Quotations by Thomas a Kempis


All men desire peace, but few desire the things that make for peace.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jul-10
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A wise lover regards not so much the gift of him who loves, as the love of him who gives. He esteems affection rather than valuables, and sets all gifts below the Beloved.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418)

(Jesus' message to him.)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jul-10
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Do not consider yourself to have made any spiritual progress unless you account yourself the least of all men.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, 2.2 [tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]
Added on 30-Dec-10 | Last updated 30-Dec-10
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It is good, too, that we sometimes suffer opposition, and that men think ill of us and misjudge us, even when we do and mean well. Such things are an aid to humility, and preserve us from pride and vainglory. For we more readily turn to God as our inward witness, when men despise us and think no good of us.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1 “On The Uses of Adversity” (c. 1420)
Added on 1-Jul-13 | Last updated 1-Jul-13
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God has … ordered things that we may learn to bear one another’s burdens; for there is no man without his faults, none without his burden. None is sufficient in himself; none is wise in himself; therefore, we must support one another, comfort, help, teach, and advise one another.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 16 (c. 1418) [tr. L. Sherley-Price (1952)]
    (Source)

Alt trans.: "But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise ...."
Added on 1-May-09 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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Times of trouble best discover the true worth of a man.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 16 (c. 1418) [tr. L. Sherley-Price (1952)]
    (Source)

Alt trans.: "The measure of every man's virtue is best revealed in time of adversity -- adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is."
Added on 5-Jun-09 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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Bear with the faults and frailties of others, for you, too, have many faults which others have to bear. If you cannot mold yourself as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking? For we require other people to be perfect, but do not correct our own faults.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 16 (c. 1418) [tr. L. Sherley-Price (1952)]
    (Source)

Alt trans.: "Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure. If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves. Their great liberty displeases us, yet we would not be denied what we ask. We would have them bound by laws, yet we will allow ourselves to be restrained in nothing."

Alt trans.: "Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be."
Added on 2-Jun-10 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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Man proposes, but God disposes.

[Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit.]

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 19 (c. 1418)
Added on 26-Aug-10 | Last updated 26-Aug-10
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Indeed a wise and good man will turn examples of all sorts, to his own advantage. The good he will make his patterns, and strive to equal or excel them. The bad he will by all means avoid.

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 25 [tr. Stanhope]
Added on 14-Sep-16 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how holy we have lived.

[Certe adveniente die judicii, non quæretur a nobis quid legimus, sed quid fecimus; nec quam bene diximus, sed quam religiose viximus.]

Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German monk, author
The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, ch. 3 (c. 1418)

Alt trans.: "At the Day of Judgement, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how eloquently we have spoken, but how holily we have lived."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Sep-16
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