Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/257

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Chapter XIV.

HANDICRAFT.

WHILE Spinoza was absorbed in consideration of the actual existence of things, the inherent cause of their existence, their necessary and accidental destinies, and the appropriate mathematical demonstrations of Descartes, his father had also been considering the sufficient cause of actual existence, and his demonstrations were not less founded on ciphers and numbers than the philosopher's.

"Are you still resolved not to be a Rabbi?" he said one day to his son. "Have you thought over all the consequences to both you and me? I, alas! see my greatest joy sink before me into the grave."

"In the sayings of the Fathers it is written," answered Baruch in a low voice, "that Rabbi Zadok said, 'Make not a crown of glory of thy knowledge of the sacred law to pride thyself thereon, neither make a spade thereof wherewith to dig.' It always goes ill with a religion if its expounders earn wages thereby."

"Good, I am of Rabbi Zadok's opinion; but what if a man hath no other spade? Listen to me; I will be open with you. Our Miriam is now the