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what he said." Christ meant, that is write a tragedy in five acts. Consistto say, that the wrongdoer must be al- ency in act here presents no embarrasslowed a free hand to rob, to murder, ing difficulties, and inconsistency in and to ravish; that there must be no thought, even if it exists, may evade armies, no police force, no government detection. So far, therefore, the teachmachinery of any kind; that we ought ing of Tolstoy, though eccentric, is of all to live celibate lives. Christ also no great theoretical interest or practimeant-though the authority for this cal importance. We only reach the is not so clear that we must all be heart of the subject when we come to teetotalers, non-smokers, and vegeta- consider the doctrines of non-resistrians. That is the thesis-on which ance, and universal continence-doctwo comments present themselves. trines which do really strike at the

The first comment is that there is no roots of society, and threaten to dereason to suppose that Christ meant stroy it. What, then, have the Tolsanything of the kind, seeing that He toyans to say on these branches of the "came eating and drinking," accepted subject? Let us first examine their atan invitation to a marriage feast, and titude towards the doctrine of non-rethere turned water into wine. The sistance in its bearing, not only upon second comment is that Christ's mean- the conduct of individuals, but also ing, whatever it may have been, is, from upon the policy of nations. the strict Tolstoyan point of view, im- In so far as the policy of nations is material. Tolstoy, as has already been concerned Mr. Crosby gives away the pointed out, only agrees with Christ whole case in the opening sentences of when Christ agrees with him. “Ego et his chapter entitled “The Christian Christus meus" is the order of ideas Teaching in Practice." "Are the into which his eclecticism commits him; junctions of Christ (that is to say, of and his teaching must stand or fall on Tolstoy) practicable? We can only its own merits. Does it stand? Are answer that they have often proved the Tolstoyans standing behind it? so." Perhaps. But a doctrine which Or do they merely accord it a senti- is to be of universal application must mental, rhetorical support on general be practicable not only “often" but “alprinciples, while letting it collapse ways." A single contrary instance is whenever the pressure of a particular sufficient to destroy the force of a gencase is found inconveniently hard? eralization. This naïve use of the

Very likely they accept and observe word “often" is by itself a refutation the simpler austerities; but these are of Tolstoy-by a Tolstoyan; and, if we hardly of the essence of the system. want to supplement the refutation, we It is easy for the vegetarian or the tee- have only to analyze the affirmative intotaler so to order his life that no stance which Mr. Crosby triumphantly difficult question in casuistry will ever adduces. He cites the case of William be raised by his self-imposed rules of Lloyd Garrison—"a non-resistant and abstinence. These virtues, if virtues one of the most extreme"—and he they be, are purely self-regarding. asks: "Is it a mere coincidence that Similarly with the precept that we this typical non-resistant should have ought to avoid taking any office which been the man who, in the history of involves the swearing of allegiance to America, has, without any exception, any organized government. It is quite accomplished the most for humanity?" easy not to be a soldier, or a police- The suggestion is, of course, that man, or a civil servant-as easy as the William Lloyd Garrison, without strikFrench critic said that it was not to ing a blow, effected the emancipation



of the slaves. It is perfectly true that the Tolstoyans will only go as far as the blacks were emancipated, and it is history takes them, they cannot go all also perfectly true that William Lloyd the way that Tolstoy wants to lead Garrison took no part in the fighting. them. They can scarcely be said to But there was nevertheless plenty of do so when they content themselves fighting as the result of William Lloyd with asking, Mr. Crosby does: Garrison's burning words; and, if there "Would it not be better to forget Alhad been no fighting, the blacks would sace and Lorraine than once again to not have been emancipated. Mr. sow the fratricidal seed that has so ofCrosby's argument requires that not ten filled Europe with a bloody haronly William Lloyd Garrison but also vest?" No doubt it would; but there General Grant should have been a non- is nothing essentially Tolstoyan in that resister. But Grant was nothing of sentiment. Essential Tolstoyism conthe kind; and, just as we

see Mr.

demns a good deal besides the idea of Crosby refuting Tolstoy by his use of the reranche-the oath on Grütli, for the word "often," SO we may example, and the battles of Mortgarten Grant refuting Mr. Crosby at the Bat- and Sempach, and the "embattled tle of the Wilderness.

