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laboring to become the domicile of despotism-our endeavor should surely be to make our hemisphere that of freedom.”
And now there are those who would mar the magnificent figure of Mr. Jefferson by converting his ocean of time into a mere duck pond, and his fundamental maxim, never "to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs," into the historical recollection of a temporary project to save our neighboring States from a blow aimed at the time at their safety and all danger from which passed away as suddenly as it had arisen.
MY RELIGION. From “My Religion.” Copyright, 1885, by Thomas T. Crowell & Company. Reprinted with permission. By COUNT LEO TOLSTOI.
BELIEVE now that my true welfare, and that of
others, is possible only when I labor not for myself but for another, and that I must not refuse to labor for another, but to give with joy that of which he has need. This faith has changed my estimate of what is right and important, and wrong and despicable. What once seemed to me right and important-riches, proprietary rights, the point of honor, the maintenance of personal dignity and personal privileges-have now become to me wrong and despicable. Labor for others, poverty, humility, the renunciation of property and of personal privileges, have become in my eyes right and important.
When, now, in a moment of forgetfulness, I yield to the impulse to resort to violence, for the defence of my person or property, or of the persons or property of others, I can no longer deliberately make use of this snare for my own destruction and the destruction of others. I can no longer acquire property. I can no longer resort to force in any form for my own defence or the defence of another. I can no longer co-operate with any power whose object is the defence of men and their property by violence. I can no longer act in a judicial capacity, or clothe myself with any authority, or take part in the exercise of any jurisdiction whatever. I can no longer encourage others in the support of tribunals, or in the exercise of authoritative administration.
I know now that the distinction I once made between my own people and those of other countries is destructive of my welfare; but, more than this, I now know the snare that led me into this evil, and I can no longer, as I did once, walk deliberately and calmly into this snare. I know now that this snare consists in the erroneous belief that my welfare is dependent only upon the welfare of my countrymen, and not upon the welfare of all mankind. I know now that my fellowship with others cannot be shut off by a frontier, or by a government decree which decides that I belong to some particular political organization, I know now that all men are everywhere brothers and equals. When I think now of all the evil that I have done, that I have endured, and that I have seen about me, arising from national enmities, I see clearly that it is all due to that gross inposture called patriotism,love for one's native land. When I think now of my education, I see how these hateful feelings were grafted in my mind. I understand now the meaning of the words:
"Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father that is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust."
I understand now that true welfare is possible for me only on condition that I recognize my fellowship with the whole world. I believe this, and the belief has changed my estimate of what is right and wrong, important and despicable. What once seemed to me right and important-love of country, love for those of my own race, for the organization called the State, services rendered at the expense of the welfare of other men, military exploits—now seem to me detestable and pitiable. What once seemed to me shameful and wrong-renunciation of nationality, and the cultivation of cosmopolitanism-now seem to me right and important. When, now, in a moment of forgetfulness, I sustain a Russian in preference to a foreigner, and desire the success of Russia or of the Russian people, I can no longer in lucid moments allow myself to be controlled by illusions so destructive to my welfare and the welfare of others. I can no longer recognize states or peoples; I can no longer take part in any difference between peoples or states, or any discussion between them either verbal or written, much less in any service in behalf of any particular state. I can no longer co-operate with measures maintained by divisions between states,-the collection of custom duties, taxes, the manufacture of arms and projectiles, or any act favoring armaments, military service, and, for a stronger reason, wars,neither can I encourage others to take any part in them.
I once thought that if a foreign invasion occurred, or even if evil-minded persons attacked me, and I did not defend myself, I should be robbed and beaten and tortured and killed with those whom I felt bound to protect, and this possibility troubled me. But this that once troubled me now seems desirable and in conformity with the truth. I know now that the foreign enemy and the malefactors or brigands are all men like myself; that, like myself, they love good and hate evil; that they live as I live, on the borders of death; and that, with me, they seek for salvation, and will find it in the doctrine of Jesus.
“But hither come the enemy,-Germans, Turks, savages; if you do not make war on them, they will exterminate you!" They will do nothing of the sort. If there were a society of Christian men that did evil to none and gave of their labor for the good of others, such a society would have no enemies to kill or to torture them. The foreigners would take only what the members of this society voluntarily gave, making no distinction between Russians, or Turks, or Germans. But when Christians live in the midst of a non-Christian society which defends itself by force of arm, and calls upon the Christians to join in waging war, then the Christians have an opportunity for revealing the truth to them who know it not. A Christian knowing the truth bears witness of the truth before others, and this testimony can be made manifest only by example. He must renounce war and do good to all men, whether they are foreigners or compatriots.
Men are united by error into a compact mass. The prevailing power of evil is the cohesive force that binds them together. The reasonable activity of humanity is to destroy the cohesive power of evil. Revolutions are attempts to shatter the power of evil by violence. Men think that by hammering upon the mass they will be able to break it in fragments, but they only make it more dense and impermeable than it was before. External violence is of no avail. The disruptive movement must come from within when molecule releases its hold upon molecule and the whole mass falls into disintegration. Error is the force that binds men together; truth alone can set them free. Now truth is truth only when it is in action, and then only can it be transmitted from man to man. Only truth in action, by introducing light into the conscience of each individual, can dissolve the homogeneity of error, and detach men one by one from its bonds,