Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/199

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177
THE LUCIANIST.

the patient strikes you in the face, you leave a splinter in and cannot extract it except with the danger of tearing the gum, or destroying a nerve. Whoever would really help says he would but look at it, then fixes the pincers in the jaws, then back! out with it; but it is better not to help him who has not the courage to let himself be helped."

"You make the endeavor after possession and increase of the ideal attainments of mankind an intellectual luxury."

"Yes, it has no practical aim; I don't grudge it to you Jews, if you like to erect a heavenly kingdom, since you have no earthly one. Why do you laugh? Am I not right?"

"The Talmud says that the best of the physicians go to hell; the professors of healing then had evidently the same ideas as you have now."

"What does your Talmud matter to me? Your Moses was a great statesman, but wise Solomon is the man for me; he understood life, that is why he says in Ecclesiastes, 'Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry.'"

"Then the brutes best fulfil their destiny, and the mollusks who consist of a stomach are the most perfect of creations."

"No; I grant you a brute can be merry, but man is superior in this, not that he walks upright, can