He could seek no object in life now, because now he had faith—not faith in any sort of principles, or words, or ideas, but faith in a living, ever-palpable God. In old days he had sought Him in the aims he set before himself. That search for an object in life had been only a seeking after God; and all at once in his captivity he had come to know, not through words or arguments, but by his own immediate feeling, what his old nurse had told him long before; that God is here, and everywhere. In his captivity he had come to see that the God in Karataev was grander, more infinite, and more unfathomable than the Architect of the Universe recognised by the masons. He felt like a man who finds what he has sought at his feet, when he has been straining his eyes to seek it in the distance. All his life he had been looking far away over the heads of all around him, while he need not have strained his eyes, but had only to look in front of him.

In old days he had been unable to see the great, the unfathomable, and the infinite in anything. He had only felt that it must be somewhere, and had been seeking it. In everything near and comprehensible, he had seen only what was limited, petty, everyday, and meaningless. He had armed himself with the telescope of intellect, and gazed far away into the distance, where that petty, everyday world, hidden in the mists of distance, had seemed to him great and infinite, simply because it was not clearly seen. Such had been European life, politics, freemasonry, philosophy, and philanthropy in his eyes. But even then, in moments which he had looked on as times of weakness, his thought had penetrated even to these remote objects, and then he had seen in them the same pettiness, the same ordinariness and meaninglessness.

Now he had learnt to see the great, the eternal, and the infinite in everything; and naturally therefore, in order to see it, to revel in its contemplation, he flung aside the telescope through which he had hitherto been gazing over men’s heads, and looked joyfully at the ever-changing, ever grand, unfathomable, and infinite life around him. And the closer he looked at it, the calmer and happier he was. The terrible question that had shattered all his intellectual edifices in old days, the question: What for? had no existence for him now. To that question, What for? he had now always ready in his soul the simple answer: Because there is a God, that God without whom not one hair of a man’s head falls.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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