Love and Labor
Love of our neighbor is the principal commandment. It is the commandment of commandments, the law of laws, the virtue of virtues. There is no other virtue like it, neither in heaven nor on the earth. No other possesses the hundredth part of its perfection; and in saying this, I do not mean to depreciate existing laws and commandments, but only to give love its full value.
And now, I ask yon, which is the most useful to man and the most agreeable to God, labor or love? Labor beyond a doubt. But there is onlv one labor that is more useful than love, and that is the labor that is done by virtue of the commandment, " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou knead bread." This is the only labor that is more useful to man and more agreeable to God than love. Without it all others are useless, and even hurtful.
But it has never happened that any one has labored by virtue of this commandment, that is, not to satisfy his desire for food, but to obey the law (for it is thus that I, Bondareff, interpret this expression in Genesis); neither has any one ever known the joy this labor produces, and therefore there can be none among you, O my readers, that can disprove my words, when I claim that labor is more useful than the love of our neighbor.
And here is the proof. I have found at each instant, and in all books, praises in honor of love for others. They laud it, among all people, among savages even, in all languages and dia- lects. They honor it in proverbs and sayings, they make it the foundation of all civil and re- ligious law. Preachers are wearied in celebrat- ing its praises. But, I ask you, have these praises and sermons in honor of love for others borne any fruit, or resulted in any virtuous ac- tions? Never! It is not only with love that we can feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, clothe the poor, give alms to mendicants, help the widow, or do good to the orphan, etc.
If men would only help each other, and have compassion for the misfortunes of others; but no, they will steal, kill, burn, pillage, and deceive one another, they will detest and wish each other all manner of evil; they will set traps and snares for each other, they will commit wilful murder; and, to sum up all, if they did not fear the authorities, and if there were no sermons in the world, they would eat each other alive. These are the results which the praises of love for others and the sermons in its honor produce; and if sometimes one does good to another, he is influenced by the instinct that binds us together and not by love.
Why do they not appreciate this love for others? My reply will be brief: Although love is an excellent virtue, it is narrow and secondary; and besides that, labor, properly speaking, in- cludes love, while love does not include labor. We may add that labor was created by God in the terrestrial paradise, while this love came to the world four thousand years afterwards, with Moses. We see now clearly why labor is the first of all virtues, and the base of all laws. Love without labor is like a man without a head, it is dead. Love is therefore a narrow, secon- dary virtue.
To prove still further what I have advanced, I propose to you to make this essay : Suppress and erase all the passages in Holy Scripture which rest on love for our neighbor, and replace them by the explanation of this law, " In the sweat of thy face shaft thou knead bread." Make known these modified passages, and soon, before the close of the day, all men will be led, in spite of themselves, to love their neighbor. It is in bread, in the labor of the fields, that we must seek for the love of others. It is to demonstrate the force of this law that the laborer should direct his endeavors, if he be not also a sluggard. Idleness and luxury are, on the contrary, the principal enemies of social love. But you who have never labored, have never tasted the joys which attend the accomplishment of the law and of the labor it requires; thus you cannot believe my words. It is my duty to speak them; with you it rests to beheve or to deny them,
Then I pray you, my readers, to preserve these words, and to fix them in your hearts: Labor done according to the primitive law is the condition of love for others. Labor is strong without love; it can, by itself, win for man the highest prize he can attain before God, whilst love without the aid of labor can do nothing, because, as we have already said, true love freed from all hypocrisy, is concealed in labor; but without labor, love is dead. Love your neighbor and esteem him, but above all, O you who preach love, do not eat the bread" of his labor. Again, the preachers have exhausted their strength, worn out their throats, and fatigued their tongues in preaching love, and what has been the result? Love does not exist anywhere.
If love reigned in the world, would the present state of things exist? In creating heaven and earth, God has given forever, to us laborers, and not to sluggards with white hands, this unchangeable law : " In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou knead bread." God has based on this law both temporal and eternal happiness.
