May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
I. WHAT THIS MEDITATION IS. In Scripture it is called a thinking upon God (Psalm 48:9), a remembering of God (Psalm 63:6), a musing on God (Psalm 143:5). Meditation is the work of the whole soul. The mind acts, and the memory acts, and the affections act. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart:" it is an intense and a vehement application of the soul unto truth.
I. BECAUSE SUCH MEDITATION SO AIDS BOTH KNOWLEDGE AND MEMORY.
II. IT WARMS THE HEART. "Whilst I was musing the fire burned," etc. (Psalm 39.).
III. DELIVERS US FROM SINFUL THOUGHTS.
IV. ROUSES THE ENERGIES OF OUR WILL FOR DUTY.
V. PROMOTES GREATLY OUR ADVANCE IN THE LIFE OF GOD.
VI. PROFITABLY FILLS UP THE MARGINS AND ODD MOMENTS OF OUR TIME.
VII. PURGES OUR EYESIGHT, So that we see the silver lining of the clouds that distress us.
VIII. ENABLES US TO CONVERSE WITH GOD, and to enjoy him, as otherwise we could not. - S.C.
My meditation of Him shall be sweet.I. THE MEDITATIONS OF A PIOUS MAN — HE MEDITATES ON GOD. Meditation is the action of the thoughts upon subjects which present themselves to the mind. As man is by nature, the quality of his thoughts is said to be evil. The Redeemer, when on earth, pointed out the connection existing between the heart and the deportment of life (Matthew 12:34).
1. The pious man meditates upon the excellency of the Divine character. His holiness, His justice, His truth, His love, His mercy, His grace, His faithfulness, are all great parts in His infinite goodness.
2. The pious man meditates upon the works of God as they are seen in creation. Here every object has the mark of Divine power stamped upon it. These wonderful mountains, whose tops point to the clouds; these vales, these fields, and majestic forests; the whole of this earth which is beneath our feet, and the whole of yonder heavens which are above our heads, declare the glory of God, and show forth His handiwork. Now, a good man does not pass through the world without observing these things; and, in all these works, the Christian can behold his God.
3. The pious man meditates upon the goodness and wisdom of a Divine providence in the wonderful and ample provisions which He has made. Though there are mysteries deep and dark in the dispensations of Divine providence, yet the goodness of its character is evident.
4. The pious man meditates upon the love, the grace, the mercy, and the wisdom of God as they are manifested in the glorious plan of human redemption. This is the principal feature, the grand bearing of Scripture: to reveal God, to reveal Him in that lovely character, the God of grace — yea, the God of all grace.
II. THE CHARACTER OF THE PIOUS MAN'S MEDITATION. "My meditation of Him shall be sweet."
1. To meditate upon the Lord gives strength to the mind. The more we know of God the more will we trust in Him; the greater will be our spiritual courage, and the more feeble will be our own fears.
2. Meditation of a pious nature upon God will give pleasure. Indeed, there is nothing that gives pleasures of an immortal nature but religious meditations. The very poorest of individuals, straitened in circumstances and despised by men, yet, if he loves God and meditates upon the Most High, he has more real pleasure of soul than the greatest of impious monarchs upon earth.
3. Religious meditation in a pious frame of mind will enable the Christian to forget his other cares — not to forget them so as to be carelessly unmindful of the necessary duties and lawful concerns of life, but he forgets them so as not to be spiritually injurious to his soul.
(D. V. Phillips.)
I. THE TEXT IMPLIES A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP — that is, the relation of the human person who thinks towards a Divine Person on whom he meditates. All through the psalm, from end to end, it is not a thing, nor an abstract truth, but a living being who is presented. The psalmist speaks of things indeed. The objects from which he derives illustrations of the glory of God are taken from the realm of nature, although it is evident to a sanctified intellect that the writer uses the wonders of nature to express the yet deeper wonders of grace. He speaks of the glories of the sky; but it is God who covereth Himself with light, who maketh the clouds His chariot and walketh upon the wings of the wind. Sweeter yet should our meditation be, in proportion as our knowledge is greater, and the acts of love on which we have to dwell are more marvellous. But the ground of joy must be the same to us as it was to the psalmist. We see God not only as Creator, but as Redeemer. Not the doctrine, but Himself; not the Book, but the august Jesus, whose grand figure fills it from Genesis to Revelation; not the Church, but He in whom the Church believes — Jesus Himself, with none between the soul and Him; Jesus is our all in all.
II. WHENCE COMES THE SWEETNESS OF THIS EXERCISE? It is sweet to think of the love of Christ, and especially to realize that we, with all our conscious unworthiness, are the objects of it. That love is wonderful in itself, wonderful in its freedom and spontaneity, wonderful in its eternal duration, wonderful in the depth of suffering it led our Lord to endure, wonderful in the tenderness and affectionate sympathies of His heart towards the wants and weaknesses of His people. Again, it is sweet to dwell on the love-tokens of our absent Saviour. If a loved one be far parted from us, have we not pleasure in the letters which tell us of constant love and undying affection? Yet what are they to the actual intercourse, daily maintained between Christ and His people? Can we not tell Him of our love in prayer and praise? What are the sacraments but meeting-places with Christ, the salutations of His mercy and His love? Is it not sweet to think of the bonds which knit us together with Him in a union indissoluble as His immutable promises? Lastly, is it not sweet to anticipate the time when we shall meet Him, "whom, not having seen, we love," etc.? We shall see Him face to face in the reality of His presence, and dwell with Him for ever.
