Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/195

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173
THE LUCIANIST.

thinks about it awhile, there lay much method in his madness. What is the use of prayer? To influence God? Half a fool could see that it would be a contradiction if God allowed himself to be disturbed by us. The proverb says 'ora et labora;' it all comes to this, then, that it raises and tranquillizes our so-called souls, which are oppressed and perplexed by our sorrows and pains; if I could do it by an anecdote, or a chapter on logic and physic, it would be just as good; so don't trouble yourself because you have become independent; don't hang your head, but be merry and good-humored. I am so, and for more than twenty years have never thought of prayer. If one could only bring up the young without wasting the fairest time of life in useless fiddle-faddle!" So said the physician, and his little grey eyes twinkled. Baruch could not oppose his exposition, but from that time he was more reserved with him; he diligently studied the works on mathematics and natural science that he received from him, questioned him on any difficulty therein, but carefully avoided any reference to his own condition of mind. The physician, however, knew how to awaken confidence by his insinuating frankness.

"I was once as hampered by doubts as you," he once said to Baruch. "And I know what the effect of such bondage is; even now when I think I have freed myself I catch myself in that exclusiveness