The supreme lawgivers, from the commence- ment of the world, have taken from us by fraud or by violence this precious treasure. Having stolen it, they have buried it deep in the earth, like the slothful servant in the Gospel who hid his talent. During all these past ages, we, the laborers, have not perceived our loss. Amid the innumerable cares of life, we have over- looked it, and it is only to-day that we think of it. The thief is now discovered; we have found the guilty one, and have unveiled his crime be- fore the entire universe. What do you desire? they ask me. Give up the treasure that God has given thee? No, I will guard it well! The prey which the wolf holds in his teeth, says the proverb, was given him by J^gor (Georges). What! you preach in every tone of love for others, and you commit like crimes yourself! And why? My question is worth answering.
If love reigned in the world, would twenty- four millions of men be placed under the authority of lords, as it is this day among us, and as it has been for a long time? If love reigned in the world, would the fertile earth have been given forever to sluggards, whilst men, and still worse, infants, are each day in danger of dying for want of food? But these lords, these masters of the earth which they have appropriated since the creation of the woiM (thence has come the word " property "), sell it to others at a great price, and then throw away the money at cards, or spend it in unheard-of caprices. Such is the depth of their love for others!
The sixth day God said : " Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." But the greater part of mankind will not submit to the command that they should till the earth; they put this painful labor on the defenceless poor man, whilst they walk to and fro whistling and with their arms folded. If, at least, they had only given to the poor the labor for bread, it might be borne; but they have heaped upon him all sorts of painful labors, and he even pays for the privileges of doing them! I do not speak of taxes, but of rents, and the services of all sorts with which they overwhelm him. This is done in the name of the law. Not content with making him submit to these wrongs, they take from him the fertile earth. They have given that for- ever into the hands of those who evade labor, and they call that for which they have never labored, their property.
This is the love for our neighbor which you preach but never practise!
Many times I have resolved to speak to you more affectionately; but when I behold your treachery, I forget all my resolves.
We see clearly that between the primitive law of labor and the civil and religious laws which exist there comes the eternal enmity that separated the serpent and the woman. But be- tween these two classes of men, the laborers on the one side and those who evade labor on the other, there exists an enmitv created by God himself and not by man. They say there is this difference between the primitive law and later laws, that the first was given to man by God as a penance lor his sins, and we know that God has not ordered us to atone for our crimes by any other virtue or merit. But if this be so, why is not labor prescribed by law and tradition as indispensable to salvation? Thus we are tempted to think that God's de- cree is not just; and for this reason I have said that there is enmity between these two sorts of law. Besides that, since the days of Adam, there have been milHons of laborers; was there never among- them one single man who was good and acceptable to God?
The question is of importance. But instead of solving it, writers who are more competent than I am, speak of the progress of labor and of idleness, without designating any one. Thus have they always neglected, and will do so till the end of the world, the discussion of idleness and labor.
Here is a new argument to prove that labor, accomplished in conformity with the primitive law, is more useful than love for others. If you speak of this love to an ignorant man. or to one but slightly educated, he will not listen to you. You will see that in his eyes and in the expres- sion of his face: he puts on a dejected air, he is drowsy, he yawns, and is weary. He endeavors to lead the conversation to other subjects, or will tell you he is in haste; he prepares to de- part, and what you have said he will not, or can- n*)t, understand. It was useless to engage him in such a conversation.
I have witnessed all that myself. I have not invented it.
When, in reading passages of Genesis to a man, you arrive at these words, " In the sweat
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of thy face shalt thou knead bread," explain them to him by saying that this penance was decreed by God for original as well as for actual sin. Add that God, when creating hea\en and earth, has not given us any other way of atoning for our sins, etc. etc. Soon your interlocutor will look at you in amazement; he will no longer be drowsy, or weary, or dejected, he will even forget that they wait for him at home. Then he will look down, embarrassed by these truths of which he had never dreamed, and by the re- membrance of all his actions since his youth, for which he had not thought God reserved for him. such penalties.
1 know, reader, that )^ou will not give any faith to my words. But I swear before God that they are true.
