Imitation of Christ,
by Thomas á Kempis: Book 1, Chapter 1
Of the Imitation of Christ, and Contempt of all the Vanities of the World
He that followeth
Me, walketh not in darkness (John 8:12), saith the Lord. These are the words
of Christ, by which we are admonished, how we ought to imitate His life and
manners, if we would truly be enlightened, and delivered from all blindness
of heart. Let therefore our chiefest endeavour be, to meditate upon the life
of Jesus Christ.
The doctrine of Christ exceedeth all the doctrine of holy men.; and he that
hath the Spirit will find therein the hidden manna (Apocalypse. 2:17). But
it falleth out that many who often hear the Gospel of Christ, feel little
desire after it, because they have not the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). But
Whosoever will fully and with relish understand the words of Christ, must
endeavor to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ.
2. What doth it avail thee to discourse profoundly of the Trinity, if thou
be void of humility, and art thereby displeasing to the Trinity? Surely profound
words do not make a man holy and just; but a virtuous life maketh him dear
to God. I had rather feel contrition, than know the definition thereof. If
thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the
philosophers, what would all that profit thee without the love of God (1
Cor. 13:2), and without His grace?
Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity (Eccles. 1:2), except to love God,
and to serve Him only. This is the highest wisdom, by contempt of the world
to press forward towards heavenly kingdoms.
for the Third Week