Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/64

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41
SPINOZA.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me" (Ps. xxiii. 3), he repeated in a harsh voice. The corresponding text was added from the Talmud; and further, this choice explanation of the expression "thy rod and thy staff," that by "rod" the written and by "staff" the spoken law was understood. The preacher then descended to his audience: "The living buried in a dungeon bemoans his life; the unkempt hair of his head is his only pillow; whether it be day or night, whether spring blossoms, or the autumn winds pluck the yellow leaves from the trees, he knows not; dust and darkness surround him, but in his heart are light and joyous day, for God dwells therein. In his loneliness an innumerable host of angels hover round him, who bear him away out of the hard prison-walls, far away, over the world to the throne of God, where he rests in prayer."

All the grades of torture the Rabbi described to his hearers, to the most extreme degree, when by dropping of water on the top of the spine the nerves of the brain itself are weakened.

"Woe!" he cried; "our eyes have seen the indescribable afflictions with which the Lord menaces us. No. Let us not cry Woe, but Praise and Thanks to Him who has lifted them all to a pasturage in the glorious light of His Majesty!" The