The Gospel in Brief

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(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "Only by recognizing the land as just such an article of common possession as the sun and air will you be able, without bias and justly, to establish the ownership of land among all men, according to any of the existing projects or according to some new project composed or chosen by you in common." (From : "To the Working People," by Leo Tolstoy, Yasnaya P....)
• "If, in former times, Governments were necessary to defend their people from other people's attacks, now, on the contrary, Governments artificially disturb the peace that exists between the nations, and provoke enmity among them." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "...for no social system can be durable or stable, under which the majority does not enjoy equal rights but is kept in a servile position, and is bound by exceptional laws. Only when the laboring majority have the same rights as other citizens, and are freed from shameful disabilities, is a firm order of society possible." (From : "To the Czar and His Assistants," by Leo Tolstoy, ....)

(1855 - 1939)
The English Translator of Leo Tolstoy, Louise Maude was born Louise Shanks in Moscow, one of the eight children of James Steuart Shanks, was the founder and director of Shanks & Bolin, Magasin Anglais (English store). Two of Louise's sisters were artists: Mary knew Tolstoy and prepared illustrations for Where Love is, God is, and Emily was a painter and the first woman to become a full member of the Peredvizhniki. Louise married Aylmer Maude in 1884 in an Anglican ceremony at the British vice-consulate in Moscow, and they had five sons, one of them still-born. (From :

(1858 - 1938)
Aylmer Maude and Louise Maude were English translators of Leo Tolstoy's works, and Aylmer Maude also wrote his friend Tolstoy's biography, The Life of Tolstoy. After living many years in Russia the Maudes spent the rest of their life in England translating Tolstoy's writing and promoting public interest in his work. Aylmer Maude was also involved in a number of early 20th century progressive and idealistic causes. Aylmer Maude was born in Ipswich, the son of a Church of England clergyman, Reverend F.H. Maude, and his wife Lucy, who came from a Quaker background. The family lived near the newly built Holy Trinity Church where Rev. Maude's preaching helped draw a large congregation. A few of the vicar's earlier sermons were published with stirring titles like Nineveh: A Warning to England!, but later he moved from Evangelical Anglicanism towards the Anglo-Catholic Church Union. After boarding at Christ's Hospital from 1868 to 1874, Aylmer went to study at the... (From :


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This short exposition of the Gospel is a summary of a large work which exists in manuscript and cannot be published in Russia. That work consists of four parts: An account (Confession) of the course of my own life and of the thoughts which led me to the conviction that the Christian teaching contains the truth. An examination of the Christian teaching: first according to its interpretation by the Orthodox Russo-Greek Church, then according to its interpretation by the Church in general-by the Apostles, the Councils, the so-called Fathers of the Church-and an exposure of what is false in those interpretations. An examination of Christian teaching not according to those interpretations but solely according to what has come down to us of Christ's teaching, as ascribed to him in the Gospels. An exposition of the real meaning of Christ's teaching, the reasons why it has been perverted, and, the consequences to which it should lead. (From :

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Jesus Christ's announcement replaced the belief in an external God by an understanding of life. THE announcement of welfare by Jesus Christ, the son of God. The announcement of welfare consists in this, that all men who believe that they are the sons of God obtain true life. The understanding of life is at the basis and the beginning of all. The understanding of life is God. And by the announcement of Jesus it has become the basis and beginning of all things. All things have come to life by understanding, and without it nothing can live. Understanding gives true life. Understanding is the light of truth, and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot extinguish it. The true light has always existed in the world and enlightens every man who is born in the world. It was in the world, and the world only lived because it had that light of understanding. But the world did not retain it. He came... (From :

