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塞缪尔 巴勒特 英语

THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST1THEIMITATIONOFCHRISTbyThomasaKempisTranslatedbyRev.WilliamBenhamTHEIMITATIONOFCHRIST2INTRODUCTORYNOTEThetreatise"OftheImitationofChrist"appearstohavebeenoriginallywritteninLatinearlyinthefifteenthcentury.Itsexactdateanditsauthorshiparestillamatterofdebate.ManuscriptsoftheLatinversionsurviveinconsiderablenumbersalloverWesternEurope,andthey,withthevastlistoftranslationsandofprintededitions,testifytoitsalmostunparalleledpopularity.OnescribeattributesittoSt.BernardofClairvaux;butthefactthatiscontainsaquotationfromSt.FrancisofAssisi,whowasbornthirtyyearsafterthedeathofSt.Bernard,disposesofthistheory.InEnglandthereexistmanymanuscriptsofthefirstthreebooks,called"MusicaEcclesiastica,"frequentlyascribedtotheEnglishmysticWalterHilton.ButHiltonseemstohavediedin1395,andthereisnoevidenceoftheexistenceoftheworkbefore1400.ManymanuscriptsscatteredthroughoutEuropeascribethebooktoJeanleCharlierdeGerson,thegreatChancelloroftheUniversityofParis,whowasaleadingfigureintheChurchintheearlierpartofthefifteenthcentury.Themostprobableauthor,however,especiallywhentheinternalevidenceisconsidered,isThomasHaemmerlein,knownalsoasThomasaKempis,fromhisnativetownofKempen,neartheRhine,aboutfortymilesnorthofCologne.Haemmerlein,whowasbornin1379or1380,wasamemberoftheorderoftheBrothersofCommonLife,andspentthelastseventyyearsofhislifeatMountSt.Agnes,amonasteryofAugustiniancanonsinthedioceseofUtrecht.HerehediedonJuly26,1471,afteranuneventfullifespentincopyingmanuscripts,reading,andcomposing,andinthepeacefulroutineofmonasticpiety.WiththeexceptionoftheBible,noChristianwritinghashadsowideavogueorsosustainedapopularityasthis.Andyet,inonesense,itishardlyanoriginalworkatall.Itsstructureitoweslargelytothewritingsofthemedievalmystics,anditsideasandphrasesareamosaicfromtheBibleandtheFathersoftheearlyChurch.ButtheseelementsareTHEIMITATIONOFCHRIST3interwovenwithsuchdelicateskillandareligiousfeelingatoncesoardentandsosoundthatitpromisestoremain,whatithasbeenforfivehundredyears,thesupremecallandguidetospiritualaspiration.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST4CHAPTER1OftheimitationofChrist,andofcontemptoftheworldandallitsvanitiesHethatfollowethmeshallnotwalkindarkness(1),saiththeLord.TherearethewordsofChrist;andtheyteachushowfarwemustimitateHislifeandcharacter,ifweseektrueillumination,anddeliverancefromallblindnessofheart.Letitbeourmostearneststudy,therefore,todwelluponthelifeofJesusChrist.2.Histeachingsurpassethallteachingofholymen,andsuchashaveHisSpiritfindthereinthehiddenmanna.(2)Buttherearemanywho,thoughtheyfrequentlyheartheGospel,yetfeelbutlittlelongingafterit,becausetheyhavenotthemindofChrist.He,therefore,thatwillfullyandwithtruewisdomunderstandthewordsofChrist,lethimstrivetoconformhiswholelifetothatmindofChrist.3.WhatdothitprofittheetoenterintodeepdiscussionconcerningtheHolyTrinity,ifthoulackhumility,andbethusdispleasingtotheTrinity?Forverilyitisnotdeepwordsthatmakeamanholyandupright;itisagoodlifewhichmakethamandeartoGod.Ihadratherfeelcontritionthanbeskilfulinthedefinitionthereof.IfthouknowestthewholeBible,andthesayingsofallthephilosophers,whatshouldallthisprofittheewithouttheloveandgraceofGod?Vanityofvanities,allisvanity,savetoloveGod,andHimonlytoserve.Thatisthehighestwisdom,tocasttheworldbehindus,andtoreachforwardtotheheavenlykingdom.4.Itisvanitythentoseekafter,andtotrustin,therichesthatshallperish.Itisvanity,too,tocovethonours,andtoliftupourselvesonhigh.Itisvanitytofollowthedesiresofthefleshandbeledbythem,forthisshallbringmiseryatthelast.Itisvanitytodesirealonglife,andtohavelittlecareforagoodlife.Itisvanitytotakethoughtonlyforthelifewhichnowis,andnottolookforwardtothethingswhichshallbehereafter.Itisvanitytolovethatwhichquicklypassethaway,andnottohastenwhereeternaljoyabideth.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST55.Beofttimesmindfulofthesaying,(3)Theeyeisnotsatifiedwithseeing,northeearwithhearing.Strive,therefore,toturnawaythyheartfromtheloveofthethingsthatareseen,andtosetituponthethingsthatarenotseen.Fortheywhofollowaftertheirownfleshlylusts,defiletheconscience,anddestroythegraceofGod.(1)Johnviii.12.(2)Revelationsii.17.(3)Ecclesiastesi.8.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST6CHAPTER2OfthinkinghumblyofoneselfThereisnaturallyineverymanadesiretoknow,butwhatprofitethknowledgewithoutthefearofGod?BetterofasuretyisalowlypeasantwhoservethGod,thanaproudphilosopherwhowatcheththestarsandneglecteththeknowledgeofhimself.Hewhoknowethhimselfwellisvileinhisownsight;neitherregardethhethepraisesofmen.IfIknewallthethingsthatareintheworld,andwerenotincharity,whatshouldithelpmebeforeGod,whoistojudgemeaccordingtomydeeds?2.Restfrominordinatedesireofknowledge,forthereinisfoundmuchdistractionanddeceit.Thosewhohaveknowledgedesiretoappearlearned,andtobecalledwise.Manythingstherearetoknowwhichprofitethlittleornothingtothesoul.Andfoolishoutofmeasureinhewhoattendethuponotherthingsratherthanthosewhichservetohissoul'shealth.Manywordssatisfynotthesoul,butagoodliferefresheththemind,andapureconsciencegivethgreatconfidencetowardsGod.3.Thegreaterandmorecompletethyknowledge,themoreseverelyshaltthoubejudged,unlessthouhastlivedholily.Thereforebenotliftedupbyanyskillorknowledgethatthouhast;butratherfearconcerningtheknowledgewhichisgiventothee.Ifitseemethtotheethatthouknowestmanythings,andunderstandestthemwell,knowalsothattherearemanymorethingswhichthouknowestnot.Benothigh-minded,butratherconfessthineignorance.Whydesirestthoutoliftthyselfaboveanother,whentherearefoundmanymorelearnedandmoreskilledintheScripturethanthou?Ifthouwiltknowandlearnanythingwithprofit,lovetobethyselfunknownandtobecountedfornothing.4.Thatisthehighestandmostprofitablelesson,whenamantrulyknowethandjudgethlowlyofhimself.Toaccountnothingofone'sself,andtothinkalwayskindlyandhighlyofothers,thisisgreatandperfectwisdom.Evenshouldestthouseethyneighborsinopenlyandgrievously,yetthououghtestnottoreckonthyselfbetterthanhe,forthouknowestnotTHEIMITATIONOFCHRIST7howlongthoushaltkeepthineintegrity.Allofusareweakandfrail;holdthounomanmorefrailthanthyself.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST8CHAPTER3OftheknowledgeoftruthHappyisthemanwhomTruthbyitselfdothteach,notbyfiguresandtransientwords,butasitisinitself.(1)Ourownjudgementandfeelingsoftendeceiveus,andwediscernbutlittleofthetruth.Whatdothitprofittoargueabouthiddenanddarkthings,concerningwhichweshallnotbeevenreprovedinthejudgement,becauseweknewthemnot?Oh,grievousfolly,toneglectthethingswhichareprofitableandnecessary,andtogiveourmindstothingswhicharecuriousandhurtful!Havingeyes,weseenot.2.Andwhathavewetodowithtalkaboutgenusandspecies!HetowhomtheEternalWordspeakethisfreefrommultipliedquestionings.FromthisOneWordareallthings,andallthingsspeakofHim;andthisistheBeginningwhichalsospeakethtous.