(E. Garbett, M.A.)
II. HOW AND IN WHAT RESPECTS MAY A MAN BE SAID TO MEDITATE ON GOD?
1. When a man doth meditate on the name, nature, titles and attributes of God, then he is said to meditate on God.
2. When a man doth meditate on Christ the Son of God, then he is said to meditate on God, for Christ is God; and therefore saith the apostle (Hebrews 3:1).
3. When a man doth meditate on the Word of God, the law and statutes of God, then he is said to meditate on God (Psalm 1:2).
4. When a man doth meditate on the works and concernments of God (Psalm 77:11, 12).
III. HOW MAY IT APPEAR THAT IT IS A SWEET THING TO MEDITATE ON 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? 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? 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 help to knowledge, thereby your knowledge is raised. Thereby your memory is strengthened. Thereby your hearts are warmed. Thereby you will be freed from sinful thoughts. Thereby your hearts will be tuned to every duty. Thereby you will grow in grace. Thereby you will fill up all the chinks and crevices of your lives, and know how to spend your spare time, and improve that for God. Thereby you will draw good out of evil. And thereby you will converse with God and enjoy God. And I pray, is not here profit enough to sweeten the voyage of your thoughts in meditation? But hard work, you say, and therefore how can it be delightful? The harder the nut is to crack, the sweeter the meat when it is cracked; the harder the Scripture is that is to be opened, the sweeter is the kernel, the truth when it is opened. Would you meditate on God and the things of God with sweetness? When you are most fearful, put your thoughts upon that in God which is most cheerful; when you are most cheerful, put your thoughts upon that in God which is most dreadful; evermore divide your thoughts if you be to meditate on God, and the name, and nature, and attributes of God. In case you would meditate on Christ the Son of God, be sure of this, that you think on Christ, and meditate on Christ as your great example as well as your gift, and your gift as well as your example. In case you would meditate on the works of God, be sure of this, that you look upon all the works of God as enamelled and embroidered with so many attributes of God; for the more you see the attributes of God shining forth upon His works, the more sweetness you will take in the meditating thereof.
(W. Bridge, M. A.)I. IT IS OUR WORK AND DUTY TO MEDITATE ON GOD AND THE THINGS OF GOD. Wicked men are blamed that God is not in all their thoughts (Psalm 10:4). Good and holy men are commended and rewarded for this (Malachi 16, 17). It is our duty to praise the Lord. Not only to be thankful to God upon the account of benefits received, but to praise the Lord upon the account of His own excellencies. And how should the heart be tuned and framed unto this praising of God, but by meditation on the name and nature and titles of God? (Psalm 48:1). How doth he tune his heart to this praise? "We have thought of Thy lovingkindness, O God."
II. THIS WORK OF MEDITATION IS EVERY MAN'S WORK, IT IS EVERY DAY'S WORK, AND IT IS THAT WORK THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH EVERY BUSINESS AND CONDITION.
1. It is every man's work.(1) It is the work of the wicked, for it is their first step to conversion.(2) It is the work of the godly. For, either he is weak or strong. If weak, he has need of it that he may be strengthened; if strong, that he may be quickened. If a beginner, he ought to meditate, that he may proceed; if a proficient, that he may be perfect; if perfect with Gospel perfection, that he may hold on his perfection.
2. It is every day's work. Is the Sabbath Day unfit for it? No; there is a prayer for the Sabbath (Psalm 92), to meditate on the works of God. Is the week day unfit for this work of meditation? No. The Sabbath Day is our market day; and then after we have bought our market on the Sabbath, we should roast it by meditation on the week. We do not go to the market on the market day, to buy meat into the house only for the market day, but for all the time until the market day comes about again.
3. As it is every day's work, so it is that work that is consistent with every business and with every condition: a garment that will fit the back of every condition. What dunghill condition, but this flower of meditation may grow thereupon?
III. WHAT HELP OR WHAT MEANS TO THIS WORK OF MEDITATION?
1. Be very sensible of your want, and of your neglect herein.
2. Labour more and more for a serious spirit.
3. A fixed spirit.
4. Intenseness of affection.
5. If you would indeed meditate on God and the things of God, be sure that you lay out such objects as may give entertainment to your thoughts. For if there be no corn in the quern, what grinding will there be?
6. If you would meditate on God and the things of God, strengthen your love and delight; for meditation grows upon the stalk of love and delight: and the more a man doth love God and the things of God, the more he meditates thereon.
7. Labour to get a deep impression of the things of God upon your heart and souls.
8. Take heed that your hearts and your hands be not too full of the world, and the employments thereof.
9. Go to God for this skill of meditation.
IV. HOW SHOULD THIS WORK OF MEDITATION BE CARRIED ON WITH SWEETNESS AND SUCCESS?
1. In all your retirements be sure that you retire into God Himself.
2. Take heed that you be not legal in this work.
3. Be sure of this, that nothing fall within the compass of your meditation, but what falls within the compass of the Scripture.
4. In all your settled meditation, begin with reading or hearing. Go on with meditation; end in prayer. For as Mr. Greenham saith well: Reading without meditation is unfruitful; meditation without reading is hurtful; to meditate and to read without prayer upon both, is without blessing.
5. If you would have this work of meditation carried on with profit and sweetness, join with your meditation the examination of your own souls.
