Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/459

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437
SCARS AND PURIFICATION.

human sensations of love, hatred, envy, avarice and pity, and the other motive powers of the soul to regard them not as faults but as qualities of human nature, which belong to it as much as air, heat, cold, storm, thunder and the like are in the nature of the atmosphere, and which, if they are uncongenial, are yet necessary, and have their ascertained causes through which we try to apprehend their nature, and in whose contemplation the mind is as much entertained as in apprehending the things that are agreeable to the imagination."

Meyer could not abstain from plainly telling this investigator of truth his serious situation. For a short time, as if he already felt the sleep of death, Spinoza closed his eyes, while Meyer explained to him that his symptoms were unmistakably those of consumption, and only careful and regular supervision of his life could lengthen his years. Silence reigned for a time, and Meyer watched the unmoved countenance of his friend, who still kept his eyes closed. Then the sick man arose, his eyes shone brightly, no sound of pain, no complaint parted his lips. With the peace of perfected wisdom he decided on the rule of life which he would henceforward follow. And he stood erect while he declared that now, in reflection and self-knowledge alone should his life be ordered, in self-control should his existence be maintained, and in peace of mind it should be fulfilled.