Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

we have heard the word it is like the harrow which covers the new sown seed in the earth, that the fowls of the air may not pick it up: meditation is that which makes the word full of life and energy to our souls. What is the reason that the most of men come to hear the word as the beasts did into Noah's ark, they came in unclean and they went out unclean ? The reason is because they do not meditate on the truths they hear; it is but just like putting money into a bag with holes, presently it falls out: so the truths they hear preached are put into shallow neglective memories, and they do not draw them forth by meditation, therefore hearing the word is so little effectual; it is said “Mary pondered these things in her heart.” When men are sick of the lientery disease, (in which they do cast forth their meat as they receive it in) the body cannot be nourished, there cannot be those degrees of strength that others receive; but when our meat is digested, then it conveys blood, spirits and strength to all the parts of the body; hearing the word is like ingestion, and when we meditate upon the word that is digestion ; and this digestion of the word by meditation produceth warm affections, zealous resolutions, and holy actions ; and therefore if you desire to profit by hearing of the word, meditate,

3. For the receiving the sacrament, there you shall find that meditation is necessary before we receive, and in receiving. Before we receive, the great duty commanded is examination; now examination is managed by this duty of meditation : he that meditates aright concerning Jesus Christ, who is the author, the object and the end of the sacrament, he that considers with himself, what rich testimonies there are of grace to the worthy receiver, and what sure marks of vengeance to the unworthy receiver, how will this dispose his soul for coming to this ordinance ? He that meditates of his infinite misery out of Christ, and of his felicity in Christ, how will this sharpen his desires to come to the Lord Jesus? So in receiving, we should then meditate upon the sufferings of Christ; for the sacrament is the abridgment of Christ's agony; and upon the affections of Christ, for the sacrament is the copy of his love. And he that receives the sacrament with such meditations, will find his graces to be better and stronger, than the graces of others who neglect this

1

duty. The sacrament is food, and so you must receive it with an appetite, with strong desires, and it must be concocted by meditation.

iii. The third advantage, the graces of the soul receive likewise an increase, and an advantage by meditation. Graces and meditation are reciprocal causes of each other; as food maintains our life, and our life dispenses our food, so here meditation maintains grace, and grace exerciseth meditation. There are three graces I will instance in, which all receive support, and strength from this duty.

1. The grace of faith. Our thoughts are the purveyors of our faith ; when faith declines and languishes, when our thoughts are ready to terminate in despair, then meditation brings a cordial to our faith, and raiseth and recovers it. Meditation upon the grace of God, and upon his power, is the most eminent supporter of faith in all our temptations.

Meditation upon the grace of God. When a bleeding soul considers thus, God hath promised mercy, not to those who deserve it, but to those who want it; the promises are not built upon goodness within me, but upon grace without me: this raiseth faith, and produces life and spirit into it. So for the power of God, when we are in the midst of external wants and many dangers and hazards. When the soul shall meditate thus; that God by one fiat, by one word, gave being to the world, that his power is infinite, how doth this underprop our faith? We have examples of this recorded of Abraham, it is said that “ Abraham accounted that God was able to raise him up even from the dead." Heb. 11. 19. How did Abraham's faith become victorious ? God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac. Now the promise was this, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Now how did he preserve his faith? Considering or meditating, that “God was able to raise him up even from the dead." Abraham considered thus much, there is such a a power in God, that rather than the promise should be made void, the resurrection of Isaac shall be more miraculous than his birth, God is able to raise my son from the ashes of a consumed sacrifice; and therefore Abraham offers up his son willingly, as to his disposition and frame. So meditation of the truth of God, that he is the Father of lights, in whom there is no shadow of change, the Holy One of Israel that cannot lie, that his life and honour are engaged for the performance of all his promises ; this supports and underprops all our declining faith, and makes it victorious.

2. Hope, which is another grace in the soul that thrives, and flourishes by the help of meditation. Faith is confirmed, and hope is enlarged by it. The christian who meditates upon these incomparable (but invisible) things that belong to another world: Oh this will enlarge his hope and make it the more generous and the more active. If a christian would but by meditation consider all those enamouring notions of heaven, and blessedness which the scripture lays down : if he would consider it as his portion, as a treasure, as a crown of glory, how would this enlarge his hope? Experience tells us, that men of low thoughts have barren hopes; the weakness of our hope, and the lowness of it proceeds from the neglect of meditation.

