Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/399

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CHAPTER XXIII.

MISSIONARIES.

THE holy Jewish Church could not with indifferent eyes see one who belonged to her by birth and ritual wilfully break loose from her. She knew well enough that, if individuals were permitted to separate and live according to their own inclinations, the original Jewish tabernacle would in the future stand deserted, and no one would be found to take it on his shoulders and bear it from land to land, fixing its pillars in all kingdoms of the earth. Where men are allowed to be merely men, the gigantic edifice of the Church is tottering. The lords of the Christian Church, as well as of the Jewish, who call themselves servants, recognize this. The Jews had no state. What would be left to them if they had no Church, no synagogue?

The synagogue keeper, Elaser Merimon, whom we have before seen in company with the Cabbalist, had already been to Spinoza three times, and commanded him in the name of the Beth-Din[1] to return to the congregation, and in meat and drink, as well as in attendance at the synagogue, to live after the

  1. Ecclesiastical Court