The Imitation of Christ

15th century Christian devotional text
from archive.org

The Imitation of Christ (Latin: De Imitatione Christi) by Thomas à Kempis is a Christian devotional book. It was first composed in Latin ca. 1418–1427. It is a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, of which Kempis was a member.

The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read Christian devotional work next to the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic. Its popularity was immediate, and it was printed 745 times before 1650. Apart from the Bible, no book had been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ at the time.

The text is divided into four books, which provide detailed spiritual instructions: "Helpful Counsels of the Spiritual Life", "Directives for the Interior Life", "On Interior Consolation" and "On the Blessed Sacrament".

The approach taken in the Imitation is characterized by its emphasis on the interior life and withdrawal from the world, as opposed to an active imitation of Christ by other friars. The book places a high level of emphasis on the devotion to the Eucharist as key element of spiritual life.

This work is authored by Thomas a Kempis, translated by Rev. William Benham and read by David Barnes. The audiobook can be freely downloaded from PrayOften.net. This arrangement has been edited to include relevant metadata for convenience of use with various mp3 software. The files have also have been retracked to form a one-to-one correspondence with the chapters read.

  1. Of the Imitation of Christ, and of Contempt of the World and all its Vanities (3.2Mb)
  2. Of Thinking Humbly of Oneself (2.9Mb)
  3. Of the knowledge of truth (5.3Mb)
  4. Of Prudence in Action (1.3Mb)
  5. Of the Reading of Holy Scriptures (1.5Mb)
  6. Of Inordinate Affections (1.5Mb)
  7. Of fleeing from vain hope and pride (2.1Mb)
  8. Of the Danger of Too Much Familiarity (1.3Mb)
  9. Of Obedience and Subjection (1.9Mb)
  10. Of the Danger of Superfluity of Words (1.8Mb)
  11. Of Seeking Peace of Mind and of Spiritual Progress (4.1Mb)
  12. Of the Uses of Adversity (1.6Mb)
  13. Of Resisting Temptation (6Mb)
  14. On Avoiding Rash Judgment (2Mb)
  15. On Works of Charity (2Mb)
  16. On Bearing With the Faults of Others (2.8Mb)
  17. Of a Religious Life (1.7Mb)
  18. Of the Example of the Holy Fathers (4.6Mb)
  19. Of the Exercises of a Religious Man (6Mb)
  20. Of the Love of Solitude and Silence (7Mb)
  21. Of Compunction of Heart (4.4Mb)
  22. On the Contemplation of Human Misery (6.1Mb)
  23. Of Meditation Upon Death (7.3Mb)
  24. Of the Judgement and Punishment of the Wicked (7.2Mb)
  25. Of the Zealous Amendment of Our Whole Life (8.8Mb)
  26. Of the Inward Life (7.1Mb)
  27. Of Lowly Submission (2Mb)
  28. Of the Good, Peaceable Man (3Mb)
  29. Of a Pure Mind and Simple Intention (2.3Mb)
  30. Of Self-Esteem (2.8Mb)
  31. Of the Joy of a Good Conscience (3.8Mb)
  32. Of Loving Jesus Above All Things (2.7Mb)
  33. Of the Intimate Love of Jesus (4.9Mb)
  34. Of the Lack of All Comfort (7.2Mb)
  35. Of Gratitude for the Grace of God (5.1Mb)
  36. Of the Fewness of Those Who Love the Cross of Jesus (4.1Mb)
  37. Of the Royal Way of the Holy Cross (13.6Mb)
  38. Of the inward voice of Christ to the faithful soul (2.2Mb)
  39. What the truth saith inwardly without noise of words (3.1Mb)
  40. How all the words of God are to be heard with humility, and how many consider them not (5.8Mb)
  41. How we must walk in truth and humility before God (4Mb)
  42. Of the wonderful power of the Divine Love (7Mb)
  43. Of the proving of the true lover (5Mb)
  44. Of hiding our grace under the guard of humility (5.7Mb)
  45. Of a low estimation of self in the sight of God (2.8Mb)
  46. That all things are to be referred to God, as the final end (2.8Mb)
  47. That it is sweet to despise the world and to serve God (5.1Mb)
  48. That the desires of the heart are to be examined and governed (2.5Mb)
  49. Of the inward growth of patience, and of the struggle against evil desires (4Mb)
  50. Of the obedience of one in lowly subjection after the example of Jesus Christ (3.1Mb)
  51. Of meditation upon the hidden judgments of God, that we may not be lifted up because of our well-doing (3.4Mb)
  52. How we must stand and speak, in everything that we desire (3.8Mb)
  53. That true solace is to be sought in God alone (2.7Mb)
  54. That all care is to be cast upon God (2.2Mb)
  55. That temporal miseries are to be borne patiently after the example of Christ (3Mb)
