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Following is a description of how to meditate (which I have found quite helpful) that I came upon in chapter 12 of the Puritan classic, The Saint's Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter. I've tried to boil it down to its highlights, which involves an element of interpretation, so I'd encourage you to read it in its original.

Hinderances

1. Sin. Abandon any known sin.

2. The desire to become rich. Don't get caught up in the daily grind of trying to be rich.

3. Ungodly companionship. Prefer godly companionship. (By this Baxter means we shouldn't draw our enjoyment and pleasure from ungodly relationships. He's all in favor of being a blessing to the ungodly.)

4. Debates over religious trivia. Avoid a religion of opinions.

5. Pride. Avoid it. God doesn't like it. "Most wars are between princes and princes," he writes, "not between a prince and a ploughman."

6. Sloth. Be diligent in reaching out to heaven. Knowledge alone isn't enough. Do it!

Meditation

1. Be convinced that heaven is your only treasure.

2. Labor to know heaven as your happiness. (Not just a happy place, but a happy place for you!)

3. Think about how close heaven is. You are just a heartbeat away, and even if you live to be 256, what a small amount of time that is compared to eternity!

4. Talk about heaven with believing friends.

5. Raise your affections to heaven. Hope and pray for it as you pray, read the Bible and attend church.

6. Think of every event in contrast to heaven. Are you tired? Think of the rest you will have in heaven. Are you wealthy? Think of the true wealth of heaven. If something is bad here, let it remind you that all will be good in heaven. If something is good here, let it remind you that heaven will be far better.

7. Praise God! Sing songs of praise to God. Keep in mind things for which you can praise God.

8. Keep your soul fixed on the love of God.

9. Follow the promptings of the Spirit when God calls you into prayer or away from some sin.

10. Take good care of your body. As Baxter writes, "He who spoils the house injures the inhabitants."


Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard.