Front Page Titles (by Subject) Against elation otherwise called pride or swelling of the mind.: Against wrath and desire of vengeance.: Chap. xxxviii. - The Manual of a Christian Knight
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Against elation otherwise called pride or swelling of the mind.: Against wrath and desire of vengeance.: Chap. xxxviii. - Desiderius Erasmus, The Manual of a Christian Knight 
A Book Called in Latin Enchiridion Militis Christiani and in English The Manual of the Christian Knight, replenished with the most wholesome precepts made by the famous clerk Erasmus of Rotterdam, to which is added a new and marvellous profitable Preface (London: Methuen and Co., 1905).
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Against elation otherwise called pride or swelling of the mind.
Thou shalt not swell in thy mind if, (according to the common proverb used of every man) thou wouldest know thyself: Know thyself. that is whatsoever great thing, whatsoever goodly or beautiful thing, whatsoever excellent thing is in thee, thou account that to be the gift of God, and not thy good. On the other side, if whatsoever is low or vile, whatsoever is foul or filthy, whatsoever is shrewd or evil thou ascribe that altogether unto thine own self: if thou remember in how much filth thou were conceived, in how much born, how naked, how needy, how brutish, how wretched, how miserably thou creepest into this light. If thou remember into how many diseases or sickness on every side, unto how many chances, unto how many encumbrances, griefs, and troubles this wretched body is dangered. And again how little a thing were able shortly to consume and bring to naught this cruel and unruly giant, swelling with so mighty a spirit. Ponder also this Perceive whereof thou stoodest so greatly in thine own conceit., what manner thing that is whereof thou takest upon thee: if it be a mean or an indifferent thing, it is foolishness: if a filthy thing, it is madness: if an unhonest thing, it is unkindness. Remember also nothing to be a more sure document or proof of stark foolishness and lack of understanding, than if a man stand greatly in his own conceit. And again that no kind of folly is more uncurable, if thy mind begin to arise and wax great because a vile man submitteth himself to thee. Think how much greater and mightier God hangeth over thine head, which crusheth down every proud neck erect straight up, and bringeth every hill unto a plain, which spared not, no verily not so much as the angel when he was fallen into pride. And these things also shall be good though they seem somewhat as they were trifles, if thou wouldest compare thyself alway with excellent persons. Thou likest thyself because of a little beauty of thy body: compare thyself to them which in beauty be far before thee. A little cunning maketh thee to set up thy feathers, turn thine eyes unto them in comparison of whom thou mayst seem to have learned nothing at all. Moreover if thou wilt account not how much of good things thou hast, but how much thou lackest: And with Paul, forgetful of those things which be behind thee, wouldest stretch forth thyself to those things which remain afore thee. Furthermore that also shall not be an unwise thing, if when the wind of pride doth blow, by and by we turn our very evil things into a remedy, as it were expelling one poison with another. That thing shall this wise come to passConsider thine own vices and deformities, if when any great vice or deformity of body, when any notable damage either fortune hath given, or folly hath brought to us which might gnaw us vehemently by the stomach, we set that before our eyes, and by the example of the peacock we behold ourselves chiefly in that part of us in which we be most deformed, and so shall thy feathers fall forthwith and thy pride abate. Arrogancy, presumption or pertinacy, is a hated vice. Beyond all these (besides that none other vice is more hated unto God) remember also that arrogancy, pride, and presumption is notably hated and had in derision everywhere among men: when contrariwise lowliness and meekness, both purchaseth the favour of God, and knitteth on to the benevolence of man. Therefore to speak compendiously, two things chiefly shall refrain thee from pride, if thou consider what thou art in thyself, filthy in thy birth, a bubble (such as riseth in the water) throughout all thy life, worms’ meat in thy death, and what Christ was made for thee.
Against wrath and desire of vengeance.
