Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/287

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265
THE UNEXPRESSED.

"Look at the thing aright," answered Baruch; "there is as much and as little of mere truth in the Bible as in other books. Look at it impartially and not with Jewish prejudice. Is not the human soul sometimes spoken of as contained in blood, sometimes in breath? Ay, and moreover, is God an immaterial being in all passages of the Bible? I know the Bible is said to tell people the literal truth; but consider: God is represented as filling space, for he appears on Mount Sinai in clouds and fire; in the vision of Moses his foot was of white sapphire. And that is the highest ideal of God! There are sublime and pure ideas of God to be found in the Bible; but how he is in and about things, how he creates and maintains, that seems to me to be taken for granted, never proved. And even that on which we lay most stress—the conception of him as the one only Godhead—is not sufficing, and can only be used figuratively, because we cannot form any idea of or expression for the omnipresence of God."

Chisdai clenched his fists under the table. "And the prophets," he asked, "have they all known nothing aright?"

"The prophets," answered Spinoza, "were great and upright men, endowed with a spirit that strove to comprehend the infinite whole; men to whose hearts not only the fate of Israel but that of the whole world lay near. As Isaiah says (xvi. 9),