I thought that the following resources on Christian meditation, and on rules for lawful recreation, would be worth a discussion here at What is Truth? May they be a blessing.
1.) Christian Meditation
I relatively recently listened through the Free Grace Broadcaster's issue on Meditation
. (As with many books, instead of sitting down to read it cover to cover, I cut and pasted it into my computer and listened to it while doing other things.) The articles were the following:
- A Very Profitable Exercise - Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
- What Meditation Is - Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686)
- The Duty of Meditation - Thomas Manton (1620-1677)
- The Nature of Meditation - Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664)
- Occasional Meditation - William Bates (1628-1699)
- Solemn and Set Meditation - George Swinnock (1627-1673)
- Dangers of Neglecting Meditation - Edmund Calamy (1600-1666)
- Helps for Meditating on God - John Owen (1616-1683)
- Chewing the Bread of Life - Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
- Matter for Meditation - Thomas Watson (1620-1686)
- A Meditation on Love to Christ - Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
- Sweet Meditations on Christ - Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
I have not heard a great many sermons on meditation, but it is a clear Biblical duty:
And Isaac went out to meditate
in the field at the eventide:
and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate
therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is
written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou
shalt have good success.
But his delight is
in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth
day and night.
Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation
of my heart, be
acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation
of my heart
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate
in the night
I will meditate
also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the
I will meditate
in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy
¶ Princes also did sit and
speak against me: but
servant did meditate
in thy statutes.
My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have
loved; and I will meditate
in thy statutes.
Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me
without a cause: but
I will meditate
in thy precepts.
MEM. O how love I thy law! it is
I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies
Mine eyes prevent the night
watches, that I might meditate
in thy word.
I remember the days of old; I meditate
on all thy works; I
muse on the work of thy hands.
Thine heart shall meditate
terror. Where is
the receiver? where is
he that counted the towers?
therefore in your hearts, not to meditate
what ye shall answer:
upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that
thy profiting may appear to all.
How faithful are you to the Biblical practice of meditation? Do you even know what it is, and how it radically differs from Eastern, pagan meditation?
If you have read (or after reading this post, end up reading) the Free Grace Broadcaster above, or have other helpful thoughts on how you practice Biblical meditation, please include them in the comment section below.
2.) Christian Recreation
I am reproducing below Richard Baxter's Directions for Amusements and Recreations. He has a number of good thoughts. Any comments of agreement or disagreement, with Biblical argumentation, are appreciated in the comment section.
If you wish to avoid the sin and danger of
unbiblical amusements masquerading as acceptable recreations — you must
understand what acceptable or lawful recreation is, and its legitimate purpose.
No wonder Christians sin, if they do not know what is right!
Without doubt, some amusement and recreation
is lawful, indeed, necessary to some people.
Lawful recreation is the enjoyment of some natural thing, or participation in
some activity which is not forbidden, for the stimulation of the natural
spirits. It may be for the use of the mind, or the exercise of the body. It is
some pleasurable activity or exercise, ultimately intended to fit the body and
mind for their normal duty to God.
Amusement, sport and recreation are special
terms. We do not call arduous labor by such terms, though it may be better for
us and more necessary. Nor do we call every enjoyment by these
terms, for eating and drinking may be pleasurable, and holy things and duties
may be delightful, yet they are never termed sports or recreations. It is
the imaginative faculty that is chiefly delighted by
TESTS FOR BIBLICAL LAWFULNESS
the following factors are necessary to render an amusement, sport or recreation
lawful, and the lack of any one of them will prove it to be unlawful.
1. The genuine purpose or intention behind
your indulging in it, must be to fit you for your service to God. It must help
you to function better either in your work, or in His worship, or for some work
of obedience in which you may please and glorify Him. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says,
"Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do — do all to the
glory of God."
A lawful recreation must be a means fitly
chosen and used to this end. If it has no ability to improve us for God's
service in our ordinary callings and duty — then it cannot be to us a lawful
recreation (though it may be lawful to another person to whom it is a real
2. All recreations are unlawful, which
are for their own sakes preferred before our callings.
