Embassy of Heaven

Demands of World vs Christ

 

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World's teaching more dangerous than Christ's

To fulfil the teaching of Christ is hard! Christ says: 'Let him that would follow me leave house, and fields, and brothers, and follow me in God's way, and he shall receive in this world a hundred times more houses, fields, and brothers, and shall also gain eternal life.'7 Matthew 19:29 And no one follows him. But the teaching of the world says: 'Abandon house, and fields, and brothers, and go from the village to the rotten town. Live all your life as a naked bath-attendant soaping other people's backs amid the steam, or serve in a money-changer's basement-office all your life counting other people's pence; or live as a public prosecutor, spending your whole life in the courts over law-papers and devoting yourself to making miserable people's fate yet worse; or as a Minister of State, signing unnecessary papers in a hurry all your life; or as a colonel, killing people all your life - live such a monstrous life as this, always ending in a painful death, and you will neither gain anything in this world nor will you receive life eternal.' And everyone follows this course. Christ said: 'Take up your cross and follow me' - that is to say, endure submissively the fate that has befallen you and obey me, God; and no one follows him. But the first abandoned man wearing epaulets8 shoulder ornaments for military uniforms - P.R. and fit for nothing but murder, into whose head it enters, says: 'Take, not a cross but a knapsack and rifle, and follow me to all kinds of torment and to certain death' - and all follow him.

Having abandoned their families, parents, wives, and children, and having been dressed up like fools and submitted themselves to the authority of the first man of higher rank that they happened to meet: cold, hungry, and exhausted by forced marches, they go like a herd of bullocks to the slaughter; yet they are not bullocks but human beings. They cannot but know that they are being driven to slaughter with the question unanswered - Why? And with despair in their hearts they go: and die of cold, hunger, and infectious diseases, till they are placed under a shower of bullets and cannon-balls and ordered to kill people who are unknown to them. They slay and are slain. And no one of the slayers knows why or wherefore. The Turks roast them alive on the fire, skin them, and tear out their entrails. And again to-morrow someone will whistle, and again all will follow to horrible sufferings, to death, and to obvious evil. And no one considers this hard! Neither those who endure the sufferings, nor their fathers and mothers, consider this difficult. The parents even themselves advise their children to go. It seems to them that not only is this necessary and unavoidable, but that it is also good and moral.

It would be possible to believe that the fulfilment of Christ's teaching is difficult and terrible and tormenting, if the fulfilment of the world's teaching were easy, safe, and pleasant. But in fact the fulfilment of the world's teaching is much more dangerous and tormenting than the fufillment of Christ's teaching.

There used, it is said, to be Christian martyrs, but they were the exception; they have been reckoned at 380,000 - voluntary and involuntary, in 1800 years. But count the worldly martyrs, and for each Christian martyr you will find a thousand worldly martyrs whose sufferings are a hundred times more terrible. Those slain in war, during the present century, are reckoned at thirty million.9 This book was written in 1884; and the figures relate to the nineteenth century. - A.M.

Now these were all martyrs to the world's teaching, who needed not even to follow the teaching of Christ but simply to abstain from following the teaching of the world, in order to have escaped from suffering and death.

A man need only do what he wishes to do - refuse to go to war - he will be set to dig trenches, but will not be tormented in Sevastopol or Plevna. A man need but disbelieve the world's teaching that he must wear over-shoes10 The wearing of over-shoes or galoshes to keep one's feet dry and warm and to be able on entering a house to kick them off and have clean shoes, is here instanced as a sign of distinction from the peasant, who usually wore nothing over his high boots. - A.M. and a watch-chain and have a drawing-room he does not need, and that he must do all the stupid things demanded of him by the world's teaching, and he will not be exposed to excessive toil and suffering, never-ending cares, and work without rest or aim; he will not be deprived of intercourse with nature, will not be deprived of congenial work, of family, and of health, and will not perish by a senseless and tormenting death.

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