Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


We are fond of contracting acquaintances with great and famous men, and sometimes lament the death of some before we were born, and our distance from others while we live. What pleasure would it afford me, had I known the first worthies of the world! To have had an hour's company and conversation with the first man, the father of us all; to have been acquainted with the divine Enoch, who was wafted deathless to glory; with Noah, the preacher of righteousness; with Abraham the Father of the Faithful; with Moses, the man of God; with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of one and the same promise; with the deeply afflicted, and highly advanced Joseph; with Elijah and Elisha; with Samuel, David, and Solomon; in a word, with all the prophets, apostles, evangelists, and martyrs, and all the New Testament worthies down to the present times. I say, to have been acquainted with all these great men, what secret pleasure would it afford! What instruction from their conversation, and what joy to behold so many sparkling graces in each of them! But this is what can never happen; yet there is one thought that abundantly supplies the loss. That all those who are united in the living Head shall meet together in the state of eternal glory!

There shall I see Adam, not in that shameful anguish he sustained when driven out of the terrestrial paradise—but with a fullness of joy proper to one entered into the heavenly paradise for eternity! There shall I see Enoch walking in very deed with God, and enjoying eternally and uninterruptedly, that communion he delighted in below. There shall I see Noah, not preaching to an inattentive world. but praising in concert with all those who in the ark of covenant were saved from the flood of wrath that swept away the wicked! There shall I see Abraham, not traveling to the mountains of Moriah to offer up his son—but dwelling in the mount of God to offer up his song, his sacrifice of praise, possessed of greater glory, and more noble blessings, than even his strongest faith ever could expect!

There shall I see Isaac and Jacob, not sojourning in a strange land—but dwelling in Immanuel's land, without any more removing to and fro! There shall I see Joseph, not in that anguish of spirit he was in when sold for a slave—but in a nobler condition than when governor over Egypt! There shall I see Moses, not struggling with a rebellious Israel in an howling wilderness—but triumphing with the true Israel, in whom iniquity is not beheld, and entered on the possession of the heavenly Canaan for eternity!

There shall I see, also, Samuel the reformer, David the upright, and Solomon the wise; along with all the prophets and apostles, the evangelists and martyrs, shining with additional luster, and inconceivable glory! Yes, not one of all the saints of God, though the names of thousands of them were never heard of in the world—but I shall be acquainted with, and know everything about them, that can set forth the glory of God, and the praises of redeeming love! I shall know who and what they were in the world, whence they came, and what they suffered for his name's sake!

Had I been acquainted with them in their imperfect earthly state, either corruption in them might have restrained my regard toward them; or corruption in me might have deadened my affection for them. But my acquaintance with them shall be when both they and I have put off all corruption—and are spotless as the angels of light!

How is it, then that I have concluded all the worthies of the old world as gone from me forever, when, in a little while, I shall come into their company, into their assembly—to depart no more? Further, what will sweeten all, is, that my acquaintance with them shall be in and through Christ—in whom all his saints are one! And my delight in them will spring from their resemblance to Christ, and rise according to the degree of that. Then, like so many stars, they shall reflect the glory of the Sun of Righteousness—and he who reflects most glory shall be the brightest star. Besides, as the Lamb is the light of the holy city—so he shall be the fullness of the higher house—replenishing all the inhabitants, who shall have Christ in them, once "the hope of glory" but then the harvest of glory—and with them as such shall I be acquainted. Hence shall Christ be to everyone all in all, even in their delight in, and acquaintance with, one another; because, loving him who begets, supremely and eternally—they cannot but love those who are begotten after the same divine likeness.

What a friendly office, then, (though to the greater part of humanity, unwelcome,) does death, in the hand of Christ perform to his chosen ones—in convening the saints together from remotest corners, scattered kingdoms, and distant ages—and, with a smiling countenance, ushering them, not only into the presence of one another—but into the presence of their common Redeemer!

On the other hand, how miserable must the wicked be, whose acquaintance with the great, of which they are now so proud—at the hour of death shall cease forever! For beings in torment can be no entertaining company to one other but, by being once companions in sin, shall mutually increase their horror, and heighten their anguish forever!