Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/362

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SPINOZA.

action; and that is why we ought first to comprehend how we can create anything as good, and yet more definite, by our own innate intellectual powers."

"Look there! There is my 'original sin' again," interrupted Meyer. "Firstly, they say, 'Human nature is originally and thoroughly bad, and cannot understand higher things.' Then they say that 'a supernatural revelation is necessary to save them from this situation.' They cut a leg off human nature and triumphantly exclaim, 'Look, it cannot walk or stand alone, so we must make a false leg, and look after its joints every Sunday, that mankind may run again with it for seven days.'"

"Meyer, you are always trying to enrich the inheritance of original sin," said Oldenburg. Then, turning to Spinoza he continued, "Tell me openly, are you not convinced that Judaism is obsolete and narrow?"

"You ask a great deal; but I must first repeat, that no creed offers us that true felicity which springs only from knowledge of the innate necessities of our natural laws. As things are now no man, whoever he may be, whether Christian, Turk, Jew, or heathen, is really recognized as such, but only judged according to his manners and customs, because he goes to this or that church, clings to this or that expression, or swears by the words of this or that master. The only decisive measure at