(2)NomanwithoutHimunderstandethorrightlyjudgeth.Themantowhomallthingsareone,whobringethallthingstoone,whoseethallthingsinone,heisabletoremainsteadfastofspirit,andatrestinGod.OGod,whoarttheTruth,makemeonewithTheeineverlastinglove.Itweariethmeoftentimestoreadandlistentomanythings;inTheeisallthatIwishforanddesire.Letallthedoctorsholdtheirpeace;letallcreationkeepsilencebeforeThee:speakThoualonetome.3.Themoreamanhathunityandsimplicityinhimself,themorethingsandthedeeperthingsheunderstandeth;andthatwithoutlabour,becausehereceiveththelightofunderstandingfromabove.Thespiritwhichispure,sincere,andsteadfast,isnotdistractedthoughithathmanyworkstodo,becauseitdothallthingstothehonourofGod,andstrivethtobefreefromallthoughtsofself-seeking.Whoissofullofhindranceandannoyancetotheeasthineownundisciplinedheart?Amanwhoisgoodanddevoutarrangethbeforehandwithinhisownhearttheworkswhichhehathtodoabroad;andsoisnotdrawnawaybythedesiresofhisevilwill,butsubjectetheverythingtothejudgementofrightreason.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST9Whohathaharderbattletofightthanhewhostrivethforself-mastery?Andthisshouldbeourendeavour,eventomasterself,andthusdailytogrowstrongerthanself,andgoonuntoperfection.4.Allperfectionhathsomeimperfectionjoinedtoitinthislife,andallourpowerofsightisnotwithoutsomedarkness.AlowlyknowledgeofthyselfisasurerwaytoGodthanthedeepsearchingofman'slearning.Notthatlearningistobeblamed,northetakingaccountofanythingthatisgood;butagoodconscienceandaholylifeisbetterthanall.Andbecausemanyseekknowledgeratherthangoodliving,thereforetheygoastray,andbearlittleornofruit.5.Oiftheywouldgivethatdiligencetotherootingoutofviceandtheplantingofvirtuewhichtheygiveuntovainquestionings;therehadnotbeensomanyevildoingsandstumbling-blocksamongthelaity,norsuchilllivingamonghousesofreligion.Ofasurety,attheDayofJudgementitwillbedemandedofus,notwhatwehaveread,butwhatwehavedone;nothowwellwehavespoken,buthowholilywehavelived.Tellme,wherenowareallthosemastersandteachers,whomthouknowestwell,whilsttheywereyetwithyou,andflourishedinlearning?Theirstallsarenowfilledbyothers,whoperhapsneverhaveonethoughtconcerningthem.Whilsttheylivedtheyseemedtobesomewhat,butnownoonespeaksofthem.6.Ohhowquicklypasseththegloryoftheworldaway!Wouldthattheirlifeandknowledgehadagreedtogether!Forthenwouldtheyhavereadandinquireduntogoodpurpose.Howmanyperishthroughemptylearninginthisworld,whocarelittleforservingGod.Andbecausetheylovetobegreatmorethantobehumble,thereforethey"havebecomevainintheirimaginations."Heonlyistrulygreat,whohathgreatcharity.Heistrulygreatwhodeemethhimselfsmall,andcountethallheightofhonourasnothing.Heisthetrulywiseman,whocountethallearthlythingsasdungthathemaywinChrist.Andheisthetrulylearnedman,whodoeththewillofGod,andforsakethhisownwill.(1)Psalmxciv.12;Numbersxii.8.