Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/66

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44
SPINOZA.

a few, who thought a funeral oration on the Sabbath unlawful, remained unmoved.

Baruch, too, stood with tears shining in his eyes—tears of longing; he felt God to be so near, so familiar, that he wished to die, and never more to be separated from him. "Check the sigh that would raise thy breast, for God the Lord wipes the tear from every eye," cried the Rabbi. From the application of his text to the fate of the individual he turned to that of Israel.

"For the Lord will wipe the disgrace of his people from off the face of the earth; but only those who have guarded his word in their hearts dare demand the fulfilment of his promise." The preacher added to these words an ingenious but plain and sharp argument against Christianity. With bitter zeal he railed against the subtilizing intellect of man, that aspired even to explain the immeasurable.

"In the Talmud tractate Chulin it is related that the Emperor Hadrian desired once of Rabbi Jehosuah that he should show him the Uncreated One, or else he would esteem his learning and faith as naught. It was a hot summer-day; the Rabbi led the Emperor out into the open air. 'Look at the sun,' he said to the Prince. 'I cannot,' he replied; 'it dazzles my eyes.' 'Son of Dust!' said the Rabbi, 'the rays of one single creation thou canst not endure; how couldst thou see the Creator?'"