Leo Tolstoy, What I Believe ( Audio Book )

Leo Tolstoy, What I Believe

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Count Leo Tolstoy

PREFACE

The name of Count Leo Tolstoy stands high in the annals of his country’s literature as the author of
War and Peace and Anna Karenina. His memory will be cherished and his works will be read by later
generations, long after the author is no more. But none will remember him with such devoted affection
as will the privileged few who have watched his life and labors during the last seven years. During this
period he has withdrawn from the world and its vanities and has devoted himself to the study of the
teachings of Christ. Having become profoundly impressed with the Savior’s words concerning the duty
of living a life of unselfish toil for the benefit of others, he has been endeavoring in a practical way to
carry 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 exhorts
all men to adopt. The work has unfortunately been forbidden in Russia, but the manuscripts pass from
hand 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 occasional
statements may even seem startling, but though they may not be expressed in the conventional language
to which the nations of England and America are accustomed, the right principles are inculcated and it is
the translator’s earnest hope that Count Tolstoy’s words may find an echo in the hearts of all those who
believe in the regeneration of humanity through the spirit and teachings of Christ.

C. POPOFF

When I began to read Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You, it was immediately obvious that
it was a sequel to this volume, What I Believe. Wanting to start at the beginning, I looked for this
volume, only to find that, while the sequel was readily available, What I Believe was downright hard to
find. 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 the
changes in grammar and usage that have been made in the last 120 years. (I am unhappy with Popoff’s
use of quotation marks and semicolons, but I have left most of them unchanged.) They will be happier
with Kessinger Publishing’s reprint of the original. I wanted to make this material understandable to the
widest possible audience, and I felt that 19th century style, King James quotations, and outright mistakes
did not serve that end. I made every attempt to remain faithful to Tolstoy’s original intention. If I have
failed 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 notion
of peasant life. He did not account for psychopathic behavior. That is not to say that such behavior
invalidates his conclusions, but it is an omission that some will certainly use against him. He has, by
today’s Protestant standards, a somewhat skewed view of orthodox theology, no doubt because, at the
time he wrote What I Believe, he only knew the teaching of the Russian Orthodox Church of 120 years
ago. It would appear that Tolstoy did not experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which leads him to
think 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’s
Protestant 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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