Obrázky na stránke

victus. Nec tęporem habeat; nec careat discretione, nee timidus sit."* " Learn, Christian, from Christ, how to love Christ, learn to love him sweetly, to love him wisely, to love him firmly; sweetly, lest other lures withdraw thee; wisely, lest deceit prevail over thee; firmly, lest oppression turn thee away from the Lord. Lest thou be led astray by this world's glory, or the delight of the flesh,-let Christ thy wisdom be sweet to thee above these. Lest thou be seduced by the spirit of falsehood and error, let Christ, the truth, be thy light; lest thou be worn out with adversity, let Christ, the power of God, strengthen thee. Let charity inflame thy zeal; knowledge instruct thee; constancy make thee steadfast. Be fervent, be circumspect, be invincible. Let not lukewarmness take hold of thee; neither be thou wanting in discretion, and be not fearful.”

In Fest. Sti. Eduardi Reg, et Conf. 1842.


By the B. Thomas à Kempis.

CHAPTER 1.-A COMMENDATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. “Fili, a juventute tuâ excipe doctrinam, et usque ad canos fructus illius.” (Ecclus. vi. 18.)

“My son, from thy youth up, receive instruction, and even to thy grey hairs thou shalt find wisdom.” WHEREFORE, before all arts, learn to read the holy Scriptures, to understand them rightly,—to believe them firmly,—to live in virtue and justice, that, by the blessing of Christ, you may happily attain unto eternal life.

For ignorance of the divine law is the mother of error, and the gate of death; and robs you of honour, virtue, and salvation.

But, the word of God, and the doctrine of Christ, is the light of life, the salvation of the world, the gate of heaven, the food of the soul, and the joy of the heart that loveth God above all. Hence a devout poet exclaims, who became a monk:

* Sti. Bernardi ut suprà Citat. et sequent.

All things to know full well, but know not Christ,
This is to wallow in an ignorant mist!
But, knowing Him, it is enough ; for all

Without Him, tends to hurt, and sinful thrall. 2. Let nothing, then, be preferred before the holy Scriptures; nothing before Christ ; nothing be made equal to Him, who saith, "I am the door ; by me, if any man will enter in, he shall be saved." (John x. 9.) And again, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh to the Father but by me.” (Id. xiv. 6.) No man conieth to heaven, but by me; no man shall be freed from hell, but by

Hence St. Peter called out with a loud voice, against the Jews, and said: “ There is no name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved, but by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts


iv. 12.)



1. “Oves meæ vocem meam audiunt” (Sti. Johan. x. 27). sheep hear my voice," saith the Lord, He heareth the voice of JESUS, whosoever despiseth the world, subdueth the flesh, resisteth the devil, and overcometh his vices: who loveth Jesus with all his heart, and as far as he is able, followeth him.

It is a great fault in the schools, to speak Latin ungrammatically ; but it is a much greater fault to offend God daily, in the sight of his angels, and not to grieve thereat. It is a great fault with logicians not to know how to follow the reasoning; but it is a much greater fault for monks to break their fast and their silence.

2. It causeth great confusion among rhetoricians, to hesitate and stumble at words; but it is much more blameworthy among devout singers to go wrong in the hymns and psalms, and not to pay attention to the sense of the Scriptures.

It is said, that knowledge has no enemy but ignorance, and so conscience hath no sharper reprover than her own bad government.

By none shalt thou be complained of more, or made more angry, than by thyself, O man, who art disobedient unto God; for thy own conscience, without witnesses, accuseth thee unto judgment. Wherefore, when thou dost anything contrary to virtue, and thy conscience, thou hurtest, and putteth thyself to confusion.

Wherefore, in all thy acts, keep a watch over thy heart and lips,

seeing thou art prone unto evil. And remember that these will greatly assist thee, viz. ; prayer, study, writing, and work, in solitude.


“Lætabor ego super eloquia tua; sicut qui invenit spolia multa.” (Ps. cxviii. 162.)

“I will rejoice at thy words, as one that hath found great spoil." And where?-Even in our Libraries, adorned with many holy books – for, Libri doctorum, thesauri sunt clericorum,” the books of the doctors are the treasure of the clerks. They teach the ignorant, re. buke the idle, excite the slothful, stimulate the drowsy, correct the erring; they raise up those that fall, terrify the scoffer, console the mourner, praise the humble, reprove the proud, comfort the weak, restrain the presumptuous, bring the quarrelsome to peace, soothe the troubled in mind, make glad the sorrowful, laugh at the vain-glorious, justify the godly, condemn the perverse, cure those that are sick, save the penitent, honour the truthful, confound the sophist and the false, defend the just and the merciful, judge all those that work iniquity; as it is written in the Psalm : “ Thou hast hated all that work iniquity; thou wilt destroy all that speak a lie.” (Ps. v. 7.) From which evils may our Lord Jesus Christ ever keep us. Amen.