6. Observe what those times and seasons are that are most fit for meditation, and be sure you lay hold thereon.
7. Though there is a great deal of profit and sweetness to be found in this work of meditation, and it is every day's work, yet take heed that you do not so meditate on one of God's excellencies as to neglect another; nor so spend your whole time in the work of meditation, that this work of meditation should eat up other duties: God would have us rise from this work of meditation, as from any other duty, with a hungry appetite.
(W. Bridge, M. A.)I. THE PROPER OBJECTS OF IT. The truths revealed in the Word of God, the doctrines and precepts, the invitations and warnings, the promises and threatenings of the Gospel, in all their bearings and relations to the temporal and eternal concerns of mankind, and more especially with reference to our own spiritual state.
II. THE BENEFITS RESULTING FROM IT. It is by reflecting often and earnestly upon holy things that the affections become excited, and the heart filled with a sense of their unspeakable importance.
III. THE BEST METHOD OF PROMOTING AND CONDUCTING IT.
1. Meditation should be regular and frequent,.
2. To make our meditations profitable, we should pray and strive to be enabled to conduct them with holy and devout affections.
3. We should cultivate all the powers of the spiritual understanding, and all the graces of the renewed heart.
4. We should learn to reflect upon the blessings treasured in the Gospel in connection with our own wants, and should endeavour so to ascertain the reality of our religious character as to feel that we are not uninterested spectators, but real inheritors of all that we survey.
Christian Observer.Meditation is much neglected. And perhaps to that change in the manners and habits of religious people, which has brought family instruction comparatively into disuse, is it to be attributed that meditation is so little practised. Owing to a variety of causes, the Christian has been drawn of late years more into public life; and time has been occupied in forwarding the spiritual good of others, which, in former days, would have been devoted to reading, meditation, and prayer.
I. THE NATURE OF MEDITATION. Meditation may be set, and at regular times, or habitual and unprepared. And doubtless those Christians who are favoured with a contemplative habit of mind, have much enjoyment in its exercise, and find it very profitable. While engaged in the ordinary business of life, they can maintain the recollection of spiritual things in the mind. And where persons are so constituted as to possess, in a considerable degree, the power of abstracting themselves from other things, there is never a want of time, place, or subject for meditation. But meditation, in the usual sense of the word, means deep, clone, and steady thinking: — retired and secret contemplation. It is not self-examination nor self-communion, though intimately, if not necessarily, connected with both. It is the settled, quiet, serious thinking over any point or subject; — ruminating upon it; — pondering it in the mind. It is in the beautiful language of the psalmist "musing": "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on the works of Thy hands." In considering meditation as subservient to the best interests of the soul, the subject on which it is employed must be spiritual; some of the "things by which men live, and in which is the life of the Spirit." The state of our own souls, — our past lives, — the dealings of God with us, — and the various truths of God revealed to us in the Scripture, may well form subjects for profitable meditation. And by meditation on truths, we would understand the remembering, and retracing, and dwelling on such in our minds, as we have been previously taught, and made acquainted with, rather than the investigation of points which as yet we are but feeling after.
II. THE USEFULNESS OF MEDITATION.
1. The practical influence of the truth can only be known and felt, when it is habitually present to the mind. A truth absent from the mind is for the time of no more influence than if it were altogether unknown, or disbelieved. Whatever be the direct tendency of any truth, — whatever be the effect which it is calculated to produce, — whether peace in the conscience, — joy in the heart, — mortification of sin, — the raising of the affections to high and heavenly things, — love to God and Christ, — the patient suffering and cheerful doing of the Lord's will, — it cannot have that tendency in us, — it cannot produce that effect in us, if it be as a forgotten thing. But it is not possible that any truth should be thus habitually present to us, unless it be more or less the subject of meditation. The mind does not otherwise become fully imbued with it: though we do understand it, and acknowledge it, and believe it; we are not leavened with it; it is not become a part and parcel of our own minds. If the acquisition of knowledge be compared to the reception of food, then meditation is as digestion, which alone converts it into the means of sustenance and vigour. It is thus also, in no slight measure, by the mind dwelling upon spiritual things, that men become more and more spiritual. The contemplation of the character of our Lord, as revealed in the Word of God, is the ordained means of conforming His people to His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18).
2. Again, it is by meditation that we apply to our own cases the things which we hear and read. Great excitement, or impression and conviction, may be produced by preaching, and yet, unless recalled and revived by meditation, may very soon entirely pass away. Who has not been a wonder to himself, that he should remember so little of a discourse which, at the time, pleased and interested him; and yet in a week scarcely any traces are retained; — a dim, indistinct, general notion is all that remains floating in the memory. The simple reason is, because it was never digested; never by subsequent meditation made our own. Like a language imperfectly learned, it is soon forgotten.
3. Meditation is useful, and a means of grace, as it is a medium of holding communion with God. The psalmist said, "My mediation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord." And though, doubtless, the love of meditation has, in some instances, degenerated into the error of those who make the whole of religion to consist in a meditative habit of mind — in quiet contemplation — still we must not forget that it is a means of grace, and that the people of God often enjoy much blessed intercourse with Him in thought, in solitude and in silence.
4. Meditation is also useful, as preparatory to other duties; for instance, prayer. We should consider beforehand our object in prayer, and what we intend to make the subject of our requests.
