Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

To escape wrath—should silence under all afflictions

When I contemplate a choice thought or two in my mind, I wonder that ever I can have a downcast countenance for all the trials which can befall me in the world. To be delivered from wrath, and destined to glory—is a composing, a silencing thought! When I have a tooth-ache but for one night, and keep tossing and tumbling from side to side with the excruciating pain, how long the night appears! But what, then, must the everlasting night of wrath be—that eternity of woe? Had I a due sense of divine vengeance—I would think myself happy in the midst of my bitterest afflictions—if I might entertain the sweet hopes of being delivered from the wrath to come!

Dare I, then—who has made myself obnoxious to the irrevocable sentence of an angry Judge—complain of the chastisement of a Father? Am I displeased that in providence he sits as a refiner of my graces—when in justice he might be a consuming fire to devour me? Can I cry out of passing through the fire and water of affliction—when he might set me up for his mark, cause his arrows to enter into my soul, and the poison thereof to drink up my spirits through eternity? Should I complain of trouble and pain—who deserves to be tormented day and night forever and forever? Dare I be disconsolate under the loss of relations—who might have been chained through all ages with the fraternity of devils, with whom I had joined in rebellion against God?

Alas! what shall I say? What can come upon me, that I can justly complain of—when I am delivered from the wrath to come? Could I look into the burning lake, and see the tortures of the damned, how would I bless the most miserable condition of the world, and embrace the bitterest afflictions—if sweetened with the hopes of escaping that place of torment?

If faith, divinely bold, on solid grounds, can claim the heavenly inheritance—what in the world can make me miserable? To be delivered from everlasting flames, should afford me a lasting joy in the midst of every and any sorrow. Has Jehovah dealt so kindly with my eternal duration, and will I, dare I—quarrel with his conduct of my few moments of time? The griefs that vex me are short lived—but the anguish he has rescued me from is everlasting! Under all my temporal adversities, it should make me silent—that I shall not roar out under his avenging hand forever. And it should turn my murmurings here into a song—that I shall not howl hereafter in eternity!

He who escapes out of his house when on fire, will not much mind stubbing his to in his flight. So if I escape the wrath to come—it does not matter if my way lies over thorns of trouble, and briers of adversity. The soul which is delivered from the pit of corruption, should with pleasure walk the rough way of affliction towards the paradise of God.

Moreover, the God who delivers us out of hell, and bears us to heaven, cannot but bless by the way. He can even bless with crosses, (flesh and blood cannot believe this,) benefit with adversities, enrich with losses, and nourish with disappointment and pain.

Therefore will I, without reserve, cast onto his good pleasure—all the transient moments of my life—to be distributed as he pleases—since he has rendered my eternity happy and glorious!