The end of study is information, and the end of meditation is practice, or a work upon the affections. Study is like a winter sun that shines but does not warm, but meditation is like blowing up the fire, where we do not mind the blaze but the heat. The end of study is to hoard up truth, but of meditation to lay it forth in conference or holy conversation. In study, we are rather like vintners that take in wine to store themselves for sale; in meditation, like those that buy wine for their own use and comfort. A vintner’s cellar may be better stored than a nobleman’s; the student may have more of notion and knowledge, but the practical Christian has more of taste and refreshment.Thomas Manton (1620-1677)
Now, because Christians, as long as they live here in this life, never completely divest themselves to be clothed with Christ, never completely die to themselves so that Christ lives in them entirely, but still daily err and sin in many ways, it is necessary to have in the church and congregation of Christ a constant teaching, discipline and leading—that is, a rule whereby Christians are continually prompted and led to learn to deny themselves more and abandon and dedicate themselves entirely to Christ the Lord as their Head.Martin Bucer (1538)
“The way to destroy ill weeds is to plant good herbs that are contrary.”
We have all heard of weeds choking the wheat; if we were wise we should learn from our enemy, and endeavor to choke the weeds by the wheat. Preoccupation of mind is a great safeguard from temptation. Fill a bushel with corn, and you will keep out the chaff: have the heart stored with holy things, and the vanities of the world will not so readily obtain a lodging-place.
Herein is wisdom in the training of children. Plant the mind early with the truths of God’s word, and error and folly will, in a measure, be forestalled. The false will soon spring up if we do not early occupy the mind with the true. He who said that he did not wish to prejudice his boy’s mind by teaching him to pray, soon discovered that the devil was not so scrupulous, for his boy soon learned to swear. It is well to prejudice a field in favor of wheat at the first opportunity.
In the matter of amusements for the young, it is much better to provide than to prohibit. If we find the lads and lasses interesting employments they will not be so hungry after the gayeties and ensnarements of this wicked world. If we are afraid that the children will eat unwholesome food abroad, let us as much as possible take the edge from their appetites by keeping a good table at home.
Charles H. Spurgeon, Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden, Distilled and Dispensed (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1883), 29–30.
“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.”John 6:39
This promise is highly necessary for us, who miserably groan under so great weakness of the flesh, of which every one of us is sufficiently aware; and at every moment, indeed, the salvation of the whole world might be ruined, were it not that believers, supported by the hand of Christ, advance boldly to the day of resurrection. Let this, therefore, be fixed in our minds, that Christ has stretched out his hand to us, that he may not desert us in the midst of the course, but that, relying on his goodness, we may boldly raise our eyes to the last day.
There is also another reason why he mentions the resurrection. It is because, so long as our life is hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3) we are like dead men. For in what respect do believers differ from wicked men, but that, overwhelmed with afflictions, and like sheep destined for the slaughter (Romans 8:36), they have always one foot in the grave, and, indeed, are not far from being continually swallowed up by death? Thus there remains no other support of our faith and patience but this, that we keep out of view the condition of the present life, and apply our minds and our senses to the last day, and pass through the obstructions of the world, until the fruit of our faith at length appear.
John Calvin, Commentaries, 253–254
The sight of the excellency of Jesus Christ is to continue, and thy calling out of the creature, and thy casting of thy soul upon Christ as a King, still receive him day by day; and the subduing of thy heart, and the surrendring of thy self up to God in a way of Covenant; now if this were but dayly continued, there would be no space nor time for murmuring to work upon thy heartJeremiah Burroughs