The imitation of Christ

By Thomas a Kempis

Many of you are no doubt watching a bit of television tonight but I wanted to get away from the square box and devote my mind to matters spiritual so I’m reading from the book written by Thomas a kempis “the imitation of Christ” first published in 1470 in Latin and translated into English. John Wesley the founder of the methodist movement was heavily influenced by this book and said that it taught him”that true religion was seated in the heart, and that Gods law extended to all our thoughts as well as words and actions. In 1735 John Wesley published a widely read edition of this book under the title “The Christian Pattern”

It is a beautiful book to read and so spiritually uplifting. The opening line in the first chapter is a direct quotation from our Lord Jesus Christ ” he that followeth me, walketh not In darkness” the first chapter is concerned with how we live our lives as an imitation of Christ and show contempt of all the vanities of the world. I love the language of this book in its use of old English.

In the third chapter titled “of the doctrine of truth” it says these words and I think it has so much meaning

” The more a man is United within himself, and becometh inwardly simple and pure, so much the more and higher things doth he understands without labour; for that he receiveth intellectual light from above.

This book should be a compulsory read for all students of theology and for anyone feeling the call to ministry. As I am reading this book so I am feeling challenged perhaps in a way that I have not been in the past. It has made me reflect on how I have been shrouded in my own conceit and vanity. The Lord is speaking to my heart tonight. For when the grace of God cometh unto a man, then he is made able for all things. And when it goeth away , then he is poor and weak, and as it will left only for the lash and scourge. In this case thou oughest not be distracted, nor to despair; but at God’s will to stand steadily, and whatever comes upon thee, to endure it for the glory of Jesus Christ; for after winter followeth summer, after night the day returneth, and after a tempest a great calm.

There are many who deny God and his son Jesus Christ but I can tell you this evening that the Holy Spirit is working up on my heart it is transformative. Each and all of us who profess a belief in Jesus Christ ought to open our hearts to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and be ye transformed

And may Almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bless you all this evening.

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