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is good and ordained of God: but a good conscience and a virtuous life is ever to be preferred.
And forasmuch as many people study more to have knowledge than to live well, therefore ofttimes they err and bring forth little fruit or none.
Certainly at the day of doom it shall not be asked of us what we have read but what we have done; nor what good we have spoken but how religiously we have lived.
Verily he is great that in himself is little and meek and setteth at naught all height of honour. Verily he is great that hath great love. Verily he is prudent that deemeth all earthly things foul so that he may win Christ. And he is verily well learned that doth the will of God and forsaketh his own will.
OF WISDOM IN MAN'S ACTIONS
It is not fit to give credence to every word nor to every suggestion, but every thing is to be weighed according to God, warily and in leisure.
Alas, rather is evil believed of another man than good; we are so weak.
But the perfect believe not easily all things that men tell, for they know man's infirmity, ready to speak evil and careless enough in words.
Hereto it belongeth also not to believe every man's words, nor to tell other men what we hear or carelessly believe.
Have thy counsel with a wise man and a man of conscience and seek rather to be taught by thy betters than to follow thine own inventions.
Good life maketh a man wise in God's sight and expert in many things.
The more meek that a man is and the more subject to God the more wise shall he be in all things— and the more patient.
OF READING THE SCRIPTURES
Truth is to be sought in holy writings, not in eloquence. Every holy writing ought to be read with the same spirit wherewith it was made.
We ought in Scriptures rather to seek profitableness than subtle language.
We ought as gladly to read simple and devout books as high and profound ones.
Let not the authority of him that writeth, whether he be of great name or little, change thy thought, but let the love of pure truth draw thee to read.
Ask not who said this, but take heed what is said. Man passeth, but the truth of the Lord abideth everlastingly.
God speaketh to us in diverse ways without respect to persons.
If thou wilt draw profit in reading, read meekly, simply and truly, not desiring to have a reputation for knowledge.
OF INORDINATE AFFECTIONS
Whenever a man coveteth anything inordinately, anon is he disquieted in himself.
The proud man and covetous hath never rest: the poor and the meek in spirit dwell in peace.
The man that is not perfectly dead to himself is soon tempted and soon overcome by small things and things of little price.
In withstanding passions and not in serving them, standeth peace of heart.
There is no peace in the heart of the carnal man nor in him that is all given to outward things; but in the fervent, spiritual man is peace.
OF SHUNNING TOO GREAT FAMILIARITY
Show not thy heart to every man but bring thy cause to him that is wise and feareth God.
Converse rarely with young people and strangers.
Flatter not rich men and seek not great men; but keep company thyself with meek and simple men and talk of such things as will edify.
Be not familiar to any woman; but generally commend all good women to God.
Desire to be familiar with God and with his angels and avoid knowledge of men. Love is to be given to all men, but familiarity is not expedient.
It happeneth some times that a person unknown shineth by his bright fame, whose presence offendeth and maketh dark the eyes of the beholders. We often hope to please others by our being and living with them, but often we displease them through the bad manners they find in us.
OF SHUNNING MANY WORDS
Avoid noise and the press of men as much as thou mayest: for talking of worldly deeds, though they be brought forth with true and simple intention, hindereth much: for we be soon defiled and led into vanity.
I have wished myself ofttimes to have held my peace and not to have been among men. Why speak we and talk we together so gladly, since seldom we come home without hurting of conscience?
We talk so oft together because by such speaking we seek comfort each from the other and to relieve the heart that is made weary with many thoughts; and we speak much of such things as we love or desire or such things as we dislike. But, alas, it is ofttimes vainly and fruitlessly, for such outward comfort is a great hindering to inward and heavenly consolation. Therefore we ought to watch and pray that our time pass not idly by.
OF FLEEING FROM VAIN HOPE AND ELATION
He is vain that putteth his hope in men or in other created things.
Be not ashamed to serve other men for the love of Jesus Christ and to be considered poor in this world. Stand not upon thyself but set thy trust in God. Do what in thee is and God shall be nigh to thy good will.
Trust not in thine own knowledge nor in the skill of any man living; but rather in the grace of God that helpeth meek folk and maketh low them that are proud.
Rejoice thee not in riches if thou have any, nor in friends if they be mighty; but in God that giveth all things and above all things desireth to give Himself.
Rejoice not for thy greatness nor for the beauty of that body which is corrupted and disfigured with a little sickness.
Please not thyself for thy ability or for thy wit lest thou displease God of whom cometh all the good that thou hast naturally.
Account not thyself better than others, lest peradventure thou be held worse in the sight of God that knoweth what is in man.
Be not proud of good works; for God's judgments are otherwise than thine. Ofttimes what pleaseth man displeaseth God.
If thou hast any good things in thee believe better things of others that thou mayest keep thy humility.
It hurteth thee not to be set under all men: it might hinder thee if thou settest thyself afore others.
Continual peace is with the meek man, but in the heart of the proud man are often envy and indignation.
Thomas a Kenipis was born in the latter part of the fourteenth century and lived to a good old age. His name in full was Thomas Haemercken, but as he was born in the town of Kempen he has been generally known by the title above given. The Imitation was written slowly, a little at a time, and as the result of reading, reflection and prayer.
The very brief selections given above are condensed from the first ten chapters of the first book. While in the main following the best translation of the original, the language has been simplified in a few places.
THE DESTRUCTION OF SEN-
By Lord Byrox
Note.—Byron takes for granted his readers' knowledge of the events with which this poem deals; that is, lie does not tell the whole story. Indeed, lie gives us very few facts. Is there, for instance, in the poem any hint as to who Sennacherib was, or as to who the enemy was that the Assyrians came against? But if we turn to the eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Second Kings, we shall find the whole account of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and his expedition against the Hebrew people. The climax of the story, with which this poem deals, is to be found in Second Kings, xix, 35.