that they should forego their natural right, and, for the sake of security, refrain from all actions which can injure their fellow-men. The way in which this end can be obtained, so that men who are necessarily a prey to their emotions (4.4. Coroll.), inconstant, and diverse, should be able to render each other mutually secure, and feel mutual trust, is evident from 4.7. and 3.39. It is there shown, that an emotion can only be restrained by an emotion stronger than, and contrary to itself, and that men avoid inflicting injury through fear of incurring a greater injury themselves.

On this law society can be established, so long as it keeps in its own hand the right, possessed by everyone, of avenging injury, and pronouncing on good and evil; and provided it also possesses the power to lay down a general rule of conduct, and to pass laws sanctioned, not by reason, which is powerless in restraining emotion, but by threats (4.17. note). Such a society established with laws and the power of preserving itself is called a State, while those who live under its protection are called citizens. We may readily understand that there is in the state of nature nothing, which by universal consent is pronounced good or bad; for in the state of nature everyone thinks solely of his own advantage, and According to his disposition, with reference only to his individual advantage, decides what is good or bad, being bound by no law to anyone besides himself.

In the state of nature, therefore, sin is inconceivable; it can only exist in a state, where good and evil are pronounced on by common consent, and where everyone is bound to obey the State authority. Sin, then, is nothing else but disobedience, which is therefore punished by the right of the State only. Obedience, on the other hand, is set down as merit, inasmuch as a man is thought worthy of merit, if he takes delight in the advantages which a State provides.

Again, in the state of nature, no one is by common consent master of anything, nor is there anything in nature, which can be said to belong to one man rather than another= all things are common to all. Hence, in the state of nature, we can conceive no wish to render to every man his own, or to deprive a man of that which belongs to him; in other words, there is nothing in the state of nature answering to justice and injustice. Such ideas are only possible in a social state, when it is decreed by common consent what belongs to one man and what to another.

From all these considerations it is evident, that justice and injustice, sin and merit, are extrinsic ideas, and not attributes which display the nature of the mind.

  1. Whatsoever disposes the human body, so as to render it capable of being affected in an increased number of ways, or of affecting external bodies in an increased number of ways, is useful to man; and is so, in proportion as the body is thereby rendered more capable of being affected or affecting other bodies in an increased number of ways; Contrariwise, whatsoever renders the body less capable in this respect is hurtful to man.

  2. Whatsoever brings about the preservation of the proportion of motion and rest, which the parts of the human body mutually possess, is good; contrariwise, whatsoever causes a change in such proportion is bad.

Note= The extent to which such causes can injure or be of service to the mind will be explained in Part 5. But I would here remark that I consider that a body undergoes death, when the proportion of motion and rest which obtained mutually among its several parts is changed. For I do not venture to deny that a human body, while keeping the circulation of the blood and other properties, wherein the life of a body is thought to consist, may none the less be changed into another nature totally different from its own. There is no reason, which compels me to maintain that a body does not die, unless it becomes a corpse; nay, experience would seem to point to the opposite conclusion. It sometimes happens, that a man undergoes such changes, that I should hardly call him the same. As I have heard tell of a certain Spanish poet, who had been seized with sickness, and though he recovered therefrom yet remained so oblivious of his past life, that he would not believe the plays and tragedies he had written to be his own= indeed, he might have been taken for a grown—up child, if he had also forgotten his native tongue. If this instance seems incredible, what shall we say of infants? A man of ripe age deems their nature so unlike his own, that he can only be persuaded that he too has been an infant by the analogy of other men. However, I prefer to leave such questions undiscussed, lest I should give ground to the superstitious for raising new issues.

  1. Whatsoever conduces to man’s social life, or causes men to live together in harmony, is useful, whereas whatsoever brings discord into a State is bad.

  2. Pleasure in itself is not bad but good= contrariwise, pain in itself is bad.

  3. Mirth cannot be excessive, but is always good; contrariwise, Melancholy is always bad.

  4. Stimulation may be excessive and bad; on the other hand, grief may be good, in so far as stimulation or pleasure is bad.

  5. Love and desire may be excessive. Proof= Love is pleasure, accompanied by the idea of an external cause (Def. of Emotions, 6);

  1. Hatred can never be good. Proof= When we hate a man, we endeavour to destroy him (3.39). That is (4.37), we endeavour to do something that is bad. Therefore, etc. Q.E.D. Note= Here, and in what follows, I mean by hatred only hatred towards men. Corollary 1= Envy, derision, contempt, anger, revenge, and other emotions attributable to hatred, or arising therefrom, are bad. This is evident from 3.39. and 4.37.

