Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

On the works of Creation

Everything is full of God! How is our earth replenished. Skies and seas are crowded with inhabitants! Every blade is covered with life, and every drop of each pond abounds with microscopic organisms—so that we have an endless field for admiration, gratitude, and wonder, on our terrestrial globe. Now, to a mind which would admire the glory of the Creator—what a noble prospect is our planet! So many worlds of intelligent creatures, living on his providence, and paying him the tribute of praise!

Moreover, at immense distances on every hand, beyond all the planets of our system, we see a great many fixed stars with our naked eye; and, by the help of telescopes, millions more; and the better the lenses are, still more distant and starry galaxies, are brought into view, and astonish every beholder. How vast the survey may still grow, as lenses may be further and further improved, I shall not dare to conjecture.

No arm but an omnipotent one, can support such legions of worlds, no eye but an omniscient can survey the whole. Well may we, with astonishment, join Bildad, and cry, "Who can count the multitude of stars?" From this view of creation we may infer,

1. How great must the Creator be, who holds, and upholds, in the hollow of whose hand—so many millions of worlds! How prolific every hour of the six days creation! What multitudes of holy angels admiring these works worthy of a God! We read of "the voices of many angels around the throne. There were millions and millions of them!" And how many more they are, none can tell.

2. What desperate madness would it for sinners, who, by their sin, challenge the Lord of these millions of worlds—and run stubbornly and proudly to fight against Almighty God—whose arm is omnipotent, whose blow is irresistible, and whose displeasure is death!

3. What must be the power which made—and the wisdom which governs and upholds all these worlds! In what a blaze of glory must the Creator appear, who has kindled up so many millions of suns, and kept so many millions of planets regularly rolling around them, and even wandering comets—so that not one, through so many ages, has mistaken its course! Earthly kingdoms and churches, and families, may dwell secure under the providence and scepter of such a King! And every individual of the human race may commit his way to this great Governor—without an uneasy thought, an irksome murmur, or an anxious wish!

4. When sinners on every side create us sorrow, let us reflect—that even from this earth, the ransomed of the Lord shall be a great multitude, which no man can number. What, then, must the heavenly assembly be—the inhabitants of so many millions of worlds—and all the multitudes of holy angels—all in the presence of God and the Lamb—and all shouting his praises through an endless evermore!

5. Creation is the admiration of men. But redemption is the wonder of angels. Redemption is the furthermost that God can go. Had he pleased, he could have created still more and more worlds. But he could give nothing better, nothing more—than his Son! In creation his wisdom, his power, and his goodness—are manifested. But in redemption—his manifold wisdom, his mighty power, his spotless holiness, his unbounded goodness, his inflexible justice, and his invariable truth—shine forth, and will shine, while the ransomed eternally sing before the throne! And here the astronomer and philosopher are reproved—who survey the whole creation—but stop short of God; or are filled with wonder at the works of his hands—but never have their hearts filled with gratitude at his love and grace in redemption!

6. However God may shine in the works of creation—still he shines with uncommon, unrivaled, unparalleled luster in the work of redemption! For, to save one soul is more than to create all these worlds! In creation—he merely spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. He said, 'Let it be'—and light and suns, and systems, filled part of the mighty regions of space!

But nothing less could ransom sinners—than his own eternal Son, united to human nature, and sustaining unutterable agonies, the acutest sense of divine wrath—and thus expiring on the accursed tree! O astonishing price of our redemption! Though all the millions of angels round the throne, and all the sinless inhabitants of these millions of worlds, had been sacrificed for the salvation of one soul, that soul, notwithstanding such a sacrifice—they must have perished forever; for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sin. And on one level stand all creatures here, from the highest angels, through every rank of intelligent beings—because all are creatures still. I see, then, that my Redeemer must be a divine person—as there is no semi-deity. I see that Jesus must be the supreme, the self-existent Jehovah.

