Going out of the nursery and being again alone, Levin went back
at once to the thought, in which there was something not clear.
Instead of going into the drawing room, where he heard voices, he
stopped on the terrace, and leaning his elbows on the parapet, he
gazed up at the sky.
It was quite dark now, and in the south, where he was looking,
there were no clouds. The storm had drifted on to the opposite
side of the sky, and there were flashes of lightning and distant
thunder from that quarter. Levin listened to the monotonous drip
from the lime trees in the garden, and looked at the triangle of
stars he knew so well, and the Milky Way with its branches that
ran through its midst. At each flash of lightning the Milky Way,
and even the bright stars, vanished, but as soon as the lightning
died away, they reappeared in their places as though some hand
had flung them back with careful aim.
"Well, what is it perplexes me?" Levin said to himself, feeling
beforehand that the solution of his difficulties was ready in his
soul, though he did not know it yet. "Yes, the one unmistakable,
incontestable manifestation of the Divinity is the law of right
and wrong, which has come into the world by revelation, and which
I feel in myself, and in the recognition of which--I don't make
myself, but whether I will or not--I am made one with other men
in one body of believers, which is called the church. Well, but
the Jews, the Mohammedans, the Confucians, the Buddhists--what of
them?" he put to himself the question he had feared to face.
"Can these hundreds of millions of men be deprived of that
highest blessing without which life has no meaning?" He pondered
a moment, but immediately corrected himself. "But what am I
questioning?" he said to himself. "I am questioning the relation
to Divinity of all the different religions of all mankind. I am
questioning the universal manifestation of God to all the world
with all those misty blurs. What am I about? To me
individually, to my heart has been revealed a knowledge beyond
all doubt, and unattainable by reason, and here I am obstinately
trying to express that knowledge in reason and words.