Corollary 2= Whatsoever we desire from motives of hatred is base, and in a State unjust.

  1. He, who lives under the guidance of reason, endeavours, as far as possible, to render back love, or kindness, for other men’s hatred, anger, contempt, etc., towards him.

Note= He who chooses to avenge wrongs with hatred is assuredly wretched. But he, who strives to conquer hatred with love, fights his battle in joy and confidence. He withstands many as easily as one, and has very little need of fortune’s aid. Those whom he vanquishes yield joyfully, not through failure, but through increase in their powers; all these consequences follow so plainly from the mere definitions of love and understanding, that I have no need to prove them in detail.

  1. Emotions of hope and fear cannot be in themselves good.

Note= We may add, that these emotions show defective knowledge and an absence of power in the mind; for the same reason confidence, despair, joy, and disappointment are signs of a want of mental power. For although confidence and joy are pleasurable emotions, they nevertheless imply a preceding pain, namely, hope and fear. Wherefore the more we endeavour to be guided by reason, the less do we depend on hope; we endeavour to free ourselves from fear, and, as far as we can, to dominate fortune, directing our actions by the sure counsels of wisdom.

  1. The emotions of over-esteem and disparagement are always bad.

  2. Over-esteem is apt to render its object proud.

  3. Pity, in a man who lives under the guidance of reason, is in itself bad and useless.

Note= He who rightly realizes, that all things follow from the necessity of the divine nature, and come to pass in accordance with the eternal laws and rules of nature, will not find anything worthy of hatred, derision, or contempt, nor will he bestow pity on anything, but to the utmost extent of human virtue he will endeavour to do well, as the saying is, and to rejoice. We may add, that he, who is easily touched with compassion, and is moved by another’s sorrow or tears, often does something which he afterwards regrets; Partly because we can never be sure that an action caused by emotion is good, partly because we are easily deceived by false tears. I am in this place expressly speaking of a man living under the guidance of reason. He who is moved to help others neither by reason nor by compassion, is rightly styled inhuman, for (3.27) he seems unlike a man.

  1. Approval is not repugnant to reason, but can agree therewith and arise therefrom.

Note= Indignation as we defined it (Def. of the Emotions, 20) is necessarily evil (4.45). We may, however, remark that, when the sovereign power for the sake of preserving peace punishes a citizen who has injured another, it should not be said to be indignant with the criminal, for it is not incited by hatred to ruin him, it is led by a sense of duty to punish him

  1. Self-approval may arise from reason, and that which arises from reason is the highest possible.

Note= Self-approval is in reality the highest object for which we can hope. For (as we showed in IV. xxv.) no one endeavours to preserve his being for the sake of any ulterior object, and, as this approval is more and more fostered and strengthened by praise (III. liii. Coroll.), and on the contrary (III. lv. Coroll.) is more and more disturbed by blame, fame becomes the most powerful of incitements to action, and life under disgrace is almost unendurable.

  1. Humility is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason.

  2. Repentance is not a virtue, or does not arise from reason; but he who repents of an action is doubly wretched or infirm.

Note= As men seldom live under the guidance of reason, these two emotions, namely, Humility and Repentance, as also Hope and Fear, bring more good than harm; Hence, as we must sin, we had better sin in that direction. For, if all men who are a prey to emotion were all equally proud, they would shrink from nothing, and would fear nothing; how then could they be joined and linked together in bonds of union? The crowd plays the tyrant, when it is not in fear. Hence we need not wonder that the prophets, who consulted the good, not of a few, but of all, so strenuously commended Humility, Repentance, and Reverence. Those who are a prey to these emotions may be led much more easily than others to live under the guidance of reason, that is, to become free and to enjoy the life of the blessed.

  1. Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme ignorance of self.

  2. Extreme pride or dejection indicates extreme infirmity of spirit.

Corollary= Hence it most clearly follows, that the proud and the dejected specially fall a prey to the emotions. Note= Yet dejection can be more easily corrected than pride; For the latter being a pleasurable emotion, and the former a painful emotion, the pleasurable is stronger than the painful (4.18).