3. All recreations are unlawful, which
are used only to delight a carnal imagination, and have no higher end than to
please the sickly mind that loves them.
4. All recreations are unlawful, which hinder
and spoil our fittedness for the duties of our callings, and for the service of
God; or, which, putting the benefit and hurt together, hinder us
as much or more than they help us.
5. All recreations are unlawful, which
take up any part of the time which we should spend in greater
6. All recreations that take up more
time than is reasonable for a recreation, are equally unlawful.
7. If an activity is profane, such as
making sport of holy things, it is a mocking of God. It is wickedness demanding
God's heaviest punishment, and cannot be lawful.
8. All recreations which wrong other
people are unlawful. (This includes the activities of stage players and
comedians who ridicule others to their injury.)
9. It is also sinful to make fun of the
sinful ways of others, or to act them ourselves, which is common with comedians
and other profane wits.
10. Immoral, obscene stage plays and
recreations are unlawful, in which filthiness is represented without due expression
of its odiousness, or with obscene words or actions. To Christians, Ephesians
5:3-4 applies: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual
immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper
for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse
joking, which are out of place."
11. Those amusements are unlawful, which
involve the multiplying of worthless words, engaging the participants in
foolish, needless, unprofitable chattering.
12. Those amusements are sinful, which
tend to excite lust in ourselves or others, swearing, cursing and railing, and
fighting and squabbling.
13. Those amusements and recreations are
sinful, which involve covetousness, to win money from others; or that tend to
stir up covetousness in those you play with.
14. Cruel recreations also are unlawful:
such as taking pleasure in watching duellers, fighters, or any that abuse each
other; or any animals that are made to needlessly torment each other.
15. A recreation is unlawful if it is
too costly, for we are God's stewards, and must be accountable to Him for all
we have. It is sinful to spend needlessly on amusement.
16. Lastly, if you have the choice of
various recreations before you, you must choose the fittest. If you choose one
that is less fit and profitable, when a fitter might be chosen, it is sin; even
though that which you chose would have been lawful, if you had no other.
By all this it is easy, for example, to judge
the lawfulness of our common stage plays.
What is a fit recreation? It is either the
body or the mind that needs recreation most. Either you are sedentary people,
or those who work physically. If the former, then it is the body that has most
need of exercise and recreation. In this case, to sit at sedentary amusements
or recreations, instead of exercising your bodies, is to increase the need of
exercising them. It does you much more harm than good.
If, however, you are hard laborers, and need
rest for your bodies and recreation for your minds, or are sick, so that you
cannot use bodily exercise — then surely a hundred profitable 'exercises' are
at hand which are more suitable to your case. You have books to
read (including the Word of God) which can increase your knowledge in history,
geography, and arts and sciences.
Here are some questions to
ask yourself from time to time about your recreations:
1. Do you think that either Christ or
His apostles used stage plays or similar entertainments and amusements, or ever
sanctioned or encouraged addiction to them?
2. Does not your conscience tell you
when your delight is more in your amusements than it is in God? Such
recreations (those we love more than the things of God) in no way increase our
delight in God, but take it away.
Do you not feel what a plague certain
pleasures are to your affections — how they bewitch, befool you, and take you
out of love with holiness, and make you unfit for anything that is good?
3. Do you bestow as much time in praying
and reading the Word of God and meditating on it, as you do in your sports and
recreations? Do you not know the value of those precious hours which you play
4. Would you be found at stage plays or
vain amusements when death comes? Would you not rather be found at some holy or
5. Will it be any comfort to you when
you are dying, to think of the time which you spent in plays and vanities?
6. Dare you pray to God to bless your
sports and amusements to the good of your soul or body? Would not your
conscience tell you that this would mock God?
7. If you are sure that you sin not in
your games or sports, either by excess or addiction or neglect of spiritual
duties, are you sure that your companions do not? If you say, "We are not
bound to keep all other men from sin," I answer: You are bound to do your
best towards it; and you are bound not to contribute willingly to their sin. If
Paul would never eat meat while he lived rather than make a weak person offend,
should not your sports be subject to as great charity?
