Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/412

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390
SPINOZA.

told me when we came to this room for the first time with your late father? The time may come when you will feel deserted by all who belong to you by bonds of kindred and religion; you will stretch out your hands to them, and grasp naught but empty air. I know too well how far your free thought has carried you; I do not believe you will turn Christian. Trust my experience, if you reach the highest point of free-thought, and have shaken off all prejudice or doctrinal peculiarity, you are, and will always remain, a Jew to them; they will always look upon you as a foreigner. They have imbibed hatred and aversion to the Jews with their mothers' milk; you waste your love on them. What good they may discover in you, they will set down as exceptional; if you strive for wealth and honor, they will say it is Jewish avarice and ambition; if you hold both cheap, they will say he has acquired a little Christian modesty and scorn of worldly wealth. They will think you charming and inimitable if you mock at Jewish folly; but if you attack one of their own prejudices, even if they themselves had long ago made a jest of it, you must not do it, and if you do it, you are a pert, obtrusive Jew. It is the same in this as in other things in life: we confess our faults, and blame ourselves for them; but if another does it, we are annoyed. Sooner will the heavens kiss the earth, or fire and water unite, than a Jew and a Christian