Henry Scudder on Recreation

Henry Scudder on Recreation

From The Christian’s Daily Walk

The constitution of man’s soul and body is such that they cannot long endure to be employed, and stand bent with earnestness upon anything, without relaxation and convenient refreshment.


The whole man is refreshed by eating and drinking, in which you must be holy, just, and temperate.

  1. It was their sin who fed themselves without all fear of God, Jude 12. Meats and drinks are not sanctified to a man if he be not pure and holy, Titus 1:15, 1st Tim 4:4-5, and if he not receive them with prayer and thanksgiving.
  2. You must not eat bread of deceit, Prov 20:17, 2nd Thess 3:12, nor ill-gotten food. Every man must eat his own bread. God would have no man to eat the bread of wickedness nor drink the wine of violence, Prov 4:17.
  3. Moreover, you must not eat and drink for gluttony and drunkenness, Rom 13:13, Prov 23:20-21, to please the palate or to gorge the appetite. Rather eat for health and strength, Eccl 10:17.

The Best Recreations:  Reading the Bible, Meditating & Singing Psalms

A weary man may be refreshed by variety and interchange of the duties of his particular and general calling. And the best recreation to a spiritual mind, when it is weary of worldly employments, is to walk into Christ’s garden, Song 4:12-15, Song 5:1; and there, by reading and meditating, Psalm 94:19, singing of Psalms along with holy conferences, Col 3:16, you may solace yourself with the sweet comforts of the Holy Spirit and enliven your heart with joy in God, even joy in the Holy Ghost and a delight in the commandments and word of God, Ps 119:14, Ps 119:16, Ps 119:24. These are the most profitable, most ravishing, and most lasting delights of all other. And by how much the soul is of a more spiritual, heavenly constitution, by so much more it will be content and satisfy itself in these delights.

Physical Recreations

Yet since bodily and natural delights are part of our Christian liberty, therefore (taking heed that you abuse not your liberty) you may, when you have need, recreate yourself with them. Now that you may innocently enjoy recreation, follow these directions:

  1. The matter of the recreation must be of a common nature involving things of indifferent use. Things holy are too good and things vicious are too bad to be sported or played with.
  2. Recreations must be seasonable for time:
    1. They should not be on the Lord’s Day, in which time God forbids all men to seek their own pleasures, Isa 58:13.
    2. They usually must be after the body or mind has been thoroughly employed in honest business.
    3. They must not be overlong, to the expense and loss of your precious time, which you should study to redeem and not to trifle away, Eph 5:16.
  3. Recreations must always be inoffensive, 1 Cor 16:14, such as do no harm to yourself or to your neighbour. If your diversions do impeach or hazard your own, or your neighbour’s life, estate, or comfortable living, they are unlawful.
  4. Recreations must be moderate, not sensual or brutish, looking at no higher or further end then earthly delights. For just as he that eats and drinks to enlarge his appetite will eat and drink yet more, so he who sports only for the sake of sporting is brutish and sensual. It is the very essence of Epicureanism! God has threatened that he who loves sport shall be a poor man, Prov 21:17, and he that loves wine and oil shall not be rich.
  5. Whatsoever your diversions be, you must so recreate the outward man that you be no worse but rather better in the inward man. For God has set such a blessed order in all lawful things, that the meanest being, lawfully used, shall not hinder but assist us in the best things.
  6. In all recreations you must propose the right end. The nearest and immediate end is to revive your weary body and to quicken your dull mind; but your highest and principle end is that with this refreshed body and quickened spirit, you may the better serve and glorify God, 1 Cor 10:31, that whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, all may be done to the glory of God.

This may serve for direction how you should walk with God upon any of the six days, except there be special cause of setting a day apart for holy use such as for fasting and prayer.