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War And Peace 228

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War And Peace

a part of that vast invisible chain the beginning of which is hidden in heaven," said Pierre. Prince Andrew, looking straight in front of him, listened in silence to Pierres words. More than once, when the noise of the wheels prevented his catching what Pierre said, he asked him to repeat it, and by the peculiar glow that came into Prince Andrews eyes and by his silence, Pierre saw that his words were not in vain and that Prince Andrew would not interrupt him or laugh at what he said. They reached a river that had overflowed its banks and which they had to cross by ferry. While the carriage and horses were being placed on it, they also stepped on the raft. Prince Andrew, leaning his arms on the raft railing, gazed silently at the flooding waters glittering in the setting sun. "Well, what do you think about it?" Pierre asked. "Why are you silent?" "What do I think about it? I am listening to you. Its all very well.... You say: join our brotherhood and we will show you the aim of life, the destiny of man, and the laws which govern the world. But who are we? Men. How is it you know everything? Why do I alone not see what you see? You see a reign of goodness and truth on earth, but I dont see it." Pierre interrupted him. "Do you believe in a future life?" he asked. "A future life?" Prince Andrew repeated, but Pierre, giving him no time to reply, took the repetition for a denial, the more readily as he knew Prince Andrews former atheistic convictions. "You say you cant see a reign of goodness and truth on earth. Nor could I, and it cannot be seen if one looks on our life here as the end of everything. On earth, here on this earth" (Pierre pointed to the fields), "there is no truth, all is false and evil; but in the universe, in the whole universe there is a kingdom of truth, and we who are now the children of earth are--eternally--children of the whole universe. Dont I feel in my soul that I am part of this vast harmonious whole? Dont I feel that I form one link, one step, between the lower and higher beings, in this vast harmonious multitude of beings in whom the Deity--the Supreme Power if you prefer the term--is manifest? If I see, clearly see, that ladder leading from plant to man, why should I suppose it breaks off at me and does not go farther and farther? I feel that I cannot vanish, since nothing vanishes in this world, but that I shall always exist and always have existed. I feel that beyond me and above me there are spirits, and that in this world there is truth." "Yes, that is Herders theory," said Prince Andrew, "but it is not that which can convince me, dear friend--life and death are what convince. What convinces is when one sees a being dear to one, bound up with ones own life, before whom one was to blame and had hoped to make it right" (Prince Andrews voice trembled and he turned away), "and suddenly that being is seized with pain, suffers, and ceases to exist.... Why? It cannot be that there is no answer. And I believe there is.... Thats what convinces, that is what has convinced me," said Prince Andrew. "Yes, yes, of course," said Pierre, "isnt that what Im saying?" "No. All I say is that it is not argument that convinces me of the necessity of a future life, but this: when you go hand in hand with someone and all at once that person vanishes there, into nowhere, and you yourself are left facing that abyss, and look in. And I have looked in...." "Well, thats it then! You know that there is a there and there is a Someone? There is the future life. The Someone is--God." Prince Andrew did not reply. The carriage and horses had long since been taken off, onto the farther bank, and reharnessed. The sun had sunk half below the horizon and an evening frost was starring the puddles near the ferry, but Pierre and Andrew, to the astonishment of the footmen, coachmen, and ferrymen, still stood on the raft and talked. "If there is a God and future life, there is truth and good, and mans highest happiness consists in striving to attain them. We must live, we must love, and we must believe that we live not only today on this scrap

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