Thomas à Kempis. (b. 1379 or 1380, d. 1471). The Imitation of Christ.
The Harvard Classics. 190914.
Book III: On Inward Consolation
XXXVI. Against Vain Judgments of Men
MY Son, anchor thy soul firmly upon God, and fear not mans judgment, when conscience pronounceth thee pious and innocent. It is good and blessed thus to suffer; nor will it be grievous to the heart which is humble, and which trusteth in God more than in itself. Many men have many opinions, and therefore little trust is to be placed in them. But moreover it is impossible to please all. Although Paul studied to please all men in the Lord, and to become all things to all men,1 yet nevertheless with him it was a very small thing that he should be judged by mans judgment.2
2. He laboured abundantly, as much as in him lay, for the building up and the salvation of others; but he could not avoid being sometimes judged and despised by others. Therefore he committed all to God, who knew all, and by patience and humility defended himself against evil speakers, or foolish and false thinkers, and those who accused him according to their pleasure. Nevertheless, from time to time he replied, lest his silence should become a stumbling-block to those who were weak.
3. Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die? To-day he is, and to-morrow his place is not found. Fear God and thou shalt not quail before the terrors of men. What can any man do against thee by words or deeds? He hurteth himself more than thee, nor shall he escape the judgment of God, whosoever he may be. Have thou God before thine eyes, and do not contend with fretful words. And if for the present thou seem to give way, and to suffer confusion which thou hast not deserved, be not angry at this, nor by impatience diminish thy reward; but rather look up to Me in heaven, for I am able to deliver thee from all confusion and hurt, and to render to every man according to his works.