The Following of Christ, Book I, Chapter I

cover of the ebook 'The Following of Christ'Of following Christ, and despising all the vanities of the world

1. He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, saith our Lord, John 8:12. These are the words of Christ, by which we are admonished that we must imitate his life and manners, if we would be truly enlightened, and delivered from all blindness of heart.

Let it then be our chief study to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ.

2. The doctrine of Christ surpasseth all the doctrines of the saints: and whosoever hath the Spirit, will find therein a hidden manna.

But it happeneth that many, by frequent hearing the gospel, are very little affected: because they have not the Spirit of Christ.

But he who would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ: must study to make his whole life conformable to that of Christ.

3. What doth it avail thee, to discourse profoundly of the Trinity: if thou be void of humility, and consequently displeasing to the Trinity?

In truth, sublime words make not a man holy and just: but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God.

I had rather feel compunction, than know its definition.

If thou didst know the whole bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers: what would it all profit thee, without the love of God and his grace?

Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity, besides loving God, and serving him alone.

This is the highest wisdom: by despising the world, to tend to heavenly kingdoms.

4. It is vanity therefore to seek after riches which must perish, and to trust in them.

It is vanity also to be ambitious of honours, and to raise one’s self to a high station.

It is vanity to follow the lusts of the flesh: and to desire that for which thou must afterwards be grievously punished.

It is vanity to wish for a long life: and to take little care of leading a good life.

It is vanity to mind only this present life, and not to look forward into those things which are to come.

It is vanity to love that which passeth with all speed: and not to hasten thither where everlasting joy remains.

5. Often remember that proverb: The eye in not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing. Ecclesiastes 1:8.

Study therefore to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things, and to turn thyself to things invisible; For they that follow their sensuality, defile their conscience, and lose the grace of God.