A Primer On Biblical Meditation

 

 

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RELATED RESOURCES

Inductive Bible Study - Observation  

Inductive Bible Study - Interpretation

Inductive Bible Study - Application 
Primer on Biblical Meditation - another study

Quiet Musing (Meditating) - Sermon by C H Spurgeon

Definition of "Musing"
Application - Meditate on the Word

Simple Study on the Power of God's Word
Authority of God's Word - study on 2Timothy 3:16-17
A Primer on the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation

Memorizing God's Word - Why? How? Resource links...
Navigator's Topical Memory System (TMS)
How to Perform A Greek Word Study on the Web
Greek Tense, Voice, Mood Reference Guide 
Greek Word Studies - in depth 
Typology - Study of Types - Is this a Valid Technique?

Bible Interpretation - Figures of speech
Is Your Interpretation Supernaturalistic, Naturalistic, Existentialistic, Dogmatic?

Biblical Meditation - Excellent Article by Thomas Watson

 

A Primer On
Biblical Meditation
Updated 6/19/2013

Related Resource: Memorizing God's Word

DAILY DELIGHT IN
THE WORD OF GOD

When you truly delight (take great pleasure in or experience a high degree of satisfaction) in the Word, you will have a desire (a craving, a longing , a "hunger or thirst") to spend time in it and to meditate on it. Beloved, we do not naturally delight in the Holy Word for we are by nature unholy. Therefore when any man or woman begins to delight in the Word, they can know for certain that they are experiencing God's amazing grace (cp Php 2:13-note wherein we see that the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to delight and the dynamic to understand God's Holy Word! cp 1Cor 2:11-13. In expectant humility, always ask Him to illuminate His supernatural Word which is otherwise unintelligible to the natural mind!)

May the Father daily grant us His grace sufficient to prompt us to desire to delight in Him and to devour His Word for the sake of His Name, through Christ Jesus, the Living Word of God. Amen. (Compare [meditate upon] the prayer for literal food "Give us this day our daily bread" Mt 6:11-note with the words of Jesus in Mt 4:4 quoting Dt 8:3 - read the context Dt 8:1-3 - Notice what God's powerful purpose was in these passages! Does He have you in a humbling circumstance today? Don't try to wiggle out! Instead yield yourself like a lump of clay and allow the Potter to mold you into the image of His Son. This calls for daily death to self and daily taking up of the Cross [which also bespeaks of death!] If your Christian life is dry, dull, distant...then may I suggest that you stop dutifully "trying" and start daily "dying" so that His Spirit might live through you more fully and practically. Meditate on Deut 8:1-3.)

In the following verses from Psalm 119, observe the association between delight and meditation.

15 I will meditate on Thy precepts, and regard Thy ways. (note)
16 I shall delight in Thy statutes; I shall not forget Thy word. (
note)

23 Even though princes sit and talk against me, Thy servant meditates on Thy statutes. (note)
24 Thy testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors. (
note)

47 And I shall delight in Thy commandments, which I love (which is why he delights!). (
note)
48 And I shall lift up my hands to Thy commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Thy statutes. (
note) (Apply: Do I love His Word like the psalmist?)

77 May Thy compassion come to me that I may live, for Thy law is my delight. (note)
78 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Thy precepts. (
note)

PRAYER

If God's Word is not the desire and delight of your heart, plead with Him until He grants your request (1Th 5:17-note) so that your soul might cultivate an appetite for the pure milk of His Word (1Pe 2:2-note). If you pray this with clean hands and a pure heart (Ps 24:4-note), you can be assured God will answer it affirmatively for it is in accordance with His good and perfect will (1Jn 5:14, 15, cp Mt 7:7-note). Will you dare to pray this prayer? Will you dare not pray this prayer!

Meditation is not giving free rein to your imagination,
nor is it reading your Bible for beautiful thoughts.
Meditation is a discipline.
-J. I. Packer

Meditation is the bellows of the affections.
-Thomas Watson
(Bellows = An instrument, utensil or machine for blowing fire.
Bellows are used to make the refiner’s fires burn fiercely - cp Jer 6:29)

What made Charles Haddon Spurgeon such a powerful, Spirit anointed preacher of the Word? There are probably many answers to this question, but the following quote from Spurgeon suggests one of his "secrets"...

“I quarry out the Truth when I read, but I smelt the ore and get the pure gold out of it when I meditate!...For lack of meditation the Truth of God runs by us and we miss and lose it. Our treacherous memory is like a sieve—and what we hear and what we read runs through it and leaves but little behind—and that little is often unprofitable to us by reason of our lack of diligence to get thoroughly at it. I often find it very profitable to get a text as a sweet morsel under my tongue in the morning and to keep the flavor of it, if I can, in my mouth all day!”—How to Read the Bible - #3318

“It is an admirable plan to fix your thoughts upon some text of Scripture before you leave your bedroom in the morning—it will sweeten your meditation all the day.”—Loving the Law of the Lord - #3090 on Ps 119:97-100

“The inward meditation [of God’s Word] is the thing that makes the soul rich towards God. This is the godly man’s occupation. Put the spice into the mortar by reading, beat it with the pestle of meditation—so shall the sweet perfume be exhaled.”—The Truly Blessed Man - #3270

Read the Bible carefully,
and then meditate and meditate and meditate.
        - C H Spurgeon

So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth,
if we would get the wine of consolation there from.
                     - C H Spurgeon

 

A PRIMER
ON MEDITATION
(See credits below)

FIRST
AN ILLUSTRATION

 

M. A. Rosanoff, long associated with Thomas Edison, had worked futilely for over a year to soften the wax of phonograph cylinders by altering their chemical constitution. The results were negative.  Rosanoff relates how he mused night after night trying to "mentally cough up" every theoretical and practical solution.


        "Then it came like a flash of lightning. I could not shut waxes out of my mind, even in my sleep. Suddenly, through headache and daze. I saw the solution."

 

        "The first thing the next morning, I was at my desk and half an hour later I had a record in the softened wax cylinder... this was the solution! I learned to think waxes...waxes... waxes, and the solution came without effort although months of thought had gone into the mental mill."

 

Rosanoff learned to think waxes. It was like unrolling a ball of string out of the unknown and night after night pulling it toward his mind, not knowing what might be attached to the other end of every thought or concept.  Meditation is the art of hauling in that ball of mental thread.
 

This is a generation of hustle and bustle. "Time out" for anything except sleep and medical checkups is considered idling your motor when you ought to be in high gear.  Reflection and deep thought in a quiet place is a thing of the past. This idea of taking time to be holy is more often a song we sing than an accomplishment.  It takes time to be holy. It takes lots of time to be truly effective for God.  Each of us needs time to think waxes -- this was Rosanoff's secret. He daily gave his problem a second thought. It is a mistaken idea that meditation is only for those who have time for it -- daydreamers, scientists, novelists, ascetics and cloistered saints of religion. Giving life a second thought is the need of every man.

 

"Meditation is the skeleton key that unlocks the greatest storeroom in the house of God's provisions for the Christian."

 

The men who carry this key upon the chain of their daily life come into a knowledge and relationship that the "activist" and the restless ones have never known.  With the solitude of the meditation room, there is produced a quality of life that must be standard equipment for all the Master's men.

 

"Now come along to some quiet place by yourself and rest for a little while" (Mk 6:31 Phillips Translation).
 

WHAT IS
MEDITATION?

 

A. T. Pierson says that...

 

"Meditation is simply thought prolonged and directed to a single object. Your mystic chambers where thoughts abide are the secret workshop of an unseen Sculptor chiseling living forms for a deathless future. Personality and influence are modeled here. Hence, the biblical injunction: 'Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life'"

J. I. Packer says that meditation is the practice of turning each truth we learn about God into matter for reflection before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.

“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God...It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.” (Packer, J I: Knowing God)

Saturation with the Scriptures
is the
Secret to Satisfaction of our Souls

The Puritan writer Thomas Brooks offers an excellent description of Biblical meditation...

Remember that it is not hasty reading—but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths, which makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not  the mere touching of the flower by the bee which  gathers honey (cp Ps 19:10-note; Ps 119:103-note)—but her abiding for a time on the  flower which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most, but he who meditates most—who will prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian."

 

Meditation is CHEWING. Meditation is aptly depicted by the cow's process of mastication (chewing). God has so constructed bovines to bring up previously digested food for additional grinding to enable optimal assimilation of the "cud." Meditation is pondering and reviewing various thoughts (especially the thoughts/words of God) by mulling them over in one's mind and heart (our "control center" so to speak - see Pr 4:23-note). Meditation is the processing of God's food for our soul (real "soul food!) One might call it "divine thought digestion." "Chewing" upon a divine thought, deliberately and diligently, a process which (enabled by the Spirit our "Sanctifier") provides the vital link between theory and action, between God's Word on paper and God's Word in our life. What mastication is to the physical life of the cow, meditation is to the spiritual life of those created in the image of God. C H Spurgeon asks a good question...


“Have you a spiritual taste, dear Hearer? It is one thing to hear the Word. It is another thing to taste it. Hearing the Word is often blessed, but tasting it is a more inward and spiritual thing—it is the enjoyment of the Truth in the innermost parts of our being! Oh, that we were all as fond of the Word as were the old mystics who chewed the cud of meditation till they were fattened upon the Word of the Lord and their souls grew strong in the Divine Love! I am sure of this—the more you know of God’s Word, the more you will love it!”—
The True Sayings of God - #3144

 

Meditation is ANALYZING. Literally analyzing describes the art of taking an intentional, lengthy look at a given object as the jeweler does when he puts his eyepiece on to examine the character and qualities of a flawless diamond. Indeed, "The words of the LORD are pure words; As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times." (Ps 12:6-note) Meditation on the living and active (energetic) Word (Heb 4:12-note) is like gazing at a prism, which breaks a single beam of sunlight into many component colors. As we take time to steadily focus on the "diamond" of God's Word, the Spirit illumines the Son's light in His many and variegated "colors and hues."

 

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Psalm 119:18). (Spurgeon's comment)

 

Meditation is ACTION. Someone has described it: "Making words into thoughts and thoughts into actions." It is mental planning ahead with definite action in mind for accomplishing a job. Andrew Murray describes it: "Holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life... this is meditation."

 

Now tie these three thoughts together: chewing, analyzing and action. Reflect on each of them now before reading any further. Give God time for divine polishing in His secret place in order to more effectually reproduce His glory and beauty in public.

 

MEDITATION:
NOT WITHOUT DIFFICULTIES

 

"Muse" was the name given to an ancient Greek god who spent much time in solitude and thinking. The statue of "The Thinker" is the artistic concept of deep concentration and absorption. Add an "a" to the beginning of "muse" and you have: "amuse" -- sports, games, television and a score of other tools used by the enemy to keep God's men from concentrating on man's God.

Dawson Trotman illustrated Biblical meditation by comparing the way cows get the cud on which they chew...

A cow eats grass as it grazes early in the morning. When the sun gets hot, it will lie in the shade of a tree, and through the use of a unique elevator system it will bring up the grass from one stomach and thoroughly masticate it. When this is finished, it will put it into another stomach, having gotten from it everything possible in the way of nutrients.

Beware of getting alone with your own thoughts. Get alone with God's thoughts. There is danger in rummaging through waste and barren desert-thoughts that can be labeled -- daydreaming or worse. Don't meditate upon yourself but dwell upon Him -- seek God in your inner thought life. There is always danger in meditating upon problems. Develop the habit of reflection upon the Word of God and therein find the answers to your problems.

 

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches" (Psalm 63:5-6).

 

Regarding Psalm 63, Spurgeon wrote (Note verse 5; verse 6) that...

 

Lying awake, the good man betook himself to meditation, and then began to sing. He had a feast in the night, and a song in the night. He turned his bedchamber into an oratory, he consecrated his pillow, his praise anticipated the place of which it is written, "There is no night there." Perhaps the wilderness helped to keep him awake, and if so, all the ages are debtors to it for this delightful hymn. If day's cares tempt us to forget God, it is well that night's quiet should lead us to remember him. We see best in the dark if we there see God best.

And meditate on thee in the night watches. Keeping up sacred worship in my heart as the priests and Levites celebrated it in the sanctuary. Perhaps David had formerly united with those "who by night stand in the house of the Lord," and now as he could not be with them in person, he remembers the hours as they pass, and unites with the choristers in spirit, blessing Jehovah as they did. It may be, moreover, that the king heard the voices of the sentries as they relieved guard, and each time he returned with renewed solemnity to his meditations upon his God. Night is congenial, in its silence and darkness, to a soul which would forget the world, and rise into a higher sphere. Absorption in the most hallowed of all themes makes watches, which else would be weary, glide away all too rapidly; it causes the lonely and hard couch to yield the most delightful repose -- repose more restful than even sleep itself. We read of beds of ivory, but beds of piety are better far. Some revel in the night, but they are not a tithe so happy as those who meditate in God.
 

><> ><> ><>

SOME PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
ON HOW TO MEDITATE
 

Related Resource: See Watson's Treatise on Meditation for much greater detail

 

Let's get started. Since we want to make this a built-in habit of daily living, start with a moment of prayer. Ask God's help in concentration, alertness of mind and that inward sense of His abiding Presence. As a means of getting under way, here are five suggestions that will make the following Bible verse extremely practical:

 

"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My Name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (Jn 16:24)

 

(1). Emphasize:


One of the most helpful approaches in meditation is to emphasize different words within the verse.
As you throw them out vocally, the Holy Spirit will echo them back to your heart through your ears and mind. Read the first phrase aloud several times with striking emphasis upon the word in caps:

 

HITHERTO have ye asked nothing in My Name.

Hitherto have YE asked nothing in My Name.

Hitherto have ye asked NOTHING in My Name.

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in MY NAME.

 

(2). Paraphrase:


Put this verse from the King James Version into your own words.
Say it over and over, silently and aloud, until you can communicate it back to yourself in language that has meaning. Reflect slowly. Don't be in a hurry to reword it -- rearrange the words and use your dictionary to look up words you don't understand. Perhaps you will end up with something like this:

 

"Up to this moment you have not been asking anything in God's authority; go ahead and ask, see if God doesn't love to answer. This is because He wants you to be full of cheerfulness."

 

(3). Ask Questions:


Now that you have taken it apart and have paraphrased it so it is your very own, start asking questions. Use the ones the newspaper reporter starts with: who? what? where? when? why? and how? (See discussion of this interrogative mindset under Inductive Study) Here's how it works on John 16:24.

 

        Who is Jesus talking to?

        What is He saying? What does He say I should do?

        Where should I pray? Where have I failed in my praying?

        When should I ask? When is my  joy full and complete?

        Why does God say I should pray?

        How should I go about asking?

 

Every question is not equally productive, but by asking such questions, your mind will be focused on the Word of God -- this is the beginning of meditation. When you start asking questions, you start to dissect. Not questions that just bring up facts and doctrine but also heart-feeding application. Questions and answers to the above put the Scriptures into the bloodstream of your soul.

 

(4). Application:


Apply Jn 16:24 immediately. 2Ti 3:16, 17
(see notes) says that all Scripture is profitable in a four-fold function: it is useful in teaching the faith, for correcting error, for resetting the direction of man's life and for training him in good living. Tackle John 16:24 once again from these four angles: (Click here for Application in Inductive Bible Study)

 

        a. Is there some truth I should know from this verse?

        b. Is there something I should stop doing in light of this verse?

        c. Is there a practice in my life I should change?

        d. Is there a habit I ought to begin?

 

(5). Persistence:


A "verse a day" can be selected during your quiet time in the morning. To begin with, it can be done within ten minutes. Try analyzing, dissecting and chewing over such a verse during odd moments of your day -- walking to work, riding the train or bus, waiting for meals or "killing time" for that appointment. Apply it that very day. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to share it with someone else. [A workable plan for busy people desiring a daily morning time with God has been written in a little brochure - for this booklet click Seven Minutes With God. As a practical exercise click and meditate on all 23 uses of "meditate" in OT. Make a list of what you learn about meditating on meditation! Then "Selah" which indicates a pause, which also implies meditation. See the 74 uses of "Selah" in the Psalms.)

 

TRANSFORMATION
( Ro 12:2- see note)


The crown fruit of meditation is the changed life. Without the transformed life, meditation is useless. This was the problem Jesus had with the Pharisees of His day. They knew the facts and were experts in doctrine. They were conscientious, sincere and dedicated men. But the Lord called them sons of Satan -- "Ye are of your father the devil." Why this stinging indictment? All their study of the Old Testament didn't change their lives. There was no heart application. They still oppressed the poor, defrauded the widows and pursued doubtful business practices.

 

Beware of meditation that ends in pious words without affecting one's practices (cf Jas 1:22-note). True meditation fires in God honoring moral actions. A changed attitude toward God and fellow man should be the result, including things like a changed work habit, a changed relationship to one's spouse or family, in short -- a changed life! Anything less means your "meditation" is little more than "pious platitudes" as they say.

 

"O how I love Thy law: it is my meditation all the day" (Ps 119:97-note)

 

Comment: This verse is very practical and very convicting for we all understand that if you truly love someone, you will want to spend time with them.

 

Regarding the phrase it is my meditation all the day Spurgeon wrote that...

 

This was both the effect of his love and the cause of it. He meditated in God's word because he loved it, and then loved it the more because he meditated in it. He could not have enough of it, so ardently did he love it: all the day was not too long for his converse with it. His main prayer, his noonday thought, his evensong were all out of Holy Writ; yea, in his worldly business he still kept his mind saturated with the law of the Lord. It is said of some men that the more you know them the less you admire them; but the reverse is true of God's word. Familiarity with the word of God breeds affection, and affection seeks yet greater familiarity. When "thy law," and "my meditation" are together all the day, the day grows holy, devout, and happy, and the heart lives with God.
 

Bring the fruit of your meditation and offer it to the Lord for His blessing. Ask the Holy Spirit to apply the Word to your heart and enable you to live today in conformity to it.

 

Let the words of my mouth,
And the meditation of my heart,
Be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord,
My strength, and my Redeemer
                                       Psalm 19:14-note
 

Spurgeon commenting on Psalm 19:14 said that this verse is...
 
A sweet prayer, and so spiritual that it is almost as commonly used in Christian worship as the apostolic benediction.

Words of the mouth are mockery if the heart does not meditate; the shell is nothing without the kernel; but both together are useless unless accepted; and even if accepted by man, it is all vanity if not acceptable in the sight of God. We must in prayer view Jehovah as our strength enabling, and our Redeemer saving, or we shall not pray aright, and it is well to feel our personal interest so as to use the word my, or our prayers will be hindered. Our near Kinsman's name, our Goel or Redeemer, makes a blessed ending to the Psalm; it began with the heavens, but it ends with him whose glory fills heaven and earth. Blessed Kinsman, give us now to meditate acceptably upon thy most sweet love and tenderness.
 
THE ART OF MEDITATION
by George Mylne

(From "Lessons for the Christian's Daily Walk" 1859)

"So I applied my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things." Ecclesiastes 7:25

We live in stirring days, when deeds are everything--when closet work is often neglected for active business, and little time is given to meditation. Yet, with more thought and prayer--wholesome activity would be greater in the end, and all our actions more successful. Time is not lost, which is spent in meditation--in searching wisdom's ways, and seeking out profound realities. There is one who often meditates--and yet accomplishes much. There is another who hastens--and yet does little.

None works so heartily, nor reaps so fully--
as he whose wits are sharpened by prayer and meditation.

Reading either Scripture or Christian books, apart from meditation, does little good. It is much the same as not digesting what you eat--this only starves the soul. How many read the Bible thus!

The art of meditation may be learned by dint of effort.

You say, "I am quite unused to meditate. How shall I begin?" Deal gently with yourself at first. Select your subject--some passage from the Word. Then fix the time you choose to give; say, five minutes at a time. Begin, and think aloud. This makes it easier, and saves the mind from distracted thoughts, the hardest task of all. The sound even of your own voice will help you; it is like speaking to a friend. And what is meditation, but communing with self (Ed: And with God through His Word)--that self may be a constant hearer.

But, more than all, make it a time of prayer--of communing with God. This helps the matter greatly. Take the words of Scripture--and ask Jesus what they mean. In doing this, the mind is exercised. A glow of thought attends the effort. You honor Jesus; and He will honor you, by pouring out a largeness of capacity--a quicker mind. The interchange of thought between you and Jesus goes on apace, and you are surprised to find how long the exercise has lasted.

Thus meditation grows, the more it is exercised. It . . .

feeds the soul,
expands the mind,
increases thought, and,
best of all, it brings you into fellowship with Jesus.

This is the very life and soul of meditation.

RELATED
RESOURCES

A Simple Study
On Meditation

Below you will find the 23 Scriptures in NASB that are translated with the word "meditate" or "meditation". Read through these passages and observe for answers to the questions "who, what, when, where, why or how?" (see discussion of 5W'S & H type questions - Related Resource: Inductive Bible Study) For the most accurate interpretation, you will want to click each respective link to check the corresponding context. Where are most of the references found?  What is one to meditate upon in each of these uses? As you discipline yourself for godliness (1Ti 4:7, 8-note) and learn the art of interrogating the Biblical text (remember you are conversing with the Living God in and through His living Word - don't ever lose the sense of awe at this priceless, precious privilege!) for as you interact (actively, rather than how so many read the Scriptures - passively) you will be in a sense "meditating"... in this case you are meditating on what the Bible teaches about meditation! Make your observations into a list or a short paragraph with a Biblical description of meditation. Finally, pray some of these passages to our Father Who delights to see His children "chewing the cud" of His Word.

Gen 24:63   And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. (Who? When? Where?)

Joshua 1:8
(note)   "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. (Who? Who speaking? To whom? Why? What is the context? When?, etc)

Job 15:4   "Indeed, you do away with reverence, and hinder meditation before God.