III. HINTS ON MEDITATION.
1. It is difficult. Scarcely is any duty more repugnant to the natural man. He cannot bear to shut himself up to commune with his own spirit, and with God alone. And at this we need not be surprised; though it is not to our present purpose to show, that in his ignorance and unbelief, regarding God as his enemy, "he therefore likes not to retain God in his knowledge." But whence the difficulty to the Christian believer? Meditation is difficult to many persons, because it is with them almost an impossibility to think steadily, and intently, and continuously on any subject, for any length of time. They cannot control and concentrate their minds. They have thoughts, but they cannot think. The mind flies off, and will not be fixed down to one point. And besides, it is difficult to meditate on spiritual things, because of the sad reluctance of even the renewed mind, through the influence of remaining evil, to be occupied with what has more immediate reference to the soul, to God, and to eternity. Hence it is, that time, which was sincerely intended to be passed in meditation, is to our sorrow and shame not unfrequently frittered and trifled away in vagaries, vain and profitless.
2. As to the most suitable time for meditation, that depends altogether on circumstances. They who cannot command opportunities, will be enabled at those intervals, which even the busiest can create, to settle their thoughts in pious meditation; and in the wakeful hours of the night to revolve in their minds the words and the works of God. "I remember Thee on my bed, I meditate on Thee in the night-watches." Those, whose time is at their own disposal, should choose that portion of it which, by experience, they find most advantageous. Bishop Hall and Mr. Baxter loved the tranquil evening-hour, the twilight stillness; and the latter speaks thus on the subject: "I have always found the fittest time for myself is the evening, from the sun-setting to the twilight." And, lastly, let us never forget, that if meditation is to be a means of grace, it must be made effectual to that end by the power of the Holy Spirit. In common with all other means, it is entirely dependent on His grace and blessing.
(Christian Observer.)I. MEDITATION UPON GOD IS A HIGH AND ELEVATING MENTAL ACT, BECAUSE OF THE IMMENSITY OF THE OBJECT. "Behold the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee," said the awe-struck Solomon. Meditation upon that which is immense produces a lofty mood of mind. Says the thoughtful and moral Schiller: "The vision of unlimited distances and immeasurable heights, of the great ocean at his feet and the still greater ocean above him, draws man's spirit away from the narrow sphere of sense, and from the oppressive stricture of physical existence. A grander rule of measurement is held out to him in the simple majesty of nature, and environed by her great forms he can no longer endure a little and narrow way of thinking. Who knows how many a bright thought and heroic resolve, which the student's chamber or the academic hall never would have originated, has been started out by this lofty struggle of the soul with the great spirit of nature; who knows whether it is not in part to be ascribed to a less frequent intercourse with the grandeur of the material world, that the mind of man in cities more readily stoops to trifles, and is crippled and weak, while the mind of the dweller beneath the broad sky remains open and free as the firmament under which it lives." But if this is true of the immensity of nature, much more is it of the immensity of God. For the immensity of God is the immensity of mind. The infinity of God is an infinity of truth, of purity, of justice, of mercy, of love, and of glory.
II. MEDITATION UPON GOD IS A SANCTIFYING ACT, BECAUSE GOD IS HOLY AND PERFECT IN HIS NATURE AND ATTRIBUTES. The meditation of which the psalmist speaks in the text is not that of the schoolman, or the poet, but of the devout, saintly, and adoring mind. That meditation upon God which is "sweeter than honey and the honey-comb" is not speculative, but practical. That which is speculative and scholastic springs from curiosity. That which is practical flows from love. All merely speculative thinking is inquisitive, acute, and wholly destitute of affection for the object. But all practical thinking is affectionate, sympathetic, and in harmony with the object. When I meditate upon God because I love Him, my reflection is practical. True meditation, thus proceeding from filial love and sympathy, brings the soul into intercourse and communion with its object. Such a soul shall know God as the natural man does not, and cannot. True meditation, then, being practical, and thereby bringing the subject of it into communion with the object of it, is of necessity sanctifying. For the object is Infinite Holiness and purity. It is He in whom is centred and gathered and crowded all possible perfections. And can our minds muse upon such a Being and not become purer and better?
III. MEDITATION UPON GOD IS A BLESSED ACT OF THE MIND, BECAUSE GOD HIMSELF IS AN INFINITELY BLESSED BEING, AND COMMUNICATES OF HIS FULNESS OF JOY TO ALL WHO CONTEMPLATE IT. Mere thinking, in and of itself, is not sufficient to secure happiness. Everything depends upon the quality of the thought, and this again upon the nature of the object, upon which it is expended. There are various kinds and degrees of mental enjoyment, each produced by a particular species of mental reflection; but there is no thinking that gives rest and satisfaction and joy to the soul, but thinking upon the glorious and blessed God. There is a strange unearthly joy, when a pure and spiritual mind is granted a clear view of the Divine perfections. I rejoices with a joy unspeakable and full of glorying. All finite beauty, all created glory, is but a shadow in comparison.
(G. T. Shedd, D.D.)I. THE EXALTED, INCOMPREHENSIBLE NATURE OF HIM WHO IS THE OBJECT OF OUR MEDITATION.
1. The source of being, the author and parent of all that exists. If the acts of almighty power should produce reverence and awe — if the displays of unerring wisdom should excite admiration and esteem — if the exertions of unbounded goodness should command gratitude and love — devout meditation on the Source of being should be attended with feelings of pure delight.
