Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/361

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339
CONFESSIONS.

rooting out of all dogmatic creeds, and especially the authority of the Bible. Luther, he says, has overturned traditional creeds, but has set us down on the barren sand of mere verbal inspiration. He even quotes you, and says you think nothing of the prophets or sacred history."

"If he does he is wrong. I think the prophets, with their visions and inner revelations, which we may call direct divine gifts, may probably recognize the truth as plainly as the clearest judgments of reason. It is only because the former remains on the lowest step of perception that it is more exposed to error than pure reason. Theology and philosophy are not opposed to one another; they merely rest on different foundations. I am convinced of the eternal and inextinguishable utility of the so-called sacred histories for the common people. He who believes in them and rules his life in accordance has succeeded as heir to a great accumulation of truths proved by experience, to which the small body of men who cannot simply believe in them can only attain by their own unassisted powers of thought. Both are fortunate, the latter the most fortunate, because they themselves discover the collected laws of nature. The Bible cannot pretend to such universal application, and has never done so; it is a slowly accumulated work which includes much extraneous matter; its aims are not learning and thought, but faith and