Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapter 7

Of the Love of Jesus above All Things

BLESSED is he who knows what it is to love Jesus and to despise himself for the sake of Jesus.

We must quit what we love for this Beloved, because Jesus will be loved alone above all things. The love of things created is deceitful and inconstant.

The love of Jesus is faithful and enduring. He that cleaves to creatures shall fall with them. He that embraces Jesus shall stand firm forever. Love Him and keep Him for your friend, who, when all go away, will not leave you nor suffer you to perish in the end. You must at last be separated from all other things, whether you will or not.

2. Keep yourself with Jesus both in life and death and commit yourself to His care, who alone can help you when all others fail. Your Beloved is of such a nature that He will admit of no other, but will have your heart to Himself, and sit there like a king upon his own throne.

If you could but purge yourself well from affection to creatures, Jesus would willingly dwell with you. You will find all that in a manner lost, which you have placed in men out of Jesus.

Do not trust or rely upon a frail reed; “for all flesh is grass and all the glory thereof shall face as the flower of the field.”

3. You will soon be deceived if you only regard the outward show of men. For if you seek your comfort and your gain in others, you will often meet with loss. If in all things you seek Jesus, doubtless you will find Jesus. But if you seek yourself you will indeed find yourself, to your own ruin.

For a man does himself more harm if he seeks not Jesus, than the whole world and all his enemies could do him.

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