Centuries of Meditations

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1 An empty book is like an infant's soul

2 Do not wonder that I promise to fill it with those Truths you love but know not

3 I will open my mouth in Parables

4 I will not by the noise of bloody wars and the dethroning of kings advance you to glory: but by the gentle ways of peace and love

5 The fellowship of the mystery that hath been hid in God since the creation is not only the contemplation of the work of His Love in the redemption

6 True Love as it intendeth the greatest gifts intendeth also the greatest benefits

7 To contemn the world and to enjoy the world are things contrary to each other

8 What is more easy and sweet than meditation? Yet in this hath God commended His Love

9 Is it not easy to conceive the World in your Mind? To think the Heavens fair? The Sun Glorious? The Earth fruitful? The Air Pleasant? The Sea Profitable? And the Giver bountiful? Yet these are the things which it is difficult to retain

10 To think well is to serve God in the interior court: To have a mind composed of Divine Thoughts

11 Love is deeper than at first it can be thought

12 Can you be Holy without accomplishing the end for which you are created? Can you be Divine unless you be Holy? Can you accomplish the end for which you were created

13 To be Holy is so zealously to desire

14 When things are ours in their proper places

15 Such endless depths live in the Divinity

16 That all the World is yours

17 To know GOD is Life Eternal

18 The WORLD is not this little Cottage of Heaven and Earth

19 You never know yourself till you know more than your body

20 The laws of GOD

21 By the very right of your senses you enjoy the World

22 It is of the nobility of man's soul that he is insatiable

23 The noble inclination whereby man thirsteth after riches and dominion

24 Is it not a sweet thing to have all covetousness and ambition satisfied

25 Your enjoyment of the World is never right

26 Theservices of things and their excellencies are spiritual: being objects not of the eye

27 You never enjoy the world aright

28 Your enjoyment of the world is never right

29 You never enjoy the world aright

30 Till your spirit filleth the whole world

31 Yet further

32 Can any ingratitude be more damned than that which is fed by benefits? Or folly greater than that which bereaveth us of infinite treasures? They despise them merely because they have them: And invent ways to make themselves miserable in the presence of riches

33 The riches of darkness are those which men have made

34 Would one think it possible for a man to delight in gauderies like a butterfly

35 The riches of the Light are the Works of God which are the portion and inheritance of His sons

36 The common error which makes it difficult to believe all the World to be wholly ours

37 The brightness and magnificence of this world

38 You never enjoy the World aright

39 Your enjoyment is never right

40 Socrates was wont to say--They are most happy and nearest the gods that needed nothing

41 As pictures are made curious by lights and shades

42 This is very strange that God should want

43 Infinite Wants satisfied produce infinite Joys

44 You must want like a God that you may be satisfied like God

45 This is a lesson long enough: which you may be all your life in learning

46 It was His wisdom made you need the Sun

47 To have blessings and to prize them is to be in Heaven

48 They that would not upon earth see their wants from all Eternity

49 The misery of them who have and prize not

50 They are deep instructions that are taken out of hell

51 Wants are the bands and cements between God and us

52 Love has a marvellous property of feeling in another

53 O the nobility of Divine Friendship! Are not all His treasures yours

54 He that is in all

55 The contemplation of Eternity maketh the Soul immortal

56 There are we entertained with the wonder of all ages

57 As eagles are drawn by the scent of a carcase

58 The Cross is the abyss of wonders

59 Of all the things in Heaven and Earth it is the most peculiar

60 The Cross of Christ is the Jacob's ladder by which we ascend into the highest heavens

61 Here you learn all patience

62 LORD JESUS what love shall I render unto Thee

63 Why, Lord Jesus

64 These wounds are in themselves orifices too small to let in my sight

65 Had I been alive in Adam's stead

66 But this is small

67 But what creature could I desire to be which I am not made? There are Angels and Cherubim

68 Being made alone

69 O Adorable Trinity! What hast Thou done for me? Thou hast made me the end of all things

70 But what laws O my Soul wouldst thou desire

71 But what life wouldst thou lead? And by what laws wouldst thou thyself be guided? For none are so miserable as the lawless and disobedient

