Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/414

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392
SPINOZA.

broth,' replied Spinoza. "It is a practical and politic method, but not applicable to my case. My dear doctor, I do not want you to be angry with me, but what are such proposals to me?"

"I only told, you of them to fulfil my commission; I personally have something else to say to you. Youth will not see that there is really no such thing as absolute truth, that such a thing cannot exist in the world, because it would be tyrannically absolute. He who knows the fate of man, and has lived a long life of his own, knows that historical truth alone is worth anything. You are too modest and humble to be a scoffer; you see, even God allows the many-sidedness of truth; grant—"

"And my intelligence of Him obliges me to follow that perception."

"Hold firmly to that, and at the same time hold to the conditions of history. Whether you come to my conviction that no philosophy can reveal the secrets of the world further than the Jewish revelation, or whether you are of another opinion, and accept the Messianic time as one in which your absolute intellectual truth reigns; look back: if it were for nothing but the memory of the innumerable multitude who were murdered for our faith, this alone must keep us fast within its sacred walls. A religion which despises the joys of life, and teaches love of a fearful death for its sake, must it not contain the first spring of truth? Who would