Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

An Argument

Would any person be cast down for an affliction, enduring but for a day—if assured, that his whole after-life should be felicity and peace? Though for this short time he were hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, reproached, reviled, envied, hated, despised, ridiculed by flatterers, abandoned by friends, insulted by foes, and made the gazing-stock of all; yet, would not the certain knowledge of so sudden a change in his favor take off the edge of all? Would not the forethought of the sumptuous table at which he should forever sit, and the generous wine that should go around, abate his hunger, and allay his thirst? Would not the thought of his expensive clothing, take a way the shame of his rags? Would not the thought of his unconfined liberty render supportable his few hours confinement? Would not the thought that renown, love, and respect, which he would possess in a little while—take away the anguish that might arise from the opposite insults?

Now, O Christian! your case at the worst can be no worse than this—to suffer, through the short day of your life, much tribulation, and many afflictions; much distress, and many troubles. Yes, though some singular distress—as war, persecution, or pestilence, should bring your death along with it, yet your eternal state is secured, and your exit is into eternal glory!

What! should poverty make any impression on your mind—you who are an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ—who shall walk on streets of gold? Should imprisonment trouble you, who shall walk at liberty in the paradise of God through eternal day? Should shame produce a blush in your countenance—who shall be confessed by your divine Master before his heavenly Father, and all his holy angels? Should need of any kind affect you—who are complete in Him in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwells? Should disappointments, repeated, aggravated disappointments, deject you—whose assured friend governs the universe, and never will forget, and never will forsake you? In a word, should any cross events in time distract you—who have an eternity of felicity before you, where your happiness shall stretch beyond your most extensive thoughts?

Take the scales and balances, then, and sit down and weigh the lightness of your troubles, the transitoriness of your afflictions—even allowing them to harass you through your whole life, which is not one day, one minute, or one moment—compared to eternity, and that boundless, ineffable bliss, which awaits your better life, your immortal state in the invisible world. And say, if that happiness, which should be inseparable from an expectant of glory, is in you. And say, whether fits of despondency for anything that can befall you in this world—or songs of praise for that nameless immense ALL that is reserved for you in the world to come—be most proper to your present state?