Psalm 1:2
 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 4:4   Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 19:14   Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 27:4
 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 49:3
   My mouth will speak wisdom; and the meditation of my heart will be understanding.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 63:6  When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night watches,  (
Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 77:6  I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart; and my spirit ponders.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 77:12
   I will meditate on all Thy work, and muse on Thy deeds.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 104:34  Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:15  I will meditate on Thy precepts, And regard Thy ways.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:23  Even though princes sit and talk against me, Thy servant meditates on Thy statutes.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:27  Make me understand the way of Thy precepts, so I will meditate on Thy wonders.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:48  And I shall lift up my hands to Thy commandments, Which I love; and I will meditate on Thy statutes.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:78
 May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall meditate on Thy precepts.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:97
 O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:99
 I have more insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation.   (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 119:148   My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Thy word.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 143:5  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands.  (Spurgeon's note)

Psalm 145:5
  On the glorious splendor of Thy majesty, And on Thy wonderful works, I will meditate.  (Spurgeon's note)

Isaiah 33:18  Your heart will meditate on terror: "Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?"

Dawson Trotman illustrated Biblical meditation by comparing the way cows retrieve the cud on which they chew...

A cow eats grass as it grazes early in the morning. When the sun gets hot (Ed: When we are tempted, when we experience unexpected trials, etc), it will lie in the shade of a tree, and through the use of a unique elevator system it will bring up the grass from one stomach (Ed: The verses we have memorized. The passages we read that morning. The Scriptures in the sermon we heard on Sunday, etc.) and thoroughly masticate it (Ed: We "chew the cud" of the Scriptures the Spirit brings to our mind). When this is finished, it will put it into another stomach, having gotten from it everything possible in the way of nutrients.

BIBLICAL MEDITATION: Hampton Keathley, III in his excellent summary from Bible.org writes that...

"Meditation means “the act of focusing one’s thoughts: to ponder, think on, muse.” Meditation consists of reflective thinking or contemplation, usually on a specific subject to discern its meaning or significance or a plan of action. " (click for entire article - highly recommended)

QUIET TIME: SEVEN MINUTES WITH GOD:

A good place to begin if your quiet time has become too "quiet" or your schedule has become too busy for time alone with God (a place we all have been from time to time).

MEMORIZING HIS WORD:

Illustrations, helps, devotionals, testimonials, etc on the value of memorizing God's Word

BORN TO REPRODUCE:

A short biography on the abundant life of Dawson Trotman founder of The Navigators. If you are not familiar with how God supernaturally used this man, you NEED TO READ his encouraging, motivating biography (click), because every saint is exhorted to

"remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith" (Heb 13:8-note)

But we cannot imitate one whom we do not know.

MEDITATE ON THE WORD DAY & NIGHT: PSALM1 (Ps 1) by John Piper who explains that meditation on the Word is difficult if one does not first memorize it and that

"the depth and solidity and certainty of your walk with God and your communion with God will rise and fall with whether God's own written Word is the warp and woof of the fabric of your fellowship." (entire sermon) (See on site exposition of Psalm 1 notes Ps 1:11:21:3)

MEDITATION - A Thermostat And A Thermometer!

What do you think about in the still of the night? Ps 63:6, 7 give the setting for David’s satisfaction in Ps 63:3, 4, 5: David’s thoughts were consumed with God, even in the still of the night, and what we think often about is closest to our hearts. A mind full of God is a good indicator of a “fit” spirituality. Like the blessed man of Psalm 1 (Ps 1:1, 2, 3 - see notes Ps 1:11:21:3), our delight should be the law of the Lord, and on His law we should meditate day and night. Meditation could be compared to both a thermostat and a thermometer. While a thermostat controls the temperature in a room, a thermometer measures the temperature. Meditation on Scripture does both—it measures our spiritual temperature, and it controls and changes it. To discover how strong you are spiritually, take an inventory of your thought life. Are your thoughts centered on God, His glories, His grace, His Son, and His Word? If so, you will be transformed. (From Brian Hedges: A Picture of Spiritual Health - Life Action Revival Ministries) (See also Brian Hedges' article - Our Greatest Treasure)

We all know that we should be growing in Christ, but sometimes we forget that God holds us responsible to use the tools He has provided for our growth. Christians of another generation described these tools as “means of grace.” They include reading and meditating on Scripture, praying, fasting, attending corporate worship, and celebrating the Lord’s Table. (Brian Hedges - Habits of Holiness)

Someone once said that 1 in 100 Christians read Scripture regularly; 1 in 1000 memorize Scripture; but only 1 in 10,000 meditate! Leonard Ravenhill was once asked for advice by an aspiring young preacher. His answer? “Meditate. Meditate. Meditate.” (Brian Hedges - Staying in the Battle)

MEDITATION 

Henry Blackaby writes that...

Scripture is wonderful, if you meditate on it. Our problem is we read without meditation. Your life will never be anchored like a tree without meditation. Some say,

"I’ve read through the Bible at least once every year."

"Well, that’s wonderful, but your life will not be anchored by a river of living water until you stop and meditate on God’s Word. It’s the one who meditates on God’s Word day and night who becomes like a tree planted by the rivers of water. So, you really need to know what meditating is. Now, in our generation, we talk about transcendental meditation. On television we can see the stereotypical meditator, eyes closed, mumbling the same phrase over and over. That’s not biblical meditation at all.  Let me tell you my own definition of meditation. Meditation is that moment when God confronts you with the truth about Himself. It is that moment when you go into the presence of God and let God discuss it with you until you know exactly how to respond to Him, however long it takes." (Meditation, Henry Blackaby)

NAVE'S TOPIC: Meditation

General scriptures concerning

Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2; 4:4; 19:14; 39:3; 49:3; 63:5,6; 73:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 77:10, 11, 12; 104:34; 119:11,15,16,23,48,55,59,78,97, 98, 99,148; 139:17,18; 143:5; 1Timothy 4:13, 14, 15

INSTANCE OF 

Isaac  Genesis 24:63

See also R A Torrey's Character of a Renewed Heart

The Navigators is an international, interdenominational Christian organization. Jesus Christ gave His followers a Great Commission in Matthew 28.19. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations..." The primary aim of the Navigators is to help fulfill Christ's Great Commission by making disciples and developing disciple makers in every nation. Edited into digital media from a print media booklet not naming author, bearing no date, claiming no copyright, published by The Navigators. This electronic text edition, although slightly different on format, is also issued freely into the public domain.

 

BIBLICAL MEDITATION:
DEVOTIONALS AND ILLUSTRATIONS


Meditate
upon these things; give thyself wholly to them,
that thy profiting may appear to all. 1Ti 4:15

The chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has often stressed the importance of family Bible reading. Some years ago in a letter to the American Bible Society he said, "Inspiration has been the keynote of America's phenomenal growth . . . and the backbone of its greatness. . . . This inspiration has been from faith in God . . . and in the belief that the Holy Bible is His inspired Word. Reading the Scriptures within the family circle is more important today than ever before. As a small boy I sat at my mother's knee while she read the Word to me and explained its meanings with stories as we went along. It served to make the bond of faith between us much stronger. Then there were those wonderful nights when my father would gather all the chil­dren around him and read aloud verses from the Bible. This led to family discussions which were interesting, lively, and informa­tive. Those wonderful sessions left me with an imprint of the power of faith and . . . prayer which has sustained me in trying moments throughout my life."

Regrettably, family altars are fast disappearing from the American scene. People are too busy. The family is seldom together long enough to enjoy such sweet moments of fellowship — and the world is much the poorer for it! The Word of God constantly admonishes us to meditate upon its contents, for only as we ab­sorb its teachings, believe its promises, and hide its precepts in our hearts can we prosper spiritually and live the "more abundant life."

Take a cue from the letter of J. Edgar Hoover; and if you have not yet established a definite time for Bible study in your home, start now — even if you can devote only five minutes a day to this necessary task. Man cannot live by bread alone. He must find sustenance for his spirit by appropriating the truths of God through the avenue of prayer and careful meditation.

How precious is the Book divine,
By inspiration given!
Bright as a lamp its precepts shine,
To guide our souls to Heaven. — J. Fawcett

A Bible that is falling apart
usually belongs to a person who is not!

No Fast Food In The Bible
Read: Ps 119:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24  

I will meditate on Your precepts,
and contemplate Your ways. . --Psalm 119:15

I love the sight of cows lying in the field, chewing their cud. But what is cud? And why do they spend so much time chewing it?

Cows first fill their stomachs with grass and other food. Then they settle down for a good, long chew. They bring the food back up from their stomachs and rework what they've already eaten, assimilating its goodness and transforming it into rich milk. Time-consuming? Yes. A waste of time? Not if they want to give good milk.

The phrase "chewing the cud" is used to describe the process of meditation. The writer of Psalm 119 obviously did a lot of mental chewing as he read God's Word. No fast food for him! If we follow his example of careful and prayerful Scripture reading, we will:

Be strengthened against sin (Psalm 119:11).

Find delight in learning more about God (Psalm 119:15, 16).

Discover wonderful spiritual truths (Psalm 119:18).

Find wise counsel for daily living (Psalm 119:24). (
See Spurgeon's notes on Ps 119)

Meditation is more than reading the Bible and believing it. It's applying Scripture to everyday life.

God's Word is not meant to be fast food. Take time for a good long chew. --J E Yoder  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word. --Lathbury

To be a healthy Christian,
don't treat the Bible as snack food.

There When You Need It
I have hidden Your Word in my heart
that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119:11-
note).

One thing about students: They know how to memorize! Let's face it-you have to if you want to survive. Whether it's the symbols of all the elements in chemistry, the names of all the bones in the human body, or the chronological sequence of Shakespeare's 23 plays, you can learn huge amounts of information to pass your exams.

It's a good thing God gave us such large-capacity brains. We not only store the info we study, but we also keep it all in order and can recall it when we need it. A magazine called THINK reports that our brains can store enough information to fill several million books! Think about that the next time you feel like complaining when your science instructor says to memorize the distance of each of the nine planets from the sun.

Classroom work, though, may not be the best use of memory. As good as that is, a better use is to "hide" God's Word in your heart. Then the Holy Spirit can help you recall it when you need it.

Remember Chet Bitterman, the Wycliffe missionary? He was kidnapped by Colombian terrorists and held captive 7 weeks before being killed. Before his capture, Chet had memorized 1 Peter, a book written to first-century believers who were suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. During Bitterman's captivity, he wrote his wife a letter in which he quoted 1Peter 3:15, 16-notes. He said he was using those verses to strengthen and guide him in his response to his captors. Months earlier, when he was memorizing 1 Peter, he had no way of knowing how he would be needing it.

So, in addition to memorizing the names of all the parts of speech, why not memorize some of God's Word. Hide it in your heart. No telling when you'll need it. —D Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

REFLECTION

Why is it so easy for me to remember the bad things in life and hard to remember the good things?

What Bible passages should I be memorizing? How about Psalm 1- notes, Ps 23, 100; Isaiah 53; John 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; Philippians 2:5-8-notes?

What methods can I use to improve memorization? 3x5 cards? Work with a friend?

Carry your Bible in your heart.
 

The Book With God's Signature
Read: Psalm  (Psalm 119:121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128)
(
See Spurgeon on Ps 119)

I love Your commandments more than gold,
yes, than fine gold! . (Psalm 119:127)

London music student Richard Steel prized the old violin that had once been his grandfather's. One day Richard tried to help a bus driver who couldn't get close to the curb because of a barrier. Putting aside his old violin, he removed the obstacle. But then the driver, unable to see the books and the violin, drove over them.

The crushed books could be replaced. And the old violin, though valued for sentimental reasons, could be replaced too--or could it?

As Richard examined his splintered instrument, inside he found the signature of Stradivarius, the greatest of all violin makers. The old violin was a priceless and irreplaceable masterpiece. The Sotheby auction firm estimated that it had been worth more than $700,000.

Many families pass treasured Bibles from one generation to the next as spiritual heirlooms. But these treasures are often treated as mere antiques while their pages go unread and their promises remain unclaimed. The message of salvation goes unheeded. Its true value is never realized.

The Bible is more than just a record of long-ago events and ancient wisdom. It is the Book that bears God's signature. It is His message of truth and grace to us. Let's not neglect it. Let's read it, believe it, and obey it. --V C Grounds  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine,
And jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths
For every searcher there. --Hodder

Many people store the Bible on the shelf
instead of in their heart.
 

Ongoing Meditation
Read: (Psalm 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104)
(
See Spurgeon on Ps 119)

Your law...is my meditation all the day. --(Psalm 119:97)

Meditation on God's Word doesn't have to end when your devotional time is over. You can continue the blessing by taking Scripture with you throughout the day.

Some people memorize a passage or write it on a card so they can have it available to read when they get a few moments. An engineer uses his coffee breaks to continue his reflection on God's Word. Homemakers attach verses to the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Truckers put portions of the Bible on their dashboard.

Leslie B. Flynn tells of a brilliant college student who volunteered to work at a church camp and ended up as the designated potato peeler. A friend who admired her intelligence said,

"It's too bad you had to end up peeling potatoes."

She replied,

"I don't have to think about potatoes while I'm peeling them. So I think about my Bible verse for the day."

The psalmist indicated that he didn't read God's Word and then forget it. He meditated on it all day (Psalm 119:97). Likewise, the "blessed man" of Psalm 1 reflected on God's Word "day and night" (Psalm 1:2). And when the Word of God is in our minds from morning to night, we'll be more likely to obey it and far less likely to violate it. That's the value of ongoing meditation. --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We must read Scripture every day
And meditate on what God said
To fight temptation from the world
And live a life that's Spirit led. --Sper

Reading the Bible without meditating on it
is like eating without chewing.
BIBLE STUDY

Continual meditation on the Word is not ineffectual … God, by one and another promise, establishes our faith. --John Calvin

Remember that memorization is a first step to meditation. You cannot chew what you have placed in your mouth!

We should always be chewing and sucking out the sweetness of this cud. -- Thomas Manton

What we take in by the Word we digest by meditation and let out by prayer. - Thomas Manton

Meditate on the Word in the Word. - John Owen

Read it to get the facts, study it to get the meaning, meditate on it to get the benefit. - David Shepherd

F B Meyer rightly said that...

Devout meditation on the Word is more important to soul-health even than prayer. It is more needful for you to hear God's words than that God should hear yours, though the one will always lead to the other.

 

QUOTATIONS ON
BIBLICAL MEDITATION

The first quote --

Quotations are good
but the actual practice of meditation is better!

John Piper in Desiring God has the following quotation from the Autobiography of George Muller...

George Müller (1805-1898) is famous for establishing orphanages in England and for joyfully depending on God for all his needs. How did he kindle this joy and faith? In 1841 he made a life-changing discovery. The testimony of this from his autobiography has proved to be of tremendous value in my life, and I pray that it will also bear fruit in yours:

While I was staying at Nailsworth, it pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost, though now...more than forty years have since passed away.

The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.

Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning. Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental, communion with the Lord. I began therefore, to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning, early in the morning.

The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake or preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so156 that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer.

When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.

The difference between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events I almost invariably began with prayer.... But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray.

I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

It often now astonished me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man.

As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man: not prayer, but the Word of God: and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts....

I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself, and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow-believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials in various ways than I had ever had before; and after having now above forty years tried this way, I can most fully, in the fear of God, commend it. How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials and the temptations of the day come upon one![6] Autobiography of George Müller, comp. Fred Bergen (London: J. Nisbet, 1906), 152-4.

The following quotes on Meditation are from a compilation by John Blanchard - it is without doubt the best compilation of quotations available and every Bible teacher and preacher should secure a personal copy

Hardback copy of The Complete Gathered Gold- A Treasury of Quotations for Christians

Here are links to computer versions of this recommended resource...

(theWord Bible software - a free program [but Blanchard's book must be purchased] that is highly recommended)

(Complete Gathered Gold - WORDsearch Bible - this program is not free but is relatively affordable)

Prayer is the wing wherewith the soul flies to heaven and meditation the eye wherewith we see God.
Ambrose

Meditation fits a man for supplication.
Anon.

Meditation has a digesting power and turns special truth into nourishment.
Anon.

The hearer of God's Word ought to be like those animals that chew the cud; he ought not only to feed upon it, but to ruminate upon it.
Augustine

The vessels are fullest of grace which are nearest its spring. The more Christ's glory is beheld, the more men are changed.
William Bagshawe

Meditation is the acting of all the powers of the soul.
Richard Baxter

Meditation is the life of most other duties.
Richard Baxter

A man may think on God every day and meditate on God no day.
William Bridge

Continual meditation on the Word is not ineffectual;... God, by one and another promise, establishes our faith.
John Calvin

Nothing leads to self-repudiation so much as spiritual meditation on the corruption and wickedness of your heart.
Walter J. Chantry

Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. (cp Ep 1:18, 19-note)
G. K. Chesterton

Meditate on our making, that we may fall in love with our Maker.
David Dickson

There is no place like the feet of Jesus for resolving the problems that perplex our hearts.
G. B. Duncan (cp Luke 10:38, 39, 40, 41, 42).

Meditation is the soul's chewing.
William Grimshaw

Speed-reading may be a good thing, but it was never meant for the Bible. It takes calm, thoughtful, prayerful meditation on the Word to extract its deepest nourishment.
Vance Havner

When we are too busy to sharpen the axe, we are too busy.
Vance Havner

Meditation is the best help to memory.
Matthew Henry

It is easier to go six miles to hear a sermon, than to spend one quarter of an hour in meditating on it when I come home.
Philip Henry

Meditation keeps out Satan. It increases knowledge, it inflames love, it works patience, it promotes prayer, it evidences sincerity.
Philip Henry

The mind grows by what it feeds on. Josiah Holland (Amen! Or in "computerese" - "G.I.G.O." - Garbage In, Garbage Out!)

Meditation is a serious intention of the mind whereby we come to search out the truth and settle it effectively upon the heart.
Thomas Hooker

There is such a thing as sacred idleness.
George MacDonald

If it is the will of the Holy Ghost that we attend to the soul, certainly it is not his will that we neglect the mind.
Charles Malik

Truths are concocted and ripened by meditation.
Thomas Manton

True contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace.
Thomas Merton

Meditation is a scriptural duty... as binding as Bible reading and prayer.
John J. Murray

If I have observed anything by experience it is this: a man may take the measure of his growth and decay in grace according to his thoughts and meditations upon the person of Christ, and the glory of Christ's kingdom, and of his love.
John Owen

Meditate on the Word in the Word.
John Owen

In meditation, the whole man is engaged in deep and prayerful thought on the true meaning and bearing of a particular biblical passage.
J. I. Packer

Meditation is not giving free rein to your imagination, nor is it reading your Bible for beautiful thoughts. Meditation is a discipline.
J. I. Packer

Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.
J. I. Packer

Sustained imaginative reflection is, if I am not mistaken, so rare today that few of us understand its power to motivate, and are not ourselves motivated by it.
J. I. Packer

The minister who is to preach biblically can only do so as a result of much meditation.
J. I. Packer

Contemplation is a perspective glass to see our Saviour in; but examination is a looking-glass to see ourselves in.
William Secker

Meditation is the grand means of our growth in grace; without it, prayer itself is an empty service.
Charles Simeon

Our design in meditation must be rather to cleanse our hearts than to clear our minds.
George Swinnock (cp Pr 4:23-
see notes)

Whatever engages my attention when I should be meditating on God and things external does injury to my soul.
A. W. Tozer

Meditation is the bellows of the affections.
Thomas Watson

Reading and conversation may furnish us with many ideas of men and things, yet it is our own meditation that must form our judgement.
Isaac Watts

The heart is heated by meditation and cold truth is melted into passionate action.
Donald S. Whitney

“Holding the Word of God in your heart until it has affected every phase of your life....This is meditation.” Andrew Murray

Memorization is the first step to meditation. - Jerry Bridges (see Memorizing His Word)

As meditation on this word, 'eternity', has been so beneficial to my own soul, I would advise others to make the same experiment. - Thomas Jones

It is to our shame that we have imbibed too much of this world’s materialism and unbelief. What do we need more than to meditate on the precious covenant promises of Holy Scripture until our souls have drunk deeply into the spirit of a biblical supernaturalism? What could be more profitable than to eat and drink of heaven’s biblical nourishment till our souls become vibrant with the age-old prayer for revival, and till we find grace to plead our suit acceptably at the throne of grace? -- Maurice Roberts  in The Prayer for Revival (Psalm 89)

We ought to apply our minds to meditation upon a future life, so that this world may become cheap to us. - John Calvin (I would add Spurgeon said "A little faith gets our souls into heaven. A great gets heaven [and our great future] into our souls!")

Meditate on our making, that we may fall in love with our Maker. - David Dickson (E.g., Meditate on Ps 8:1-9 THEN read Spurgeon's meditation) (Cp Job 7:17-18, Ps 144:4)

Matthew Henry has many comments regarding meditation including the following...

"To meditate in God’s word is to discourse concerning the great things contained in it, with a close application of mind, a fixedness of thought, till we be suitably affected with those things and experience the savour and power of them in our hearts."...

"meditation is the best preparative for prayer, so prayer is the best issue of meditation"...

"If we willingly banish holy meditations in our solitary hours, Satan will soon occupy our minds with sinful imaginations" ...

"Meditation and prayer are blessed means of strengthening faith and hope"...

"Meditation. God’s words must be laid up in our hearts, that our thoughts may be daily employed about them" ...

"In retirement and in meditation the Christian character is formed and perfected" ...

"To meditate in God’s word, is to discourse with ourselves concerning the great things contained in it, with close application of mind and fixedness of thought. We must have constant regard to the word of God, as the rule of our actions, and the spring of our comforts; and have it in our thoughts night and day. For this purpose no time is amiss."...

"Those who would have clear views of heaven, must get as near to heaven as they can, on the mount of meditation and faith" ...

"we do not meditate on God’s precepts to good purpose, unless our good thoughts produce good works" ...

Isaac "went out to take the advantage of a silent evening and a solitary place, for meditation and prayer; those divine exercises by which we converse with God and our own hearts" ...

F B Meyer (Our Daily Homily)

Psalm 1:3 (note;) Whose leaf also doth not Wither. (r.v.)

