Against vain and worldly knowledge
“My Son, let not the fair and subtle sayings of men move thee.
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
(1) Give ear to My words, for they kindle the heart and enlighten the mind,
they bring contrition, and they supply manifold consolations.
Never read thou the word that thou mayest appear more learned or
wise; but study for the mortification of thy sins, for this will
be far more profitable for thee than the knowledge of many
2. “When thou hast read and learned many things, thou must always
return to one first principle. I am He that teacheth man
knowledge,(2) and I give unto babes clearer knowledge than can
be taught by man. He to whom I speak will be quickly wise and
shall grow much in the spirit. Woe unto them who inquire into
many curious questions from men, and take little heed concerning
the way of My service. The time will come when Christ will
appear, the Master of masters, the Lord of the Angels, to hear
the lessons of all, that is to examine the consciences of each
one. And then will He search Jerusalem with candles,(3) and the
hidden things of darkness(4) shall be made manifest, and the
arguings of tongues shall be silent.
3. “I am He who in an instant lift up the humble spirit, to learn
more reasonings of the Eternal Truth, than if a man had studied
ten years in the schools. I teach without noise of words,
without confusion of opinions, without striving after honour,
without clash of arguments. I am He who teach men to despise
earthly things, to loathe things present, to seek things
heavenly, to enjoy things eternal, to flee honours, to endure
offences, to place all hope in Me, to desire nothing apart from
Me, and above all things to love Me ardently.
4. “For there was one, who by loving Me from the bottom of his
heart, learned divine things, and spake things that were
wonderful; he profited more by forsaking all things than by
studying subtleties. But to some I speak common things, to
others special; to some I appear gently in signs and figures, and
again to some I reveal mysteries in much light. The voice of
books is one, but it informeth not all alike; because I inwardly
am the Teacher of truth, the Searcher of the heart, the Discerner
of the thoughts, the Mover of actions, distributing to each man,
as I judge meet.”
-The Imitation of Christ, Thomas Kempis