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And look when a man doth meditate on the works and concernments of God, then, in scripture phrase, he is said to meditate on God. And so in the lxxviith Psalm: “I will remember the works of the Lord; I will remember thy wonders, and I will meditate also of all thy works.” So that, briefly, then a man is said to meditate on God, not only when he doth meditate on the nature of God, but when he doth meditate on the Son of God, meditate on the word of God, meditate on the works and concernments of God. And that is the second
Thirdly. But how may it appear that it is a sweet thing to meditate on God; that meditation work is sweet work, and that it is a sweet thing to a gracious soul to meditate on God?
Something first in the general and then more particularly in reference to a gracious soul. In general,
It is a sweet thing to meditate on God. Will you instance in the nature, name and attributes of God?
Is it not a sweet thing to enjoy God? Enjoyment of God is the life of our lives. And how do we enjoy God? God doth come down to us, and we do ascend and go up to him. Sometimes God doth come down into our souls; sometimes there is an ascent of the soul unto God. And what is the ladder whereby we ascend unto God, and take our turns in heaven with God, but believing meditation ?
The more perfect any thing is, the more sweet it is to lay out one's thought thereon. Now God is all perfection, there is nothing not perfect in God. If you have a nosegay made up of flowers, and but one weed, the sweetness of the nosegay is spoiled; there are perfections in God, and no weeds among them. If there be a musical instrument, and one string out of order, all jars; there is no string out of order among God's perfections; perfections and nothing not perfect in God. You account it a sweet thing to see your lands and your estates lie together, a sweet thing to see all your children together; do but look and meditate on God, and you see all your wealth lie together.
And if the names, titles, attributes of God be your relief in all conditions ; then it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate on God, in this respect. Why now; “ The name of
. the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous fly thereunto and are safe.” A sweet thing it is therefore to meditate on God in this respect.
Will you instance in the meditating on Christ the Son of God? You know what is said by the spouse in the Canticles: “I sat under his shadow :" sat down, how? It is meditation sets the soul down under the shadow of Christ. And then his fruit, whether justification be the fruit, or sanctification, or consolation; then his fruit was sweet unto my taste.
And if Jesus Christ be our standing relief against all temptations, and desertions; then it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate and think much on him. Now he is our brazen serpent, our standing relief against all our temptations, and our desertions.
But will you instance in meditating on the word of God? It is a sweet thing to behold the light; and the word is a light, and a lanthorn unto our feet. Is it not a sweet thing to taste honey? David saith, “ The word of the Lord was as honey and the honey comb." And the more it is meditated on, the more fully tasted.
And if the consideration, and the meditation of the word of God be our great relief against all the scorns and reproaches, and oppositions of the world, then certainly it is a sweet thing to meditate on the word of God. Now do but look into Ps. cxix., and you shall find David speaking thus; “ Remove from me reproach and contempt; princes did sit and speak against me.”
What relief tad he ? “ But thy se, vant did meditate in thy statutes." Here is his relief, princes, great men ; they sate and spake against me, and they reproached me, and they opposed me, but here was my relief, I did meditate in thy word.
But will you instance in the works of the Lord? There are three sorts of God's works.
There is the work of creation.
As for the work of creation : if it be a sweet thing to behold and to consider the workmanship of the finger of human wisdom: what a pleasure and sweetness is it to behold the workmanship of the finger of infinite wisdom?
And as for the works of providence: if the meditation and
the consideration of the providence of God be our great help against the pain of unbelieving thoughts; then it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate on God in this respect. Friends, ye that know God, have experienced how painful unbelieving thoughts are ; great is the pain of unbelieving thoughts. Well, but what help against this pain? The consideration of the providence of God: saith our Saviour in Matt. x. “ The very hairs of your head are all numbered, fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." What then,“ take no thought,” here lies your relief. The consideration, and the meditation of the special providence of God, is your help against painful unbelief.
And as for the work of redemption, there all the attributes of God do meet : there is wisdom, there is power, there is mercy, there is righteousness, there is faithfulness: and if it be a sweet thing to behold the beams of the sun, what a sweet thing is it to behold all the beams of God's glorious attributes, meeting in one work; which work the very angels desire to look into, where the glory of God is: certainly, it is a sweet thing then to meditate on God, in regard of his works; these things more generally.
But now more particularly, as to our case.
How may it appear, that it is a sweet thing for a gracious soul to meditate on God: it will appear to you by divers arguments.
