Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


Everything that was written of old, was written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the world have come. Now, Israel, when redeemed from Egyptian bondage, had both a sabbatical year appointed them, and the great Jubilee. The first was every seventh year; and the last when fifty years were completed. There was also a release, when, after six years service, the man-servant and maid-servant were set at liberty. All these Israel, by divine command, observed; and though their deliverance from Egyptian bondage was thereby commemorated, yet it respected a much diviner and more interesting liberty. In the year of Jubilee, the land was to rest In the Sabbatical year the laborers were rest. And by the third the lawful heirs returned to the inheritance of their fathers.

And, may not this prefigure, the deliverance of individuals from the slavery of sin, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God? Is not here shadowed out the salvation of the world, from the ignorance, idolatry, and darkness, that had overspread all nations?

But though the Jews had both their sabbatical year, and great jubilee, yet they could not be made perfect without the gospel-dispensation. Therefore, all their grand epochs were only typical of "the acceptable year of the Lord," when the great High Priest of God, with the trumpet of the everlasting gospel, proclaimed liberty to the captives, the opening of the prison-doors to those who were bound, not only through all the land of Israel—but to the ends of the earth. It was not strange, that the saints who lived in the times of types and shadows, should not be made perfect without us; but it is strange that the saints who fall asleep in Christ, and so have past their week of trouble, and entered on the year of release, on the sabbath of rest, (so graciously has God connected things,) though possessed of all felicity, cannot, without us, who are expectants of the same state, be made perfect; as their souls wait for the resurrection of their bodies; that the whole man may exalt and enjoy him, who is very God and very man.

Now, though the seventh year Sabbatical was very pleasant and divine, yet the fifty year Jubilee in all respects excelled it very far, being proclaimed with loud sounding trumpets to the ends of the land, inviting the captive to liberty, and the impoverished heirs to their paternal estates.

But the Jubilee of the glorious gospel is the glad tidings of great joy to all people, and a general proclamation to disinherited spendthrifts and bankrupts to return, through their elder Brother, who has redeemed the mortgaged inheritance, to the full and ample possession of spiritual things, of which they shall never be again despoiled.

But the grandest and most glorious Jubilee of all, is the jubilee of glory—when the great trumpet of eternity shall be blown, and the saints, who now seem outcasts in the land of death, shall hear and assemble, and enter into the full possession of the everlasting kingdom. In this great and last Jubilee, all former deliverances shall be summed up, so that there shall be no after-mortgaging of the inheritance, as might take place among the Israelites, no fears of being dispossessed of the land of promise, which often vex the Christian's bosom.

The blast of the ram's horn was heard all over Israel, the sound of the gospel all over the world; but the last trumpet shall be heard in heaven, earth, and the grave! So that the saints in all ages shall be equal sharers in this jubilee—which shall end all their sorrows, and begin their everlasting joys. Then shall they enter, not into a sabbatical year, that can be succeeded by time—but into a sabbatical eternity, even an eternal Sabbath of rest which shall never have an end!