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The True Life

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

Thy Will Be Done

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 fulfills the will of the Father is always satisfied and knows neither hunger nor thirst. The fulfillment 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 labor to gather in life, then like harvestmen, we receive a reward. I teach you to gather in this life which the Father gives you.

Once Jesus went to Jerusalem. There was then a bathing-place in the city, of which people said that an angel came, down into it, and that his coming stirred the water and he who first plunged in after that would be cured of whatever illness he had. There were shelters set up around the pool, and under those shelters sick people lay, waiting for the water in the pool to bubble, in order to plunge into it.

And there was a man who had been there thirty-eight years, and was weak. Jesus asked him what ailed him. And the man told him that he had been ill for thirty-eight years and was waiting to get into the pool first after the water bubbled, in order to be healed, but all these thirty-eight years he had not been able to get in first for someone always got into the pool before him. And Jesus saw that the man was old, and said to him: Do you wish to get well? The man replied: Yes, I do wish to, but I have no one to help me into the pool in time. Someone always gets in before me.

And Jesus said to him: Arouse yourself, take up your bedding and go. And the sick man took up his bedding and walked away.

And it was on a Saturday. And the Orthodox said: You must not carry your bedding for today is Saturday.

He replied: He who raised me told me to take up my bedding.

And the infirm man went away and told the Orthodox that it was Jesus who had cured him. And they were angry, And accused Jesus because he did such things on Saturday.

And Jesus said: What the Father always does, I also do. I tell you truly: the son can do nothing for himself; he does only what he has understood from the Father. What the Father does, he also does. The Father loves the son, and has taught him all the things the son needs to know.

As the Father gives life to the dead so the son gives life to him who desires it, because as the business of the Father is life so the business of the son must be life. The Father has not condemned men to death, but has given them power to die or live at will. And if they Honor the son as the Father they will live.

I tell you truly that he who has understood my teaching and believed in the common Father of all men, has life already and is delivered from death. They who have understood the meaning of human life have already escaped from death and will always live. For as the Father has life in Himself so He has given the son to have life in himself also, and has given him freedom. It is in this way that he is the son of man.

Henceforth mortals are divided into two kinds: those who do good and thereby find life, and those who do evil and are thereby destroyed. And this is not my decision, but is what I have understood from the Father. And my decision is just, for I decide so not in order to do what I wish, but in order that all may do the will of the Father of all men.

If I assure you that my teaching is true, that does not confirm my teaching; what confirms it is the conduct I teach. That shows that I do not teach from myself but from the Father of all men. And my Father, He who has taught me, confirms the truth of my commandments in the souls of all.

But you do not wish to understand or to know His voice. And you do not accept the meaning that voice declares. You do not wish to believe in that voice in yourselves which is the spirit that has descended from heaven.

Enter into the meaning of your scriptures. You will find in them the same as in my teaching: commands to live not for yourselves alone but to do good to men. Why then do you not wish to believe my commandments-which are those that give life to all men? I teach you in the name of the common Father of all men, and you do not accept my teaching, but if someone teaches you in his own name, him you believe.

You should not believe all that people say to one another, but must believe only that there is in every man a son like the Father.

And that men should not think that the kingdom of heaven is something visible- but should understand that it consists in fulfillment of the Father's will and that that fulfillment depends on each man's efforts-and that people might understand that life is given not for oneself personally but only for the fulfillment of the Father's will, which alone saves us from death and gives life, Jesus spoke a parable, and said:

There was a rich man who had to leave home. Before he set out he called his slaves and gave them ten pounds, one to each, and said: While I am away, work each of you, at what I have set you. And it happened that when he had gone, some of the people of that town said: We do not wish to serve him any more. When the rich man returned, he called the slaves to whom he had given the money, and asked what each of them had done with it.

The first one came and said: See, master, with your one pound I have earned ten. And the master said to him: Well done, good slave, you have been faithful in a small matter and I will set you over much: be one with me in all my estate. A second slave came and said: See master, with your pound I have earned five. And the master said to him: Well done, good slave, be one with me in all my estate.

Another one came and said: See, here is your pound. I put it in a cloth and buried it because I was afraid of you. You are a hard man, you take where you did not store and gather where you did not sow.

And the master said to him: Foolish slave! I will judge you by your own words. You say that from fear of me you hid the pound in the earth and did not make use Of it. If you knew that I am severe and take where I have not given, then why did you not do as I bade you? If you had used my pound the estate would have been added to and you would have fulfilled what I bade you. But now you have not done what the pound was given you for, and so you must not have it.

