BLTC Press Titles

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The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

The Bhagavad Gita


Centuries of Meditations

by Thomas Traherne



The misery of your fall ariseth naturally from the greatness of your sin. For to sin against infinite love, is to make oneself infinitely deformed : to be infinitely deformed, is to be infinitely odious in His eyes who once loved us with infinite love: to have sinned against all obligations, and to have fallen from infinite glory and blessedness is infinite misery: but cannot be seen, till the glory of the estate from which we are fallen is discerned. To be infinitely odious in His eyes who infinitely loved us, maketh us unavoidably miserable: because it bereaveth us of the end for which we were created, which was to enjoy His love: and of the end also of all the creatures which were made only to manifest the same. For when we are bereaved of these, we live to no purpose; and having lost the end to which we were created, our life is cumbersome and irksome to us. 5 The counsel which our Saviour giveth in the Revelation to the Church of Ephesus, is by all churches, and by every Soul diligently to be observed: Renumber from whence thou art fallen, and repent. Which intimates our duty of remembering our happiness in the estate of innocence. For without this we can never prize our Redeemer's love: He that knows not to what he is redeemed cannot prize the work of redemption. The means cannot there be valued, where the end is despised. Since therefore by the Second Adam, we are restored to that we lost in the first: unless we value that we lost in the first, we cannot truly rejoice in the second. But when we do, then all things receive an infinite esteem, and an augmentation infinitely infinite, that follows after. Our Saviour's love, His incarnation, His life and death, His resurrection, His ascension into Heaven, His intercession for us being then seen, and infinitely prized, in a glorious light: as also our deliverance from Hell, and our reconciliation unto God. 6 The consideration also of this truth, that the world is mine, confirmeth my faith. God having placed the evidences of Religion in the greatest and highest joys. For as long as I am ignorant that the World is mine, the love of God is defective to me. How can I believe that He gave His Son to die for me, who having power to do otherwise gave me nothing but rags and cottages? But when I see once that He gave Heaven and Earth to me, and made me in His image to enjoy them in His similitude, I can easily believe that He gave His Son also for me. Especially since He commanded all Angels and Men to love me as Himself: and so highly honoreth me, that whatsoever is done unto me, He accounteth done unto Him.


Place yourself therefore in the midst of the world as if you were alone, and meditate upon all the services which it doth unto you. Suppose the Sun were absent, and conceive the world to be a dungeon of darkness and death about you: you will then find his beams more delightful than the approach of Angels: and loath the abomination of that sinful blindness, whereby you see not the glory of so great and bright a creature, because the air is filled with its beams. Then you will think that all its light shineth for you, and confess that God hath manifested Himself indeed, in the preparation of so divine a creature. You will abhor the madness of those who esteem a purse of gold more than it. Alas, what could a man do with a purse of gold in an everlasting dungeon? And shall we prize the sun less than it, which is the light and fountain of all our pleasures? You will then abhor the preposterous method of those, who in an evil sense are blinded with its beams, and to whom the presence of the light is the greatest darkness. For they who would repine at God without the sun, are unthankful, having it: and therefore only despise it, because it is created. It raiseth corn to supply you with food, it melteth waters to quench your thirst, it infuseth sense into all your members, it illuminates the world to entertain you with prospects, it surroundeth you with the beauty of hills and valleys. It moveth and laboureth night and day for your comfort and service; it sprinkleth flowers upon the ground for your pleasure ; and in all these things sheweth you the goodness and wisdom of a God that can make one thing so beautiful, delightful and serviceable, having ordained the same to innumerable ends. It concocteth minerals, raiseth exhalations, begetteth clouds, sendeth down the dew and rain and snow, that refresheth and repaireth all the earth. And is far more glorious in its diurnal motion, than if there were two suns to make on either side a perpetual day: the swiftness whereby it moves in twenty-four hours about so vast an universe manifesteth the power and care of a Creator, more than any station or quiet could do. And producing innumerable effects it is more glorious, than if millions of Angels diversly did do them. 9 Did the Sun stand still that you might have a perpetual day, you would not know the sweetness of repose: the delightful vicissitudes of night and day, the early sweetness and spring of the morning, the perfume and beauty in the cool of the evening, would all be swallowed up in meridian splendour: all which

now entertain you with delights. The antipodes would be empty, perpetual darkness and horror there, and the Works of God on the other side of the world in vain. 10 Were there two suns, that day might be alike in both places, standing still, there would be nothing but meridian splendour under them, and nothing but continual.morning in other places; they would absume and dry up all the moisture of the earth, which now is repaired as fast as it decayeth : and perhaps when the nature of the sun is known, it is impossible there should be two: At least it is impossible they should be more excellent than this one; that we might magnify the Deity and rest satisfied in Him, for making the best of all possible works for our enjoyment. 11 Had the Sun been made one infinite flame, it had been worse than it is, for there had been no living; it had filled all space, and devoured all other things. So that it is far better being finite, than if it were infinite. Even as the sea within a finite shore Is far the better 'cause it is no more. Whence we may easily perceive the Divine Wisdom hath achieved things more than infinite in goodness and beauty, as a sure token of their perfect excellency.

Entering thus far into the nature of the sun, we may see a little Heaven in the creatures. And yet we shall say less of the rest in particular: tho' every one in its place be as excellent as it: and this without these cannot be sustained. Were all the earth filthy mires, or devouring quicksands, firm land would be an unspeakable treasure. Were it all beaten gold it would be of no value. It is a treasure therefore of far greater value to a noble spirit than if the globe of the earth were all gold. A noble spirit being only that which can survey it all, and comprehend its uses. The air is better being a living miracle as it now is than if it were crammed and filled with crowns and sceptres. The mountains are better than solid diamonds, and those things which scarcity maketh jewels (when you enjoy these) are yours in their places. Why should you not render thanks to God for them all? You are the Adam or the Eve that enjoy them. Why should you not exult and triumph in His love who hath done so great things for you? Why should you not rejoice and sing His praises? Learn to enjoy what you have first, and covet more if you can afterwards. 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 eternal love who raised you out of nothing into this glorious world which He created for you. To see infinite wisdom goodness and power making the heavens and the earth, the seas, the air, the sun and stars! What wonder, what joy, what glory, what triumph, what delight should this afford! It is more yours than if you had been made alone. 14 The Sun is but a little spark of His infinite love: the Sea is but one drop of His goodness. But what flames of love ought that spark to kindle in your soul: what seas of affection ought to flow for that drop in your bosom! The heavens are the canopy, and the earth is the footstool of your throne: who reign in communion with God: or at least are called so to do. How lively should His divine goodness appear unto you ; how continually should it rest upon you; how deeply should it be impressed in you! Verily its impressions ought to be so deep, as to be always remaining, always felt, always admired, always seen and rejoiced in. You are never truly great till all the world is yours : and the goodness of your Donor so much your joy, that you think upon it all day long. Which King David the Royal Man well understood, when he said : My lips shall be filled with Thy praise, and Thy honor all the day. I will make mention of Thy loving kindness in Thy Holy Temple.

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