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Man, the son of God, is weak in the flesh but free in the spirit. OUR FATHER The birth of Jesus Christ was thus: His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph. But before they began to live as man and wife it appeared that Mary was pregnant. Joseph however was a good man and did not wish to shame her: he took, her as his wife and had no relations with her till she had given birth to her first son and had named him Jesus. And the boy grew and matured and was intelligent beyond his years. When Jesus was twelve years old Mary went once with Joseph for the holiday at Jerusalem and took the boy with her. When the holiday was over they started homeward and forgot about the boy. Then they remembered, but thought he had gone with other lads, and on the way they inquired about him but he was nowhere to be found, so they went back for him to Jerusalem. And not till the third day did they find the boy in the church, where he was sitting with the te... (From :

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Therefore man should work not for the flesh, but for the spirit. WHICH ART IN HEAVEN It happened that Jesus was walking across a field with his pupils one Saturday. The pupils were hungry, and on the way they plucked ears of corn and rubbed them in their hands and ate the grain. But according to the teaching of the Orthodox, God had given Moses a law that everyone should observe Saturday and do nothing that day. According to the teaching of the Orthodox, God had ordered that anyone who worked on Saturday should be stoned. The Orthodox noticed that the pupils rubbed ears of corn on a Saturday and said to them: It is wrong to do that on a Saturday. One must not work on Saturday, and you are rubbing ears of corn. God made Saturday holy, and commanded that the breaking of it should be punished by death. Jesus heard this, and said: If you understood what is meant by the words of God: 'I desire love and not sacrifice'-you would not co... (From :

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The life of all men proceeds from the spirit of the Father. HALLOWED BE THY NAME Later on, some of John's pupils came to ask Jesus whether it was he of whom John spoke: Did he reveal the Kingdom of God and renew men by the spirits Jesus answered and said: Look for yourselves, and listen to the teaching-and tell John whether the Kingdom of God has begun and whether people are being renewed by the spirit. Tell him what Kingdom of God I am preaching. It is said in the prophecies that when the Kingdom of God comes all men will be blessed. Tell him that my Kingdom of God is such that the poor are blessed, and so is everyone who understands the teaching. And having let John's pupils go, Jesus began to speak to the people about the Kingdom of God that John announced. He said: When you went to John in the wilderness to be baptized, what did you go to see? Orthodox teachers of the law went to see John too, but they did not understand what he w... (From :

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Therefore the will of the Father is the life and we are of all men. THY KINGDOM COME JESUS went about in the towns and villages and taught all men the happiness of doing the Father's will. And he was sorry for people because they perish without knowing what true life consists of, and trouble and torment themselves without knowing why, like scattered sheep that have no shepherd. Once many people came to Jesus to hear his teaching and he went up on a hill and sat down. His pupils surrounded him. And he began to teach the people what the Father's will is. He said: Blessed are the poor and the homeless, for they live in the will of the Father. If they are hungry they shall be satisfied, and if they sorrow and weep they shall be comforted. If people despise them, thrust them aside, and drive them away, let them be glad of it, for so God's people have always been treated and they receive a heavenly reward. But woe to the rich, for t... (From :

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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 sui... (From :

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To obtain true life, man must on earth resign the false life of the flesh and live by the spirit. AS IN HEAVEN SO ON EARTH Once his mother and brothers came to Jesus, and could not get to him because there were so many around him. A man seeing them went to Jesus and said: Your family, your mother and brothers, are standing outside wanting to see you. But Jesus said: My mother and my brothers are those who have understood the will of the Father, and do it. And a woman exclaimed: Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you have sucked! And Jesus replied: Only they are blessed who have understood the spirit of the Father and keep it. And a man said to Jesus: I will follow you wherever you may go. Jesus answered him: There is nowhere for you to follow me to: I have neither house nor any place to live in. The beasts have their dens and their lairs, but man is at home everywhere if he lives by the spirit. (From :

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The true food of everlasting life is the fulfillment Of the Father's will GIVE US OUR DAILY BREAD After that the Jews wished to condemn Jesus to death, and he went away into Galilee and lived with his relations. The Jewish feast of tabernacles was come, and the brothers of Jesus prepared to go to the feast, and called him to go with them. They did not believe in his teaching and said to him:You say that the Jewish service of God is wrong and that you know the real way to serve God by deeds. If you really think that no one but you knows how to serve God come with us to the feast. Many people will be there and you can declare before them all that the teaching of Moses is wrong. If they all believe you, then your pupils also will see that you are right. Why hide yourself? You say that our service is wrong, and that you know the true service of God: well then, show it to everybody. And Jesus said: You have a special time and place... (From :

