Thoughts from Thomas A’ Kempis — “Humble with Knowledge”
March 6, 2009
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I’m reading the nearly six hundred year-old (1441) Christian classic The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A’ Kempis, a Dutch monk. I thought I’d share some of his thoughts occasionally. Enjoy, in the best sense of that word!
“Calm that excessive thirst for knowledge, for there is great discord and deception in it. People who have great learning are often eager to appear wise, and they often wish others to recognize them as wise people. There are many things that you can know about, though, that are of little or no use to the soul, and a person is exceedingly foolish who reaches for anything that does not lead toward salvation…
“So do not think highly of yourself because of what you know about any art or science, but rather respect the knowledge that has been entrusted to you. If it seems to you that you know many things and that you are an expert in them, recognize nevertheless that there are many things that you do not know…
“If you want to learn something that will really help you, learn to see yourself as God sees you and not as you see yourself in the distorted mirror of your own self-importance.”
The Imitation of Christ, A Timeless Classic for Contemporary Readers, translated by William C. Creasy, pp. 31-32