When fervent sorrow of the mind stirreth thee up unto vengeance, remember wrath to be nothing less than that which it falsely counterfeiteth, that is to wit fortitude or manfulness: for nothing is so childish Wrath is a childish thing., so weak, nothing so feeble and of so vile a mind as to rejoice in vengeance. Thou wouldest be counted a man of great stomach, and therefore thou sufferest not injury to be unavenged: but in conclusion by this means thou utterest thy childishness, seeing thou canst not rule thine own mind, which is the very property and office of a man. How much manlier Regard little another man’s folly., how much excellenter it is to set another man’s folly at naught than to counterfeit it? But he hath hurt thee, he is proud and fierce, he scorneth thee. The filthier he is, so much the more beware lest thou be made like him. What the devil’s madness is it that thou to avenge another man’s lewdness wouldest be made the lewder thyself? If thou despise the rebuke, all men shall perceive that it was done to one unworthy thereof: but and if thou be moved, thou shalt make his quarrel which did the wrong much the better. Furthermore take the thing as it is, if any wrong be received, that is not eased one whit with vengeance but augmented. For in conclusion what end shall there be of injuries on both sides if every man go forth and proceed to revenge his own grief? Enemies increase on both parts, the sorrow waxeth fresh and raw again, and the longer it endureth the more uncurable it is: but with softness and with sufferance is healed now and then, yea even he which did the wrong, and after he is come to himself again, of an enemy is made a very trusty and faithful friend. But the very same hurt which by vengeance thou covetest to put from thee reboundeth back again upon thee, and not without increase of harm. And that also shall be a sovereign remedy against wrath if, according to the division of things above rehearsed, thou shouldest consider that one man cannot hurt another unless he will himself, save in those things only which be outward goods, which so greatly pertain not unto man: for the very good things of the mind God only is able to take away, which he is not wont to do but unto unkind persons, and only he can give them, which he hath not used to do unto cruel and furious persons. No christian man therefore is hurt but of himself. Injury hurteth no man but the worker thereof. These things also help (though they be not weighty) that thou shalt not follow the sorrow of thy mind: If, the circumstances of rhetoricians well gathered together, thou both make light of thine own harms, and also minish the wrong done of another man commonly after this manner: He hurt me, but it will be soon amended. Moreover he is a child, he is of things unexpert, he is a young man, it is a woman, he did it through another man’s motion or counsel, he did it unaware, or when he had well drunk, it is meet that I forgive him. And on the other side he hath hurt me grievously. Certain, but he is my father, my brother, my master, my friend, my wife, it is according that this grief should be forgiven, either for the love, or else for the authority of the person. Or else thou shalt set one thing against another, and recompense the injury with other good benefits done of him unto thee. Or with thine offences done to him afore season shalt account it even, and so make quit. This man hath hurt me verily, but other times how oft hath he done me good. It cometh of an unliberal mind to forget the good benefits and only to remember a little wrong or displeasure. Now he hath offended me, but how oft offended of me. I will forgive him, that he in likewise by mine example may pardon me, if I another time trespass against him. Finally it shall be a remedy of much greater virtue and of strong operation, if in the misdoing of another man against thee thou didest think in thyself, what things, how grievous, and how oft thou hast sinned against God, how many manner of ways thou art in debt to him: as much as thou shalt remit unto thy brother which is in thy debt Forgive thy debtor, so much shall God forgive unto thee. This way of forgiving other men’s debts hath he taught us which is himself a creditor, he will not refuse the law which he himself made. To be absolved or loosed from thy sins thou runnest to Rome, sailest to Saint James, buyest pardons most large. I dispraise not verily that thing which thou doest: but when all is done, there is no readier way, no surer means whereby (if thou have offended) thou mightest come to favour again and be reconciled to God, than if thou, when thou art offended, be reconciled again unto thy brother, forgive a little trespass unto thy neighbour (for it is but small whatsoever one man trespasseth against another) that Christ may forgive thee so many thousand offences. But it is hard (thou sayest) to subdue the mind when he beginneth to wax hot. By the example of Christ suage thy mind. Rememberest thou not, how