  56. Of bearing injuries, and who shall be approved as truly patient (3.9Mb)
  57. Of confession of our infirmity and of the miseries of this life (4.4Mb)
  58. That we must rest in God above all goods and gifts (6.7Mb)
  59. Of the recollection of God's manifold benefits (4.8Mb)
  60. Of four things which bring great peace (5Mb)
  61. Of avoiding of curious inquiry into the life of another (2Mb)
  62. Wherein firm peace of heart and true profit consist (3.5Mb)
  63. Of the exaltation of a free spirit, which humble prayer more deserveth than doth frequent reading (3.1Mb)
  64. That personal love greatly hindereth from the highest good (4.2Mb)
  65. Against the tongues of detractors (1.3Mb)
  66. How when tribulation cometh we must call upon and bless God (2.2Mb)
  67. Of seeking divine help, and the confidence of obtaining grace (6Mb)
  68. Of the neglect of every creature, that the Creator may be found (4.5Mb)
  69. Of self-denial and the casting away all selfishness (3Mb)
  70. Of instability of the heart, and of directing the aim towards God (2.1Mb)
  71. That to him who loveth God is sweet above all things and in all things (3.9Mb)
  72. That there is no security against temptation in this life (3.3Mb)
  73. Against vain judgments of men (2.6Mb)
  74. Of pure and entire resignation of self, for the obtaining liberty of heart (3.2Mb)
  75. Of a good government in external things, and of having recourse to God in dangers (2.4Mb)
  76. That man must not be immersed in business (1.6Mb)
  77. That man hath no good in himself, and nothing whereof to glory (4.6Mb)
  78. Of contempt of all temporal honour (1.3Mb)
  79. That our peace is not to be placed in men (2.3Mb)
  80. Against vain and worldly knowledge (3.5Mb)
  81. Of not troubling ourselves about outward things (1.5Mb)
  82. That we must not believe everyone, and that we are prone to fall in our words (5.4Mb)
  83. Of having confidence in God when evil words are cast at us (4.9Mb)
  84. That all troubles are to be endured for the sake of eternal life (3.3Mb)
  85. Of the day of eternity and of the straitnesses of this life (6Mb)
  86. Of the desire after eternal life, and how great blessings are promised to those who strive (7.4Mb)
  87. How a desolate man ought to commit himself into the hands of God (7.1Mb)
  88. That we must give ourselves to humble works when we are unequal to those that are lofty (1.9Mb)
  89. That a man ought not to reckon himself worthy of consolation, but more worthy of chastisement (3.7Mb)
  90. That the Grace of God doth not join itself to those who mind earthly things (3.4Mb)
  91. Of the diverse motions of Nature and of Grace (7.9Mb)
  92. Of the corruption of Nature and the efficacy of Divine Grace (5.7Mb)
  93. That a man must not be too much cast down when he falleth into some faults (3.3Mb)
  94. Of deeper matters, and God's hidden judgments which are not to be inquired into (8.9Mb)
  95. That all hope and trust is to be fixed in God alone (4Mb)
  96. With how great reverence Christ must be received (11.8Mb)
  97. That the greatness and charity of God is shown to men in the Sacrament (6Mb)
  98. That it is profitable to Communicate often (4.9Mb)
  99. That many good gifts are bestowed upon those who Communicate devoutly (6.3Mb)
  100. An inquiry concerning preparation for Communion (1Mb)
  101. Of the examination of conscience, and purpose of amendment (4.9Mb)
  102. Of the oblation of Christ upon the cross, and of resignation of self (2.5Mb)
  103. That we ought to offer ourselves and all that is ours to God, and to pray for all (5Mb)
  104. That Holy Communion is not lightly to be omitted (6.5Mb)
  105. That the Body and Blood of Christ and the Holy Scriptures are most necessary to a faithful soul (7.3Mb)
  106. That he who is about to Communicate with Christ ought to prepare himself with great diligence (4.2Mb)
  107. That the devout soul ought with the whole heart to yearn after union with Christ in the Sacrament (3.6Mb)
  108. Of the fervent desire of certain devout persons to receive the Body and Blood of Christ (2.8Mb)
  109. That the grace of devotion is acquired by humility and self-denial (3.7Mb)
  110. That we ought to lay open our necessities to Christ and to require His Grace (2.5Mb)
  111. Of fervent love and vehement desire of receiving Christ (4.8Mb)
  112. That a man should not be a curious searcher of the Sacrament, but a humble imitator of Christ, submitting his sense to holy faith (4Mb)

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