Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

On being made a noble

A noble of Great Britain is a man who takes his seat in the House of Parliament. He has free access into the king's palace, and into the king's presence. He has a vote in the affairs of the nation. His king may visit him without any stain to his majesty.

Now that I have been made a noble, the world will now account me extremely happy. But I must swell their amazement, and raise their astonishment, while I tell them—that my greatest nobility is spiritual, heavenly, and divine! My heart would not greatly beat with joy to be a British noble. But because I am a child of God, I have cause of endless exultation. Henceforth,

1. I take my seat among the saints of God, among the angels of glory; having come to the city of the living God—a place infinitely more noble than the house of Parliament!

2. I have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. (The palaces of kings are too often sinks of sin!) Yes, I may bring all my petitions to this King of heaven on his throne of grace, who in the time of trouble, (and what is human life but 'a time trouble'?) shall hide me in his pavilion, and at last admit me into his royal palace with gladness and rejoicing, there to abide forever!

3. A vote in the affairs of state! At last as assessors with the supreme Judge—we shall judge the world and angels.

4. Promises come all free from Heaven, and petitions and prayers are all sent free to Heaven, through the hands of the glorious Intercessor.

5. I shall never be arrested by law or justice, because my debts are all discharged; and the Son having made me free I am free indeed. Even death, that king of terrors—which takes nobles, princes, and kings into custody, shall never arrest me! For he who has ennobled me has promised that I shall never see death, never feel the sting of death, never be hurt of the second death. How many princes and kings would give their crowns for this heavenly privilege!

6. Though once poor and groveling on the ash-heap, yet since, by my spiritual nobility—the new birth, I have become precious in his sight. I shall be honorable—be set with princes, and made to inherit a throne of glory. Some nobles have been their king's favorites—but none were ever their chief ornament, their crown; but I shall be, (astonishing to tell!) a crown of glory to the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of my God. And no wonder I be so high in his esteem—for he has given his beloved Son to die for me.

7. The King of kings, consistently with his majesty, may visit me; for the high and lofty One, who inhabits eternity and dwells in the high and holy place, also dwells with the humble and contrite soul; and, says the divine Redeemer, "If any man serves me, him will my Father honor; and if a man loves me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." Nothing on earth bears a shadow of this honor; though crowned kings should visit cottagers, beggars—their condescension disappears before this heavenly kindness.

In these above particulars, there is some similitude between a British noble and myself, comparing earthly to heavenly things, though the advantage is all on my side. But in what follows there is no comparison at all.

1. What boundless generosity, and unmerited kindness, appear in my creation! I owe nothing to the piety of my progenitors; for my first father has sinned, and so was an Amorite; and my mother an Hittite; and I myself a transgressor from the womb. Though base-born people may have been raised from the ash-heap, and made nobles; yet what is that to my attainment? For his mercy is great toward me, and he has delivered my soul from the lowest hell, and, in my spiritual birth, exalted me to the highest heavens! So henceforth through all generations I shall be blessed.

2. Some have been ennobled for their great services to their king and country. But the king of Heaven needs nothing from my hand. Yes, before my spiritual birth—I was an alien, an enemy, a rebel to his government and glory. In England, though a rebel has now and then been reprieved and pardoned—yet never was a rebel, who had spent his whole life in acts of rebellion against his Sovereign, taken immediately into favor, and made a noble. O the depth of divine wisdom! O the riches of sovereign grace!

3. A nobleman, on his initiation, assumes a new title; and he henceforth is called, and subscribes himself by his new title, and this is known through the whole kingdom. On my spiritual birth, I am called by a new name; old things are passed away, and all things become new. But in this I excel all earthly nobles—in obtaining a white stone, and a new name, which no man knows but the happy receiver. O! then, to walk like one on whom this new name is placed; like one who knows, that although he once lay among the pots, yet now he sits with Christ in heavenly places!

