Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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Now if the Christian, as we have said, has fallen into the way of self contempt in consequence of certain errors through a false, unscientific interpretation of his actions and sensations, he must notice with great surprise how that state of contempt, the pricks of conscience and displeasure generally, does not endure, how sometimes there come hours when all this is wafted away from his soul and he feels himself once more free and courageous.  In truth, the pleasure in himself, the comfort of his own strength, together with the necessary weakening through time of every deep emotion, has usually been victorious; man loves himself once again, he feels it, but precisely, this new love, this self esteem, seems to him incredible, he can only see in it the wholly undeserved descent of a stream of mercy from on high.  If he formerly believed that in every event he could recognise warnings, menaces, punishments, and every kind of manifestation of divine anger, he now finds divine goodness in all his experiences, this event appears to him to be full of love, that one a helpful hint, a third, and, indeed, his whole happy mood, a proof that God is merciful.  As formerly, in his state of pain, he interpreted his actions falsely, so now he misinterprets his experiences; his mood of comfort he believes to be the working of a power operating outside of himself, the love with which he really loves himself seems to him to be divine love; that which he calls mercy, and the prologue to redemption, is actually self forgiveness, self redemption.  
 

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