And so, even if we admit that the process of Christianization will some day be accomplished in the case of all men, we must assume, judging from how much the matter has advanced in eighteen hundred years, that this will happen in several times eighteen hundred years — and so it is impossible and useless to think now of the impossible abolition of power, and all we should think of is that the power should be vested in the best of hands.”. Such assemblies of armed men, who submit to one will, are formed by the army. In proportion with the duration and increase of power, its advantages have always been lost for those who subjected themselves to it, and its disadvantages have been increased. There lives some judge, prosecutor, head of a department, and he knows that as the result of his sentence or decree hundreds and thousands of unfortunate people, torn away from their families, are lingering in solitary confinement, at hard labor, going mad and killing themselves with shards of glass, or starving to death; he knows that these thousands of people have thousands of mothers, wives, children, who are suffering from the separation, are deprived of the possibility of meeting them, are disgraced, vainly implore forgiveness or even alleviation of the fates of their fathers, sons, husbands, brothers — and the judge or head of a department is so hardened in his hypocrisy that he himself and his like and their wives and relatives are firmly convinced that he can with all this be a very good and sensitive man. You say that the world is constructed that way, that this is unavoidable, that you are not doing this of your own will, but that you are compelled to do so. And today, at our period of the world, with our civilization, with the expansion of science and the degree of philosophy which we deem the human genius to have attained, we have schools in which they teach how to kill; to kill at a great distance, with perfection, a lot of people at the same time — to kill poor innocent fellows, who have the care of a family and are under no judicial sentence. The first edition of the novel was published in 1893, and was written by Leo Tolstoy. Ask those who, like the proprietor, started this matter, and those who, like the judges, handed down a formally legal, but obviously unjust decision, and those who ordered the enforcement of the decree, and those who, like the soldiers, the policemen, and the peasants, will with their own hands carry it into execution — who will beat and kill their brothers — all of them, the instigators, and the accomplices, and the executors, and the abettors of these crimes, and all will give you essentially the same answer. One and the same thing is repeated with all these works. We are all brothers, and I receive a salary for preaching to people what is supposed to be the Christian religion, in which I do not believe myself, and which deprives them of the possibility of finding out the real faith. Most of the Bible does not seem to him to reflect the spirit of Christ at all, though it has been brought into artificial and unwarrantable connection with it. It would be incorrect to say that they do this from conviction — as is frequently said and as they themselves repeat — from the conviction that they do this because it is necessary to maintain the state structure, in the first place, because all these men have hardly ever even thought of the state structure and of its necessity; in the second place, they can in no way be convinced that the business in which they take part maintains the state, instead of destroying it, and, in the third place, in reality the majority of these men, if not all, will not only never sacrifice their peace and pleasure for the purpose of supporting the state, but will even never miss a chance of making use, for their peace and pleasure, of everything they can, even though it be to the disadvantage of the state. The whole pagan history of humanity consists of only those cases when the worse seized the power over the less bad, and, having seized it, maintained it by cruelties and cunning, and, proclaiming themselves as guardians of justice and defenders of the good against the bad, ruled over the good. These three life-conceptions serve as the foundation of all past and present religions. Here is what the famous Academician, Doucet, writes in the number of the Revue des Revues in which the letters about war are collected, in reply to the editor’s inquiry as to his views on war: Dear Sir: — When you ask the most peaceable of Academicians whether he is an advocate of war, his answer is ready in advance: unfortunately, dear sir, you yourself regard as a dream the peaceful thoughts which at the present time inspire our magnanimous countrymen. How nice that would be! The three life-conceptions are these: the first — the personal, or animal; the second — the social, or the pagan; and the third — the universal, or the divine. “If the power of state be abolished, the more evil men will rule over the less evil ones,” say the defenders of the state. A. Thus, for example, in the present case, men are travelling to commit murder and tortures on hungry people, and they recognize that in the dispute between the peasants and the proprietor the peasants are in the right (all men in authority told me so), and know that the peasants are unfortunate, poor, and hungry; the proprietor is rich and does not inspire sympathy, and all these men none the less are on their way to kill the peasants, in order thus to secure three thousand roubles to the proprietor, for no other reason than that these men at this moment do not consider themselves to be men, but a governor, a general of gendarmes, an officer, a soldier, and think that not the eternal demands of their consciences, but the accidental, temporary demands of their positions as officers and soldiers are binding on them. No war can be declared sooner than two months after the incident provoking it. On the contrary, public opinion need only be diametrically opposed to violence to destroy its every action, as has always been the case with every martyrdom. Thus the information which I received concerning the extent to which the true significance of Christ’s teaching has been elucidated and is being elucidated more and more, and concerning the attitude which the highest ruling classes, not only in Russia, but also in Europe and in America, take toward this elucidation and execution of the teaching, convinced me that in these ruling classes there existed a consciously hostile relation toward true Christianity, which found its expression mainly in the silence observed concerning all its manifestations. The temptations of power and of everything which it gives, of wealth, honors, luxurious life, present themselves as a worthy aim for the activity of men only so long as the power is not attained; but the moment a man attains it, they reveal their emptiness and slowly lose their force of attraction, like clouds, which have form and beauty only from a distance: one needs but enter them, in order that that which seemed beautiful in them should disappear. One of these causes is this, that both the believers and the unbelievers are firmly convinced that Christ’s teaching has been comprehended by them long ago, and so completely, indubitably, and finally, that