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Centuries Of Meditations - Thomas Traherne

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1 An empty book is like an infant's soul

2 Do not wonder that I promise to fill it with those Truths you love but know not

3 I will open my mouth in Parables

4 I will not by the noise of bloody wars and the dethroning of kings advance you to glory: but by the gentle ways of peace and love

5 The fellowship of the mystery that hath been hid in God since the creation is not only the contemplation of the work of His Love in the redemption

6 True Love as it intendeth the greatest gifts intendeth also the greatest benefits

7 To contemn the world and to enjoy the world are things contrary to each other

8 What is more easy and sweet than meditation? Yet in this hath God commended His Love

9 Is it not easy to conceive the World in your Mind? To think the Heavens fair? The Sun Glorious? The Earth fruitful? The Air Pleasant? The Sea Profitable? And the Giver bountiful? Yet these are the things which it is difficult to retain

10 To think well is to serve God in the interior court: To have a mind composed of Divine Thoughts

11 Love is deeper than at first it can be thought

12 Can you be Holy without accomplishing the end for which you are created? Can you be Divine unless you be Holy? Can you accomplish the end for which you were created

13 To be Holy is so zealously to desire

14 When things are ours in their proper places

15 Such endless depths live in the Divinity

16 That all the World is yours

17 To know GOD is Life Eternal

18 The WORLD is not this little Cottage of Heaven and Earth

19 You never know yourself till you know more than your body

20 The laws of GOD

21 By the very right of your senses you enjoy the World

22 It is of the nobility of man's soul that he is insatiable

23 The noble inclination whereby man thirsteth after riches and dominion

24 Is it not a sweet thing to have all covetousness and ambition satisfied

25 Your enjoyment of the World is never right

26 Theservices of things and their excellencies are spiritual: being objects not of the eye

27 You never enjoy the world aright

28 Your enjoyment of the world is never right

29 You never enjoy the world aright

30 Till your spirit filleth the whole world

31 Yet further

32 Can any ingratitude be more damned than that which is fed by benefits? Or folly greater than that which bereaveth us of infinite treasures? They despise them merely because they have them: And invent ways to make themselves miserable in the presence of

33 The riches of darkness are those which men have made

34 Would one think it possible for a man to delight in gauderies like a butterfly

35 The riches of the Light are the Works of God which are the portion and inheritance of His sons

36 The common error which makes it difficult to believe all the World to be wholly ours

37 The brightness and magnificence of this world

38 You never enjoy the World aright

39 Your enjoyment is never right

40 Socrates was wont to say--They are most happy and nearest the gods that needed nothing

41 As pictures are made curious by lights and shades

42 This is very strange that God should want

43 Infinite Wants satisfied produce infinite Joys

44 You must want like a God that you may be satisfied like God

45 This is a lesson long enough: which you may be all your life in learning

46 It was His wisdom made you need the Sun

47 To have blessings and to prize them is to be in Heaven

48 They that would not upon earth see their wants from all Eternity

49 The misery of them who have and prize not

50 They are deep instructions that are taken out of hell

51 Wants are the bands and cements between God and us

52 Love has a marvellous property of feeling in another

53 O the nobility of Divine Friendship! Are not all His treasures yours

54 He that is in all

55 The contemplation of Eternity maketh the Soul immortal

56 There are we entertained with the wonder of all ages

57 As eagles are drawn by the scent of a carcase

58 The Cross is the abyss of wonders

59 Of all the things in Heaven and Earth it is the most peculiar

60 The Cross of Christ is the Jacob's ladder by which we ascend into the highest heavens

61 Here you learn all patience

62 LORD JESUS what love shall I render unto Thee

63 Why, Lord Jesus

64 These wounds are in themselves orifices too small to let in my sight

65 Had I been alive in Adam's stead

66 But this is small

67 But what creature could I desire to be which I am not made? There are Angels and Cherubim

68 Being made alone

69 O Adorable Trinity! What hast Thou done for me? Thou hast made me the end of all things

70 But what laws O my Soul wouldst thou desire

71 But what life wouldst thou lead? And by what laws wouldst thou thyself be guided? For none are so miserable as the lawless and disobedient

