8. One can say that evil is the absence of good, as cold is the absence of heat. Wickedness is no more a distinct attribute than cold is a special fluid. One is the negative of the other. Where good exists not, there is necessarily evil. Not to do wickedly is already the commencement of good. God desires only good; from man only comes evil. If there were in the universe a being charged with evil, man would not be able to evade him; but man, having the cause of wrong-doing within HIMSELF, having at the same time his free-will, and for his guide the divine laws, he can avoid it if he desires to do so.
Let us take a common fact as a comparison. A landowner knows that at the extremity of his field is a dangerous place, and those who might venture there would be wounded, or perish. What means does he employ to prevent accidents? He places near the place a notice forbidding people to pass there on account of danger. Such is the law: it is wise and provident. If not withstanding the warning, an imprudent person pays no heed, and passes beyond it, thereby injuring himself, whom can he blame if not himself?
Thus it is with all evils; man could evade them if he would obey the divine laws. God, for example, has placed a limit to the gratification of wants: man is warned by satiety. If he passes beyond this limit, he does it voluntarily. The illness, infirmities, and death, which may be the consequence of it, are then occasioned by his own fault, and not that of God.