Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/32

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10
SPINOZA.

but if he remain obdurate and stubborn, we rend our garments; he is dead; he must die, or kill the Satan in his heart. We constrain him with all the power that God has given us."

"They constrain him until he says 'I will,'" interrupted Chisdai from the Talmud; and the Rabbi continued:

"If we cannot exorcise the lying spirit in him, we exterminate him, and his devil also. When words no longer reach, the Lord has given us the stone wherewith to stone. Let not yourselves be led by those who are now soft-hearted over the fate of the apostate, and say, 'They should have saved him—not driven him so far.' It is well for him that he can sin no longer."

A singular train of thought must have risen in Baruch's mind, for he asked after a pause:

"Where in Holy Scripture is suicide forbidden?"

"What a question!" replied the Rabbi peevishly; and Chisdai added:

"It says in the sixth commandment, 'Thou shalt do no murder,' without comment, and that means neither another nor thyself."

"You start strange questions to-day," said the Rabbi disapprovingly to Baruch. He, however, could not explain what disturbed him. The stranger had aroused him from deep thought as he stood by the grave of the heretic, gazing into the pit while they lowered the body in; it seemed to him