[Papercut Press Publishing]1999-09-28 - Port's Faithful Shepherd, Chapter 4

Psalm 4:4, "Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still."

"Perform daily duties in family and closet, especially these three, Prayer, Meditation, Reading, all with serious affection, heat of affection, diligence and delight, Jeremiah 48:10, Malachi 1:14, 2 Chronicles 21:24, these four ways.

  1. Watch these three duties especially (prayer, meditation, reading), keep your heart in a good frame for them, Ephesians 6:18, undefiled with sin, untainted with the world.

  2. Take the fittest time for the performance of these duties when you are the least evil and sluggish: Begin the day constantly with thoughts of God.

  3. Be very real, serious, and substantial with God in all your duties.

  4. Endeavor to feel all duties in your heart, enlivening, enlarging, inflaming your affections. These are the duties (prayer, meditation, reading) of most importance and consequence, usefulness and comfort to the soul because they properly appear at, and reach at the souls good celestial happiness, to train up a soul of a believer for heaven." --Robert Port I wonder how many of us look upon prayer, or meditation or reading as duties.

Sure, we all know the verse, "pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and that seems like a command, but duty is such a strong word. We live by grace. We are free in Christ. We are not under obligation to the law, but to the spirit, right?

I think this is why I love the old writers. They bring a new perspective to things. They say things that wouldn't sell today in our churches. We would often accuse them of being "hard core," and say they needed to "relax" a little and enjoy being in fellowship with Christ. But many of the old writers regarded those things that we now consider, "advanced" as the common elements of the Christian experience. It is good to learn from the past.

Meditation is largely a lost practice in our busy, image driven culture. We are in the process of becoming a culture that doesn't read but we have become a culture that has dismissed meditation. As Christians I fear we have become people who rarely pray. But these three, prayer, meditation and reading are so vital to our Christian communion, that we must not let it be so with us.

Some may not wish to call them duties, but the are at least our responsibilities.

Lastly these duties for Port were done in the closet. If you are unfamiliar with that term it signifies the private nature of these duties. The Pharisee prayed publicly so that he got the recognition he wanted (Luke 18:9-14). Port and the old writers spoke of praying in the closet and performing closet duties so that there would be no public recognition. They emphasized this in hope that God would see and be pleased that our motives were not to gain the acceptance of man, but rather His acceptance. May God give us such a mindset today.

"Do what you know to be your present duty and God will acquaint you with your future duty as it comes to be present." Samuel Annesley

Soli Deo Gloria,
T-

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God's Faithful Shepherd by Port is at the printers. If you would like a copy of this work printed with another of his works titled A Holy Alphabet, send an email to brutefact@hotmail.com and get information about how to obtain a copy.