Page:Chertkov - Christian Martyrdom.djvu/9

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upholders of the State organisation of Russia, that it is difficult to imagine a system more soulless, senseless and savage, more cowardly, deceitful and cruel, than the present Russian Government, together with the mercenary Church which supports it?[1]

Wishing my country true welfare, I cannot but hope and look for the coming of that day when the representatives of the Government, on the one hand, will awaken to the consciousness of the moral unlawfulness of that arbitrary system of uncontrolled brute force in which they now participate; and, on the other hand, the Russian people and society will realise the truth, that the first and most sacred duty of every man, before God and before his fellow-creatures, is to cease to fulfil those demands of Church and State which are contrary to his conscience.

My native country I love, because I cannot help loving it. But I love it not with that blind prejudice which seeks to justify all its dark and humiliating iniquities; I love it without shutting my eyes to all the atrocities perpetrated in it and to all the sufferings of its oppressed masses. Such prejudice would not be love, but patriotic vanity,—a sentiment which always does immeasurable harm to the nation towards which it is directed. Loving my country, I try to love and appreciate in it that which is highest and best.

And this highest manifestation of truth and righteousness in my country, I cannot fail to see in that revival of pure Christianity which is now taking place in various corners of the land, and which is undergoing the most cruel persecution

  1. I feel it necessary to remark that, in thus alluding to the Russian Government, I in no wise have in view its nominal directors, the Emperors,—men often remarkably conscientious and well-intentioned, but who in reality belong to the category of victims of the Government, being, in consequence of their peculiar position, deprived of the possibility of free and independent action. Of all the unfortunate dupes of the Government, they are the most deluded, and therefore, in a certain sense, of all its representatives the least influential and the most helpless. And indeed it cannot be otherwise as long as the so-called autocratic form of government is maintained in Russia, with its necessary absence of publicity and of freedom of speech.