(2)Johnviii.25(Vulg.).THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST10CHAPTER4OfprudenceinactionWemustnottrusteverywordofothersorfeelingwithinourselves,butcautiouslyandpatientlytrythematter,whetheritbeofGod.Unhappilywearesoweakthatwefinditeasiertobelieveandspeakevilofothers,ratherthangood.Buttheythatareperfect,donotgivereadyheedtoeverynews-bearer,fortheyknowman'sweaknessthatitispronetoevilandunstableinwords.2.Thisisgreatwisdom,nottobehastyinaction,orstubborninourownopinions.Apartofthiswisdomalsoisnottobelieveeverywordwehear,nortotellothersallthatwehear,eventhoughwebelieveit.Takecounselwithamanwhoiswiseandofagoodconscience;andseektobeinstructedbyonebetterthanthyself,ratherthanfollowthineowninventions.AgoodlifemakethamanwisetowardGod,andgivethhimexperienceinmanythings.Themorehumbleamanisinhimself,andthemoreobedienttowardsGod,thewiserwillhebeinallthings,andthemoreshallhissoulbeatpeace.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST11CHAPTER5OfthereadingofHolyScripturesItisTruthwhichwemustlookforinHolyWrit,notcunningofwords.AllScriptureoughttobereadinthespiritinwhichitwaswritten.WemustratherseekforwhatisprofitableinScripture,thanforwhatministerethtosubtletyindiscourse.Thereforeweoughttoreadbookswhicharedevotionalandsimple,aswellasthosewhicharedeepanddifficult.Andletnottheweightofthewriterbeastumbling-blocktothee,whetherhebeoflittleormuchlearning,butlettheloveofthepureTruthdrawtheetoread.Asknot,whohathsaidthisorthatbutlooktowhathesays.2.Menpassaway,butthetruthoftheLordendurethforever.WithoutrespectofpersonsGodspeakethtousindiversmanners.Ourowncuriosityoftenhinderethusinthereadingsofholywritings,whenweseektounderstandanddiscuss,whereweshouldpasssimplyon.Ifthouwouldstprofitbythyreading,readhumbly,simply,honestly,andnotdesiringtowinacharacterforlearning.Askfreely,andhearinsilencethewordsofholymen;norbedispleasedatthehardsayingsofoldermenthanthou,fortheyarenotutteredwithoutcause.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST12CHAPTER6OfinordinateaffectionsWhensoeveramandesirethaughtabovemeasure,immediatelyhebecomethrestless.Theproudandtheavariciousmanareneveratrest;whilethepoorandlowlyofheartabideinthemultitudeofpeace.Themanwhoisnotyetwhollydeadtoself,issoontempted,andisovercomeinsmallandtriflingmatters.Itishardforhimwhoisweakinspirit,andstillinpartcarnalandinclinedtothepleasuresofsense,towithdrawhimselfaltogetherfromearthlydesires.Andtherefore,whenhewithdrawethhimselffromthese,heisoftensad,andeasilyangeredtooifanyopposehiswill.2.Butif,ontheotherhand,heyieldtohisinclination,immediatelyheisweigheddownbythecondemnationofhisconscience;forthathehathfollowedhisowndesire,andyetinnowayattainedthepeacewhichhehopedfor.Fortruepeaceofheartistobefoundinresistingpassion,notinyieldingtoit.Andthereforethereisnopeaceintheheartofamanwhoiscarnal,norinhimwhoisgivenuptothethingsthatarewithouthim,butonlyinhimwhoisferventtowardsGodandlivingthelifeoftheSpirit.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST13CHAPTER7OffleeingfromvainhopeandprideVainisthelifeofthatmanwhoputtethhistrustinmenorinanycreatedThing.BenotashamedtobetheservantofothersfortheloveofJesusChrist,andtobereckonedpoorinthislife.Restnotuponthyself,butbuildthyhopeinGod.Dowhatliethinthypower,andGodwillhelpthygoodintent.Trustnotinthylearning,norintheclevernessofanythatlives,butrathertrustinthefavourofGod,whoresisteththeproudandgivethgracetothehumble.2.Boastnotthyselfinthyrichesifthouhastthem,norinthyfriendsiftheybepowerful,butinGod,whogivethallthings,andinadditiontoallthingsdesirethtogiveevenHimself.Benotliftedupbecauseofthystrengthorbeautyofbody,forwithonlyaslightsicknessitwillfailandwitheraway.Benotvainofthyskilfulnessorability,lestthoudispleaseGod,fromwhomcometheverygoodgiftwhichwehave.3.Countnotthyselfbetterthanothers,lestperchancethouappearworseinthesightofGod,whoknowethwhatisinman.Benotproudofthygoodworks,forGod'sjudgmentsareofanothersortthanthejudgmentsofman,andwhatpleasethmanisofttimesdispleasingtoHim.Ifthouhastanygood,believethatothershavemore,andsothoumayestpreservethyhumility.Itisnoharmtotheeifthouplacethyselfbelowallothers;butitisgreatharmifthouplacethyselfaboveevenone.Peaceiseverwiththehumbleman,butintheheartoftheproudthereisenvyandcontinualwrath.