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Imitation 1

Imitation 1

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Published by: api-3747176 on Oct 17, 2008
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03/18/2014

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THE IMITATION
OF CHRIST
BY
THOMAS \u00c0 KEMPIS
TRAN SLATED FROM
THE LATIN INTO
MODERN ENGLISH
Digitized by Harry Plantinga, planting@cs.pitt.edu , 1994.
Th is etext is in the pu blic domain.
2
FOREWORD
IN PREPARING this edition ofThe Imitation of Christ, the aim was to achieve a
simp le, readable text wh ich would ring true to those wh o are already lovers of this
incom parable book and would attract others to it. For this reason we have attemp ted to

rend er the text into English as it is spoken tod ay rather than the clou dy, archaic
terminology that encum bers so many translation s of Ch ristian classics. Th e result, we
feel, has achieved a directness and con ciseness wh ich will meet the app roval of modern
readers. In the second place, we have made use of the familiar paragraph form, doing
away with the simp le statement or verse form of the original and of many translation s.
Th is was done in the interest of easier reading, and in order to bring ou t more clearly
the connection between the single statements.

No claim of literary excellence over the many English versions now extant is here
advanced, nor any attemp t to solve in further confusion the problem of the book's
authorship.

Th eories most popu lar at the moment ascribe theImitation to two or three men, members of the Brethren of the Comm on Life, an association of priests organized in the Netherland s in the latter half of the fou rteenth century. Th at Th om as Hemerken of

Kemp en, or Th om as \u00c0 Kemp is as he is now kn ow n, later translated a com posite of their
writings, essentially a spiritual diary, from the original Netherland ish into Latin is
generally adm itted by scholars. Th is Th om as, born about the year 1380, was edu cated
by the Brethren of the Comm on Life, was moved to join their com mu nity, and was
ordained priest. His career thereafter was devoted to practicing the cou nsels of spiritual
perfection and to cop ying books for the schools. From both pu rsuits evolvedT he

Imitation of Christ. As editor and translator he was not without faults, bu t thanks to him

theImitation became and has remained, after the Bible, the most widely read book in the world. It is his edition that is here rend ered into English, without deletion of chapters or parts of them because doubts exist as to their authorship, or because of variants in style, or for any of the other more or less valid reason s.

Th ere is bu t on e major change. Th e treatise on Holy Comm un ion , wh ich \u00c0
Kemp is places as Book Th ree, is here titled Book Fou r. Th e move makes the order of the
wh ole more logical and agrees with the thought of most editors.
THE TRANSLATORS
Aloysius Croft
Harold Bolton
3
CONTENTS
Foreword
BOOK ON E
THOUGHTS HELPFUL IN THE LIFE OF THE SOUL
1 Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth
2 Having A Humble Opinion of Self
3 The Doctrine of Truth
4 Prud ence in Action
5 Reading the Holy Scripture
6 Unbridled Affections
7 Avoiding False Hope and Pride
8 Shunning Over-Familiarity
9 Obedience and Subjection
10 Avoiding Idle Talk

11 Acquiring Peace and Zeal for Perfection
12 The Value of Adversity
13 Resisting Temptation

14 Avoiding Rash Judgment
15 Works Done in Charity
16 Bearing With the Faults of Others
17 Monastic Life
18 Th e Examp le Set Us by the Holy Fathers
19 Th e Practices of a Good Religiou s
20 Th e Love of Solitud e and Silence
21 Sorrow of Heart
22 Th ou gh ts on the Misery of Man
23 Thoughts on Death
24 Judgment and the Punishment of Sin
25 Zeal in Am end ing Ou r Lives
BOOK TWO
THE INTERIOR LIFE
1 Meditation
2 Humility
3 Good ness and Peace in Man
4 Pu rity of Mind and Un ity of Pu rpose
5 Ourselves
6 Th e Joy of a Good Conscience
7 Loving Jesus Above All Th ings
8 The Intimate Friend ship of Jesus
9 Wanting No Share in Comfort

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