He will presently raise his eyes, and show that reason has awakened within him. Then he will ask questions, and return each instant to the sub- ject. Afterwards he will repeat to his friends what he has learned, and the story vvill go from one to another. Why, then, would he not listen when love for others was spoken of? That seems mysterious.
Observe always that only the laborers will approve of your words.' As for those who avoid labor, â€” and they are numerous in the world, â€” they will dispute your arguments, word for word; and as a crowning refutation of them, under the painful circumstances in which they ai^e placed, they will show you the money they have taken
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from the poor laborers, which ihey pretend they will use in their aid. You know well, readers, that, whatever may be the subject under discus- sion, the rich always gain their point. It has always been so, and always will be to the end of the world, as says Sirach, the man who was inspired by God : " When a rich man speaketh, every man holdeth his tongue, and look, what he saith they extol it to the clouds : but if the poor man speak, they say. What fellow is this?"
Have I not proved, beyond dispute, that love without labor is dead, and that labor, accom- plished according to the commandment, can live alone without the aid of love? Love is hidden in labor: labor is the home in which love dwells. Love without labor is as the body without soul. The law lives only when its power is used for man's profit; otherwise it is dead. Besides that, the law lives only for those who accomplish it willingl3% and not for those who refuse to sub- mit to labor with all their heart. And in fine, the sluggards â€” w'ho are truly criminal â€” are dead to the law as it is dead to them.
As for love to others, we will not speak of it here.
It is impossible for me to explain to the world the law of Iab(;r, that T have only learned by myself, and that no one has taught me. 1 have comprehended its truth with my whole soul. You deny, and you will deny forever, that it is gifted with a force that will, one day, unite all men in one faith, one church, and one love, be- cause it is the chief of all virtues. You would
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gain, O you of the upper classes, by holding in your hands the head of all virtue, whereas you now hold only its tail â€” and by tail 1 mean love. Love itself creates your words, but not your actions. And why? Because your money has so blinded you that you cannot discern the head from the tail.
Could you believe, readers, that he who shall have welcomed the law of labor with the eager- ness that 1 have described would do to others what he would not have them do to him? Would he take, by any means whatever, the goods of another? Can we suppose that, having resolved to eat the bread for which he has la- bored with his own hands, and to live an honest life, he will retain whatever he may have ac- quired dishonestly? No, we cannot imagine such inconsistency.
Could a man, whose conscience is so pure, re- frain from holding out a helping hand to his neighbor, or, in other words, could he behold one who is an hungered and not feed him, or one who is dying of thirst and not give him to drink, or a weary traveller and not give him rest in his own house, etc., etc.? A pure conscience has the eyes not of a man, but of an angel. Nothing can escape them.
For him who has not tasted the joy ot labor that is accomplished conformably with the prim- itive law that God himself has given us wiien creating the heavens and the earth, it is difficult, very difficult in fact, to believe what I have been
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saying. But in claiming that labor, blessed by God, is a hundred times more useful than love, I but use a right that belongs to me. You ma}" approve or disapprove of ray opinions. But to judge which of us is right or wrong, God and the Czar only have the right.
My readers will say, or at least think to them- selves. How is that? All the universe and the highest authority are founded on love for others, as a mountain rests upon the rocks, for there is not in the eyes of the world a more elevated virtue than love for our neighbor. But alas! behold how this edifice suddenly falls down, f(jr they have here and there undermined its base; in short, love for others is dead. Love is the least, and not the greatest of these virtues. If we eat without good reason the bread of others, and thus disobey the primitive law, love is then a virtue without any value. But, some readers will say, we have centred our hopes in money, as on God, believing that we will secure both temporal and eternal happiness; now this Bon- dareff does not esteem money, and he exacts personal labor. Must we. tell him he lies? But we cannot base our opinions on legitimate rea- sons. Man's inconstant fortune rests always on" a tottering throne; and he does not know when, or from what side, it will bc'^overthrown. When the moment comes in which their fortune shall perish, my readers will say and think that the proverb is true which says : " The thunder does not always come from the clouds, but often from a heap of dust."
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Even as the universe could not live without God, it also cannot live without bread, and therefore not without laborers. It is evident that after God and bread the laborer comes in the third rank, for on this triple foundation rests all the world, as we will show clearly in the following- articles.
