Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/120

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109
APPENDIX III

for any digression from this or that official instruction, nor for the violation of the conventional demands of human public opinion, but for every deviation from the demands of the inner voice of God, which are known and comprehensible to ourselves alone—of that God from whom we have emanated and to whom we shall return when we leave this life.

And in what light, before that court of eternal love and truth, do those men appear, who are unable to go against their consciences in taking part in military service, and whose earthly lot is at the present time in your hands? To the God of love these men naturally appear as His most faithful and obedient servants. They have believed with simplicity and whole-heartedness in the truth and immutability of those demands of love which He has Himself implanted in their hearts, and disclosed to them in the life and teaching of Jesus. These men differ from others only in having placed the divine love towards man higher than everything else, and having become so penetrated with its spirit and obligations that they can in no way consent either to kill, or to learn to kill their fellow-beings. The will of God has become more binding to them than anything else in the world, and they have gone to prison, to martyrdom, to death—solely that they may not transgress the demands of this divine love, by which they live. They cannot enter the military service for the simple reason that already they are in the service of Him who teaches them to love their enemies, and who taught humanity that "no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (Matt. v. 44; 1 John iii. 15).

And what is our position before this Supreme Court of God in relation to these men? We can only, in the presence of God, while humbly acknowledging the purity and saintliness of the motives of these His children, thank them for the light with which they illumine the darkness around us, for the true love with which they warm our frozen hearts. In the eyes of God these men manifestly suffer for us; they undergo torture for love of their neighbour, i.e. of me, of you, of all who are dear to us. How then can we fail to recognise our sacred duty before God, to do all in our power