Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How all the words of God are to be heard with humility, and how many consider them not. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 3

Chapter 3: How all the words of God are to be heard with humility, and how many consider them not
“My Son, hear My words, for My words are most sweet, surpassing
all the knowledge of the philosophers and wise men of this world.
My words are spirit, and they are life, and are not to be
weighed by man’s understanding. They are not to be drawn forth
for vain approbation, but to be heard in silence, and to be
received with all humility and with deep love.”
And I said, “Blessed is the man whom Thou teachest, O Lord,
and instructest him in Thy law, that Thou mayest give him rest in
time of adversity, and that he be not desolate in the earth.”
“I,” saith the Lord, “taught the prophets from the beginning,
and even now cease I not to speak unto all; but many are deaf and
hardened against My voice; many love to listen to the world
rather than to God, they follow after the desires of the flesh
more readily than after the good pleasure of God. The world
promiseth things that are temporal and small, and it is served
with great eagerness. I promise things that are great and
eternal, and the hearts of mortals are slow to stir. Who serveth
and obeyeth Me in all things, with such carefulness as he serveth
the world and its rulers?
Be thou ashamed, O Sidon, saith the sea;[Isaiah 23:4]
And if thou reason seekest, hear thou me.
For a little reward men make a long journey; for eternal life
many will scarce lift a foot once from the ground. Mean reward
is sought after; for a single piece of money sometimes there is
shameful striving; for a thing which is vain and for a trifling
promise, men shrink not from toiling day and night.”
“But, O shame! for an unchangeable good, for an inestimable
reward, for the highest honour and for a glory that fadeth not
away, it is irksome to them to toil even a little. Be thou
ashamed therefore, slothful and discontented servant, for they
are found readier unto perdition than thou unto life. They
rejoice more heartily in vanity than thou in the truth.
Sometimes, indeed, they are disappointed of their hope, but my
promise faileth no man, nor sendeth away empty him who trusteth
in Me. What I have promised I will give; what I have said I will
fulfill; if only a man remain faithful in My love unto the end.
Therefore am I the rewarder of all good men, and a strong
approver of all who are godly.
“Write My words in thy heart and consider them diligently, for
they shall be very needful to thee in time of temptation. What
thou understandest not when thou readest, thou shalt know in the
time of thy visitation. I am wont to visit Mine elect in twofold
manner, even by temptation and by comfort, and I teach them two
lessons day by day, the one in chiding their faults, the other in
exhorting them to grow in grace. He who hath My words and
rejecteth them, hath one who shall judge him at the last day.”

O Lord my God, Thou art all my good, and who am I that I
should dare to speak unto Thee? I am the very poorest of Thy
servants, an abject worm, much poorer and more despicable than I
know or dare to say. Nevertheless remember, O Lord, that I am
nothing, I have nothing, and can do nothing. Thou only art good,
just and holy; Thou canst do all things, art over all things,
fillest all things, leaving empty only the sinner. Call to mind
Thy tender mercies, and fill my heart with Thy grace, Thou who
wilt not that Thy work should return to Thee void.
How can I bear this miserable life unless Thy mercy and grace
strengthen me? Turn not away Thy face from me, delay not Thy
visitation. Withdraw not Thou Thy comfort from me, lest my soul
“gasp after thee as a thirsty land.” Lord, teach me to do Thy
will, teach me to walk humbly and uprightly before Thee, for Thou
art my wisdom, who knowest me in truth, and knewest me before the
world was made and before I was born into the world.

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