4. A noble also takes to himself a coat of arms, and a suitable motto. My coat of arms is a cross and a crown! My motto is, "Holiness to the Lord!" But here, again, I exceed all earthly nobles, for their coat of arms are only lifeless figures painted on their carriages, engraved on their doors. But in my spiritual creation, I am arrayed in complete armor. And as soon as I am taken into God's favor, I commence war, inveterate and unremitting war, with the trinity of hell—sin, Satan, and the world. Therefore I am completely armed, having on my head the helmet of salvation, the breast-plate of righteousness, the shield of faith, my loins girt about with truth, my feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

David could not move nimbly in Saul's heavy bronze armor; but in mine I walk freely, I fight safely, and sleep softly. Nay, so far is it from being an encumbrance, that, if stripped of my armor, I would be all inactivity and languor, assaulted on every side, and foiled by every foe. But I observe that I have no defense for my back—for such a man as I must never flee! And, besides, this spiritual armor inspires me with such a heavenly boldness, that I rush on enemies, and cry out, "I am more than conqueror through him who loved me."

5. When one is made a noble, he must be of an independent fortune to support his rank. But, before my new creation, I was such a naked beggar, that I had not a rag to cover me. But now I am arrayed in embroidered robes, robes of needlework—all glorious without by his imputed righteousness; all glorious within by his imparted grace! Besides, to support my dignity, there is a royal pension settled on me, and in such a manner, that I may spend like a prince—but cannot squander it away. I have a right to all the treasures of grace, to all the fullness of God. Now is the time of my minority, during which I differ nothing from a servant, though lord of all. But when the day of glory comes, I shall enter on the full possession of the riches and treasures of glory and bliss—above the conception of the human mind! And, in the mean time, I shall have what is necessary to bring me home to the King's palace. Great men here may have diamond buttons, and buckles set with diamonds; but the city of my King, where he and all his people dwell—has foundations of precious gems, gates of pearls, and streets of gold!

6. Though all the powers of darkness are at war against me, I have a noble guard appointed me. Not only thousands of strong angels—but God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in all their divine perfections! How I am safe then—though in the land of enemies—though fighting my way through a dark and howling wilderness! Yes, with such a guard I might march through the midst of hell without harm, and bid defiance to all the fiends and furies of the bottomless pit! This guard, though invisible, surrounds me at all times—so that nothing can injure me. I am always safe and secure.

7. Nobility among men respects only that kingdom to which the nobles belong. A noble of Great-Britain is but a private person in every other country. He has no right to sit in state affairs among their nobles, or to vote among their senators. Yes, he perhaps is not even known in other countries.

But I am a noble of the universe! Go where I will, my nobility is in force, my pension is continued, and my privileges remain! Though cast into prison, or banished to some desolate island, still I am clothed with my embroidered robe, appear in complete armor, and am attended by my royal guard.

When the king of England creates a noble, he brings him to equal rank with the other nobles—but he never adopts them for sons. Then, I am sure that there was never one more unworthy than I, and yet I am not only made a noble of heaven—but an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ, being first adopted as a son—for if once children, then heirs.

8. Sometimes the same king that has raised a person to the dignity of nobility, has been so incensed against him, that by his orders, a prosecution has been carried on against him, and he deprived both of honors and life. But in spiritual things it is not so; "for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." When I offend my heavenly Sovereign, he may be angry, reprove, rebuke, correct me—but he will never take away his kindness from me, nor deprive me of life or honors. This divine security, instead of emboldening me to rebel—will fill me with the noblest gratitude, never to offend him.

9. The king of England may raise a Baron to a Viscount, a Viscount to an Earl, an Earl to a Marquis, and a Marquis to a Duke.

But I look at length, for a kingdom and a crown! an everlasting kingdom, and a crown which never fades away; a crown of life, a crown of glory! There is no comparison, then, between the nobles of any realm, the princes of any empire—and myself—who am made a priest, a king—and that to God—and through eternity itself!

10. Though nobles have access into their king's presence at some times, yet it would be improper if they had it at all times; it would degrade royalty itself, if they might intrude into their presence any hour of the day, any watch of the night, at their own pleasure.

Then, stand still, and wonder O my soul! at the condescension of the high and lofty One, who inhabits eternity. I may present myself in his presence at the stated seasons of public worship, the hours of private and secret prayer, the retired moments of meditation, and in every company, and on every occurrence, by prayer! Yes, whatever time I desire, I may be with God! I may even rise at midnight to hold communion with him. Now, though the strength of corruption, the weakness of grace, and the cares of this life, are distractions that daily drag me from the heavenly presence—yet the time is coming when I shall dwell with the King in his palace, behold his beauty, and have the most intimate communion with him through all evermore!

11. In this, again, I surpass all the nobles of England; for, though their dignity is both to themselves and children, my nobility is personal, and cannot be transferred to another. This heavenly honor secures immortality only to myself.