God is a Spirit who is present everywhere, in heaven, on earth, and beneath the earth. But which is his usual habitation? This is a question not yet resolved at this day. But it is evident to any reasonable man that, without doubt, God's principal habitation is with bread and with the laborer. Suppress one of these three existences, God, or bread, or the laborer, and soon the uni- verse will disappear.
Can we not now affirm that the second one of
this trinity will truly save our souls from death? We would not commit a sin in calling it the first trinity, for that which is formed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is not universally accepted. One half of the world believes it, and the other half does not, making of God but one person. If all the world recognized the trinity of which I speak, which is composed of God, bread, and the laborer, they would with- out doubt admit that these three are contained in one God.
And now what do you think, readers, would happen if all the laborers understood my words .^
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They would not fly beyond the clouds, nor hasten to seek other labors, or other virtues. By cultivating the earth, they will enrich themselves, and they will heap up gold for you also, O, ye rich ones! You cannot deny that all your joys depend on our labor: without it you could not be happy. But what will you do to restrict all these men to cultivating the earth? It is im- possible to do so. Ah! pity and deplore the misfortune of a laborer who sows good seed in a sterile soil, and gathers no harvest! It is I who am this laborer; the good seed is the first commandment of God, with its consequences; the sterile soil, those hearts of 3'ours, that amid all the comforts of the world, turn with disgust from the labor that God has imposed on all.
I return once more to what 1 said just now. If God is, above all, present with bread and with the laborer, it seems to me reasonable that we should revere bread as we do God himself, and honor the laborer as the most precious of his creatures in heaven or on the earth. (I do not speak of myself, already so old, who could only join in honoring the others.) To-day the price of bread is fixed at one rouble and forty kopecks the measure, while its real value cannot be understood by the human mind. Once more, it must never be sold, and only in extra- ordiniry cases can it be given away. Bread is estimited at one rouble and forty kopecks, and the laborer is quoted at a still lower price. He standvS at zero. And yet he is one of the three persons in this one and indivisible trinity which saves us from death.
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God could, I grant, nourish man without liaving need of bread or of the laborer; but to do that, he would be obliged to change all the plan of the world, and to withdraw the decree he pronounced when creating the heavens and the earth. He must destroy his creation, be- cause its laws would no longer have any value. But for whom should he do this? For the sluggards? No, no! I repeat, God, bread, and the laborer form the true and indivisible trinity which saves us from death.
It is for me to ask whether or no a thing is useful for the common good; and it is for you to answer me or not, as you will. Wh}', then, I ask you, do you treat the laborer as an im- becile^ an idiot, or a fool, and scorn the great- ness of his merits who eats the bread of his own labor, and preserves from famishing other men as well as the animals? We are fools, I admit, fools in all the force of the term. But it is this: the more we are instructed, so much the more we make progress; but we cannot attain the limit of progress which is perfection. During this life man cannot reach the limit of science, but after death he will at once attain perfection.
And further, the more a man is educated, the better he perceives his intellectual defects. Since, then, you look down upon the man who n >urishes himself by his labor, as well as his fel- low-creatures, and also the animals, what, I pray you, will you call him who, far from nourishing
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any one else, lives in idleness, on the labor of others, and who, as it were, turns the blood of the poor into money? Will you call him a brig-and? No; a brigand falls by the sentence of the law, whilst this man is esteemed and elevated to su- preme greatness. You have bestowed on us all humiliating epithets; what have you reserved for the sluggard? But why do 1 thus interro- gate you? A stone might answer me, but you, my readers, will not.
If a great famine were inflicted upon Russia during one year only, every one would die of hunger. But where is the wheat of which there was an excess in the preceding years, and which they (the imbeciles) have stored up? The intelligent ones have eaten it, is the reply. Can we believe an intelligent man would com- mit such a crime? To eat the bread of the ingnorant, to trample under foot the love of our neighbor, and the primitive law â€” it is almost incredible!