farmers," and "the shot heard round Indeed, the Tolstoyan appeals to his- the world.” Do the Tolstoyans really tory can always without difficulty be admire the friends of humanity who refuted by the historian. Even when stayed at home on those occasions? the instances which they select do not, Apparently they do not. Mr. Stead under close inspection, disprove their -one of the first Englishmen to draw points instead of proving them, alter- attention to the sacro-sanctity of Tolsnative instances pointing to opposite toy-has lately been calling upon us to conclusions can invariably be cited. add Dreadnought to Dreadnought. Mr. One of their favorite texts, quoted by Crosby practically evades the issue by them from Tolstoy, and by Tolstoy looking forward to a time when "it from the Bible, is: "He that taketh will become as impossible for a Christhe sword shall perish by the sword.” tion to ... fire a bombshell. And to this they add their gloss: Great as it would be now for him to indulge aggressive military Empires, like that in an act of cannibalism.” It may be of Napoleon, have ended in humilia- But the word “become,” like the tion. Weak States, like the Republic word “often,” gives the case away. We of San Marino, which have thrown are all agreed that, in a world in which themselves on the mercy of their ene- nobody resisted evil, there would be mies, have preserved their independ- no evil to resist. To say that, however dence. Perhaps. But we knew al- -and to say no more—is to substitute ready that o'erweening ambition might prophecy for exhortations; and the o'erleap itself, and that the weak con- Tolstoyans who do that are not merely sult their best interests by not giving following Tolstoy at a distance, but are provocation to the strong; and that is separated from him by a gulf. Tolstoyall that these examples prove. On the ism is not a prediction but a code of other hand, the case of the Incas of conduct-a code which, so far as the Peru demonstrates that a nation of affairs of nations are concerned, no non-resisters may be exterminated; and Tolstoyan outside a lunatic asylum the case of the Swiss Confederation seems to endorse. proves that resistance may build up a Do they even accept the precept of stable and prosperous State. On this non-resistance as an infallible guide to side of the subject, it is clear that, if the duty of the individual in his rela




tions with bad men? Some of them "use of force might be necessary." Ascertainly try very hard to do so. They suredly it not only might but would; are not satisfied, with other Christians, but the admission is not the less damto denounce vindictiveness.


aging to the argument on that acagree-Mr. Crosby at any rate agrees count. It entails the adinission that --that landlords should not evict their Christ “was exaggerating," and did tenants, and that creditors should not not “mean what he said"-and also, as go to law to recover their debts. They a further consequence, that Tolstoy is can easily avoid the temptation to do “exaggerating," and does not so by conducting their business on a

what he says.

For, if the rule does cash basis, and by not investing their not apply to all the cases, where is the capital in land or house property; but principle enabling us to determine these, for that very reason, are not test which are the cases to which it does cases. One test case occurred when apply? Our rule, in the absence of

American magazine published a any such principle to direct its appligarbled version of something that Tols- cation, amounts only to a rule that evil toy had written; and, on that occasion, should not be resisted unless there is the appeal to Cæsar was threatened by some advantage to be gained; and we Tolstoyans. A still more crucial test certainly do not need to go to Tolstoy can easily be propounded.

for such a maxim as that. So that, on A Tolstoyan, let us imagine, is tak- this branch of the subject, not even ing a country walk. He hears a cry Tolstoy himself is a Tolstoyan, since for help. Running up, he discovers he has, with his own hands, removed that a tramp is endeavoring to commit the support that was essential to the a criminal assault upon a woman. Is solidity of his doctrine, and brought he to interfere? Or is he to pass by on the edifice down in crumbling ruins the other side, treating the matter as about his ears. no concern of his? The doctrine, “Re- So much, then, of his social gospel. sist not evil,” literally interpreted, What of his sexual teaching?-his rule clearly prescribes the latter course; that we ought all to live as celibatesand Tolstoy has as clearly laid down even those of us who are married? that the doctrine must be literally in- The temptation is strong to remark terpreted, because Christ "was not ex- that Tolstoy's own celibacy has been aggerating,” but “meant what he said." of a mitigated character. His family Are the Tolstoyans at one with him? is so large that even the Tolstoyans do That they would actually, as a matter not seem to know how large it is. of practice, resist evil in such a case, Thirteen, fifteen and sixteen are the esone does not venture to doubt; but that timates of three different Tolstoyans is not the point. Do they regard the whose commentaries lie at present on resistance which they would assuredly the table. Tolstoy is not, of course, to offer in such circumstances as a con- be held responsible for the faulty cession to the Old Adam and an act of arithmetic of his followers; but he, and infidelity to the ideal? Or do they hold not they, must take the blame, if blame that the resistance would be not only there be, for the fact that his last child justified but obligatory? That is the was born some years after the publicaquestion; and to ask it is surely to an- tion of the Kreutzer Sonatathe very swer it.

work in which he lays down his rule The question, in fact, was once put of abstinence for married men. He to Tolstoy himself. He replied that, recognizes his inconsistency, however, in the circumstances indicated, the and deplores it. “When speaking of


how married people should live," he propositions separately, and consider writes, “I do not imply that I myself their significance. have lived, or now live, as I should.” In the first proposition, of course, -a fine outburst of frankness by there is nothing distinctively Tolswhich all the most obvious criticisms toyan. It only expounds the ordinary are disarmed. We may be content to moral ideal of the ordinary man in a note it, and pass on.

monogamous community. The second We may refrain, too, since the dis- proposition, involving the extinction of cussion would take us too far afield, the race in the course of a single generfrom any comment upon the outrage ation, really renders the rest of the on sentiment--a sentiment profound, Tolstoyan philosophy-non-resistance intense, and practically universal- and the like—superfluous. The point which this glorification of asceticism in of the third proposition lies in the apmatrimonial relations must seem to the plication of it, and on the meaning to vast majority of Tolstoy's readers to be attached to the word "plane." If convey. It will suffice for our purpose Tolstoy means that a man arrives at to consider what the doctrine really is the celibate plane by growing old, he is -how far it is sometimes modified merely calling upon us to make a virand qualified by its author-what tue of a necessity. If, on the other would be the results of its adoption, hand, he means by the celibate plane whether with or without the qualifica- the plane of highest morality, he tions-what the Tolstoyans think is proposing a code the observance of of it.

