Reader’s Note: The following articles are from a small book “Imitation of Christ.” Published by H. M. Caldwell Company. Written by a monastic monk, Thomas A. Kempis. The copy I possess has no publication date, however, has an introduction by H. C. Beeching, M.A. These articles are presented here as a devotional for continued meditation and study in the Christian life.
Of the imitation of Christ, and the contempt of all the vanities of the world.
1. How we imitate Christ:
“He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness,” (See John 8:12) saith the Lord. These are the words of Christ, by which we are admonished, how we ought to imitate His life and manners, if we will be truly enlightened, and be delivered from all blindness of heart.
Let therefore our chiefest endeavour be, to meditate upon the life of Jesus Christ.
2. The doctrine of Christ:
The doctrine of Christ exceedeth all the doctrines of holy men; and he that hath the spirit will find therein an hidden manna. But it falleth out, that many who often hear the Gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because they are void of the Spirit of Christ. But whosoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavour to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ.
3. A virtuous life:
What will it avail thee to dispute profoundly of the Trinity, if thou be void of humility, and art thereby displeasing to the Trinity? Surely high words do not make a man holy and just; but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God. I had rather feel compunction, than understand the definition thereof. If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would all that profit thee without the love of God (See, 1 Corinthians 13:2) and without grace?
Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity (See, Ecclesaistes 1:2), except to love God, and to serve Him only. This is the highest wisdom, by contempt of the world to tend towards the kingdom of Heaven.
4. Vanity of the world is perishing:
Vanity therefore it is, to seek after perishing riches, and to trust in them. It is also vanity to hunt after honours, and to climb to a high degree. It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh, and to labour for that for which thou must afterwards suffer more grievous punishment. Vanity it is, to wish to live long, and to be careless to live well. It is vanity to mind only this present life, and not to foresee those things which are to come. It is vanity to set thy love on that which speedily passeth away, and not to hasten thither where everlasting joy abideth.
5. The stain of sensuality on one’s conscience:
Call often to mind that proverb, “That the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing” (See, Ecclesiastes 1:8). Endeavour therefore to withdraw thy heart from the love of the visible things, and to turn thyself to the invisible For they that follow their sensuality, do stain their own conscience, and lose the favour of God.