Thomas à Kempis (c.1380 – 1471) was a late Medieval Catholic monk and author of Imitation of Christ, one of the best known Christian books on devotion.
Imitation of Christ is a writing of the mysticist German-Dutch school of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and is widely considered one of the greatest manuals of devotion in Christianity. Protestants and Roman Catholics alike join in giving it praise. The Jesuits give it an official place among their “exercises”. John Wesley and John Newton listed it among the works that influenced them at their conversion. General Gordon carried it with him to the battlefield.
The work is a manual of devotion intended to assist the soul with its pursuit of holiness and communion with God. Its sentences are statements, not arguments, and are pitched in the highest key of Christian experience. It was meant for monastics and ascetics. Behind and within all its reflections runs the counsel of self-renunciation.
The life of Christ is presented as the highest study possible to a mortal, as Jesus’ teachings far excel all the teachings of the saints. The book gives counsel to read the scriptures, statements about the uses of adversity, advice for submission to authority, warnings against temptation and how to resist it, reflections about death and the judgment, meditations upon the oblation of Christ, and admonitions to flee the vanities of the world.