there can be no other meaning in it than the one they ascribe to it. And so, it would seem, it is indispensable for the Christian humanity of our time to renounce the pagan forms of life, which it condemns, and to build up its life on the Christian foundations, which it professes. It is all very well to be afraid of the uncertainty, when our position is firm and secure; but our position is not only not secure — we know for certain that we are standing on the brink of perdition. The contradictions of consciousness and the resulting wretchedness of life have reached the extremest point, beyond which it is impossible to go. They do not believe that Christ wanted to say what he did; or it seems to them that what he said in the Sermon on the Mount and in other passages He said from infatuation, from lack of comprehension, from insufficient development. Tolstoy describes the way in which churches, whether Catholic, Anglican, or Lutheran, and church organizations, such as the Salvation Army, teach conformity and subservience to their power and hide from people the truth of Christ’s teaching. The ungodly and the violent, the proud and pharisaical, the ambitious and tyrannical, principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places, may combine to crush us. And similarly, in the transference of the power in one state from one set of persons to another, has the power always passed into the hands of those who were better? The same is true of the so-called criminals, who live within our societies. It is in the recognition or non-recognition of these truths that man is free. All who remove themselves from their place of abode are obliged to take them and pay a revenue for them. One set of religious people, of whom there are millions in Russia, the so-called sectarians, recognize this order as false and subject to destruction on the basis of the Gospel teaching as taken in its real meaning; others consider it to be false on the basis of socialistic, communistic, anarchistic theories, which now have penetrated into the lower strata of the working people. So it is this on which is founded that strange conviction of the lower classes that the existing order, which is pernicious for them, is as it ought to be, and that they are, therefore, obliged to support it with tortures and murders. The whole difficulty and seeming insolubility of the question about man’s freedom is due to this, that the men who decide this question present man to themselves as immovable in relation to truth. To have it made clear how impossible it is with such a view to understand the Christian teaching, we must form an idea of the place which the religions in general and Christianity in particular have in reality occupied in the life of humanity, and of the significance which is ascribed to religion by science. This power demands of us what alone is certain and rational and possible — our serving the kingdom of God, that is, our cooperation in the establishment of the greatest union of everything living, which is possible only in the truth, and, therefore, the recognition of the truth revealed to us, and the profession of it, precisely what alone is always in our power. It is the culmination of 30 years of Tolstoy's thinking and lays out a new organization for society based on a literal Christian interpretation. Above all else, we know the order of things in which we live. These men are fined, without being allowed publicly to express the motives of their refusal, and others are put in their places. They generally begin by sending the one who refuses to the priests, who, to their shame be it said, always admonish the person refusing. All know that, on the contrary, men in power, be they emperors, ministers, chiefs of police, policemen, become, by the very fact of having power, more prone to commit immoralities, that is, to subordinate the common interests to their own, than men who have no power, as indeed it could not be otherwise. This irrationality is concealed by the fact that in the commission of each of these acts there are so many instigators, accomplices, abettors, that not one of the men taking part in it feels himself to be morally responsible. It was all very well for the men of antiquity to carry out their laws. And, on the contrary, would not these men, who during the decadence of Christianity elevated themselves above everything and recognized themselves to be the teachers of the purest Christianity, have been recognized, in apostolic times, as the basest heretics and antichristians?”. It would seem that there is nothing important in these phenomena, and yet it is these very phenomena that more than anything else undermine the power of the state and prepare the emancipation of men. Learned jurists, who are obliged to justify the violence of power, more and more deny the right to punish, and in its place introduce theories of irresponsibility, and even not of the correction, but of the cure of those whom they call criminals. In the sight of the altar and the servant of God you swore allegiance to me. xxiv. Christianity is penetrating into the consciousness of men, not only despite the violence exerted by the power, but even by means of it. All make for saloons and restaurants, the revenue from which goes to the government, and they abandon themselves to intoxication, which drowns in them the perceived consciousness of the illegality of what is being done to them. And this is the fourth commandment. The church, as a church, no matter what it may be, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian — every church, insomuch as it is a church, cannot help but tend toward the same as the Russian Church — toward concealing the true meaning of Christ’s teaching and substituting in its place its own doctrine, which does not put a person under any obligations, excludes the possibility of understanding the true activity of Christ’s teaching, and, above all else, justifies the existence of priests who are living at the expense of the nation. (Luke xii. The error of judgment consists in this, that the social life-conception, on which is based the love of family and of country, is built on the love of personality, and that this love, being transferred from the personality to the family, the race, the nationality, the state, keeps growing weaker and weaker, and in the state reaches its extreme limit, beyond which it cannot go. All these expositions are to such an extent unjust and bold that one feels some compunction in overthrowing them. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? The title of the book comes from Luke 17:21. It is natural for any one to love himself, and every person loves himself without any special incitement; to love my tribe, which supports and defends me, to love my wife, the joy and helpmate of my life, my children, the pleasure and hope of my life, and my parents, who have given me life and an education, is natural: and this kind of love, though far from being as strong as the love of self, is met with quite frequently. Such people can only form a herd of animals which is directed by the shouts and goads of the shepherds. v. 39) in all its significance, as this was understood by the Quakers, with whom Garrison stood in friendly relations. 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