Desire for food is man's strongest inclination, yet what he most disdains is labor for bread. There are actually in Russia millions of children whom they teach to read, that they may be free from this labor, and that they ma}' eat bread for nothing; that is to say, to ride on the backs of poor laborers. If that were not their intention, they would never consent to be instructed, and their parents would not let them go to school. Not to be willing to live without doing any- thing would seem to them as a crime, a
Labor and Love. 1.49
suicide! So they do not labor: that condition is too shameful.
Whence comes this state of things'* From their not explaining the divine law " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou knead bread," to young and intelligent minds, and from its not being placed in books of science. For by this means men would have comprehended from their youth, that they must compel themselves to eat the bread of their own labor, and to live honestly.
They do not speak of labor, that virtue of virtues, in the primers or in the books of high science. The masters make no allusion to it, because they themselves live in idleness. Thus the child can learn nothing that is good, in the schools. He will be like the earthen vessel, which retains always the odor of the first liquid it has contained. Many examples prove this. Historians relate that the Roman emperor Caligula was so cruel that, not content with taking the life of those who displeased him, he even drank the blood of his victmis. The daughter of Darius could find no more exquisite article of food than the serpent. How will you explain these facts? Must it not have been that Caligula was brought up by a cruel woman, and that the daughter of Darius had a nurse to whom the serpent's flesh was the daintiest of food?
Theologians claim that God offered the milk of wisdom as nourishment for a child, but that the devil offered him the milk of impiety. If, by fault of the parents, the child drank the
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devil's milk, no other food could thenceforth please him. Even as Caligula loved to drink blood, and the daughter of Darius preferred the serpent's flesh, so the child would ever like the devil's food only.
Thence, what hope can the laborers have? We still must expect the worst. But if all men learn to read and write, who will nourish them } That is an important problem that no one is willing to solve.
I pray you, readers, not to forget that I speak to you humbly, * standing with bowed head and sad aspect at the threshold of your door. But you are occupying the place of honor at the table where they serve the pro- ducts of our labor. You will not reply. Is it because you feel that you are in every way culpable in the sight of God and man, and even before your own conscience? If you try to justify yourself, you will fall still more deeply into sin; if you try to contradict me, your infatuation will be an outrage, not against me, but against God, against bread, and against your conscience.
You see now, you of the upper classes, that the laborer is your second father; we may even say, without fear of sinning, that he is your first father. Remember that all the dishes of which you eat at your table are the pro-
- I mean that I speak in the name of all our class, men,
women, children, and old persons. I do not speak personally, but in tbÂ» natnt of my companions.
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ducts of our labor. In short, we nourish you as a father nourishes his children.
Nothing can be more contrary to the law than the excuse you present in saying, " I pay for my bread." Where did you get your money? Is not this money that you keep at home with you, the fruit of our labor? You cannot obtain our pardon unless you agree with all your heart to eat the bread of your own labor. â€” Impossible! you reply again; how could all men do the same work?
The law of labor may be incomprehensible if we compare it to that of love, because this word love alone suffices to show all its nature, while we need numerous developments to make clear the meaning of the primitive law. I have written already nearly three hundred articles* in com- ment upon it, and I doubt if I have completely persuaded my readers of the necessity of labor. How can I present in few words all the mysterious virtue which belongs to the law which God gave in creating the heavens and the earth? Besides, it encounters the greatest of obstacles in the influence of money which de- prives this law of so much of its lorce. It is money which renders men blind and insensible. Hear them answer simply : " I pay for my bread! I pay lor my bread." That is their only reply. How, then, can I dispute with them?
- Labor according to the Bible contained originally 263
articles or verses. We have modified the numeration, so that the text of Bondarefl now contains only 173 paragraphs.
1 52 Labor and Love.
It is time to finish my discourse, or rather my sermon.
At the moment in which I write, the govern- ment has not yet considered the law of labor. It has not explained its force by any edict: nor has it preached to its subjects the love of labor, notwithstanding the urgent requests that I have addressed to it, and of which it takes no notice. I pity its blindness. God is my witness that I speak only the truth. An individual is pardonable if he is ignorant of some things; but is it admissible that the government should hide from the people's eyes the greatest happiness that can be in heaven or on the earth? I can never be- lieve it.