2. The source of all moral excellence. What beauty is, in material objects, moral excellence is, among rational beings: it is that which renders them at all attractive, and to the reflecting, and cultivated mind, is the direct object of esteem and love.
3. Let us recollect that these excellencies exist in One with whom we are most intimately connected, and that they are all continually exercised in our belief.
4. In surveying the circumstances of ourselves or others, we cannot shut our eyes on the painful and trying situations in which, by the providence of God, men may at times be placed. But this presents another most amiable view of the Supreme Being as attending to the different circumstances of His creatures, and accommodating His dealings to their respective characters, and situations.
5. There is yet another character in which He appears, that claims our most attentive regards, and which must call up our most ardent affections. And this is — As the Saviour of His offending and wretched creatures. Doomed to death, and destined to return to dust, He is to raise us from the grave, free us from all imperfections, place us beyond the reach of sorrow or the possibility of suffering, enlarge our powers, extend our knowledge, perfect our characters, introduce us into the society of angels, and crown all His gifts with everlasting life.
II. IN ALL THESE CHARACTERS OUR MEDITATION OF HIM SHOULD DELIGHT THE SOUL; because all that is great, and excellent, and glorious, and good, and attractive, passes before our minds in contemplating the character, the works, the ways, and the purposes of God; objects, the contemplation of which, not only gives scope for the exercise of its noblest powers, but excites all the most pleasing affections of the soul; reverence, esteem, love, gratitude, faith and hope.
(R. Bogg, D.D.)I. HOW WE SHOULD MEDITATE ON GOD.
1. We should meditate upon the perfections of God: His immensity and eternity, to fill us with fear and reverence; His power, as our protection and defence; His wisdom, to fill us with praise and admiration; His holiness, to excite us to imitate Him, and to abhor sin; His truth, to encourage our belief in His promises; His justice, to make us dread being obnoxious to His wrath, and to magnify His judgments to ourselves and others; His goodness, which is the sweetest theme to employ our thoughts upon, it being His most amiable perfection. Well might David say (Psalm 48:9).
2. Upon His works.(1) His works of creation. Thus we read: "The works of the Lord are great," etc. (Psalm 111:2; Psalm 8:3; Job 36:24, 25).(2) His works of providence. How wisely and graciously God governs, preserves, and provides for His creatures, and upholds the world He has formed, and His special providences towards ourselves, and keep a memorial of them!(3) The work of redemption. Herein the perfections of God are wonderfully displayed.
3. Upon His Word. Christ requires it (John 5:39). In this is the godly man's delight (Psalm 119:11, 92). Moses recommended it to the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 11:18; Deuteronomy 6:6, 7). The Word of God should dwell in us richly: it should be often in our hands, but oftener in our hearts.
4. Upon the future glory of God. If heaven were more in our thoughts, we should lead a more heavenly life.
II. AT WHAT SPECIAL TIMES WE SHOULD MEDITATE ON GOD. He desires to be in all our thoughts, and the continual companion of our minds, and the delight of our souls. But we should meditate upon Him more especially —
1. In our seasons of private retirement: then the mind enjoys itself most, and then it may enjoy God most (Genesis 24:63).
2. In the time of trouble and affliction (Jonah 2:7; Hosea 5:15). This is a time when we can think more impartially of God, of the things that are above, and of the true interest of our souls. On a bed of sickness, it gives delight and refreshment, strengthens the weak heart, and sweetens the bitterest pains.
III. THE HAPPINESS ARISING FROM SUCH MEDITATIONS. The soul is insensibly warmed with love to God, while it views Him, and runs over his adorable perfections. The thoughts of His power establish and strengthen him. The thoughts of His wisdom resign him to all His providences. And the thought of His eternal love and goodness fill him with triumph in hope and joy. The more we are with God, the more shall we have of God and of His image in us. Moses came down from the mount with a heavenly brightness on his countenance. Holy meditation will prepare our hearts for every duty and ordinance. Finally, it will help us to live above the world, and be a means for fitting us for death and eternity.
(T. Hannam.)I. THE PERFORMANCE IMPLIED — Divine meditation. God's servants are much employed and taken up in the thought of God, in holy and Divine meditation. Reasons —
1. The gracious and heavenly frame and temper of a Christian soul, being sanctified and renewed by grace.
2. The servants of God are much in thoughts and meditations of Him, because as their hearts are made like unto Him, so (which also follows thereupon) fastened upon Him.
3. They are much employed in Divine exercises, prayer, reading and hearing the Word, etc.; and these performances suggest holy thoughts and meditations.
4. From the Spirit of God dwelling in them.
II. THE QUALIFICATIONS EXPRESSED — pleasantness or sweetness.
1. The attributes of God, there's a great deal of delight in thinking upon them in their several kinds.(1) The power of God, how much sweetness is there in that to a Christian that shall seriously consider it and think upon it, that God is almighty, and all-sufficient, and can do whatsoever He pleases both in heaven and earth, as the Scripture represents Him.(2) The goodness and mercy of God, there's a great deal of sweetness in that also to be sucked out by us in meditation, that the Lord is gracious, and merciful, and long-suffering, and pitiful; there is very much contentment in it.(3) The wisdom of God, to meditate on that also, that He is great in counsel, etc., and the Scripture proclaims Him, that He can foresee all events, and discern all hearts, and search into the secret corners of the soul.(4) The truth and faithfulness of God, the God that keeps covenant and mercy, that is true to all His promises, and that performs whatever He undertakes.
