The personal life is an illusion of the flesh, an evil. The true life is a life common to all men.
But Deliver Us From Evil
And Peter said to Jesus: Where are you going? Jesus replied: You cannot come where I am going now, but later on you will go there too.
And Peter said: Why do you think I have not the strength now to go where you are going? I would give my life for you.
Jesus said: You say you would give your life for me: see that you do not deny me thrice before cock-crow.
And he turned to the pupils and said: Do not be troubled or afraid, but believe in the true God of life, and in my teaching.
The life of the Father is not only the life here on earth, there is another life also. If the life of the Father were only such a life as this, I would promise you that when I die I would go to Abraham's bosom and prepare a place for you there and that I would come and take you and that we should be happy together in Abraham's bosom. But I point out to you the path to another life.
Thomas said: But we do not know where you are going and so we cannot know the way. We want to know what there is after death.
Jesus said: I cannot show you what will be there; my teaching is the way and the truth and the life. It is impossible to be joined with the Father of life except through my teaching. If you fulfill my teaching you will know the Father. Philip said: But who is the Father?
Jesus replied: The Father is He who gives life. I have fulfilled the Father's will and therefore by my life you can recognize the will of the Father. I live in the Father and the Father lives in me. All that I say and do, I do by the will of the Father. My teaching is that I am in the Father and the Father in me. If you do not understand my teaching, yet you see me and what I do: and by this you may understand what the Father is. You know that he who follows my teaching may do the same as I, and even more, for I shall die, while he will still be alive. He who lives according to my teaching shall have all that he desires, for the son will be one with the Father. Whatever wish you may have that accords with my teaching will be fulfilled. But for that, you must love my teaching. My teaching will give you an intercessor and a comforter in my place. That comforter will be the consciousness of truth which worldly men do not understand, but you will know it in yourselves. You will never be alone, for the spirit of my teaching will be in you. I shall die and worldly men will not see me, but you will see me because my teaching lives and you will live by it. And then if my teaching is in you, you will understand that I am in the Father and the Father in me. He who fulfills in my teaching will feel the Father in him and my spirit will live in him.
Then Judas (not Iscariot) said to him: But why cannot all men live by the spirit of truth?
And Jesus replied: The Father loves only him who fulfills my teaching and only in him can my spirit abide. My Father cannot love him who does not fulfill my teaching, for that teaching is not mine but the Father's. This is all I can tell you now. But my spirit, the spirit of truth which will take up its abode in you after I am gone, will reveal all things to you and you will remember and will understand much of what I have told you: so that you may always have a peaceful spirit, not the peace that worldly people seek, but such peace of mind that you will not fear anything. If you fulfill my teaching you need not regret my death.
I, as the spirit of truth, will come to you and settle in your hearts together with a knowledge of the Father. If you fulfill my teaching you should rejoice, for instead of having me with you in the flesh, you will have the Father with you in your heart, and that is better for you.
My teaching is a tree of life. The Father is He who tends the tree. He prunes and cherishes those branches on which there is fruit, that they may yield more. Hold to my teaching of life and you will have more life. As a shoot lives not of itself but by being part of the tree, so you should live by my teaching. My teaching is the tree, you are the shoots. He who lives by my teaching of life will bring forth much fruit, for without my teaching there is no life. He who does not live by my teaching withers and perishes, just as dead branches are cut off and burnt.
If you live by my teaching and fulfill it you will have all you desire. For it is the will of the Father that you may live the true life and have what you desire. As my Father has given me what is good, so I give you the same. Hold on to this good. I have life because the Father loves me and I love the Father. You too should live by that same love, and if you live by it you will be blessed. My commandment is that you love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than to sacrifice one's life for others as I have done.
You are my equals if you do what I have taught you. I do not consider you as slaves to whom orders are given, but as equals, for I have explained to you all that I have understood from the Father. You do not choose my teaching of your own will, you choose it because I have shown you the one truth by which you can live, and from which you will have all that you wish.
The whole teaching is-to love one another.
If the world hates you, do not be surprised: it hates my teaching. If you were at one with the world it would love you. But I have taken you out of the world, and for that it will hate you.