I have just been told that I will not be per- mitted to publish my sermon. Why? ist. Be- cause the administrative authority also seeks to escape this horrible labor lor bread. 2d. Be- cause they hate us who nourish them. " Let these sixty millions of laborers suffer with hunger and cold, so long as we and ours may be happy!" And if you speak to them of love for our neighbor, they will respond by preach- ing philanthropy : but always in word, never in deed!
For five years, now, this state of affairs of which I speak has existed. In the presence of
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one among you * we are as so many tomtits before an eagle.
By one word, one stroke of his pen, he can crush us, and he has truly crushed and annihi- lated us. What millions of men he has op- pressed! I said but now, that, thanks to the government, idleness would flourish and increase everywhere : that labor and bread would be scorned and debased. It is done. You see now the truth of my predictions, and the exactness of my words.
The blood and the tears of men have attested the truth of all the laws, and all the command- ments of the Old and the New Testament. But in favor of the primitive commandment, which is the chief of all the others, and of love to our neighbor, no one has shed one tear or one drop of blood : no one has borne witness to its truth. This is why it has been reputed as false; this is the reason that it has been unknown in the universe, and that it has now been angrily rejected. Did Jesus Christ affirm it by his death? No, he said in the Gospel: " Behold the fowls of the air, etc." We see 'Christ did not give precedence to the law of labor, be- cause from his infancy he saw in it little virtue, and considered it to be a great mis- fortune.
We see from the preceding articles that Heaven has designed that I should bear witness
- An evident allusion to the Czar. It is to be noticed
that Bondareff often speaks of the Czar without openly nam- ing him.
1 54 Labor and Love.
to this law, and should seal its truth with m\' blood and my tears. My blood is dried up in ray veins at the spectacle of the world's corruption; as to my tears, they do not fall from my eyes (my strong constitution forbids me to weep), but they sink within ray heart.
I ask myself why I am so ardently impressed with the meaning of the primitive comraand- ment, amid all the cares and troubles that sur- round my life. Will the world give me credit for all the griefs that 1 endure? Will I receive, for this discovery which is of interest to all the world, a reward such as they give to inventors of trifles? It is useless to thmk of such a thing. My greatest recompense will consist in escap- ing punishment; for their attacks upon me are vigorous. But against whom are they directed? Reflect on this important question. Why should these menaces disquiet me, when I am guided by an invisible and mysterious hand, which im- pels me to act as I do, so that it is, as it were, against my will that I labor.
Formerly I hoped to obtain from God in a future life, some reward for this work, although I have not accomplished it perfectly. And now well-educated men, understanding the ob- ject I sought, say to me : " You have not labored for love of your neighbor, but for love of your- self. To love your neighbor and at the same time to love yourself is to offend God and to hate your neighbor." Their arguments seera to me pure and simple truth; one would thinli God had inspired their words.
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I sec but one means to avoid these difficulties. If they will divide my work into ten parts, and only hold me accountable for the tenth part of it, 1 will be satisfied. If they take from mc even this benefit, I shall not be wronged, because I am convinced that 1 need not wait to be judged by God in the life beyond the grave. My conscience will be my judge; and it will not torture me with remorse, for I believe that I have always applied myself to do right. And yet if there is any doubtful case, I will resign myself to the decision of God.
My readers desire perhaps to know what arc the griefs that have dried up my blood. Thej are these :
I St. I have not the habit of writing, as you may see. I have been obliged to re-write the same article several times. You will see from that, the imperative need 1 have felt of doing m}^ work.
2d. I have composed this work in the midst of painful labors in the field. I go to my labors in the da^'time, and at night I write, and with much difficulty, because I do not see well, even with spectacles.
3d. If I had been rich, I would have had teachers, counsellors, and literary aid. But while I am not entirely poor, my possessions are very modest. And 1 have also not been well received where I have spoken of my proj- ect.
