Thomas Traherne (1637 – 1674) was an English poet, clergyman, theologian, and religious writer. He is best known today for his 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, long after his death. Traherne’s writings frequently explore the glory of creation and what he perceived to be an intimate relationship with God. His love for the natural world is frequently expressed in his works by a treatment of nature that evokes Romanticism, two centuries before the Romantic movement.
Quotes by Thomas Traherne…
You never enjoy the world aright till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars, and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you.
Such endless depths lie in the Divinity, and in the wisdom of God, that as he maketh one, so he maketh every one the end of the World, and the supernumerary persons being enrichers of his inheritance. Adam and the World are both mine. And the posterity of Adam enrich it infinitely. Souls are God’s jewels, every one of which is worth many worlds. They are his riches because his image, and mine for that reason. So that I alone am the end of the World, angels and men being all mine. And if others are so, they are made to enjoy it for my further advancement. God only being the Giver and I the Receiver. So that Seneca philosophized rightly when he said “Des me dedit solu toti Mundo, et totum mundum mihi soli.” (God gave me alone to all the world, and all the world to me alone.)
Never was anything in this world loved too much, but many things have been loved in a false way, and all in too short a measure.
So hath God by rational methods enabled us to love others better than ourselves, and thereby made us the most glorious creatures. Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love. But when we do love ourselves, and self-love is satisfied infinitely in all its desires and possible demands, then it is easily led to regard the Benefactor more than itself, and for His sake overflows abundantly to all others. So that God by satisfying my self-love, hath enabled and engaged me to love others.
Love is the one supreme duty and good. That love is wisdom and purity and valour and peace, and its infinite sorrow is infinitely better than the world’s richest joy.
The contemplation of Eternity maketh the Soul immortal.