True Christian Meditation is not Contemplative Mysticism

Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:99; Psalm 39:3,4
       His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
       I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
      My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, LORD, make me to know my end.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): King David was fond of retirement, and was much alone in meditation and prayer.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Let us inquire what meditation is, because the practice and knowledge of the duty is almost become a stranger to us.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Meditation on the Word of God is the chief means of our growth in grace.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): The word meditate implies a deep, and serious, and affectionate thoughtfulness about it: see Psalm 19:14; Psalm 49:3; Proverbs 24:2; Isaiah 33:18.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It is not a few transient thoughts that are quickly gone.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Meditation is a studious act of the mind, searching the knowledge of a hidden truth by the discourse of reason. A most sweet exercise to those that are any with acquainted with it, who could even wish themselves pent up in voluntary prison-walls of divine meditation. This―this is that which makes a man see far into God’s secrets, and enjoy both God and himself with unspeakable comfort.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): What we love we love to think of; by this it appeared that David loved the Word of God, that it was his meditation.

THOMAS MANTON: But mark, first, the Word was his delight, and then his meditation.

THOMAS WATSON: How shall we be able to meditate? Get a love for spiritual things…Many say they cannot meditate because they lack memory; but is it not rather because they lack affection? If they loved the things of God, they would make them their continual study and meditation.

THOMAS MANTON: Delight causeth meditation, and meditation increaseth delight. A man that delighteth in the law of God, will exercise his mind therein. Our thoughts follow our affections. He that findeth a heart to this work, will find a head. Delight will set the mind at work; for we are more apt to muse and pause upon that which is pleasing to us. Why are not holy thoughts as natural and as kindly to us as carnal? The defect is in the heart.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): A natural man is said not to know God, or the things of God; he may know them notionally, but he knows them not affectionately. A sensual soul can have no delight in a spiritual law. To be sensual and not to have the Spirit are inseparable, Jude 19. Natural men may indeed meditate upon the law and truth of God, but without delight in it; if they take any pleasure in it, it is only as it is knowledge, not as it is a rule…and if they have a delight, it is not in the duties that stream from that knowledge; they design the furnishing of their understandings, not the quickening of their affections—like idle boys that strike fire, not to warm themselves by the heat, but to sport themselves with the sparks. Whereas, a gracious soul accounts not only his meditation, or the operations of his soul about God and His will to be sweet, but He hath a joy in the object of that meditation. Many have the knowledge of God, who have no delight in Him or His will.

THOMAS MANTON: Meditation is in order to practice; and if it be right, it will beget a respect to the ways of God. We do not meditate, that we may rest in contemplation, but in order to obedience: “Thou shalt meditate in the book of the law day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein,” Joshua 1:8. So, “think of these things, do these things,” Philippians 4:8,9…Meditation is not a flourishing of the wit, that we may please the fancy by playing with divine truths―nor yet acquainting ourselves with the Word, that we may speak of it in company―nor merely to store ourselves with curious notions, and subtle inquiries; study searcheth out a truth, but meditation improveth it for practical use…In hiding the word in our hearts there must be a right end; our knowledge of it, and delight in it, must be directed to practice.

THOMAS WATSON: Meditation produces reformation. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies, Psalm 119:59.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Meditation is the machine in which the raw material of knowledge is converted to the best uses. By reading, research, and study, we gather the grapes; but it is by meditation we press out the juice of those grapes, and obtain the wine.

JOHN TRAPP: Make the best of what you read, by serious and set meditation thereupon. David hereby became wiser than his teachers, elders, and enemies, Psalm 119:98-100. And why? When the Lord spake once he heard him twice, Psalm 72:11―to wit, by an after-meditation.

THOMAS WATSON: As the bee sucks the flower, so by meditation we suck out the sweetness of a truth. It is not the receiving the meat into the mouth, but the digesting of it which makes it nutritional.

C. H. SPURGEON: Meditation is of all things the most soul-fattening when combined with prayer.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): From meditation go to prayer. Indeed, a soul in meditation is on his way to prayer; that duty leads the Christian to this, and this brings help to that.

THOMAS WATSON: 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 cherish and support it. Meditation and prayer are like two [turtle-doves]―if you separate one the other dies…Meditation hath 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 furnisheth with matter to pray and then it furnisheth with a heart to pray. “I was musing,” saith David, and the very next words are a prayer, “Lord, make me to know mine end.”

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): When we read, that Isaac went out to meditate in the field, Genesis 24:63, the margin says to pray, for the Hebrew word signifies both…And our speaking to ourselves in meditation, should go before our speaking to God in prayer.

THOMAS WATSON: Prayer is the child of meditation: meditation leads the van, and prayer brings up the rear.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Meditation is the grand means of our growth in grace; without it, prayer itself is an empty service.

C. H. SPURGEON: Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up…The Puritans were abundant in meditation and prayer; and there were giants on the earth in those days.


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