2. The Word of God which is a part of Himself, the meditation on that is sweet also. If we look into Scripture we shall find variety of gracious intimations suited to particular conditions; now, these cannot but be very comfortable to those that are in them, in sickness, in poverty, in captivity, in temptation, and the like, and we cannot better provide for our own comfort, and contentation in them, than by thinking and meditating upon them in our own minds; and where we are not furnished with particulars, yet at least to close with the generals, which have a miraculous sweetness in them also: I mean such promises as are made to God's children at large; that God will give His Spirit to them that ask it. That no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly, that He will never leave them, nor forsake them. That all things shall work together for good to them that love Him.
3. The works of God, the meditation on them also, it is very sweet, and that in all kinds.(1) His works of creation, to consider of them, as they are all very good and beautiful considered in their nature and kind, so the contemplation on them is also remarkable (Psalm 8:1, etc.).(2) The works of Providence, how sweet it is to meditate on these also, to reflect upon all ages, and to consider what great things God has done for His Church and people in them. What mercies He has bestowed upon them, what deliverances He has wrought for them; and that also sometimes after what a strange and miraculous manner: it is very delightful to think of it.(3) The works of redemption, how sweet is it likewise to meditate on these: to meditate upon God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18). This is the sweet meditation of all, and without which we cannot meditate upon God without any true comfort or contentment.
III. THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED.
1. A savouriness and heavenliness of spirit, as it is this which must put men upon such meditations, so it is this only which must make them relish and take delight in them.
2. A special love to God.
3. A persuasion of the love of God to him.
4. A special sense of a man's own wants.
(T. Horton, D. D.).
I. First, take it in the first sense: MEDITATION ON GOD IS SWEET. And the sweetness of it should stir us up to the putting of it in practice. We have very great cause to be careful what we meditate and pitch upon in our thoughts, which are of great importance to us, and that as they are a very great discovery of the frame and temper of our hearts. There's nothing which does more show what men like, than their meditations. Flittering and transitory thoughts, which do pass through the mind, but do not stick, they are not such an infallible discovery, because they may not have that tincture and impression of the soul upon them. But meditations they have much of the will in them, and are carried with more deliberation attending upon them. And therefore it concerns us to look to them, and to see what they be in us; and of this nature that we now speak of, we should cherish in ourselves as much as may be these holy and heavenly meditations which are of God, and things belonging to Him, as being such as He takes special notice and observation of in us (1 Timothy 4:13, 14). First, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine, and then meditate upon these things. And so much of the first notion of this word, which is here used in the text, as it denotes Divine contemplation, and meditation on the things of God, there's a great deal of sweetness in this.
II. The second is, as it denotes, CONVERSE AND COMMUNION WITH GOD IN PRAYER. There's no friends that have such mutual complacency and contentment in one another's society as God and His servants have in One another; it is pleasing to them to think of God, but to speak to Him, and He to them is a great deal more comfortable; when the heart opens itself at any time to God, and He again returns upon it, there's most unspeakable contentment in it.
III. The third notion of this word in this text is DISCOURSE, which refers to the communion of saints, and the converse of Christians one with another. Christians find a great deal of contentment in holy and religious communication; not only when they think upon Him within themselves, which is meditation, not only when they speak unto Him, which is done in prayer, but also when they speak of Him, and about Him in converse, and Christian discourse.
(T. Horton, D. D.)I. A VERY PROFITABLE EXERCISE — MEDITATION. Do not imagine that the meditative man is necessarily lazy; contrariwise, he lays the best foundation for useful works. He is not the best student who reads the most books, but he who meditates the most upon them! he shall not learn most of divinity who hears the greatest number of sermons, but he who meditates the most devoutly upon what he does hear; nor shall he be so profound a scholar who takes down ponderous volumes one after the other, as he who, reading little by little, precept upon precept, and line upon line, digests what he reads, and assimilates each sentiment to his heart by meditation, — receiving the word first into his understanding, and afterwards receiving the spirit of it into his own soul.
1. Meditation is the couch of the soul, the rest of the spirit.
2. Meditation is the machine in which the raw material of knowledge is converted to the best uses.
3. Meditation is to the soul what oil was to the body of the wrestlers. Who are the authors to write your books, and keep up the constant supply of literature? They are meditative men. They keep their bones supple and their limbs fit for exercise by continually bathing themselves in the oil of meditation. How important, therefore, is meditation as a mental exercise, to have our minds in constant readiness for any Service!
