Wednesday, February 11, 2015

That man hath no good in himself, and nothing whereof to glory. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 40


Chapter 40: That man hath no good in himself, and nothing whereof to glory.

Lord, what is man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man
that Thou visitest him? What hath man deserved, that Thou
shouldest bestow thy favour upon him? Lord, what cause can I
have of complaint, if Thou forsake me? Or what can I justly
allege, if Thou refuse to hear my petition? Of a truth, this I
may truly think and say, Lord, I am nothing, I have nothing that
is good of myself, but I fall short in all things, and ever tend
unto nothing. And unless I am helped by Thee and inwardly
supported, I become altogether lukewarm and reckless.
But Thou, O Lord, art always the same, and endurest for ever,
always good, righteous, and holy; doing all things well,
righteously, and holily, and disposing all in Thy wisdom. But I
who am more ready to go forward than backward, never continue in
one stay, because changes sevenfold pass over me. Yet it quickly
becometh better when it so pleaseth Thee, and Thou puttest forth
Thy hand to help me; because Thou alone canst aid without help of
man, and canst so strengthen me that my countenance shall be no
more changed, but my heart shall be turned to Thee, and rest in
Thee alone.
Wherefore, if I but knew well how to reject all human
consolations, whether for the sake of gaining devotion, or
because of the necessity by which I was compelled to seek Thee,
seeing there is no man who can comfort me; then could I worthily
trust in Thy grace, and rejoice in the gift of new consolation.
Thanks be to Thee, from whom all cometh, whensoever it goeth
well with me! But I am vanity and nothing in Thy sight, a man
inconstant and weak. What then have I whereof to glory, or why
do I long to be held in honour? Is it not for nought? This also
is utterly vain. Verily vain glory is an evil plague, the
greatest of vanities, because it draweth us away from the true
glory, and robbeth us of heavenly grace. For whilst a man
pleaseth himself he displeaseth Thee; whilst he gapeth after the
praises of man, he is deprived of true virtues.
But true glory and holy rejoicing lieth in glorying in Thee
and not in self; in rejoicing in Thy Name, not in our own virtue;
in not taking delight in any creature, save only for Thy sake.
Let thy Name, not mine be praised; let Thy work, not mine be
magnified; let Thy holy Name be blessed, but to me let nought be
given of the praises of men. Thou art my glory, Thou art the joy
of my heart. In Thee will I make my boast and be glad all the
day long, but for myself let me not glory save only in my
Let the Jews seek the honour which cometh from one another;
but I will ask for that which cometh from God only. Truly all
human glory, all temporal honour, all worldly exultation,
compared to Thy eternal glory, is but vanity and folly. O God my
Truth and my Mercy, Blessed Trinity, to Thee alone be all praise,
honour, power, and glory for ever and for ever. Amen.

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