As the subtitle suggests, Saxton is drawing from a deep well of Puritan thoughts upon this subject. While Eastern forms of meditation are becoming ever more pervasive today, few associate meditation with Christianity; the Puritans, however, “regularly wrote, taught, and exhorted God’s people to a life of meditation” (2). They are, therefore, a rich stream of insight for thinking anew of this lost but thoroughly biblical practice.
Since Saxton seeks to bring together a collective voice of the Puritans on this matter, the book is filled to the brim with quotations. Although I have a relative familiarity with some of Puritans through the Banner of Truth’s Puritan Paperback series and Thomas Watson’s A Body of Divinity, my appreciation for these men of old has grown tremendously. However, no previous reading of Puritans is needed for this book.
Most importantly, the book lays out a biblical case for the necessity of meditation upon the Word of God. Saxton helpfully includes chapters that distinguish biblical meditation from unbiblical forms and that detail the greatest enemies of meditation. He provides reasons, benefits, and subjects for meditating and outlines how to actually practice it.
Yet the book is only a manual. It can only provide guidance to the joyful work that must be done. We must still actually set the time aside to think deeply about God’s Word. Saxton’s exhortations are lovingly pointed in these matters. “Why does a person find time to watch a two-hour movie and yet not find time to read God’s Word and meditate upon it? It is because he simply does not see the value in it and is unwilling to spare the time for it” (118). Saxton and the Puritans certainly display the value of meditation, but we must still practice it. And those who love God’s Word will do no less. As John Ball wrote, “Love will find something to do; they that delight in the world, will make business in the world, as children invent matter of play. But if Christ be our beloved and our treasure in heaven, nothing can keep our hearts from him” (119).