One of the most important figures of the 16th century, Desiderius Erasmus was a leading reformist and Renaissance humanist. Through his works and letters. A book called in Latin Enchiridion militis Christiani, and in English The manual of the Christian knight. by Erasmus, Desiderius, d. Originally published as part of: Lucubratiunculae, Antwerp, First published separately Leipzig,

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Moreover that thy weapons be always ready at hand, lest thine so subtle an enemy should take thee sleeping and unarmed. Notwithstanding yet have I very gladly and willingly accomplished thy desire, partly because thou art so great a friend of christini, partly also because Edition: We delve and dig the ground marvellously deep for to pluck out riches, which nourisheth vice: It became one of Erasmus’ most influential works.

And if that one or two do chrjstiani this liberty, yet it is not right forthwith that all other therefore be ever kept in superstitiousness and bondage of ceremonies like unto the Jews.

The Manual of a Christian Knight – Online Library of Liberty

Faith must be given to holy scripture. They must be honoured when they do their office: But I desire even with all my heart, and I doubt not but so do all that be very good men, that the religion of the Gospel should be so pleasant to every man that they being contented therewith, should not desire the religion of black monks or grey friars. I fast twice in the week, I pay all my tithes and so forth. Wherefore if this order subverted, the unruly commons, and that raging dregs of the city shall strive to go before the seniors: The elements have every one his proper place, but the fire which hath the highest place by little and little draweth enchiiridion the other unto him, and so much as he can turneth them into his nature.

Online Library of Liberty

And that hath too much of foolish toys, may be a good companion. Did not he smite the forehead of our adversary as it had been with stones fetched out of the brook when he answered him in time of temptation with words christixni scripture. Aaron signifieth prayer, Moses betokeneth knowledge.

When the eyes of the heart be waxen dim, insomuch that thou canst not see the most clearest light, which is virtue or truth: If thou set forth a worldly mark in the stead of a celestial mark, then shall there be nothing whereunto a man ought justly enforce himself, which laboureth to profit and go forward.

The chief part of this wisdom is that thou shouldest know thyself, which word to have descended from heaven the antiquity believed, and so much hath that saying pleased great authors, that they judged all plenty of wisdom to be shortly comprehended in this little sentence, that is to wit, if a man know himself.

Nevertheless I will not have thee which art endowed with so happy a wit to be slow and to tarry long in the barren letter, but to make speed unto more secret mysteries, and to help the continual endeavour and enforcement of thine industry and will with often prayers until he open to thee the book clasped with seven clasps, which hath the key of David, the which also shutteth and no man openeth the privities of the Father, which never man knew but his Son, and he to whom his Son hath vouchsafed to disclose them.


Therefore seeing that thou hast taken upon thee war against thyself, and the chief hope and comfort of victory is if thou know thyself to the uttermost, I will paint a certain image of thyself, as it were in a table, and set it before thine eyes that thou mayst perfectly know what thou art inwardly and within thy skin. How many volumes have they made of restitution, of confession, of slander, and other things innumerable? What signifieth water hid in the veins of the earth but mystery covered or hid in the literal sense?

And if it fortune at any time that war do rise suddenly in any place, let the bishops endeavour themselves so much as in them is, either to end the strifes and variances without shedding of blood: Of the diversity of meat and drink Christ never commanded anything, nor the apostles: And though thou be far from the principal and and chief patron Christ, thou art not yet therefore cast away, but stimulated and moved to go forward and profit.

Such ruffling, wrangling and trouble they make between themselves with cumberous debate as things diverse, which indeed are but one. But to the elected both of the Jews and also of the gentiles we preach Christ the virtue or strength of God, and the wisdom of God, by whose wisdom through Edition: When was ever charity so cold?

The veriest heartless coward in enchirision world for fear of perils ofttime taketh courage to him. Thou seest thy brother ungoodly entreated, thy mind is nothing moved, so thy matter be in good case.

Handbook of a Christian Knight – Wikipedia

What thing is that in this mortal life so fortunate and prosperous, but hath some pestilent things annexed unto it? But would to God that it were provided and ordained by a law that no man should be taken in such snares afore he were thirty years of age, before he something knew militiis, or knew what the nature and virtue Edition: And the prophet Ozee married an harlot, and of her had children not for himself, but enchiridiob the Lord of Sabaoth and the holy fornication of the prophet augmented the household of God.

It is a great part of a christian life to desire with full purpose and with all his heart to be a christian man, that thing which at the first sight or meeting, at the first acquaintance or coming to shall seem impossible to be conquered or won, in process of time shall be gentle enough and with ennchiridion easy: Moreover of the bodily death is the feeling little or none at all.

When Sathan would have militix Christ to turn stones into bread Christ answered with scripture saying Man liveth not only by bread, but by every word that proceedeth of the mouth of God. In conclusion, I doubt greatly whether they themselves have any sure answer that they may make, seeing they differ in so many things amongst themselves. And other things there be which he teacheth and commandeth openly to be observed, as not to resist evil, to do good to thine enemies, to use meekness of mind, and other like.


To be willing to be a christian encyiridion is a great part of christendom. Esau was first born and Jacob followed holding Esau fast by the foot. It is the Spirit within that quickeneth or giveth life.

The change of one element into another. But in all things we have overcome by his help which loved us. Filthiness is foolishness, virtue is wisdom.

Enchiridion militis Christiani,

Neither is it one manner of fight, for sometime with groans of adversity raging, as with open war he shaketh the walls of the soul. Who shall separate us from the love of God?

The same peace the philosophers also promised unto the followers of their conclusions, but yet falsely, for Christ only giveth it, the Edition: And these rewards he giveth in the militos season to militix whiles they be yet fighting as solaces and things to comfort them in their labours and travails. And that grieveth me so much the more because the same thing hath encjiridion to come likewise to pass enchiiridion him, for the changing of whose manners principally I took upon me this labour and travail, for he also not only hath not withdrawn himself from the chrostiani, but is daily much deeper drowned therein than he was aforetime, for what good purpose I cannot tell, but as he confesseth himself with much great misery.

And as knowledge of God ought not to be unprofitable, so prayer should not be faint, slack, without courage or quickness. This wisdom bringeth with her as companions soberness and meekness. There is no man that better trusteth than he that so distrusteth. But yet rulers must be wise of this that they do not turn the obedience of other men into their own tyranny, and that they had liefer therefore to have them superstitious than holy and virtuous, whereby they might be more obedient at every beck.

He saith in another place: But if thou haddest liefer to be somewhat lusty and quick of spirit, than to be armed to contention, that is to say to brawling or scolding: This specially we speak most against, and cry out upon and exaggerate for an exceeding abominable fact, if one chrisstiani the body of Christ with the same hands wherewith he hath touched the body of a harlot.