BY THOMAS A KEMPIS
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1941
CHAPTER 6: OF THE JOY OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE
THE good man's glory is the testimony of a good conscience.
Have a good conscience, and thou shalt always have joy.
A good conscience can bear very much, and is very joyful in the midst of adversity.
An evil conscience is always fearful and unquiet; sweetly shalt thou rest, if thy heart upbraid thee not.
Never rejoice except when thou hast done well.
The wicked never have true joy, nor feel interior peace; for "there is no peace to the wicked," saith the Lord.
And if they say: We are in peace, and there shall no evil come upon us, and who is there who shall dare to harm us?
Believe them not; for suddenly the anger of God shall arise, and bring their deeds to nought, and their thoughts shall perish.
2. To glory in tribulation is not hard to him that loves; for so to glory is to glory in the Cross of the Lord.
Short-lived is the glory that is given and received my men.
Sadness ever accompanieth the glory of this world.
The glory of the good is in their own consciences, ana not in the mouth of men.
The joy of the just is from God and in God, and their rejoicing is in the truth.
He that longeth after true and everlasting glory careth not for the temporal.
And he that seeketh temporal glory, or doth not from his soul despise it, shows himself to have little love for that which is heavenly.
Great tranquillity of heart hath he who careth neither for praise nor blame.
3. Easily will he be content and at peace whose conscience is undefiled.
Thou art not more holy for being praised, nor the worse for being
What thou art, that thou art; nor canst thou be said to be greater than God seeth thee to be.
If thou attend diligently to what thou art interiorly, thou wilt not regard what men say of thee.
Man looketh on the face, but God seeth into the heart.
Man considereth the actions, bat God weigheth the intentions.
Always to do well, and to esteem one's self of small account, is the mark of a humble soul.
To refuse consolation from any creature is the sign of great purity and of an interior confidence.
4. He that seeketh no outward testimony for himself, showeth plainly that he hath wholly committed himself to God.
"For not he that commendeth himself," saith blessed Paul, "is approved, but he whom God commendeth."
To walk with God within, and to be bound by no affection from without, is the state of the man of interior life.
THE peace of a good conscience does not always exclude those troubles which are occasioned by temptations and interior trials; but in all the storms which arise, it keeps the heart submissive and faithful to God; submissive in suffering pain, and faithful in not yielding under it, but in resisting, in fighting, and in neglecting nothing on account of it. Thus it is that a suffering and submissive soul is, according to the royal Prophet, an acceptable sacrifice to God, Who never rejects a contrite and humble heart-----humble from the experience of its own miseries, and contrite for having given cause to God to oblige it to experience them. Let us, therefore, form a strong and constant resolution not to suffer ourselves to be discouraged, either by our falls or by our trials, or by the experience of our miseries; but to humble ourselves before God, at the sight of our wretchedness; to crave pardon for the faults we have committed through not resisting, as we ought to have done, the enemy of our salvation; to punish ourselves immediately for them by some act of mortification; and, after that, to remain in peace; for a good conscience is that which is either exempt from sin by fidelity, or cleansed from it by repentance.
THOU knowest, O Lord, to how many sinful allurements, interior trials, and dangers we are exposed, both from natural and violent inclinations to evil; our unceasing repugnance to good, and the assaults of temptation. How shall we be able to resist so many and such powerful enemies, bent as they are upon our destruction, if Thou in Thy bounty assist us not? It is to Thee we raise up our hearts and our minds, it is to Thee we look for succor to keep us from yielding to temptation, to deliver us from the greatest of all evils, sin, and to preserve us from perishing everlastingly. Amen.