“If a man abide not in Me,” said our Lord, “he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.” The same thought is here. Thrust down your rootlets to the oozy river bed, and there is no doubt about your continuing earnest, patient, God filled. The sun of temptation may strike you with sword-like beams, but you will have a source of supply which they cannot exhaust. The secret of an unwithering beauty is in the Word of God, delighted in and meditated upon day and night. And what is the Word of God, but the life of God translated into human speech?

Wean yourself from all beside, and learn to feed on God. Withdraw your rootlets from men and things, and let them travel to the river of God, which is full of water. Close other doors, and open those that lead out on to the terrace, whence you may behold the far-spread landscape of what He is, and says, and is willing to be to us all.

Note that word meditate. The root must lie in contact with the stream, and the soul most steep itself in the Word of God. We must give the truth time to enter and pervade our souls. We must have retreats, shut away from the rush of life, up and down the glades of which we may tread. These retreats are oftener found within the soul; than without. Just as the temple of old, there was Solomon’s porch, where Jesus walked, so in the temple within there are closes and cloisters, where we may commune with our heart, and be still. 

F B Meyer (Our Daily Homily)

Leviticus 11:3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof and cheweth the cud. (r.v.)

The animals, in which these two characteristics met, were reckoned clean, and therefore fit for food. It is certain that the minute particularity of these words has some further reference than to the diet of Israel, important though that was, or to accentuate with every meal the necessity of their being a separate people. We, at least, may gather this lesson, that in our daily experience we must combine meditation and separation.

Meditation. — The cattle do not simply browse on the pastures, but they lie down to chew the cud. It is not enough to peruse our allotted Scripture portion; we must ruminate upon it, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, and scripture with scripture. The Holy Ghost will take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, and He will bring all things to our remembrance.

Separation. — “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” “The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” We have not meditated to good purpose unless we have felt its keen edge. Detachment from the world must follow on true attachment to Christ. Love to Naomi will draw Ruth from Moab across the Jordan.

The two must be combined. — The swine divideth the hoof, but cheweth not the cud, and was therefore unclean. A man may profess to love his Bible, but the supreme test is his daily separation from evil. On the other hand, our daily life ought to emanate, not from without, which is Pharisaism, but from within, where we chew the cud of holy meditation. (Our Daily Homily)

F B Meyer writes...

 The habit of meditating on God's Word helps to induce the quiet heart and devout spirit which realizes the Lord's presence. The Bible is like the garden in which the Lord God walked in the cool of the day; read it much and prayerfully, and you will meet Him in its glades. ( March 27, Our Daily Walk)

The Blessed, or Happy, man is also described positively (Ps 1:2-notes). This delight comes as naturally as appetite for food, when the soul is in a healthy condition. Under the inspiration of that delight, we shall meditate on God's Word continually, storing it in the heart, and reciting it when travelling, or in darkness. (May 11, Our Daily Walk)

Out of faith comes faithfulness. Faith is your trust in another; faithfulness is your worthiness to be trusted. A faithful soul, one that can be absolutely relied upon, is of great price. Nothing so quickens our faith as to meditate on God's absolute trustworthiness. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him." (November 12, Our Daily Walk)

The name of God is good, a wholesome theme for meditation, because it includes his nature. To meditate on it is soul-quieting and elevating. O troubled one, get away to some quiet spot and wait on God! (Our Daily Homily, Psalm 52:8)

Meditate on these three attributes. He is the God of your mercy, the Fountain from which pure mercy flows, and nothing but mercy; He is your High Tower, Whom you may put between yourself and Saul’s hate; He is your Strength, not that you receive strength from Him, but that you appropriate Him as your strength. Stay thus musing and resting, until in that very house, pent in and besieged, you shall break into song, singing of God’s strength, singing aloud of His mercy in the morning. (Our Daily Homily, Psalm 59:9)

Vance Havner commenting on "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide" (Ge 24:63) says

Isaac would definitely be out of style today. When have you seen anybody walking alone in quiet meditation? Such a stroller would be viewed with suspicion by his hustling, car‑borne contemporaries.

I have sought to emphasize certain themes‑revival, discipleship, the Lordship of Christ, the filling of the Spirit, the Lord's return. I have endeavored to call preachers to more meditation and reflection and solitude in this harassed and ear‑splitting day.

I have tried to call on Christians, and especially preachers, to fine time for quiet meditation and reflection; to be still and know God. If we spent more time like our Lord, by the sea or on the mountain in meditation and prayer, we would not be so easily addled by every little theological and sociological fad that comes by. I would say to preachers: "Get alone in the woods with your Bible, away from 'the madding crowd's ignoble strife/ telephones, and committee meetings...Read and pray until the fire bums in your bones."

SOME
"SPURGEONISMS"

(Quotes from C H Spurgeon)

Ps 5:1. Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. -- Sometimes we pray right off, as David did when he cried to the Lord, “Hear me when I call.” At other times, we sit down to meditate, and think over what we want to say to the Lord in prayer, as David did when he said, “ ‘O Lord, consider my meditation.’ What I have considered do thou consider.” A well-considered prayer is very likely to succeed with God.

Ps 18:3. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: -- David first said, “I will love,” now he says, “I will call.” The “I wills” of the Psalms have furnished various writers with an admirable subject; and they may supply you with a profitable line of meditation: “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.” “I will mix praise with my prayer. There is no praying like that; if you have prayer in one hand, have praise in the other. The mixture of these two perfumes will make an exceedingly sweet incense to present unto the Lord. To praise and pray, to pray and praise, is an admirable way of living. Have I not often told you that it resembles our breathing? By prayer we breathe in, and by praise we breathe out.

Psa 23:2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: -- Here is blessed rest, and here is also gracious provision for the needs of the sheep. The pasture is sweet and tender, and there is so much of the green grass that it cannot all be eaten, and the superabundance makes a soft bed for the tired sheep: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Repose, O believer, in the abundant provision of God’s grace! A sheep needs sometimes to lie down. It is as necessary for its health that it should have time to digest its food as that it should have proper and sufficient food to eat. May the Lord graciously give to each of you the sweet rest of meditation and contemplation, — that blessed rest, to which faith attains when it grows into firm confidence and full assurance, so that you may be able to say with David, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.”

Ps 63:6. When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. -- When one is living near to God, he is not afraid of sleeplessness. He would be glad of the rest that sleep brings, but if he cannot sleep, he finds a sweeter rest in God. I remarked, one day, to one who lives very near to God, that it was a weary and sad thing to lie sleepless, and he said to me something that stuck by me. “I do not think so,” said he, “for, when I wake in the night, my Heavenly Father talks so sweetly to me that I do not want to go to sleep, and when he does not want to speak to me, I speak to him in prayer, and so the hours glide away most happily.”

Ps 77:12. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. -- Those who talk ought to meditate; otherwise they grind wind. Those who meditate will talk; otherwise the miller grinds only for himself.

Ps 77:11-12. I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, — “I will not have any more of my works; I will meditate on thy work. I will get to thee, my God, and think of what thou hast done; especially of thy works of grace, how brightly they shine! I will meditate also of all thy work,”

Ps 81:7. I answered thee in the secret place of thunder: I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah. -- A very humbling sentence this! God has often proved us, and he has often disproved us. When he has tried us, we have not endured the test as we ought to have done. We have murmured and complained, and the waters, which ought to have been waters of joy and of happy patience, have been waters of strife. “Selah “That is, “Pause,” screw up the harp-strings, lift up the heart. Such a Psalm as this is to be read by installments, with little halts on the road, for us to meditate and think upon the truth brought before us. We may well pause here when we hear the Lord reminding us of our faults and of his great mercy to us: “I delivered thee; I answered thee; I proved thee at the waters of Meribah. Selah.”

Ps 119:15. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. -- Blessed meditation! The lack of meditation is one of the faults of the days in which we live, we are so very busy that we have not time to study God’s Word; but the psalmist said, “I will meditate in thy precepts:” that is the secret strength; “and have respect unto thy ways:” that is the public result.

If we meditated more,
we should live better.
God help us so to do!

Ps 119:147-148. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. - It was not now and then that David was in a devotional frame of mind. He continued so. He began early, but he continued late. The prayer of the down was followed by the watch of the midnight.

Ps 119:148 - “My eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in Your Word. As he [David] was up before the sun, so he was praying before they set the guards for the night watch. And when they were changing guards and he heard the cry of the hour from the watchman, he was still crying to God! And at the same time he was meditating—‘that I might meditate in Your Word.’ Ah, that is the way to cry! Meditation is very much neglected nowadays. We read, perhaps, too much. We meditate, for certain, too little. And meditation is to reading like digestion after eating. The cows in the pasture eat the grass and then they lie down and chew the cud and get all the good they can out of what they have eaten. Reading snips off the grass, but meditation chews the cud! Therefore, ‘read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.’”—1896, Sermon #2464

Ps 119:148. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. -- Before the watchman can cry the hour of night, mine eyes are upon the Word of God, and I am studying that. Oh! it is well when we prove our love to the Word of God by our meditation upon it, our constant, searching into it.

Lam 3:27-28. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. -- When it makes a man get alone, to contemplate and meditate, affliction is already doing him good.

Lk 23:25. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. -- Sad scene. May our hearts be broken, and made tender, end sanctified by meditation upon it.

Jn 17:23. And that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me -- This is a great deep, the words are very simple and clear, but their meaning is unfathomable. Is it really true that the Father has loved his chosen ones as he has loved his only-begotten Son? It is such a wondrous thing that one might be willing to lie awake at night to meditate upon the amazing truth here revealed in our Savior’s words: “Thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Jn 20:20. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. -- These were the marks to help their recognition of him. These were the memorials to excite their gratitude. These, too, were the tokens of his condescension; for a man does not show his wounds to any but to those whom he loves; “He showed unto them his hands and his side.” You cannot see that sight, brethren, but you can meditate upon it. Think how he gave those blessed hands to the nails, and that precious side to the soldier’s spear; and, as you think of them, let your love flow forth unto him who suffered thus for you.

Gal 1:17. Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but went into Arabia, —What he did there, we do not know; but probably he had a time of quiet meditation and prayer, all alone:

Heb 3:1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus: — Oh, that He had more consideration at our hands! Consider Him; you cannot know all His excellence, all His value to you, except He is the subject of your constant meditation. Consider Him; think of His nature, His offices, His work, His promises, His relation to you: “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”

Heb 12:1-3. Look to him, look at him, study him, know all you can about him-, meditate upon him,

“‘My meditation of Him shall be sweet.’ ‘Of Him’—that is, of the Well-Beloved of the Father, of the Well-Beloved of the Church, of the Well-Beloved of my own soul—of Him who loved me, in whose blood I have washed my robes and made them white. It is meditation ‘of Him’ that is sweet—not merely of doctrine about Him, but of Him, of Himself—‘my meditation of Him.’ Not merely of His offices, and His work, and all that concerns Him, but of His own dear Self! There lies the sweetness and the closer we come to His blessed Person, the more truly have we approached the very center of bliss!” From Sermon #2403

“The old fable speaks of the Augean stable, foul enough to have poisoned a nation, which Hercules cleansed, but our sins were fouler than that! Dunghills are sweet compared with these abominations! What a degrading task it seems for Christ to undertake—the purging of our sins! The sweepers of the streets, the dishwashers of the kitchen, the cleansers of the sewers have honorable work compared with this of purging sin! Yet the holy Christ, incapable of sin, stooped to purge our sins! I want you to meditate upon that wondrous work and to remember that He did it before He went back to Heaven. Is it not a wonderful thing that Christ purged our sins even before we had committed them? There they stood, before the sight of God, as already existent in all their hideousness—but Christ came, and purged them. This, surely, ought to make us sing the song of songs! Before I sinned, He purged my sins away—amazing and strange as it is, yet it is so! ”—1899, Sermon #2635

‘Prayer, meditation, and affliction,’ says Melanchthon, ‘are the three things that make the minister of God.’ There must be prayer. There must be meditation and there must be affliction. You cannot pronounce the promise correctly in the ears of the afflicted unless you, yourself, have known its preciousness in your own hour of trial. It is God’s will that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, should often work by men according to that ancient word of His, ‘Comfort you, comfort you My people, says your God. Speak you comfortably to Jerusalem.’ These comforting men are to be made—they are not born so—and they have to be made by passing through the furnace themselves. They cannot comfort others unless they have had trouble and have been comforted in it.”— 1899, Sermon #2640

“Meditation and prayer are twin sisters and both of them appear to me equally necessary to Christian life. I think meditation must exist where there is prayer, and prayer is sure to exist where there is meditation.”—1900, Sermon #2690

“If you were to get quite alone, as our Savior was in the wilderness, with nothing but the wild beasts round about you, you could not shut out the devil even then! Forty days He had for meditation, prayer and fasting, yet there was the devil waiting to assail Him again and again! So I repeat that not even solitude, if the lonely hours were spent in prayer, fasting and watching, could secure us immunity from temptation—it must and will attack us.”—1900, Sermon #2694

Meditation on
the love of Christ

“If I ever try to secure a quiet half-hour’s meditation upon His love to me, somebody is pretty sure to come and knock at the door. But if I can keep the door-knocker still, and get alone with my Lord and only think about His love to me—not trying to elaborate any theories, or to understand any doctrines, but just sitting down with the view of loving Him who gave Himself for me—I tell you, Sirs, that this thought is positively inebriating to the soul!”—Volume 52, Sermon #2986

“It used to be more common than it is now for godly men and women to spend hour after hour in solemn meditation upon the agonies of Christ upon the Cross. I tried, one day when I was alone, to get a vivid realization of that awful tragedy—and I succeeded to the breaking of my own heart—but I cannot describe the scene to you. That is a matter for private meditation rather than for public speech.”—Volume 57, Sermon #3276

“If I were to say, ‘Hands up, everyone who has a Bible,’ everybody’s hands here would go up. I suppose that nobody here is without a Bible. But if I were to ask, ‘How many here, constantly, as a habit and a delight, meditate upon the Scriptures?’—I wonder what answers I would receive? Well, I will not ask you that question, but let everybody ask it for himself and judge himself concerning it in the sight of God.”—Volume 54, Sermon #3090

“All things considered, I know of no meditation that is likely to be more profitable than a frequent consideration of the rest which remains for the people of God.”—Volume 62, Sermon #3499

MEDITATION—to be Practiced. -- Those who would be in health do not sit still in their houses to breathe such air as may come to them, but they walk abroad and seek out rural and elevated spots that they may inhale the invigorating breezes; and thus those godly souls who would be in a vigorous spiritual state, do not merely think upon such holy doctrines as may come into their minds in the ordinary course of thought, but they give time to meditation, they walk abroad in the fields of truth, and endeavour to climb the heights of gospel promises. It is said that Enoch walked with God: here is not an idle but an active communion. The road to bodily health is said to be a footpath, and the way to spiritual health is to exercise one's self in holy contemplation.

Beloved Christian reader, in matters of grace you need a daily supply. You have no store of strength. Day by day must you seek help from above. It is a very sweet assurance that a daily portion is provided for you. In the word, through the ministry, by meditation, in prayer, and waiting upon God you shall receive renewed strength. In Jesus all needful things are laid up for you. Then enjoy your continual allowance. Never go hungry while the daily bread of grace is on the table of mercy.

 
Genesis 24:63  “Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.”  -- Very admirable was his occupation. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them. We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.  (Morning and evening: Aug 15)

2 Peter 1:4 -- If you would know experimentally the preciousness of the promises, and enjoy them in your own heart, meditate much upon them. There are promises which are like grapes in the wine-press; if you will tread them the juice will flow. Thinking over the hallowed words will often be the prelude to their fulfilment. While you are musing upon them, the boon which you are seeking will insensibly come to you. Many a Christian who has thirsted for the promise has found the favour which it ensured gently distilling into his soul even while he has been considering the divine record; and he has rejoiced that ever he was led to lay the promise near his heart. But besides meditating upon the promises, seek in thy soul to receive them as being the very words of God. Speak to thy soul thus, “If I were dealing with a man’s promise, I should carefully consider the ability and the character of the man who had covenanted with me. So with the promise of God; my eye must not be so much fixed upon the greatness of the mercy—that may stagger me; as upon the greatness of the promiser—that will cheer me. My soul, it is God, even thy God, God that cannot lie, who speaks to thee. This word of his which thou art now considering is as true as his own existence. He is a God unchangeable. He has not altered the thing which has gone out of his mouth, nor called back one single consolatory sentence. Nor doth he lack any power; it is the God that made the heavens and the earth who has spoken thus. Nor can he fail in wisdom as to the time when he will bestow the favours, for he knoweth when it is best to give and when better to withhold. Therefore, seeing that it is the word of a God so true, so immutable, so powerful, so wise, I will and must believe the promise.” If we thus meditate upon the promises, and consider the Promiser, we shall experience their sweetness, and obtain their fulfilment.

How marvelous has been our experience of God’s gentleness! How gentle have been his corrections! How gentle his forbearance! How gentle his teachings! How gentle his drawings! Meditate upon this theme, O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened ere thou fallest asleep to-night.

Ruth 2:17 - Let me learn from Ruth, the gleaner. As she went out to gather the ears of corn, so must I go forth into the fields of prayer, meditation, the ordinances, and hearing the word to gather spiritual food. The gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear; her gains are little by little: so must I be content to search for single truths, if there be no greater plenty of them. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every gospel lesson assists in making us wise unto salvation.  (Morning and Evening - Aug 2)

Morning, October 12 “I will meditate in thy precepts.” — Psalm 119:15 -- There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom. Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it. Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this morning, “I will meditate in thy precepts.”

Phil 3:8 - Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with him. No, I must know him myself; I must know him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know him, not as the visionary dreams of him, but as the Word reveals him. I must know his natures, divine and human. I must know his offices—his attributes—his works—his shame—his glory. I must meditate upon him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”  (Morning and evening: Daily readings- Oct 14)

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Or this, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.” Our Master’s field is very rich; behold the handfuls. See, there they lie before thee, poor timid believer! Gather them up, make them thine own, for Jesus bids thee take them. Be not afraid, only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy.

From Morning and Evening (Feb 7) - Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss.

“Prepare us, Lord, by grace divine,
For thy bright courts on high;
Then bid our spirits rise, and join
The chorus of the sky.”

Commenting on Lk 24:47 - This unrivalled tutor (Jesus) used as his class-book the best of books. Although able to reveal fresh truth, he preferred to expound the old. He knew by his omniscience what was the most instructive way of teaching, and by turning at once to Moses and the prophets, he showed us that the surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning, or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God. The readiest way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea. When Jesus himself sought to enrich others, he wrought in the quarry of Holy Scripture. (From Evening Reading, January 18)

"Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by lack of careful meditation before it and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility. We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running, for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer"...

"Words are mockery if the heart does not meditate; but both together are useless unless accepted; and even if accepted by man, it is all vanity if not acceptable in the sight of God" ...

Commenting on "Selah" he writes..."Yes, pause, faithful singers. Here is abundant room for holy meditation"...

"We are usually in too much of a hurry: a little more holy meditation would make our words more suitable and our emotions more fervent" ...commenting on meditating on God's word "Sweet work to enter into Jehovah’s work of grace, and there to lie down and ruminate, every thought being absorbed in the one precious object...

It is well that the overflow of the mouth should indicate the good matter which fills the heart. Meditation makes rich talking; it is to be lamented that so much of the conversation of believers is utterly barren, because they take no time for contemplation. Meditative people should be talkers, otherwise they are mental misers, mill which grind corn only for the miller. The subject of our meditation should be choice, and then our talk will be edifying; if we meditate on folly and pretend to speak wisdom, our double mindedness will soon be known to everyone. Holy talk following upon meditation has a consoling power in it for ourselves as well as for those who listen"...

"Hurried reading is of little benefit; to sit down awhile and meditate is very profitable" ...

"Meditation is the soul of religion. We ought, therefore, both for our own food and for the Lord’s honor to be much occupied with meditation, and that meditation should chiefly dwell upon the Lord himself: it should be meditation of him. For want of it much communion is lost and much happiness is missed" ...

"No spiritual exercise is more profitable to the soul than that of devout meditation; why are many of us so exceeding slack in it?" ...

"It is instructive to find meditation so constantly connected with fervent prayer: it is the fuel which sustains the flame. How rare an article is it in these days"...

"Our Master’s field is full and rich. The precious promises lie in front of you. Gather them. Make them your own. Grasp these sweet promises. Thresh them by meditation. Feed on them with joy" ...

"Look for themes on which to meditate profitably. Get an anchor-hold on some great and clearly ascertained truth, a truth in which you can have no possible doubt. Then you may begin to be comforted"... "These busy days leave little time for meditation, yet there is no exercise more nourishing to faith, love, and grace. A transient thought of God may greatly bless, just as a touch of the Savior’s garment healed a woman (Mt 9:21–22). When we meditate, we lean on His embrace and enjoy the full fellowship of His love. David said, “I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches” (Ps 63:6).

Prayer, meditation, devotion, communion, are like a windlass to wind us up aloft; it is not lost time which we spend in such sacred exercises, for we are thus accumulating force, so that when we come down to our actual labour for God, we shall descend with an energy unknown to those to whom communion is unknown.

Oh for more meditation! It would mean more grace and more joy. May you and I find pleasure in our sleepless hours and enter into close fellowship with Him through heavenly meditation. Private meditation and devotion should be a dialogue between your soul and God. The Lord speaks to us through Scripture, and by prayer we speak to Him. When prayer is not urgent, read your Bible and hear His voice; then you will usually find it in your heart to pray. Speak to Him as you would speak to a friend. When you have expressed all your thoughts, let the Lord speak again, and realize His presence."...

"Ah, there is nothing that can so console your spirits and relieve all your distresses and troubles as the feeling that now you can meditate on the person of Jesus Christ" ...

"Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate and gates of carbuncle through which we behold the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye and enables us to see Jesus better than we could have seen Him if we had lived in the days of His flesh. Would that we were more taken up with the person, the work, and the beauty of our incarnate Lord" ...

"To have sweet sleep we must have sweet lives, sweet tempers, sweet meditations, and sweet love"...

"Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed." ...

