VII. Labor to remember what you read. Satan would steal the word out of our mind; not that he intends to make use of it himself, but lest we should make use of it. The memory should be like the chest in the ark, where the ark was put. Psalm 119:52: “I remembered thy judgments of old.” Jerome speaks of that religious lady, Paula, that she had most of the Scriptures by heart; we are bid to have “the word dwell in us.” Col. 3:16. The word is a jewel; it adorns the hidden man, and shall we not remember it? If the word stays not in the memory, it cannot profit. Some can better remember a piece of news than a line of Scripture; their memories are like those ponds where the frogs live, but the fish die.
Thomas Watson, “How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit,” in The Bible and the Closet: Or How We May Read the Scriptures with the Most Spiritual Profit; and Secret Prayer Successfully Managed, ed. John Overton Choules (Boston: Gould, Kendall and Lincoln, 1842), 23–24.
If we have no memory, we cannot mediate:
Get a love to spiritual things. We usually meditate on those things which we love.—The voluptuous man can muse on his pleasures: the covetuous man on his bags of gold. Did we love heavenly things, we should meditate more on them. Many say they cannot meditate, because they want memory; but is it not rather because they want affection? Did they love the things of God, they would make them their continual study and meditation.
Thomas Watson, The Christian Soldier, or Heaven Taken by Storm, ed. Armstrong, Second American Edition. (New York: Robert Moore, 1816), 54–55.
Failing to remember what we read is like chewing food but never swallowing: we gain a taste but get little profit.