Against vain and worldly learning



SON, be not moved with the fine and subtle sayings of men for the Kingdom of God is not in speech, but in power (1 Cor 4:20).

Attend to my words which inflame the heart and enlighten the mind, which excite to compunction and afford manifold consolations.

Never read anything that thou mayest appear more learned or more wise.

Study rather to mortify thy vices, for this will avail thee more than the being able to answer many hard questions thou must always return to one beginning.


When thou shalt have read, and shalt know many things, thou must always return to one beginning.

I am He that teaches men knowledge, and I give a clearer understanding to little ones than can be taught by man. (Ps 93:10)

He to whom I speak will quickly be wise, and will make great progress in spirit.

Woe to them that inquire of men after many curious things, and are little curious of the way to serve Me.

The time will come when Christ, the Master of masters, the Lord of Angels, shall appear to hear the lessons of all men, that is, to examine the consciences of everyone.

And then He will search Jerusalem with candles (Soph 1:12), and the arguments of tongues shall be brought to light (1 Cor 4:5), and the arguments of tongues shall be silent.


I am He that in an instant elevates a humble mind to comprehend more reasons of the eternal truth than could be acquired by ten years’ study in the schools. I teach without noise of words, without confusion of opinions, without ambition of honour, without contention of arguments.

I teach to despise earthly things, to loathe things present to seek and relish things eternal, to fly honours, to endure scandals, to repose all hope in Me, to desire nothing out of Me, and above all things, ardently to love Me.


For a certain person, by loving Me entirely, learned divine things and spoke wonders.

He profited more by forsaking all things than by studying subtleties.

But to some I speak things common, to others things more particular; to some I sweetly appear in signs and figures, to others in great light I reveal mysteries.

The voice of the books is the same, but it teacheth not all men alike; because I within am the teacher of truth, the searcher of hearts, the understander of thoughts, the promoter of actions distributing to everyone as I judge fitting (1 Cor 12:1).

Imitation of Christ, book 3, chapter 43 — translation of Bishop Richard Challoner