Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/427

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THE EXCOMMUNICATION.

shall go for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.' In our reason, on the height of pure religious thought, there is our Sinai. I will faithfully and openly explain to you my views of higher things; if you refute me by reason, "I will submit to you."

"You have appealed to the Holy Scriptures," cried Morteira. "Woe! that thy tongue was not burned to ashes, that thou venturedst to take its holy words thereon; what would you have with your Baal, Reason?"

"Destroy him if you can," replied Spinoza.

Rabbi Isaak Aboab had till now quietly listened to the discussion; now he rose and cried:

"The measure is full; you are all agreed with me that this epicurean has deserved the extremest chastisement of Gehinom."

All present answered with an audible "Amen," and Aboab continued:

"Now I ask of thee, Baruch ben Benjamin Spinoza, wilt thou recant thy blasphemous words, and submit thee to the penance that is due on that account, or wilt thou that the highest curse of excommunication be passed on thee?"

"Refute me by Reason and I will recant! You will not hear me. I would answer you from the Scriptures. If you cannot hear me in this obscure