Kempis, Thomas à (13801471)

Kempis, Thomas à, born at Kempen, near Düsseldorf, son of a poor but honest and industrious craftsman named Hämerkin; joined, while yet a youth, the “Brotherhood of Common Life” at Deventer, in Holland, and at 20 entered the monastery of St. Agnes, near Zwolle, in Oberyssel, where he chiefly resided for 70 long years, and of which he became sub-prior, where he spent his time in acts of devotion and copying MSS., that of the Bible, among others, in the Vulgate version of it, as well as in the production of works of his own, and in chief the “Imitation of Christ,” a work that in the regard of many ranks second to the Bible, and is thought likely to survive in the literature of the world as long as the Bible itself; it has been translated into all languages within, as well as others outside, the pale of Christendom, and as many as six thousand editions, it is reckoned, have issued from the press; it is five centuries and a half since it was first given to the world, and it has ever since continued to be a light in it to thousands in the way of a holy and divine life; it draws its inspiration direct from the fountain-head of Holy Scripture, and is breathing full of the same spirit that inspires the sacred book (13801471).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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