Monday, February 1, 2010

Meditation Needful For the Heaven-Bound

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. Prov. 18.1

James Ussher, A Method for Meditation:

In the words above recited, if you compare them with the words that follow after, you have Solomon's wise man, a man of understanding, and Solomon's fool, who is destitute of wisdom. Solomon's wise man is not a worldly wise man, but he that take care for the great things, for spiritual understanding; and as for these worldly things takes that which is needful, and seeks earnestly for the main things, desirous to understand all things which may save his soul. But the fool sees nothing that is far off; he's purblind, as the apostle Paul calls him....But the wise man separates himself and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
So that the point is, --

That man that would attain to saving wisdom must not have an ear only to the preacher, but there is something required of him in particular, he must take pains, separate himself, enter into his chamber, examine himself touching his life past. Put his hand to the plough; if he never work himself he will never be a wise man. Let a man desire to hear the most powerful preacher, it will do him no good except to be an actor and worker himself, and therefore let no man deceive himself. Look to the things of this life, food, apparel, wealth; do not men labour for it? And therefore they bring up their children in a trade whereby they may labour. If it be so for earthly things, much more for heavenly. "But I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I but the grace of God that was in me." Observe, the more thou labourest, the more grace thou hast, the more diligent in receiving the sacrament, in hearing the word, in prayer. The grace of God is so far from making a man idle, to look that heaven should drop in his mouth, as the drops of rain that fall on the earth, that it will make him work and labour in private, separate himself, which is an argument of grace; and this a man will not do till his heart be seasoned with grace. "For it is God that worketh in you both the will and the deed." You will say, If God work let him go on, what would you have me to do? But mark the conclusion the apostle hath drawn, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling," for it is God that worketh both the will and the deed, yet his grace makes thee work out thy salvation.
To enable thee to do this, --

First, a desire. If a man do not desire it, he will not take pains. Strive to enter in at the strait narrow gate, it's a narrow gate: peradventure he must leave his skin behind him. And therefore the spring and the ground of the labour must be an earnest desire. Set an high price on it. Until thou set a price on grace, thou wilt not labour for it...Bare desires that put not a man to work, make him not separate himself; this is the desire of the slothful, and it kills him. A bare desire is worth nothing.

This desire then must make thee separate thyself, to examine thyself which way thou art going -- to heaven or hell -- to cast up thy accounts, and see whether thou thrivest in grace. Set apart some time for meditation that the word may be ingrafted in thy heart....

Again, without this separating, setting apart some time for meditation, our prayers cannot approach the throne of grace...By a powerful prayer Heaven sufferth violence; not a stronger thing on earth than the prayer of a Christian; it binds God's hands, it returns not in vain...This pouring out of the soul in prayer is as it is said of Hannah. "And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out myself before God." This pouring out of the soul is a prayer in God's own language, which cannot be done without meditation.

Thus you see the necessity of meditation; we must resolve upon the duty if we ever mean to go to heaven.

No comments:

Post a Comment