1. Substance is, by its nature, prior to all its modifications.
2. Things which are different are distinguished either
realiter or modaliter.
3. Things which are distinguished realiter either have
different attributes, such as Thought and Extension, or are
referred to different attributes, as in the case of Understanding
and Motion; one of which belongs to Thought, and the other to
4. Things which have different attributes, as also the things
which belong to different attributes, do not have anything
the one of the other.
5. That which has not in itself something of another thing, can
also not be a cause of the existence of such another thing.
6. It is impossible that that which is a cause of itself
should have limited itself.
7. That by which the things are sustained is by its nature
prior to [N1] such things.
[Note N1]: A: the first (prior) in; B: prior to.
To no substance that exists can one and the same attribute
be ascribed that is ascribed to another substance; or (which is
the same) in Nature there cannot be two substances, unless
they are distinguished realiter.[N1]
[Note N1]: B: ...in Nature there cannot be posited two
substances of one and the same nature.
If there are two substances, then they are distinct; and consequently
(Axiom 2) [N1] they are distinguished either realiter or
modaliter; not modaliter, for in that case the modes
would by their nature be prior to the substance, which is contrary to the
first axiom; therefore, realiter; and consequently, what is
predicated of the one cannot be predicated of the other, which is what we
intended to prove.
[Note N1]: A gives the references to Axioms and Propositions in the
margin; B, in the text.
One substance cannot be the cause of the existence of another
Such a cause cannot contain in itself anything of such an effect (Prop.
1); because the difference between them is real, and therefore it cannot
(Axiom 5) produce it.[N1]
[Note N1]: A adds: (existence); B: ...and therefore the one cannot
produce the other.
Every attribute or substance [N1] is by nature infinite, and supremely
perfect in its kind.
[Note N1]: A: all attributes or substance; B: all substance or its
No substance is produced by another (Prop. 2) and consequently, if it
exists, it is either an attribute of God, or it has been its
own cause outside God. If the first, then it is necessarily
infinite, and supremely perfect in its kind, such
as are all other attributes of God. If the
second, then it is also necessarily such
because (Axiom 6) it could not have limited
To such an extent does existence pertain by
nature to the essence of every substance,[N1] that
it is impossible to posit in an infinite
understanding the Idea of the essence of a
substance that does not exist in Nature.
[Note N1]: A: to every essence of substance; B:
to the essence of a substance.
The true essence of an object[N1] is something
which is realiter different from the Idea of the same
object; and this something exists (Axiom 3)
either realiter, or is contained in some other thing
which exists realiter; from which other thing this
essence cannot be distinguished realiter, but only
modaliter; such are all the essences of the things
[N2] which we see, which before they yet existed
were already contained in extension, motion, and
rest, and when they do exist are not
distinguished from extension realiter, but only
modaliter. Moreover, it would involve
self-contradiction to suppose that the essence of a
substance[N3] is contained thus in some other
thing; because in that case it could not be
distinguished from this realiter, contrary to the
first proposition; also, it could in that case be
produced by the subject which contains it,
contrary to the second proposition; and lastly,
it could not by its nature be infinite and
supremely perfect in its kind, contrary to the
Therefore, as its essence is not contained in any other
thing, it must be a thing that exists through itself.
[Note N1]: B: . . of the object of an idea.
[Note N2]: B: essences or things.
[Note N3]: A: that an essence of the substance;
B: that an essence of substance.
Nature is known through itself, and not through any
other thing. It consists of infinite attributes every one of
them infinite and perfect in its kind; to its essence
pertains existence, so that outside it there is no other
essence or existence, and it thus coincides exactly with
the essence of God who alone is glorious and blessed.