The Benefits of Christian Meditation

J.I. Packer—

Richard Baxter lived a century after Calvin. He was a chronically sick Puritan, tubercular from his teens and suffering constantly from dyspepsia, kidney stones, headaches, toothaches, swollen limbs, intermittent bleeding at his extremities, and other troubles—all before the days of pain-killing drugs. Yet he was always energetic, outgoing, uncomplaining, and utterly healthy-minded, even though sometimes (and who can wonder?) a trifle short-tempered….

What kept this frail invalid going so single-mindedly and even spectacularly through the years? In The Saints’ Everlasting Rest Baxter tells the secret. From his thirtieth year he practiced a habit that he first formed when he thought he was on his deathbed: for something like half an hour each day he would meditate on the life to come, thereby escalating his sense of the glory that awaited him and reinforcing his motivation to use every ounce of energy and zeal that he found within himself to hasten up the path of worship, service, and holiness toward his goal. This cultivation of hope gave him daily doggedness in hard work for God, despite his debilitating effect of his sick body.

God’s Plans for You, pp. 69-70.

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