72 There is in love two strange perfections

73 His nature requireth that thou love all those whom He loveth

74 Miraculous are the effects of Divine Wisdom

75 Being to lead this Life within

76 And now

77 Now O Lord I see the greatness of Thy love wherewith Thou diedst

78 Lord I lament and abhor myself that I have been the occasion of these Thy sufferings

79 My Lord

80 My excellent friend

81 My goodness extendeth not to Thee

82 But there are a sort of Saints meet to be your companions

83 They will praise our Saviour with you

84 Yet you must arm yourself with expectations of their infirmities

85 With all their eyes behold our Saviour

86 O Jesu, Thou King of Saints

87 O how do Thine affections extend like the sunbeams unto all stars in heaven and to all the kingdoms in the world

88 O Thou Sun of Righteousness

89 Is this He that was transfigured upon Mount Tabor? Pale

90 This Body is not the cloud

91 O Jesu, Lord of Love and Prince of Life!

92 It is an inestimable joy that I was raised out of nothing to see and enjoy this glorious world: It is a Sacred Gift whereby the children of men are made my treasures

93 As my body without my Soul is a Carcase

94 Thy will, O Christ, and Thy Spirit in essence are one

95 O Thou who ascendedst up on high

96 O Thou who hast redeemed me to be a Son of God

97 O Jesu, who having prepared all the joys

98 Wisely, O Jesu, didst Thou tell Thy disciples

99 Wisely doth St

100 Christ dwelling in our hearts by Faith is an Infinite Mystery

1 THE Services which the world doth you

2 If you desire directions how to enjoy it

3 Till you see that the world is yours

4 The misery of your fall ariseth naturally from the greatness of your sin

5 The counsel which our Saviour giveth in the Revelation to the Church of Ephesus

6 The consideration also of this truth

7 Place yourself therefore in the midst of the world

8 It raiseth corn to supply you with food

9 Did the Sun stand still that you might have perpetual day

10 Were there two suns

11 Had the Sun been made one infinite flame it had been worse than it is

12 Entering thus far into the nature of the sun

13 Could the seas serve you were you alone more than now they do? Why do you not render thanks for them? They serve you better than if you were in them: everything serving you best in its proper place Alone you were lord over all: bound to admire His eter

14 The Sun is but a little spark of His infinite love: the Sea is but one drop of His goodness

15 The world serves you

16 Those services are so great

17 Besides these immediate pleasures here beneath

18 You shall be glorified

19 They that quarrel at the manner of God's revealing Himself are troubled because He is invisible

20 Hence we may know why God appeareth not in a visible manner

21 When Amasis the King of Egypt sent to the wise men of Greece

22 His power is evident by upholding it all

23 Above all, man discovereth the glory of God

24 That you are a man should fill you with joys

25 You are able to see His righteousness

26 You are able therein to see the infinite glory of your high estate

27 As Love is righteous in glorifying itself and making its object blessed: so is it in all its dealings and dispensations towards it

28 But God being infinite is infinitely righteous

29 Love further manifests itself in joining righteousness and blessedness together: for wherein can Love appear more than in making our duty most blessed

30 Yet Love can forbear

31 By how much the greater His love was

32 Whoever suffereth innocently and justly in another's stead

33 One great cause why no Angel was admitted to this office

34 How vile are they

35 Another reason for which our Redemption was denied to Angels and reserved only to be wrought by our Saviour

36 Yet further, another reason why this office was delegated

37 Finally another reason was the dignity of our Saviour's person

38 How then should we be saved? since eternal righteousness must be paid for our temporal iniquity since one must suffer by His own strength on our behalf

39 God by loving begot His Son

40 In all Love there is a love begetting

41 Love in the fountain and Love in the stream are both the same

42 Where Love is the Lover

43 This Person is the Son of God: who as He is the Wisdom of the Father

44 This Person differs in nothing

45 How wonderful is it that God by being Love should prepare a Redeemer to die for us? But how much more wonderful

46 In all Love there is some Producer

47 What life can be more pleasant

48 Love is so divine and perfect a thing

49 Love is so noble that it enjoyeth others' enjoyments

50 God is present by Love alone

51 Love is a far more glorious Being than flesh and bones

52 The true WAY we may go unto His Throne

53 And He will so love us

54 Love is infinitely delightful to its object

55 God by Love wholly ministereth to others

56 By Loving a Soul does propagate and beget itself

57 Love is so vastly delightful in the Lover

58 Love is so vastly delightful to Him that is Beloved

59 Though no riches follow

60 By this we may discern what strange power God hath given to us by loving us infinitely

61 How happy we are that we may live in all

62 Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: Our love to others

63 See causes also wherefore to be delighted in your love to men

64 When you love men

65 You are as prone to love

66 That violence wherewith sometimes a man doteth upon one creature

67 Suppose a river

68 Suppose a curious and fair woman

69 The sun and stars please me in ministering to you

70 In one soul we may be entertained and taken up with innumerable beauties

71 Creatures are multiplied

72 Here is a glorious creature! But that which maketh the wonder infinitely infinite

73 Here upon Earth perhaps where our estate is imperfect this is impossible: but in Heaven where the soul is all Act it is necessary: for the soul is there all that it can be: Here it is to rejoice in what it may be

