Thomas Traherne ( 1637 – September 27, 1674) was an English poet, Anglican cleric, theologian, and religious writer. Traherne’s writings frequently explore the glory of creation and what he saw as his intimate relationship with God. His writing conveys an ardent, almost childlike love of God, and is compared to similar themes in the works of later poets William Blake, Walt Whitman, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. His love for the natural world is frequently expressed in his works.
The work for which Traherne is best known today is the Centuries of Meditations, a collection of short paragraphs in which he reflects on Christian life and ministry, philosophy, happiness, desire and childhood. This was first published in 1908 after having been rediscovered in manuscript ten years earlier. Before its rediscovery this manuscript was said to have been lost for almost two hundred years and is now considered a much loved devotional.
THE FIRST CENTURY
The fellowship of the mystery that hath been hid in God since the creation is not only the contemplation of His Love in the work of redemption, tho’ that is wonderful, but the end for which we are redeemed; a communion with Him in all His Glory. For which cause St. Peter saith The God of all Grace hath called us unto His Eternal Glory by Jesus Christ. His Eternal Glory by the methods of His Divine Wisdom being made ours; and our fruition of it the end for which our Saviour suffered.
True Love as it intendeth the greatest gifts intendeth also the greatest benefits. It contenteth not itself in showing great things unless it can make them greatly useful. For Love greatly delighteth in seeing its object continually seated in the highest happiness. Unless therefore I could advance you higher by the uses of what I give, my Love could not be satisfied in giving you the whole world. But because when you enjoy it you are advanced to the Throne of God and may see His Love; I rest well pleased in bestowing it. It will make you to see your own greatness, the truth of the Scriptures, the amiableness of Virtue, and the beauty of Religion. It will enable you also to contemn the world, and to overflow with praises.