Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/365

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343
CONFESSIONS.

nant nations. Neither a Greek nor a Roman produced the new world-saving doctrine; it came from the despised, oppressed people, who were shut out from the world's current. In ancient times men lived in perfect uniformity of faith; the religion was the constitution, the constitution was the religion. It was so in Rome and Athens, in Egypt and China, and most perfectly so in Palestine. With the destruction of the Jewish state and the entrance of Christianity originated religion as such, for it was then first cut loose from the state. There were henceforward two powers who took men in charge, and robbed them of uniformity, the State and the Church. Christianity has till now, by the papal power, endeavored to reunite the two; the power of the Pope is now broken, the old division is again there. Christianity does not assign the constitution."

"I think we have exchanged the rôles," replied Spinoza; "Christianity does not apply to nations and States, but to humanity, to all mankind, to make them internally free; it could never be an external law. By means of our recognition of our natural laws we can and must regulate State and Church; in both we must leave room for the investigating minds who bring everything in question, otherwise we again lay our freedom under the bonds of external laws. The religious and political additions made to Christianity from time to time