"Meditate upon what you read: stop not at the surface; dive into the depths. Be not as the swallow which toucheth the brook with her wing, but as the fish which penetrates the lowest wave. Abide with your Lord: let him not be to you as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth for a night, but constrain him, saying, “Abide with us, for the day is far spent.” Hold him, and do not let him go." ...

"As friend met friend upon the city wall, so meet thou thy God in the way of holy prayer and meditation" ...

"Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss" ...

"Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy"

"I Will Meditate on Thy Precepts"  (from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening) - "There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser’s feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted.

So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth,
if we would get the wine of consolation there from.

Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it. Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this morning, “I will meditate in thy precepts.”

Click to read the Spurgeon's stirring sermon Quiet Musing

"Prayer, meditation, and temptation
make a minister" (1483–1546)
- Martin Luther 

J. Vernon McGee on Meditation

"Meditate is a very figurative word. It pictures a cow chewing her cud. I’m told that the cow has several compartments in her tummy. She can go out in the morning, graze on the grass when the dew is on it in the cool of the day. Then when it gets hot in the middle of the day, she lies down under a tree and begins to chew the cud. She moves the grass she had in the morning back up and now she masticates it, she goes over it again. That is what we do when we meditate. We go over what we have read. Way back in 1688 Bartholomew Ashwood said, “Meditation chews the cud.” My, how that is needed today in the lives of believers. Remember that James spoke of the man who beholds his natural face in a mirror, then “… immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” (Jas 1:24-note).

We are to meditate on the Word of God (which is God’s mirror that shows us what we really are). We are to allow the Word to shape our lives. My friend, God has no plan or program by which you are to grow and develop as a believer apart from His Word. You can become as busy as a termite in your church (and possibly with the same effect as a termite), but you won’t grow by means of activity. You will grow by meditating upon the Word of God—that is, by going over it again and again in your thinking until it becomes a part of your life. This is the practice of the happy (blessed) man (Psalm 1:1,2- see notes Psalm 1:1 1:2)." (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary:  Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Warren Wiersbe
on meditation

Commenting on "wait" in (Isa 40:31) he writes "If we trust ourselves, we will faint and fall; but if we wait on the Lord by faith, we will receive strength for the journey. The word “wait” does not suggest that we sit around and do nothing. It means “to hope,” to look to God for all that we need (Isa. 26:3; 30:15). This involves meditating on His character and His promises, praying, and seeking to glorify Him."

"As we meditate on the Word of God and apply it to our lives, the Spirit of God uses the Word to cleanse us and make us more like Christ (
2 Cor 3:18)." (Be Holy)

"Abraham was a man of faith who believed God’s word and knew how to apply it to specific situations and decisions. He sought to obey God’s word because true faith always results in obedience. The more you meditate on God’s Word, the more truth you will see in it and the more direction you will get from it. This applies to decisions about marriage, vocation, ministry, or any other area in life. Unless we trust God’s Word and obey it, He will not direct us (
Pr 3:5–6)." (Be obedient).

"The Word of God is like a deep mine, filled with precious treasures; but the believer must put forth effort to discover its riches. It takes careful reading and study, prayer, meditation, and obedience to mine the treasures of the Word of God; and the Holy Spirit of God is willing to assist us. Why are we so negligent when this great wealth lies so near at hand?" (Be Patient)

"When we cultivate the inner person through prayer, meditation on the Word, and submission to the Lord, then we can experience the joys of a disciplined and diligent life." (from Be Skillful)

"Keep in mind that, apart from kings, prophets, and priests, the average Jewish adult didn’t own copies of their sacred books and had to depend on memory to be able to meditate on God’s truth and discuss it (
Dt 6:1–9)." (Be Skillful)

"Victorious Christians are people who know the promises of God, because they spend time meditating on God’s Word (Josh 1:8); they believe the promises of God, because the Word of God generates faith in their hearts (
Ro 10:17); and they reckon on these promises and obey what God tells them to do. To “reckon” means to count as true in your life what God says about you in His Word." (Be Strong)

"As we read the Bible and meditate on it, we discover God’s will and God’s strategy for his people in this world." (Be What You Are)

"How does the Spirit teach the believer? He compares “spiritual things with spiritual.” He reminds us of what He has taught us (John 14:26), relates that truth to something new, and then leads us into new truth and new applications of old truth. What a joy it is to sit before the pages of the Bible and let the Spirit reveal God’s truth. The trouble is, many Christians are too busy for this kind of quiet meditation. What enrichment they are missing!" ("Be Series" 1 Cor)

"What digestion is to the body, meditation is to the soul. It is not enough merely to hear the Word or read the Word. We must inwardly “digest it” and make it part of our inner persons (see 1 Thes. 2:13)." ("Be Series" 3 John)

"Right thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God." ("Be Series" Philippians)

"Those who delight in God’s Word, meditate on it, and seek to obey it will experience God’s direction and blessing in their lives (Ps 1:1–3). The Word reveals God’s mind, so we should learn it; God’s heart, so we should love it; God’s will, so we should live it. Our whole being—mind, will, and heart—should be controlled by the Word of God." ("Be Series" 1 Peter)

"Unless a Christian spends time daily in meditating on the Word of God, his inner man will lack power." (Commenting on Mt 4:4 from Be Series)

"Luther said that prayer, meditation, and suffering make a preacher, and he was right. The stars shine the brightest when the night is the darkest, and God is able to give us songs in the night." ("The Elements of Preaching")

"We must meditate on God’s Word. Meditation is to the inner man what digestion is to the outer man. If you did not digest your food, you would sicken and die." ("The Strategy of Satan)

"Meditation is to the soul what “digestion” is to the body. It means understanding the Word, “chewing on it,” and applying it to our lives, making it a part of the inner person. See Jer. 15:16, Ezek. 3:3, and Rev. 10:9." (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

"The next step is to reach for your Bible and present your mind to God for spiritual renewal. It is the Word of God that renews the mind and transforms it. If you do not have a system for reading the Bible, get one. Personally, I like to read straight through the Bible regularly, but I do not give myself a time limit. I start in Genesis 1, Psalm 1, and Matthew 1, and I keep reading. There are some days when I read and meditate on only a few verses; on other days, I may read all three chapters. I am not in a hurry; I am not trying to set any records. My purpose is to meditate on the Word of God so that the Spirit of God will be able to transform my mind and make it more spiritual." ("The Strategy of Satan)

"Meditation on the Word of God will always bring peace (Ps. 119:165 "Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.")." (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

(Commenting on Ps 19:14) "The meditation of the heart controls the words of the mouth (Mk 7:14–23). The word “meditation” here has the image of a musician plucking the strings of a harp. Who controls the music of your heart, God or Satan? Meditation is to the heart what digestion is to the body; it is the taking in of the Word of God and making it a part of the inner being. As the heart and mind think on the Word all day long, the Spirit guides the life. This is what it means to walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and to have the spiritual mind (Ro 8:1-8)." (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

"When you truly delight in the Word, you will have a desire to meditate on it and make it a part of your life. In Psalm 119, the writer connects “delight” and “meditation” (Ps 119:15–16, 23–24, 47–48, 77–78). Cultivate an appetite for the Word of God." ("With the Word Bible Commentary")

"You “feed” on Jesus Christ when you meditate on His Word and make its truths a part of your inner person." ("With the Word Bible Commentary")
 

Warren Wiersbe References:

Bible Exposition Commentary. Victor
With the Word: Chapter-by-Chapter Bible Handbook. Nelson
Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Victor
Strategy of Satan Tyndale House

John MacArthur
on Meditation

A man was asked one time

When you can’t sleep, do you count sheep?

He said

No. I talk to the Shepherd.

That’s what God wants His people to do, talk to the Shepherd—meditate.

Psalm 1:1-2 says

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Like the cow chewing its cud, just going over it and over it and over it, so too should we meditate on the Word, going over it and over it and over it." (from  How to Study the Bible )

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"As we focus on the Word of God, the power it will have in our lives is incredible. As we meditate on it, it empowers us. It’s like the old computer saying, “G.I.G.O., garbage in—garbage out.” Whatever we pump into our computers is just what’s going to come regurgitating out in our lives. As we feed on the Word of God, it’s going to come right back out in our lives. It’s our source of energy." (from  How to Study the Bible )

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"It is not enough just to study the Bible. We must meditate upon it. In a very real sense we are giving our brain a bath; we are washing it in the purifying solution of God’s Word." (MacArthur, J. J. The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Word Pub)

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"Delighting in the Lord and meditating on His Word are a great antidote to anxiety (Ps 1:2)." (MacArthur, J. J. The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Word Pub)

RECOMMENDED READING:
A
Christian on the Mount
A Treatise Concerning Meditation
By Thomas Watson

"His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Ps 1:2

Having led you through the Chamber of Delight in my previous discourse, I will now bring you into the Withdrawing Room of Meditation. "In his law does he meditate day and night."

I. The opening of the Words, and the Proposition asserted.

Grace breeds delight in God, and delight breeds meditation. Meditation is a duty wherein consists the essentials of religion, and which nourishes the very life-blood of it. That the Psalmist may show how much the godly man is habituated to this blessed work of meditation, he subjoins, "In his law does he meditate day and night;" not but that there may be sometimes intermission: God allows time for our calling, he grants some relaxation; but when it is said, the godly man meditates day and night, the meaning is, frequently—he is much conversant in the duty.

It is a command of God to pray without ceasing, 1Th 5:17 (
note). The meaning is—not that we should be always praying—but that we should every day set some time apart for prayer. We read in the Old law it was called the continual sacrifice, Nu 28:24, not that the people of Israel did nothing else but sacrifice—but because they had their stated hours, every morning and evening they offered, therefore it was called the continual sacrifice. Thus the godly man is said to meditate day and night, that is, he is often at this work, he is no stranger to meditation.

Doctrine. The proposition that results out of the text is this—that a godly Christian is a meditating Christian, Ps 119:15-
note. "I will meditate in your precepts." 1Ti 4:15, "Meditate upon these things." Meditation is the chewing upon the truths we have heard. The beasts in the old law which did not chew the cud, were unclean; the professor who does not by meditation chew the cud, is to be accounted unclean. Meditation is like the watering of the seed, it makes the fruits of grace to flourish.

II. Showing the NATURE of Meditation.

If it be inquired what meditation is, I answer—Meditation is the soul's retiring of itself, that by a serious and solemn thinking upon God, the heart may be raised up to heavenly affections. This description has three branches.

1. Meditation is the soul's retiring of itself.

A Christian, when he goes to meditate, must lock up himself from the world. The world spoils meditation; Christ went by himself into the mountainside to pray, Matt. 14:23, so, go into a solitary place when you are to meditate. "Isaac went out to meditate in the field," Gen. 24:63; he sequestered and retired himself that he might take a walk with God by meditation. Zaccheus had a mind to see Christ, and he got out of the crowd, "He ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him," Luke 19:3, 4. So, when we would see God, we must get out of the crowd of worldly business; we must climb up into the tree by retiredness of meditation, and there we shall have the best prospect of heaven.

The world's music will either play us asleep, or distract us in our meditations. When a mote has gotten into the eye—it hinders the sight. Just so, when worldly thoughts, as motes, are gotten into the mind, which is the eye of the soul—it cannot look up so steadfastly to heaven by contemplation. Therefore, as when Abraham went to sacrifice, "he left his servant and the donkey at the bottom of the hill," Gen. 22:5, so, when a Christian is going up the hill of meditation, he should leave all secular cares at the bottom of the hill, that he may be alone, and take a turn in heaven. If the wings of the bird are full of slime, she cannot fly. Meditation is the wing of the soul; when a Christian is beslimed with earth, he cannot fly to God upon this wing. Bernard when he came to the church-door, used to say, "Stay here all my worldly thoughts, that I may converse with God in the temple." So say to yourself, "I am going now to meditate, O all you vain thoughts stay behind, come not near!" When you are going up the mount of meditation, take heed that the world does not follow you, and throw you down from the top of this pinnacle. This is the first thing, the soul's retiring of itself—lock and bolt the door against the world.

2. The second thing in meditation, is, a serious and solemn thinking upon God.

The Hebrew word to meditate, signifies with intenseness to recollect and gather together the thoughts. Meditation is not a cursory work, to have a few transient thoughts of religion; like the dogs of Nilus that lap and then run away; but there must be in meditation a fixing the heart upon the object, a steeping the thoughts. Carnal professors have their thoughts roving up and down, and will not fix on God; like the bird that hops from one branch to another, and stays in no one place. David was a man fit to meditate, "O God, my heart is fixed," Psalm 108:1.

In meditation there must be a staying of the thoughts upon the object; a man who rides quickly through a town or village—he minds nothing. But an artist who is looking on a curious piece, views the whole portraiture of it, he observes the symmetry and proportion, he minds every shadow and color. A carnal, flitting professor, is like the traveler, his thoughts ride hastily—he minds nothing of God. A wise Christian is like the artist, he views with seriousness, and ponders the things of religion, Luke 2:19. "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

3. The third thing in meditation, is, the raising of the heart to holy affections. A Christian enters into meditation, as a man enters into the hospital—that he may be healed. Meditation heals the soul of its deadness and earthliness; but more of this afterwards.

III. Proving Meditation to be a DUTY.

Meditation is a duty lying upon every Christian, and there is no disputing our duty. Meditation is a duty, 1. Imposed. 2. Opposed.

1. Meditation is a duty imposed—it is not arbitrary. The same God who has bid us believe, has bid us meditate, Josh. 1:8. "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth—but you shall meditate therein day and night." These words, though spoken to the person of Joshua, yet they concern everyone; as the promise made to Joshua concerned all believers, Josh. 1:5 compared with Heb. 13:5. So this precept made to the person of Joshua, you shall meditate in this book of the law, takes in all Christians. As God's Word does direct, so his will must enforce obedience.

2. Meditation is a duty opposed. We may conclude it is a good duty, because it is against the stream of corrupt nature. As one said, "you may know that religion is right—which Nero persecutes;" so you may know that is a good duty—which the heart opposes. We shall find naturally a strange averseness from meditation. We are swift to hear—but slow to meditate. To think of the world, if it were all day long, is delightful. But as for holy meditation, how does the heart wrangle and quarrel with this duty; it is like doing of penance. Now truly, there needs no other reason to prove a duty to be good, than the reluctancy of a carnal heart. To instance in the duty of "Let a man deny himself," Mat. 16:24, self-denial is as necessary as heaven—but what disputes are raised in the heart against it? What! to deny my reason, and become a fool that I may be wise; nay, not only to deny my reason—but my righteousness? What, to cast it overboard, and swim to heaven upon the plank of Christ's merits? This is such a duty that the heart does naturally oppose, and enter its dissent against. This is an argument to prove the duty of self-denial good; just so it is with this duty of meditation; the secret antipathy the heart has against it, shows it to be good; and this is reason enough to enforce meditation.

IV. Showing how Meditation differs from MEMORY.

The memory (a glorious faculty) which Aristotle calls the soul's scribe, sits and pens all things that are done. Whatever we read or hear, the memory does register; therefore, God does all his works of wonder that they may be had in remembrance. There seems to be some analogy and resemblance between meditation and memory. But I conceive there is a double difference.

1. Meditation has more sweetness in it, than the bare remembrance. The memory is the chest or cupboard to lock up a truth, meditation is the palate to feed on it. The memory is like the ark in which the manna was laid up, meditation is like Israel's eating of manna. When David began to meditate on God, it was "sweet to him as marrow," Ps 63:5, 6. There is as much difference between a truth remembered, and a truth meditated on, as between a cordial in a glass—and a cordial drunk down.

2. The remembrance of a truth, without the serious meditation on it, will but create matter of sorrow another day. What comfort can it be to a man when he comes to die, to think he remembered many excellent notions about Christ—but never had the grace so to meditate on them, as to be transformed into them! a sermon remembered—but not ruminated, will only serve to increase our condemnation.

V. Showing how Meditation differs from STUDY.

The student's life looks like meditation—but does vary from it. Meditation and study differ three ways.

1. They differ in their nature. Study is a work of the brain, meditation of the heart; study sets the mind on work, meditation sets the heart on work.

2. They differ in their design. The design of study is notion, the design of meditation is piety. The design of study is the finding out of a truth; the design of meditation is the spiritual improvement of a truth. The one searches for the vein of gold; the other digs out the gold.

3. They differ in the outcome and result. Study leaves a man never a whit the better; it is like a winter sun that has little warmth and influence. Meditation leaves one in a holy frame: it melts the heart when it is frozen, and makes it drop into tears of love.

VI. Showing the SUBJECTS of Meditation.

The next particular to be discussed, is the subject-matter of meditation; what a Christian should meditate upon. I am now gotten into a large field—but I shall only glance at things; I shall but do as the disciples, pluck some ears of corn as I pass along.

Some may say, "alas, I am so barren I know not what to meditate upon!" To help Christians therefore in this blessed work, I shall show you some choice select matter for meditation. There are fifteen things in the Word of God, which we should principally meditate upon.

Section 1. Meditate on God's ATTRIBUTES.

The Attributes of God are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth to us; and there are six special attributes which we should fix our meditations upon.

Meditate upon God's OMNISCIENCE. His eye is continually upon us; he has a window open into the conscience; our thoughts are unveiled before him. He can tell the words we speak "in our bedchamber," 2 Kings 2:12. He is described with seven eyes, to show his omniscience. "You number my steps," Job 14:16. The Hebrew word signifies to take an exact account. God is said to number our steps, when he makes a precise and critical observation of our actions; God sets down every step of our lives, and keeps as it were, a day book of all we do, and enters it down into the book. Meditate much on this omniscience.

Meditation on God's omniscience would have these effects.

1. It would be as a bridle to check and restrain us from sin. Will the thief steal—when the judge looks on?

2. Meditation on God's omniscience would be a good means to make the heart sincere. God has set a window in every man's breast, "does not he see all my ways?" Job 31:4. If I harbor proud, malicious thoughts, if I look at my own interest more than Christ's, if I juggle in my repentance—the God of heaven takes notice! Meditation on his omniscience, would make a Christian sincere, both in his actions and aims. Only a fool would dare to be a hypocrite before God!

Meditate on the HOLINESS of God. Holiness is the embroidered robe God wears: it is the glory of the Godhead, Ex. 15:11. "Glorious in holiness!" Holiness is the most orient pearl of the crown of heaven. God is the exemplar and pattern of holiness. It is primarily and originally in God as light in the sun; you may as well separate weight from lead, or heat from fire, as holiness from the divine nature; God's holiness is that whereby his heart rises against any sin, as being most diametrically opposite to his essence, Hab 1:13. "You are of purer eyes than to behold iniquity." Meditate much on this attribute.

Meditation on God's holiness would have this effect; it would be a means to transform us into the similitude and likeness of God; God never loves us until we are like him. There is a story of a deformed man, who set lovely pictures before his wife, that seeing them she might have lovely children, and so she had. Be that as it may, while by meditation we are looking upon the beams of holiness, which are gloriously transparent in God, we shall grow like him, and be holy as he is holy. Holiness is a beautiful thing, Psalm 110. It puts a kind of angelical brightness upon us; it is the only coin which will pass current in heaven; by the frequent meditation on this attribute, we are changed into God's image.

Meditate on the WISDOM of God.

He is called "the only wise God," 1Ti 1:17. His wisdom shines forth in the works of providence; he sits at the helm guiding all things regularly and harmoniously; he brings light out of darkness; he can strike a straight stroke by a crooked stick; he can make use of the injustice of men to do that which is just; he is infinitely wise, he breaks us by afflictions, and upon these broken pieces of the ship, brings us safely to shore; meditate on the wisdom of God.

Meditation on God's wisdom would sweetly calm our hearts.

1. When we see things go badly in the public. The all-wise God holds the reins of government in his hand; and whoever the earthly ruler—God over-rules; he knows how to turn all to good; his work will be beautiful in its season.

2. When things go badly with us in particular, the meditation on God's wisdom would rock our hearts quiet. The wise God has set me in this condition, and whether health or sickness, his wisdom will order it for the best. God will make a golden cordial from poison, all things shall be beneficial and medicinal to me; either the Lord will expel some sin, or exercise some grace. Meditation on this would silence murmuring.

4. Meditate on the POWER of God.

His power is visible in the creation. "He hangs the earth upon nothing," Job 26:7. What cannot that God do—who can create? Nothing can stand before a creating power! He needs no pre-existent matter to work upon; he needs no instruments to work with, he can work without tools; he it is before whom the angels veil their faces, and the kings of the earth cast their crowns. He it is who "removes the earth out of her place," Job 9:6. An earthquake makes the earth tremble upon her pillars—but God can shake it out of its place. God can with a word, unpin the wheels, and break the axle of the creation. He can suspend natural agents, stop the lion's mouth, cause the sun to stand still, make the fire not burn! Xerxes, the Persian monarch, threw fetters into the sea, as if he would have chained up the unruly waters; but when God commands, "the winds and sea obey him," Mt. 8:27. If he speaks the word, an army of stars appear, Jdg. 5:20. If he stamps with his foot, a multitude of angels are presently in battalia; if he lifts up an ensign, and does but hiss, his very enemies shall be up in arms to revenge his quarrel, Isaiah 5:56. Who would provoke this God! "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," Heb. 10:31. As a lion—"he tears in pieces his adversaries," Ps 50:22. Oh meditate on this power of God.

Meditation on God's power would be a great stay to faith. A Christian's faith may anchor safely upon the rock of God's power. It was Samson's riddle, "Out of the strong came forth sweetness;" Judges 14:14. While we are meditating on the power of God, out of this strong comes forth sweetness. Is the church of God low? he can "create praises in Jerusalem," Isaiah 65:28. Is your corruption strong? God can break the head of this leviathan. Is your heart as hard as a stone? God can dissolve it. "The Almighty makes my heart soft." Faith triumphs in the power of God: out of this strong comes forth sweetness. Abraham meditating on God's power, did not stagger through unbelief, Romans 4:20. He knew God could make a dead womb fruitful, and dry breasts give suck.