72 There is in love two strange perfections

73 His nature requireth that thou love all those whom He loveth

74 Miraculous are the effects of Divine Wisdom

75 Being to lead this Life within

76 And now

77 Now O Lord I see the greatness of Thy love wherewith Thou diedst

78 Lord I lament and abhor myself that I have been the occasion of these Thy sufferings

79 My Lord

80 My excellent friend

81 My goodness extendeth not to Thee

82 But there are a sort of Saints meet to be your companions

83 They will praise our Saviour with you

84 Yet you must arm yourself with expectations of their infirmities

85 With all their eyes behold our Saviour

86 O Jesu, Thou King of Saints

87 O how do Thine affections extend like the sunbeams unto all stars in heaven and to all the kingdoms in the world

88 O Thou Sun of Righteousness

89 Is this He that was transfigured upon Mount Tabor? Pale

90 This Body is not the cloud

91 O Jesu, Lord of Love and Prince of Life!

92 It is an inestimable joy that I was raised out of nothing to see and enjoy this glorious world: It is a Sacred Gift whereby the children of men are made my treasures

93 As my body without my Soul is a Carcase

94 Thy will, O Christ, and Thy Spirit in essence are one

95 O Thou who ascendedst up on high

96 O Thou who hast redeemed me to be a Son of God

97 O Jesu, who having prepared all the joys

98 Wisely, O Jesu, didst Thou tell Thy disciples

99 Wisely doth St

100 Christ dwelling in our hearts by Faith is an Infinite Mystery


1 THE Services which the world doth you

2 If you desire directions how to enjoy it

3 Till you see that the world is yours

4 The misery of your fall ariseth naturally from the greatness of your sin

5 The counsel which our Saviour giveth in the Revelation to the Church of Ephesus

6 The consideration also of this truth

7 Place yourself therefore in the midst of the world

8 It raiseth corn to supply you with food

9 Did the Sun stand still that you might have perpetual day

10 Were there two suns

11 Had the Sun been made one infinite flame it had been worse than it is

12 Entering thus far into the nature of the sun

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

14 The Sun is but a little spark of His infinite love: the Sea is but one drop of His goodness

15 The world serves you

16 Those services are so great

17 Besides these immediate pleasures here beneath

18 You shall be glorified

19 They that quarrel at the manner of God's revealing Himself are troubled because He is invisible

20 Hence we may know why God appeareth not in a visible manner

21 When Amasis the King of Egypt sent to the wise men of Greece

22 His power is evident by upholding it all

23 Above all, man discovereth the glory of God

24 That you are a man should fill you with joys

25 You are able to see His righteousness

26 You are able therein to see the infinite glory of your high estate

27 As Love is righteous in glorifying itself and making its object blessed: so is it in all its dealings and dispensations towards it

28 But God being infinite is infinitely righteous

29 Love further manifests itself in joining righteousness and blessedness together: for wherein can Love appear more than in making our duty most blessed

30 Yet Love can forbear

31 By how much the greater His love was

32 Whoever suffereth innocently and justly in another's stead

33 One great cause why no Angel was admitted to this office

34 How vile are they

35 Another reason for which our Redemption was denied to Angels and reserved only to be wrought by our Saviour

36 Yet further, another reason why this office was delegated

37 Finally another reason was the dignity of our Saviour's person

38 How then should we be saved? since eternal righteousness must be paid for our temporal iniquity since one must suffer by His own strength on our behalf

39 God by loving begot His Son

40 In all Love there is a love begetting

41 Love in the fountain and Love in the stream are both the same

42 Where Love is the Lover

43 This Person is the Son of God: who as He is the Wisdom of the Father

44 This Person differs in nothing

45 How wonderful is it that God by being Love should prepare a Redeemer to die for us? But how much more wonderful

46 In all Love there is some Producer

47 What life can be more pleasant

48 Love is so divine and perfect a thing

49 Love is so noble that it enjoyeth others' enjoyments

50 God is present by Love alone

51 Love is a far more glorious Being than flesh and bones

52 The true WAY we may go unto His Throne

53 And He will so love us

54 Love is infinitely delightful to its object

55 God by Love wholly ministereth to others

56 By Loving a Soul does propagate and beget itself

57 Love is so vastly delightful in the Lover

58 Love is so vastly delightful to Him that is Beloved

59 Though no riches follow

60 By this we may discern what strange power God hath given to us by loving us infinitely

61 How happy we are that we may live in all

62 Love is the true means by which the world is enjoyed: Our love to others

63 See causes also wherefore to be delighted in your love to men

64 When you love men

65 You are as prone to love

66 That violence wherewith sometimes a man doteth upon one creature

67 Suppose a river

68 Suppose a curious and fair woman

69 The sun and stars please me in ministering to you

70 In one soul we may be entertained and taken up with innumerable beauties

71 Creatures are multiplied

72 Here is a glorious creature! But that which maketh the wonder infinitely infinite

73 Here upon Earth perhaps where our estate is imperfect this is impossible: but in Heaven where the soul is all Act it is necessary: for the soul is there all that it can be: Here it is to rejoice in what it may be

