Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from The Christian on the Mount.
Meditation is a duty lying upon every Christian, and there is no disputing our duty. Meditation is an imposed duty and an opposed duty.
1. Meditation is an imposed duty; it is not arbitrary. The same God who has bid us believe has bid us meditate. Joshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night.” These words, though spoken to the person of Joshua, yet concern everyone; as the promise made to Joshua concerned all believers (Joshua 1:5 compared with Hebrews 13:5). So this precept made to the person of Joshua, “you shall meditate in this book of the law,” takes in all Christians. As God’s Word directs obedience, so His will must enforce obedience.
2. Meditation is an opposed duty. We may conclude it is a good duty because it is against the stream of corrupt nature. As one said, “You may know that religion is right which Nero persecutes,” so you may know that is a good duty which the heart opposes. We shall naturally find a strange averseness from meditation. We are swift to hear, but slow to meditate. To think of the world, even if it were all day long, is delightful. But as for holy meditation, how does the heart wrangle and quarrel with this duty? It is like doing penance. Now, truly, no other reason is needed to prove a duty to be good than the reluctance of a carnal heart. An instance is the duty of “Let a man deny himself” (Matthew 16:24). Self-denial is as necessary as heaven, but what disputes are raised in the heart against it? What! To deny my reason and become a fool that I may be wise? Nay, not only to deny my reason, but my righteousness? What, to cast it overboard and swim to heaven upon the plank of Christ’s merits? This is such a duty that the heart naturally opposes and enters its dissent against. This is an argument to prove the duty of self-denial good. just so it is with this duty of meditation; the secret antipathy the heart has against it shows it to be good — and this is reason enough to enforce meditation.