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reign in the tents of wicked men :" he that looks upon this sacred time as his privilege, that spends this whole day in the service of God, either in the solemn assembly, and public society of God's people, or in his family, or in his closet, and most secret addresses to God, he is preparing for the eternal sabbath above. O what a sad indication of a carnal heart it is dislike this holy day.
One that looks upon the Lord's day as a melancholy interruption of his carnal pleasures, and saith, “ when will the sabbath be ended ?” as those carnal wretches among the Jews, hath no affection for God and his service. But they that spend the Lord's day in heavenly exercises, and with holy affections, and pass from one day to another, from hearing to prayer, and from prayer to holy conference, and can entertain their souls with God, and enjoy communion with him in these duties : it is a blessed evidence that they are prepared for the heavenly glory, and for the enjoyment of God in this eternal rest. The soul by the duties of this holy day, and the instruction it receives thereon, is made fit for an eternal communion with God above. What is heaven? Do not deceive yourselves; it is not such a rest as a carnal heart imagines. Heaven is the enjoyment of the divine presenee, and consequently the joyful exercise of all our faculties upon God, with regard to his excellencies and perfections, our admiring of him, and loving him, and praising him, and magnifying him with the highest veneration, and with the most infamed exercise of love, delight and joy, and all those holy affections which will be our work and blessedness in heaven : so much as you exercise of these, so much of heaven you have in you here. Therefore make the Lord's day your joy; and let every hour of this sacred time be dedicated to God. When the sabbath comes, welcoine it with the most joyful affections, remembering that the Lord's day here, will prepare you for the eternal sabbath above: and if you be in the Spirit of the Lord upon the Lord's day here, you shall have the Spirit of the Lord to rule and govern you, till you come to the kingdom above, where you shall enjoy this eternal rest that remains to the people of God.
DIVINE MEDITATION. *
Psal. cxix. 97.
O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day,
The Book of Psalms is entitled by Calvin, « The Anatomy of the Soul,' wherein all its inward workings are made visible. In this text we have the working of David's affection, and the motion of his understanding represented to us. Here is the working of his affection,“ Oh how love I thy law!” Here is the motion of his understanding, “ it is my ineditation all the day.” Constant love produceth continual meditation on God's law. I intend to fix my discourse upon the latter part, concerning the meditation of David ; and I suppose this may be one reason for which he is entitled, “a man after God's own heart," because of the heavenly frame and temper of his spirit.
David was always ascending to God, and descending upon himself; to endear God to his soul, and to engage his soul to God. “ When I awake (saith he) I am still with thee.” Psal. 139. 8.
* This and the following discourse were taken in short hand, as delivered by the Dr. They were shown to him, and met his approbation as to the faithfulness with which they were taken down, though probably, without the least idea of their publication. They obviously want his finishing hand. Ed.
In the discussing of which duty of meditation, I shall use this method.
1. Explain the nature and kinds of it.
V. Lay down those rules whereby you may manage it the more cheerfully and successfully,
of the nature of meditation. It is speculative or practical. The latter
described, and the description op'ned. Occasional meditation. The sin of neglecting it, and the advantage of performing it. Deliberate media tation : which is either direct or reflective.
1. Meditation is a duty so rare and unpractised, that I think the knowledge of it is not among all christians, the exercise of it is among very few; and therefore if I should tell you that it is an unaccustomed duty, this might be an imperfect account of it.
In the general. Meditation is the vehement motion of the understanding, for that is the leading faculty in this duty. And that I may the more fully explain it to you, I will consider its kinds : it is either speculative, or practical.
1. Speculative meditation is this : when there is a serious inquiry made after some hidden truth, when the soul purposeth to enrich itself with the treasures of knowledge, and this is practised by many rational men; I mean those, whose understandings are more refined and raised than ordinary people's. But if our meditation be merely speculative, it is but like a winter sun, which shines but doth not warm. This therefore I shall not speak of.
2. Practical meditation. The end whereof is to bring the soul to a serious detestation of sin, to a closing with, and embracing of the will of God: this is that I intend to treat of, and it is like blowing of the coals to warm the soul. Which I all describe to you in this manner.
Meditation, is the serious exercise of the understanding, whereby our thoughts are fixed on the observation of spiritual things in order to practice.
i. Then here is the act, it is the serious exereise of the understanding. And in this respect, meditation is an inward secret duty; the soul retires itself into its closet, and bids farewel to the world. It is an invisible duty to the eye of men; and therefore carnal persons do not relish it; it is an exercise of the understanding; it is that duty wherein we do not converse with drossy outward things. And this is another reason that renders it so difficult to the men of the world, You may observe this as a rule, that every duty the more spiritual it is, the more carnal men disrelish it; and therefore they will rather hear the word than pray in their families; and rather pray than meditate; and what is the reason? Because meditation is a more spiritual duty. Nay further, because it is an exercise of the understand, ing, therefore it is one of the most noble works that a christian can perform; reason is then in its exaltation. When the soul doth meditate, it doth put forth the most rational acts, and then is the soul most like to God; for God spends an eternity in contemplating his own essence and attributes. That is the act,
ii. The quality of this act, whereby the thoughts are fixed, There is a great inconsistency in the thoughts of men ; but meditation doth chain and fasten them to a spiritual object. The soul then lays a command upon itself, that the thoughts (which otherwise are very fleeting and feathery) should be fixed upon its object.
This duty upon this very account is very advantageous : you know a garden that is watered by sudden showers, is more uncertain in its fruit, than when it is refreshed by a constant stream; so when our thoughts are sometimes upon good things, and then run off; when they do but take a glance (as it were) apon holy objects, and then run away; there is not such fruit