Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/249

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DISCIPLES OF DESCARTES.

custom and manipulation, the embryo is brought to light, then it is wrapped in cotton-wool and tied into a pillow that it may not freeze, and when it is older goes in leading strings."

"I know your methods of education too little," replied Spinoza, "and so cannot rightly understand how a religion with a dogmatic-historic basis can be developed in a Socratic manner; but what you say of the Jews may be true enough. It has often happened that, like David, they have overthrown a champion well armed and practised in rules of fence with a well-directed pebble; but this want of discipline destroys all true, well-founded learning among the Jews. My endeavor is to withdraw myself from that vagabond intellectual life, and follow the progress of a study from point to point. Herein Descartes is my surest leader."

How wonderful it is that the thousand buds on a tree open at once! They are but one flower-cup, and the innumerable trees but one blooming tree, but to the eyes of men they are thousands. So bloom the flowers in the heart of man. It is but one force that awakens our intelligence, will, benevolence and love; we, however, can only see them individually.

The kingdom of knowledge and the joys of friendship awoke in Spinoza together; indeed, they were but one; for knowledge is the joyful recognition of external laws, the endeavor after, and con-