74 The world serveth you therefore

75 That all the powers of your Soul shall be turned into Act in the Kingdom of Heaven is manifest by what Saint John writeth

76 These things shall never be seen with your bodily eyes

77 Were all your riches here in some little place: all other places would be empty

78 The Heavens and the Earth serve you

79 Objective treasures are always delightful: and though we travail endlessly

80 Infinite Love cannot be expressed in finite room: but must have infinite places wherein to utter and shew itself

81 Few will believe the soul to be infinite: yet infinite* is the first thing which is naturally known

82 What shall we render unto God for this infinite space in our understandings? Since in giving us this He hath laid the foundation of infinite blessedness

83 He therefore hath not only made us infinite treasures only in extent: and souls infinite to see and enjoy them

84 Your soul being naturally very dark

85 You know that Love receives a grandeur of value and esteem from the greatness of the person

86 Since therefore Love does all it is able

87 God hath made it easy to convert our soul into a Thought containing Heaven and Earth

88 [This number is omitted in the original MS

89 Being that we are here upon Earth turmoiled with cares

90 We could easily show that the idea of Heaven and Earth in the Soul of Man

91 Once more, that I might close up this point with an infinite wonder

92 As it becometh you to retain a glorious sense of the world

93 The world does serve you

94 As the world serves you by shewing the greatness of God's love to you

95 The World serves you

96 The World is a pomegranate indeed

97 This visible World is wonderfully to be delighted in

98 It makes him sensible of the reality of Happiness: it feeds him with contentment

99 Varro citeth opinions of philosophers concerning happiness: they were so blind in the knowledge of it

100 Felicity is a thing coveted of all


1 WILL you see the infancy of this sublime and celestial greatness? Those pure and virgin apprehensions I had from the womb

2 All appeared new

3 The corn was orient and immortal wheat

4 Upon those pure and virgin apprehensions which I had in my infancy

5 Our Saviour's meaning

6 Every one provideth objects

7 The first Light which shined in my Infancy in its primitive and innocent clarity was totally eclipsed insomuch that I was fain to learn all again

8 Had any man spoken of it

9 It was a difficult matter to persuade me that the tinseled ware upon a hobby-horse was a fine thing

10 Thoughts are the most present things to thoughts

11 By this let nurses

12 By this you may see who are the rude and barbarous Indians: For verily there is no savage nation under the cope of Heaven

13 You would not think how these barbarous inventions spoil your knowledge

14 Being swallowed up therefore in the miserable gulf of idle talk and worthless vanities

15 Yet sometimes in the midst of these dreams

16 Once I remember (I think I was about 4 years old when) I thus reasoned with myself

17 Sometimes I should be alone

18 Sometimes I should soar above the stars

19 In making bodies Love could not express

20 The excellencies of the Sun I found to be of another kind than that splendour after which I sought

21 His Power bounded

22 These liquid, clear satisfactions

23 Another time in a lowering and sad evening

24 When I heard of any new kingdom beyond the seas

25 When I heard any news I receivd it with greediness and delight


2 As if the tidings were the things

3 What sacred instinct did inspire

27 Among other things there befel me a most infinite desire of a book from Heaven

28 Had some Angel brought it miraculously from heaven

29 This put me upon two things: upon enquiring into the matter contained in the Bible

30 Upon this I had enough

31 This taught me that those fashions and tinseled vanities

32 In respect of the matter

33 Had the Angels brought it to me alone

34 To talk now of the necessity of bearing all calamities and persecutions in preaching is little

35 You will not believe what a world of joy this one satisfaction and pleasure brought me

36 Having been at the University

37 Nevertheless some things were defective too

38 The manner is in everything of greatest concernment

39 The best of all possible ends is the Glory of God

40 It is the Glory of God to give all things to us in the best of all possible manners

41 Many men study the same things which have not the taste of

42 By humanity we search into the powers and faculties of the Soul

43 In Divinity we are entertained with all objects from everlasting to everlasting: because with Him whose outgoings from everlasting: being to contemplate God

44 Natural philosophy teaches us the causes and effects of all bodies simply and in themselves

45 Ethics teach us the mysteries of morality

46 When I came into the country

47 A life of Sabbaths here beneath!

48 Thus you see I can make merry with calamities

49 Sin!


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