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An Outline of William Bates' work On Divine Meditation

What the Bible says about Godly Meditation through the Word
Today, many Christians are turning back to the puritans to, “walk in the old paths,” of God’s word, and to continue to proclaim old truth that glorifies Jesus Christ. There is no new theology. In our electronic age, more and more people are looking to add electronic books (ePubs, mobi and PDF formats) to their library – books from the Reformers and Puritans – in order to become a “digital puritan” themselves. Take a moment to visit Puritan Publications (click the banner below) to find the biggest selection of rare puritan works updated in modern English in both print form and in multiple electronic forms. There are new books published every month. All proceeds go to support A Puritan’s Mind.

Check out these works on Divine Meditation.

Bate’s work on Puritan Meditation is Concise and Helpful.

Bates, William, (1625-1699). The Whole Works of the Rev. William Bates Volume 3, (Harrisonburg: Sprinkle Publications, 1990).

On Divine Meditation: Main Text, Psalm 119:97
I. Chapter 1
A. Of the nature of meditation.
B. It is speculative or practical.
C. The latter described, and the description opened.
D. Occasional meditation.
1. The sin of neglecting it, and the advantage of performing it.
E. Deliberate meditation
1. Either direct or reflective.
II. Chapter 2
A. Of the Necessity of Meditation
1. Deliberate Meditation Commanded
a. Hindrances of it
b. The Duty Pressed
III. Chapter 3
A. Of the time for meditation.
B. The frequency of it; urged by two motives.
C. The continuance of it.
D. Morning, evening, night, and the Sabbath day, the most proper seasons for it.
IV. Chapter 4
A. Of the advantages of meditation.
1. It improves the faculties of the soul, by opening the understanding, and raising the affections.
2. Makes prayer, the word, and sacraments effectual.
3. Improves the graces of faith, hope and love.
4. It brings comfort.
5. Increases holiness.
V. Chapter 5
A. Of rules for the managing meditation to advantage.
1. Rules which respect the person.
a. Freedom from the guilt of sin.
b. Purity of heart.
c. A treasure of divine truths.
d. Sobriety in the use of worldly things.
e. And fervent love to spiritual ones.
2. Rules which respect the object.
a. It should be what has a tendency to advance holiness, suitable to our present state and temper.
3. Rules which respect the duty.
a. We should be as methodical, and particular as may be.
b. Discharge ourselves of worldly things.
c. Beg the assistance of the Spirit.
d. Stop the first excursions of our thoughts: which will fix our minds.
e. We must meditate by way of argument, comparison, emission in complaints and desires, and by impressions charging and checking our own souls: which will warm our affections.
VI. Chapter 6
A. A use of trial.
1. The difference between holy men and others, shown by their thoughts: which are the immediate issues of the heart, and the invisible, delightful, continued acts of the soul.
2. Necessary cautions.
3. A difference between voluntary and injected thoughts.
4. Good thoughts pleasant to us, and productive of holiness: else no sign of our spiritual State.
VII. Chapter 7
A. A use of reproof.
1. Carnal men reproved for their total neglect of meditation.
2. And regenerate men for their too great disuse of it, and remissness in it: wherein they are guilty of unkindness to God, and disparagement of him.
VIII. Chapter 8
A. A use of exhortation.
1. Frequency and constancy in meditation pressed upon holy men.
a. This is the best use of our understanding.
2. An imitation of Christ’s example.
3. Wicked men’s thoughts being so fixed on the world, should provoke us to it.
4. Holy men have a divine nature disposing them to this duty.
5. It is one of the best instruments of communion with God.
6. And makes way for an abundant entrance into heaven.
IX. Chapter 9
A. The foregoing rules exemplified in a meditation on the sufferings of Christ.
1. Serious, Affectionate, Applicative, Practical.

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