Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/373

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351
CONFESSIONS.

between the thinking mind and the one thought which you set before you is thus perpetually crossed and interrupted; the natural heat flows away, cools, and must perpetually be relighted. So congratulate yourself that you are born a Jew, and are a bachelor by fate and free-will."

For the first time Spinoza was glad when his two friends took leave. Of all the inclinations of man love of woman is the most like faith. Its true foundation is only in the individual personality, whose precise view of the case, known to no other, makes it sacrilege to interfere. Why should Spinoza be possessed by a love which was in such opposition to the world, and therefore gave every one, and especially his friends, a right to pry into it? A less steadfast and unworldly because less truth-loving nature would have had his softer sentiments destroyed by such encroachments, and have become bitter against his friends, or self-distrustful. Spinoza learned by his clear intelligence to acquire here too that devotion which men usually ascribe to the direct influence of sentiment.