Monday, 14 February 2011

Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy took a radical position when it came to living out the teachings of Jesus and sometimes his eccentric personality led to glaring contradictions between his avowed principles and his actual lifestyle. However he certainly endeavoured to improve the lot of the peasant tenants on his land based largely on the precepts enshrined in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Tolstoy published ‘The Gospel In Brief’ in 1893 and it he summarises what he regards as the essence of Christ’s life and teachings in the Gospels. The book though not widely circulated has been very influential especially for the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who extolled, “ This book virtually kept me alive. If you are not acquainted with it, then you cannot imagine what an effect it can have upon a person,” Here is a brief excerpt from it and I hope in future blogs to print further pieces from what is a very powerful book.~ GOSh ~

The satisfaction of the personal will leads to death; the satisfaction of the Father's will gives true life.

AND Jesus rejoiced in the power of the spirit and said: I acknowledge the spirit of the Father, the source of everything in heaven and earth, who has revealed what was hidden from the wise and learned to the simple, because they acknowledge themselves sons of the Father.
All who are concerned for the happiness of the body have put on a yoke not made for them, and have harnessed themselves to a load they cannot draw.
Understand my teaching and follow it and you shall have peace and joy in life. I give you another yoke and another load-the spiritual life. Yoke yourselves to this, and you shall learn from me peace and happiness.
Be tranquil and meek-hearted and you will find blessedness in your life.
For my teaching is a yoke made for you, and to obey my teaching is to have a light load with a yoke suited to you.
Once when he was asked whether he wished to eat, he replied: I have food you do not know of They thought someone had brought him food, but he said: My food is to do the will of Him who gave me life and to accomplish what he has entrusted to me. Do not say: There is still time, as a farmer says while waiting for the harvest. He who fulfils the will of the Father is always satisfied and knows neither hunger nor thirst. The fulfilment of the will of God always satisfies and is always a reward in itself. You must not say: 'I will do the will of God later.' While you have life you always can and should do the will of the Father. Our life is a field God has sown, and our business is to gather its fruits.
If we gather its fruits we receive the reward of a life beyond time. We do not give ourselves life, someone else gives it us. And if we labour to gather in life, then like harvestmen, we receive a reward. I teach you to gather in this life which the Father gives you.

Leo Tolstoy

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