Thursday 26 January 2012

We are to become little children - Thomas Traherne


Thomas Traherne (1636-1674. Anglican priest) - Third Century, Number 5

Our Saviour's meaning, when He said, He must be born again and become a little child that will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven is deeper far than is generally believed.

It is not only in a careless reliance upon Divine Providence, that we are to become little children, or in the feebleness and shortness of our anger and simplicity of our passions, but in the peace and purity of all our soul.

Which purity also is a deeper thing than is commonly apprehended. For we must disrobe ourselves of all false colours, and unclothe our souls of evil habits; all our thoughts must be infant-like and clear; the powers of our soul free from the leaven of this world, and disentangled from men's conceits and customs.

Grit in the eye or yellow jaundice will not let a man see those objects truly that are before it. And therefore it is requisite that we should be as very strangers to the thoughts, customs, and opinions of men in this world, as if we were but little children.

So those things would appear to us only which do to children when they are first born. 

Ambitions, trades, luxuries, inordinate affections, casual and accidental riches invented since the fall, would be gone, and only those things appear, which did to Adam in Paradise, in the same light and in the same colours: God in His works, Glory in the light, Love in our parents, men, ourselves, and the face of Heaven: Every man naturally seeing those things, to the enjoyment of which he is naturally born.

Thomas Traherne - Third Century, Number 5



joetexx said...

This is one of the best things you have posted along with Dr Kriss on the Daily Office. You are changing not just my thinking but my life.

Bruce Charlton said...


I am currently reading Traherne's Centuries of Meditations every day, and it is truly wondrous.

The whole thing is online at:

It is worth remembering that he lived through the English Civil War - so he knew about fear and suffering.