Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/222

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CHAPTER XI.

A NEW MAN.

FROM the bright friendly circle where he was named Benedict he must return to the monotonous and uncongenial surroundings where he was called Baruch, and think and act as such.

Why was the name Benedict more harmonious than the name Baruch? It was only the prejudice of a Gentile, to whom the sacred language was unfamiliar and harsh. But yet is not this naming anew a sign that he was henceforth to live and think like the whole intellectual world in word and deed? Is there not a deeper meaning in the fact that the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob altered their names on receiving a new covenant? Darest thou create precedents for thyself from the Bible? And always the Bible? ...

Pondering thus Spinoza left the Van den Ende's house. His family name remained unaltered, and with it the indissoluble connection between his past and future; within these limits and depending on these associations to no one is granted the power of freely following out a train of thought. The crown he had once received in the title of Rabbi had passed from his brow; a fair consecrating hand