5. Meditate upon the MERCY of God. Mercy is an innate disposition in God to do good; as the sun has an innate property to shine, Psalm 86:5. "You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all them that call upon you. God's mercy is so sweet, that it makes all his other attributes sweet. Holiness without mercy, and justice without mercy, would be dreadful. Geographers write that the city of Syracuse in Sicily is curiously situated, that the sun is never out of sight; though the children of God are under some clouds of affliction, yet the sun of mercy is never quite out of sight. God's justice reaches to the clouds; his mercy reaches above the clouds.

How slow is God to anger. He was longer in destroying Jericho, than in making the world; he made the world in six days—but he was seven days in demolishing the walls of Jericho. How many warning arrows did God shoot against Jerusalem, before he shot off his destroying arrow? Justice goes by foot, Gen. 18:21. Mercy has wings. The sword of justice often lies a long time in the scabbard, and rusts, until sin draws it out and sharpens it against a nation. God's justice is like the widow's oil, which ran a while, and ceased, 1 Kings 4:6. God's mercy is like Aaron's oil, which rested not on his head—but ran down to the skirts of his garment, Psalm 133:2. So the golden oil of God's mercy does not rest upon the head of a godly parent—but is often poured on his children, and so runs down, "To the third and fourth generation," even the borders of a pious seed. Often meditate upon the mercy of God.

Meditation on mercy would be a powerful loadstone to draw sinners to God by repentance. It would be as a cork to the net—to keep the heart from sinking in despair. Behold a city of refuge to fly to—"God is the Father of mercies," 2 Cor. 1:3. Mercy does as naturally issue from him, as the child from the parent. God "delights in mercy," Micah 7:18. Chrysostom says, it is delightful to the mother to have her breasts drawn; and how delightful is it to God to have the breasts of mercy drawn! Mercy finds out the worst sinner; mercy comes not only with salvation in its hand—but with healing under its wings.

Meditation on God's mercy would melt a sinner into tears: One reading a pardon sent to him from the king, fell a weeping, and burst out into these words, "A pardon has done that which death could not do, it has made my heart relent."

6. Meditate upon the TRUTH of God. Mercy makes the promise, and Truth performs it, Psalm 89:33, "I will not allow my faithfulness to fail." God can as well deny himself as his word. He is "abundant in truth," Exod. 34:6. That is—if God has made a promise of mercy to his people, he will be so far from coming short of his Word, that he will be better than his Word. God often does more than he has said, never less; he often shoots beyond the mark of the promise he has set, never short of it. He is abundant in truth. God may sometimes delay a promise, he will not deny it. The promise may lie a long time as seed hidden under ground—but it is all the while a ripening. The promise of Israel's deliverance lay four hundred and thirty years under ground; but when the time was come, the promise did not go a day beyond its reckoning, Exod. 12:41. "The strength of Israel will not lie," 1 Sam. 15:29. Meditation on God's truth would—

1. Be a pillar of support for faith. The world hangs upon God's power, and faith hangs upon his truth.

2. Meditation on God's truth would make us ambitious to imitate him. We should be true in our words, true in our dealings. Pythagoras being asked, "What makes men like God?" answered, "When they speak truth."

Section 2. Meditate upon the PROMISES of God.

The promises of God are flowers growing in the paradise of scripture; meditation, like the bee, sucks out the sweetness of them. The promises are of no use or comfort to us, until they are meditated upon. Roses hanging in the garden may give a fragrant redolence, yet their sweet water is distilled only by the fire. Just so, the promises are sweet in reading over—but the water of these roses, the spirits and quintessence of the promises, are distilled into the soul only by meditation. The incense, when it is pounded and beaten, smells sweetest. Meditating on a promise, like the beating of the incense, makes it more fragrant and pleasant. The promises may be compared to a gold mine, which only enriches when the gold is dug out. By holy meditation, we dig out that spiritual gold which lies hidden in the midst of the promise, and so we come to be enriched!

Cardan says that every precious gem-stone has some hidden virtue in it. They are called precious promises, 2Pe 1:4. When they are applied by meditation, then their virtue appears, and they become precious indeed. There are three sorts of promises which we should meditate upon.

1. Promises of REMISSION.

"I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins," Isaiah 43:25. Whereas the poor sinner may say, "Alas, I am deep in debt with God, I fear I have not filled his bottle with my tears—but I have filled his book with my debts!" Well, but meditate on his promise, "I am he who blots out," etc. The word there in the original to blot out, is a metaphor alluding to a merchant, who when his debtor has paid him, he blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance. So says God, "I will blot out your sin, I will cross out the debt-book!" In the Hebrew it is, "I am blotting out your transgressions." "I have taken my pen, and am crossing out your debt!" Oh, but may the sinner say, "There is no reason God should do thus for me." Well, but acts of grace do not go by reason, "I will blot out your sins—for my name's sake." Oh, but says the sinner, "Will not the Lord call my sins again to remembrance?" No, he promises to send them into oblivion; "I will not upbraid you with your sins—I will remember your sins no more." Here is a sweet promise to meditate upon; it is a hive full of the honey of the gospel.

2. Meditate upon promises of SANCTIFICATION.

The earth is not so apt to be overgrown with weeds and thorns, as the heart is to be overgrown with lusts! Now, God has made many promises of healing, Hos. 14:4, and purging, Jer. 33:8. Promises of sending his Spirit, Isaiah 44:3, which, for its sanctifying nature, is compared sometimes to water which cleanses the vessel; sometimes to wind, which is the fan to winnow and purify the air; sometimes to fire, which refines the metals. Meditate often on that promise, Isaiah 1:18, "Though your sins be as scarlet—they shall be as white as snow!" Scarlet is so deep a dye, that all the art of man cannot take it out; but behold here a promise—God will whiten the soul; he will make a scarlet sinner—into a snow white saint! By virtue of this refining and consecrating work, a Christian is made partaker of the divine nature; he has a suitability and fitness to have communion with God forever. Meditate much on this promise.

3. Meditate upon promises of REMUNERATION.

"The haven of rest," Heb. 4:9. The beatifical sight of God, Matt. 5:8. The glorious mansions, John 14:2. Meditation on these promises will be as choice cordials to keep us from fainting under our sins and sorrows.

Section 3. Meditate upon the Love of Christ.

Christ is full of love, as he is of merit. What was it but love—that he should save us—and not the fallen angels? Among the rarities of the loadstone, this is not the least—that leaving the gold and pearl, it should draw iron to it—which is a baser kind of metal. Just so, that Christ should leave the angels, those more noble spirits, the gold and pearl—and draw mankind to him—how does this proclaim his love? Love was the wing on which he flew into the virgin's womb!

1. How TRANSCENDENT is Christ's love to the saints!

The apostle calls it a love "which passes knowledge," Eph. 3:19. It is such a love as God the Father bears to Christ; the same for quality, though not equality, John 15:9. "As the Father has loved me—so have I loved you." A believer's heart is the garden where Christ has planted this sweet flower of his love. It is the channel through which the golden stream of his affection runs.

2. How SOVEREIGN is Christ's love!

"Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth." 1 Corinthians 1:26 In the old law God passed by the noble lion and the eagle—and took the dove for sacrifice. That God should pass by so many of noble birth and abilities, and that the lot of free grace should fall upon me—O the depth of divine grace!

3. How INVINCIBLE is the love of Christ!

"It is strong as death," Cant. 8:6. Death might take away Christ's life—but not his love! Neither can our sin wholly quench that divine flame of love; the church had her infirmities, her sleepy fits, Cant. 5:2, but though blacked and sullied, yet she is still a dove; Christ could see the faith, and wink at the failing. He who painted Alexander, drew him with his finger over the scar on his face. Just so, Christ puts the finger of mercy upon the scars of the saints! He will not throw away his pearls for every speck of dirt! That which makes this love of Christ the more stupendous, is that there was nothing in us to excite or draw forth his love! He did not love us because we were worthy—but by loving us he made us worthy!

4. How IMMUTABLE is Christ's love!

"Having loved his own, he loved them to the end," John 13:1. The saints are like letters of gold engraved upon Christ's heart, which cannot be erased out. Meditate much upon the love of Christ.

1. Serious meditation on the love of Christ, would make us love him in return. "Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burnt?" Proverbs 6:28. Who can tread by meditation upon these hot coals of Christ's love, and his heart not burn in love to him?

2. Meditation on Christ's love, would set our eyes abroach with tears for our gospel unkindnesses. O that we should sin against so sweet a Savior! had we none to abuse—but our best friend? Had we nothing to kick against—but affections of love? Did not Christ suffer enough upon the cross—but must we needs make him suffer more? Do we give him more gall and vinegar to drink? O, if anything can dissolve the heart into mourning, it is the unkindness offered to Christ. When Peter thought of Christ's love to him—Christ could deny Peter nothing, yet he could deny Christ, this made his eyes to water; "Peter went out and wept bitterly."

3. Meditation on Christ's love would make us love our enemies. Jesus Christ showed love to his enemies. We read of "the fire licking up the water," 1 Kings 18:38. It is usual for water to quench the fire, but for fire to dry up and consume the water, which was not capable of burning, this was miraculous! Such a miracle did Christ show; his love burned where there was no fit matter to work upon—nothing but sin and enmity. He loved his enemies; the fire of his love consumed and licked up the water of their sins! He prayed for his enemies, "Father forgive them;" he shed his tears—for those who shed his blood! Those who gave him gall and vinegar to drink—to them he gave his sin-forgiving blood to drink. Meditation on his love—should melt our hearts in love to our enemies. Augustine says, "Christ made a pulpit of the cross, and the great lesson he taught Christians was, to love their enemies."

4. Meditation on Christ's love would be a means to support us in case of his absence. Sometimes he is pleased to withdraw himself, Cant. 5:6, yet when we consider how entire and immutable his love is, it will make us wait with patience until he sweetly manifests himself to us. He is love, and he cannot forsake his people very long, Micah 7:19. The sun may be gone a while from our climate—but it returns in the spring. Meditation on Christ's love may make us wait for the return of this Sun of Righteousness; Heb. 10:37, "For yet a little while and he who shall come will come." He is truth, therefore he shall come; he is love, therefore he will come.

Section 4. Meditate upon SIN.

1. Meditate on the GUILT of sin. We are in Adam as in a common head, or root—and he sinning, we become guilty, Romans 5:12, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." By his treason—our blood is tainted. This guilt brings shame with it, as its twin! Romans 6:21.

2. Meditate upon the FILTH of sin. Not only is the guilt of Adam's sin imputed, but the poison of his nature is disseminated to us! Our virgin nature is defiled! If the heart is spotted—how then can the actions be pure? If the water in the well is foul—it cannot be clean in the bucket! Isaiah 64:6, "We are all as an unclean thing." We are like a patient under the physician's care—who has no sound part in him, his head is bruised, his liver is swelled, his lungs are gasping, his blood is infected, his feet are gangrened. Thus is it with us before saving grace comes! In the mind there is darkness! In the memory there is slipperiness! In the heart there is hardness! In the will there is stubborness! "You are sick from head to foot—covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds—without any ointments or bandages!" Isaiah 1:6. A sinner befilthied with sin, is no better than a devil in man's shape!

And which is sadly to be laid to heart--is the adherency of this sin. Sin is natural to us. The apostle calls it, "the sin that so easily ensnares us!" Heb. 12:1. Sin is not easily cast off. A man may as well shake off the skin of his body—as the sin of his soul! There is no shaking off this viper until death!

Oh, often meditate on this contagion of sin. How strong is that poison—a drop whereof is able to poison a whole sea? How venomous and malignant was that apple—a taste of which poisoned all mankind! Meditate sadly on this. Meditation on sin would make the plumes of pride fall off! If our knowledge makes us proud—that is sin enough to make us humble. The best saint alive who is taken out of the grave of sin—yet has the smell of the grave-clothes still upon him!

3. Meditate upon the CURSE of sin. Gal. 3:10. "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." This curse is like a deadly canker upon fruit, which keeps it from thriving. Sin is not only a defiling thing—but a damning thing! It is not only a spot in the face—but a stab at the heart! Sin betrays us into the devil's hands—who writes all his laws in blood. Sin binds us over to the wrath of God! What then, are all our earthly enjoyments—with the sword of divine vengeance hanging over our head! Sin brings forth the "scroll written with curses" against a sinner, Zech. 5:5, and it is a "flying scroll"—it comes swiftly—if mercy does not stop it. "You are cursed with a curse!" Mat. 3:9. Thus it is until the head of this curse is cut off by Christ. Oh meditate upon this curse due to sin.

1. Meditation on this curse would make us afraid of retaining sin. When Micah had stolen his mother's money, and heard her curse him, he dared not keep it any longer, but restored it, Judg. 17:2. He was afraid of his mother's curse; what then is God's curse!

2. Meditation on this curse would make us afraid of entertaining sin. We would not willingly entertain one in our house who had a deadly plague! Sin brings along with it, the plague of God's curse, which cleaves to a sinner. Meditation on this, would make us fly from sin! While we sit under the shadow of this bramble of sin—fire will come out of the bramble eternally to devour us! Judg. 9:15.

Section 5. Meditate upon the Vanity of the CREATURE.

When you have sifted out the finest flour that the creature can give, you will find something either to dissatisfy or nauseate. The best wine has its froth, the sweetest rose has its prickles, and the purest comforts have their dregs. The creature cannot be said to be full—unless we say that it is full of vanity; as a sail may be filled with wind. Job 20:22, "At the height of his success distress will come to him; the full weight of misery will crush him." Those who think to find happiness here on earth, are like Apollo who embraced a tree, instead of the lovely Daphne. Meditate on this vanity of the creature. The world is like a broken looking glass—which shows a false beauty.

1. Meditation on worldly vanity would be like the digging about the roots of a tree, to loosen it from the earth. It would much loosen our hearts from the world, and be an excellent preservative against the love of earthly things. Let a Christian think thus with himself, "Why am I so serious about such a worthless vanity? if the whole earth were changed into a globe of gold, it could not fill my heart!"

2. Meditation on the creature's vanity would make us look after more solid comforts—the favor of God, the blood of Christ, the influences of the Spirit. When I see that the life which I fetch from the cistern is vain—I will go the more to the ocean! In Christ there is an inexhaustible treasury! When a man finds the bough begin to break, he lets go of the bough, and catches hold on the trunk of the tree. Just so, when we find the creature to be but a rotten bough, then by faith we shall catch hold on Christ, the tree of life! Rev. 2:7. The creature is but a shaking reed, God is the immoveable rock of ages!

Section 6. Meditate on the Excellency of GRACE.

1. Grace is precious in itself. 2Pe 1:1, precious faith.

1. Grace is precious, in its original, it comes from above, Jas 3:17.

2. Grace is precious, in its nature; it is the seed of God, 1Jn 3:9. Grace is the spiritual embroidery of the soul; it is the very signature and engraving of the Holy Spirit. Grace does not lose its color: it is such a commodity, that the longer we keep it, the better it is—it changes into glory!

As grace is precious in itself, so it makes us precious to God; as a rich diamond adorns the one who wears it. Isaiah 43:4, 'Since you were precious in my sight." The saints who are invested with grace, are God's jewels, Mal. 3:17, though sullied with reproach, though besmeared with blood—yet, jewels! All the world besides, is but chaff. These are the jewels—and heaven is the golden cabinet where they shall be locked up safe! A gracious man is the glory of the age he lives in. So illustrious in God's eye is a soul bespangled with grace, that he does not think the world worthy of him, Heb. 11:38, "Of whom the world was not worthy." Therefore God calls his people home so fast, because they are too good to live in the world, Proverbs 2:26, "The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor."

Grace is the best blessing; it has a transcendency above all other things. There are two things which sparkle much in our eyes—but grace infinitely outshines both.

GOLD. The sun does not shine so much in our eyes as gold; it is the mirror of beauty, "money answers all things," Eccl. 10:19. But grace weighs heavier than gold; gold draws the heart from God, grace draws the heart to God. Gold does but enrich the mortal part, grace the angelic part. Gold perishes, 1 Pet. 1:7, grace perseveres. The rose, the fuller it is blown, the sooner it sheds—is an emblem of all things, besides grace.

GIFTS. These are nature's pride. Gifts and abilities, like Rachel, are fair to look upon—but grace excels. I had rather be holy than eloquent. An heart full of grace, is better than an head full of notions. Gifts commend no man to God. It is not the skin of the apple we esteem, though of a vermilion color—but the fruit. We judge not the better of a horse for his trappings and ornaments, unless he has good mettle. What are the most glorious abilities, if there is not the metal of grace in the heart? Gifts may be bestowed upon one for the good of others, as the nurse's breasts are given her for the child—but grace is bestowed for a man's own eternal advantage. God may send away reprobates with gifts, as Abraham gave the sons of the concubines some gifts, Gen. 25:6—but he entails the inheritance only upon grace. O, often meditate upon the excellency of grace!

1. The musing on the beauty of grace would make us fall in LOVE with it. He who meditates on the worth of a diamond, grows in love with it. Damascen calls the graces of the Spirit the very characters and impressions of the divine nature. Grace is that flower of delight, which, like the vine in the parable, Judg. 9:13, "cheers the heart of God and man."

2. Meditation on the excellency of grace would make us earnest in the PURSUIT after it. We dig for gold in the mine, we sweat for it in the furnace. Did we meditate on the worth of grace, we would dig in the mine of ordinances for it. What sweating and wrestling in prayer would we have! We would put on a modest boldness, and not take a denial. "What will you give me (says Abraham) seeing I go childless?" Ge. 15:2. So would the soul say, "Lord, what will you give me, seeing I go graceless? Who will give me to drink of the water of the well of life?"

3. Meditation on the excellency of grace would make us endeavor to be instrumental to CONVEY grace to others. Is grace so transcendently precious, and have I a child who lacks grace? Oh that I might be a means to convey this treasure into his soul! I have read of a rich Florentine, who being about to die, called all his sons together, and used these words to them, "It much rejoices me now upon my death-bed, that I shall leave you all wealthy;" but a parent's ambition should be rather to convey sanctity, that he may say, "O my children, it rejoices me that I shall leave you gracious; it comforts me that before I die, I shall see Jesus Christ live in you."

Section 7. Meditate upon your SPIRITUAL STATE.

Enter into a serious meditation on the state of your souls; while you are meditating on other things, do not forget yourselves; the great work lies at home. It was Solomon's advice, "know the state of your flock," Proverbs 27:23, much more know the state of your soul; for lack of this meditation, men are like travelers, skilled in other countries—but ignorant of their own: so they know other things—but know not how it goes with their souls, whether they are in a good state or bad; there are few who by holy meditation, enter within themselves. There are two reasons why so few meditate upon the state of their souls.

1. Self-guiltiness. Men are reluctant to look into their hearts by meditation, lest they should find that which would trouble them. The cup is in their sack. Most are herein like tradesmen, who being ready to sink in their estates, are reluctant; to look into their account books, lest they should find their estate low; but had you not better enter into your heart by meditation, than God should in a sad manner enter into judgment with you?

2. Presumption. Men hope all is well; men will not take their land upon trust—but will have it surveyed; yet they will take their spiritual estate upon trust, without any surveying. They are confident their case is good; Proverbs 14:16. They presume that it is a thing not to be disputed on, and this confidence is but conceit. The foolish virgins, though they had no oil in their lamps, yet how confident were they? "They came knocking"—they doubted not of admittance. Just so, many do not possess salvation—but remain secure; they presume all is well, never seriously meditating whether they have oil or not. O Christian, meditate about your soul! See how the case stands between God and you; do as merchants, cast up your estate, that you may see what you are worth. See if you are rich towards God, Luke 12:21. Meditate about three things:

1. About your debts, see if your debts are paid or not, that is, your sins pardoned; see if there be no arrears, no sin in your soul unrepented of.

2. Meditate about your will; see if your will is made yet. Have you resigned up all the interest in yourself? Have you given up your love to God? Have you given up your will? This is to make your will. Meditate about your will; make your spiritual will in the time of health; if you put off the making of your will until death, it may be invalid; perhaps God will not accept of your soul then.

3. Meditate about your evidences. These evidences are the graces of the Spirit; see whether you have any evidences. What desires have you after Christ? what faith? see whether there are any flaws in your evidences; are your desires true? do you as well desire heavenly principles, as heavenly privileges? O meditate seriously upon your evidences.

To sift our hearts thus by meditation, is very necessary; if we find our estate is not sound, the mistake is discovered, and the danger can be prevented. If our spiritual estate is sound, we shall have the comfort of it. What gladness was it to Hezekiah, when he could say, "Remember now, O Lord, how I have walked before you in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight," Isaiah 38:3. So, what unspeakable comfort will it be, when a Christian, upon a serious meditation and review of his spiritual condition, can say, "I have something to show for heaven—I know I have passed from death to life," l John 3:14, and as a holy man once said, "I am Christ's, and the devil has nothing to do with me."

Section 8. Meditate upon the small number of those who shall be saved.

The eighth subject of meditation is, the small number that shall be saved; "but few are chosen," Mat. 20:16. Among the millions in Rome—there are but few senators; and among the swarms of people in the world—there are but few believers. One said, all the names of the good emperors might be engraved in a little ring. There are not many names in the book of life. We read of four kinds of ground in the parable, and but one good ground, Matt. 13. How few in the world know Christ. How few that believe in him? Who has believed our report? Isaiah 53:1. How few bow to Christ's scepter. The heathen idolaters and Mahometans possess almost all Asia, Africa, America; in many parts of the world the devil is worshiped, as among the Parthians and Pilapians; Satan takes up most climates—and hearts. How many formalists are in the world? 2 Tim. 3:5, "having a form of godliness." Formalists are like wool which receives a slight tincture, not a deep dye, whose religion is a paint—not an engraving, (which a storm of persecution will wash off). These look like Christ's doves—but are the serpent's brood. They hate God's image, like the panther, that hates the picture of a man.

O often meditate on the small number of those who shall be saved.

1. Meditation on this, would keep us from marching along with the multitude. "You shall not follow a multitude," Exod. 23:2. The multitude usually goes wrong: most men walk "after the course of this world," Eph. 2:2. That is, the lusts of their hearts, and the fashions of the times. They march after the prince of the air. Meditation on this would make us turn out of the common road.

