Centuries of Meditations – First Century 19-20

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You never know yourself till you know more than your body. The Image of God was not seated in the features of your face, but in the lineaments of your Soul. In the knowledge of your Powers, Inclinations, and Principles, the knowledge of yourself chiefly consisteth. Which are so great that even to the most learned of men, their Greatness is Incredible; and so Divine, that they are infinite in value. Alas the WORLD is but a little centre in comparison of you. Suppose it millions of miles from the Earth to the Heavens, and millions of millions above the Stars, both here and over the heads of our Antipodes: it is surrounded with infinite and eternal space: And like a gentleman’s house to one that is travelling; it is a long time before you come unto it, you pass it in an instant, and leave it for ever. The Omnipresence and Eternity of God are your fellows and companions. And all that is in them ought to be made your familiar Treasures. Your understanding comprehends the World like the dust of a balance, measures Heaven with a span, and esteems a thousand years but as one day. So that Great, Endless, Eternal Delights are only fit to be its enjoyments.


The laws of GOD, which are the commentaries of His works, shew them to be yours: because they teach you to love God with all your Soul, and with all your Might. Whom if you love with all the endless powers of your Soul, you will love Him in Himself, in His attributes, in His counsels, in all His works, in all His ways; and in every kind of thing wherein He appeareth, you will prize Him, you will honor Him, you will delight in Him, you will ever desire to be with Him and to please Him. For to love Him includeth all this. You will feed with pleasure upon everything that is His. So that the world shall be a grand Jewel of Delight unto you: a very Paradise and the Gate of Heaven. It is indeed the beautiful frontispiece of Eternity; the Temple of God, and Palace of His children. The Laws of God discover all that is therein to be created for your sake. For they command you to love all that is good, and when you see well, you enjoy what you love. They apply the endless powers of your Soul to all their objects: and by ten thousand methods make everything to serve you. They command you to love all Angels and Men. They command all Angels and Men to love you. When you love them, they are your treasures; when they love you, to your great advantage you are theirs. All things serve you for serving them whom you love, and of whom you are beloved. The entrance of His words giveth Light to the simple. You are magnified among Angels and men: enriched by them, and happy in them.

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.

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Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations, ed. Bertram Dobell (P. J. & A. E. Dobell, 1927)

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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