IV, 88

It is a generous and heavenly principle, that where a benefit is fairly intended we are equally obliged for the intention or success. He is an ungrateful debtor, that measureth a benefactor by the success of his kindness. A clear soul and a generous mind is as much obliged for the intent of his friend, as the prosperity of it: and far more, if we separate the prosperity from the intent. For the goodness lies principally in the intention. Since therefore God intended me all the joys in Heaven and Earth, I am as much obliged for them as if I received them. Whatever intervening accident bereaved me of them, He really intended them. And in that I contemplate the riches of His goodness. Whether men’s wickedness in the present age, or my own perverseness, or the fall of Adam; He intended me all the joys of Paradise, and all the honours in the world, whatever hinders me. In the glass of His intention therefore I enjoy them all: and I do confess my obligation. It is as great as if nothing had intervened, and I had wholly received them. Seeing and knowing Him to be infinitely wise and great and glorious, I rejoice that He loved me, and confide in His love. His goodness is my sovereign and supreme delight. That God is of such a nature in Himself is my infinite treasure. Being He is my friend, and delighteth in my honour, though I rob myself of all my happiness, He is justified. That He intended it, is His grace and glory. But it animates me, as well as comforts me, to see the perfection of His Love towards me. As things stood, He used power enough before the fall to make me happy. If He refuseth to use any more since the fall, I am obliged. But He hath used more. New occasions begot new abilities. He redeemed me by His Son. If He refuseth to use any more, I cannot complain. If He refuseth to curb my perverseness unless I consent, His love was infinitely showed. He desireth that I should by prayers and endeavours clothe myself with grace. If in default of mine, He doth it Himself, freely giving His Holy Spirit to me, it is an infinite mercy, but infinitely new and superadded. If He refuseth to overrule the rebellion of other men, and to bring me to Honour, notwithstanding their malice; or refuseth to make them love me, whether they will or no, I cannot repine. By other signs, He hath plainly showed, that He loveth me infinitely, which is enough for me, and that He desireth my obedience.

-Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditation


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