much harder things Christ suffered for thee? what were thou when he for thy sake bestowed his precious life? Were thou not his enemy? With what softness suffereth he the daily repeating thine old sins? Last of all how meekly suffered he the uttermost rebukes, bonds, stripes, finally death most shameful? Why? Why? Boastest thou thyself of the head, if thou care not to be in the body? Thou shalt not be a member of Christ except thou follow the steps of Christ. But he is unworthy to be forgiven. We must pardon the unworthy. Even so were not thou unworthy whom God should forgive? In thine own self thou wilt have mercy exercised, and against thy brother wilt thou use extreme and cruel justice? Is it so great a thing if thou being a sinner thyself shouldest forgive a sinner, when Christ prayed his father for them which crucified him? Is it an hard thing not to strike thy brother whom thou art also commanded to love? Is it an hard thing not to pay again an evil deed, for which except thou wouldest recompense a good, thou shalt not be that toward thy fellow that Christ was toward his servant? Finally if this man be unworthy to whom for an evil turn a good should be recompensed, yet art thou worthy to do it, Christ is worthy, for whose sake it is done. But in suffering an old displeasure I call in a new, he will do injury again if he should escape unpunished for this: if without offence thou canst avoid, avoid it: if thou canst ease or remedy it, ease it: if thou canst heal a mad man, heal him, if not let him perish himself alone rather than with thee. This man which thinketh himself to have done harm, think thou worthy to be pitied, and not to be punished. Wilt thou be angry to thy commendation and laud? Be angry and aggrieved with the vice. Be angry with the vice, not with the man. But the more thou art inclined by nature to this kind of vice, so much the more diligently arm thyself long beforehand, and once for altogether print sure in thy mind this decree or purpose: that thou neither say nor do anything at any time while thou art angry: believe not thyself when thou art moved: have suspected whatsoever that sudden motion or rage of the mind designeth or judgeth, yea though it be honest. Say nor do anything if thou be angry. Remember none other difference to be between a frantic person and him that rageth in ire than is between a short madness that dureth but a season and a continual perseverant madness. Call to mind how many things in anger thou hast said or done worthy to be repeated, which now though in vain thou wouldest fain were changed. Therefore when that wrath waxeth hot and boileth: if thou cannot straightway save and deliver thyself altogether from anger, at the least way come thus far forth to thyself and soberness that thou remember thyself not to be well advised or in thy right mind: To remember this is a great part of health. On this wise reason with thyself, now verily so am I minded, but anon hereafter I shall be of another mind much contrary, why should I in the mean season say against my friend (while I am moved) that thing which hereafter when I am appeased and my malice ceased I could not change: why should I now do in my malice or anger that thing which when I am sobered and come to myself again I should greatly sorrow and repent. Why rather should not reason, why should not pity, at the last why should not Christ obtain that of me now, which a little pause of time shall shortly hereafter obtain. To no man (I suppose) hath nature given so much of black colour but at the least way he might so far forth rule himself. But it shall be a very good thing for thee thus instructed to harden thy mind with reason The mind must be hardened against wrath., with continuance and custom that thou couldest not be moved at all: it shall be a perfect thing, if thou, having indignation only at the vice, for a displeasure or rebuke done to thee, shalt render again a deed of charity. To conclude, even natural temperance, which ought to be in every man, requireth that thou shouldst not suffer affections to rule thee utterly. Not to be wroth at all is a thing most like unto God, and therefore most comely and beautiful. To overcome evil with goodness, malice with kindness, is to counterfeit the perfect charity of Christ Jesu. To hold wrath under and keep him back with a bridle is the property of a wise man. To follow the appetite of wrath is not a point of a man verily, but plainly of beasts, and that of wild beasts. But if thou wouldest know how much uncomely it were to a man to be overcome with wrath, look when thou art sober that thou mark the countenance of an angry person, or else when thou thyself art angry, go unto a glass. Behold thine own countenance when thou art angry. When thine eyes so burn flaming in fire, when thy cheeks be pale, when thy mouth is drawn awry, thy lips foam, all thy members quake, when thy voice soundeth so maliciously, neither thy gestures be of one fashion, who would judge thee to be a man?