2. Meditation on the fewness of those who shall be saved, would make us walk tremblingly. Few find the way; and when they have found it, few walk in the way. The thoughts of this would work holy fear, Heb. 4:1, not a despairing fear—but a jealous and cautious fear. This reverential fear, the eminent saints of God have had. Augustine says of himself, he knocked at heaven's gate with a trembling hand. This fear is joined with hope, Psalm 147:1. "The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his mercy." A child of God fears, because the gate is strait; but hopes, because the gate is open.

3. Meditation on the fewness of those who shall be saved, would be a whetstone to holy industry. It would put us upon working out our salvation; if there are so few that shall be crowned, it would make us the swifter in the race. This meditation would be an alarm to sleepy Christians.

Section 9. Meditate upon Final APOSTASY.

Think what a sad thing it is to begin in religion to build, and not be able to finish. Joash was good while his uncle Jehoiada lived—but after he died, Joash grew wicked—all his religion was buried in his uncle's grave. We live in the fall of the leaf; how many are fallen to damnable heresies? 2Pet. 2:1. Meditate seriously on that scripture, Heb. 6:4, 5, 6. "It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance." A man may be enlightened, and that from a double lamp—the Word and Spirit; but these beams, though they are irradiating, yet not penetrating. It is possible he may have a taste of the heavenly gift; he may taste but not be nourished by it. This taste may not only illuminate—but refresh; it may carry some sweetness in it, there may be a kind of delight in spiritual things. Thus far a man may go and yet fall away finally. Now this will be very sad (it being such a God-affronting, and Christ reproaching sin) "Know therefore it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord," Jer. 2:19. Meditate upon final relapses.

1. Meditation on this would make us earnest in prayer to God—for soundness of heart, "Make my heart sound in your statutes," Psalm 119:80. Lord, let me not be an almost Christian. Work a thorough work of grace upon me: though I am not washed perfectly, let me be washed thoroughly, Psalm 51:2. That which begins in hypocrisy, ends in apostasy!

2. Meditation on hypocrites final falling away, would make us earnest in prayer for perseverance. "Hold up my goings in your paths that my footsteps slip not," Psalm 17:5. "Lord, hold me up that I may hold out. You have set the crown at the end of the race, let me run the race, that I may wear the crown!" It was Beza's prayer—let it be ours, "Lord perfect what you have begun in me, that I may not suffer shipwreck when I am almost at the haven."

Section 10. Meditate upon DEATH.

We say we must all die—but how rare it is—that anyone meditates seriously upon death?

1. Meditate on the certainty of death; it is appointed for all, once to die, Heb. 9:27. Death is an inviolable reality.

2. Meditate upon the proximity of death, it is near to us. We are almost setting our feet upon the dark entry of death. The poets painted time with wings; it flies—and carries us upon its wings. The race is short between the cradle and the grave! The sentence of death is already passed, Gen. 3:19. "To dust you shall return;" so that our life is but a short reprieve from death which is granted to a condemned man. "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath." Psalm 39:5. Nay, our life is less than nothing, reckoned with eternity.

3. Meditate upon the uncertainty of time. We have no lease—but may be turned out the next hour; there are so many casualties, that it is a wonder if life be not cut off by untimely death. How soon may God seal us a lease of ejectment? Our grave may be dug before night. Today we may lie upon a pillow of down, tomorrow we may be laid upon a pillow of dust. Today the sermon-bell tolls, to morrow our death bell may toll.

4. Think seriously, that to die is to be but once done, and after death our state is eternally fixed. If you die in your impenitency, there is no repenting in the grave. If you leave your work at death half done, there is no finishing it in the grave, Eccl. 9:10, "There is no work, nor device, nor wisdom in the grave where you go." If a garrison surrenders at the first summons, there is mercy. But if it battles until it is stormed and captured, there is no mercy then. Now it is a day of grace, and God holds forth the white flag of mercy to the penitent; if we battle with God until he storms us by death—there is no mercy. There is nothing to be done for our souls after death. O meditate on death. It is reported of Zeleucus, that the first piece of house-hold stuff he brought to Babylon, was a tomb-stone; think often of your tomb-stone. Meditation on death would work these admirable effects.

a. Meditation on death would pull down the plumes of pride; you are but animated dust! Shall dust and ashes be proud? You body will be turned into grass—and shall shortly be mowed down!

b. Meditation on death would be a means to give a death-wound to sin. No stronger antidote against sin, says Augustine, than the frequent meditation on death. Am I now sinning—and tomorrow I may be dying? what if death should take me doing the devil's work, would it not send me to him to receive double pay! Carry the thoughts of death as a book always about you, and when sin tempts, pull out this book, and read in it—and you shall see sin will vanish. We should look upon sin in two looking-glasses—the glass of Christ's blood, and the glass of death.

c. Meditation on death would be a bridle for intemperance; shall I pamper that body which must lie down in the house of rottenness? Our Savior at a feast breaks forth into mention of his burial, Mat. 26. Feeding upon the thoughts of death would be an excellent preservative against gluttony.

d. Meditation on death would make us use time better, and crowd up much work in a little space. Many meet in taverns to trifle away time; the apostle bids us redeem time. "Redeeming the time." Our lives should be like jewels, though little in bulk, yet great in worth. Some die young, yet with gray hairs upon them. We must be like grass of the field, useful; not like grass of the house-top, which withers before it is grown up. To live and not be serviceable, is not life—but wasting life.

e. Meditation on death would spur us on in the pursuit after holiness. Death is the great plunderer, it will shortly plunder us of all our outward comforts. Our feathers of beauty and honor must be laid in the dust—but death cannot plunder us of our graces. The commonwealth of Venice, in their armory, have this inscription, "happy is he who in time of peace, thinks of war."

He who often meditates of death—
will make the best preparation for it.

Section 11. Meditate on the Day of JUDGMENT.

Feathers float upon the water—but gold sinks in it. Just so, light feathery professors float in vanity, they mind not the day of judgment—but serious spirits sink deep into the meditation on it. Most men put far away from them, the evil day, Amos 3:6. They report of the Italians, that in a great thunder they use to ring the bells—that the sound of their bells may drown the noise of the thunder. Just so, the devil delights men with the music of the world, that the noise should drown the noise of the day of judgment, and make them forget the sound of the last trumpet. Most men are guilty, therefore they do not love to hear of the day of judgment. When Paul preached of judgment, Felix trembled, he had a bad conscience. Josephus tells us of Felix, that he was a wicked man—the woman that lived with him (Drusilla) he enticed away from her husband, and when he heard of judgment, he fell a trembling. Oh I beseech you meditate upon this last and solemn day; while others are thinking how they may get riches, let us bethink ourselves how we may fare on the day of judgment.

1. Meditation on the day of judgment would make us to evaluate all our actions; Christ will come with his fan and his sieve. "Will this action of mine, bide the test at that great day.

2. Meditation on the last day would make us labor to approve our hearts to God—the great judge of the world. It is no matter what men think of us—but what is our Judge's opinion of us? To him we must stand or fall. The galaxy, or milky way, as the astronomers call it, is a bright circle in the heavens containing many stars—but they are so small that they have no name, nor are they taken cognizance of by the astrologers. Give me permission to apply it; possibly others may take no notice of us; we are so small as to have no name in the world, yet if we are true stars, and can approve our hearts to God, we shall hold up our heads with boldness, when we come to stand before our Judge.

Section 12. Meditate upon HELL.

1. Meditate upon the pain of loss, Matt. 25:10, "and the door was shut." To have Christ's face veiled over, and a perpetual eclipse and midnight in the soul; to be cast out of God's presence, in whose presence is fullness of joy—this accentuates and embitters the condition of the damned. It is like mingling gall with wormwood.

2. Meditate upon the pain of sense. Psalm 9:17, "The wicked shall be turned into hell." And here meditate of two things,

a. The place of hell.
b. The company.

A. Meditate on the PLACE of hell. It is called "a place of torment," Luke 16:28. There are two things especially in hell to torment.

i. The FIRE. Rev. 20:15. It is called a lake of burning fire. Augustine, Peter Lombard, Gregory the Great, say, this fire of hell is a material fire, though they say it is infinitely hotter than any culinary fire—which is but painted fire compared to hell-fire. I wish none of us may experience what kind of fire it is! I rather think the fire of hell is partly material, and partly spiritual; the material fire is to work upon the body, the spiritual to torture the soul. This is the wrath of God, which is both fire and bellows; "who knows the power of your anger?" Psalm 90:11.

But it may be objected, if there is material fire in hell, it will consume the bodies there. I answer, It shall burn without consuming, as Moses' bush did, Ex. 3:2. The power of God silences all disputes. If God by his infinite power could make the fire not to consume the three Hebrew children; cannot he make the fire of hell burn and not consume? Augustine tells of a strange salt in Sicily, which if it be put in the fire, swims; that God who can make salt, contrary to its nature, swim in the fire—can make the bodies of the damned not consume in the fire.

ii. The WORM. Mark 19:44, "Where the worm never dies." Homer in his Odyssey feigns, that Titus' liver was gnawed by two vultures in hell. This never-dying worm Christ speaks of, is the gnawing of a guilty conscience. Melancthon calls it a hellish fury—they that will not hear conscience preaching, shall feel conscience gnawing; and so great is the extremity of these two, the fire which burns, and the worm which bites, that there will follow "gnashing of teeth," Matt. 8:12, the damned will gnash their teeth for horror and anguish. That must needs be sad fare (as Latimer says) where weeping is served for the first course, and gnashing of teeth for the second. To endure this hell will be intolerable, to escape it will be impossible!

B. Meditate of the COMPANY in hell—the devil and his demons, Matt. 25:41. Job complains he was a companion to owls, chapter 30:29. What will it be to be a companion to devils? Consider,

i. Their ghastly deformity—they make hell look blacker.

ii. Their deadly antipathy—they are fired with rage against mankind. First they become tempters—then tormentors.

Meditate much on hell. Let us go into hell by contemplation—that we may not go into hell by condemnation. How restless and hopeless, is the condition of the damned! The ancients feign of Endymion, that he got permission from Jupiter always to sleep. What would the damned in hell give for such a license! In their pains is neither intermission, nor mitigation.

1. The serious meditation on hell, would make us fear sin as hell. Sin is hell's fuel! Sin like Samson's foxes, carries devouring fire in its tail.

2. Meditation on hell would cause rejoicing in a child of God. The saint's fear of hell is like the two Marys' fear, Matt. 28:8, "They departed from the sepulcher with fear and great joy." A believer may fear to think of the place of torment—but rejoice to think he shall never come into that place. When a man stands upon a high rock, he trembles to look down into the sea, yet he rejoices that he is not there struggling with the waves. A child of God, when he thinks of hell, he rejoices with trembling. A prison is not made for the king's son to be put in. A great naturalist observes that nothing will so soon quench fire as salt and blood; but I am sure of this—the salt brinish tears of repentance, and the blood of Christ will quench the fire of hell to a believer. Christ himself has felt the pains of hell for you. The Lamb of God being roasted in the fire of God's wrath—by this burnt-offering the Lord is now appeased towards his people. Oh how may the godly rejoice! "There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ!" Romans 8:1. When the Son of God was in the furnace, Dan. 3:25, the fire did no hurt the three children. Just so, Christ being for a time in the fiery furnace of God's wrath, that fire can do a believer no hurt. The saints have the garment of Christ's righteousness upon them, and the fire of hell can never singe this garment.

Section 13. Meditate upon HEAVEN.

From the mount of meditation, as from mount Nebo, we may take a view and prospect of the land of promise. Christ has taken possession of heaven in the name of all believers, Heb. 6:20, "Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf." Heaven must needs be a glorious city, which has God both for its builder and inhabitant. Heaven is the extract and quintessence of all blessedness. There the saints shall have all their holy hearts can desire. Augustine wished that he might have seen three things before he died, Rome in its glory, Paul in the pulpit, and Christ in the flesh. But the saints shall see a better sight; they shall see, not Rome—but heaven in its glory; they shall see Paul, not in the pulpit—but on the throne, and shall sit with him; they shall see Christ's flesh, not veiled over with infirmities and disgraces—but in its spiritual embroidery; not a crucified—but a glorified body. They shall "behold the king in his beauty," Isaiah 33:17.

What a glorious place will this be! In heaven "God will be all in all," 1 Cor. 15:28, beauty to the eye, music to the ears, joy to the heart; and this he will be to the poorest saint, as well as the richest. O Christian, who are now at your hard labor, perhaps following the plough—you shall sit on the throne of glory! Rev. 3:21. Quintus Curtius writes of one who was digging in his garden, and was suddenly made king, and a purple garment richly embroidered with gold put upon him. Just so shall it be done to the poorest believer—he shall be taken from his laboring work, and set at the right hand of God, having the crown of righteousness upon his head!

Meditate often on the Jerusalem above.

1. Meditation on heaven would excite and quicken OBEDIENCE. It would put spurs to our sluggish hearts, and make us "abound in the work of God, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord," 1 Cor. 15:58. The weight of glory would not hinder us in our race—but cause us to run the faster! This weight would add wings to duty.

2. Meditation on heaven would make us strive after heart PURITY, because only the "pure in heart shall see God," Matt. 5:8. It is only a clear eye which can look on a bright transparent object.

3. Meditation on heaven would be a pillar of SUPPORT under our sufferings. Heaven will make amends for all. One hour in heaven will make us forget all our sorrows! The sun dries up the water; just so—one beam of God's glorious face will dry up all our tears.

Section 14. Meditate on ETERNITY.

Millions of years stand only for ciphers in eternity, and signify nothing. What an amazing word is eternity! Eternity to the godly--is a day which has no sun-setting! Eternity to the wicked--is a night which has no sun-rising! Eternity is a gulf which may swallow up all our thoughts: Meditate on that scripture, "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life." Matthew 25:46.

A. Meditate upon eternal PUNISHMENT. The bitter cup the damned drink of, shall never pass away from them. The sinner and the furnace shall never be parted. God's vial of wrath will be always dropping upon a wicked man. When you have reckoned up so many myriads and millions of years, nay, ages—as have passed the bounds of all arithmetic, eternity is not yet begun! This word forever breaks the heart! If the tree falls hell-ward—there it lies to all eternity! Now is the time of God's long-suffering, after death will be the time of the sinner's long-suffering, when he shall "suffer the vengeance of eternal fire!" Jude 7.

B. Meditate upon eternal LIFE. The soul that is once landed at the heavenly shore, is past all storms. The glorified soul shall be forever bathing itself in the rivers of pleasure. "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalms 16:11. This is what makes heaven to be heaven—"We shall be forever with the Lord!" 1 Thess. 4:17. Augustine says, "Lord, I am content to suffer any pains and torments in this world—if I might see your face one day. But alas, were it only a day, then to be ejected from heaven—it would rather be an aggravation of misery!" But this word, "forever with the Lord," makes up the garland of glory! A state of eternity, is a state of security.

i. Meditation on eternity, would make us very SERIOUS in what we do. Zeuxes being asked, why he took so long to paint a picture, answered, "I paint for eternity." The thoughts of an irreversible condition after this life, would make us pray and live as for eternity.

ii. Meditation on eternity, would make us overlook present WORLDLY things—as flitting and fading. What is this present world, to him who has eternity in his eye? it is but nothing. He who thinks of eternity will despise "the passing pleasures of sin."

iii. Meditation on eternity would be a means to keep us from envying the wicked's prosperity. Here the wicked may be "dressed in purple and fine linen, and live in luxury every day." But what is this, compared to eternity? As long as there is such a thing as eternity, God has time enough to reckon with all his enemies!

Section 15. Meditate upon your EXPERIENCES.

The last subject of meditation is your experiences. Look over your receipts:

1. Has not God provided liberally for you, and given you those spiritual mercies, which he has denied to others who are better than you? Here is an experience, Gen: 48:15. "The God who has fed me all my days." You never eat—but mercy carves for you. You never go to bed—but mercy draws the curtain, and sets a guard of angels about you. Whatever you have, is out of the treasury of free grace! Here is an experience to meditate upon.

2. Has not God prevented many dangers—has he not kept watch and ward about you?

A. What temporal dangers has God screened off? Your neighbor's house on fire—but it has not kindled in your dwellings. Another is infected with the plague—but you are healthy. Behold the golden feathers of protection covering you!

B. What spiritual dangers has God prevented? when others have been poisoned with error, you have been preserved. God has sounded a retreat to you; you have heard "a voice behind you saying—This is the way, walk in it!" When you had enlisted yourself, and taken pay on the devil's side—yet God has "plucked you as a brand out of the fire," turned your heart, and now you espouse Christ's quarrel against sin. Behold preventing grace! Here is an experience to meditate upon.

C. Has not God spared you a long time? Why is it, that others are struck dead in the act of sin—as Ananias and Sapphira—and you are preserved as a monument of God's patience?

Here is an experience: God has done more for you than for the fallen angels; he never granted them repentance—but he has waited for you year after year, Isaiah 30:18. Therefore "will the Lord wait that he may be gracious." He has not only knocked at your heart in the ministry of the word—but he has waited at the door. How long has his Spirit striven with you; like an importunate suitor, who after many denials, yet will not give over the suit. Methinks I see JUSTICE with a sword in its hand ready to strike! But MERCY steps in for the sinner, "Lord, have patience with him a while longer!" Methinks I hear the angels say to God, as the king of Israel once said to the prophet Elisha, 2Kings 6:22, "Shall I smite them? shall I smite them?" Methinks I hear the angels say, "Shall we take off the head of such a drunkard, swearer, blasphemer?" But MERCY seems to answer as the vine-dresser, Luke 13:8, "Let him alone this year," see if he will repent. Is not here an experience worth meditating upon? Mercy turns justice into a rainbow; the rainbow is a bow indeed—but has no arrow in it! That justice has been like the rainbow without an arrow—that it has not shot you to death—here is a monument of patience to read over and meditate upon.

D. Has not God often come in with assisting grace? When he has bid you mortify such a lust, and you have said as Jehoshaphat, 2Chr 20:12, "I have no might against this great army!" Then God has come in with auxiliary force, and "his grace has been sufficient." When God has bid you pray for such a mercy, and you have found yourself very unfit; your heart was at first dead and flat, all of a sudden you are carried above your own strength; your tears drop, and your love flames! God has come in with assisting grace. If the heart burns in prayer—God has struck the fire! The Spirit has been tuning your soul, and now you make sweet melody in prayer. Here is an experience to meditate upon.

E. Has not God vanquished Satan for you? When the devil has tempted to infidelity, to self-murder, when he would make you believe either that your graces were but a fiction, or God's promise but a counterfeit bond; yet you have not been foiled by the tempter—it is God who has kept the garrison of your heart, else Satan's fiery darts would have entered! Here is an experience to meditate on.

F. Have you not had many signal deliverances? When you have been even at the gates of death, God has miraculously recovered you, and renewed your strength as the eagle! May not you write that writing which Hezekiah did? Isaiah 38:6, "The writing of Hezekiah King of Judah, when he had been sick, and was recovered of his sickness." You thought the sun of your life was quite setting—but God made this sun turn back many degrees. Here is an experience for meditation to feed upon.

When you have been imprisoned by sin—your foot taken in the snare, and the Lord has broken the snare, nay, has made those to break it, who were the instruments of laying it—behold an experience to meditate on! Oh let us often revolve in mind, our experiences. You who have rare receipts of mercy—be often by meditation, looking over your receipts.

i. Meditation on our experiences would raise us to THANKFULNESS. Considering that God has set a hedge of providence about us—he has strewed our way with roses—this would make us take the harp and violin—and praise the Lord, (1 Chron. 16:4). And not only praise—but record our blessings. The meditating Christian keeps a register or chronicle of God's mercies, that their memory does not decay. God would have the manna kept in the ark many hundred years, that the remembrance of that miracle might be preserved; a meditating soul takes care that the spiritual manna of an experience be kept safe.

ii. Meditation on our experiences would engage our hearts to God in OBEDIENCE. Mercy would be a needle to sew us to him! We would cry out as Bernard, "I have, Lord, two mites—a soul and a body—and I give them both to you."

iii. Meditation on our experiences would serve to convince us that GOD is no hard master. We might bring in our experiences as a sufficient confutation of that slander. When we have been falling—has not God taken us by the hand? "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O Lord, supported me!" Psalm 94:18. How often has God supported our head and heart—when we have been fainting? And is he a hard Master? Is there any Master besides God—who will wait upon his servants? Christians, summon in your experiences. What spiritual enjoyments have you had? What inward serenity and peace—which neither the world can give, nor death take away! A Christian's own experiences may plead for God—against those who desire to censure his ways rather than to try them; and to cavil at them, rather than to walk in them.

iv. Meditation on our experiences would make us communicative to others. We would be willing to tell our children and acquaintances, what God has done for our souls— At such a time we were brought low, and God raised us; at such a time in desertion, and God brought a promise to remembrance which dropped in comfort. Meditation on God's gracious dealing with us, would make us transmit and propagate our experience to others, that the mercies of God shown to us, may bear a plentiful crop of praise when we are dead and gone!

So much for the subject matter of meditation; I proceed next to the necessity of meditation.

VII. Showing the NECESSITY of Meditation.

It is not enough to carry 'God's book' about us—but we must meditate on it. The necessity of meditation will appear in three particulars.

1. The end why God has given us his Word written and preached, is not only to know it—but that we should meditate in it. The Scripture is a love letter which the great God has written to us. We must not run it over in haste—but meditate upon God's wisdom in writing, and his love in sending it to us. Why does the physician give his patient a remedy; is it only that he should read it over and know the remedy—or that he should apply it? The end why God communicates his gospel remedies to us, is, that we should apply them by fruitful meditation. Do you think that God would ever have been at the pains of writing his law with his own finger—only that we should have the theory and notion of it? Is it not that we should meditate on it? Would he ever have been at the cost to send abroad his ministers into the world, to furnish them with gifts, Eph. 4, and must they for the work of Christ be near unto death—that the Christians should only have an empty head knowledge of the truths published? Is it speculation or meditation—which God aims at?

2. The necessity of meditation appears in this, because without it we can never be godly Christians. A Christian without meditation is like a soldier without weapons, or a workman without tools.

