By Benedict de Spinoza
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Extra resources for A Theologico-Political Treatise 01
41) So long as men act simply from fear they act contrary to their inclinations, taking no thought for the advantages or necessity of their actions, but simply endeavouring to escape punishment or loss of life. (42) They must needs rejoice in any evil which befalls their ruler, even if it should involve themselves; and must long for and bring about such evil by every means in their power. (43) Again, men are especially intolerant of serving and being ruled by their equals. (44) Lastly, it is exceedingly difficult to revoke liberties once granted.
3) If in the Old Testament they are spoken of as the law of God, it is only because they were founded on revelation, or a basis of revelation. (4) Still as reason, however sound, has little weight with ordinary theologians, I will adduce the authority of Scripture for what I here assert, and will further show, for the sake of greater clearness, why and how these ceremonials served to establish and preserve the Jewish kingdom. (5) Isaiah teaches most plainly that the Divine law in its strict sense signifies that universal law which consists in a true manner of life, and does not signify ceremonial observances.
59) But since Scripture nevertheless narrates that God did give this command to Adam, and yet that none the less Adam ate of the tree, we must perforce say that God revealed to Adam the evil which would surely follow if he should eat of the tree, but did not disclose that such evil would of necessity come to pass. OF THE DIVINE LAW. 30 A Theologico−Political Treatise Part I solely on the will and absolute power of some potentate, so that the revelation in question was solely in relation to Adam, and solely through his lack of knowledge a law, and God was, as it were, a lawgiver and potentate.