Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/413

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391
MISSIONARIES.

embrace in true, tender, all-forgetting love and union. Ay, and if you are baptized, the first defect they discover in you, it is the old Jewish Adam appearing. So return to your own people, who love you truly, and on whose neck rests the same yoke; they will receive you with brotherly love, and forget your backsliding."

"No," said Spinoza, "you have committed a sore sin against God and human nature by your words; it would be too horrible if they were true, but they are not. It is indeed possible for man to belong to man; love and comprehension are more durable than hatred and prejudice. Is the human mind originally Jewish or Christian? Well! I shall see in time whether you speak the truth."

"Do not; why should you be ruined? 'Whoever would purify himself, men will come to his help; but he who would defile himself, men let him alone,' says the Talmud. I will make you a good proposition. The congregation offer you a place in the Beth-Din; you can follow your studies undisturbed, for you have little to do there."

"I will never accept office."

"The congregation will guarantee you a salary of a thousand gulden, on condition that you will promise on your honor never to write a word against Judaism."

"The proverb says, 'If the people wish to silence a man, they must stop his mouth with