Without meditation, the truths of God will not stay with us. The heart is hard, and the memory slippery—and without meditation all is lost! Meditation imprints and fastens a truth in the mind. Serious meditation is like the engraving of letters in gold or marble which endures. Without meditation, all our preaching is but like writing in sand, or like pouring water into a sieve. Reading and hearing without meditation, is like weak medicine which will not work. Lack of meditation has made so many sermons in this age, to have a miscarrying womb and dry breasts!

3. Without meditation the truths which we know will never affect our hearts. Deut. 6:6, "These words which I command this day shall be in your heart." How can the Word be in the heart—unless it be wrought in by meditation? As an hammer drives a nail to the head—so meditation drives a truth to the heart. It is not the taking in of food—but the stomach's digesting it, which makes it turn into nourishment. Just so, it is not the taking in of a truth at the ear—but the meditating on it, which is the digestion of it in the mind, which makes it nourish. Without meditation, the Word preached may increase notion, but not affection. There is as much difference between the knowledge of a truth, and the meditation on a truth, as there is between the light of a torch, and the light of the sun. Set up a lamp or torch in the garden, and it has no influence. But the sun has a sweet influence, it makes the plants to grow, and the herbs to flourish. Just so, knowledge is like a torch lighted in the understanding, which has little or no influence—it does not make not a man the better. But meditation is like the shining of the sun—it operates upon the affections, it warms the heart and makes it more holy. Meditation fetches life in a truth. There are many truths which lie, as it were, in the heart dead—which when we meditate upon, they begin to have life and heat in them. Meditation on a truth is like rubbing a man in a swoon—it fetches life. It is meditation, which makes a Christian!

4. Without meditation we make ourselves guilty of slighting God and his Word. If a man lets a thing lie aside, and never minds it—it is a sign he slights it. God's Word is the book of life; not to meditate in it—is to undervalue it. If a king puts forth an edict or proclamation, and the subjects never mind it—it is a slighting of the king's authority. God puts forth his law as a royal edict; if we do not meditate on it, it is a slighting his authority, and contempt done to the divine majesty!

VIII. Showing the reason WHY there are so few godly Christians.

Use 1. Information.

It gives us a true account why there are so few godly Christians in the world; namely, because there are so few meditating Christians. We have many who have Bible ears, they are swift to hear—but slow to meditate. This duty is grown almost out of fashion, people are so much in the shop, that they are seldom on the Mount with God. Where is the meditating Christian? Where is he who meditates on sin, hell, eternity, the recompense of reward—who takes a prospect of heaven every day? Where is the meditating Christian? It is to be bewailed in our times, that so many who go under the name of professors, have banished godly discourse from their tables, and meditation from their closets. Surely the hand of Joab is in this.

The devil is an enemy to meditation; he cares not how much people read and hear; he knows that meditation is a means to compose the heart, and bring it into a gracious frame. Satan is content that you should be hearing and praying Christians, just so long as you are not meditating Christians. He can stand your small shot, provided you do not put in this bullet.


IX. A REPROOF to such as do not Meditate in God's Word.

Use 2. Of reproof.

It serves to reprove those who meditate indeed—but not in the Word of God. They turn all their meditations the wrong way; like a man who lets forth the water of his mill which should grind his corn, into the highway, where it does no good. Just so, there are many who let out their meditations upon other fruitless things which are in no way beneficial to their souls.

1. The farmer meditates on his acres of land, not upon his soul. His meditation is how he may improve a barren piece of ground, not how he may improve a barren mind; he will not let his ground lie fallow—but he lets his heart lie fallow; there is no spiritual culture, not one seed of grace sown there.

2. The physician meditates upon his remedies—but seldom on those remedies which the gospel prescribes for his salvation, faith and repentance. Commonly the devil is physician to the physician, having given him such stupefying drug, that for the most part he dies of a lethargy.

3. The lawyer meditates upon the common law; but as for God's law he seldom meditates in it either day or night. The lawyer while he is meditating on his client's evidences, often forgets his own; most have their spiritual evidences to seek, when they should have them to show.

4. The tradesman is for the most part meditating upon his wares; his study is how he may increase his estate, and make the ten talents into a hundred. He is "cumbered about many things;" he does not meditate in the book of God's book—but in his account-book day and night. In the long run you will see these were fruitless meditations, you will find that you are but golden beggars, and have gotten but the fool's purchase when you die, Luke 12:20.

5. There is another sort that meditate only upon mischief, "who devise iniquity," Mic. 2:1. They meditate how to defame and to defraud; Amos 8:5, "They make the ephah small, and the shekel great." The ephah was a measure used in buying, the shekel a weight used in selling. Many who should support, too often supplant one another. And how many meditate revenge? It is sweet to them as dropping honey. "Their hearts shall meditate terror," Isaiah 38:18. The sinner is a felon to himself, and God will make him a terror to himself.


X. A holy PERSUASIVE to Meditation.

Use 3. Of Exhortation.

I am in the next place to exhort Christians to this so necessary duty of meditation. If ever there were a duty I would press upon you with more earnestness and zeal, it would be this, because so much of the vitals and spirit of religion lies in it. The plant may as well bear fruit without watering, the food may as well nourish without digesting, as we can fructify in holiness without meditation. God provides the food, ministers can but cook and dress it for you—but it must be inwardly digested by meditation. For lack of this you may cry out with the prophet, Isaiah 24:16, "My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me." O let me persuade such as fear God, seriously to set upon this duty. If you have formerly neglected it, bewail your neglect, and now begin to make conscience of it! Lock up yourselves with God (at least once a day) by holy meditation. Ascend this hill, and when you have gotten to the top of it—you shall see a fair prospect—Christ and heaven before you. Let me put you in mind of that saying of Bernard, "O saint, know you not that your husband Christ is bashful, and will not be affectionate in company, retire yourself by meditation into the closet, or the field, and there you shall have Christ's embraces." Cant. 7:11, 12, "Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field, there will I give you my love."

O that I might invite Christians to this rare duty. Why is it that you do not meditate in God's law? Let me expostulate the case with you; what is the reason? Methinks I hear some say, "We are indeed convinced of the necessity of the duty—but alas there are many things that hinder!" There are two great objections that lie in the way, I shall remove them, and then hope the better to persuade to this duty.


XI. The answering of OBJECTIONS.

Objection 1. I have so much business in the world, that I have no time to meditate.

Answer. The world indeed is a great enemy to meditation. It is easy to lose one's purse in a crowd; and in a crowd of worldly employments, it is easy to lose all the thoughts of God. So long as the heart is an Exchange, I do not expect that it should be a Temple. But, to answer the objection; have you so much business that you have no time for meditation—as if piety were a minor matter—a thing fit only for idle hours? What! No time to meditate! What is the business of your life—but meditation? God never sent us into the world to get riches, (I speak not against labor in a vocation) but I say this is not the end of our existence. The errand God sent us into the world about, is salvation; and that we may attain the end, we must use the means, namely, holy meditation. Now, have you no time to meditate? just as if a farmer should say that he has so much business, that he has no time to plough or sow; why, what is his occupation but plowing and sowing!

What a madness is it to hear Christians say they have no time to meditate? what is the business of their lives but meditation? O take heed lest by growing rich, you grow worth nothing at last. Take heed that God does not sue out the statute of bankruptcy against you, and you be disgraced before men and angels. No time for meditation! You shall observe that others in former ages have had as much business as you, and public affairs to look after, yet they were called upon to meditate, Josh. 1:8. "You shall meditate in this book of the Law." Joshua might have pleaded an excuse, he was a soldier, a commander, and the care of marshaling his army lay chiefly upon him, yet this must not take him off from piety; Joshua must meditate in the book of God's law. God never intended that the great business of piety should give way to a shop or farm; or that a particular vocation should jostle out the general duty to holiness.

2. Objection. But this duty of meditation is hard. To set time apart every day to get the heart into a meditating frame is very difficult; Gerson reports of himself, that he was sometimes three or four hours before he could work his heart into a spiritual frame.

Answer. Does this hinder? To this I shall give a threefold reply.

A. The price that God has set heaven at, is labor. Our salvation cost Christ blood, it may well cost us sweat. "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence," Matt. 11:12. It is as a garrison which holds out, and the duties of religion are the taking it by storm. A godly Christian must offer violence to himself, (though not natural-self, yet sinful-self.) Self is nothing but the flesh. The flesh cries out for ease, it is a libertine! It is reluctant to take pains, reluctant to pray, to repent—it is reluctant to put its neck under Christ's yoke! Now a Christian must hate himself; no man ever yet hated his own flesh, Eph. 5:29. Yes, in this sense he must hate his own flesh, "The lusts of the flesh," Romans 8:13. He must offer violence to himself by mortification and meditation. You say that it is hard to meditate. Is it not harder to lie in hell?

B. We do not argue so in other things; riches are hard to come by, therefore I will sit still and be without them. No! Difficulty is the whetstone of industry. How will men venture for gold? and shall we not spend and be spent for that which is more precious than the gold of Ophir? By meditation we suck out the quintessence of a promise.

C. Though while we are first entering upon meditation it may seem hard, yet when once we are entered it is sweet and pleasant. Christ's yoke at the first putting on, may seem heavy—but when once it is on, it becomes easy; it is not a yoke, but a crown. "Lord," says Austin, "the more I meditate on you, the sweeter you are to me!" According to holy David, "My meditation on you shall be sweet," Psalm 104:34. The poets say the top of Olympus was always quiet and serene. Just so, it is hard climbing up the rocky hill of meditation—but when we are got up to the top, there is a pleasant prospect, and we shall sometimes think ourselves even in heaven. By holy meditation the soul does as it were, breakfast with God every morning. When a Christian is upon the mount of meditation, he is like Peter on the mount when Christ was transfigured, Matt. 17. He cries out, "Lord, it is good to be here!" He is reluctant to go down the mount again. If you come to him, and tell him of a purchase, he thinks you bid him to his loss!

What hidden manna does the soul taste, now that it is on the mount! How sweet are the visits of God's Spirit! When Christ was alone in the wilderness, then the angel came to comfort him. When the soul is alone in holy meditation and prayer, then not an angel—but God's own Spirit does come to comfort him. A Christian who meets with God in the mount, would not exchange his hours of meditation for the most orient pearls or sparkling beauties that the world can afford. No wonder David spent the whole day in meditation, Psalm 119:97. Nay, as if the day had been too little, he borrows a part of the night too, Psalm 63:6, "when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches." When others were sleeping, David was meditating. He who is given much to meditation, shall with Sampson find a honeycomb in this duty. Therefore let not the difficulty, discourage. The pleasantness will infinitely countervail the pains.


XII. Concerning OCCASIONAL Meditations.

Having removed these two objections out of the way, let me again revive the exhortation to "meditate in God's law day and night." And there are two sorts of meditation which I would persuade to—

A. Occasional, and 2. Deliberate.

i. OCCASIONAL meditations, such as are taken up on any sudden occasion. There is nothing almost which occurs—but we may presently raise some meditation upon. As a good herbalist extracts the spirits and quintessence out of every herb, so a Christian may extract matter of meditation, from every occurrence. A gracious heart, like fire, turns all objects into fuel for meditation. I shall give you some instances. When you look up to the heavens, and see them richly embroidered with light, you may raise this meditation. If the footstool is so glorious, what is the throne where God himself sits! When you see the skies bespangled with stars, think, what is Christ The Bright Morning Star! Monica, Augustine's mother, standing one day, and seeing the sun shine, raised this meditation, "Oh! if the sun is so bright, what is the light of God's presence?" When you hear music which delights the senses, presently raise this meditation, "What music like a good conscience; this is the bird of paradise within, whose chirping melody does enchant and ravish the soul with joy!" He who has this music all day, may take David's pillow at night, and say with that sweet singer, "I will lay me down in peace and sleep," Psalm. 4:8. How blessed is he who can find heaven in his own bosom!

When you are dressing yourselves in the morning, awaken your meditation, think thus—but have I been dressing the hidden man of the heart? Have I looked at my heart in the glass of God's Word? I have put on my clothes—but have I put on Christ? it is reported of Pambo, that seeing a gentlewoman dressing herself all the morning by her glass, he fell a-weeping: "O says he, this woman has spent the morning in dressing her body, and I sometimes spend scarcely an hour in dressing my soul!" When you sit down to dinner, let your meditation feed upon this first course, "How blessed are those who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God! What a royal feast will that be, which God prepares! What a love-feast will that be, where none shall be admitted but friends!"

When you go to bed at night, imagine thus, "Shortly I shall put off the earthly clothes of my body, and make my bed in the grave!" When you see the judge going to court, and hear the trumpet blow, think with yourselves, as Hierom did, that you are still hearing that shrill trumpet sounding in your ears, "Arise you dead and come to judgment!" When you see a poor man going on the streets, raise this meditation, "Here is a walking picture of Christ!" He had no place where to lay his head, Matt. 8:10. My Savior became poor, that I through his poverty might be made rich!" When you go to church, think thus, "I am now going to hear God speak, let me not stop my ear; if I refuse to hear him speaking in his Word, I shall next hear him speaking in his wrath!" Psalm 2:5.

When you walk abroad in your orchard, and see the plants bearing, and the herbs nourishing, think how pleasing a sight it is to God—to see a thriving Christian; how beautiful are the trees of righteousness when they are hung full of fruit—when they abound in faith, humility, knowledge! When you pluck a rose-bud in your gardens, raise this contemplation, "How lovely are the early buddings of grace! God prizes a Christian in the bud, he likes the blooming of youth, rather than the shedding of old age!" When you eat a grape from the tree, think of Christ the true vine; how precious is the blood of that grape! such rare clusters grow there, that the angels themselves delight to taste of!

It is said of Augustine, he was much in these extempore meditations. A gracious heart, like the philosopher's magic stone, turns all into gold—he has heavenly meditations from earthly occurrences. The skilled chemist, when several metals are mingled together, can by his skill extract the gold and silver from the baser metals. Just so, a Christian, by a divine chemistry, can extract golden meditations from the various earthly objects he beholds! Indeed it argues a spiritual heart, to turn everything to a spiritual use; and we have Christ's own example for these occasional meditations, John 4:7-14. While he sat on Jacob's well, he presently meditates on that, and breaks forth into a most excellent discourse concerning the water of life. So much for occasional meditations.

ii. Be exhorted to DELIBERATE meditations, which are the chief. Set some time apart every day, that you may in a serious and solemn manner converse with God in the mount: A godly man, is a man set apart, Psalm 4:3, as God sets him apart by election, so he sets him apart by meditation.


XIII. The fittest TIME for Meditation.

Question 1. What is the fittest time for meditation?

Answer. For the timing of it, it is rather hard to prescribe, because of men's various callings and employments. But if I may freely speak my thoughts, the morning is the fittest time for meditation. The best time to converse with God is, when we may be most in private, that is, before worldly concerns stand knocking as so many suitors at the door to be let in. The morning is, as it were, the cream of the day—let the cream be taken off, and let God have it. In the distilling of strong-water, the first water that is drawn from the still is more full of spirits, the second drawing is weaker; so the first meditations that are stilled from the mind in a morning, are the best, and we shall find them to be most full of life and spirits. The morning is the golden hour. God loved the first-fruits, Exod. 23:19. "The first of the first-fruits you shall bring into the house of the Lord." Let God have the first-fruits of the day; the first of our thoughts must be reserved for heaven. The student takes the morning for his study. The usurer gets up in the morning and looks over his books of account: a Christian must begin with God in the morning. David was with God before break of day, Psalm 119:147. "I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I put my hope in Your Word."

Question 2. But why the morning for meditation?

Answer 1. Because in the morning the mind is fittest for holy duties; a Christian is most himself then. What weary devotion will there be at night when a man is even tired out with the business of the day! He will be fitter to sleep, than to meditate. The morning is the queen of the day; then the imagination is quickest, the memory strongest, the spirits freshest, the body most refreshed, having restored its strength by sleep. It is a sure rule, then is the best time to serve God, when we find ourselves most in tune. In the morning the heart is like a violin—strung and put in tune, and then it makes the sweetest melody.

2. The morning thoughts stay longest with us the whole day afterwards. The wool takes the first dye best, and is not easily worn out. When the mind receives the impression of good thoughts in the morning, it holds this sacred dye the better; and like an ingrained color, it will not easily be lost. The heart keeps the relish of morning meditations, as a cup receives a tincture and savor of the wine which is first put into it; or as linen in a cedar chest—which keeps the scent a great while after. Perfume your mind with heavenly thoughts in the morning—and it will not lose its spiritual fragrancy! Wind up your heart towards heaven in the beginning of the day—and it will go the better all the day afterwards. It is with receiving thoughts into the mind, as it is with receiving guests into an inn—the first guests which come, will get the best rooms in the house; if others come afterwards, they get the worse rooms. Just so, when the mind entertains holy meditations for its morning-guests, if afterwards earthly thoughts come, they are put into some of the worst rooms—they lodge lowest in the affections. The best rooms are taken up in the morning, for Christ. He who loses his heart in the morning, in the world; will hardly find it again all the day after.

3. It is a part of that solemn respect and honor we give to God—to let him have the first thoughts of the day. We give people of quality, the best treatment—we let them take the first place. If we honor God (whose name is reverend and holy) we will let the thoughts of God take first place. When the world has the first of our thoughts, it is a sign the world lies uppermost, we love it most. The first thing a covetous man meditates on in the morning, is his money; a sign his gold lies nearest to his heart. O! Christians, let God have your morning meditations. He takes it in disdain, to have the world served before him. Suppose a king and a criminal were to dine in the same room, and to sit at two tables; if the criminal would have his food brought up, and be served first, the king might take it in high disdain, and look upon it as a contempt done to his person. When the world is served first, all our morning thoughts attending it; and the Lord shall be put off with the dregs of the day, when our thoughts begin to run low—is not this a contempt done to the God of glory!

4. Equity requires it. God deserves the first of our thoughts; some of his first thoughts were upon us; we had a being in his thoughts; before we had a being he thought upon us, Eph. 1:4. "Before the foundations of the world." Before we fell, he was thinking how to raise us. We had the morning of his thoughts. O! what thoughts of free grace, what thoughts of peace has he had towards us! We have taken up his thoughts from eternity; if we have had some of God's first thoughts, well may he have our first thoughts.

5. This is to imitate the pattern of the saints. Job rose early in the morning, and offered sacrifice, Job 1:5. David, when he awaked, was with God, Psalm 139:17, and indeed this is the way to have a morning blessing. "In the morning the dew fell," Exod. 16:13. The dew of a blessing falls early—now we are likeliest to have God's company. If you would meet with a friend, you go early in the morning before he be gone out. We read that the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles, Acts 2:3, 4, and it was in the morning, as may be gathered from Peter's sermon, verse 15, it was but "the third hour of the day." The morning is the time for fruitfulness, "In the morning shall you make your seed to flourish," Isaiah 17:11. By morning meditation, we make the seed of grace to flourish.

I would not by this, wholly exclude EVENING meditation. Isaac went out to meditate in the eventide, Gen. 24:63. When business is over, and everything calm, it is good to take a turn with God in the evening. God had his evening sacrifice, as well as his morning, Ex. 29:39. As the cream at the top is sweet, so is the sugar at the bottom; in two cases, the evening meditation does well.

A. In case such has been the urgency of business, that you have time only for reading and prayer; then recompense the lack of the morning meditation, with evening meditation.

B. In case you find yourself more inclinable to good thoughts in the evening, for sometimes there is a greater impetus upon the heart, a greater aptitude and tuneableness of mind, dare not neglect meditation at such a time. Who knows but it may be a quenching the Spirit; do not drive this blessed dove from the ark of your soul. In these cases evening meditation is seasonable. But I say, if I may cast in my verdict, the morning is to be preferred; as the flower of the sun opens in the morning to take in the sweet beams of the sun, so open your soul in the morning to take in the sweet thoughts of God. So much for the timing of meditation.


XIV. How LONG Christians should meditate.

Question 2. But how long should I meditate?

Answer. If we consider how long the world has, it is fit that we give God at least one half hour every day. I shall only say this for a general rule—meditate so long until you find your heart grow warm in this duty.

If when a man is cold, you ask how long he should stand by the fire? Surely, until he be thoroughly warm, and made fit for his work. So, Christian, your heart is cold; never a day, no not the hottest day in summer—but your heart freezes; now stand at the fire of meditation until you find your affections warmed, and you are made fit for spiritual service. David mused until his heart waxed hot within him, Psalm 39:3. I will conclude this with that excellent saying of Bernard, "Lord, I will never come away from you—without you." Let this be a Christian's resolution—not to leave off his meditations of God until he finds something of God in him—some "moving of affections after God," Cant. 5:4. Some "flamings of love," Cant. 6:8.


XV. Concerning the USEFULNESS of Meditation.

Having answered these questions, I shall next show the benefit and usefulness of meditation. I know not any duty that brings in greater income and revenue than this. It is reported of Thales, that he left the affairs of state to become a contemplating philosopher. O! did we know the advantage which comes by this duty, we would often retire from the noise and hurry of the world, that we might give ourselves to meditation.

The benefit of meditation
appears in seven particulars.

1. Meditation is an excellent means to profit by the Word. Reading may bring a truth into the head, meditation brings it into the heart! It is better to meditate on one sermon—than to hear five sermons. Many complain that they do not profit from sermons; this may be the chief reason—because they chew not the cud—they do not meditate on what they have heard. If an angel should come from heaven, and preach to men, nay, if Jesus Christ himself were their preacher, they would never profit without meditation. It is the settling of the milk that makes it turn to cream; and it is the settling of a truth in the mind, that makes it turn to spiritual nourishment. The bee sucks the flower, and then works it in the hive, and makes honey of it. The hearing of a truth preached is the sucking of a flower, there must be a working it in the hive of the heart by meditation, then it turns to honey. There is a disease in children called the rickets, when they have large heads—but their lower parts are small and thrive not. Many professors have the spiritual rickets, they have large heads, much knowledge—but yet they thrive not in godliness, their heart is faint, their feet feeble, they don't walk vigorously in the ways of God; and the cause of this disease is, the lack of meditation. Bible knowledge without meditation, makes us no better than devils! Satan is an angel of light, yet black enough.

