by Edmund Calamy
This text has been initially updated from EEBO-TCP by Project Puritas (Logan West, with David Jonescue and Alex Sarrouf.) www.puritansearch.org. Further revision and editing done by Monergism. Copyright Monergism via universal text usage permission from the above.
Or, A Discourse of the Nature, Necessity, and Excellency thereof. With Motives to, and Rules for the better performance of that most Important Christian Duty. In Several Sermons on Genesis 24:63.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the fields at the even-tide.
It is not unknown unto you, I suppose, that there are two things required by God of all those that would receive the benefit of the Sacrament: the one is preparation before they come; and the other is meditation when they are come. I have made many and many a Sermon of Preparation, but I have made very few of Meditation. Now the Sacrament is a meditating Ordinance, as I may so express myself; it is an Ordinance for Meditation: and the great work that we have to do at the Sacrament, is to meditate upon Christ crucified; and therefore I shall crave leave to make you a few Sermons concerning this rare and excellent Doctrine of Meditation; and for this purpose I have chosen this Text: Wherein we have four Particulars.
1. We have the person that is here spoken of, and that is Isaac, the godly child of godly Abraham.
2. What is here related of this person, he went out to meditate.
3. The place that he chose for his meditation, and that was in the field, he went out into the field to meditate.
4. The time that he chose to meditate in, and that was the evening, and Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.
The great question for the meaning of this Text will be, what the subject of Isaac 's Meditation was? what did Isaac go out to meditate upon? now for this you must know there is a double meditation; there is a meditation that is sinful and wicked; and there is a meditation that is holy and godly.
1. There is a meditation that is sinful and wicked, and that is when we meditate upon things that are wicked; of this you shall read, Psal. 36. 4. He deviseth mischief upon his bed. And Psal. 7. 14. Behold he travelleth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief. There are wicked meditations as well as wicked conversations; and a man may go to Hell for plotting wicked things, as well as for practicing wicked things. And therefore it is said, Prov. 12. 2. A man of wicked devices will God condemn. Not only a man of wicked practices, but a man of wicked devices will he condemn. There is a contemplative wickedness as well as an actual wickedness; and a man may go to Hell for contemplative wickedness. As for example, there is a contemplative murder, when a man doth delight in the thoughts of murdering his brother; when the thought of revenge is pleasing. And there is a contemplative adultery, when a man doth plot how to commit adultery, and delight in the thought of adultery. Now Isaac 's meditation certainly was not of things that are wicked, he did not go out into the field to meditate upon vile and wicked things.
2. There is a meditation that is holy and godly, and that is when we meditate upon things that are holy and heavenly; and of this nature was the meditation of Isaac, he went out into the field to meditate on the works of God, and of the blessings and mercies of God; to meditate upon the Heavenly Canaan, and upon his sins; and this appears, because the Hebrew word that is here used for meditation, that is here translated meditation, doth also signify to pray; and therefore it is in your margent, And Isaac went out to pray at eventide. It was a Religious work that Isaac went out about; and you must know that Prayer and Meditation are very well joined together; Meditation is a preparation to Prayer, and Prayer is a fit close for Meditation; and Isaac went out to meditate, to pray and to meditate, and to meditate and pray. This Meditation was a holy and heavenly act of Isaac. So then the Observation I shall gather is this:
Observ. That the meditation of holy and heavenly things is a work that God requires at the hands of all people. That God that requires you to pray, requires you to meditate as well as pray; there are few Christians believe this Doctrine, That God that requires you to hear Sermons, requires you to meditate on the Sermons you hear.
1. God requires this of you that are young Gentlemen, and therefore here you read of Isaac, that he went out to meditate. Now though it be true that Isaac at this time was forty years old, yet in those days to be of forty years was to be but a young man, for Isaac lived an hundred and fourscore years; and therefore this is a notable pattern for young Gentlemen, to employ their time in godly and holy meditation.
2. This is a duty that God requires of Kings, of Nobles, and of great persons; and therefore David, though he was a King, and had a great deal of work and business, yet he saith of himself, Psal. 119. 15. I will meditate in thy precepts. v. 23. Princes also did sit and speak against me, but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. v. 48. I will meditate in thy statutes.
3. This is a duty that God requires at the hands of Soldiers, and Generals, and Captains, Josh. 1. 8. there God speaks unto Joshua, This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein, for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
4. It is a duty that God requires of all Learned men, and of all that are Scholars, 1 Tim. 4. 15. Give attendance to reading and exhortations, and meditate upon these things: give thyself wholly unto them.
5. This is a duty that God requires of Women; and therefore it is said of Mary, Luk. 2. 19. She kept all these sayings, and pondered them in her heart. v. 51. But his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. That is, she meditated upon them. In a word, it is a duty that God requires of all that look for Blessedness, Psal. 1. 1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law doth he meditate day and night.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
To the Christian Readers
Introduction - GEN. XXIV. 63
Two Sorts of Divine Meditation
Solemn and Deliberate Meditation
The Duty of Meditation
The Benefits of Meditation
Application of Meditation
Exhorations to Ministers
Six Particulars about this Doctrine of Meditation
Twelve Meditations During Sacramental-time
Six Properties of Divine Meditation
The Companions of Meditation
The Materials of Meditation
Rules and Directions For the Better Practicing of Divine Meditation
The Life and Soul of Meditation
Rules for the Conclusion of All