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Serious Meditation by Richard Steele (1672-1729)

What the Bible says about Godly Meditation through the Word
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Serious meditation is the last help I shall mention.—When people read or hear, and presently plunge themselves in foreign business, then generally all is lost: “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straighway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into” (the word signifies “to penetrate into a thing with his eye”) “the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein,” that is, so considering, “he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the p 360 work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:24, 25.) By which is not meant a speculative and fruitless meditation, but that which is practical; that is, which digests the things we read or hear for use or practice: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11.) Here is a truth, or a duty, or promise, for such a time or case. Such rolling [of] good things in our thoughts doth habituate and familiarize them to the soul, and they abide the longer. This is clear in other cases: for, if one hath received an injurious or unkind word, if it go out at one ear as it came in at the other, it leaves no great impression; but if you set yourself to ruminate upon it, and to aggravate it, then it is a long time ere you forget it. And so in some measure it would be in good things: give them a little heart-room, bestow some second thoughts upon them, shut the book when you have read a little, and think of it; and it will abide. It is the soaking rain that enters deepest into the earth, when a sudden shower slides away. Hence, what one evangelist calls “remembering the word of Jesus,” that is spoken of Peter, (Matt. 26:75,) the other calls it “thinking:” “When he thought thereon, he wept.” (Mark 14:72.) But herein our ordinary hearers are strangely negligent: they read, they hear, they forget; for they never think nor meditate of it. They turn down leaves in their Bibles in the congregation, but they seldom turn them up again in reflecting upon what they heard; and so their labour is lost, and ours also. And so much for the helps to a better memory;

Nichols, J. (1981). Puritan Sermons (Vol. 3, pp. 359–360). Richard Steele, What are the Hindrances and Help to a Good Memory in Spiritual Things? Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers.

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