74 The world serveth you therefore

75 That all the powers of your Soul shall be turned into Act in the Kingdom of Heaven is manifest by what Saint John writeth

76 These things shall never be seen with your bodily eyes

77 Were all your riches here in some little place: all other places would be empty

78 The Heavens and the Earth serve you

79 Objective treasures are always delightful: and though we travail endlessly

80 Infinite Love cannot be expressed in finite room: but must have infinite places wherein to utter and shew itself

81 Few will believe the soul to be infinite: yet infinite* is the first thing which is naturally known

82 What shall we render unto God for this infinite space in our understandings? Since in giving us this He hath laid the foundation of infinite blessedness

83 He therefore hath not only made us infinite treasures only in extent: and souls infinite to see and enjoy them

84 Your soul being naturally very dark

85 You know that Love receives a grandeur of value and esteem from the greatness of the person

86 Since therefore Love does all it is able

87 God hath made it easy to convert our soul into a Thought containing Heaven and Earth

88 [This number is omitted in the original MS

89 Being that we are here upon Earth turmoiled with cares

90 We could easily show that the idea of Heaven and Earth in the Soul of Man

91 Once more, that I might close up this point with an infinite wonder

92 As it becometh you to retain a glorious sense of the world

93 The world does serve you

94 As the world serves you by shewing the greatness of God's love to you

95 The World serves you

96 The World is a pomegranate indeed

97 This visible World is wonderfully to be delighted in

98 It makes him sensible of the reality of Happiness: it feeds him with contentment

99 Varro citeth opinions of philosophers concerning happiness: they were so blind in the knowledge of it

100 Felicity is a thing coveted of all

1 WILL you see the infancy of this sublime and celestial greatness? Those pure and virgin apprehensions I had from the womb

2 All appeared new

3 The corn was orient and immortal wheat

4 Upon those pure and virgin apprehensions which I had in my infancy

5 Our Saviour's meaning

6 Every one provideth objects

7 The first Light which shined in my Infancy in its primitive and innocent clarity was totally eclipsed insomuch that I was fain to learn all again

8 Had any man spoken of it

9 It was a difficult matter to persuade me that the tinseled ware upon a hobby-horse was a fine thing

10 Thoughts are the most present things to thoughts

11 By this let nurses

12 By this you may see who are the rude and barbarous Indians: For verily there is no savage nation under the cope of Heaven

13 You would not think how these barbarous inventions spoil your knowledge

14 Being swallowed up therefore in the miserable gulf of idle talk and worthless vanities

15 Yet sometimes in the midst of these dreams

16 Once I remember (I think I was about 4 years old when) I thus reasoned with myself

17 Sometimes I should be alone

18 Sometimes I should soar above the stars

19 In making bodies Love could not express

20 The excellencies of the Sun I found to be of another kind than that splendour after which I sought

21 His Power bounded

22 These liquid, clear satisfactions

23 Another time in a lowering and sad evening

24 When I heard of any new kingdom beyond the seas

25 When I heard any news I receivd it with greediness and delight

26 ON NEWS

2 As if the tidings were the things

3 What sacred instinct did inspire

27 Among other things there befel me a most infinite desire of a book from Heaven

28 Had some Angel brought it miraculously from heaven

29 This put me upon two things: upon enquiring into the matter contained in the Bible

30 Upon this I had enough

31 This taught me that those fashions and tinseled vanities

32 In respect of the matter

33 Had the Angels brought it to me alone

34 To talk now of the necessity of bearing all calamities and persecutions in preaching is little

35 You will not believe what a world of joy this one satisfaction and pleasure brought me

36 Having been at the University

37 Nevertheless some things were defective too

38 The manner is in everything of greatest concernment

39 The best of all possible ends is the Glory of God

40 It is the Glory of God to give all things to us in the best of all possible manners

41 Many men study the same things which have not the taste of

42 By humanity we search into the powers and faculties of the Soul

43 In Divinity we are entertained with all objects from everlasting to everlasting: because with Him whose outgoings from everlasting: being to contemplate God