3. The grace of love that is begun and refined by meditation in the soul of every true believer; there is a love of desire towards God, and a love of complacency in him. Now meditation doth fire both these; there is a love of desire in him towards God, there is an affectionate longing after him: a thirsty love in the soul, that longs for an interest in Christ. Now what doth it proceed from ? but from this, from a consideration of our infinite want of Christ, from a serious meditation of those treasures of grace that are in the Lord Jesus, And then for the love of complacency, that Aows from this. As the love of desire flows from the meditation of Christ's benefits : so the love of complacency arises from the meditation of his excellencies also. The person of Christ is invested with the most attractive glory, he is the image of his Father: now it is meditation that opens to us these excellencies of Christ, and the glorious blessings we receive from him, and so raiseth love of delight in him. It is meditation that blows our love into a purer flame, and raises it to a higher degree; therefore as you desire to have your love refined and raised towards God, meditate.

iv. Meditation, as it advanceth the graces of the soul, so the comforts of the soul. God conveys comfort to us in a rational way, and although he is able to rain manna in the wilderness, and to cast in comforts to our souls, without any labour of ours, yet usually he dispenseth comforts according to this standing rule: he that doth not work, shall not eat, he that doth not labour in the duties of religion, shall not find the sweetness of religion. Now meditation is the serious and active performance of the soul, to which God hath promised comfort. I will open this by this consideration. The promises of the gospel do not convey comfort to us, as they are recorded in the word merely but as they are applied by meditation: I will illustrate it by this similitude, the grapes while they hang upon the vine, do not produce that wine which cheers the heart of man; but when they are squeezed in the wine press then they yield forth their liquor, which is of such a cheering nature : so the promises while they are in the word barely, do not send forth that sovereign juice, whick cheers our hearts; but when we ponder them in our souls, and press them by meditation, then the promises convey the water of life to us. There is an expression of David, which suits with this, Psal. 63. compare the 5th and 6th verses, “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches, my soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness ;" observe the connexion, meditation turns the promises into marrow, it conveys the strength of them to our souls. One morsel of meat chewed and digested, dispenses more nourishment than a greater quantity that is swallowed down whole; so one promise that is ruminated upon, and digested by meditation, conveys more comfort than a bundle of promises in the head, that are not meditated upon, which we did not consider. Nay, consider this, the comfort which meditation brings, is the most spiritual, refined joy that we are capable of. The pleasures of the world may excite laughter, but they cannot produce solid joy; but meditation produceth solid joy in the heart; the things of the world may gratify the bestial part of our bodies, but it is spiritual meditation that rejoiceth the angelical part of our souls within us.

Indeed meditation is that which makes a man to be a citizen of the New Jerusalem ; he can take a walk in the paradise of God every day, and pluck fruits off the tree of life, and draw water from the wells of salvation. He that performs conscientiously the duty of meditation, doth maintain such a correspondence with God as the angels do: such a one doth enter upon his possession of heaven by degrees and steps. Therefore if you desire the comforts that are spiritual and heavenly, perform this duty.

v. It is eminently useful to produce the power of holiness in our

conversations. There are two parts of holiness in our lives, the one is the discharge of religious duties, the other is the repelling of temptations; now meditation enables us to both these.

1. It enables us to the discharge of religious duties, because it conveys to the soul the lively sense and feeling of God's goodness; so the soul is encouraged to duty. David hath an expression, “ Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth." Psal. 26. 3. Meditation is that which makes religious duties to be refreshments to us; we look upon them as our ornament, and not as fetters, because meditation makes them sweet to us. You shall find in scripture there is a connexion between meditation and practice, between memory and duty. Therefore it is said, Numb. 15. 40. “ Thou shalt remember these things to do them,” and Psal. 119. 11. “ Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee,” and verse 15. “ I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways;" meditation is that which fills the soul with a lively sense of God's goodness, and so encourageth us to chuty.

2. Then secondly, for repeling temptations, and for the conquest of them meditation is eminently useful. For consider the lapses of God's people proceed usually from incogitancy, and forgetfulness: if Peter had remembered that præmonition of Christ, he had not fallen into that sin ; but because he was incogitant and forgetful, he fell into a snáre : so we are surprised by incogitancy and neglect. Now meditation is that duty that draws forth suitable truths against every temptation, the memory is the exchequer of the soul, and there is a treasury of God's commands; now meditation goes into that treasury, and draws forth fresh arguments against every temptation, and therefore if you desire to be holy in your lives, perforin this duty, and be serious and conscientious in the discharge of it. What an orator said in another case when he was asked, what was most eininent in rhetoric and oratory, gave this answer, pronunciation, pronunciation, pronunciation ; so if I should be asked what do I think is the best means and way to advance the faculties, to make the ordinances fruitful, to increase grace, to enlarge our comfort, to produce holiness and the like, I should answer, meditation, me ditation, meditation..

« AnteriorContinuar »