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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

That a Man Should Not be Too Much Dejected

By Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)

Even When he Falleth into Some Defects

From the ‘Imitation of Christ

MY son, patience and humility in adversities are more pleasing to Me, than much comfort and devotion when things go well.

Why art thou so grieved for every little matter spoken against thee?

Although it had been much more, thou oughtest not to have been moved.

But now let it pass: it is not the first that hath happened, nor is it anything new; neither shall it be the last, if thou live long.

Thou art courageous enough, so long as nothing adverse befalleth thee.

Thou canst give good counsel also, and canst strengthen others with thy words; but when any tribulation suddenly comes to thy door, thou failest in counsel and in strength.

Observe then thy great frailty, of which thou too often hast experience in small occurrences.

It is notwithstanding intended for thy good, when these and such-like trials happen to thee.

Put it out of thy heart the best thou canst; and if tribulation have touched thee, yet let it not cast thee down nor long perplex thee.

Bear it at least patiently, if thou canst not joyfully.

Although thou be unwilling to hear it, and conceivest indignation thereat, yet restrain thyself, and suffer no inordinate word to pass out of thy mouth, whereby [Christ’s] little ones may be offended.

The storm which is now raised shall quickly be appeased, and inward grief shall be sweetened by the return of grace.

Be more patient of soul, and gird thyself to greater endurance.

All is not lost, although thou do feel thyself very often afflicted or grievously tempted.

Thou art a man, and not God; thou art flesh, not an angel.

How canst thou look to continue alway in the same state of virtue, when an angel in heaven hath fallen, as also the first man in Paradise?