44 Natural philosophy teaches us the causes and effects of all bodies simply and in themselves

45 Ethics teach us the mysteries of morality

46 When I came into the country

47 A life of Sabbaths here beneath!

48 Thus you see I can make merry with calamities

49 Sin!

50 THE RECOVERY

51 I cannot meet with Sin

52 When I came into the country

53 And what rule do you think I walked by? Truly a strange one

54 Besides these common things I have named

55 That anything may be found to be in infinite treasure

56 Therefore of necessity they must at first believe that Felicity is a glorious though an unknown thing

57 Two things in perfect Felicity I saw to be requisite and that Felicity must be perfect

58 In discovering the matter or objects to be enjoyed

59 The Image of God implanted in us

60 This spectacle once seen

61 The Image of God is the most perfect creature

62 Upon this I began to believe that all other creatures were such that God was Himself in their creation

63 To be satisfied in God is the highest difficulty in the whole world

64 Neither is it possible to be otherwise

65 With this we are delighted because it is absolutely impossible that any Power dwelling with Love should continue idle

66 Little did I imagine that

67 There I saw Moses blessing the Lord for the precious things of Heaven

68 I saw moreover that it did not so much concern us what objects were before us

69 In Salem dwelt a glorious King,

70 When I saw those objects celebrated in his psalms which God and Nature had proposed to me

71 That hymn of David in the eighth Psalm was supposed to be made by night

72 His joyful meditation in the nineteenth psalm directeth every man to consider the glory of Heaven and Earth

73 Ye that fear the Lord

74 The Earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof

75 By the Word of the Lord were the Heavens made

76 All my bones shall say

77 Hearken, O Daughter

78 There is a river

79 O clap your hands

80 As in the former psalms he propeseth true and celestial joys

81 Hear, O my people, and I will speak

82 Are not praises the very end for which the world was created? Do they not consist as it were of knowledge

83 Of our Saviour it is said

84 An enlarged soul that seeth all the world praising God

85 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance

86 My soul thirsteth for Thee

87 Make a joyful noise unto God

88 God is my King

89 In the 78th psalm

90 In the 84th psalm he longeth earnestly after the Tabernacle of God

91 Among the Gods there is none like unto Thee

92 In his other psalms he proceedeth to speak of the works of God over and over again: sometimes stirring up all creatures to praise God for the very delight he took in their admirable perfections

93 In our outward life towards men the psalmist also is an admirable precedent: In weeping for those that forget God's law

94 There are psalms more clear wherein he expresseth the joy he taketh in God's works and the glory of them

95 His soul recovered its pristine liberty

96 He saw these things only in the light of faith

97 By this we understand what it is to be the Sons of God

98 This greatness both of God towards us

99 This sense that God is so great in goodness

100 To enjoy communion with God is to abide with Him in the fruition of His Divine and Eternal Glory

1 HAVING spoken so much concerning his entrance and progress in Felicity

2 He thought it a vain thing to see glorious principles lie buried in books

3 He thought that to be a Philosopher

4 This last principle needs a little explication

5 In distinguishing of Christians we ought to consider that Christians are of two sorts

6 Furthermore doth not St

7 This digression steals me a little further

8 Philosophers are not only those that contemplate happiness

9 Once more we will distinguish of Christians

10 He that will not exchange his riches now will not forsake them hereafter

11 That maxim also which your friend used is of very great and Divine concernment: I will first spend a great deal of time in seeking Happiness

12 Happiness was not made to be boasted

13 One great discouragement to Felicity

14 In order to this

15 In order to interior or contemplative happiness

16 Of what vast importance right principles are we may see by this

17 If God be yours

18 All these relate to enjoyment

19 The world is best enjoyed and most immediately while we converse blessedly and wisely with men

20 He from whom I received these things

21 He thought within himself that this world was far better than Paradise had men eyes to see its glory

22 He generally held, that whosoever would enjoy the happiness of Paradise must put on the charity of Paradise

23 To establish himself thoroughly is this principle

24 He thought the stars as fair now

25 But order and charity in the midst of these

26 He thought that men were more to be beloved now than before

27 He conceived it his duty and much delighted in the obligation

28 He thought that he was to treat every man in the person of Christ

29 He had another saying?He lives most like an Angel that lives least upon himself

30 I speak not his practises but his principles

31 I heard him often say that holiness and happiness were the same

32 If he might have had but one request of God Almighty

33 The desire of riches was removed from himself pretty early

34 After this he could say with Luther

35 He desired no other riches for his friends but those which cannot be abused

36 He thought also that no poverty could befall him that enjoyed Paradise

37 Tis not change of place

38 Love God

39 Thus he was possessor of the whole world

40 He had one maxim of notable concernment

41 Having these principles nothing was more easy than to enjoy the world

42 One thing he saw

43 O Adorable and Eternal God! Hast Thou made me a free agent! And enabled me if I please to offend Thee infinitely! What other end couldst Thou intend by this