It is a sweet thing for a good and gracious man to meditate on God and the things of God, because it is natural to him. Natural works are pleasant works. It is a tedious and an irksome thing to row against the stream of nature; but natural works are pleasing works. Now as it is a natural thing for a worldly man to think and meditate on the world, and the things thereof; so it is natural to & gracious man, to think and meditate on God and the things of God. I pray, what is the reason, that wicked men take so much delight in thinking and meditating and musing on their sins and sinful ways, but because sin is natural unto them. Why, a good man being made partaker of the divine nature, it is natural to him to think on God, and the ways and things of God; and therefore pleasant, therefore sweet.
But as it is natural to a gracious man to think on God, and the things of God, so it is suitable to him. As it is a
natural work, so it is a suitable work: suitable things are pleasant; the more suitable any thing is unto us, the more it pleaseth us, all pleasures and delights arise from the conjunction of suitables. If you have never so great an estate, if it be not suited to your heart, you have no delight in it. If
you have never so small an estate, if it be suitable to your heart, you are delighted and pleased in it. Now, what in all the world, so suitable to a gracious soul as God? Is the object of man's understanding truth? God is truth. . Is the object of his will good? God is good. Is the object of his affections love? God is love. Is the soul of a man immortal, immaterial? God is so, an immortal, and an immaterial being. Is the soul of a man eternal, a parte post ? God is so, God is eternal and unchangeable. Are our desires infinite? God is infinite. What is there that the soul of man can want, but it is answered in God? A suitable good he is surely, therefore it must needs be a sweet thing to meditate on God, and the things of God.
But especially, as it is a suitable thing for a gracious soul to meditate on God, so it is profitable. Gain is sweet. Now it is a very gainful thing, and very profitable for to meditate on God, and the things of God: meditation work is gainful work.
For meditation is a great help to knowledge: the more you think and meditate on what you read and hear, the more you know; and though you read never so much and hear never so much, if you do not meditate on what you read or hear, it will amount to little, you will be never the wiser: if a man doth meditate, he proves the wiser. Mark what David saith, Ps. cxix., “ I am wiser than mine enemies,” verse 98. “ I am wiser than my teachers, I am wiser than the ancients," verse 99. Through thy commandments thou hast made me wiser than mine enemies.” It may be so, they might be fools. But saith be, “I have more understanding than all my teachers.” verse 99. Aye, but this teacher may be some young man, newly come to the university.
I have more understanding than all my teachers. Aye, but, saith he, “I understand more than the ancients.” Pray how? “ For thy testimonies are my meditation. Through thy commandments, thou hast made me wiser than mine enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all
my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation,” Meditatio sapientiæ parens, meditation is the parent of wisdom. If you read over a book, and there be many notions and good things in the book, yet if the notions be not made your own, if
you be not master of the notions you read, you are never the better. If I read, and read, and find such and such notions in a book, if I be not master of those notions, I am little the better for my reading. It is meditation that makes you the master of the notions that you read, or that you hear, otherwise, it is but the book's notion still. By meditation after a sermon, a man may look further into a truth, than the preacher ever intended. Meditation is a great help to knowledge : that is the first.
As meditation is a great help to knowledge, so it is a great friend to memory. Meditatio firmat memoriam. Meditation strengthens memory; it fastens the things that we hear or read in the memory. Many complain they have bad memories. Oh, their memories are very bad, they cannot remember; what is the reason that we remember no more what we read and what we lear, but because we meditate no more upon what we have heard or read ? Meditation is a great help to memory.
As meditation is a great help to memory, so it is a heart warming work, a friend to warmth of heart. If a thing be cold, you chafe it, if a man's body be cold, you chafe it and rub it; and by chafing and rubbing of a cold part, you put life and warmth into it; meditation chafes the soul, and rubs the soul with a truth. And what is the reason that our hearts are 'no warmer by what we read, or hear, or observe, but because we meditate no more on it. Meditation is a heart warming work.
As it is a heart warming work, so it is that which will keep your hearts and souls from sinful thoughts. When the vessel is full you can put in no more. If the vessel be full of puddle water, you cannot put in wine; if the vessel be full of wine you cannot put in puddle water. If the heart be full of sinful thoughts, here is no room for holy and heavenly thoughts; if the heart be filled with holy and heavenly thoughts by meditation, there is no room for evil and sinful thoughts. And what is the reason that men's hearts are so full of sinful and evil thoughts, but because their