Ex Libris Kirkland

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Editor Bertram Dobell
First Written 1674
Genre Devotional
Origin UK
Publisher PJ & AE Dobell
My Copy 1934 clothbound hardback, gilt edges and stamp.
First Read July 07, 2010

Centuries of Meditations

So, I'm only about forty pages into Centuries of Meditations, and I can tell it's going to be one of those books that sticks with you for a lifetime.

It's a series of devotional meditations, but written from an exuberant, almost mystical perspective. But that's saying it too strongly. The ideas are nearly mystical, the writing is poetic but strongly grounded in real life. So far, it's as if a good friend grabbed you by the shoulders and said: Look! Look how easy it is to be happy in the Lord! Let me show you how!

The writing is lovely and super-quotable, so be expecting lots of saved snippets here.

Noted on July 7, 2010

There are places (part 21) where Traherne meditates on the act of breathing, in a very modern zen-like stance. Isn't it wonderful to breathe? If we can put a correct value on breathing, we have hope of seeing the world as God does.

Noted on July 7, 2010

Suppose a curious and fair woman. Some have seen the beauties of Heaven in such a person. It is a vain thing to say they loved too much. I dare say there are ten thousand beauties in that creature which they have not seen. They loved it not too much, but upon false causes. Nor so much upon false ones, as only upon some little ones. They love a creature for sparkling eyes and curled hair, lily breasts and ruddy cheeks: which they should love moreover for being God’s Image, Queen of the Universe, beloved by Angels, redeemed by Jesus Christ, an heiress of Heaven, and temple of the Holy Ghost: a mine and fountain of all virtues, a treasury of graces and a child of God.

-- Centuries, 2.68

Quoted on August 12, 2015

Happiness was not made to be boasted, but enjoyed. Therefore tho' others count me miserable, I will not believe them if I know and feel myself to be happy; nor fear them. I was not born to approve myself to them, but God. A man may enjoy great delights, without telling them.

... Could but the crow in lonely silence eat,
She then would have less envy and more meat.

Heaven is a place where our happiness shall be seen of all. We shall there enjoy the happiness of being seen in happiness, without the danger of ostentation: but here men are blind and corrupted, and cannot see; if they could, we are corrupted, and in danger of abusing it. I knew a man that was mightily derided in his pursuit of happiness, till he was understood, and then admired; but he lost all by his miscarriage.

-- Centuries, 4.12

Quoted on June 4, 2014

You never enjoy the World aright, till you see all things in it so perfectly yours, that you cannot desire them any other way: and till you are convinced that all things serve you best in their proper places.

Quoted on June 3, 2014

It was His wisdom made you need the Sun. It was His goodness made you need the sea. Be sensible of what you need, or enjoy neither. Consider how much you need them, for thence they derive their value. Suppose the sun were extinguished: or the sea were dry. There would be no light, no beauty, no warmth, no fruits, no flowers, no pleasant gardens, feasts, or prospects, no wine, no oil, no bread, no life, no motion. Would you not give all the gold and silver in the Indies for such a treasure? Prize it now you have it, at that rate, and you shall be a grateful creature: Nay, you shall be a Divine and Heavenly person.

Quoted on August 29, 2010

Yet further, you never enjoy the world aright; till you so love the beauty of enjoying it, that you are covetous and earnest to persuade others to enjoy it.

Quoted on July 7, 2010

By the very right of your senses you enjoy the World. Is not the beauty of the Hemisphere present to your eye? Doth not the glory of the Sun pay tribute to your sight? Is not the vision of the World an amiable thing? Do not the stars shed influences to perfect the Air? Is not that a marvellous body to breathe in? To visit the lungs: repair the spirits, revive the senses, cool the blood, fill the empty spaces between the Earth and Heavens; and yet give liberty to all objects? Prize these first: and you shall enjoy the residue: Glory, Dominion, Power, Wisdom; Honour, Angels, Souls, Kingdoms, Ages. Be faithful in a little, and you shall be master over much.

Quoted on July 7, 2010

Is it not a great thing that you should be Heir of the World? Is it not a great enriching verity?

Quoted on July 7, 2010

Do not wonder that I promise to fill it with those Truths you love but know not; ... I have found that things unknown have a secret influence on the soul, and like the centre of the earth unseen violently attract it. We love we know not what, and therefore everything allures us. ... There are invisible ways of conveyance by which some great thing doth touch our souls, and by which we tend to it. Do you not feel yourself drawn by the expectation and desire of some Great Thing?

Quoted on July 7, 2010

An empty book is like an infant's soul, in which anything may be written. It is capable of all things, but containeth nothing. I have a mind to fill this with profitable wonders.

Quoted on July 7, 2010

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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