Page:Auerbach-Spinozanovel.djvu/464

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442
SPINOZA.

and when I would have laid down my head to rest they made the ground tremble beneath me, and when I uplifted my complainings they stopped my mouth with fiery embers. In every place to which I directed my footsteps they seized me by the hair, collected wood in a pile, and thrust me into the flames; but Jehovah, the God of Israel, whose eternal Law I bore in my heart, sent his angel. And though the flames stretched out their devouring tongues towards me, he saved me; and though they shed my blood in streams, he raised me and animated me anew; and though they enveloped me in thick darkness, yet his light was kindled and shone clearly around me; and though they buried me in mouldering graves, his breath blew on me and breathed new life into me. Often I asked him, 'When will it end, O Lord? When wilt thou have mercy on me? When wilt thou hold me in kindness again before thy countenance? When wilt thou pour balm into my wounds? When soften my torments? When wilt thou let me find rest? When wilt thou turn hatred into love, that I may cease to be an abomination, and the mark of scorn unto all nations? Why must I endure eternal dying without death, an eternal death without life? See, race after race have I seen fade and pass away like the grass of the field; kingdoms have I seen arise and crumble to dust before the breath of thy mouth. Everything rots and is brought forth anew; only I