4th. Ismy family numerous? In other words,
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how many are there of us who labor? We are seven : myself, my wife, our oldest son and his wile, and their three young children. We are far from being all of us able to work.
Our fortune does not permit us to employ laborers; and besides that, as I have shown, we must not eat the bread of another's labor.
5th. It is four )'ears (we are now in De- cember 1886) since 1 addressed the govern- ment on this subject that I have at heart. I have asked permission to publish my sermon. What is the result? It is as though I had had to do with the deaf and blind; they do not an- swer me. At least they might ^â– Ay yes or 710.
6th. But that which most oi all dries up my blood is that sixty millions of Russians are suf- fering in ignorance and misery because the law of labor is hidden from them. Why? That some persons may live in comfort and idleness, and enjoy all the earthly pleasures that for very shame's sake I will not enumerate before honest people.
Have I told you all the sorrows, the evils, the weariness, and the pain from which I suffer? No; for it is impossible to express it all.
Nothing is more true. Heaven has designed that 1 should seal with my blood and bathe with my tears the truth that I have taught. I have sealed it Avith my blood, and bathed it with my tears. Perhaps after my death the command- ment I have proclaimed will flourish. I can- not believe otherwise. What obstacle could stand in the way? I have told but the truth; my prophecy cannot vanish without leaving
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some traces. Do I seek to gain glory? No. I am old; of what use would glory be to me? To-day or to-morrow I will descend into the tomb, where the light of the sun will not enter; why, then, should I seek glory?
My task is now finished. I have withdrawn the primitive law from the hell into which men have cast it since the beginning of the ages. 1 have bedewed it with my tears, and sealed it with my blood, as I have said, and I have resigned it into the hands of the government, or rather into those of the most powerful man in the world; I have given it to the czar of czars, the monarch of monarchs, the king of kings â€” to the Emperor.
Let what will happen, I have done my duty. It is for you, O Czar, to act according to your power and your will!
One more word, and I have done. During the last days that are left of my life, I will consign myself to the sepulchre, and I will raise above it a monument in conformity with the primitive law, " In the sweat of thy face shalt thou knead bread." I will raise, I say, a monument worthy of this precept, which is more precious than all earthly treasures. 1 will show you my design in the following articles.
I, Bondareff, will make a written rather than a verbal will, in which I will say to my son Daniel : At my death, when you place me in J:he
1 58 Labor and Love.
coffin, put in my hands the papers that are here. God, who sees everything, the surface as well as the depths of the earth, will know why I shall hold these papers in my hands. He can judge of their contents when he summons to the last judgment all our enemies who, having heard of or read my doctrine, have made no ef- fort to propagate it. He will summon also the defenders of the law of labor, and he will re- compense them. I assure you with all my soul that my prophecy will be accomplished. If you offend a man, you will certainly be pun- ished. In denying the law of labor, you offend millions of men, with their children and all their descendants. Do you believe that your sin will be pardoned because of the blind fortune that protects you? None but atheists could have such a delusion.
We have with us the custom of carrying the dead to the cemeter}' in our arms. But 1 will order my son to carry my corpse on a carriage to the tomb,
Man is too much of a hypocrite to be per- mitted to touch ray remains. When one of us seeks in life the esteem of his neighbors, he re- ceives but hatred; they wish him the greatest misfortunes, and they disdain him; but when he is dead and he has no longer need of man's esteem, his enemies carry him to his last rest- ing-place with feigned sorrow. Ah! if a man could see what passes at his obsequies, he would be but little satisfied! Man is a hypocrite, i now hate all men, and that is why I will not have them touch my coffin after my death.
Labor and Love. 1 59
My often too eager critics do not consider private individuals for whom they care not, but they regard only the representatives of the supreme government. These arc they who are our most bitter enemies. These are as pas- tors who nourish themselves, and let the flock that God has confided to their care die of hunger.
If a man passes from death to life, his neigh- bor will not even carry him on a cart; but if he passes from life to death, he will carry him in his arms! And if one had occasion to help a man pass from death to life, he would not do it from love for his neighbor, but only in the hope of an actual recompense, consisting of gifts of money or of public praise.
