The effect of his exhortations, as well as of his personal character and public acts, upon the standards and spirit of official life in the United States, was a pronounced one in attracting to the federal service a group o men who took up their work of public office with the same spirit of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice that actuates the military volunteer in time of war.
As I understand your present life, I think you will always recall it with satisfaction, because the self-sacrifice that fills it now...
In Petersburg and in the provinces at a distance from Moscow, ladies, and gentlemen in militia uniforms, wept for Russia and its ancient capital and talked of self-sacrifice and so on; but in the army which retired beyond Moscow there was little talk or thought of Moscow, and when they caught sight of its burned ruins no one swore to be avenged on the French, but they thought about their next pay, their next quarters, of Matreshka the vivandiere, and like matters.
And then, addressing a yet wider circle, He demanded of those who should follow Him a self-sacrifice like His own.
Those who tried to understand the general course of events and to take part in it by self-sacrifice and heroism were the most useless members of society, they saw everything upside down, and all they did for the common good turned out to be useless and foolish--like Pierre's and Mamonov's regiments which looted Russian villages, and the lint the young ladies prepared and that never reached the wounded, and so on.
He points to the fact that the imminence of death often intensifies instead of diminishing a man's desire for the welfare of those he loves, as a crucial experiment proving the disinterestedness of love; adding, as confirmatory evidence, that the sympathy and admiration commonly felt for self-sacrifice depends on the belief that it is something different from refined self-seeking.
He proclaimed himself, before everything else, a physiologist, and looked to physiology to provide the ultimate standard for everything that has value; and though his own ethical code necessarily involves the disappearance of sympathy, love, toleration and all existing altruistic emotions, he yet in a sense finds room for them in such altruistic self-sacrifice as prepares the way for the higher man of the future.
The self-sacrifice of a father or mother, or self-sacrifice with the possibility of a reward, is more comprehensible than gratuitous self-sacrifice, and therefore seems less deserving of sympathy and less the result of free will.
But in all her former acts of self-sacrifice she had been happily conscious that they raised her in her own esteem and in that of others, and so made her more worthy of Nicholas whom she loved more than anything in the world.
Heloise, not yet twenty, consummated her work of self-sacrifice at the call of his jealous love, and took the veil.