II. A VERY PRECIOUS SUBJECT. "My meditation of Him shall be sweet." To whom does that word "Him" refer? I suppose it may refer to all the three Persons of the glorious Trinity: "My meditation upon Jehovah shall be sweet." And, verily, if you sit down to meditate upon God the Father, and muse upon His sovereign, immutable, unchangeable love towards His elect people, — if you think of God the Father as the great Author and Originator of the plan of salvation, — if you think of Him as the mighty Being who, by two immutable things, wherein it is impossible for Him to lie, hath given us strong consolation who have fled for refuge to Christ Jesus, — if you look to Him as the Giver of His only-begotten Son, and who, for the sake of that Son, His best gift, will, with Him also, freely give us all things, — if you consider Him as having ratified the covenant, and pledged Himself ultimately to complete all His stipulations, in the ingathering of every chosen, ransomed soul, you will perceive that there is enough to engross your meditation for ever, even were your attention limited to the manifestation of the Father's love. Or, if you choose to do so, you may meditate upon God the Holy Spirit. Consider His marvellous operations on your own heart, — how He quickened it when you were dead in trespasses and sins, — how He brought you nigh to Jesus when you were a lost sheep, wandering far from the fold, — how He called you, with such a mighty efficacy, — how He drew you with the bands of love which would not let you go. But I prefer rather to confine this word "Him" to the person of our adorable Saviour: "My meditation of Him shall be sweet." Ah! if it be possible that the meditation upon one Person of the Trinity can excel the meditation upon another, it is meditation upon Jesus Christ. Jesus may be compared to some of those lenses which you may take up, and hold in one way, and you see one light; you hold them in another way, and you see another light; and whichever way you turn them, you will always see some precious sparkling of light, and some new colours starting up to your view. Ah! take Jesus for the theme of your meditation, sit down and consider Him, think of His relation to your own soul, and you will never get to the end of that one subject.
III. A VERY BLESSED RESULT. "My meditation of Him shall be sweet." What a mercy that there is something sweet in this world for us! We need it, I am sure; for, as for most other things in the world, they are very, very bitter. "My meditation of Him shall be sweet;" so sweet, that all the other bitters are quite swallowed up in its sweetness. Have I not seen the widow, when her husband has been called away, and he who was her strength, the stay and sustenance of her life, has been laid in the grave, — have I not seen her hold up her hands, and say, "Ah! though he is gone, still my Maker is my Husband; 'The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;' blessed be His holy name"? What was the reason of her patient submission to the will of God? Because she had a sweet meditation to neutralize the bitterness of her reflections. And do I not remember, even now, seeing a man, whose property had been washed away by the tide, and whose lands had been swallowed up, and become quicksands, instead of being any longer profitable to him? Beggared and bankrupt, with streaming eyes, he held up his hands, and repeated Habakkuk's words: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom," etc. Was it not because his meditation on Christ was so sweet, that it absorbed the bitterness of his trouble? And oh! how many, when they have come to the dark waters of death, have found that surely their bitterness was past, for they perceived that death was swallowed up in victory, through their meditation upon Jesus Christ!
( C. H. Spurgeon.)I. First let us talk about THE SWEET: "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 we have approached the very centre of bliss. But let me dwell a minute on that first word: "My." Not another man's meditation, which is afterwards related to me, but my own meditation of Him shall be sweet. Make meditation of Christ to be your own personal act and deed; grasp Him for yourself, and hold Him by the feet.
II. Now let us turn to the second part of the subject, THE SWEET AS A SWEETENER: "My meditation of Him shall be sweet." That is to say, first, it shall sweeten all my other sweetnesses. If thou hast honey, and thy hands are full of it, be cautious how thou eatest of it, for thou mayest eat honey till thou art sick of it; but if thou hast a great store of honey, put something sweeter than honey with it, and then it will not harm thee. I mean, if God has given thee joy in thy youth, if thou art prospered in business, if thy house is full of happiness, if thy children sing about thy knee, if thou hast health and wealth, and thy spirit danceth with joy, all this by itself may curdle and spoil. Add to it a sweet meditation of thy Lord, and all will be well; for it is safe to enjoy temporal things when we still more enjoy eternal things. If thou wilt put Christ upon the throne, to rule over these good things of thine, then all shall be well. But I need not say much about this point, because, at least to some of us, our very sweet days are not very long or very many. The comfort is, that this sweetness can sweeten all our bitters. There was never yet a bitter in the cup of life but what a meditation upon Christ would overcome that bitterness, and turn it into sweetness. If thou art poor, get thee to Him who had not where to lay His head, and thou wilt even seem to be rich as thou comest back to thy place in the world. Hast thou been despised and rejected? Do but look on Him on whom men spat, whom they cast out, saying that it was not fit that He should live, and you will feel as if you never had true honour except when you were, for Christ's sake, despised and dishonoured. You will almost feel as if it was too great an honour for you to have been contemned for His dear sake, who bore the shame and the spitting and the cruel cross for your sake. Yes, the best sweetener of all temporal troubles is a meditation upon Christ Jesus our Lord. One thought more. Our text might be read thus, "My meditation shall be sweet to Him." We are going to uncover the table of communion directly; you will have nothing to think of but the body and the blood of Him by whose death you live. That meditation will, I trust, be very sweet to you; but this fact ought to help to make it so, that it will be "sweet to Him." Jesus loves you to love Him, and he loves you to think of Him.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Weekly Pulpit.There are reflective moments in all lives, but set times for meditation are not as frequent as they might be.
I. MEDITATION IN GENERAL. It is not the pressing act of mind, as when pursuing knowledge, or seeking to unravel some mystery, but the mind, in its own seclusion, dwelling calmly and seriously on matters affecting life and death.
1. Retrospect. We have a wonderful grasp of the past in spite of the ravages of time. Sometimes meditation produces a profounder impression than the event itself. The lesson which this teaches is our sense of responsibility. We cannot wipe out the past. Inasmuch as there is a possibility of the present becoming past, care should be taken that its memories shall be sweet.
2. Introspect. To dwell on things around us in a cool moment is of great value to life. Men who live by rushes often make mistakes. The busiest man would facilitate his work by reflection on the nature of things immediately affecting life. The true estimate comes after a calm examination.