I will order my son not to bury me in the cemetery, but in the ground which, cultivated by my arms, has furnished our daily bread.* I will pray him not to fill my grave with clay or sand, but with fertile earth, and to leave no mound or anything to indicate the place of my burial. I will direct him to continue every year
- One of the best known Russian sectaries, the moujik Sou-
talef, who was Tolstoi's inspiration, also undertook to dis- pense with the priest's office, and to be interred in unconse- crated ground, but for other reasons than Bondareff's. "A child was born," relates M. A. Leroy-Beaulieu, "and he re- fused to have it baptized; another died, and he wished to bury it in his garden, under the pretext that all the earth was holy; when that was forbidden, he hid the body under his floor."
1 60 Labor and Love.
lo sow the place with good wheat. Lat6r, this land may belong to some other cultivator, and in this manner they will gather the bread of life from my grave, to the end of the world. Thus will be accomplished the prophecy of Job (v. 26} : " Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season."*
This is the monument that I prefer to all others.
Already I have chosen the place of my burial. I consign myself to the grave. I live yet to- day : the future does not belong to us.
I here terminate my book.
And now, readei's, we will meet again; if not in this world, at least in the next. We shall find that world different from this. But I hope with your skill and eloquence, you will be able to justify yourselves before God better than 1 have known how to do it.
Timothy Michailovitch Bondareff.
- Men will speak of my obsequies from century to century,
and many laborers will follo^v my example. Perhaps some amongst you, O ye nobles and rich men, will also be interred in the earth where men sow their grain!
LD21A-60m-8,'70 (N8837sl0)476â€” A-3-
General Librap^ . University of Califorma
â– â– ^v
UNIVERSITY OF CAUFORNIA UBRARY
COUNT LYOF TOLSTOI.
FORMING THE FIRST ISSUE OF
POLLARD'S POPULAR PL.HLICATIONS.
One %rdume, 12;Â«<?, paper covers, 25 cents*
â– â€¢The narrative is the most revolting record of disappointment in married lif;'. . . he boolv is intended to heal and cleanse the moral leprosy which prevails niider tli( ost sacred relations in the church and in the familj'. . . . The booli is snppieHsed;^^ !iiins< under the htadof obscene or immoral literature, while its sole intent .iid nioii^ to cleanse society from immoral thought and practice. â€” Church Uniwi.
THE MORALS OF THE "KREUTZER SONATA."
The order excluding the 'Krentzer Sonata' from the mails will injure the pos'
lur^iei-general far more than it will help the publisher of the forbidden volume. Weii
he order in the interest of morality we should heartily support it, but it is sham moi
.liry and false morality which is offended by Count Tolstoi's book. We are f.ir fion,
- aking the position that ' to the pure all thines are pure.' But we do hold tliat//w/t thr
)ure all things are pure, and volumes lilve Tolstoi's ' Kreutzer Sonata' and Dandet's
. Sappho,' which deal with immorality in the high and serious moral spirit ot Hebrew
â€¢â– "â€¢ihets. are no more to be condemned as immoral than the plain spoken passages of
lire are to be so condemned. . . . The book is not one which yon woull wish a
girl to read wi-.o has been brought up in a doll's liouse, but the chief reason that
"li ould 1 tii wish it is because its picture of life would liaunt her and lead to hysterical
i nor>;ity. Y>-t the book is one which many men â€” and generally those of the jiurest an<l
itrOi-;est character â€” would wish that their sons should read.
"It is a curious fact in literary hi..-tory that the books which have been 'igorouslv md prifonndl" mora! have uniformly been attacked as profoundly immoral, ivhileuioir ,;onventioi;'il i,i>oks, ^yi)ich have been simply saturated with moral sewer gas, have bet n illowed to pass unnoticed. . . . It is not singular, therefore, that the ' Kreutzsr Sonata ' should be condenmed by the great representative of conventional cant, who stands so aearthe head of the party of moral ideas, whose chief political idea is child of system- .itized robber) and the parent of systematized jobbery."â€” JN'^h' Im'k