Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/377

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355
MICROCOSMOS.

but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands and is in kings' palaces."

The Bible explains in its own way nature and her propensities, human history and its own wars of extermination. Everywhere an endless successive war of destruction. Force rules in nature, innocent of motive, and in the kingdom of nature might and right are one, and men have fixed laws to protect them from one another, and these laws again only derive their influence from their legitimate power; the divine privilege of man, however, is to be a law unto himself in conscious comprehension of his own nature, which prescribes him peace with himself and the world. In the name of these given laws, divine and human, thousands condemn and devour each other, and what should unite them divides them. Will it ever be possible to establish the power of the law on virtue and love?

Let us congratulate ourselves that to-day we are fortunate enough to find Spinoza undisturbed, for yesterday he had to sustain a sharp conflict. Frau Gertrui came to the door with a broom, just as he was laughing aloud at the fight of a fat bluebottle with the spider.

"Do the Jews too think the spiders bring luck?" she asked. "You are so orderly, just the opposite in that of the blessed Magister, of which I am truly