Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Our short life should not give much concern

My mind is like a piece of ground, which, being overrun with weeds, no diligence can render quite clean; and no care can keep them from appearing again—even after they have been plucked away. Surely so it fares with me and my sinful anxieties. They are ever springing up anew and troubling me, and nothing will utterly and entirely destroy them—until the ground be turned up by the plough of death, and left fallow until the resurrection. Yet that I be not altogether barren and unfruitful in the work of the Lord, let the busy hand of faith be ever plucking up the base weeds of noxious unbelief!

Again, why am I so much concerned about a world which I am so soon to leave? I am but a stranger, a sojourner, and a pilgrim; here today—but gone tomorrow, to return no more. Yes; this night, what dare I boast of tomorrow, not knowing what the silent watches of the night may bring forth? And if I am not sure of one day, far less of many, may I boast. It is but a look—and I have lost sight of this world eternally! Why then set my heart on that which shall one time or other so terribly deceive me? A few moments, and my eternal state is begun, and I am forever in the eternal world—and dashed out of the roll of the sons of Adam; yes, out of the remembrance of all my nearest relations!

Should I then, mind much what kind of entertainment I meet with on the way—if I may make a happy journey's end? The traveler ought to think more on his home—than how he fares on his way home.

Surely, one would be ready to think, that men carried their riches to eternity with them, yes, and were more welcome on that account—or why these unwearied endeavors—to obtain them? O folly! O fear! O faithlessness! Folly, that I concern myself with moments—and neglect eternity! Fear, that I should be distressed about a day, which scarce has dawned until done—and dwell not with joy on ages to come! Faithlessness, that I should doubt the promise, yes, the addendum to the promise; for salvation from sin, and eternal life, is the promise; and all things that respect this life are only addendums thereto; as if he who is faithful in salvation from sin, could falsify in trifles.

Now, though my whole life were one continued scene of affliction, yet the very shortness of it might sweeten it. Though my life is—a vapor, a shadow, a wind that passes away—surely the attending calamities can be of no longer continuance, than that duration upon which they attend. Nothing can pass from this world to that; but my immortal soul. Yes the painful remembrance of my troubles and present distresses, shall cease when I am swallowed up of everlasting joy. I see, then, that my concern turns on a wrong hinge—and my care terminates on a trifle. All my concern should be—not to provide for the few moments of a transient life—but to improve for the glorious ages of endless eternity! And that care which in despondency I expend on the vanities of time, and how to obtain them—I should lay out in piety, on the treasures of eternal glory—how to prepare for the divine possession. Well may I commit to him the sustaining of my necessities along the way—who has adopted me for his son, and made me an heir of his kingdom—to which l am traveling home!

My time has become less since I began to write—and soon it will be wholly gone! How foolish, then, to worry and fret myself about time to come—which I may never see! But I am certain of eternity! Therefore, into grateful admiration at those approaching glories which I shall there possess, I should convert my ungoverned lamentations over the present gloomy aspects of time, and keep silence in the composing exercise of faith; remembering that he had never a bad day—who had a good night; nor a miserable life—who died the death of the righteous; nor his time full of agony and grief—which ended in an eternity of glory!