Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/259

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237
HANDICRAFT.

scattered through all lands. It was a sophistical trick."

"That may be," said his father, "the greater proportion of people cannot be treated any other way than by being duped, so we do them that favor. But that is not what concerns us. Consider how you are to ensure a livelihood in the future."

"Rabbi Gamaliel teaches that 'Study of the law united with a trade is good; diligence in both causes us to forget sin; study without work is idleness, and leads to sin.'" Baruch then gave several examples of fathers of the synagogue who were handicraftsmen, and concluded with the words, "I should like to learn a handicraft."

"You need not quote the Talmud so much for it; I have nothing against your learning an honorable craft."

Spinoza was glad that his father was not merely moved by his examples to agree to his purpose, for he had in a measure thereby lent himself to wellknown "pious deceptions." He was firmly resolved never to join in the usual routine, and sell his knowledge and convictions for daily bread. If he could earn his livelihood by the labor of his hands, his convictions would remain free from the necessities and constraints of every-day life. Or even to minds of the first order does that vague, unsatisfied longing occur, which so often comes over us if we are fated always and always to drive the pen,