What a struggle is made for this earthly nobility; with what avidity do they grasp at this grandeur, though in a few years they must be stripped of all, and laid in the silent grave! But could it confer immortality, or lengthen life to a thousand years, would not the great men turn the world upside down, and barter all they had to obtain it?

Here, then, are a blessed immortality, and boundless joys before you. No costly ceremonies, no expensive fees here. Only kiss the King's hand on your promotion! Kiss the Son—and be ennobled forever! Kiss the Son before his wrath, like the fiery oven, burns against you for your disobedience!

12. In this the spiritual nobility infinitely excels every nobility on the face of the earth—my earthly nobility can go to none of my relations. Yet my parents, my brothers and sisters, wife and children, may all be made nobles of heaven. Yes, several of my ancestors and dearest friends have already taken their seats in the upper house of the heavenly assembly. And this is the grandeur of which I delight in. This is the nobility of which I boast. No matter though their names be not so much as known on earth—they shine before the eternal throne. And it is no arrogance to plead for the same privileges for our relations, our friends—that the King eternal has bestowed on ourselves.

Now, when one is made a noble, however base he was before his advancement, he is expected to behave suitably to his high rank and station. Many eyes will be on him—the eye of his sovereign, the eye of the other nobles, the eye of enemies, and the eye of the vulgar, from among whom he is taken. Just so, if God has chosen me from the scum of Sodom, and the filthy haunts of Gomorrah—to such rank and dignity—my mind should be humble, but my walk should be holy. I must break off with my former companions in sin, and forget even my father's house and mine own people. How holy in all things should I be—who had the eye of God, of saints, of sinners, and of Satan—on me!

Again, though a noble is not always at court, yet his behavior should always be courtly. He should act the nobleman in common things; and so should I in all things act the Christian and adorn the doctrine of God my Savior, though not always actively engaged in the duties of piety.

Moreover, a noble should be dignified in the company he keeps. Though he is never to be deaf to the cries, the requests, complaints and needs of his fellow-creatures—yet he is not to associate with the sordid and sinful. What appearance would it have for him to come from the royal presence, and sit down, and quaff and carouse with filthy drunkards? still worse, to make bosom friends of the king's enemies, and give and receive visits from outlawed rebels. Thus, the carnally-minded are too despicable company for me; but to associate with profane and open sinners, and to make bosom-friends of such as avow their rebellion against God, is not the mark of a child of God. The more we are admitted into the heavenly presence, the less will we give our presence, to those that know not God.

Again, a noble should not speak the vulgar style of the rabble—but the language of the Court, which should be the standard of language. So nothing can look worse than for a candidate for glory to speak profanely, obscenely, or in oaths and imprecations, or in excess of passion, or insipid trifling—since his speech should always be with grace, seasoned with salt, to the use of edifying.

Again, he should never be slovenly dressed—but appareled according to his station. So I, on whom the divine Father has been pleased to put the best robe, should study to be holy in all manner of life and conversation! I should strive to keep clean garments, and clean hands, and to keep myself unspotted from the world.

Yet, again, a noble should be of a noble turn of mind. He should not stoop to base, though profitable employment. He should not trouble himself because some envy his high station, and others pay not that respect to him which is his due. He should be liberal to the needy, and ready to forgive injuries, and scorn to avenge himself—seeing in due season, the laws of his sovereign will take cognizance of every insult done to him. So I, who have the treasures of eternity before me—should be of a heavenly turn of mind, and scorn to be greatly concerned about earthly trifles!

How little should I regard the applause or censure of this fleeting world? According to my ability, I should do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. I should be frank in forgiving injuries, and repaying evil with good. Under the most injurious treatment, I may commit my matters to him that will bring forth my righteousness as the noon-day. In a word, though reproach and poverty, sickness and death, robs me of all my present comforts; yet so vast is the heavenly bliss, and so rich are the treasures which are secured for me in heaven, that in the very prospect of them, I desire to lose my present pain; and, in the midst of every grief I rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Finally, a noble filled with gratitude, will exert himself constantly to advance the glory of his king, and the good of his country. So, since I am exalted to this heavenly honor—the glory of God, the good of his church, and the salvation of souls—will be my daily request, my heart's desire, my daily prayer; and, according to my ability, the struggle and endeavor of my whole life!