Awesome Watson Devotion

Discussion in 'Daily Devotional Forum' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Sep 4, 2019.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Without meditation the truths which we know will never affect our hearts.

    As a hammer drives a nail to the head, so mediation drives a truth to the heart!

    Reading Scripture furnishes with matter--it is the oil that feeds the lamp of meditation.

    Be sure your meditations are founded upon Scripture.

    Reading without meditation is useless.
    Meditation without reading is dangerous.

    The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.

    Thomas Watson

    "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2
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  2. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I like this. Where is it from?
  3. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Sadly I'm not sure. I read it on Grace Gems but there's no source.
  4. Gabriel Barnes

    Gabriel Barnes Puritan Board Freshman

    It might've come from his section on Meditation in Heaven Taken by a Storm...
  5. Gabriel Barnes

    Gabriel Barnes Puritan Board Freshman

    Excellent quotation nonetheless!! Thanks for sharing.
  6. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    "The Hebrew word, הָנָה, “to meditate,” signifies, “to be intense in the mind.”* In meditation there must be a fixing of the thoughts upon the object: the Virgin Mary “pondered” those things, &c. (Luke 2:19.) Meditation is the concoction of scripture: reading brings a truth into our head, meditation brings it into our heart: reading and meditation must, like Castor and Pollux, appear together. Meditation without reading is erroneous; reading without meditation is barren. The bee sucks the flower, then works it in the hive, and so turns it to honey: by reading we suck the flower of the word, by meditation we work it in the hive of our mind, and so it turns to profit. Meditation is the bellows of the affections: “While I was musing the fire burned.” (Psalm 39:3.) The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.

    Nichols, J. (1981). Puritan Sermons (Vol. 2, p. 62). Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers."

    The bolded line is from a sermon by Watson titled, "HOW WE MAY READ THE SCRIPTURES WITH MOST SPIRITUAL PROFIT" from Morning Exercises at Cripplegate. These were later published as, Puritan Sermons. This particular sermon can also be found in a volume published by Sprinkle by the title, "The Bible and the Closet." It contains treatises by Watson and Samuel Lee.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  7. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    "The necessity of meditation appears in this, because without it we can never be good christians; a Christian without meditation is like a soldier without arms, or a workman without tools. 1. Without meditation the truths of God will not stay with us; the heart is hard, and the memory slippery, and without meditation all is lost; meditation imprints and fastens a truth in the mind, it is like the selvedge which keeps the cloth from raveling. Serious meditation is like the engraving of letters in gold or marble which endure: without this all our preaching to you is but like writing in sand, like pouring water into a seive, like throwing a bur upon a crystal, which glides off and doth not stay. Reading and hearing without meditation is like weak physic which will not work; want of meditation hath made so many sermons in this age to have a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
    2. Without meditation the truths which we know will never affect our hearts, Deut. 6:6. ‘These words which I command this day shall be in thine heart.’ How can the word be in the heart, unless it be wrought in by meditation? as an hammer drives a nail to the head, so meditation drives a truth to the heart. It is not the taking in of food, but the stomach’s concocting it, which makes it turn to blood and spirits; so it is not the taking in of a truth at the ear, but the meditating of it, which is the concoction of it in the mind, makes it nourish. Without meditation the word preached may increase notion, not affection. There is as much difference between the knowledge of a truth, and the meditation of a truth, as there is between the light of a torch, and the light of the sun: set up a lamp or torch in the garden, and it hath no influence. The sun hath a sweet influence, it makes the plants to grow, and the herbs to flourish: so knowledge is but like a torch lighted in the understanding, which hath little or no influence, it makes not a man the better; but meditation is like the shining of the sun, it operates upon the affections, it warms the heart and makes it more holy. Meditation fetcheth life in a truth. There are many truths lie, as it were, in the heart dead, which when we meditate upon, they begin to have life and heat in them. Meditation of a truth is like rubbing a man in a swoon, it fetcheth life. It is meditation makes a christian.