7. And will I cast away my soul forever—a soul of such value—for earthly vanities, for phantoms, for shadows, for nothing? How should an immortal soul rise above all the trifles of creation, the 'pageantry of an opulent life', and the splendors of royalty--and expand every power of the soul, every mental faculty, to be numbered among those holy multitudes which daily arrive at heaven; and to the fellowship of millions of angels, and to eternal communion with God!

8. What must the wicked feel at last, when in the presence of all these assembled worlds—they shall be loaded with infamy, condemned to the abodes of horror and despair, and thus punished with everlasting destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his great power—which was displayed in the grand work of redemption, and in the creation of that vast multitude of worlds! Not only cut off from this dear society of holy angels, and blissful innocents from all these worlds—but banished from the divine presence—and pursued with burning wrath forever!

9. What a noble prospect opens beyond death to every saint, who by nature is a social creature; for grace does not destroy nature—but purifies and exalts it! In the celestial courts, among immortal nobles—they shall enjoy the divine presence! Though now the presence of one sovereign is courted with avidity; and to be admitted into a congress of all the kings and potentates of this world would be a rare and highest honor—this would be despicable compared to that renown which attends admission into eternal glory! How magnificent is this assembly! how delightful their song! and how vast their felicity—none can tell!

Though all these worlds can claim God as their Creator, yet only the saints can claim God as their Redeemer, and have notes in their hosannas which neither angels nor any other can imitate!

How the blessed will be employed in eternity, we cannot say. But as God is everywhere present, so they will find heaven everywhere. Yet, where the God-man, God in our nature, shall dwell in the bright effulgence of his glory, there shall the redeemed assemble. And wherever they go, or whatever they do, they shall enjoy God in a manner that will make them happy above conception or thought!

I offer a few more thoughts, and leave them with the reader. Where God is, in his divine essence, filling immensity alike, wherever he manifests his glory, and communicates his goodness—there is heaven.

1. It seems to be the general opinion of divines, that neither sun, moon, nor stars, nor our earth, shall be annihilated. But the world at last shall be purified by fire, and appointed for some noble use by the supreme Disposer of all things.

2. If in this new earth, righteousness, (that is, the saints or righteous ones,) shall dwell; who, like the angels that come from the realms of bliss, shall, though inhabiting the earth, dwell in the very heart of heaven; so, after the general judgment, the inhabitants of all these other worlds shall dwell in their distinct globes. Yet all these numerous worlds shall make but one heaven, one commonwealth of bliss, and be forever blessed with the vision of God's glory, with the communications of his goodness.

3. Who can tell but that in eternity there may be some grand festivals, some magnificent solemnities, when the inhabitants of all these worlds shall assemble to worship him in universal chorus, who truly is the Lord almighty, and to pay special honors to the man Christ, who, because he humbled himself to the death, the death of the cross, has a name given him, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess, through heaven and earth, and universal nature!

What a glorious sight will this be in the eyes of every adorer! And how will the redeemed rejoice to see their incarnate God exalted as Head over all! And what a field of wonder, what a flood of ecstasy will pour into these innumerable millions, when the mystery of redemption is revealed to them—which things the angels, bending down from their heavenly orbs, desire to look into!

4. When the inhabitants of all these worlds assemble again around the heavenly throne, with what additional luster will they shine to one another! Even in Heaven wisdom makes the face to shine; and as their researches into God are unremitted, so their growth in knowledge will be constant. And though all are employed in studying God, yet some may have some sweet display of one divine attribute, others of another, which they may communicate to each other, to their mutual joy and increase of knowledge. Just as Christians now, though their search may be after all truth, yet one may have a bright discovery of one truth, and another of a distinct truth, and so on—by which they may improve and edify one another. Thus, every time they meet in heaven, it will be with additional degrees of knowledge, felicity, and glory.

Moreover, the angels, these heavenly courtiers, that have explored the Godhead for many thousand years, will communicate their knowledge to all the happy adorers—for, in the world of spirits, every intelligent being can freely converse with one another.

But, above all, Jesus, who has been the prophet to his church in the militant state, will continue to be her prophet in the triumphant state; and, as far as his divine wisdom sees fit—will unfold to them more and more the mysteries of grace, the treasuries of glory, the depths of Deity, the secrets of God!