And the master had the pound taken from him who had not used it and given to him who had done most. But the slaves remonstrated, and said to him: Master, he has a great deal already. But the master said: Give to him who worked much, for to him who looks after what he has, more shall be given. Drive out those who did not wish to be in my power, and let none of them remain.

The master is the source of life, the spirit, the Father. His slaves are men.

The pounds are the life of the spirit. As the master did not work on his estate himself but told the slaves each to work by himself, so also the spirit of life in men has told them to work for the life of all men, and has then left them alone. Those who sent to say that they did not acknowledge the master's power are those who do not acknowledge the spirit of life. The return of the master and his call for an account is the destruction of the bodily life and the decision of the people's fate: whether they have increased the life that was given them. Some, those slaves who fulfill the master's will, use what is given them and greatly increase it. These are they who, having received life, understand that life is the will of the Father and is given them to serve the life of others. The foolish and wicked slave who hid his pound and did not use it, represents those who only follow their own desires and not the will of the Father, and do not serve the life of others. The slaves who fulfill the Master's will and work to increase his estate become sharers in the master's whole estate, but the slaves who do not fulfill the master's will and do not work for him are bereft of what was given them. Men who fulfill the Father's will and serve life become sharers in the life of the Father and receive more life notwithstanding the destruction of the flesh. Those who do not fulfill the will and do not serve life are bereft of what life they had, and are destroyed. Those who do not wish to acknowledge the master's authority do not exist for him: he drives them forth. Those who do not acknowledge the life of the spirit within themselves-the life of the son of man-do not exist for the Father.

After this Jesus went into a desert place and many people followed him. He went up a hill and sat down there with his pupils. And he saw many people coming and said: Where can we get bread for all these people? Philip said: Even two hundred pennyworth would not be enough to give each of them something. We have only a little bread and fish. And another pupil said: Some of them have bread: there is a boy who has five loaves and two small fishes. And Jesus said: Tell them all to lie down on the grass.

And Jesus took the bread he had, and gave it to his pupils and bade them give it to the other people. And so they all began to give to one another what they had, and they all had enough to eat and much was left over.

Next day the people again came to Jesus, and he said to them: You come to me not because you have seen wonders, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Do not work for food which perishes, but for food which will last for ever, such as only the spirit of the son of man, sealed by the Father, gives you.

The Jews said: What must we do to fulfill the will of God?

And Jesus said: The work of God consists in believing in the life He has given you.

They said: Give us proofs that we may believe. What do you do? Our fathers ate manna in the wilderness. God gave them food to eat, so it is written.

Jesus answered them: The true heavenly bread is the spirit of the son of man, which the Father gives. For the food of man is the spirit that descends from heaven. It is that which gives life to the world.

My teaching gives true nourishment. He who follows me will not hunger, and he who believes in my teaching will never know thirst. But I have already told you that you have seen this and yet do not believe.

All that life which the Father has given to the son will be realized by my teaching, and everyone who believes in it will share that life. For I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the Father who gave me life. And the will of the Father who sent me is that I should keep all the life He gave and not lose any of it. So it is the will of the Father who sent me, that everyone who sees the son and believes in him should have everlasting life. And my teaching gives life at the last day (of the flesh).

The Jews were disturbed at his saying that his teaching had come down from heaven. They said: Why, this is Jesus the son of Joseph: we know his father and mother. How is it that he says his teaching has come down from heaven?

And Jesus said: Do not discuss who I am and where I came from. My teaching is true, not because, like Moses, I declare that God spoke to me on Sinai, but because it exists in you too. Everyone who believes my commandments does so not because it is I who speak, but because our common Father draws him to Himself; and my teaching will give him life at the last day. It is written in the prophets that all men shall be taught of God. Everyone who understands the Father, and learns to know His will, yields himself to my teaching.

No one has ever seen the Father, but he that is of God has seen and sees Him. He who believes in me (in my teaching) has everlasting life. My teaching is the food of life. Your fathers ate manna, food sent from heaven, and yet died. But the true food of life which descends from heaven is such that he who feeds on it will not die. And my teaching is this food of life that has descended from heaven. He who feeds on it lives forever. And this food which I teach is my body which I give for the life of mankind.

The Jews did not at all understand what he said, and began to dispute as to how it was possible to give one's body for the life of men, and why.

And Jesus said to them: If you do not give your body for the life of the spirit there will be no life in you. He who does not give his body for the life of the spirit has no real life. Only that in me which gives up the body for the spirit has real life. And therefore our bodies are truly food for the real life. Only that in me which consumes my body, that which gives up the bodily life for the true life-is really I-it is in me, and I am in it. And as I live in the body by the will of the Father, so that which lives in me lives by my will.

