Christian Martyrdom in Russia/Chapter VIII

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The facts related in this Appeal,[1] composed by three of my friends, have been repeatedly verified, revised, and sifted; the Appeal itself has been several times recast and corrected; everything has been rejected from it which, although true, might seem an exaggeration; so that all that is now stated in this Appeal is the real, indubitable truth, so far as the truth is accessible to men guided only by the religious desire, in this revelation of the truth, to serve God and their neighbour, both the oppressors and the oppressed. But, however striking the facts here related, their importance is determined, not by the facts themselves, but by the way in which they will be regarded by those who learn about them. And I fear that the majority of those who read this Appeal will not understand all its importance.

Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/104 Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/105 Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/106 Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/107 Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/108 Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/109 Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/110 against the "Christians of the Universal Brotherhood," a persecution like those of pagan times; and the wonderful meekness and firmness with which the new Christian martyrs endure these persecutions—all these facts are undoubted signs of the nearness of this accomplishment.

And therefore, having understood all the importance of the event that is taking place, both for the life of the whole of humanity and for the life of each of us, remembering that the opportunity to act, which is now presented us, will never return, let us do that which the merchant in the Gospel parable did, selling all he possessed that he might obtain the priceless pearl; let us disdain all mean, selfish considerations, and let each of us, in whatever position he be, do all which is in his power, in order,—if not to directly help those through whom the work of God is being done, if not to partake in this work,—at least not to be the opponents of the work of God which is being accomplished for our good.

Leo Tolstoy.

December 14th, 1896.

  1. See Chapter I.