  1. The proud man delights in the company of flatterers and parasites, but hates the company of the high-minded.

Note= It would be too long a task to enumerate here all the evil results of pride, inasmuch as the proud are a prey to all the emotions, though to none of them less than to love and pity. I cannot, however, pass over in silence the fact, that a man may be called proud from his underestimation of other people; and, therefore, pride in this sense may be defined as pleasure arising from the false opinion, whereby a man may consider himself superior to his fellows. The dejection, which is the opposite quality to this sort of pride, may be defined as pain arising from the false opinion, whereby a man may think himself inferior to his fellows. Such being the ease, we can easily see that a proud man is necessarily envious (3.41. note), and only takes pleasure in the company, who fool his weak mind to the top of his bent, and make him insane instead of merely foolish. Though dejection is the emotion contrary to pride, yet is the dejected man very near akin to the proud man. For, inasmuch as his pain arises from a comparison between his own infirmity and other men’s power or virtue, it will be removed, or, in other words, he will feel pleasure, if his imagination be occupied in contemplating other men’s faults; whence arises the proverb, “The unhappy are comforted by finding fellow-sufferers.” Contrariwise, he will be the more pained in proportion as he thinks himself inferior to others; Hence none are so prone to envy as the dejected, they are specially keen in observing men’s actions, with a view to fault—finding rather than correction, in order to reserve their praises for dejection, and to glory therein, though all the time with a dejected air. These effects follow as necessarily from the said emotion, as it follows from the nature of a triangle, that the three angles are equal to two right angles. I have already said that I call these and similar emotions bad, solely in respect to what is useful to man. The laws of nature have regard to nature’s general order, whereof man is but a part. I mention this, in passing, lest any should think that I have wished to set forth the faults and irrational deeds of men rather than the nature and properties of things. For, as I said in the preface to the third Part, I regard human emotions and their properties as on the same footing with other natural phenomena. Assuredly human emotions indicate the power and ingenuity, of nature, if not of human nature, quite as fully as other things which we admire, and which we delight to contemplate. But I pass on to note those qualities in the emotions, which bring advantage to man, or inflict injury upon him. –>

  1. Honour (gloria) is not repugnant to reason, but may arise therefrom.

Note= Empty honour, as it is styled, is self-approval, fostered only by the good opinion of the populace. When this good opinion ceases there ceases also the self-approval, in other words, the highest object of each man’s love (4.52. note). Consequently, he whose honour is rooted in popular approval must, day by day, anxiously strive, act, and scheme in order to retain his reputation. For the populace is variable and inconstant, so that, if a reputation be not kept up, it quickly withers away. Everyone wishes to catch popular applause for himself, and readily represses the fame of others. The object of the strife being estimated as the greatest of all goods, each combatant is seized with a fierce desire to put down his rivals in every possible way, until he who at last comes out victorious is more proud of having done harm to others than of having done good to himself. This sort of honour, then, is really empty, being nothing. The points to note concerning shame may easily be inferred from what was said on the subject of mercy and repentance. I will only add that shame, like compassion, though not a virtue, is yet good, in so far as it shows, that the feeler of shame is really imbued with the desire to live honourably. In the same way as suffering is good, as showing that the injured part is not mortified. Therefore, though a man who feels shame is sorrowful, he is yet more perfect than he, who is shameless, and has no desire to live honourably. Such are the points which I undertook to remark upon concerning the emotions of pleasure and pain; as for the desires, they are good or bad according as they spring from good or evil emotions. But all, in so far as they are engendered in us by emotions wherein the mind is passive, are blind (as is evident from what was said in 4.44. note), and would be useless, if men could easily, be induced to live by the guidance of reason only, as I will now briefly, show

  1. To all the actions, whereto we are determined by emotion wherein the mind is passive; we can be determined without emotion by reason.

Note= An example will put this point in a clearer light. The action of striking, in so far as it is considered physically, and in so far as we merely look to the fact that a man raises his arm, clenches his fist, and moves his whole arm violently downwards, is a virtue or excellence which is conceived as proper to the structure of the human body. If, then, a man, moved by anger or hatred, is led to clench his fist or to move his arm, this result takes place (as we showed in Pt. 2), because one and the same action can be associated with various mental images of things. Therefore we may be determined to the performance of one and the same action by confused ideas, or by clear and distinct ideas. Hence it is evident that every desire which springs from emotion, wherein the mind is passive, would become useless, if men could be guided by reason. Let us now see why desire which arises from emotion, wherein the mind is passive, is called by us blind. –>

  1. Desire arising from a pleasure or pain, that is not attributable to the whole body, but only to one or certain parts thereof, is without utility in respect to a man as a whole.

Note= As pleasure is generally (4.44. note) attributed to one part of the body, we generally desire to preserve our being with out taking into consideration our health as a whole= to which it may be added, that the desires which have most hold over us (4.9) take account of the present and not of the future.

  1. Desire which springs from reason cannot be excessive.

  2. In so far as the mind conceives a thing under the dictates of reason, it is affected equally, whether the idea be of a thing future, past, or present.

