The Imitation of Christ

by Thomas a Kempis

Translated by Rev. William Benham



Table of Contents



Chapter I - Of the imitation of Christ, and of contempt of the world and all its vanities
Chapter II - Of thinking humbly of oneself
Chapter III - Of the knowledge of truth
Chapter IV - Of prudence in action
Chapter V - Of the reading of Holy Scriptures
Chapter VI - Of inordinate affections
Chapter VII - Of fleeing from vain hope and pride
Chapter VIII - Of the danger of too much familiarity
Chapter IX - Of obedience and subjection
Chapter X - Of the danger of superfluity of words
Chapter XI - Of seeking peace of mind and of spiritual progress
Chapter XII - Of the uses of adversity
Chapter XIII - Of resisting temptation
Chapter XIV - On avoiding rash judgement
Chapter XV - Of works of charity
Chapter XVI - Of bearing with the faults of others
Chapter XVII - Of a religious life
Chapter XVIII - Of the example of the Holy Fathers
Chapter XIX - Of the exercises of a religious man
Chapter XX - Of the love of solitude and silence
Chapter XXI - Of compunction of heart
Chapter XXII - On the contemplation of human misery
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV - Of the judgment and punishment of the wicked
Chapter XXV - Of the zealous amendment of our whole life


Chapter I - Of the inner life
Chapter II - Of lowly submission
Chapter III - Of the good, peaceable man
Chapter IV - Of a pure mind and simple intention
Chapter V - Of self-esteem
Chapter VI - Of the joy of a good conscience
Chapter VII - Of loving Jesus above all things
Chapter VIII - Of the intimate love of Jesus
Chapter IX - Of the lack of all comfort
Chapter X - Of gratitude for the Grace of God
Chapter XI - Of the fewness of those who love the Cross of Jesus
Chapter XII - Of the royal way of the Holy Cross


Chapter I - Of the inward voice of Christ to the faithful soul
Chapter II - What the truth saith inwardly without noise of words
Chapter III - How all the words of God are to be heard with humility, and how many consider them not
Chapter IV - How we must walk in truth and humility before God
Chapter V - Of the wonderful power of the Divine Love
Chapter VI - Of the proving of the true lover
Chapter VII - Of hiding our grace under the guard of humility
Chapter VIII - Of a low estimation of self in the sight of God
Chapter IX - That all things are to be referred to God, as the final end
Chapter X - That is it sweet to despise the world and to serve God
Chapter XI - That the desires of the heart are to be examined and governed
Chapter XII - Of the inward growth of patience, and of the struggle against evil desires
Chapter XIII - Of the obedience of one in lowly subjection after the example of Jesus Christ
Chapter XIV - Of meditation upon the hidden judgments of God, that we may not be lifted up because of our well-doing
Chapter XV - How we must stand and speak, in everything that we desire
Chapter XVI - That true solace is to be sought in God alone
Chapter XVII - That all care is to be cast upon God
Chapter XVIII - That temporal miseries are to be borne patiently after the example of Christ
Chapter XIX - Of bearing injuries, and who shall be approved as truly patient
Chapter XX - Of confession of our infirmity and of the miseries of this life
Chapter XXI - That we must rest in God above all goods and gifts
Chapter XXII - Of the recollection of God's manifold benefits
Chapter XXIII - Of four things which bring great peace
Chapter XXIV - Of avoiding of curious inquiry into the life of another
Chapter XXV - Wherein firm peace of heart and true profit consist
Chapter XXVI - Of the exaltation of a free spirit, which humble prayer more deserveth than doth frequent reading
Chapter XXVII - That personal love greatly hindereth from the highest good
Chapter XXVIII - Against the tongues of detractors
Chapter XXIX - How when tribulation cometh we must call upon and bless God
Chapter XXX - Of seeking diving help and the confidence of obtaining grace
Chapter XXXI - Of the neglect of every creature, that the Creator may be found
Chapter XXXII - Of self-denial and the casting away of all selfishness
Chapter XXXIII - Of instability of heart, and of directing the aim towards God
Chapter XXXIV - That to him who loveth God is sweet above all things and in all things
Chapter XXXV - That there is no security against temptation in this life
Chapter XXXVI - Against vain judgments of men
Chapter XXXVII - Of pure and entire resignation of self, for obtaining liberty of heart
Chapter XXXVIII - Of a good government in external things, and of having recourse to God in dangers
Chapter XXXIX - That man must not be immersed in business
Chapter XL - That man hath no good in himself, and nothing whereof to glory
Chapter XLI - Of contempt of all temporal honour
Chapter XLII - That our peace is not to be placed in men
Chapter XLIII - Against vain and worldly knowledge
Chapter XLIV - Of not troubling ourselves about outward things
Chapter XLV - That we must not believe everyone, and that we are prone to fall in our words
Chapter XLVI - Of having confidence in God when evil words are cast at us
Chapter XLVII - That all troubles are to be endured for the sake of eternal life
Chapter XLVIII - Of the day of eternity and of the straitness of this life
Chapter XLIX - Of the desire after eternal life, and how great blessings are promised to those who strive
Chapter L - How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God
Chapter LI - That we must give ourselves to humble works when we are unequal to those that are lofty
Chapter LII - That a man ought not to reckon himself worthy of consolation, but more worthy of chastisement
Chapter LIII - That the Grace of God doth not join itself to those who mind earthly things
Chapter LIV - Of the diverse motions of Nature and of Grace
Chapter LV - Of the corruption of Nature and the efficacy of Divine Grace
Chapter LVI - That we ought to deny ourselves, and to imitate Christ by means of the Cross
Chapter LVII - That a man must not be too much cast down when he falleth into some faults
Chapter LVIII - Of deeper matters, and God's hidden judgments which are not to be inquired into
Chapter LIX - That all hope and trust is to be fixed in God alone


Chapter I - With how great reverence Christ must be received
Chapter II - That the greatness and charity of God is shown to men in the Sacrament
Chapter III - That it is profitable to Communicate often
Chapter IV - That many good gifts are bestowed upon those who Communicate devoutly
Chapter V - Of the dignity of this Sacrament, and of the office of the priest
Chapter VI - An inquiry concerning preparation for Communion
Chapter VII - Of the examination of conscience, and purpose of amendment
Chapter VIII - Of the oblation of Christ upon the cross, and of resignation of self
Chapter IX - That we ought to offer ourselves and all that is ours to God, and to pray for all
Chapter X - That Holy Communion is not lightly to be omitted
Chapter XI - That the Body and Blood of Christ and the Holy Scriptures are most necessary to a faithful soul
Chapter XII - That he who is about to Communicate with Christ ought to prepare himself with great diligence
Chapter XIII - That the devout soul ought with the whole heart to yearn after union with Christ in the Sacrament
Chapter XIV - Of the fervent desire of certain devout persons to receive the Body and Blood of Christ
Chapter XV - That the grace of devotion is acquired by humility and self-denial
Chapter XVI - That we ought to lay open our necessities to Christ and to require His Grace
Chapter XVII - Of fervent love and vehement desire of receiving Christ
Chapter XVIII - That a man should not be a curious searcher of the sacrament, but a humble imitator of Christ, submitting his sense to holy faith

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