Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Of the obedience of one in lowly subjection after the example of Jesus Christ. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis. Book 3, Chapter 12


Chapter 12: Of the inward growth of patience, and of the struggle against evil desires.

O Lord God, I see that patience is very necessary unto me; for
many things in this life fall out contrary. For howsoever I may
have contrived for my peace, my life cannot go on without strife
and trouble.
“Thou speakest truly, My Son. For I will not that thou seek
such a peace as is without trials, and knoweth no adversities;
but rather that thou shouldest judge thyself to have found peace,
when thou art tried with manifold tribulations, and proved by
many adversities. If thou shalt say that thou art not able to
bear much, how then wilt thou sustain the fire hereafter? Of two
evils we should always choose the less. Therefore, that thou
mayest escape eternal torments hereafter, strive on God’s behalf
to endure present evils bravely. Thinkest thou that the children
of this world suffer nought, or but little? Thou wilt not find
it so, even though thou find out the most prosperous.
“‘But,’ thou wilt say, ‘they have many delights, and they
follow their own wills, and thus they bear lightly their
“Be it so, grant that they have what they list; but how long,
thinkest thou, will it last? Behold, like the smoke those who are
rich in this world will pass away, and no record shall remain of
their past joys. Yea, even while they yet live, they rest not
without bitterness and weariness and fear. For from the very
same thing wherein they find delight, thence they oftentimes have
the punishment of sorrow. Justly it befalleth them, that because
out of measure they seek out and pursue pleasures, they enjoy
them not without confusion and bitterness. Oh how short, how
false, how inordinate and wicked are all these pleasures! Yet
because of their sottishness and blindness men do not understand;
but like brute beasts, for the sake of a little pleasure of this
corruptible life, they incur death of the soul. Thou therefore,
my son, go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself from thine
appetites. Delight thou in the Lord, and He shall give thee
thy heart’s desire.
“For if thou wilt truly find delight, and be abundantly
comforted of Me, behold in the contempt of all worldly things and
in the avoidance of all worthless pleasures shall be thy
blessing, and fulness of consolation shall be given thee. And
the more thou withdrawest thyself from all solace of creatures,
the more sweet and powerful consolations shalt thou find. But at
the first thou shalt not attain to them, without some sorrow and
hard striving. Long-accustomed habit will oppose, but it shall
be overcome by better habit. The flesh will murmur again and
again, but will be restrained by fervour of spirit. The old
serpent will urge and embitter thee, but will be put to flight by
prayer; moreover, by useful labour his entrance will be greatly

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