Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/181

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159
THE CABBALIST.

the force of habit which made such a commencement seem apostasy. But yet he did not give it up. A quiet power possessed him. He found no new explanation of the Cabbala, but other things most unanticipated. He now read a new Bible, and not like a child following the finger of its teacher; but, for the first time, with free eyes and unfettered, independent judgment. It reacted on his conception of what had hitherto been to him the only sacred writings. Must not these also be viewed from the standpoint of independent criticism? Is it impossible to review the familiar, accepted with a defined signification, in its simple reality?

He passed over the miracles without difficulty. The parables too, with their resemblances to the Talmud, impressed him but little. He had seen too often in the Rabbinical department how willingly inward incompleteness, which is but unripeness of reflection, and outward incompleteness, which is but cowardice, make use of such disguises. And is it not said that Christ even revealed the truth to his disciples alone? Is it impossible to teach men the naked truth? Is "becoming as a child," the return to the simple world of nature, the only means of salvation in an age confused with dogmas and ruined by Pharisees? Must not to "become as a man," a development and growth of mind in accordance with the recognized laws of nature, be a means of salvation? Do these alone