44 This he thought a principle at the bottom of Nature

45 This principle of nature

46 O the superlative Bounty of God! Where all power seemeth to cease

47 You may feel in yourself how conducive this is to your highest happiness

48 By this you may see

49 It is very observable by what small principles infusing them in the beginning God attaineth infinite ends

50 That I am to receive all the things in Heaven and Earth is a principle not to be slighted

51 Man being to live in the Image of God

52 Thus you see how God has perfectly pleased me: it ought also to be my care perfectly to please Him

53 If you ask

54 It was your friend's delight to meditate the principles of upright nature

55 He was a strict and severe applier of all things to himself

56 No man loves

57 Nevertheless it is infinitely rewarded

58 Shall I not love him infinitely for whom God made the world and gave His Son? Shall I not love him infinitely who loveth me infinitely? Examine yourself well

59 Is it unnatural to do what Jesus Christ hath done? He that would not in the same cases do the same things can never be saved

60 Here upon Earth

61 Since Love will thrust in itself as the greatest of all principles

62 These two properties are in it--that it can attempt all and suffer all

63 Whether Love principally intends its own glory or its objects

64 God doth desire glory as His sovereign end

65 How can God be Love unto Himself

66 He from whom I derived these things delighted always that I should be acquainted with principles that would make me fit for all ages

67 Were not Love the darling of God

68 Shall it not love violently what God loveth

69 To love one person with a private love is poor and miserable: to love all is glorious

70 Now you may see what it is to be a Son of God more clearly

71 To sit in the Throne of God is the most supreme estate that can befall a creature

72 To sit in the Throne of God is to inhabit Eternity

73 If anything yet remaineth that is dreadful

74 But what is there more that will more amaze us? Can anything be behind such glorious mysteries? Is God more Sovereign in other excellencies? Hath He showed Himself glorious in anything besides? Verily there is no end of all His greatness

75 The Supreme Architect and our Everlasting Father

76 |O Adam

77 |O infinite liberality of God the Father! O admirable and supreme Felicity of Man! to whom it is given to have what he desires

78 This Picus Mirandula spake in an oration made before a most learned assembly in a famous university

79 Neither is it to be believed

80 By choosing a man may be turned and converted into Love

81 Nazianzen professed himself to be a lover of right reason

82 The abundance of its beams

83 Whether it be the Soul itself

84 That God should love in the Soul is most easy to believe

85 That the Soul shineth of itself is equally manifest

86 Here upon Earth souls love what God hates

87 In the estate of innocency the love of man seemed nothing but the beams of love reverted upon another

88 It is a generous and heavenly principle

89 This estate wherein I am placed is the best for me tho' encompassed with difficulties

90 Knowing the greatness and sweetness of Love

91 That a man is beloved of God

92 Knowing myself beloved and so glorified of God Almighty in another world

93 Our friendship with God ought to be so pure and so clear

94 Having once studied these principles you are eternally to practise them

95 It is an indelible principle of Eternal truth

96 To be acquainted with celestial things is not only to know them

97 General and public concernments seem at first unmanageable

98 Because the strength of the soul is spiritual it is generally despised: but if ever you would be Divine

99 The reason why learned men have not exactly measured the faculties of the soul

100 Upon the infinite extent of the understanding and affection of the soul

1 THE objects of Felicity

2 The Infinity of God is our enjoyment

3 Creatures that are able to dart their thoughts into all spaces can brook no limit or restraint

4 Were it not for this infinity

5 Infinity of space is like a painter's table

6 One would think that besides infinite space there could be no more room for any treasure

7 Eternity is a mysterious absence of times and ages: an endless length of ages always present

8 Eternity magnifies our joys exceedingly

9 His omnipresence is our ample territory or field of joys

10 Our Bridegroom and our King being everywhere

NOTES AND REFERENCES

Notes on The First Century:

Notes on the Second Century

Notes on the Third Century

Notes on the Fourth Century

Notes on The Fifth Century

All books list





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