Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/400

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
378
SPINOZA.

precepts of the Jewish religion. He had refused to obey these commands, and the lesser excommunication was passed, which banished him for three months from the Jewish Church. Though he had already condemned himself to this penalty, he entered a protest against the sentence, because his manner of life was not radically in opposition to Judaism, and he pledged himself to prove the illegality of the ceremony. His protest, however, was in vain, and he thought no more about it, for he recognized only one ban—that which could banish him from the presence of Olympia. His two brothers-in-law then came, and reminded him that he must return to the bosom of the Church. He put them off with a quiet smile; but they became more and more violent, abused and cursed him, and threatened to tear him in pieces if he did not avert the shame of his manner of life from his relations.

Spinoza's Spanish blood boiled, but even then he suppressed all explosion of wrath. The threats and blustering seemed to him only immaterial opposition which he could have pictured to himself. With measured speech and kinsmanlike behavior, in so far as was consistent with independence, he drew the limits; he taught their violence that external behavior could not bind, and external force not convince. His words must have contained convincing proofs, for the two looked at each other in