Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/329

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307
PROSELYTES.

perjury cannot be. Or shall I hasten to the synagogue, and be baptized by the Rabbis?"

"Dear Olympia, if you but knew the force of the pain which now rends my heart you would not speak to me so. It would be perjury, naught else, if I swore to accept knowingly any other faith. Thanks to progressive development I can declare myself free from the form of faith into which I was born, and can build up for myself a view of higher things as nature gives the hand to my powers of mind. I can and will be withheld by no personal consideration from speaking out, and living according to my convictions of faith and opinion; a religious community in which I have been placed by chance of birth cannot hinder me therefrom. But it is otherwise wilfully to enter such. The new community could justly ask me, What draws you to us if it is not Truth? You have no longer a claim to influence in the old, or in the newly accepted sanctuary. I know the sophisms well enough that are suggested to us: you merely follow the form, your intellect is still free. But it is and ever will be perjury, and durst I, a perjurer, ever take the word truth on my lips without blushing? My unhappy countryman Uriel Acosta, of whom I have told you before, thus ended his life by a dreadful suicide, because he had already committed the suicide of his intellect by recantation. He must have ap-