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Short Treatise on God, Man, and His Well-Being:
Part 2, Chapter 24.

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

    Still, when we say that God does not love man, this must not be taken to mean that he (so to say) leaves man to pursue his course all alone, but only that because man together with all that is, are in God in such a way,[N1] and God consists of all these in such a way, therefore, properly speaking, there can be in him no love for something else: since all form only one thing, which is God himself.
[Note N1]: B continues as follows: that God thus consists of them only, therefore, it must be so conceived that, properly speaking...

    From this it follows also that God gives no laws to mankind so as to reward them when they fulfill them *[and to punish them when they transgress them,]* or, to state it more clearly, that God's laws are not of such a nature that they could be transgressed. For the regulations imposed by God on Nature, according to which all things come into existence and continue to exist, these, if we will call them laws, are such that they can never be transgressed; such, for instance, is [the law] that the weakest must yield to the strongest,[N1] that no cause can produce more than it contains in itself, and the like, which are of such a kind that they never change, and never had a beginning, but all things are subjected and subordinated to them. And, to say briefly something about them: all laws that cannot be transgressed, are divine laws; the reason [is this], because whatsoever happens, is not contrary to, but in accordance with, his own decision. All laws that can be transgressed are human laws; the reason [is this], because all that people decide upon for their own well-being does not necessarily, on that account, tend also to the well-being of the whole of Nature, but may, on the contrary, tend to the annihilation of many other things.
[Note N1]: B: the weaker must yield to the stronger.

    When the laws of Nature are stronger, the laws of men are made null; the divine laws are the final end for the sake of which they exist, and not subordinate; human [laws] are not.[N1] Still,[N2] notwithstanding the fact that men make laws for their own well-being, and have no other end in view except to promote their own well-being by them, this end of theirs may yet (in so far as it is subordinate to other ends which another has in view, who is above them, and lets them act thus as parts of Nature) serve that end [which] coincides with the eternal [N3] laws established by God from eternity, and so, together with all others, help to accomplish everything. For example, although the Bees, in all their work and the orderly discipline which they maintain among themselves, have no other end in view than to make certain provisions *for themselves* for the winter, still, man who is above them, has an entirely different end in view when he maintains and tends them, namely, to obtain honey for himself. So also [is it with] man, in so far as he is an individual thing and looks no further than his finite character can reach; but, in so far as he is also a part and tool of the whole of Nature, this end of man cannot be the final end of Nature, because she is infinite, and must make use of him, together also with all other things, as an instrument.
[Note N1]: B: The Divine Laws are the final end for which they exist, and are not subordinate: but not so the Human Laws; for when the Laws of Nature are stronger than these they are annihilated.

[Note N2]: A: For; B: Still.

[Note N3]: B: beginningless.

    Thus far [we have been speaking] of the law imposed by God; it is now to be remarked also that man is aware of two kinds of law even in himself;[N1] I mean such a man who uses his understanding aright, and attains to the knowledge of God; and these [two kinds of law] result from his fellowship with God, and from his fellowship with the modes of Nature. Of these the one is necessary, and the other is not. For, as regards the law which results from his fellowship with God, since he can never be otherwise but must always necessarily be united with him, therefore he has, and always must have before his eyes the laws by which he must live for and with God. But as regards the law which results from his fellowship with the modes, since he can separate himself from men, this is not so necessary.
[Note N1]: B continues: 1. In him who uses his understanding aright and attains to the knowledge of God; these result from his fellowship with God. 2. Those which result from his fellowship with the modes of Nature.

    Now, since we posit such a fellowship between God and men, it might justly be asked, how God can make himself known to men, and whether this happens, or could have happened, by means of spoken words, or directly *through himself,* without using any other thing to do it with.

    We answer,[N1] not by means of words, in any case; for in that case man must have known the signification of the words before they were spoken to him. For example, if God had said to the Israelites, "I am Jehovah your God", then they would have had to know first, apart from these words, that God existed,[N2] before they could be assured *thereby* that it was he *[who was speaking to them].* For they already knew quite well then that the voice, thunder and lightning were not God, although the voice proclaimed that it was God. And the same that we say here about words, we also mean to hold good of all external signs.
[Note N1]: B: To this we answer that such [a thing] can never happen by means of words; for, in that case, man would have had to know the signification of the words before the outward communication was made to him through them. When, for example, God said to the Israelites,...

[Note N2]: A: "dat hy God was" [that he was God]; B: "dat God was" [that God existed].

    We consider it, therefore, impossible that God should make himself known to men by means of external signs.[N1]
[Note N1]: B continues: this self-revelation must therefore take place solely through the essence of God and the understanding of man; for ...

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

    We therefore conclude, finally, that, in order to make himself known to men, God can and need use neither words, nor miracles, nor any other created thing, but only himself.
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