The art of divine meditation, or, A discourse of the nature, necessity, and excellency thereof with motives to, and rules for the better performance of that most important Christian duty : in several sermons on Gen. 24:63
Calamy, Edmund, 1600-1666.
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To the Christian Readers.

IF the Heathen Moralist Plutarch could say,

Meditation is as it were the re∣covery of decaying knowledg; be∣cause as forgetfulness seems to be the egress of knowledg, Meditation doth restore a new memory instead of that which passeth away; and so preserve knowledg, that it is in effect the same, in that, notwith∣standing mutations, it leaves something new, and like it self, resembling that which is Di∣vine:
How may a Christian, endow'd with the true knowledg of God, say with the Psal∣mist in the revival of it, Psal. 104. 34. My meditation of him shall be sweet. When he is alone, and hath no other companions to re∣fresh himself with, then he may (as Bishop Hall, who penn'd a part of his Meditations under the solitary Hills of Ardenna) from a renewed mind, send forth his active thoughts, those immediate rays of that Candle of the Lord within him, to contemplate upon his Ma∣ker, Saviour, and Sanctifier, and reflect upon himself, who is to survive the visible Creation, and so raise himself into an Heaven upon earth, relish such sweetness as the carnal mind and Page  [unnumbered] sensual heart, immersed in dreggy matter, and be-dull'd therewith, is never so happy as to attain. The Author of this little Treatise, whose great and pious soul was notably hea∣venliz'd by the frequent exercise of holy Me∣ditation, the very same who penn'd The Godly mans Ark, which hath been often printed for the support of drooping Christians, amongst other excellent discourses upon various sub∣jects in the exercise of his Ministry with great success, did from his own experience recom∣mend this of Meditation, whether ejaculatory and occasional, or solemn and deliberate. I am not ignorant, that many other eminent Di∣vines, persons of great worth and honour, have already notably display'd the excellency and usefulness of this way of thinking; yet perhaps this grave and famous Preacher in his day, hath in a more easie method, and plain way, by his familiar expressions and resem∣blances, suited to vulgar capacities, here help'd the real Christian, who would most delight in the Duty, to put Meditation in practise, than any who hath gone before him. No doubt, had this excellent person himself published this discourse here presented to your view, you would have had it every way more accu∣rate, by the lopping off some superfluities, and amending of phrases, &c. more proper for a Writer, than these of a Preacher to a po∣pular Page  [unnumbered] Auditory; yet such as it is, considering the Author in the Pulpit, you'l find when you have read it through, it doth fully as much resemble Mr. Calamy in his preaching at Alder∣manbury, to your minds, as the Engraver on the frontispiece hath represented his face to your eyes. I dare say any of you who were his Auditors, will be abundantly satisfied, tho this piece be posthumous, yet it is genuine. And seeing there is joy in heaven over one sin∣ner that repenteth, more than over ninety nine just persons which need no repentance, Luk. 15. 7. If these practical Sermons, taken by the swift pen of a ready writer, have such an influence upon any, as to bring them to the frequent and beneficial practise of Meditation, which the Preacher of them held necessary: None who prefer things before words, and esteem real knowledg above elegancy of speech, as the general good of mankind, beyond that of any particular Countrey, can justly think the Au∣thor wrong'd; but rather that with Dr. Pre∣ston, Mr. Fenner, Mr. Hooker, &c. (some of whose Works popularly deliver'd with plain∣ness suited to the capacities of their hearers, and taken but rudely from their mouths, did more benefit Readers of meaner abilities, than those which whiles alive, they themselves pub∣lished with greater exactness) He is renown'd, when he hath by this more diffusive good-work Page  [unnumbered] been any way instrumental to have God and the things of heaven (where he now resides) more delightfully thought upon. As judicious Calvin in his Epistle to the King of Swethe∣land prefixed to his Commentary on the Mi∣nor Prophets, said he would not be so morose a Censor of manners, as to obstruct the publish∣ing of that Commentary delivered in an ex∣temporal kind of speaking, when design'd only for his own private Oratory, not other∣wise to have come abroad; only as 'twas pen'd from his mouth by Budaeus, Crispin, and Ionvil, because he said, he had long before learn'd not to serve the theater of the World: else, he doth afterwards tell the Reader, that if in his other works which he had written deliberate∣ly and succinctly with much more pains, he had met with envious malignants, who did carp at and quarrel them, he might well endeavour to suppress that work, taken by the aforesaid wri∣ters after him, as it was freely utter'd to his own hearers for present use; yet when others assured him, that it would be a loss (yea, in∣jurious) to the Church, if not printed as it was taken, rather than not at all; He thereup∣on having not time nor strength to transcribe or amend it, readily permitted it to go to the Press. And the Reformed Church hath since re∣joyced in the benefit of having it as it was published; yea, and to this day Divines who Page  [unnumbered] have made great use of it since in their Com∣mentaries, as well as others, to find the true true meaning of the Holy Writ, have heartily blessed God for it. Yet as Bishop Wilkins hath observ'd in his Epistle to the Real Character, Foreigners in Short-Writing come far behind us here in England (though it hath been now seventy years invented) where they admire the skill of our Writers, and whither the Di∣vines of other Nations frequently come and learn our Language, chiefly to understand our Practical Sermons, many of which have been only preserv'd in this way, You have this ('tis to be hoped very useful) piece, taken well from the mouth of Mr.

Edmund Calamy.