As you know, I have been reading a devotional called “Voices from the Past, Volume 1, Puritan Devotional Readings” edited by Richard Rushing. I really enjoy it. Lately, it has been covering Samuel Ward (1577-1640), a Puritan preacher from England who got in plenty of trouble with the powers that were at that time. I’m going to share today’s in its entirety. In the days to follow, I’m going to dig into just what he recommends: Consider the promises and privileges we enjoy.
By faith put off your sackcloth and ashes, and put on the garments of joy and gladness. Let your clothes be white, and your head anointed with oil. Live to the fullest. Live today, live tomorrow, live, O Christian, forever! This you can do if you learn to use your faith. Do you desire to have a continual feast and rejoice always in the Lord? Let me prescribe a daily diet without ever neglecting it. Just as often as you refresh your body with rest and recreation, so cheer up your soul. Let your soul have two or three walks each day up Mount Tabor, that is, in some retired place of mediation and prayer. Go to Isaac’s field to meditate, or David’s closet. What is to be done there? Make use of your faith. This is the chief mystery of our spiritual life. Stir up your soul to talk with Christ. Consider the promises and privileges you enjoy. Think of them, roll them under your tongue, chew on them until you feel their sweetness in your soul. View them together and individually. Sometimes contemplate one in particular, or another more deeply. Consider how wonderful that your debts are cancelled, and how wonderful that God’s wrath is satisfied. Consider how happy and safe a condition you are in as a son of God, and how pleasant a state not to fear death and hell. Mingle these thoughts with prayers for grace and aid. Do not leave the mountain until your heart has been cheerfully warmed and revived. This is using your faith. You will find your soul saying ‘It is good to be here.’ It is good to daily be here and often. Unstirred coals do not glow or give heat. The beauty of faith is its use. Don’t just have muscles, use them. Let a man diligently and thoroughly improve his faith and the joy it will bring to him will be great.
Do yourself a favor and re-read all this several times throughout the day. I’ve read it four times so far and plan to again today. This is good stuff.
Father, let these words sink into our very souls and stir us to action. May we have our two or three walks each day to consider your promises. May we make this a cherished activity of our day, one that we will guard jealously and refuse to give up. May our lives be forever changed because of your Word. May others be changed as well through our example. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers