Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

On Visits

To make and return visits is both friendly and fashionable; but it is sad, that too often, when we commence being the 'visitor'—we drop the Christian. How melancholy that it cannot be known whether we are Turks or Christians when we visit! Where the entertainment is remarkable for nothing but noise and nonsense, loud peals of laughter, puns, and buffoonery—it is a poor welcome we give to our guests, and a shameful return we make to our host. If at one house we find profanity, at another folly—he who visits least will suffer least. A whole day spent in mirth, and not one word in any discourse about piety, and not one thought of God in any heart—is an dreadful blank and a sad waste of time!

Though at a friendly dinner, or social entertainment, we do not meet to preach at others—yet we should always meet to improve one another in useful knowledge. A serious "word fitly spoken" might shine "like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Such a conduct might, at some times, though not often, produce the sarcastic laugh against us. But God's approval, and the testimony of a good conscience, will easily balance this. If our company be such, that we can get nothing serious introduced, let us rejoice that they cannot prevent our prayers to God; and, in our meditation, let us now and then retire to converse above.

In how many houses, at how many tables, may Ichabod be written! True religion is not there—the glory is departed! Whatever table our Savior, when on earth, sat at, he was sure to enrich it with some heavenly dishes, and fed his audience with sacred truth. So it should be our constant endeavor never to come away the worse, in any company—but the better. We should never leave any company the worse because of us—but the better. Why should not our grace, like the rich perfume, manifest itself, whether we intend it, or not? Everywhere, and every time, at home or abroad, whether we eat or drink, receive or return visits, and in every company—we should do all to the glory of God; who gives us all that we enjoy below, and will at last make us sit down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, where the converse shall enlarge, delight, and ravish evermore!