Thou perceivest now my most sweetest friend how large a sea is open all abroad to dispute of other vices after this same manner. But we in the midst of our course will strike sail leaving the rest to thy discretion. Neither certain was it my mind, purpose, or intention (for that should be an infinite work) as I began, even so to dissuade thee from every vice, vice by vice Declamations. Sermons. Orations. Preachings., as it were with sundry declamations, and to bold and courage thee to the contrary virtues. This only was my desire (which I thought sufficient for thee) to shew a certain manner and craft of a new kind of war, how thou mightest arm thyself against the evils of the old life burgeoning forth again and springing afresh. Therefore as we have done in one or two things (because of example) so must thou thyself do partly in everything, one by one: but most of all in the things whereunto thou shalt perceive thyself to be stirred or instigate peculiarly, whether it be through vice of nature, custom, or evil bringing up Certain decrees must be written in our minds, against these things some certain decrees must be written in the table of thy mind, and they must be renewed now and then, lest they should fail or be forgotten through disuse, as against the vices of backbiting, filthy speaking, envy, guile, and other like: these be the only enemies of Christ’s soldiers, against whose assault the mind must be armed long aforehand with prayer, with noble sayings of wise men, with the doctrine of holy scripture, with example of devout and holy men, and specially of Christ. Though I doubt not but that the reading of holy scripture shall minister all these things to thee abundantly, nevertheless charity which one brother oweth to another hath moved and exhorted me that at the least way with this sudden and hasty writings, I should further and help thy holy purpose as much as lieth in me: Why he wrote this book somewhat quicklier and with more speed. a thing which I have done somewhat the rather because I somewhat feared lest thou shouldest fall into that superstitious kind of religious men, which partly awaiting on their own advantage, partly with great zeal, but not according to knowledge, walk round about both by sea and land, and if anywhere they get a man recovering from vices unto virtue, him straightway with most importune and lewd exhortations, threatenings, and flatterings they enforce to thrust into the order of monks, even as though without a cowl there were no christendom. Religious men. Furthermore when they have filled his breast with pure scrupulosity and doubts insoluble, then they bind him to certain traditions found by man, and plainly thrust the wretched person headlong into a certain bondage of ceremonies like unto the manner of the Jews, and teach him to tremble and fear, but not to love. The order of monks. The order of monkship is not piety, but a kind of living to every man after the disposition of his body and his mind, also either profitable or unprofitable, whereunto verily as I do not courage thee, so likewise I counsel not from it. This thing only I warn thee of, that thou put piety neither in meat nor in raiment or habit, nor in any visible thing, but in those things which have been declared and shewed thee afore: and in whatsoever persons thou shalt find or perceive the true image of Christ, with them couple thyself. Moreover when such men be lacking whose conversation should make thee better, withdraw thyself as much as thou mayst from the company of man What companions a man should choose to live withal., and call the holy prophet, Christ and the apostles unto communication, but specially make Paul of familiar acquaintance with thee. This fellow must be had ever in thy bosom to be read and studied both night and day: finally and to be learned without the book word by word, upon whom we have now a good while enforced with great diligence to make a comment or a narration, a bold deed truly. But notwithstanding we, trusting in the help of God, will endeavour ourself busily, lest after Origene, Ambrose, and Augustyne, lest after so many new interpreters we should seem to have taken this labour upon us utterly either without a cause or without fruit: and also that certain busy and unquiet pick-quarrels, which think it perfect religion to know nothing at all of good learning, may understand and well perceive that whereas we in youth have embraced and made much of the pure learning of old authors, and also have gotten, and that not without great sweat and watch, a mean understanding of both the tongues Greke and Latyn. Good learning profiteth unto piety. We have not in so doing looked unto a vain and foolish fame, or unto the childish pastime and pleasure of our mind, but that we were minded long before to adorn and garnish the Lord’s temple with the riches of other strange nations and countries to the uttermost of our power. Which temple some men with their ignorance and barbarousness hath overmuch dishonested, that by the reason of such riches excellent wits might also be inflamed unto the love of holy scripture. But this so great a thing a few days laid apart, we have taken upon us this labour for thy sake, that unto thee (as it were with a finger) we might shew the way which leadeth straight unto Christ. And I beseech Jesu the father of this holy purpose (as I hope) that he would vouchsafe benignly to favour thy wholesome enforcements, yea that he would in changing of thee increase his grace, and make thee perfect, that thou mightest quickly wax big and strong in him, and spring up unto a perfect man. In whom also fare thou well, brother and friend, always verily beloved in my heart, but now much more than before both dear and plesant. At the town of Saint Andomers, the year of Christ’s birth 1501.
¶ Here endeth this book called Enchiridion or the manual of the christian knight, made by Erasmus of Roterdame, in the which book is contained many goodly lessons very necessary and profitable for the soul’s health of all true christian people: Imprinted at London by Wynkyn de Worde, for Johan Byddell, otherwise Salisbury, the xv. day of Novembre. And be for to sell at the sign of our Lady of pytie next to Flete Bridge.
Printed byMorrison & Gibb LimitedEdinburgh
[¶ ]Cum privilegio regali.