Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


Heavenly grace implanted in the soul, is the magic stone—which turns everything in our possession into a more excellent nature, and greater value. Grace turns iron into silver, and silver into gold.

Shedding divine contentment through the soul, divine grace turns our water into wine, our pennies into pounds, our poor cottages into splendid palaces, bare supply into abundant plenty, and everything into sufficiency—because our satisfaction is the same in this, as if possessed of that.

Grace diminishes distress, magnifies mercies, lessens grief, enlarges love, despises vanities, breathes after future bliss, rectifies our desires, subdues our corruptions, regulates our desires, restrains our ambition, raises and refines our affections, removes the present world, and presents the world to come. By grace we are refined in affliction, triumph in our troubles, in all our conflicts we are more than conquerors, and win the battle. By grace, we listen to rebuke, are instructed by the rod, submissive under crosses, silent under losses, patient in tribulation, meek under reproaches, humble, though exalted, forgetful of injuries, mindful of benefits, faithful to our duty, merciful to our enemies, and friends with the whole world.

By grace we tremble at judgments, rejoice in mercies, observe providences, wrestle against our unbelief, are grieved at our ingratitude, and struggle against our daily failings.

By grace our souls taste divine joys, and loathe the light food of worldly vanities. Grace sweetens our sorrows, mitigates our misfortunes, pierces the shadows, and seeks after unseen realities. Where grace is implanted in the bosom, everything turns out to the advantage of the soul. The way of life, to others thorny—is flowery to us—and our path to our latter end is peace.

What to the carnal world is a curse, is to the possessors of this precious gem a blessing. By grace our pains are banished, our pleasures are purified, expectation honied, burdens lightened, weakness strengthened, storms scattered, and harmony diffused within. What a noble thing is grace—or Christ by his spirit dwelling in the soul! No wonder, then, that such a glorious change is made, and all to the better, so that we can look towards eternity undismayed, expect the solemn judgment with unshaken faith, meet the king of terrors with undaunted courage, and have hope in the expiring pang.

Let gold be a portion to the misers; honor to the ambitious; pleasures to the voluptuous—but let grace be mine! For thus my afflictions are sweeter than the prosperity of the wicked; my reproaches preferable to the applauses of a giddy world; and my very death more desirable than the life of the most splendid, if impious monarch!