Sunday, February 22, 2015

Of having confidence in God when evil words are cast at us. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 46


Chapter 46: Of having confidence in God when evil words are cast at us.

“My Son, stand fast and believe in Me. For what are words but
words? They fly through the air, but they bruise no stone. If
thou are guilty, think how thou wouldst gladly amend thyself; if
thou knowest nothing against thyself, consider that thou wilt
gladly bear this for God’s sake. It is little enough that thou
sometimes hast to bear hard words, for thou art not yet able to
bear hard blows. And wherefore do such trivial matters go to
thine heart, except that thou art yet carnal, and regardest men
more than thou oughtest? For because thou fearest to be
despised, thou art unwilling to be reproved for thy faults, and
seekest paltry shelters of excuses.
“But look better into thyself, and thou shalt know that the
world is still alive in thee, and the vain love of pleasing men.
For when thou fleest away from being abased and confounded for
thy faults, it is plain that thou art neither truly humble nor
truly dead to the world, and that the world is not crucified to
thee. But hearken to My word, and thou shalt not care for ten
thousand words of men. Behold, if all things could be said
against thee which the utmost malice could invent, what should it
hurt thee if thou wert altogether to let it go, and make no more
account of it than of a mote? Could it pluck out a single hair
of thy head?
“But he that hath no heart within him, and hath not God before
his eyes, is easily moved by a word of reproach; but he who
trusteth in Me, and seeketh not to abide by his own judgment,
shall be free from the fear of men. For I am the Judge and the
Discerner of all secrets; I know how the thing hath been done; I
know both the injurer and the bearer. From Me went forth that
word, by My permission this hath happened, that the thoughts of
many hearts may be revealed. I shall judge the guilty and the
innocent; but beforehand I have willed to try them both by a
secret judgment.
“The testimony of men often deceiveth. My judgment is true;
it will stand, and it shall not be overturned. It commonly lieth
hid, and only to few in certain cases is it made known; yet it
never erreth, nor can err, although it seem not right to the eyes
of foolish men. To Me, therefore, must men have recourse in all
judgment, and must not lean to their opinion. For there shall no
evil happen to the just, whatsoever may be sent to him by God.
Even though some unjust charge be brought against him, he will
care little; nor, again, will he exult above measure, if through
others he be clearly vindicated. For he considereth that I am He
who tries the hearts and reins, who judge not outwardly and
according to human appearance; for often in Mine eyes that is
found blameworthy which in the judgment of men is held worthy of
O Lord God, O Judge, just, strong, and patient, who knowest
the frailty and sinfulness of men, be Thou my strength and my
whole confidence; for my own conscience sufficeth me not. Thou
knowest what I know not; and therefore ought I under all rebuke
to humble myself, and to bear it meekly. Therefore mercifully
forgive me as often as I have not done this, and grant me the
next time the grace of greater endurance. For better unto me is
Thine abundant pity for the attainment of Thy pardon, than the
righteousness which I believe myself to have for defence against
my conscience, which lieth wait against me. Although I know
nothing against myself, yet I am not hereby justified, because
if Thy mercy were removed away, in Thy sight should no man
living be justified.

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