The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29
Stanhope's Thomas A'Kempis
Stanhope's Thomas A'Kempis.
This is truly a great and good book, redolent of piety and learning:—
The proud in spirit is like a troubled sea, perpetually tossed and driven by the fierce commotions of anger, emulation, envy and disdain, which never suffers him to be easy and composed.
Adversity does not make virtue or vice, but exert and draw them into practice; it does not change the man from what he is, but only discover what he really is.
Our sensual affections invite and entice us, but when the moment of gratifying that inclination is once over, what have you got by the bargain, but serious remorse, and an unsettled temper of mind? He that goes out full of satisfaction, often returns as full of melancholy and disgust; and many a merry evening occasions a sad morning. Thus all the pleasures of sense caress and court us at the first meeting, but at their parting leave a sting behind, and gall our hearts with sharp and killing pains.
When a man's mind is inflamed with a truly religious zeal, this world appears not only flat and insipid, but very bitter and loathsome to him.
The more a man desires and labours to be like God, the less agreeable relish he hath of life; because he is so much more sensible, more thoroughly convinced of the frailty and corruption of human nature.
He who is proof against the fear page 10 of God cannot persevere in anything that is good; as having no manner of principle that can save him, no curb upon his mind that can awe, or hold him in, from running headlong into the snares of the devil. Was the Son of God a scorn of men, and an outcast of the people? Was the King of Heaven reduced to wants and necessities upon earth, and had not so much as where to lay his head?
Hell dwells in that man's breast, who hath a guilty and polluted conscience.
Censoriousness and Christian piety can never dwell together.
The mind, which does not converse with itself, is an idle wanderer, and all the learning in the world is fruitless and misemployed, whilst in the midst of his boasted knowledge, a man continues in profound ignorance of that, which in point both of duty and advantage, he is most concerned to know.
The greatness of men's deserts is most eminently discovered, by a modest and mean opinion of themselves, courtesy and condescension to others, gratitude and devotion towards God.
After all the complaints of outward accidents, the true original ground of all disquiet is within; for inordinate affections, and vain fears, are the polluted fountain whence those bitter streams of discontent, and perplexed thoughts, and every confusion and disorder of a troubled mind, flow.
Despise the insinuations of flatterers, and meekly receive the contradiction and reproaches of gainsayers and slanderers.
Too many instances there are of daring men, who, by presuming to sound the deep things of religion, have cavilled and argued themselves out of all religion.
Faith and charity are the two pillars upon which Christianity stands; the two governing principles of a good man's opinions and actions. If the works of God were such, as human reason could penetrate with ease, they would lose great part of their glory. We should abate of our awe and veneration for their author, if his dealings were not above the power of our tongues to express, and the utmost extent of our imaginations to conceive.
Thomas A'Kempis' Imitation of Christ will shine forth, while sun and moon endure! It is too grand for the colonial mind to relish.