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What I Believe

What I Believe

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Published by vanhoogy
Leo Tolstoy wrote this at 55
Leo Tolstoy wrote this at 55

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Published by: vanhoogy on Oct 25, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The name of Count Leo Tolstoy stands high in the annals of his country’s literature as the author of 
War and Peace
 Anna Karenina
. His memory will be cherished and his works will be read by latergenerations, long after the author is no more. But none will remember him with such devoted affectionas will the privileged few who have watched his life and labors during the last seven years. During thisperiod he has withdrawn from the world and its vanities and has devoted himself to the study of theteachings of Christ. Having become profoundly impressed with the Savior’s words concerning the dutyof living a life of unselfish toil for the benefit of others, he has been endeavoring in a practical way tocarry out his Master’s commands and has devoted himself to ministering to his fellows.In these pages he sets forth the principles by which he is now ordering his life, and which he exhortsall men to adopt. The work has unfortunately been forbidden in Russia, but the manuscripts pass fromhand to hand, doing their silent work of regeneration in the hearts of those who long for the coming of the kingdom of God on earth.To English readers the construction of the work may appear somewhat strange and occasionalstatements may even seem startling, but though they may not be expressed in the conventional languageto which the nations of England and America are accustomed, the right principles are inculcated and it isthe translator’s earnest hope that Count Tolstoy’s words may find an echo in the hearts of all those whobelieve in the regeneration of humanity through the spirit and teachings of Christ.C. POPOFFWhen I began to read Tolstoy’s
The Kingdom of God Is Within You
, it was immediately obvious thatit was a sequel to this volume,
What I Believe
. Wanting to start at the beginning, I looked for thisvolume, only to find that, while the sequel was readily available,
What I Believe
was downright hard tofind. This transcription is my attempt to correct that deficiency.Literary purists will be unhappy that I have tried to bring Popoff’s translation up to date with thechanges in grammar and usage that have been made in the last 120 years. (I am unhappy with Popoff’suse of quotation marks and semicolons, but I have left most of them unchanged.) They will be happierwith Kessinger Publishing’s reprint of the original. I wanted to make this material understandable to thewidest possible audience, and I felt that 19
century style, King James quotations, and outright mistakesdid not serve that end. I made every attempt to remain faithful to Tolstoy’s original intention. If I havefailed in that attempt, I am a reasonable fellow. Point out my errors and I will fix them.Do I agree with everything that Tolstoy wrote? No. I think he had a romantic and unrealistic notionof peasant life. He did not account for psychopathic behavior. That is not to say that such behaviorinvalidates his conclusions, but it is an omission that some will certainly use against him. He has, bytoday’s Protestant standards, a somewhat skewed view of orthodox theology, no doubt because, at thetime he wrote
What I Believe
, he only knew the teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church of 120 yearsago. It would appear that Tolstoy did not experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which leads him tothink only of ‘reason’ when writing of ‘the light that is within us,’ and does not believe in the devil.Still, much of what he had to say is as true today as the day he wrote it – and is even true of today’sProtestant churches.This transcription is under no copyright protection. It is my gift to you. You may freely copy, print,and transmit it, but please do not change or sell it.TOM LOCK

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