3. Prospect. In nature the future is the sequence of the present, — summer follows winter. Human life is built on the same plan, therefore the acts of to-day ought to be considered in relation to the morrow.
II. RELIGIOUS MEDITATION IN PARTICULAR. God can only be known to us through His works. Certain portions of the work are beautiful, and they lead us to a contemplation of God, as the consummation of every attraction. Some translate the words, — "My meditation shall be acceptable to Him."
1. When centred upon Himself. It is not an uncommon thing that children who have left home, after a while forgetting to write. After the lapse of years they have need to write, and how acceptable to the parents to hear from them. The Divine Father delights to see the wandering heart coming home again. To think upon, when reconciled to Him, is the sweetest thought that can enter the human breast. "Call upon Me, and I will answer thee."
2. When we think according to His own will. Meditation may take a wrong turn, and dwell upon matters in the wrong spirit. Many people brood over their cares, and make their lives miserable. The train of thought which brings sweetness to the breast is the fact that by every step He draws us nearer to Himself. The nearer the fountain the clearer the water. The highest joy of the soul is communion with God.
3. When our meditation ends in a closer walk with Himself. There can be no virtue in recalling matters, or causing the mind to dwell on objects which have neither an intrinsic nor a relational value. Let us meditate upon one Jesus Christ — our Prophet, Priest, and King. The theme is endless. Nothing can surpass the beauty of the Rose of Sharon. In eternity the soul shall dwell on the glory of His person, and join in the anthem of His praise.
(Weekly Pulpit.)1. Let there be greater solicitude cherished, so to meditate on the presence of Christ as to make us conscious that we are with Him. Then the thought of His presence will be connected with a subduing power and friendly influence.
2. To meditate, and so to meditate on the character of the Shepherd of Israel, until we are sensible that He is leading us in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake. To protect and sustain, are views of Him eminently calculated to impart the feelings of safety and supply.
3. Meditate, and so meditate on the power of subduing grace, until it is felt that the dominion of sin is becoming increasingly weak.
4. Meditate, and so meditate on the ability and qualifications of Christ aa the great Teacher, until the soul feels at home with His instructions. What a teacher, and what instructions! One who is infinite in knowledge teaching the ignorant. How patient and compassionate is the great and loving Instructor! How ready to open the understanding and the heart!
5. Meditate, and so meditate on the love of Christ until that love is felt in the heart, — felt as a heavenly impulse bearing the soul onward and upwards, — felt in its hallowed and stirring emotions, as a heavenly fire kindled upon the altar of the broken and contrite heart, and burning there night and day.
6. Meditate, and so meditate on the promised Spirit of Christ, that there may be now the earnest of what is to come. Meditation on the work and office of the Spirit of Christ, is to find that there has been not only a work finished on Calvary, but that there is a work also going on in the believing heart. It is to know that there is not only wealth and light in Him, but to have that wealth and light within.
I will he glad in the Lord
1. To will aright gives the mind the right attitude. How important this is! We fail to secure various blessings because we have not the proper attitude and bias of soul. To will aright is to put the soul in position to see great truths, to receive precious gifts. It is part of the preparation of the heart, without which we cannot receive the answer of the tongue.
2. To will aright fixes the mind on the right objects. In coldness think of God's love and beauty; in fear sing of His faithfulness; in every sorrow remember the word of grace strong as that which built the skies, the hope of glory which shall not make us ashamed. Your miserable moods will vanish then as ghosts before the morning lights.
3. To will aright gives to the mind the right impetus. The will is a cause, a master cause. What amazing vigour a resolute volition shoots through the whole of Christian life and experience!
(W. L. Watkinson.)
TopicsGlad, Meditation, Musing, Pleasant, Pleasing, Rejoice, Sweet, Thoughts
Outline1. A meditation upon the mighty power
7. And wonderful providence of God
31. God's glory is eternal
33. The prophet vows perpetually to praise God
Dictionary of Bible ThemesPsalm 104:34
LibraryThe Glory of the Trinity
Eversley, 1868. St Mary's Chester, 1871. Trinity Sunday. Psalm civ. 31, 33. "The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: The Lord shall rejoice in his works. I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." This is Trinity Sunday, on which we think especially of the name of God. A day which, to a wise man, may well be one of the most solemn, and the most humiliating days of the whole year. For is it not humiliating to look stedfastly, …
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons
A Whitsun Sermon
Of Good Angels
Lessons from Nature
Meditation on God
Seventh Sunday after Trinity. O Lord, How Manifold are Thy Works; in Wisdom Hast Thou Made them All; the Earth is Full of Thy Riches.
The Confessions of St. Augustin Index of Subjects
O Worship the King, all Glorious Above
The Knowledge of God Conspicuous in the Creation, and Continual Government of the World.
How to Use the Present Life, and the Comforts of It.
The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit as Revealed in his Names.
The Creaturely Man.
The Christian's Peace and the Christian's Consistency
The Principle of Life in the Creature.
Epistle xvii. To Felix, Bishop of Messana.
The Host of Heaven and of Earth.
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Material Universe.
How those are to be Admonished with whom Everything Succeeds According to their Wish, and those with whom Nothing Does.
The Deity of the Holy Spirit.
The Wisdom of God
On the Symbols of the Essence' and Coessential. '
Covenanting Enforced by the Grant of Covenant Signs and Seals.
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