Harvard Classics, Vol. 7, Part 2
Man proposes, but God disposes.
Imitation of Christ. Book i. Chap. 19.
Thomas à Kempis

Harvard Classics, Vol. 7, Part 2

The Imitation of Christ

Thomas à Kempis

This pastiche of biblical and Catholic passages attributed to a humble scribe remains the most influential of Christian devotional writings.

Bibliographic Record Introduction



Introductory Note
Book I: Admonitions Profitable for the Spiritual Life

  1. Of the Imitation of Christ, and of Contempt of the World and all its Vanities
  2. Of thinking humbly of Oneself
  3. Of the Knowledge of Truth
  4. Of Prudence in Action
  5. Of the Reading of Holy Scripture
  6. Of Inordinate Affections
  7. Of fleeing from Vain Hope and Pride
  8. Of the Danger of too much Familiarity
  9. Of Obedience and Subjection
  10. Of the Danger of Superfluity of Words
  11. Of seeking Peace of Mind, and of Spiritual Progress
  12. Of the Uses of Adversity
  13. Of resisting Temptation
  14. On avoiding Rash Judgment
  15. Of Works of Charity
  16. Of bearing with the Faults of Others
  17. Of a Religious Life
  18. Of the Example of the Holy Fathers
  19. Of the Exercises of a Religious Man
  20. Of the Love of Solitude and Silence
  21. Of Compunction of Heart
  22. Of the Contemplation of Human Misery
  23. Of Meditation upon Death
  24. Of the Judgment and Punishment of the Wicked
  25. Of the Zealous Amendment of our Whole Life
Book II: Admonitions Concerning the Inner Life

  1. Of the Inward Life
  2. Of Lowly Submission
  3. Of the Good, Peaceable Man
  4. Of a Pure Mind and Simple Intention
  5. Of Self-Esteem
  6. Of the Joy of a Good Conscience
  7. Of loving Jesus above all Things
  8. Of the Intimate Love of Jesus
  9. Of the Lack of all Comfort
  10. Of Gratitude for the Grace of God
  11. Of the Fewness of those who love the Cross of Jesus
  12. Of the Royal Way of the Holy Cross
Book III: On Inward Consolation

  1. Of the Inward Voice of Christ to the Faithful Soul
  2. What the Truth saith inwardly without Noise of Words
  3. How all the Words of God are to be heard with Humility, and how many consider them not
  4. How we must walk in Truth and Humility before God
  5. Of the Wonderful Power of the Divine Love
  6. Of the Proving of the True Lover
  7. Of hiding our Grace under the Guard of Humility
  8. Of a Low Estimation of Self in the Sight of God
  9. That all Things are to be referred to God as the Final End
  10. That it is Sweet to despise the World and serve God
  11. That the Desires of the Heart are to be Examined and Governed
  12. Of the Inward Growth of Patience, and of the Struggle against Evil Desires
  13. Of the Obedience of One in Lowly Subjection after the Example of Jesus Christ
  14. Of Meditation upon the Hidden Judgments of God, that we may not be lifted up because of our Well-doing
  15. How we must Stand and Speak in Everything that we desire
  16. That True Solace is to be sought in God alone
  17. That all Care is to be Cast upon God
  18. That Temporal Miseries are to be borne patiently after the Example of Christ
  19. Of bearing Injuries, and who shall be approved as truly Patient
  20. Of Confession of our Infirmity and of the Miseries of this Life
  21. That we must Rest in God above all Goods and Gifts
  22. Of the Recollection of God’s Manifold Benefits
  23. Of Four Things which bring Great Peace
  24. Of avoiding Curious Inquiry into the Life of Another
  25. Wherein Firm Peace of Heart and True Profit consist
  26. Of the Exaltation of a Free Spirit, which Humble Prayer more deserveth than doth Frequent Reading
  27. That Personal Love greatly hindereth from the Highest Good
  28. Against the Tongues of Detractors
  29. How when Tribulation cometh we must call upon and bless God
  30. Of seeking Divine Help, and the Confidence of obtaining Grace
  31. Of the Neglect of every Creature, that the Creator may be found
  32. Of Self-denial and the casting away all Selfishness
  33. Of Instability of the Heart, and of directing the Aim toward God
  34. That to Him who loveth God is Sweet above all Things and in all Things
  35. That there is no Security against Temptation in this Life
  36. Against Vain Judgments of Men
  37. Of Pure and Entire Resignation of Self, for the obtaining Liberty of Heart
  38. Of a Good Government in External Things, and of having Recourse to God in Dangers
  39. That Man must not be Immersed in Business
  40. That Man hath no Good in Himself, and nothing whereof to Glory
  41. Of Contempt of all Temporal Honour
  42. That our Peace is not to be placed in Men
  43. Against Vain and Worldly Knowledge
  44. Of not troubling Ourselves about Outward Things
  45. That we must not believe Everyone, and that we are prone to fall in our Words
  46. Of having Confidence in God when Evil Words are cast at us
  47. That all Troubles are to be endured for the sake of Eternal Life
  48. Of the Day of Eternity and of the Straitnesses of this Life
  49. Of the Desire after Eternal Life, and how Great Blessings are promised to those who strive
  50. How a Desolate Man ought to commit Himself into the Hands of God
  51. That we must give Ourselves to Humble Works when we are unequal to those that are Lofty
  52. That a Man ought not to reckon Himself worthy of Consolation, but more worthy of Chastisement
  53. That the Grace of God does not join itself to those who mind Earthly Things
  54. Of the Diverse Motions of Nature and of Grace
  55. Of the Corruption of Nature and the Efficacy of Divine Grace
  56. That we ought to deny Ourselves, and to imitate Christ by Means of the Cross
  57. That a Man must not be too much Cast Down when he falleth into some Fault
  58. Of Deeper Matters, and God’s Hidden Judgments which are not to be Inquired into
  59. That all Hope and Trust is to be Fixed in God alone
Book IV: Of the Sacrament of the Altar

  1. With how Great Reverence Christ must be Received
  2. That the Greatness and Charity of God is shown to Men in the Sacrament
  3. That it is Profitable to Communicate often
  4. That many Good Gifts are bestowed upon those who Communicate devoutly
  5. Of the Dignity of this Sacrament, and of the Office of the Priest
  6. An Inquiry concerning Preparation for Communion
  7. Of the Examination of Conscience and Purpose of Amendment
  8. Of the Oblation of Christ upon the Cross, and of Resignation of Self
  9. That we ought to offer Ourselves and all that is Ours to God, and to Pray for all
  10. That Holy Communion is not lightly to be omitted
  11. That the Body and Blood of Christ and the Holy Scriptures are most necessary to a Faithful Soul
  12. That he who is about to Communicate with Christ ought to Prepare Himself with Great Diligence
  13. That the Devout Soul ought with the whole heart to yearn after Union with Christ in the Sacrament
  14. Of the Fervent Desire of certain devout Persons to receive the Body and Blood of Christ
  15. That the Grace of Devotion is acquired by Humility and Self-Denial
  16. That we ought to lay open our Necessities to Christ and to require His Grace
  17. Of Fervent Love and Vehement Desire of receiving Christ
  18. That a Man should not be a Curious Searcher of the Sacrament, but a humble Imitator of Christ, submitting his Sense to Holy Faith