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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From ‘The Christian’s Manual’
By Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1467–1536)
 
‘Enchiridion Militis Christiani’

EVERY tree is known by its own fruit. Although you watch, fast, attend Divine service, sing, or observe strict silence and the like ordinances, I value them not; nor shall I believe that you are in the Spirit except I behold in you the fruits of the Spirit.  1
 
  The generality of mankind place religion in ceremonies or creeds; a certain appointment of psalms, or in bodily exercises. If you examine them about spiritual matters, you will find them merely carnal.  2
 
  God despised the burnt-offerings, new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, and the appointed feasts of his people, while they were evil-doers, although he himself had commanded them; and will any man dare to compare his own paltry institutions with the Divine precepts? You may read in Isaiah what contempt and loathing he expresses concerning them. When he speaks of rites, ceremonies, and the multitude of prayers, does he not, as it were, point at those men who measure religion by psalms, prayers, creeds, or other human institutions?  3
 
  Christ is nothing else than love, simplicity, patience, purity,—in short, all that he himself is; and the Devil is nothing but that which draws us away from these ideals.  4
 
  NOTE.—See Crowther’s translation of the ‘Enchiridion’ under the title of ‘The Christian’s Manual,’ London, 1816, Rule v. and elsewhere; also the excellent book of Kuno Francke, ‘Social Forces in German Literature,’ page 145; also Seebohm, ‘The Oxford Reformers,’ pages 175 et seq.  5
 
 
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