by Thomas Traherne

A quiet silent person may possess
All that is great or high in Blessedness.
The inward work is the supreme: for all
The other were occasioned by the fall.
A man that seemeth idle to the view
Of others, may the greatest business do.
Those acts which Adam in his innocence
Performed, carry all the excellence.
Those outward busy acts he knew not, were
But meaner matters of a lower sphere.
Building of churches, giving to the poor,
In dust and ashes lying on the floor,
Administering of justice, preaching peace,
Ploughing and toiling for a forct increase,
With visiting the sick, or governing
The rude and ignorant: this was a thing
As then unknown. For neither ignorance
Nor poverty, nor sickness did advance
Their banner in the world, till sin came in.
Those therefore were occasioned all by sin.
The first and only work he had to do,
Was in himself to feel his bliss, to view
His sacred treasures, to admire, rejoice,
Sing praises with a sweet and heavenly voice,
See, prize, give hourly thanks within, and love,
Which is the high and only work above
Them all. And this at first was mine; these were
My exercises of the highest sphere.
To see, approve, take pleasure, and rejoice
Within, is better than an empty voice.
No melody in words can equal that;
The sweetest organ, lute, or harp is flat
And dull, compared thereto. And O that still
I might admire my Father's love and skill!
This is to honour, worship, and adore,
This is to love Him: nay, it is far more,
It is to enjoy Him, and to imitate
The life and glory of His high Estate.
'Tis to receive with holy reverence,
To understand His gifts, and with a sense
Of pure devotion and humility,
To prize His works, His Love to magnify.
O happy ignorance of other things
Which made me present with that King of Kings!
And like Him too! All spirit, life, and power,
All love and joy, in His Eternal Bower,
A world of innocence as then was mine,
In which the joys of Paradise did shine:
And while I was not here I was in Heaven,
Not resting one, but every, day in seven,
For ever minding with a lively sense,
The universe in all its excellence.
No other thoughts did intervene, to cloy,
Divert, extinguish, or eclipse my joy,
No other customs, new-found wants, or dreams
Invented here polluted my pure streams,
No aloes or drugs, no wormwood star
Was seen to fall into the sea from far;
No rotten soul, did like an apple near
My soul approach. There's no contagion here.
An unperceived donor gave all pleasures,
There nothing was but I, and all my treasures.
In that fair world, one only was the Friend,
One golden stream, one spring, one only end.
There only one did sacrifice and sing
To only one Eternal Heavenly King.
The union was so strait between them two,
That all was either's which my soul could view:
His gifts and my possessions, both our treasures;
He mine, and I the ocean of His pleasures.
He was an ocean of delights from Whom
The living springs and golden streams did come:
My bosom was an ocean into which
They all did run. And me they did enrich.
A vast and infinite capacity,
Did make my bosom like the Deity,
In whose mysterious and celestial mind
All ages and all worlds together shin'd,
Who tho' He nothing said did always reign,
And in Himself Eternity contain.
The world was more in me, than I in it.
The King of Glory in my soul did sit,
And to Himself in me he always gave
All that He takes delight to see me have,
For so my spirit was an endless Sphere,
Like God Himself, and Heaven, and Earth was there.

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