5. As all these worlds are but like the cities of one kingdom, the states of one republic, the members of one family, and the servants of one God. May not the inhabitants, being nimble as the angels of light, visit one another? But O how different from the visits below! The praise of God fill every mouth, and his glory shine in every countenance. Thrice happy guests! They will set out from world to world—as swift as angels, or quick as thought! And to hear, and speak, and learn still more and more of God—will be their constant employment, and soul-refreshing theme. If the sweets of society and friendship be esteemed among the sons of men; how shall the sweets of sacred friendship and sinless society be esteemed among the sons of God!

6. May not we suppose poor sinners, who are shut up in the gulf of hell—to be like state prisoners, who hear their offended sovereign passing in triumph, attended by his loyal nobles, and happy favorites—but no ray of hope for them! They therefore gnaw their very chains in the anguish of despair! And, with redoubled howlings, and severest remorse, bewail themselves as banished forever from the glory of his power, which shines in such an assembly, and beams brightly in redeeming love.

And they shall feel the added sense of divine displeasure striking into every power and faculty of their soul forever. Oh! how must the torments of sinners, the anguish of damnation, be heightened, sharpened, and pitched up to the highest pitch, by this sad reflection—that their state is fixed, and their misery shall endure to all eternity, in the fullest meaning of the word—in spite of all that witless votaries for hell have said to the contrary!

7. Wherever the saints, the ransomed of the Lord, may dwell—it must be in heaven, and they shall be blessed with the presence of the man Christ; for he is their Head, and they are his members. Angels, and all the happy worlds, are related to him as their Creator and supreme good—but the saints claim him as their Brother, their Husband, their Head, their Redeemer; and, by this relation, have an honor superior to any other created intelligence!

8. Whatever delight and satisfaction all these intelligent beings may find in searching into the wonders of creation, into that astonishing variety that may prevail among the inhabitants of the numerous worlds, (since even among the angels, who are all immaterial beings, we find thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim;) yet, every happy adorer will join the psalmist of old, "Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none I desire but you!" None in all these millions of worlds—that I desire besides you!

Though the students on divine subjects shall be innumerable, yet every divine perfection, being infinite, shall afford them ample scope for their searches. For I am of opinion, that their knowledge shall be so acute and comprehensive, that the motions, laws, and universal connection that the systems of nature have with one another—shall be familiar and easy to them. But, with what growing wonder, and holy delight, shall they admire that Power who produced such numerous worlds from mere nothing—from pure nothing! and called such mighty spirits as the angels into being with a word! And how will the most penetrating geniuses of angels, or of men, or other intelligent beings, find themselves lost in searching into God's self-existence and essence! His essential being is so infinite, that it defies, and will forever defy, their researches. Compared with him, all these millions of angels, and millions of worlds, with their inhabitants, are but as an atom—to space; or a point—to infinity! In this infinite essence, the happy inquirers will find glories forever new!

Moreover, how will they be completely ravished to think, (though no creature can understand how,) that this great God, in three co-equal persons, have existed with all the necessary attributes of infinity, omnipotence, omniscience, an immutability, as well as holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, from all evermore!

Likewise, the works of providence in every world, and respecting every individual, will be a noble theme to the heirs of felicity! Also, the salvation of sinners, by the incarnation, sufferings, and atonement of the Son of God—will be the wonder of all the glorious intelligences, as well as the song of the redeemed.

9. Finally, the Lord shall rejoice in all his works, and his glory shall continue forever—while to millions of millions he communicates of his goodness through eternity! Compared with those in bliss—what a small handful shall lie under his burning indignation forever! But, O melancholy thought! perhaps my dear friends, my daily companions, or my near relations—may be among the unhappy people! O that they may be made to flee from the wrath to come!

To add no more, how dark are our views, and how ignorant are we of the world to come! But this may fill us with solid joy—that it is wholly in his hand, who will make his people happy in and with himself forever—whose presence is fullness of joy, and to be at whose right hand is pleasure evermore!