If you know what sin is, and what it is to
save or lose one's soul, you will not aid and abet other men's sin, nor so
easily contribute to their plight. In such cases, "we then that are strong
ought to bear the infirmities of the weak [that is, to help them, as we do
children in their weakness], and not to please ourselves [to their hurt]. Let
every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification [that is,
prefer the edifying of another's soul, before our own pleasure]. For even
Christ pleased not himself." If Christ lost His life to
save men from sin, will not you lose your amusements for it?
8. What kind of people are they that are
most addicted to games and plays, and what kind of people are they that avoid
them, and are against them? With whom are these activities most identified?
Here are some helpful counsels about choosing
1. When you understand the true nature
and purpose of lawful recreation, try to determine just how much and what sort
of recreation is needful to you in particular. In this you must have respect,
(a) to your bodily strength; (b) to your mind; (c) to your type of work. And
when you haw determined what and how much is needful and appropriate to help
you in your duty, allow it its proper time and place, as you do your meals, and
see that you do not allow it to encroach upon your duty and service.
2. Try normally to join profit and pleasure
together, that you lose no time. It is a sin to idle away any time which we can
turn to better account.
3. Watch against inordinate, sensual
delight, even in the most lawful activity. Excess of pleasure in any such
'small' or lesser activity of life is very corrupting to the mind. It puts it
out of relish with spiritual things; and turns it from God, and Heaven, and
duty. To this end keep a watch upon your thoughts and desires, that they run
not after sports and pleasures. Else you will be like children that are
thinking of their sport, and longing to be at it — when they should be at their
books or business.
4. Avoid the company of revelers, lovers
of pleasure, and similar time-wasters. Come not among them, lest you be
ensnared. Usually, amusements rate as foolishness to serious men; and they say
of this mirth, as Solomon, 'it is mad' (Ecclesiastes 2:2). It is great and
serious subjects which make serious men.
5. Be zealous and apply yourself to your
calling and spiritual service. Laziness breeds a love of
amusement. When you must please your flesh with ease — then it must be
further pleased with vanities.
6. The sickly and the melancholy (who
are usually least inclined to sport) have much more need of recreation than
others, and therefore may allow it more time than those in health and strength.
7. Be much more severe in regulating
yourselves in your recreations, than in censuring others for using some sports
which you dislike. For you know not perhaps their case, and reasons, and
temptations. An idle, time-wasting, sensual pleasure-seeker — everyone should
look on with pity as a miserable wretch.
If you are sedentary, walking or
some honest, bodily exertion that joins pleasure and profit, is a fit kind of
exercise for you. If you are a laboring person, and need only
pleasure for your mind, you can take pleasure in Scripture, in holy conference,
or in good books. We have flowers and trees and beasts and birds and other
creatures to behold. We have fields or gardens or meadows or woods to walk in.
We have our near relations to delight in; our wives or children, and our
friends. We may talk with godly, and wise, and cheerful people, about things
that are both pleasing and edifying to us.
God has given us a world of lawful pleasures.
But stage-plays are, at best, very questionable, and most are to be condemned
as unlawful. Should one who fears God and loves his salvation — choose so
doubtful a recreation in preference to so many undoubtedly lawful ones? And you
must know what a time-wasting sin excessive leisure is.
Suppose the activity is lawful — is it lawful to give so many
hours to it, as if you had neither souls, nor families, nor other
responsibilities or service to perform?
For myself, when my mind needs
recreation — I have a variety of relaxing and invigorating books, and friends,
and business to do that. And when my body needs it — the
hardest labor that I can bear is my best recreation. Walking serves instead of
games and sports as profitable to the body, and more to my mind. If I am alone,
I may improve the time in meditation. If I am with others, I may improve it in
profitable, cheerful conference.
I do not condemn all sports or games in
others, but I find none of them all to be best for myself; and when I observe
how far the temper and life of Christ and his best servants were from such
recreations — I avoid them with the more suspicion. And besides, I note that
most people, by instinct, view ministers with distaste when they see them
pursuing frivolous recreations.