Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


How good is it to trust in God, and wait for kindness at his hand! When hope is gone, and all endeavors rendered useless, his watchful providence grants me my request, opens a door for me, and does all that I desire—which is truly good for my soul. O how I admire the kindness of his love, and the wise disposal of his providence! When disappointments thronged thick on me, I knew not what to think, or what to do; but through your grace, I waited for your counsel, and have not waited in vain. Your time, your way, your method, are the best. You clearly see through dark scenes, and know my frame, and best what suits it—than the deepest penetration of my heart ever can.

Now, when I have for many years, as it were, tried the dispensation of God's providence, what have I to say against it? Nothing! For, what at first appeared dark, intricate and perplexing—in a little while became clear and intelligible. Yes, sometimes that scene which seemed most gloomy on the outer wheel, when the inner wheel revolved, shone most glorious, even to my astonishment; so that, what has in the beginning extorted desponding thoughts from me, has in the end excited me to songs of praise!

In the part of my life which is already past, and in the scenes of providence which are already cleared up, I cheerfully confess, and singHe has done all things well! This is confirmed to me by the experience of many years; so that I blush when I see some of the 'mysteries of Providence' in part unriddled—that I have had such low apprehensions of the love and goodness of God, measuring his wisdom by my shallow comprehension, his power by my cramped weakness, his love by my unbelief; his goodness by my evil eye, and his ways with me—by my ways with him! Yes, I have been vile enough, in every new scene of providence, to fall anew into the same sin, and subject myself anew into the same shame and blushing.

"Experience is the schoolmaster of fools," says the proverb. But what a fool must I be, who will not be instructed by all I have seen! Why should I have one hard thought of the painful circumstances with which I am at present entangled? Though in many things I have yet the dark side—and not the bright side of the cloud towards me; yet I should not have the least hard conclusion on the conduct of God's unerring Providence—but wait until it be accomplished, and cleared up to me.

But how shall I blush, (were it possible) and be confounded at my base thoughts of God and his providence—when 'the wandering labyrinth that composed my life' shall be unriddled in the noon-day brightness of glory—to my unspeakable joy, and everlasting admiration!

As I cannot recall these doubts that now distract my bosom, to convert them into acts of faith; nor these murmurings to hush them into silent resignation; I should study now to glorify God in the deepest valley of misery, and darkest night of adversity—by thinking highly and honorably of him who governs all things—both heaven and earth.

Finally, how sweet must that day be to my soul, when my experience shall confirm and confess the kind end of every providence; and providence shall sweetly explain and accomplish the promise; and all shall join in one voice forever. Not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord has spoken!