Monday, 18 March 2013

'There is no defence against that arrow, nor any deliverance in that war, nor any safeguard from that charm'

Some Thomas Traherne, from Centuries of Meditations, 1:71-2.

God loved thee with an infinite love, and became by doing so thine infinite treasure. Thou art the end unto whom He liveth. For all the lines of His works and counsels end in thee, and in thy advancement. Wilt not thou become to Him an infinite treasure, by loving Him according to His desert? It is impossible but to love Him that loveth. Love is so amiable that it is irresistible. There is no defence against that arrow, nor any deliverance in that war, nor any safeguard from that charm. Wilt thou not live unto Him? Thou must of necessity live unto something. And what so glorious as His infinite Love? Since therefore, laws are requisite to lead thee, what laws can thy soul desire, than those that guide thee in the most amiable paths to the highest end? By Love alone is God enjoyed, by Love alone delighted in, by Love alone approached or admired. His Nature requires Love, thy nature requires Love. The law of Nature commands thee to Love Him: the Law of His nature, and the Law of thine.

There is in love two strange perfections, that make it infinite in Goodness. It is infinitely diligent in doing good, and it infinitely delighteth in that Goodness. It taketh no pleasure comparable in anything to that it taketh in exalting and blessing. And therefore hath it made thee a comprehension infinite to see all ages, and an affection endless to love all Kingdoms, and a power fathomless to enjoy all Angels. And a thirst insatiable to desire and delight in them. And a never-wearied faculty all-sufficient to love, number, take in, prize, and esteem all the varieties of creatures and their excellencies in all worlds, that thou mayest enjoy them in communion with Him. It is all obligation, that He requires it. What life wouldst thou lead? Wouldst thou love God alone? God alone cannot be beloved. He cannot be loved with a finite love, because He is infinite. Were He beloved alone, His love would be limited. He must be loved in all with an unlimited love, even in all His doings, in all His friends, in all His creatures. Everywhere in all things thou must meet His love. And this the Law of Nature commands. And it is thy glory that thou art fitted for it. His love unto thee is the law and measure of thine unto Him: His love unto all others the law and obligation of thine unto all.

1 comment:

Steffen said...

Traherne's prose is quietly insisting in its repetition and beautifully simple in its message. I find great consolation in Centuries of Meditation - although I've only made it past the first. Then again, to me this is a florilegium which is perhaps better digested through occasional rather than consecutive reading. I find it very sad that Traherne has not been translated into Norwegian and not set his mark upon the evolution of Norwegian theological thought - we would have benefitted greatly from it.