“ Audi, Israel, præcepta Domini, et ea in corde tuo, quasi in libro, scribe." (Deut. xvii. 6.)

“ Hear, O Israel, the precepts of the Lord, and write them in thy heart, as in a book.”

O sweet word, and full of useful councill to be firmly set in the heart, and commended continually to a pious remembrance. But, because the heart of man is unsteady, and his memory ever wandering and apt to slip; therefore it behoves us to apply a useful remedy to an infirm mind, to overcome forgetfulness and frequent distraction, viz., to write the words of God in a book, lest the holy seed that comes out of his mouth should perish.

For, since the voice once uttered, soon passeth away, yet the letters once written, last long, both to be read and spoken :-- it is very profitable to have a fair and correct copy, in which to write well, so as to give delight whensoever often read. Wherefore one who loved it well

saith to the copiers, -write correctly and distinctly, and with much observance. Not too fast, lest ye leave any part imperfect. For he does his business well who neglects nothing that his state or rule enjoins.

2. Trouble not yourself in thy labour through weariness, for God is the object of all thy good work, who will render to each one his proper reward in heaven, according to his pious intention. For when thou art dead, thou wilt not be without hope, for they will pray for thee who read thy volumes that were written of old so well by thee. The Lord saith in the Gospel: “ That whosoever shall give a cup of cold water only to him that is thirsty, shall not lose his reward.” (St. Matt. x, 42.) Much more shall he who giveth living waters of salutary wisdom to him that readeth, written in the book by the finger of God, not lose his reward in heaven.


1. “ Tollite librum istum, et ponite eum in latere arcæ fæderis, in testimonium Domini Dei vestri, ut sit ibi (in bona custodia, et magna reverentia), coram te sacerdotibus et omni populo." (Deut. xxxi. 31, 26.)

“ Take this book, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God; that it may be there for a testimony against thee.”

These, and many such commands, did Moses the servant of the Lord speak before his death, commanding the Levites to keep the book of the law, in the golden ark of God, laid up diligently. Wherefore, with mighty care and secure closing, must the library of sacred writings be preserved from all filthiness of dust, from burning of fire, and all damp or moisture, from the clutches of the thief, from all noise and clamour, from the clay off the feet, and from worm-eating, and from all stain, or tearing of the leaves. For he is not worthy to read out of the sacred volume who knows not how to keep it well, or who neglects to lay it up in a safe place.

2. So take the book in thy hands to read, as the just Simeon took the infant Jesus in his arms to carry and to kiss. And when thou hast read, close the book, and give thanks for every word that proceedeth out of th uth of God, because thou hast found a hidden treasure in the Lord's field; wherefore the treasure of the Church is to he kept from all filth, a treasure laboured and built up by holy doctors, written

and collected by good writers (transcribers), and provided by God for the consolation of the many.



1. “Gloriosa dicta sunt de te civitas Dei.” (Ps. lxxxvi. 3.)

“Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God.” For, a well founded cloister, apart from the tumult of the world, adorned with many devout brethren and sacred books, is pleasing both to God and

Yea, it is piously believed that this is pleasing to all that love God, and gladly hear of divine things; for a cloister is the castle of the most high King, and the palace of the heavenly Sovereign, prepared for religious persons to dwell in, and to serve God faithfully.

Truly, this place is holy, acceptable unto God and his angels; terrible to evil spirits; beloved by the devout, and by those that pray unto God, much desired, delightful, sweet, and honourable. For this is none other, as we read and sing, than God's house of prayer, God's hall of praise; God's choir for song, God's altar of celebration; the gate of God that entereth into heaven, the ladder of God for ascending unto the clouds; the court of Gon for burying the dead; God's hospital for receiving pilgrims; God's refectory for refreshing the poor; and the table of God for giving communion to the sick.

2. As the Angels of God ever praise God in heaven, and the stars in the firmament of heaven shine forth his praise in their brightness ; so do the religious and devout monks, rising up in the night to sing hymns and psalms in choir, offer up the sacrifice of praise unto God, and give joy unto the angels they put the evil spirits to flight, and by their voices, like the clapping of wings, they arouse themselves lest they sleep

As a noble city is girt about by walls and gates, and bars ; so is a monastery of religious with many devout brethren, and holy books, and learned men ; as if adorned with gems and precious stones, to the praise of God, and the honour of all his saints, who rejoice with Him now in Heaven, because they erst followed the footsteps of His Passion on earth.

CHAP. VII.- OF THE UNLEARNED CLERK, WITHOUT BOOKS. 1. “ Servus tuus sum ego, da mihi intellectum Domine." (P3. cxviii. 125.)

« PredošláPokračovať »