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Therefore true life must be lived in the present. EACH DAY Jesus said: He who is not prepared to suffer all bodily sufferings and deprivations has not understood me. He who obtains all that is best for his bodily life destroys the true life. But he who sacrifices his bodily life in fulfilling my teaching will receive the true life. And at those words, Peter said to him: See, we have obeyed you, have thrown off all ties and property, and have followed you. What reward shall we receive for this? Jesus said to him: Everyone who has given up home, sisters, brothers, father, mother, wife, children, or lands, for my teaching, shall receive a hundredfold more than sisters, brothers, and fields, and all that is needful in this life, and besides that obtains also life beyond the bounds of time. There are no rewards in the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of heaven is its own aim and reward. In the kingdom of heaven all are equal, there i... (From :

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The deceptions of temporal life hide from men the true life in the present. AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS Some children were brought to Jesus and he saw that his pupils were sending them away. He was grieved at this. and said: It is wrong to send children away. They are better than anyone, for they live according to the will of the Father: they are indeed in the kingdom of heaven. Instead of sending them away you should learn from them, for to live in the Father's will you must live as children do. They do not abuse people, do not bear ill-will, do not lust, do not bind themselves by oaths, do not resist evil, do not go to law with anyone, acknowledge no difference between their own and other nations; and so they are better than grown-up people and are in the kingdom of heaven. If you do not become as children and refrain from all the snares of the flesh, you will not be in the kingdom of heaven. Only he un... (From :

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So, not to fall into temptation, we must at every moment Of our life be at one with the Father. AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION After this, the Orthodox chief priests tried to do all they could to ensnare Jesus, so as in one way or other to destroy him. They assembled in council and began to consider. They said: We must somehow finish with this man. He so proves his teaching that if we let him alone everyone will believe in him and cast off our belief. Now already half the people believe in him. But if the Jews come to believe his teaching that all men are sons of one Father and are brothers, and that our Hebrew people are not different from others, then the Romans will overwhelm us completely and we shall no longer have a Hebrew kingdom. And the Orthodox chief priests and scholars long consulted together and could not decide what to do with him, for they could not make up their minds to kill him. Then one of them, Caia... (From :

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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... (From :

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And so for a man who lives not the personal life but the common life in the will of the Father, there is no death. Physical death is union with the Father. FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER, AND THE GLORY After this Jesus said: Come now, let us go: he who will betray me is near. Hardly had he said this before Judas, one of the twelve pupils, appeared, and with him a large throng carrying sticks and swords. Judas said to them: I will show you where he is with his pupils, and that you may know him among them all, he whom I shall first kiss, is he. And he at once went up to Jesus and said: Hall, master! and kissed him. And Jesus said to him: Why are you here, friend? Then the guard surrounded Jesus and were about to take him. And Peter snatched a sword from a servant of the high priest and slashed the man's ear. But Jesus rebuked him and said: You must not resist evil. Do not do so. Give back the sword t... (From :

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Jesus in his childhood spoke of God as his Father, There was in Judaea at that time a prophet named John, who preached the coming of God on earth. He said that if people changed their way of life, considered all men equal, and instead of injuring, helped one another, God would appear and His Kingdom would be established on earth. Contents 1 I 2 II 3 III 4 IV 5 V 6 VI 7 VII 8 VIII 9 IX 10 X 11 XI 12 XII I HAVING heard this preaching, Jesus withdrew into the desert to consider the meaning of man's life and his relation to the infinite origin of all, called God. Jesus recognized as his Father that infinite source of being whom John called God. Having stayed in the... (From :


1887 :
The Gospel in Brief -- Publication.

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