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Studies, Devotionals, Sermons, Illustrations
Old and New Testament.
Updated November 9, 2015
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;
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)
If God's Word is not
the desire and delight of your heart, plead with Him until
He grants your request (1Th
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
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
(Bellows = An instrument, utensil or machine for blowing
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
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
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.
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
A. T. Pierson
"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
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;
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 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
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
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."
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."
thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law (Psalm
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
><> ><> ><>
ON HOW TO MEDITATE
See Watson's Treatise on Meditation for much greater
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
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.
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
"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."
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
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
How should I go about
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.
Apply Jn 16:24 immediately. 2Ti 3:16, 17
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?
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
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.)
( Ro 12:2-
The crown fruit
of meditation is the changed life.
Without the transformed life, meditation is of little eternal value. 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.
But the Lord called them sons of Satan -- "Ye are of your father the
devil." Why this stinging indictment? Because for all their study of the Old Testament,
there was no change in their lives. As D L Moody said "Every Bible should
be bound in shoe leather," alluding to the importance of applying the
truth we learn to our lives. These religious hypocrites continued to
oppress the poor, defraud the widows and pursue doubtful business
practices! In a word no repentance which signified they had no
Beware of meditation that ends
in pious words without pious practices (cf Jas 1:22-note).
True meditation fuels 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! And this thought in turn
reminds us of Colossian 3:16-note
where Paul instructs the saints at Colossae to let the Word of Christ
richly dwell within them. The key word is dwell (enoikeo)
which means to take up residence or make one's home, giving us a great
word picture of believers being at home with the Word of Christ, living in
Does that describe you beloved
disciple of Christ?
regarding the phrase it is my
meditation all the day "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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he
lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. (Who?
"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)
do away with reverence, and hinder meditation before God.
delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates
day and night. (Spurgeon's
do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be
still. Selah. (Spurgeon's
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
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
My mouth will
speak wisdom; and the meditation of my heart will be
When I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the
night watches, (Spurgeon's
remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart;
and my spirit ponders. (Spurgeon's
I will meditate on all Thy work, and muse on Thy
meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the
meditate on Thy precepts, And regard Thy ways. (Spurgeon's
princes sit and talk against me, Thy servant meditates on Thy
understand the way of Thy precepts, so I will meditate on Thy
And I shall
lift up my hands to Thy commandments, Which I love; and I will
meditate on Thy statutes. (Spurgeon's
arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; but I shall
meditate on Thy precepts. (Spurgeon's
O how I love
Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. (Spurgeon's
I have more
insight than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my
anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Thy
Comment: Think about what
the psalmist is saying! In ancient days one could not reach over for
their Bible on Iphone and read the Scripture on which one sought to
meditate! No, the only way one could meditate on the Scriptures in
the night watches is by having it memorized and available for ready
remember the days of old; I
meditate on all Thy doings; I muse on the work of Thy hands.
On the glorious splendor of Thy
majesty, And on Thy wonderful works, I will meditate. (Spurgeon's
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?"
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
Hampton Keathley, III in his excellent summary from Bible.org writes
"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
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:
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 1:1; 1:2; 1:3)
John Piper on
meditation - Here I speak not of sermon preparation but of what
I call "going out to pasture"—resting and ruminating on the word of
God. It is savoring for the sake of life, not seeking for tomorrow's
Sexual Sin - Desiring God)
Warm Yourself at the Fires of
Meditation - Desiring God
Prayer, Meditation, and Fasting,
Part 1 - Desiring God
Prayer, Meditation, and Fasting,
Part 2b - Desiring God
Meditate on the Word of the Lord
Day and Night - Desiring God
Psalm 1- When Delight Overcomes
Distraction - Desiring God
Our lives are unbelievably
distracted. We are experts at multi-tasking, surfing, and skimming,
but it is harder than ever to meditate. Therefore, it is imperative
to intentionally cultivate meditation on God’s Word. But how? If
possible, find a consistent time, place, and plan. Then read slowly
and carefully. Reread and reread. Read out loud (which is implied in
the Hebrew word for meditation in Psalm 1:2). Read prayerfully. Read
with a pen in hand. Memorize texts that you read. Read with other
people and talk about what you see. Study a book of the Bible with a
good commentary. Pray about a plan for Bible meditation this year,
and talk about your plan with a Christian friend.
