On Meditation: Scudder

One way to exercise our minds and spirits with the discipline of meditation is to make connections between what we are doing in our everyday lives and the truths of Scripture. The puritans had a way of living thoughtfully that gave them innumerable opportunities to connect their actions with Scripture and I have found Henry Scudder's advice very helpful in this area. I will only give selected quotes from a small section in his very valuable book, "The Christian's Daily Walk." It is one of my favorite books on piety and discipline.

How To Awake with God

1. In the instant of awaking let your heart be lifted up to God with a thankful acknowledgment of his mercy to you. For it is he that giveth his beloved sleep (Ps. 127:2); who keepeth you both in soul and body while you sleep (Pr. 6:22); who reneweth his mercies every morning (Lam. 3:22, 23)...

2. Arise early in the morning (if you be not necessarily hindered) following the example of our Savior Christ (Jn. 8:2), and of the good matron in Proverbs (Pr. 31:15)...

3. In the time between your awaking and arising (if other suitable thoughts offer not themselves) it will be useful to think upon some of these:

    I must awake from the sleep of sin, to righteousness (Eph. 5:14), as well as out of bodily sleep, unto labor in my calling.

    The night is far spent, the day is at hand, I must therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Rom. 8:11-13).

    I must walk honestly as in the day.

    I am, by the light of grace and knowledge, to arise and walk in it, as well as by the light of the sun to walk by it.

    Think also of your awaking out of the sleep of death, and out of the grave (1 Cor. 15:55); at the sound of the last trumpet; even of your blessed resurrection unto glory, at the last day.

4. When you arise and dress yourself, lose not that precious time (when your mind is freshest) with impertinent and fruitless thoughts, as is the custom of too many to do. This is a fit time to think upon the cause why you have need for apparel; namely, the fall and sin of your first parents, which from them is derived to you....

While you dress yourself... fix [your thoughts] upon that apparel which doth clothe and adorn your inward man (1 Pet. 3:4), which is spiritual, which never weareth out, but is always the better for the wearing.

When you use your looking glass, and by experience and that it serveth to discover, and to direct you how to reform whatever is uncomely, and out of order in your body; you may hereby remember the necessity and admirable use of the glass of God's word, and gospel of Christ, both read and preached for the good of your soul. For, this being understood and believed, doth not only show what is amiss in the soul, and how it may be amended; but in some measure will enable you to amend; for, it doth not only show you your own face, but the very face and the glory of God in Christ Jesus...

Scudder's words on active meditation are not meant to give us only a few specific things to meditate on as we go about our mornings, but they show us what is possible and encourage a general direction. Scudder also says that his words here are not "necessary, as if it were a sin to omit any of these particulars."