polishing. The hand of a philosopher turning the wheel of a machine, and employed in stupid manufacture; it is too repulsive a thought!"
"Do not abuse handicraft," replied Spinoza earnestly, "it is a privilege of humanity. The beasts have only their instinctive faculties of work, to build their nests, obtain their nourishment, to attack and to defend. Mankind has made the external productions of nature his limbs. If he wants the flight of birds, the speed of deer, arrow and ball will overtake either. His hands can with, difficulty dig up the earth; he melts iron and points it as hatchet or plough, yokes the strength of beasts to it, and carves and shapes both wood and stone. The peaceful crafts of shaping and building are the noblest inheritance of mankind, are sacred traditions. Whoever leaves an improved tool to posterity gives a helping hand, and here a thousand immortal minds work on in obscurity. If I could in thought or deed invent something that would serve men after me in the enlightenment and beautifying of life, I should be happy; but never must we forget that all that is so handed down is but a tool for our own formation."
"That is all very fine and witty," said Olympia, womanlike seizing one thought out of the whole to reply to; "every one can think that, without being an artisan himself. Why should you work with sacred axes, sacred hatchets, and sacred files?"