MATTERS WHICH THE CHRISTIAN SHOULD MUSE ON
The man who says that he has nothing to think about surely has no brains; and that professing Christian who says he has nothing to muse upon must be a laughingstock for devils! A Christian without a subject for contemplation? Impossible! Only give us the time and the opportunity, and there are a thousand topics which at once present themselves for our consideration.
Let me suggest just a few of these to the Christian. Your heart will surely burn like an oven, my Christian brethren, if you think, first, upon ETERNAL LOVE! What a topic to muse upon!—
“Sing we, then, eternal love, Such as did the Father move,
When He saw the world undone, Loved the world, and gave His SON.”
Think of that love without beginning, and which, blessed be God, shall never, never cease! Give the wings of your imagination full play, and go back to the time before all time—when there was no day but the Ancient of Days—when ages had not begun to be, but God dwelt alone! Remember, if you are one of His people, the Father loved you even then, and He continues to love you, and will love you when, like a bubble, this earth has melted, and like a gypsy’s tent the universe has been rolled up and put away! Why, as you think of this, surely you will say with our songster— “Loved of my God, for Him again With love intense I’d burn— Chosen of God before time began, I’d choose Him in return.”
If you want meditation, dear friends, here is an ocean to swim in! That one doctrine of election, that precious truth of predestinating love, and all the consequences which flow from it—why, here is a well—an overflowing well which you can never drink dry. Take deep draughts of it, then, and while you are musing, you shall find that your heart is warmed.
Then, next, there is DYING LOVE TO THINK OF. Oh, think of the Savior descending from the starry heights of glory, and coming down to the Virgin’s womb, and then descending from that lowly manger of Bethlehem, even to the cross and to the grave for you! He counted it not robbery to be equal with God, and yet for your sake, He took upon Himself the form of a servant and made Himself of no reputation, but became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross! Many of the ancient saints were accustomed to spend hours in meditating upon the wounds of Christ, and many of the martyrs were for days engaged in solemn meditation upon those wounded hands and feet, and that pierced side. Oh, of all the volumes which were ever written, this volume, printed in crimson upon the pure, lily-like flesh of Christ, is the best to read! Do you talk of pictures? Was there ever such a picture as that which God drew with the pencil of eternal love, dipped into the color of almighty wrath on Calvary’s summit? Angels desired to see it, but there was a veil before the picture until Jesus came and drew it up—then the spectacle was revealed—to be gazed upon throughout eternity by adoring spirits, with fresh wonder and admiration forevermore!
You cannot exhaust this subject, but, O, let me beseech you to give it the first and chief place in your meditation! “I have set the Lord always before me,” would be a good motto for the believer, and well would it be for him to have the cross painted upon his very eyeballs, so that everywhere he should be reminded of Christ Crucified, and so should be led to always say, “For me to live is Christ.” That topic never can be exhausted and there are kindred ones connected with it—your justification, the work of the Spirit—and so on.
Let me now hint at one or two other matters which I wish you should solemnly brood over. You will do well, Christian, to meditate much upon DEATH. What? Man, did I see you turn away? A Christian afraid of DEATH? No, verily, for death is our Lord’s doorkeeper. Life keeps the key, and says to us, “You shall not enter into your Father’s mansions.” But death comes, and with his bony hand snatches the key out of the grasp of the tyrant, life, and puts it into the lock, and opens the gate, and lets us in! Why, we say sometimes, “The last enemy which shall be destroyed is death,” but if he is “the last enemy,” he is not altogether the less a friend, for he is a friend, too, now that Christ has transformed him! It is to be greatly wise, Christian, to think sometimes of the grave, the shovel, and the Quiet Musing! The catacomb is no ill place for musing, and a little cemetery, with its green knolls, and its white memorial stones, will be a good place in which to study for the man who wishes to muse upon life and immortality in the midst of death.
And then, Christian, if that does not make your heart burn, let me persuade you to THINK OF HEAVEN! O, carry your thoughts from this poor dunghill world up to the golden streets, and to the music-begetting harps! Up yonder, I say, let your souls soar and dwell where your treasure is—with Christ upon His throne. Tonight listen how they sing the eternal hallelujah louder than the voice of many waters, and yet sweet as harpers harping with their harps! Listen how the music swells in a sea of glory round about the throne of the eternal God! And you and I shall soon be there—leaving behind the sweat of toil, the rags of poverty, the shame of persecution, the pangs of sickness, and the groans of death—of the death of sin. We shall soon be immortal, celestial, immaculate, glorified with the glory which Christ had with His Father before the world was!
And if that stirs you not, Christians, there is one other subject necessary for you to muse upon. Sometimes, Christians THINK OF HELL! No, start not, I pray you, for you will never have to feel it, and therefore you need not shrink from thinking of it. Think of that hell from which you have escaped, and it will surely fire you with gratitude; think of that place of doom into which multitudes are going every day, and if this brings not the tears to your eyes, and makes not your heart palpitate with zeal, I know not what will! Consider that now, while I have been speaking, a soul has passed into eternity, and oh, since we have been here how many spirits have taken the last dreadful plunge into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone—lost, lost—lost beyond my call, and beyond your prayers! No sermons can save them now! No tears can bring them to repentance now! They are gone, gone! Yes, and there are others who are going—who walk the streets of this great London! What multitudes do we meet who will forever have to magnify the awful justice of that God whom they have slighted, and of that Savior whom they have rejected! And will not this make you bestir yourselves?
O my brethren, if we can think of hell, and yet be idle, if we can meditate upon the wrath to come and yet be prayerless, then surely feeling has been given to beasts, and we are turned to stone. What? Believe in judgment and in eternal wrath, and yet not weep for sinners? Believe in hell, and yet not weep for sinners? Surely, we may expect to be turned, like Lot’s wife, into pillars of salt, if we thus show signs of looking back with careless and wicked eyes on burning Sodom, instead of fleeing from it, and urging others to escape from the wrath to come!
Christians, I have given you enough topics to meditate upon; may I fondly hope that some of you will try during the next week to scrape up some fragments of time to be alone? I would not have a cold-hearted congregation—I would not have need to stir you up to generosity in giving, or in earnestness, or in service, if you would but muse much—for well am I persuaded that while you are musing the fire will burn.