Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/447

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425
WOOING BY PROXY.

living eternal self-existence, to be interrupted, if he allows himself to be overwhelmed by his sensations. Only a life according to reason is the true, eternal life.

It was a hard conflict, a breaking loose from all special pleasures and all flattering demands, which should at last lead him to the summit of pure intellect, and enable him to express this sentence, almost incomprehensible to us, which apparently despises the world, and yet glorifies it:

"I would investigate the acts and efforts of men as though they were lines, planes or bodies."

His friends observed Spinoza's victorious self-control with surprise and admiration. By free thought he had conquered life with all its casualties, and now in quiet peace of mind he might first call it really his own.

No glory surrounded his head, but it illuminated his whole being.