And some of his pupils when they heard this, said: These are hard words, and it is difficult to understand them.

And Jesus said to them: Your minds are so confused, that my saying about what man was, is, and always will be, seems to you difficult. Man is a spirit in the flesh, and the spirit alone gives life-the flesh does not give life. In the words that seem to you so difficult I said no more than that the spirit is life. Afterwards Jesus chose seventy men from among those near him, and sent them to places he himself wished to go to. He said to them: Many men do not know the blessing of real life. I am sorry for them all, and wish to teach them. But as a husbandman cannot himself reap his whole harvest, so I, too, cannot do all that is needed. Go you to different towns and proclaim everywhere the fulfillment of the will of the Father.

Say: The will of the Father is this: not to be angry, not to lust, not to take oaths, not to resist evil, and not to make any distinction between people. And accordingly fulfill these laws yourselves in everything.

I send you like sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents and pure as doves. Above all, have nothing of your own; take nothing with you, neither wallet, nor bread, nor money, only the clothes you wear and shoes. Make no distinction between people; do not choose out the people with whom you will stay. But stay in whatever house you first come to. When you enter a house, greet the master. If he take you in, stay there; if not, go to another house.

For what you will say they will hate you and fall upon you and drive you away. But when you are driven out go to another village, and if you are driven from there, go to yet another. You will be pursued as wolves pursue sheep, but do not be afraid, endure to the last hour. They will take you to the Courts and try you, and will flog you and take you before the authorities for you to justify yourselves before them. But do not be afraid when you are taken to the Courts, and do not prepare what you will say: the spirit of the Father in you will tell you what to say. Before you have passed through all the towns some people will understand your teaching and turn to it.

So be not afraid. What is hidden in men's souls will come forth. What you will say to two or three will spread among thousands. Above all, do not be afraid of those who can kill your body. They can do nothing to your souls, so fear them not. Fear rather that which can destroy both body and soul by the non- fulfillment of the Father's will-fear that. Five sparrows are sold for a farthing, but even they do not die without the Father's will. And no hair falls from the head without the Father's will. So what have you to fear if you live in that will?

Not everyone will believe in my teaching. And those who do not believe will hate it because it deprives them of what they love. So dissensions will come from my teaching. It will kindle the world like a fire, and from it strife must arise. There will be dissension in every house, father against son, mother against daughter. Families will hate those members who understand my teaching, and will kill them. For to him who understands my teaching there will be no meaning in 'father', or 'mother', or 'wife', or 'children', or 'property'.

Then the learned Orthodox gathered at Jerusalem and went to Jesus who was in a village near by. A crowd of people had thronged into the house where he was and stood around it.

The Orthodox began to speak to the people, telling them not to listen to the teaching of Jesus. They said that he was possessed of a devil, and that if men lived by his commandments there would be still more evil in the world than now. They said that he drove out evil by evil means.

Jesus called them to him and said: You say that I drive out evil by evil. But no power destroys itself If it destroyed itself it would cease to exist. You try to drive out evil by threats, executions, and murders, but evil still exists precisely because it cannot fight against itself. I do not drive out evil by evil as you try to.

I drive out evil by calling on men to fulfill the will of the Father's spirit which gives life to all men. Five commandments express the will of that spirit, which gives happiness and life. And they therefore destroy evil. That is a proof that they are true.

If men were not sons of one spirit it would not be possible to overcome evil, just as it is not possible to enter a strong man's house and rob it. To rob his house it is necessary first to bind the strong man. And men are bound by their unity in the spirit of life.

And so I say to you that all mistakes of men and every false opinion shall escape punishment, but false interpretations of the holy spirit, which gives life to all, will not be forgiven.

If anyone speaks ill of a man it may not be counted against him, but if anyone speaks against the holy spirit in man, that cannot pass without harm to him. Abuse me as much as you like, but do not decry the commandments of' life I have disclosed to you. It cannot pass harmlessly for a man if he calls what is good- evil.

Man must be at one with the spirit of life. He who is not at one with it is against it. Man must serve the spirit of life and goodness in all men, and not in himself alone.

Either you believe life and happiness to be good for the whole world, and should then love life and happiness for all men, or you believe life and happiness to be evil, and should then not love them even for yourself. Either you consider a tree good and its fruit good, or else you consider the tree bad and its fruit bad. For a tree is valued by its fruit.

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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)
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