Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


What would you have, O my soul! to make you content? You have much in hand, and more in hope. You have the comforts of life, and the means of salvation; the word preached and the sacraments dispensed; an open vision, and an English Bible. You have the possession of the life that now is, and the promise of that which is to come. If you are not so blessed as some, you are not so miserable as others. If there are many in a higher and better state in the world than you, (and should you quarrel?) there are more in a lower and worse condition, (and should not you wonder that you are so blessed?)

If you get bread to eat, and clothing to put on; or anything which is a blessing—it is much, seeing you deserve the curse and wrath of God! It is mercy that you are an inhabitant of God's earth—you might have been a prisoner in the pit of devouring fire! You have cause of thankful exultation, that God's justice is not inexorably set against you. And it may content you in however bad condition you presently are—that God does not contend with you forever.

Are you not ashamed to wish for much—when you have forfeited all? Would you rather have your better part here on this vain earth—than the eternal portion hereafter? Would rather you have the nether-springs of earthly comforts—than the upper-springs of heavenly consolation? Would you rather have filthy lucre—than the most blessed God? Would you rather have earthly felicity—than heavenly glory? No, Lord! You, yourself, your love alone—shall content me forever! Anything you now give me, is too much for me—who deserve nothing! A crumb of mercy a rich banquet to me—who am a spiritual bankrupt. What does it matter, how I now fare—since I shall in a little while, be brought into the king's palace, there to abide forever in the midst of eternal pleasures?

Surely, then, his time can never be bitter—who has the hope of an happy eternity! Nor can crosses greatly vex that soul—who is crucified to the world, and the world to him! Nor has he any loss to fear—who has his treasures in eternity! Neither can worldly misfortunes impoverish him—who is an heir of the true eternal riches. Nor can the death of friends distress him—whose best friend lives forever!

I see, then, I only need one thing to make me happy. And that is, to know the precious things of my eternal treasure! Speak, and I am blessed forever; speak the heavenly word, "All things are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's."