Divine law. The more aversion and estrangement from good he may have felt, the more he hopes to be recompensed, and imagines that they who are not restrained by the same fear as himself do what he would do in their case—that is to say, live lawlessly." Spinoza held with reason that this manner of seeking heaven was contrary to reason, and that there is an absurdity in pretending to gain God's favor by owning to him that, did one not dread him, one would not love.
He was, however, well aware of the danger of interfering with beliefs in which few admit these subtile distinctions. Cauté was his motto, and, his friends having made him aware of the explosion that the "Ethica" would infallibly produce, he kept it unpublished till his death. He had no literary vanity, nor did he seek celebrity—possibly, indeed, because he was sure to obtain it without seeking. He was perfectly happy—he has told us so; let us take him at his word. He has done still better: he has bequeathed us his secret. Let all men listen to the recipe of the "Prince of Atheists" for the discovery of happiness: it is the love of God. To love God is to live in God. Life in God is the best and most perfect because it is the reasonablest, happiest, fullest—in a word, because it gives us more being than any other life, and satisfies most completely the fundamental desire that constitutes our essence.
Spinoza's whole practical life was regulated according to these maxims. That life was a masterpiece of good sense and judgment. It was led with the profound skill of the wise man who desires one thing only, and invariably ends by obtaining it. Never did policy so well combine means and end. Had he been less reticent, he would perhaps have met the same fate as the unfortunate Acosta. Loving truth for its own sake, he was indifferent to the abuse that his constancy in speaking it entailed, and answered never a word to the attacks made on him. For his part, he attacked no one. "It is foreign to my habits," he said, "to look out for the errors into which authors have fallen." Had he desired to be an official personage, his life would no doubt have been traversed by persecution, or at least by disgrace. He was nothing, and desired to be nothing. Amanesciri was his desire, as well as that of the author of the "De Imitatione." He sacrificed everything to peace of mind, and in so doing there was no selfishness, for his mind was of importance to the world. He frequently refused wealth on its way to him, and desired only what was absolutely necessary. The King of France offered him a pension; he declined. The Elector Palatine offered him a chair at Heidelberg. "Your freedom shall be complete," he was told, "for the prince is convinced that you will not abuse it to disturb the established religion." "I do not very well understand," he replied, "within what limits it would be necessary to confine that philosophical free-