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The soul, when accustomed to superfluous things, acquires a strong habit of desiring things which are neither necessary for the preservation of the individual nor for that of the species. This desire is without limit, whilst those which are necessary are few in number and restricted within certain limits; but what is superfluous is without end...
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The error of the ignorant goes so far as to say that God's power is insufficient, because he has given to this Universe the properties which they imagine cause these great evils, and which do not help all evil-disposed persons to obtain the evil which they seek, and to bring their evil souls to the aim of their desires, though these, as we have shown, are really without limit.
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WHEN reading my present treatise, bear in mind that by "faith" we do not understand merely that which is uttered with the lips, but also that which is apprehended by the soul, the conviction that the object [of belief] is exactly as it is apprehended. If, as regards real or supposed truths, you content yourself with giving utterance to them in words, without apprehending them or believing in them, especially if you do not seek real truth, you have a very easy task as, in fact, you will find many ignorant people professing articles of faith without connecting any idea with them.
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The third class of evils comprise those which everyone causes to himself by his own action. This is the largest class, and is far more numerous than the second class. It is especially of these evils that all men complain, - only few men are found that do not sin against themselves by this kind of evil. ...This class of evil originates in man's vices, such as excessive desire for eating, drinking, and love; indulgence in these things in undue measure, or in improper manner, or partaking of bad food. This course brings diseases and afflictions upon the body and soul alike.
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Another fundamental principle taught by the Law of Moses is this: Wrong cannot be ascribed to God in any way whatever; all evils and afflictions as well as all kinds of happiness of man, whether they concern one individual or a community, are distributed according to justice; they are the result of strict judgement that admits no wrong whatever.
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The prophet [ Isaiah ]... points out what will be the cause of this change; for he says that hatred, quarrel, and fighting will come to an end, because men will have a true knowledge of God. "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters which cover the sea" (Isa. xi. ver. 9) Note it.
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