    Watson, T. (1829). A Christian on the Mount, or a Treatise concerning Meditation. In Discourses on Important and Interesting Subjects, Being the Select Works of the Rev. Thomas Watson (Vol. 1, pp. 238–240). Edinburgh; Glasgow: Blackie, Fullarton, & Co.; A. Fullarton & Co.
  8. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    "Rule 2. Read before you meditate. “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate in it,” Josh. 1:8. The law must be in Joshua’s mouth; he was first to read and then meditate; “Give attendance to reading,” 1 Tim. 4:13. Then it follows, “meditate on these things,” ver. 15. Reading doth furnish with matter; it is the oil that feeds the lamp of meditation. Reading helps to rectify meditation. Austin saith well, that meditation without reading will be erroneous. Naturally the mind is defiled as well as the conscience, Tit 1:15. the mind will be minting* thoughts, and how many untruths doth it mint! therefore first read in the book of the law, and then meditate: be sure your meditations be grounded upon scripture. There is a strange Utopia in the fancies of some men; they take those for true principles which are false; and if they mistake their principles, they must needs be wrong in their meditations. He that is of the sadducees’ opinion, that there is no resurrection, mistakes a principle; now while he is meditating on this, he is at last carried to direct atheism. He that is of the antinomians’ opinion, that there is no law to a justified person, mistakes a principle, and while he is meditating on this, he at last falls into scandal. Thus the mind having laid in wrong principles, and taking that for a truth which is not, the meditation must needs be erroneous, and a man at last goes to hell upon a mistake; therefore be sure you read before you meditate, that you may say, it is written. Meditate on nothing but what you believe to be a truth; believe nothing to be a truth, but what can show its letters of credence from the word. Observe this rule, let reading usher in meditation: reading without meditation is unfruitful; meditation without reading is dangerous.

    Watson, T. (1846). A Divine Cordial; The Saint’s Spiritual Delight; The Holy Eucharist; and Other Treatises (pp. 103–104). The Religious Tract Society."
  9. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    As I expected, these were taken from multiple treatises by Watson. I have bolded each quote from the OP. Watson is a personal favorite of mine. Enjoy!
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  10. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I wanted to use Watson for a middle name for our son. But the name literally means "son of Wat." My name is Ryan, so Watson would be a bit awkward. Maybe Ryanson for the next.
  11. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

  12. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for pointing that out - ordered.

    If there is one discipline I think that could benefit me the most right now it would be meditation. This is a timely thread.
  13. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    I love the thread title - I think "Awesome Watson" would be a great name for a devotional book...;)
  14. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Puritan Publications has a great range of Puritan books on Biblical meditation. See

    One book that is very practical, very edifying, and brings the best Puritan material together in one convenient small book, is Joel Beeke's "How Can I Practice Christian Meditation?". Another classic is John Owen's "Spiritual Mindedness".
  15. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    @Ryan&Amber2013 @Taylor Sexton @Reformed Bookworm

    This is not the source but yet another short piece on Divine Meditation by T. Watson--the master of the one-liner.


    Meditation is like the watering of seed—it makes the plants of grace to flourish, and the fruits of grace to ripen.

    Meditation is the wing of the soul.

    The meditation upon truth hath more sweetness in it than the mere remembrance of it. The memory is the chest where truth is laid up—meditation is the palate to feed on it. The memory is like the ark, where the manna was laid up. Meditation is like gathering the manna, and feeding upon it daily. A sermon remembered, but not ruminated, will only increase our condemnation.

    Without meditation, the Wordpreached may increase notion, but not affection. There is as much difference between the knowledge of a truth and the meditation of a truth, as there is between the light of a torch and the light of the sun.

    He that loseth his heart in the morning, in the world, will hardly find it again all the day after.

    Meditation doth make the heart serious—it is as ballast to the ship. Meditation consolidates a Christian. Solid gold is best. The more serious a Christian grows, the more spiritual he is; and the more spiritual he becomes, the more will he resemble the Father of spirits.

    It is better to meditate on one sermon than to hear five. If an angel were to come down from heaven and preach to men; yea, if Jesus himself were the preacher, none would profit without meditation. The bee sucks the flower, and then works it in the hive, and it becomes honey. We must not only suck the flower of the Word, but work it in the hive of the heart.

    Meditation fits for prayer, and makes the pulse of the soul beat strongly after God. The lamp of prayer will soon go out, unless meditation cherish and support it. When the soul is on the mount of meditation, then is the heart in tune for prayer.

    Meditation is the saints’ perspective-glass, by which they see “things invisible.” It is the golden ladder by which they ascend in holy imagination to heaven. It is the dove sent out, and which brings back the olive-branch of peace.

    Watson, T. (1850). Puritan Gems; or, Wise and Holy Sayings of the Rev. Thomas Watson, A.M. (J. Adey, Ed.) (Second Thousand, pp. 95–97). London: J. Snow, and Ward and Co.; Nisbet and Co.; E. F. Gooch.
  16. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    Saxton's God's Battle Plan for the Mind is a really helpful book on meditation. He surveys what the Puritans taught on this most neglected discipline. Without meditation, the Church becomes spiritually malnourished.
  17. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Do you think it's because of the advent of all this New Age religion that the Reformed have strayed away from the practice of meditation?
  18. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I think we have discarded the term meditation in part because we want to distance ourselves from the forms of meditation that stem from Eastern religions. This has been happening in America since at least the 1970s, before New Age was a thing.