which would result in the extinction of It is a doctrine which has

Tolstoyans, while leaving the wicked ried considerably from time to to flourish like a green bay tree. It is time. In 1884, when My Religion only the two latter propositions which published, the precept

count, since they alone distinguish "Let every

in possession of Tolstoy from other moralists. Do the his natural powers take to himself a Tolstoyans accept either of them? wife ... and let them under no If the comments of Mr. Crosby are pretext whatever dissolve the personal any guide, they certainly do not. relations consequent on marriage.” In "Tolstoy,” he writes, "does not seem to The Relations of the Seres we read: have considered the possibility of a "Marriage, of course, is good and neces- true spiritual marriage and of the efsary for the continuation of the race." fect it might produce in purifying phyIn the Kreutzer Sonata, however, the sical relations''-a sentiment which extinction of the race is contemplated may be sound, but assuredly is not with equanimity; and, in an article in Tolstoyan. "It is certainly true," he The Vew Age, printed in 1897, and re- adds, “whether we lean to these conprinted in 1901, it is definitely laid clusions of Tolstoy's or not, that the down that “marriage is an un-Chris- last word has not yet been said on the tian (which is to say, an un-Tolstoyan) subject of Christian marriage." Very institution." The contradiction is likely it has not. But Tolstoy unquesflagrant, and Tolstoy's gloss, reported tionably claims to have spoken the last by Mr. Tchertkoff, that “all depends word on the subject; and Mr. Crosby's on the plane in which a man finds him- gloss only amounts, in effect, to this self” is not a reconciliation of the con- that though Tolstoy, on the face of it, tradictory propositions, but an indepen- is talking nonsense, possibly some of dent proposition which contradicts his opponents sometimes talk nonsense both of them. Let us take the three too. Mr. Crosby does not support




Tolstoy, but apologizes for him; and he said certain other things. That that, as we have seen, is the common is absurd, whatever view one takes tone of the Tolstoyan disciples towards of the divinity of Christ; but the their master. Tolstoy, they seem to Tolstoyans lack nerve to brush the say, is mad; but there is method in his absurdity aside. Their instincts and madness.

their reason conflict. Reason tells Perhaps there is. Madness is not them that Tolstoy is wrong; instinct necessarily inconsequential or illogical. tells them that he has grasped a proThe difference between a fool and a found and valuable truth. They cling madman, it has been said, is this: A to the absurdities for fear lest the fool reasons incorrectly from true truth should perish with them. premises ; a madman reasons correctly Perhaps we may best get at the root from false premises—and that is, of the matter by distinguishing bebroadly speaking, what Tolstoy has tween exoteric and esoteric Tolstoyism. done. A sane reasoner, following his Exoteric Tolstoyism does consist of argument, and being led to his conclu- Wrong-headed Christian exegetics. In sions, would say: This is absurd; esoteric Tolstoyism the selected saythere must be something wrong with ings of Christ-certain selected saythe premises; let us re-examine them ing, that is to say-are merely used as and start afresh. Tolstoy, on the con- illustrations of a philosophy which is trary, never flinches from his conclu- independent of them and might just sions, and never doubts his premises. as well be based upon the selected say. An argument which another man would ings of Buddha. Esoteric Tolstoyism, regard as a reductio ad absurdum is to in short, is not a kind of Christianity, him a demonstration that the absurd but a kind of Pantheism. is true. The Tolstoyans evidently feel Pantheism, of course, is not necessathis, though they do not admit it, and rily a religious conception. do not even see it.

that matter is God is neither to add For what reason, then, are they Tols- to our knowledge of its attributes, nor toyans? Why do they persist in walk- (from the point of view of the materialing, and in trying to persuade others ist) to introduce any fresh theory of to walk, in a path which they perceive the Universe. It is merely (the mateto be so beset with stumbling-blocks? rialist would say) to give matter a new They write as men laid under a spell name. And the materialists will also to which they would like to yield, but tell us that no other kind of Panthewhich both instinct and experience bid ism is possible. None the less, howthem resist. What is the nature of ever, the Pantheism which is current the fascination ? Do they themselves is the Pantheism of the "God-intoxiunderstand it?

cated man” who insists upon imposing Apparently they do not; for Tolstoy- the religious conceptions of his own ism, as they present it to us, bristles mind upon a philosophical conception with fallacies which any

amateur which does not contain them; and the logician can detect. The only prem- reason why it is current is that we are ises from which the conclusions of pop- all, materialists included, God-intoxiular Tolstoyism can be derived are cated more or less-a condition of these: that Christ spoke with divine things with which every philosophy authority and meant what he said must, whether logically or illogically, when he said certain things, but in the long run, make terms. The real did not speak with authority, and standpoint of Tolstoy as a teacher is did not mean what he said, when that of the God-intoxicated Pantheist.

To say

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