If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also, and they will do all this because they do not know the true God. I explained to them, but they did not wish to hear me. They did not understand my teaching because they did not understand the Father. They saw my life and my life showed them their error, and they hated me yet more on that account.
The spirit of truth which will come to you will confirm this to you. But confirm it yourselves. I tell you this beforehand, that you may not be deceived when they persecute you. They will cast you out; they will think that by killing you they are doing what pleases God. And they will do all this because they do not understand either my teaching or the true God. I tell you this beforehand that you may not be surprised when it comes about.
So I go now to that spirit which sent me, and now that you understand, you need not ask me where I am going to. Before this you were grieved that I did not tell you whither I go.
But I tell you truly that it is well for you that I am going. If I do not die the spirit of truth will not come to you, but if I die it will abide in you. That spirit will dwell in you, and it will be clear to you what is false, what is true, and how to make decision. The falsity is, that men do not believe in the life of the spirit: the truth is, that I am one with the Father: and the decision is, to destroy the power of bodily life.
I would say much more to you, but it is hard for you to understand. But when the spirit of truth dwells in you it will show you the whole truth because it will not tell you a new thing of its own, but what is from God; and it will show you the way in all circumstances of life. It too will be from the Father as I am from the Father and therefore it will tell you the same that I do.
But when I, as the spirit of truth, shall be in you, you will not always know that I am there. Sometimes you will, and sometimes you will not, hear me.
And the pupils said to one another: What does this mean? He says: Sometimes you will, and sometimes you will not, hear me. What does it mean Sometimes you will and sometimes you will not?
Jesus said to them: Do you not understand what it means-Sometimes you will, and sometimes you will not, hear me? You know how it is in the world: some are sad and grieved while others rejoice. You too will grieve, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman in labor suffers torment, but when it is over she does not remember the suffering, for joy that she has brought a child into the world. So you will grieve, and will then suddenly realize my presence: the spirit of truth will enter into you and your grief will be turned into joy. Then you will ask nothing of me, because you will have all you desire. Then all that any one of you desires in the spirit he will have from his Father.
You formerly asked nothing of the spirit, but then you shall ask what you will and it will all be yours, so that your joy will be full. Now, as a man, I cannot tell you this clearly in words, but then-when as the spirit of truth I shall live in you-I will proclaim to you clearly about the Father. Then all that you ask of the Father in the name of the spirit will be given you not by me but by the Father, for He loves you for having received my teaching and understood that the spirit comes into the world from the Father and returns from the world to the Father.
Then the pupils said to Jesus: Now we understand everything and have nothing more to ask. We believe that you are from God.
And Jesus said: All that I have told you is to give you peace and confidence in my teaching. Whatever ills may befall you in the world, fear nothing: my teaching will overcome the world.
After that Jesus raised his eyes to heaven, and said: My Father! You have given your son the freedom of life in order that he should receive the true life. Life is the knowledge of the true God of the understanding revealed by me. I have revealed you to men on earth. I have done what you bade me. I have shown men on earth that you exist. They were yours before, but by your will I have revealed the truth to them and they have recognized you. They have understood that all they have, their very life, is from you alone and that I have taught them not of myself, but that I as well as they have come from you. I pray to you for those who acknowledge you. They have understood that all I have is yours and that what is yours is mine. I am no longer of this world, for I am returning to you; but they are in the world, and therefore, Father, I pray you, preserve in them your understanding. I do not ask that you should take them from the world, but that you should deliver them from the evil of the world and confirm them in your truth. An understanding of you is the truth. My Father! I wish them to be as I am, to understand as I do that the true life began before the commencement of the world: that they should all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, and that they should be one with us-I in them and you in me, so that all should be one: and that men should understand that they were not self-created, but that you have sent them into the world in love, as you sent me. Father of truth! The world did not know you, but I knew you and men have known you through me. I have made plain to them what you are. You are in me that the love with which you have loved me may be in them also. You have given them life, which is proof that you love them. I have taught them to know this and to love you, so that your love may return to you from them.
More Articles by This Author Leo Tolstoy
- Full name: Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy
- Russian novelist and philosopher
- Born September 9th, 1828 and died November 20th, 1910
- Best known for War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877)