"The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!"
Stop sometime and aquaint yourself with Raskolnikov, the fevered murderer, who is slowly and painfully led up the steep slopes of contrition where the gusts of God's grace buffet him. Who is his guide? Dear little Sonia, the erstwhile prostitute, daughter of a drunkard -- she is the first person to whom he confesses his crime.
Each time I've read the novel, the hope in it seems more and more in the forefront.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote the story following his return from long exile in Siberia. A number of years earlier, when he was about 33, he penned these words to the widow of one of the men arrested back at the time of the Decembrist Revolt:
I have formulated my creed, wherein all is clear and holy to me. This creed is extremely simple; here is it is: I believe that there is nothing lovelier, deeper and more sympathetic, more rational, more manly and more perfect than the Saviour. I say to myself with jealous love that not only is there no one else like him, but that there could be no one. I would even say more. If anyone could prove to me that Christ is outside the truth, and if the truth did really exclude Christ, I should prefer to stay with Christ, and not with truth.
[The Decembrist Revolt of 1825, pictured, was directed at Nicholas I -- probably the most reactionary of all the Tsars. Among his disasters was the Russian defeat in the Crimean War of the 1850s.]