Excerpted from “The Christian Soldier” by Thomas Watson
Meditation may be described as a holy exercise of the mind; whereby we bring the truths of God to remembrance, and do seriously ponder upon them and apply them to ourselves. It is a serious thinking upon God. It is not a few transient thoughts that are quickly gone—but a fixing and staying of the mind upon heavenly objects.
Upon what should we meditate?
1. Meditate seriously upon the CORRUPTION of your nature. We have lost that pure holy frame of soul that we once had. There is a sea of sin in us. Our nature is the source and seminary of all evil. The meditation of this would be a means to pull down our pride. Even those who have grace have cause to walk humbly.
2. Meditate seriously upon the death and passion of CHRIST. His soul was overcast with a cloud of sorrow when he was conflicting with his Father’s wrath; and all this we ourselves, should have suffered, Isaiah 53:5. “He was wounded for our transgressions.” As David said, “Lo, I have sinned—but these sheep, what have they done?” 2 Sam. 24:17. So we have sinned—but this Lamb of God—what had he done?
The serious meditation of this would produce repentance and fill our hearts with love for Christ ..
3. Meditate on your EVIDENCES for heaven. What have you to show for Heaven, if you should die this night?
- Was your heart ever thoroughly convinced of sin? Did you ever see yourself lost without Christ? Conviction is the first step to conversion.
- Has God ever made you willing to take Christ upon his own terms? Zech 6:13. “He shall be a priest upon his throne.” Are you as willing that Christ should be upon the throne of your heart to rule you—as well as a priest at the altar to intercede for you? Are you willing to renounce those sins to which the bias of your heart does naturally incline?
- Do you have the indwelling presence of the Spirit? If you have, what has God’s Spirit done in you? Has he made you of another spirit? meek, merciful, humble? Is he a transforming Spirit? Has he left the impress of its holiness upon you?
4. Meditate on God’s severity against SIN. Every arrow in God’s quiver is shot against sin. Sin burned Sodom, and drowned the old world. Sin kindles hell. If when a spark of God’s wrath flies into a mans conscience, it is so terrible, what is it when God ‘stirs up all his wrath”? Psalm78:38. The meditation of this would frighten us out of our sins. There cannot be so much sweetness in sin—as there is sting. How dreadful is God’s anger! Psalm 90:11. “Who knows the power of his wrath?”
6. Meditate on ETERNAL LIFE. 1 John 2:25. “This is his promise, even eternal life.” Life is sweet, and this word eternal makes it sweeter. This lies in the immediate vision and fruition of God.
What are the benefits of Holy meditation?
1. Meditation makes the Word preached to profit; it works it upon the conscience. As the bee sucks the honey from the flower, so by meditation we suck out the sweetness of a truth.
2. Holy meditation quickens the affections. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Psalm 119:97. As the musing on worldly objects makes the fire of lust burn; the musing on injuries makes the fire of revenge burn; just so, meditating on the transcendent beauties of Christ, would make our love to Christ flame forth.
3. Meditation has a transforming power in it. The hearing of the Word may affect us—but the meditating upon it does transform us. Meditation stamps the impression of divine truths upon our hearts.
4. Meditation produces reformation. Psalm 119:59. “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.” Did but people meditated on the damnableness of sin; they would realize that there is a rope at the end of it, which will hang them eternally in hell; they would break off a course of sinning, and become new creatures. Let all this persuade us to holy meditation. I dare be bold to say that if men would spend but one quarter of an hour every day in contemplating heavenly objects, it would leave a mighty impression upon them, and, through the blessing of God might prove the beginning of a happy conversion.