Note= If we could possess an adequate knowledge of the duration of things, and could determine by reason their periods of existence, we should contemplate things future with the same emotion as things present; and the mind would desire as though it were present the good which it conceived as future; Consequently it would necessarily neglect a lesser good in the present for the sake of a greater good in the future, and would in no wise desire that which is good in the present but a source of evil in the future, as we shall presently show. However, we can have but a very inadequate knowledge of the duration of things (2.31.) and the periods of their existence (2.44. note.) we can only determine by imagination, which is not so powerfully affected by the future as by the present. Hence such true knowledge of good and evil as we possess is merely abstract or general, and the judgment which we pass on the order of things and the connection of causes, with a view to determining what is good or bad for us in the present, is rather imaginary than real. Therefore it is nothing wonderful, if the desire arising from such knowledge of good and evil, in so far as it looks on into the future, be more readily checked than the desire of things which are agreeable at the present time

  1. He who is led by fear, and does good in order to escape evil, is not led by reason.

Proof= All the emotions which are attributable to the mind as active, or in other words to reason, are emotions of pleasure and desire (3.59).

Therefore, he who is led by fear, and does good in order to escape evil, is not led by reason. Note= Superstitions persons, who know better how to rail at vice than how to teach virtue, and who strive not to guide men by reason, but so to restrain them that they would rather escape evil than love virtue, have no other aim but to make others as wretched as themselves; wherefore it is nothing wonderful, if they be generally troublesome and odious to their fellow-men.

Corollary= Under desire which springs from reason, we seek good directly, and shun evil indirectly. Proof= Desire which springs from reason can only spring from a pleasurable emotion, wherein the mind is not passive (3.59), in other words, from a pleasure which cannot be excessive (4.61.), and not from pain; Wherefore this desire springs from the knowledge of good, not of evil (4.8). Hence under the guidance of reason we seek good directly and only by implication shun evil. Q.E.D. Note= This Corollary may be illustrated by the example of a sick and a healthy man. The sick man through fear of death eats what he naturally shrinks from, but the healthy man takes pleasure in his food, and thus gets a better enjoyment out of life, than if he were in fear of death, and desired directly to avoid it. So a judge, who condemns a criminal to death, not from hatred or anger but from love of the public well—being, is guided solely by reason.

  1. The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge.
  1. We may, under the guidance of reason, seek a greater good in the future in preference to a lesser good in the present, and we may seek a lesser evil in the present in preference to a greater evil in the future.[15] [15] “Maltim praesens minus prae majori futuro.” (Van Vloten). Bruder reads= “Malum praesens minus, quod causa est faturi alicujus mali.” The last word of the latter is an obvious misprint, and is corrected by the Dutch translator into “majoris boni.”
  1. A free man thinks of death least of all things; and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life.

  2. If men were born free, they would, so long as they remained free, form no conception of good and evil.

Note= The hypothesis of this Proposition from 4.4 is false and inconceivable, except as we look solely to the nature of man, or rather to God; not in so far as the latter is infinite, but only in so far as he is the cause of man’s existence. This, and other matters which we have already proved, seem to have been signifieded by Moses in the history of the first man. For in that narrative no other power of God is conceived, save that whereby he created man, that is the power wherewith he provided solely for man’s advantage it is stated that God forbade man, being free, to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that, as soon as man should have eaten of it, he would straightway fear death rather than desire to live. Further, it is written that when man had found a wife, who was in entire harmony with his nature, he knew that there could be nothing in nature which could be more useful to him; but that after he believed the beasts to be like himself, he straightway began to imitate their emotions (3.27), and to lose his freedom; this freedom was afterwards recovered by the patriarchs, led by the spirit of Christ; that is, by the idea of God, whereon alone it depends, that man may be free, and desire for others the good which he desires for himself, as we have shown above (4.37). –>

  1. The virtue of a free man is seen to be as great, when it declines dangers, as when it overcomes them.

Corollary= The free man is as courageous in timely retreat as in combat; or, a free man shows equal courage or presence of mind, whether he elect to give battle or to retreat.

Note= What courage (animositas) is, and what I mean thereby, I explained in 3.59. note. By danger I mean everything, which can give rise to any evil, such as pain, hatred, discord, etc.

  1. The free man, who lives among the ignorant, strives, as far as he can, to avoid receiving favours from them.
  1. Only free men are thoroughly grateful one to another.
  1. The free man never acts fraudulently, but always in good faith.
  1. The man, who is guided by reason, is more free in a State, where he lives under a general system of law, than in solitude, where he is independent.