Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/366

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344
SPINOZA.

have only been temporary. When Christ says, 'Whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also' (a rule of behavior that is also given in the Lamentations of Jeremiah), it can only refer to a time of oppression and lawlessness; otherwise it is according to reason and duty to give him who giveth thee a blow two in return; or to bring him who would sue thee at the law to justice, that the rogues may not make a successful game of their roguery."

"With such views as these," said Oldenburg, "I should not long hesitate in acknowledging myself of the Christian religion; you need not do it from conviction of the dogmas. Therefore if I were you I should join the larger and more cultivated majority, who have moreover the greatest power of influencing the history of their time. It is not vanity in a man to have an ugly excrescence removed from his face; he only fulfils his duty to others and himself by removing everything detrimental."

"And I," said Meyer, "would neither respect nor value you from that day forward; you would be a traitor to yourself. But I hear you are in love with the saintly Olympia. What a universally tolerant young lady that is! First she had a Catholic, and then a Protestant, for lovers; now she has a Jew, and, I presume, in Kerkering a Lutheran, as co-admirers; if she has done with you both I will charter her a Turk."