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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Of the Wonderful Effect of Divine Love
By Thomas à Kempis (1380–1471)
 
From the ‘Imitation of Christ

I BLESS thee, heavenly Father, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, because thou hast vouchsafed to be mindful of so poor a wretch as I.  1
  O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, I give thanks to thee, who art sometimes pleased to refresh with thy consolation me who am unworthy of any consolation.  2
  I bless thee and glorify thee evermore, together with thy only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to all eternity.  3
  Come then, Lord God, holy one that lovest me! for when thou shalt come into my heart, all that is within me will leap with joy.  4
  Thou art my glory and the rejoicing of my heart.  5
  Thou art my hope and my refuge in the day of my tribulation.  6
  But because I am as yet weak in love and imperfect in virtue, therefore do I stand in need of being strengthened and comforted by thee. Wherefore visit me again and again; and instruct me by all holy discipline.  7
  Free me from evil passions and heal my heart of all inordinate affections; that being inwardly healed and thoroughly cleansed, I may become fit to love, strong to suffer, constant to persevere.  8
 
  LOVE is a great thing, a great good indeed, which alone makes light all that is burdensome, and bears with even mind all that is uneven.  9
  For it carries a burthen without being burthened; and it makes all that which is bitter sweet and savory.  10
  The love of Jesus is noble, and spurs us on to do great things, and excites us to desire always things more perfect.  11
  Love desires to have its abode above, and not to be kept back by things below.  12
  Love desires to be at liberty and estranged from all worldly affection, lest its inner view be hindered, lest it suffer itself to be entangled through some temporal interest, or give way through mishap….  13
  Nothing is sweeter than love; nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing broader, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven and in earth; for love is born of God, and can rest only in God above all things created.  14
  The lover flies, runs, and rejoices; he is free and not held.  15
  He gives all for all and has all in all, because he rests in One supreme above all, from whom all good flows and proceeds.  16
  He looks not at the gifts, but turns himself above all goods to the Giver.  17
  Love often knows no measure, but warmly glows above all measure.  18
  Love feels no burthen, regards not labors, would willingly do more than it is able, pleads not impossibility, because it feels sure that it can and may do all things.  19
  It is able therefore to do all things; and it makes good many deficiencies, and frees many things for being carried out, where he who loves not faints and lies down.  20
  Love watches, and sleeping, slumbers not; weary, is not tired; straitened, is not constrained; frightened, is not disturbed; but like a living flame and a burning torch, it bursts forth upwards and safely overpasses all.  21
  Whosoever loves knows the cry of this voice.  22
  A loud cry in the ears of God is that ardent affection of the soul which says, My God, my love, thou art all mine and I am all thine.  23
  Enlarge me in thy love, that I may learn to taste with the inner mouth of the heart how sweet it is to love, and to be dissolved and swim in a sea of love.  24
  Let me be possessed by love, going above myself through excess of fervor and awe.  25
  Let me sing the song of love; let me follow thee, my beloved, on high; let my soul lose herself in thy praises, exulting in love.  26
  Let me love thee more than myself, and myself only for thee, and all in thee who truly love thee, as the law of love which shines forth from thee commands….  27
  Love is swift, sincere, pious, pleasant, and delightful; strong, patient, faithful, prudent, long-suffering, manly, and never seeking itself; for where a man seeks himself, there he falls from love….  28
  Love is circumspect, humble, and upright; not soft, not light, not intent upon vain things; sober, chaste, steadfast, quiet, and guarded in all its senses.  29
  Love is submissive and obedient to superiors; mean and contemptible in its own eyes; devout and ever giving thanks to God; always trusting and hoping in him, even when it tastes not the relish of God’s sweetness,—for there is no living in love without pain.  30
  Whosoever is not ready to suffer all things, and to stand resigned to the will of the beloved, is not worthy to be called a lover.  31
  He who loves must willingly embrace all that is hard and bitter, for the sake of the beloved.  32
 
 
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