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 1:1; 1:2; 1:3),
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)
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)
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)
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 (cp Ps 1:2-3). 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,
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
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.
DEVOTIONALS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
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
How precious is the
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,
I will meditate on Your
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
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).
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
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
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)
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;
What methods can I use to improve
memorization? 3x5 cards? Work with a friend?
Carry your Bible in your heart.
The Book With
Read: Psalm (Psalm 119:121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128)
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.
Read: (Psalm 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104)
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
"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.
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. -
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.
The first quote --
Quotations are good
but the actual practice of meditation is better!
John Piper in
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
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!
Autobiography of George Müller, comp. Fred Bergen (London: J. Nisbet,
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...
Bible software - a free program [but Blanchard's book must be purchased]
that is highly recommended)
Gathered Gold - WORDsearch Bible - this program is not free but is
Prayer is the wing wherewith the
soul flies to heaven and meditation the eye wherewith we see God.
Meditation fits a man for supplication.
Meditation has a digesting power and turns special truth into nourishment.
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.
The vessels are fullest of grace which are nearest its spring. The more
Christ's glory is beheld, the more men are changed.
Meditation is the acting of all the powers of the soul.
Meditation is the life of most other duties.
A man may think on God every day and meditate on God no day.
Continual meditation on the Word is not ineffectual;... God, by one and
another promise, establishes our faith.
Nothing leads to self-repudiation so
much as spiritual meditation on the corruption and wickedness of your
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.
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.
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
When we are too busy to sharpen the axe, we are too busy.
Meditation is the best help to memory.
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.
Meditation keeps out Satan. It increases knowledge, it inflames love, it
works patience, it promotes prayer, it evidences sincerity.
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.
There is such a thing as sacred idleness.
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.
Truths are concocted and ripened by meditation.
True contemplation is not a psychological trick but a theological grace.
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.
Meditate on the Word in the Word.
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
J. I. Packer
Contemplation is a perspective glass to see our Saviour in; but
examination is a looking-glass to see ourselves in.
Meditation is the grand means of our growth in grace; without it, prayer
itself is an empty service.
Our design in meditation must be rather to cleanse our hearts than to
clear our minds.
George Swinnock (cp Pr 4:23-see
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.
Reading and conversation may furnish us with many ideas of men and things,
yet it is our own meditation that must form our judgement.
The heart is heated by meditation and cold truth is melted into passionate
Donald S. Whitney
“Holding the Word of God in your heart
until it has affected every phase of your life....This is meditation.”
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
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
(Cp Job 7:17-18, Ps 144:4)
has many comments regarding meditation including the following...
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
"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" ...
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
“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
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."
(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.
we should live better.
God help us so to do!
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
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.
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,
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,
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
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,
“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,
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.
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
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
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
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
“Prepare us, Lord, by
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...
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
"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" ...
spiritual exercise is more profitable to the soul than that of devout
meditation; why are many of us so exceeding slack in it?" ...
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
"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" ...
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
"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" ...
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
"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
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"
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.
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
meditation, and temptation
make a minister" (1483–1546)
- Martin Luther
J. Vernon McGee
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
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
Commenting on "wait" in
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
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
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
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
"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"
"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
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)
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
"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
"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
A man was asked one time
When you can’t sleep, do you count
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
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
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
><> ><> ><>
"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
How to Study the Bible
><> ><> ><>
"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)
><> ><> ><>
"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)
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
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
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
2. The second thing in meditation, is, a serious and solemn thinking
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
often meditates of death—
will make the best preparation for it.
Section 11. Meditate on the Day
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."