2. Meditation makes the heart serious, and then it is ever best. Meditation ballasts the heart; when the ship is ballasted, it is not so soon overturned by the wind; and when the heart is ballasted with meditation, it is not so soon overturned with vanity. Some Christians have light hearts, Zeph. 3:4, "his prophets are light." A light Christian will be blown into any opinion or vice; you may blow a feather any way: there are many feathery Christians; the devil no sooner comes with a temptation but they are ready to take fire. But meditation makes the heart serious, and God says of a serious Christian, as David of Goliath's sword, "there is none like that, give it to me." Meditation consolidates a Christian; solid gold is best; the solid Christian is the only metal that will pass current with God. The more serious the heart grows, the more spiritual, and the more spiritual, the more it resembles the Father of spirits. When a man is serious he is fittest for employment. The serious Christian is fittest for service, and it is meditation which brings the heart into this blessed frame.

3. Meditation is the bellows of the affections. Meditation hatches good affections, as the hen hatches her young ones by sitting on them. We light affection at this fire of meditation, "while I was musing the fire burned," Psalm 39:3. David was meditating on mortality, and see how his heart was affected with it, verse 4, "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away." The reason our affections are so chill and cold in spiritual things, is, because we do not warm ourselves more at the fire of meditation. Illumination makes us shining lamps, meditation makes us burning lamps. What is it to know Christ by speculation, and not by affection? It is the proper work of meditation to excite and blow up holy affections. What sparkling of love in such a soul! When David had meditated on God's law, he could not choose it, but love it, Psalm 119:97. "O how love I your law! it is my meditation all the day." When the spouse had by meditation viewed those singular beauties in her beloved, white and ruddy, Cant. 5. she grew lovesick, verse 8. Galeatius Caraccialus, that famous Marquis of Vico, who had been much in the contemplation of Christ, breaks out into a holy pathos, "Let their money perish with them, who esteem all the gold in the world worth one hour's communion with Jesus Christ!"

4. Meditation fits for holy duties. The musician first puts his instrument in tune—and then he plays a song. Just so, meditation tunes the heart—and then it is fit for any holy service. As the sails to the ship, so is meditation to duty, it carries on the soul more swiftly.

A. Meditation fits for HEARING. When the ground is softened by meditation, now is a fit time for the seed of the Word to be sown.

B. Meditation fits for PRAYER. Prayer is the spiritual pulse of the soul, by which it beats strongly after God. There is no living without prayer; a man cannot live—unless he breathes; no more can the soul live—unless it breathes out its desires to God. Prayer ushers in mercy, and prayer sanctifies mercy, it makes mercy to be mercy, 1 Tim. 4:5. Prayer has power over God, Hos. 12:4. Prayer comes with letters of request to heaven. Prayer is the spiritual leech—which sucks the poison of sin out of the soul. What a blessed (shall I say duty or) privilege is prayer! Meditation is a help to prayer; Gerson calls it the nurse of prayer. Meditation is like oil to the lamp; the lamp of prayer will soon go out unless meditation feeds it. Meditation and prayer are like two turtles-doves—if you separate one, the other dies. A skillful angler observes the time and season when the fish bite best, and then he throws in his hook. Just so, when the heart is warmed by meditation, now is the best season to throw in the hook of prayer, and fish for mercy. After Isaac had been in the field meditating, he was fit for prayer when he came home. When the gun is full of powder, it is fittest to discharge. So when the mind is full of good thoughts, a Christian is fittest by prayer to discharge, now he sends up whole volleys of sighs and groans to heaven.

Meditation has a double benefit in it—it pours in, and pours out. First it pours good thoughts into the mind, and then it pours out those thoughts again into prayer. Meditation first furnishes with matter to pray, and then it furnishes with a heart to pray, Psalm 39:3. "I was musing," says David, and the very next words are a prayer, "Lord make me to know my end;" and Psalm 143:5, 6, "I muse on the works of your hands, I stretch forth my hands to you;" the musing of his head made way for the stretching forth of his hands in prayer. When Christ was upon the mount, then he prayed. Just so, when the soul is upon the mount of meditation, now it is in tune for prayer. Prayer is the child of meditation. Meditation leads the van, and prayer brings up the rear.

C. Meditation fits for HUMILIATION. When David had been contemplating the works of creation, their splendor, harmony, motion, influence—the plumes of pride fall off—and he begins to have self-abasing thoughts, Psalm 8:3, 4. "When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have ordained—What is man that you are mindful of him!"

D. Meditation is a strong antidote against SIN. Most sin is committed for lack of meditation. Men often sin through ignorance. Would they be so brutishly sensual as they are, if they did seriously meditate upon what sin is? Would they take this viper in their hand—if they did but consider its sting? Sin puts a worm into conscience, a sting into death, and a fire into hell. Did men meditate on this—that after all their dainty dishes, death will bring in the reckoning, and they must pay the reckoning in hell—they would say as David in another sense, "let me not eat of their dainties," Psalm 141:4. The devil's apple has a bitter core in it. Did men think of this—surely it would put them into a cold sweat, and be as the angel's drawn sword to affright them! Meditation is a golden shield to beat back sin! When Joseph's mistress tempted him to wickedness, meditation did preserve him, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Meditation makes the heart like wet tinder—it will not take the devil's fire!

E. Meditation is a cure of COVETOUSNESS. The covetous man is an idolater, Col. 3:5. Though he will not bow down to an idol, yet he worships engraved images in his coins. Now meditation is an excellent means to lessen our esteem of the world. Great things seem little to him who stands high; if he could live among the stars—the earth would seem as nothing. To a Christian who stands high upon the pinnacle of meditation—how do all worldly things disappear, and seem as nothing to him! He does not see in them, what men of the world see. He is gotten into his tower, and heaven is his prospect. What is said of God, "He dwells on high, he humbles himself to behold the things done on the earth," Psalm 113:6, I may allude to with reverence. The Christian who dwells on high by meditation, accounts it an abasing of himself, to look down upon the earth, and behold the things done in this lower region. Paul, whose meditations were sublime and seraphic, looked at things which were not seen, 2 Cor. 4 ult. How did he trample upon the world, how did he scorn it? "I am crucified to the world," Gal. 6:14, as if he had said, "it is too much below me, to mind it!" He who is catching at a crown, will not fish for minnows. A Christian who is elevated by holy meditation, will not set his heart where his feet should be—upon the earth.

F. Holy meditation banishes vain and sinful thoughts. It purges the imagination, "How long shall vain thoughts lodge within you," Jer. 4:14. The mind is the shop where sin is first framed. Sin begins at the thoughts. The thoughts are the first plotters and contrivers of evil. The mind and imagination are the stage where sin is first acted. The malicious man acts over sin in his thoughts, he contemplates revenge. The impure person acts over immorality in his thoughts, he contemplates lust. The Lord humbles us for our contemplative wickedness, Proverbs 30:32. "If you have thought evil, lay your hand upon your mouth." How much sin do men commit in the chamber of their imagination?

Meditating in God's law would be a good means to banish these sinful thoughts. If David had carried the book of the law about him, and meditated in it, he would not have looked on Bathsheba with a lascivious eye, 2 Sam. 2:11. Holy meditation would have quenched that wildfire of lust. The Word of God is pure, Psalm 119:140, not only subjectively—but effectively. It is not only pure in itself—but it makes them pure who meditate in it. Christ whipped the buyers and sellers out of the temple, John 2:15. Holy meditation would whip out idle and vagrant thoughts, and not allow them to lodge in the mind. What is the reason the angels in heaven have not one vain thought? They have a sight of God, their eye is never off him. If the eye of the soul were fixed on God by meditation, how would vain impure thoughts vanish! As when that woman was in the tower, and Abimelech came near to the tower to have entered, but she threw a mill-stone out of the tower upon him, and killed him, Judg, 9:52. Just so, when we have gotten into the high tower of meditation, and sinful thoughts would come near to enter, we may from this tower throw a millstone upon them, and destroy them. And thus you have seen the benefit of meditation.

XVI. The EXCELLENCY of Meditation.

Aristotle places felicity, in the contemplation of the mind. Meditation is highly commended by Augustine, Chrysostom, and Cyprian—as the nursery of piety. Hierom calls it his Paradise. With what words shall I set it forth? Other duties have done excellently—but "you excel them all." Meditation is a friend to all the graces, it helps to water the plantation. I may call it in Basil's expression, the treasury where all the graces are locked up; and with Theophylact, the very gate and portal by which we enter into glory. By meditation the spirits are raised and heightened to a kind of angelic frame. Meditation sweetly puts us in heaven, before we arrive there. Meditation brings God and the soul together, 1 John 3:2.

Meditation is the saints' looking glass, by which they see things invisible. Meditation is the golden ladder by which they ascend to paradise. Meditation is the spy they send abroad to search the land of promise, and it brings a cluster of the grapes of Eshcol with it. Meditation is the dove they send out, and it brings an olive branch of peace in its mouth. But who can tell how sweet honey is, save they that taste it? The excellency of meditation I leave to experienced Christians, who will say the comfort of it may be better felt than expressed.

To excite all to this so useful, excellent (I had almost said angelic) duty, let me lay down some divine motives to meditation; and how glad would I be, if I might revive this duty among Christians.

XVII. Divine MOTIVES to Meditation.

1. Meditation manifests what a man really is. By this he may take a measure of his heart, whether it be good or bad. Proverbs 23:7, "For as he thinks in his heart—so he is." As the meditation is—such is the man. Meditation is the touchstone of a Christian, it shows what metal he is made of. Meditation is a spiritual index. The index shows what is in the book—so meditation shows what is in the heart. If all a man's meditations are how he may get power against sin, how he may grow in grace, how he may have more communion with God; this shows what is in his heart—the frame of his heart is spiritual. By the beating of this pulse, judge of the health of your soul. It is made the character of a godly man—that he fears God, "and thinks on his name," Mal. 3:17. As are the thoughts—such is the heart.

But the thoughts of the ungodly are taken up with pride and lust. "Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity," Isa, 59:7. When vain sinful thoughts come, ungodly men make much of them, they make room for them, they shall eat and lodge with them. But if a good thought happens to come into their mind, it is soon turned out of doors, as an unwelcome guest; this argues much unsoundness of heart. Let this provoke to holy meditation.

2. The thoughts of God, as they bring delight with them—so they leave peace behind them. Those are the best hours which are spent with God. Conscience, as the bee, gives honey. It will not grieve us when we come to die—that we have spent our time in holy soliloquies and meditations. But what honor will the sinner have, when he shall ask conscience the question as Joram did Jehu, 2Ki 9:22, "Is it peace, conscience, is it peace?" And conscience shall say as Jehu, "What peace, as long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel, and her witchcrafts are so many?" Oh how sad will it be with a man at such a time? Christians, as you desire peace, "meditate in God's law day and night."

This duty of meditation being neglected, the heart will run wild, it will not be a vineyard—but a wilderness.

3. Meditation keeps the heart in a good spiritual health. It plucks up the weeds of sin, it prunes the wasteful branches, it waters the flowers of grace, it sweeps all the walks in the heart, that Christ may walk there with delight. For lack of holy meditation, the heart lies like the sluggard's field, Proverbs 24:31, all overgrown with thorns and briars—with unclean, earthly thoughts. It is rather the devil's hog stye, than Christ's garden. It is like a house fallen to ruin, fit only for unclean spirits to inhabit.

4. The fruitlessness of all worldly meditations. One man lays out his thoughts about laying up money; his meditations are how to raise himself in the world, and when he has arrived at an estate, often God blows upon it, Hag. 1:9. His care is for his child, and perhaps God takes it away, or if it lives, it proves a cross. Another meditates how to satisfy his ambition, "Honor me before the people," 1 Sam. 15:30. Alas, what is honor—but a meteor in the air; a torch lighted by the breath of people, with the least puff blown out! How many live to see their names buried before them? When this sun is in its meridian splendor—it soon sets in a cloud.

Thus fruitless are those meditations which do not center upon God. It is but to carry dust against the wind. But especially at death; then a man sees all those thoughts which were not spent upon God, to be fruitless, Psalm 146:4. "In that very day his thoughts perish." I may allude to it in this sense—all worldly, vain thoughts, in that day of death perish, and come to nothing! What good will the whole globe of the world do at such a time? Those who have reveled out their thoughts in impertinences, will but be the more disquieted; it will cut them to the heart, to think how they have spun a fool's thread!

A Scythian captain having, for a draught of water, yielded up the city, cried out, "What have I lost!" So will it be with that man when he comes to die, who has spent all his meditations upon the world; he will say, "What have I lost! I have lost heaven, I have betrayed my soul!" And should not the consideration of this fix our minds upon the thoughts of God and glory? All other meditations are fruitless; like a piece of ground which has much cost laid out upon it—but it yields no crop.

5. Holy meditation is never lost. God has a pen to write down all our good thoughts, Mal. 3:5. "A book of remembrance was written for those who thought upon his name." God has all our meditations written in his book. God pens our closet devotion.

6. See the blessedness affixed to the meditating Christian. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2. Say not it is hard to meditate. It brings much blessedness. Lycurgus could draw the Lacedemonians to do anything, by giving them rewards. If ungodly men can meditate with delight on that which will make them cursed; shall not we meditate on that which will make us blessed? nay, in the Hebrew it is in the plural, blessednesses, we shall have one blessedness upon another.

7. Delightful meditation in God's law is the best way for a man to prosper in his estate. Josh. 1:8. "This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth—but you shall meditate therein; for then shall you make your way prosperous." I leave this to their consideration who are desirous to thrive in the world; and let this serve for a motive to meditation.

The next thing remaining, is to lay down some rules about meditation.


XVIII. RULES concerning Meditation.

Rule 1. When you go to meditate—be very SERIOUS in the work.

Let there be a deep impression upon your soul. That you may be serious in meditation, do these two things:

A. Get yourself into a posture of holy reverence.

Over-awe your heart with the thoughts of God, and the incomprehensibleness of his Majesty. When you are at the work of meditation, remember you are now to deal with GOD. If an angel from heaven did appoint to meet you at such an hour, would you not prepare yourself with all seriousness and solemnity, to meet him? Behold—a greater than an angel is here; the God of glory is present! He has an eye upon you, he sees the state of your heart when you are alone. Think with yourself, O Christian, when you are going to meditate—that you are now to deal with him in private—before whom the angels adore, and the devils tremble! Think with yourself, that you are now in his presence before whom you must shortly stand and all the world with you—to receive their everlasting sentence. You must die, and how soon you know not; from the closet to the tribunal.

B. That your heart may be serious in meditation, labor to possess your thoughts with the solemnity and greatness of the work you are now going about.

As David said concerning his building a house for God—the work is great, 1Chr 29:1. So it may be said of meditation—the work is great, and we had need gather and rally together all the powers of the soul to the work! If you were to set about a work wherein your life was concerned, how serious would you be in the thoughts of it? In the business of meditation, your soul is concerned; eternity depends upon it! If you neglect it, or are slight in it—it will have eternal consequences. If Archimedes was so serious in drawing his mathematical line, that he minded not the sacking of the city; O how serious should a Christian be when he is drawing a line for eternity! When you are going to meditate, you are going to the greatest work in the world!

Rule. 2. READ before you meditate.

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8. Read before you meditate. The Law must be in Joshua's mouth; he was first to read--and then meditate.

"Give attendance to reading," 1Ti 4:13. Then it follows, "meditate on these things," 1Ti 4:15. Reading furnishes the mind with matter. Reading is the oil which feeds the lamp of meditation. Reading helps to rectify meditation. Augustine well says that, "meditation without reading will be erroneous." Naturally, the mind is defiled, and will be minting thoughts; and how many untruths does it mint! Therefore first read in the book of the Law—and then meditate! Be sure your meditations are grounded upon Scripture.

There is a strange Utopia in the imaginations of some men; they take those for true principles, which are false; and if they mistake their principles they must needs be wrong in their meditations. Thus the mind having laid in wrong principles--the meditation must be erroneous, and a man at last goes to hell upon a mistake! Therefore be sure you read before you meditate--that you may say, "it is written!" Meditate on nothing but what you believe to be a truth; believe nothing to be a truth, but what can show its letters of credence from the Word.

Observe this rule--let reading usher in meditation. Reading without meditation—is unfruitful! Meditation without reading—is dangerous!

Rule 3. Do not multiply the subjects of meditation.

That is, meditate not on too many things at once; like the bird that hops from one branch to another, and stays in no one place. Single out rather some one topic at a time, which you will meditate upon. Too much variety distracts. One truth driven home by meditation, will most greatly affect the heart! A man that is to shoot, sets up one target which he aims at to hit. When you are to shoot your mind above the world by meditation, set one thing before you to hit! If you are to meditate on the passion of Christ, let that take up all thoughts! If you are to meditate upon death, confine your thoughts to that. One subject at a time is enough. Martha while she was cumbered about many things, neglected the one needful thing; so while our meditations are taken up about many things, we lose that one thing which should affect our hearts, and do us more good. Drive but one wedge of meditation at a time—but be sure you drive it home to the heart. Those who aim at a whole flock of birds hit none. Several medicines taken together, the one hinders the virtue of the other; whereas a single medicine might do good.

Rule 4. To meditation, join EXAMINATION.

When you have been meditating on any spiritual subject, put an enquiry to your soul, and though it is short, let it be serious. "O my soul, is it thus with you—or not?" When you have been meditating about the fear of God—that it is the "beginning of wisdom"—make an enquiry, "O my soul, is this fear planted in your heart? You are almost come to the end of your days, are you yet come to the beginning of wisdom?" When you have been meditating on Christ, his virtues, his privileges, make an enquiry, "O my soul, do you love him who is so lovely; and are you ingrafted into him? Are you a living branch of this living vine?" When you have been meditating upon the graces of the Spirit, make an enquiry, "O my soul, are you adorned as the bride of Christ with this chain of pearl? Have you your certificate for heaven ready? Will my graces be to seek, when I should have them to show?" Thus should a Christian in his retirements, parley often with his heart.

For lack of this examination, meditation evaporates and comes to nothing. For lack of examination while in meditation, many are strangers to their own hearts; though they live known to others, they die unknown to themselves. Meditation is like a telescope by which we contemplate heavenly objects; but self-examination is like a looking glass by which we see into our own souls, and can judge how it is with us. Meditation joined with examination, is like the sun on the dial, which shows how the day goes, it shows us how our hearts stand affected to spiritual things.

Rule 5. Seal up meditation with PRAYER.

Pray over your meditations. Prayer sanctifies everything; without prayer they are but unhallowed meditations. Prayer fastens meditation upon the soul. Prayer is a tying a knot at the end of meditation—so that it does not slip. Pray that God will keep those holy meditations in your mind forever, that the savor of them may abide upon your hearts, 1Chr 29:18. "O Lord, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you." So let us pray, that when we have been musing on heavenly things, and our hearts have waxed hot within us, we may not cool into a sinful tepidness and lukewarmness—but that our affections may be as the lamp of the sanctuary—always burning.

Rule 6. The last rule is, let meditation be reduced to PRACTICE.

Live out your meditation. "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8. Meditation and practice, like two sisters, must go hand in hand. Cassian says, that "the contemplative life cannot be perfected without the practice." We read that the angels had wings, and hands under their wings, Ezek. 1:8. It may be an emblem of this truth; Christians must not only fly upon the wing of meditation—but they must be active in obedience, they must have hands under their wings! The end of meditation is action. We must not only meditate in God's law—but walk in his law, Deut. 28:9. Without this, we are like those Gnostics, who had much knowledge—but were licentious in their lives. Christians must be like the sun, which does not only send forth heat—but goes its circuit round the world. It is not enough that the affections are heated by meditation—but we must go our circuit too, that is, move regularly in the sphere of obedience. After warming at the fire of meditation, we must be fitter for work. Meditation is the life of piety; and practice is the life of meditation. It is said in the honor of Gregory Nazianzen, that he lived out his own sermons. So a godly Christian must live out his own meditations. For instance:

A. When you have been meditating on sin, which, for its bitterness, is compared to grapes of gall; for its damnableness to poison of asps, and you begin to burn in a holy indignation against sin—now put your meditations in practice—give sin a bill of divorce, Job 11:14. "If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in your tabernacles."

B. When you have been meditating on the graces of the Spirit, let the verdure and luster of these graces be seen in you. Live these graces. Meditate, "that you may observe and do." It was Paul's counsel to Timothy, "Exercise yourself to godliness." Meditation and practice are like a pair of compasses, the one part of the compass fixes upon the center, and the other part goes round the circumference. Just so, a Christian by meditation fixes upon God as the center, and by practice goes around the circumference of the commandments.

A man who has let his thoughts run out upon riches, will not only have them in the notion—but will endeavor to get riches. Let your meditation be practical. When you have been meditating upon a promise, live upon a promise. When you have been meditating on a good conscience, never leave until you can say as Paul, "Herein I exercise myself, to have a good conscience," Acts 24:16. Beloved, here lies the very essence of true religion.

That this rule may be well observed, consider,

i. It is only the practical part of religion, which will make a man blessed. Meditation is a beautiful flower—but Rachel said to her husband: "Give me children or I die," Gen. 30:1. So, If meditation is barren, and does not bring forth the child of obedience—it will die and come to nothing!

ii. If when you have meditated in God's law, you do not obey his law, you will come short of those who have come short of heaven. It is said of Herod, Mark 6:20, "He did many things;" he was in many things a practicer of John's ministry. Those who meditate in God's law, and do not practice it, are not so good as Herod. Nay, they are no better than the devil; he knows much—but still he is a devil.

iii. Meditation without practice will increase a man's condemnation. If a father writes a letter to his son, and the son shall read over this letter, and study it—yet not do as his father writes, this would be an aggravation of his fault, and would but provoke his father the more against him. Thus when we have meditated upon the evil of sin, and the beauty of holiness—yet we do not eschew the one, nor espouse the other, it will but incense the divine Majesty so much the more against us, and we shall "be beaten with many stripes."

 

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