He had lived (without being aware of it) on those spiritual
truths that he had sucked in with his mother's milk, but he had
thought, not merely without recognition of these truths, but
studiously ignoring them.
Now it was clear to him that he could only live by virtue of the
beliefs in which he had been brought up.
"What should I have been, and how should I have spent my life, if
I had not had these beliefs, if I had not known that I must live
for God and not for my own desires? I should have robbed and
lied and killed. Nothing of what makes the chief happiness of my
life would have existed for me." And with the utmost stretch of
imagination he could not conceive the brutal creature he would
have been himself, if he had not known what he was living for.
"I looked for an answer to my question. And thought could not
give an answer to my question--it is incommensurable with my
question. The answer has been given me by life itself, in my
knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. And that knowledge
I did not arrive at in any way, it was given to me as to all
men, GIVEN, because I could not have got it from anywhere.
"Where could I have got it? By reason could I have arrived at
knowing that I must love my neighbor and not oppress him? I was
told that in my childhood, and I believed it gladly, for they
told me what was already in my soul. But who discovered it? Not
reason. Reason discovered the struggle for existence, and the
law that requires us to oppress all who hinder the satisfaction
of our desires. That is the deduction of reason. But loving
one's neighbor reason could never discover, because it's