Perhaps like Spurgeon

There are worse ways to pass a warm Memphis afternoon than with a cigar and mint julep in the shade of a porch. And it provides an excellent opportunity to be edified. It is simple to fall into the pattern of throwing a show on and making some decent headway on a series. And I am not immune to the temptation, Deep Space Nine often calls for my attention and affections. But I have found that the after results are to lethargy and irritability. In the moment it is fun. But after some time and several episodes it feels as though my time has been wasted. I’ve seen Star Trek, most of it many times. And the returns are diminishing. I have known that I should spend more time buried in my books. Laziness argued that balancing a book and cigar was too much risk to the book, what with the ash and all. And nagging in the back of my mind was the knowledge of Lewis and his time on Railway Platforms, especially during the war. He would pace up and down with a little notebook, in which he had written prayer requests personal ones, friends, and even from the people who read his books and wrote him letters. He used his time to pray working his way through the book a few times a week. 

I don’t spend nearly as much time taking trains, anywhere, as much as I would like, if ever. But I do have my cigars. And I have begun working to redeem my downtime in larger and larger swaths through meditation on God. I keep the MacArthur daily Bible Handy as a quick start. For nothing drives the mind to the Throne like Scripture. But often I like to look out and watch the going on of my street and thus podcasts are helpful to get the mental engine running. The best hands down is The White Horse Inn, followed closely by Pastors Talk and Life Books and Everything. Doctrine and Devotion gets an honorable mention as they seem to have pulled themselves out of their slump. Pair that with a solid whisky and the indispensable cigar and you are well on your way. 

The point of all of this is because I have a sneaking suspicion that the idea of extended time to meditate on God is on the outs in this cultural moment. Perhaps because other things seem to need our thought or at least attention, or that because meditation takes time, stillness, and peace, it can look like laziness that offends others “puritan work ethic,” or maybe even the suspicion about the word meditation that makes one think of eastern idolatrous religion. Either way I think there is more of a drive to appear active than to do the mental work of thinking through the doctrines of God and their logical application. Spurgeon naturally put it more eloquently and is quoted at length below. Before you read him, perhaps grab a cigar, pour a dram, and then contemplate his words, and perhaps see where they lead your thoughts.

“It has been said by some one that “the proper study of mankind is man.” I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father. There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. Other subjects we can compass and grapple with; in them we feel a kind of self-content, and go our way with the thought, “Behold I am wise.” But when we come to this master-science, finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth, and that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be wise, but he is like a wild ass’s colt; and with the solemn exclamation, “I am but of yesterday, and know nothing.” No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God” C.H. Spurgeon – The Immutability of God, Jan 7 1855

3 thoughts on “Perhaps like Spurgeon

  1. Maybe you should try a pipe to avoid dropping ashes on your books. A bowl of “Old Toby” from the Country Squire Tobacconist, and Woodford Reserve bourbon are my evening reading go to’s. I think we are much alike Star Trek reruns are one of my guilty pleasures as well. I find that I suffer from guilt for not spending the time I ought in the pages of a good book, or working on one of my old fiddles I am restoring. I have been listening to Whitehorse in for around 20 years now, a youth pastor I worked with introduced me when we had a discussion about reformed theology one afternoon. As I get older I wish I had spent more time in books than the idiot box. I am trying to get caught up though.


    1. Country Squire in Jackson? They repaired my favorite pipe when I broke the stem! I have a hard time keeping my pipe lit with a book because I get engrossed and forget about it. It’s also what causes the cigar to ash because it cools. I am really excited that Whitehorse is the full episodes now. I also really enjoy listening to Mortification of Spin and Pastors Talk.


      1. Yep, that’s the one, I get most of my tobacco from them, and listen to their podcast. It’s way cool getting more Whitehorse Inn. I also enjoy Mortification of Spin, and Pastors Talk. I get a lot of time in the truck between customers and pretty much listen only to podcasts.


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