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST14CHAPTER7OfthedangeroftoomuchfamiliarityOpennotthinehearttoeveryman,butdealwithonewhoiswiseandfearethGod.Beseldomwiththeyoungandwithstrangers.Benotaflattereroftherich;norwillinglyseekthesocietyofthegreat.Letthycompanybethehumbleandsimple,thedevoutandthegentle,andletthydiscoursebeconcerningthingswhichedify.Benotfamiliarwithanywoman,butcommendallgoodwomenalikeuntoGod.ChooseforthycompanionsGodandHisAngelsonly,andfleefromthenoticeofmen.2.Wemustloveallmen,butnotmakeclosecompanionsofall.Itsometimesfallethoutthatonewhoisunknowntousishighlyregardedthroughgoodreportofhim,whoseactualpersonisneverthelessunpleasingtothosewhobeholdit.Wesometimesthinktopleaseothersbyourintimacy,andforthwithdispleasethemthemorebythefaultinessofcharacterwhichtheyperceiveinus.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST15CHAPTER8OfobedienceandsubjectionItisverilyagreatthingtoliveinobedience,tobeunderauthority,andnottobeatourowndisposal.Farsaferisittoliveinsubjectionthaninaplaceofauthority.Manyareinobediencefromnecessityratherthanfromlove;thesetakeitamiss,andrepineforsmallcause.Norwilltheygainfreedomofspirit,unlesswithalltheirhearttheysubmitthemselvesfortheloveofGod.Thoughthourunhitherandthither,thouwiltnotfindpeace,saveinhumblesubjectiontotheauthorityofhimwhoissetoverthee.Fanciesaboutplacesandchangeofthemhavedeceivedmany.2.Trueitisthateverymanwillinglyfollowethhisownbent,andisthemoreinclinedtothosewhoagreewithhim.ButifChristisamongstus,thenitisnecessarythatwesometimesyieldupourownopinionforthesakeofpeace.Whoissowiseastohaveperfectknowledgeofallthings?Thereforetrustnottoomuchtothineownopinion,butbereadyalsotoheartheopinionsofothers.Thoughthineownopinionbegood,yetiffortheloveofGodthouforegoestit,andfollowestthatofanother,thoushaltthemoreprofitthereby.3.OfttimesIhaveheardthatitissafertohearkenandtoreceivecounselthantogiveit.Itmayalsocometopassthateachopinionmaybegood;buttorefusetohearkentootherswhenreasonoroccasionrequirethit,isamarkofprideorwilfulness.THEIMITATIONOFCHRIST16CHAPTER9OfthedangerofsuperfluityofwordsAvoidasfarasthoucanstthetumultofmen;fortalkconcerningworldlythings,thoughitbeinnocentlyundertaken,isahindrance,soquicklyareweledcaptiveanddefiledbyvanity.ManyatimeIwishthatIhadheldmypeace,andhadnotgoneamongstmen.Butwhydowetalkandgossipsocontinually,seeingthatwesorarelyresumeoursilencewithoutsomehurtdonetoourconscience?Weliketalkingsomuchbecausewehopebyourconversationstogainsomemutualcomfort,andbecauseweseektorefreshourweariedspiritsbyvarietyofthoughts.Andweverywillinglytalkandthinkofthosethingswhichweloveordesire,orelseofthosewhichwemostdislike.2.Butalas!itisoftentonopurposeandinvain.ForthisoutwardconsolationisnosmallhindrancetotheinnercomfortwhichcomethfromGod.Thereforemustwewatchandpraythattimepassnotidly

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