Sunday, September 10, 2006

"We often judge of a thing according as we have it at heart; for we easily lose true judgment through private affection.
If God were always the one aim of our desire, we should not so easily be disturbed at resistance to our opinions.
But there is often something lying hid within, or occurring from without, which draws us also along with it.
Many secretly seek themselves in what they do, and know it not.
They seem also to continue in good peace; when aught is done according to their will and judgment; but if it be done otherwise than they wish, they are soon moved and become sad."
Thomas A Kempis.

I like this quote, and the way I take it is, that our way of thinking, "have it at heart", and our emotional reaction to things, "private affection", are the things lying hidden within and are the filter we interpret circumstances with and then allow to draw us along into narrow or self centered thinking.

Hold to the hollow

I was re-reading Thomas A Kempis this morning and it was coming alive for me.
One sentence that struck me was---

"No man is led willingly further than he himself sees."

I think that is so true whether for the Christian or the unbeliever. We love to be taught truths, doctrines, that we have some concept of already, even if ever so vague; but when we are presented with an idea that is outside of our experience or sight, we often dig our heels in and cling to the familiar, even if it is a hollow concept.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Small miseries, like small debts, hit us in so many places, and meet us at so many turns and corners, that what they lack in weight, they make up in number, and render it less hazardous to stand in the fire of one cannon ball, than a volley composed of such a shower of bullets – Colton.
If all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy would prefer the share they are already possessed of before that which would fall to them by such a division. – Socrates.

These kind of thoughts are of great comfort to me when I'm whining about some trifle that has me up nights or biting my nails.
None has more frequent conversations with disagreeable self than the man of pleasure; his enthusiasms are but few and transient; his appetites, like angry creditors, are continually making fruitless demands for what he is unable to pay; And the greater his former pleasures, the more strong his regret, the more impatient his expectations. A life of pleasure is, therefore, the most unpleasing life. –Goldsmith
Worldly riches are like nuts; many clothes are torn in getting them, many a tooth broke in cracking them, but never a belly filled with eating them. – Venning

The misanthrope

The misanthrope is a man who avoids society, only to free himself from the trouble of being useful to it; who considers his neighbors only on the side of their defects, not knowing the art of combining their virtues with their vices, and of rendering the imperfections of other people tolerable by reflecting on his own.
He is more employed in finding out and punishing the guilty, than in devising means to reform them; and because he thinks his talents are not sufficiently valued and employed by his fellow citizens, or rather because they know his foibles and do not choose to be subject to his caprices, he talks of quitting cities, towns, and societies, and living in dens or deserts. – Saurin.

The part of this quote that struck me is "not knowing the art of combining their virtues with their vices". We are long on this with those we love, often overlooking vices entirely, but to the casual acquaintancee, we are often too short. Giving them up with the appearance of one or two vices.
He that has no resources of mind, is more to be pitied than he who is in want of necessaries for the body; to be obliged to beg our daily happiness from others, bespeaks a more lamentable poverty than that of him, who begs his daily bread.

Now think about that.....