Preface by Constantine Popoff


WHAT I BELIEVE (1886) by Leo Tolstoy
Translated by Constantine Popoff.




The name of Count Leo Tolstoy stands high in the annals of his countryís literature as the author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. His memory will be cherished and his works will be read by later generations, long after the author is no more. But none will remember him with such devoted affection as will the privileged few who have watched his life and labors during the last seven years. During this period he has withdrawn from the world and its vanities and has devoted himself to the study of the teachings of Christ. Having become profoundly impressed with the Saviorís words concerning the duty of living a life of unselfish toil for the benefit of others, he has been endeavoring in a practical way to carry out his Masterís commands and has devoted himself to ministering to his fellows.

In these pages he sets forth the principles by which he is now ordering his life, and which he exhorts all men to adopt. The work has unfortunately been forbidden in Russia, but the manuscripts pass from hand to hand, doing their silent work of regeneration in the hearts of those who long for the coming of the kingdom of God on earth.

To English readers the construction of the work may appear somewhat strange and occasional statements may even seem startling, but though they may not be expressed in the conventional language to which the nations of England and America are accustomed, the right principles are inculcated and it is the translatorís earnest hope that Count Tolstoyís words may find an echo in the hearts of all those who believe in the regeneration of humanity through the spirit and teachings of Christ.


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