Source: Theologico-Political Treatise - Chapter III - Of the Vocation of the Hebrews, and Whether the Gift of Prophecy was Peculiar to Them

Spinoza's Chapter 3. - true happiness is found in wisdom and truth which all can share (Page 1)

book cover Every man's true happiness and blessedness consist solely in the enjoyment of what is good, not in the pride that he alone is enjoying it, to the exclusion of others. He who thinks himself the more blessed because he is enjoying benefits which others are not is ignorant of true happiness and blessedness, and the joy which he feels is either childish or envious and malicious.

Spinoza says that a man's true happiness consists only in wisdom, and the knowledge of the truth, not that others lack such knowledge. Rejoicing in another's misfortune does not contribute to true happiness or peace.

When the Bible speaks of special treatment for the Hebrews it is only in the ears of the hearers that specialness is made exclusively their own. The gifts of (Deus sive Natura) would be no less good for the Hebrews if they were available to all men and the Hebrews would be no less benefited if all men and all nations were equally blessed.