Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/410

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388
SPINOZA.

the pilgrimage was first made to Maledictus. The day after Spinoza had got rid of old Chaje, the physician Solomon de Silva came to him. He began with professional inquiries, and told Spinoza that his present way of life was undermining his health; but he replied that two of his friends were physicians, that he observed diet, and was always fairly well. Silva then drove his probe deeper.

"I confess," he said, "that Judaism contains many abuses and abnormal developments which ought to be got rid of; when I was your age it used to weigh on my mind too. The impetuosity of youth always wants hastily to cut away what displeases it, but that will not do; men must first win respect and confidence, and not shock people; then later on something may be permitted to you, and you can carry out your plans by degrees."

"The Talmud teaches that you should keep no false measures in your house," answered Spinoza. "Does that not refer here?"

"In any case," persisted the physician, "time and opportunity are to be considered; these everyday conditions have at least their natural rights as much as abstract logical thoughts. The first rule is, that whoever wishes to influence any association and work seasonable and reasonable reforms, must never place himself outside that association. Therefore I counsel you to return; remember there are other people who have seen