Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


Every true Christian is a freeman; and while the rest of the world are slaves of Satan—the saints are kings and priests to God and the Lamb. They are all sons of the Highest, and no relation comes up to that of sons of God. For though the servant may remain long in the house, yet he "abides not in the house forever—but the son abides forever." Noble progenitors are the pride of the world. People boast of their high birth, and noble blood, as Pharaoh's counselors of old—"I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings."

But when, in Christ, we can say, "Now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be—but we know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is!"—then we may boast a heavenly descent.

No beggar would refuse to become the adopted son and heir of a rich king. None so poor as men in their natural state—and none so rich as God. What an enormous blessing, then, for sinful outcasts to be made the sons of God; for bankrupts to be made the heirs of bliss! But, what madness is in those who despise the heavenly privilege! What are all our contendings about rank and pedigree—which must end in corruption, and terminate in dust? It will avail us nothing, though royal blood runs in our veins—unless the Spirit of adoption be sent forth into our souls, whereby, with the voice of faith, we may cry, 'Abba, Father!'—and know, as a fruit of this divine privilege, what it is to go with freedom to so near and compassionate a relation, who, being both all wise, all good, and all tender-hearted—will never give evil things to his children.

But, O! how should the adopted son of God walk, and behave according to the character of the divine family, whereof, in free grace, he is made a member! The adverse events of our terrestrial pilgrimage will often scatter a family far and wide—but once a son, always a son in the celestial and invisible society, and always in the Father's presence. When adopted into this relation which aggrandizes, the honor is not only divinely glorious—but the privileges ineffably great. Though they come not within the glance of the carnal eye, yet they are not, on this account, the less real. Possessed of them, the poor saint, whom the world perhaps disdains to notice—may survey, with grateful songs, the extent of his felicity, the vastness of his bliss. He may shout with triumph, "God is my Father, Christ is my Savior and Elder Brother! Afflictions and chastisements are the signs of my Father's love and care! Heaven is my reserved inheritance! Glory is my future portion! Life and death, things present, and things to come—are all mine!"

What empty sounds are all honorary titles to this—"sons of God!" How poor to be the heir of an earthly crown—compared to the solid expectation of eternal life! Surely the child of God's adoption is the happiest man in the world. Angels, these superior beings, are even ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation. Whoever injures them is said to "touch the apple of God's eye"—a figurative, but most expressive speech, as there is no part so tender as the eye, and no part of the eye so precious as the pupil, or apple, which we defend from danger with the greatest care. Such a one has a right to all the privileges of the sons of God! What privileges will not such a Father, whose affection is infinite, and his power unbounded—bestow on his sons? Whoever rises against them, offends the whole family of heaven; for, "he who despises you," says Christ to his disciples, "despises me; and he who despises me, despises him who sent me." And if the command is given to guard one chosen soul, suddenly is he surrounded with celestial chariots, and horses of heaven—glorious in their fiery majesty!

It is true, that now the adopted sons of God are like nobles dwelling secretly in a foreign land. Their pedigree is not known, their grandeur is not seen, and therefore their nobility is neither admired nor coveted. But, there is a day coming, when all the sons of God shall make their glorious appearance in one majestic throng, in the sight of an assembled world, who shall be ashamed that ever they spoke so highly of those who were but sprung of the earth; and despised those who were born from heaven. What beauty shall shed itself round about them! They shall be clothed in robes of glory, with palms of victory in their hands, and the charter of the covenant, containing all the privileges of adoption, spread before them, and a majestic proclamation shall be made, in the hearing of men, angels, and devils—"These are the sons of the living God!"

Now, if I am received into the royal family of heaven, let me break off correspondence with the King's enemies—sin and vanity—and show the greatness soul, the refined sentiment, and elevated thought—in hating what he forbids, however sweet to the carnal mind; and in choosing what he commands, however adverse to flesh and blood. If God is my Father, let me honor and reverence him, who will never be dreadful to me as a Judge. Let me receive correction at his hand, and instruction from his word; and let me prove myself to be one of the celestial family, by speaking the language of the better country, and having my affections fixed above; and loving all of his other adopted children. Let me remember my former deplorable condition—and be humble. Let me remember my present privileges—and be thankful. Let me anticipate my future hopes—and be holy in all manner of life and conversation. And let me daily wonder at that love, and adore the sovereignty of that free grace—which admits hellish worms among the sons of God, and enriches them with so many privileges—privileges which contain not only what is in this world—but the glories and felicities of the world to come!