Thomas á Kempis: Knowledge and the Christian

Thomas á Kempis (1380-1471) in his book, The Imitation of Christ, makes the humbling observation that “everyone has a natural desire for knowledge, but what good is knowledge without the fear of God?” There are a few points, expounded by Saint Thomas, that could help with the issue of knowledge and the Christian:

  1. Have a humble opinion of one’s self.
  2. Curb all undue desire for knowledge.
  3. The more things you know and the better you know them, the more severe your judgement will be.
  4. If it seems that you know many things and understand them all, realize that there are countless other things on which you are ignorant.
  5. Know and despise ourselves.
  6. More union with God entails understanding in sublime things about God.
  7. All perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it.
  8. Be diligent in uprooting vices and planting virtues.
  9. Be abundant in charity and consider “the greatness of honors a mere nothing.”
  10. Do not be hasty in our actions or stubbornly maintain our private opinions.
  11. With Scripture, although we want to debate and discuss, simply read on.
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