Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Meditation: On Meditation

"Meditation is either of the minde and understanding, or the heart and affections:

Meditation of the understanding, is when reason discourseth of things read, or heard ... . They that want [lack] this, how much soever they have heard or read, yet shall they never have sound and setled judgement. And for this cause it is said, that the greatest clarkes are not the wisest men.

Meditation of the affections, is when having a thing in judgement, wee ever digest it and make it worke upon our affections. It is a continuall searching of our selves, and labouring to lay up all things in the treasures of our hearts. The other will goe away except this be joyned with it: for judgement will away except we frame our affections unto it."

- Richard Greenham (early 1540s-1594)
From "A Profitable Treatise, Containing a Direction for the Reading and Understanding of the Holy Scriptures"

Greenham is sometimes perceived as the "forgotten father of puritan spirituality". Though many scholars affirm his eminence, comparatively little attention has been given to his life and work.

Two great biographies of Greenham were published in 1998: 'Practical Divinity': The Works and Life of Revd Richard Greenham, by Kenneth L. Parker and Eric J. Calson, and Richard Greenham: The Portrait of an Elizabethan Pastor, by John H. Primus. Non-academic readers will find the latter a bit more accessible, but the former contains several lengthy excerpts from Greenham's writings, including the one above (pp. 342-43).

To his credit, Joel Beeke also included a chapter on Greenham in his recent tome, Meet the Puritans (2006; pp. 290-96).

For more on puritan meditation (in the 17th century, of which Greenham was a precursor), see Amy Gant's excellent site.

No comments:


Copyright © 2008 Kristoforos Media. This layout made by and copyright cmbs.