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The Imitation of Christ - Thomas A Kempis

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THE IMITATION OF CHRIST

by Thomas a Kempis

Translated by Rev. William Benham

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

The treatise "Of the Imitation of Christ" appears to have been
originally written in Latin early in the fifteenth century.  Its
exact date and its authorship are still a matter of debate.
Manuscripts of the Latin version survive in considerable numbers
all over Western Europe, and they, with the vast list of
translations and of printed editions, testify to its almost
unparalleled popularity.  One scribe attributes it to St. Bernard
of Clairvaux; but the fact that is contains a quotation from St.
Francis of Assisi, who was born thirty years after the death of
St. Bernard, disposes of this theory.  In England there exist
many manuscripts of the first three books, called "Musica
Ecclesiastica," frequently ascribed to the English mystic Walter
Hilton.  But Hilton seems to have died in 1395, and there is no
evidence of the existence of the work before 1400.  Many
manuscripts scattered throughout Europe ascribe the book to Jean
le Charlier de Gerson, the great Chancellor of the University of
Paris, who was a leading figure in the Church in the earlier
part of the fifteenth century.  The most probable author,
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