Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/407

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385
MISSIONARIES.

the holy faith of our fathers. Why have we left our beautiful native land and wandered into far countries? That we might openly serve our faith in peace; and you reject it of your own free-will. I warn you while there is yet time; you are young now, but when you approach your end, your treachery will follow you when you wake, and murder your sleep."

Spinoza had regard to the man's age, and quietly represented to him his firm decision and his innocence.

For a week he was free from attempts at conversion, and during this time he worked out a plan of defence; and while employing for this purpose the authority of the Sacred Scriptures, he formed new conclusions and became more firm and decided in those he had long ago formed. What had been suppressed in the development of silent thought, whether by innate shyness or under cover of stated facts, now shot up with renewed strength in the hot conflict of defence. Spinoza, too, now felt that warlike spirit, that concentrated power, which strengthens ordinary forces and makes them rise above themselves.

For the next exhortation which was addressed to him he did not require this power.

On the Sabbath, as he sat at table enjoying his simple mid-day meal, he heard some one heavily mounting the stairs; the door opened, and old Chaje