Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

A state after Death


Indeed, the most part of men live as if there were no futurity, no hereafter; as if they should altogether drop out of being the moment they drop their mortal frame. But, notwithstanding the confined views of depraved mortals, a noble prospect opens beyond death—the hope of the heaven-espoused bosom. Surely, as the prisoner, long detained in the dreary dungeon, when allowed to pass the prison door, to be possessed of liberty once more—looks with delight on unbounded fields of day; and, with a kind of greedy joy, scans the whole surrounding skies. So, when my soul, through the door of death, shall escape from this clay prison, in which I daily groan, and pass through the confines of time, I shall rise at once into eternity itself, look around on fields of light, on floods of glory; and, with the overflowings of a holy joy—see felicity, in its infinite plenitude!

What does it matter, then, though my dust mingles for a while with the earth, and my memory perishes among the sons of men—if my immortal soul, all activity and life, is going out unweariedly in praising the Fountain of glory, and wellspring of salvation? If my death be happy—my eternity shall be blessed. If his beams dispel the darkness of death—I shall walk in the light of his countenance forever. In that state of bliss, all my bliss shall be according to the state of the King. I shall live in his smile, and be ravished with his emanations; I shall walk in his light, and be conformed to his likeness. I shall drink of his pleasures, put on his strength, and partake of the divine nature! O how every power of soul shall burn in his beams, brighten in his glory, and kindle in his love!

Then will this dying worm begin to live after the manner of angels; then shall this luke-warm soul love in a degree akin to seraphim, and join in the raptures of the harpers before the throne. Here, on this earth, I have seen some of his steps of majesty—but there shall I behold him in all his glory, and my soul shall have, through his own amazing condescension, such refined apprehensions, such a clear and lively knowledge of him, that I may be said to "see him face to face, and to know as I am known." There I shall walk in white in the presence of the undivided Trinity—and shall enjoy communion with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit forever. I shall admire all his dazzling glories, adore all his divine perfections, and be possessed of pleasures as large as my wish, pure as the bliss of angels, immortal as my own soul, and liberal as the bounty of the glorious Giver. Again, whatever glorious things and sacred bliss I am possessed of, this adds to its excellency—that it is eternal; while my toils shall all dissolve in endless rest, my griefs in everlasting joy, and my sorrows in eternal songs!

Surely, when I see such a state before me, I am astonished that my state below, whatever it be, should trouble me, more than a bad day or dirty road should inconvenience a king going to his coronation. That happiness of which I am an expectant, as much transcends his, as his does that of the most wretched galley-slave. Then, at that day when the world shall say of me, 'He is no more'—I shall begin to be what will crown my highest aim, and satisfy my whole desires—an abiding inhabitant in the world above, where I shall enjoy God, the inconceivable good, in an inconceivable manner, through endless ages! Then, a few moments—and I am no more in this world. And again, a few moments—and I am with Jesus for evermore!