Eternity

Proposition 21: The mind can only imagine anything, or remember what is past, while the body endures. Proof: The mind does not: Proposition 22. Nevertheless in God there is necessarily an idea, which expresses the essence of this or that human body under the form of eternity. Proof: God is the cause of the existence of this or that human body and also of its essence (1.25.). Proposition 23: The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but there remains of it something which is eternal. Proof: There is necessarily in God a concept or idea, which expresses the essence of the human body (last Prop.), which, therefore, is necessarily something appertaining to the essence of the human mind (2.13.). Note: This idea, which expresses the essence of the body under the form of eternity, is, as we have said, a certain mode of thinking, which belongs to the essence of the mind, and is necessarily eternal. Proposition 24: The more we understand particular things, the more do we understand God. Proof: This is evident from 1.25. Coroll. Proposition 25. The highest endeavour of the mind, and the highest virtue is to understand things by the third kind of knowledge. Proof: The third kind of knowledge proceeds from an adequate idea of certain attributes of God to an adequate knowledge of the essence of things (see its definition 2.40. note. 2). Proposition 26: In proportion as the mind is more capable of understanding things by the third kind of knowledge, it desires more to understand things by that kind. Proof: This is evident. Proposition 27. From this third kind of knowledge arises the highest possible mental acquiescence. Proof: The highest virtue of the mind is to know God (4.28.), or to understand things by the third kind of knowledge (5.25.), and this virtue is greater in proportion as the mind knows things more by the said kind of knowledge (5.24.): Proposition 28: The desire to know things by intuition cannot arise from the imagination, but from reason. Proof: This proposition is self-evident. Proposition 33: God's intellectual love, arising from intuition, is eternal. Proof: Intuition is eternal (5.31. 1. Ax. 3). Note: This love towards God has (by the foregoing Prop.) no beginning. Proposition 34: The mind is subject to those emotions which are attributable to passions, only while the body endures. Proof: Imagination is the idea wherewith the mind contemplates a thing as present (2.17 note). Corollary: Hence it follows that no love save intellectual love is eternal. Note: If we look to men's general opinion, we shall see that they are indeed conscious of the eternity of their mind, but that they confuse eternity with duration, and ascribe it to the imagination or the memory which they believe to remain after death. Proposition 35: God loves himself with an infinite intellectual love. Proof: God is absolutely infinite (1. Def. 6), that is (2. Def. 6), the nature of God rejoices in infinite perfection. Proposition 36. The intellectual love of the mind towards God is that very love of God whereby God loves himself, not as he is infinite, but as he can be explained through the human mind's essence regarded under the form of eternity. Proof: This love of the mind must be referred to the activities of the mind (5.32. Coroll. and 3.3.). Corollary: It follows that God, as he loves himself, loves man. Note: Our salvation, blessedness, or freedom consists in the constant and eternal love towards God, or in God's love towards men. Proposition 37. There is nothing in nature, which is contrary to this intellectual love, or which can take it away. Proof: This intellectual love follows necessarily from the nature of the mind, in so far as the latter is regarded through the nature of God as an eternal truth (5.33 and 5.39). Note: The Axiom of Part 4 has reference to particular things, as they are regarded in relation to a given time and place. Proposition 38. In proportion as the mind understands more things by the second and third kind of knowledge, it is less subject to those emotions which are evil, and stands in less fear of death. Proof: The mind's essence consists in knowledge (2.11.). Note: Hence we understand that point which I touched on in 4.39. note, and which I promised to explain in this Part. Proposition 39. He, who possesses a body capable of the greatest number of activities, possesses a mind whereof the greatest part is eternal. Proof: He, who possesses a body capable of the greatest number of activities, is least agitated by those evil emotions (4.38.) or (4.30.) those emotions which are contrary to our nature. Note: Since human bodies are capable of the most activities, they may be of such a nature, that they may be referred to minds possessing a great knowledge of themselves and of God.