    To explain why we have strayed from the practice of Christian meditation—neglecting to take time to think deeply about what God teaches us in Scripture—I suspect it first of all has to do with our culture of instant gratification and entertainment. We don't have the patience meditation requires, nor enough desire for things that go deep.

    Secondly, we misunderstand what Christian meditation is (and this is the fault of New Age, etc.). We think meditation is not important, or perhaps even dangerous, because we imagine it is a practice of emptying our minds or of filling them with self-conjured and unguarded notions. We do not realize that Christian meditation fills our minds with the works, truths, and promises of God.
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  19. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    I do believe Christians today shudder at the word, "meditation" because of New Age and Mysticism. As far as the actual practice, we neglect it due to the same reasons we sideline prayer. We erect so many idols and busy ourselves with endless secular activities that sadly replace communion with God.
  20. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    From Saxton's God's Battle Plan for the Mind:

    "Unfortunately, over the last century believers have lost a regular focus on Christian meditation. The Reformers and Puritans regularly wrote, taught, and exhorted God’s people to a life of meditation. Now, this emphasis has largely diminished. Christians rarely write major works on this subject in modern times. Sadly, in recent years many associate meditation with false religion of the Far East. They view meditation as a process of emptying the mind rather than, as Scripture commands, filling the mind with divinely revealed truth. Noting the ongoing battle for the minds and hearts of the current generation, this is especially alarming. Without a return to the delightful duty of biblical meditation, the believer will continue to handle God’s Word merely intellectually. He will fail to digest the Scriptures to make them his daily walk and practice."
  21. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    Once learned, meditation becomes natural. I would not know how else to read the Bible. With the help of the Spirit and accurately adhering to the Word with humility and prayer, meditation becomes a whole body and soul experience. After about an hour and a half, I am physically exhausted from the various emotions I go through rejoicing at the good, morning over evil, especially my own sin, praising the Lord for His living Word, singing with the Spirit to the great God who loves me. I need a break and then go back for more.

    Be willing to fail, fail, and fail tillGod takes you seriously, and you can say with David.

    Psalms 27:8 (KJV)
    When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

    This excerpt from the Westminster Confession on Saving Faith can encourage proper meditation.

    Chapter XIV, Paragraph 2a.

    By this faith, Christian believeth to be true whatsoever is revealed in the word, for the authority of God himself speaking therein; and acteth differently upon that which each particular passage thereof containeth; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come.

    Westminster Assembly. (1851). The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (pp. 75–76). Philadelphia: William S. Young.
  22. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Some thoughts of mine...

    Meditation on a text, or texts combined into doctrine, should draw the soul into acquaintance with the fabric of theology as composed of this or that thread. Christian Meditation is not simply an inner dwelling on a profundity, or an "eastern" reduction to a state where the particular is thoroughly "washed out," something like diluting a drop of essence in an ocean of emptiness. Meditation in our biblical religion seeks for the connections between parts and whole, in order better to appreciate both.

    Systematic theology, or a coherent confessional theology, can be nothing but the product of meditation. Special revelation is simply too vast and variegated, both in form and content, that it should yield its richest treasure to the casual and indolent. But it is the reward of the diligent and patient (not that skill or talent is of no value) that he is able to produce a widely praised and beautiful effort.

    Meditation should also help in pushing one's theological vision past the portal of theology to the Object of theology. Namely, Christ. I have previously used the illustration of a "window." Competing theologies are like windows on the truth. Or perhaps, a so-called window isn't even pointed in the general direction of the truth (i.e. a false theology). Some windows are grimed up, or poorly made, and do not reveal sufficiently through them, compared to others.

    The important thing is to realize that the window itself is not the Object. Too many of the Reformed and similar persuasion become obsessed with the quality of the window, its putative clarity, the quality of its construction, etc. And they seldom if ever look through the window to see the God revealed from it. And, our eyes are dim, our souls covered in shadow, so standing before a glorious portal of light we see barely a thing. Until exercised, until we meditate upon what we have been given.

    Our hearts reach forth, our eyes strain--there is no fault in the window or the light it lets in--but we are so weak and ignorant, we hardly know what we see. But by the grace of God in meditating on the elements, the window, and the Object revealed, we gain true understanding.
  23. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Indeed it is very helpful. Here is a book review I did in my church circles. Buy the book and make good use of it!

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