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A Divine Message to the Elect Soul
by William Fenner
(Fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge and Minister of Rochford in Essex)
HAIL & FIRE REPRINTS 2011
Some choice Sermons of Mr. Fenner’s upon several Scriptures:
The first two upon Haggai 1:5
The Preface unto them.
The cause of that little heavenliness, which is in the profession of Christianity, is the want of meditation.
Many can meditate cursorily, but that is not enough: it must be a sticking meditation that must affect the heart. That place in 2 Pet. 2:8 is marvelous pregnant, it was the means why Lot was so touched with the abominations of Sodom: That righteous man dwelling amongst them, in seeing and hearing their ungodly deeds, vexed his righteous soul from day to day. Many heard and saw too, besides Lot, and were not vexed. Why? Other matter stuck in their thoughts, they never thoroughly meditated on it; but he vexed himself, that is, the meditation of those evils, and bringing them home to his soul, vexed him. The word is a fit word, implying two things: First, the searching and examining of a thing, his meditating heart examined their sins; how many they were, how grievous, how damnable, how likely to pull down some vengeance or other upon them. Secondly, the wracking or vexing upon trial; so it was with Lot, he observed all their evils, and weighed them in his soul, & then he wracked his spirit with the consideration of them. The Evangelist uses this very word for tossing: this word that is here put for vexing, he puts for tossing of a ship in the seas, Matthew 14:24. The ship was tossed with the waves: so meditation did toss his soul with vexation, sometimes down to the deep: O miserable wretches that we are! or, How brutish, how beastly, and how hellish are our sins? Sometimes up; O that the Lord would humble us and spare us! Sometimes over head and ears in the storm, O fool that I was to choose my dwelling amongst such men! These meditations vexed his soul: Many have studied meditations, and yet are not acquainted with this cordial meditation: Many Ministers that study Divinity all the day, that study the Word all the week, that study their Sermons all the year, may yet for all this, be carnal Ministers. Why? Because their meditation is but inventing and mental meditation; this meditation is a practical meditation, the thing meditated feeds the heart: that meditation is like a fluttering Pheasant that flutters before their eyes, it feeds their eyes indeed, but never feeds the stomach, as long as they neither catch nor eat it. The saving mysteries of God flutter before their eyes, and before their understandings, they feed their eyes with knowledge, but never feed their souls unto everlasting life, unless they fowl for it, dress and digest it in their hearts. There is an apt word Gen. 24:63. lsaac went out to meditate in the field: the original hath it, to signify mutual conference, his mind conferred with the truth, and the truth with him, a mutual working he wrought upon the heart, by meditating of it, and it upon him; by leaving an impression upon his soul: this is a rare practice in the world, and yet as necessary as most, it is the art of the soul in being heavenly, it is the inuring of thee to every good duty: for by meditation a man comes to have his mind and heart fixed upon everything that he would: Would he pray? he that hath inured his heart to meditate, his mind is fixed in his prayer. Would he receive a Sacrament; He that hath inured his heart by meditation, his mind is fixed in the ordinance. David that was excellent at meditation, had a fixed heart, Psal. 57:7, Psal. 112:1, 7.
“Now therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your ways.”
The Prophet reproved the people because they could find in their hearts to mind their own houses, and yet were careless of the house of the Lord: the Lord had sent a drought, and a famine, and sundry punishments upon them for this thing, and yet they laid it not to heart, and therefore he sends Haggai the Prophet unto them to call them to repentance, & which is an admirable course, and little thought of in the world; he begins with holy meditation and consideration: ‘Now therefore thus saith the Lord ... "
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48 KJV