Sunday, November 23, 2014

Of the inward growth of patience, and of the struggle against evil desires. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 13


Chapter 13: Of the inward growth of patience, and of the struggle against evil desires.

“My Son, he who striveth to withdraw himself from obedience,
withdraweth himself also from grace, and he who seeketh private
advantages, loseth those which are common unto all. If a man
submit not freely and willingly to one set over him, it is a sign
that his flesh is not yet perfectly subject to himself, but
often resisteth and murmureth. Learn therefore quickly to submit
thyself to him who is over thee, if thou seekest to bring thine
own flesh into subjection. For the outward enemy is very quickly
overcome if the inner man have not been laid low. There is no
more grievous and deadly enemy to the soul than thou art to
thyself, if thou art not led by the Spirit. Thou must not
altogether conceive contempt for thyself, if thou wilt prevail
against flesh and blood. Because as yet thou inordinately lovest
thyself, therefore thou shrinkest from yielding thyself to the
will of others.
“But what great thing is it that thou, who art dust and
nothingness, yieldest thyself to man for God’s sake, when I, the
Almighty and the Most High, who created all things out of
nothing, subjected Myself to man for thy sake? I became the most
humble and despised of men, that by My humility thou mightest
overcome thy pride. Learn to obey, O dust! Learn to humble
thyself, O earth and clay, and to bow thyself beneath the feet of
all. Learn to crush thy passions, and to yield thyself in all
“Be zealous against thyself, nor suffer pride to live within
thee, but so show thyself subject and of no reputation, that all
may be able to walk over thee, and tread thee down as the clay in
the streets. What hast thou, O foolish man, of which to
complain? What, O vile sinner, canst thou answer those who
speak against thee, seeing thou hast so often offended God, and
many a time hast deserved hell? But Mine eye hath spared thee,
because thy soul was precious in My sight; that thou mightest
know My love, and mightest be thankful for My benefits; and that
thou mightest give thyself altogether to true subjection and
humility, and patiently bear the contempt which thou meritest.”

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