Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

A glance into heavenly bliss

All at once I find myself in an unbounded flood of bliss, a spacious sea of glory—lost in wonder amidst ineffable divinities, and transported with the raptures of seraphic harmony! The first and reigning glory is, that Jehovah keeps his royal court in person here. His dwelling-place is enriched with the richest profusion of his love, with the brightest displays of his goodness! While all his saints rejoice in his excellent glory, what ardor glows in every soul, what rapture swells in every song! O the adorable displays of his perfections! the manifestations of his goodness, the outlettings of his love! and the fellowship which is between him and his hidden ones! The fullness of the Father, treasured in the Son, dispensed by the Spirit—is the crown-charter of the kingdom above, where the royal privilege of every inhabitant carries him to the utmost extent of glory.

What buildings are these? They are the palaces of the great King, the mansions of our Immanuel, of which there are many in his Father's house. And they are all magnificent, founded in grace, and furnished with glory—"The beams of our house are cedar, and the rafters are fir." Aging shall never enter here, and nothing shall decay. What a beautiful city is the New Jerusalem! of which the Lord God and the Lamb are the light! How glorious are its gates, where pearls of essential beauty sparkle! and all the attributes of God blaze divinely bright!

There trophies of eternal victory lie beneath Immanuel's feet. He is our elder brother, our near kinsman, and our husband. This is the relation from which our grandeur springs, our being married into the high and honorable family of heaven. What a blessing is it to be brethren to the Son of God, and hear him declare his Father's name to us! O the assimilating beams of glory that dart from his eyes, and shoot likeness with the ray! We see him, and are like him; we are like him, and love him, and are eternally happy! No wonder that the world was such a waste and howling wilderness, such a dry and thirsty desert, such a land of heat and drought—compared to the heavenly Canaan, where the rivers of pleasures overflow their banks forever.

Why did we expect joys on earth? Our mortal frame could not have borne the transports of eternal day; yes, here it is all we can to bear the brightness of his beams. O love! O rapture! O ecstatic joys! O everlasting heaven! The general assembly, now met on the holy Mount Zion, the joy of the whole heaven, is an assembly of gods, all sons of the Highest, and the Lord God of gods—the Lord God of gods—dwells among them! O ineffable glory! to dwell forever in the royal pavilion of heaven, in most intimate communion with the eternal, immortal, and invisible King!

What rapturous notes are these I hear? The song of Moses and the Lamb. My soul dissolves in praise, my spirit pours out in sweet hosannahs, all heaven is melody, angels accent the song. O the charming anthems of glory! O the high strokes of the harpers around the throne! The song of the redeemed is the song of songs. We will sing to you while we live, while we have our being we will bless you. Weeping endured for a little, through the short night of time—but joy has come in the morning of the resurrection; and we have a song in this solemn assembly, and gladness, being come into the house of the Lord. Our happiness shall utter hallelujahs, our glory sing your praise, and never be silent. Sing O inhabitants of eternity, shout from the mountains of myrrh, and hills of frankincense, where you rest, and are refreshed forever. And shall these ravishing hosannahs never end, these songs of love never cease? O warbles of eternal noon! for we rest not day nor night to sing of all your glory.

Say, was I ever sad or troubled? What does it matter—since now my sackcloth is loosed, and I am clothed with bliss. Here, to the glory of the bounteous Giver, we have all things common. This God, this glory, this all—my fellow saints, without my loss, is yours, and, without any deficiency to you, is also wholly mine. Here we drink at life's immortalizing stream, and with eternal joy draw water out of the wells of salvation. From the rivers of your pleasures, O God! you will make us largely drink—"Eat O friends! drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved! for in my presence there is fullness of joy, and at my right hand are pleasures for evermore!"

O Lord Jesus, I have found you; not within your promise, not in the ordinances, as in the days of my flesh—but in the most ample displays of your eternal love, in the open fields of glory—I shall kiss you and not be despised. I have found you, and shall hold you, and not let you go through eternity!

Here we received out of his fullness—grace upon grace and glory upon glory. Our possession is worthy of our liberal Giver. We have—a kingdom which cannot be moved—an undefiled inheritance, and that does not fade away—a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. We have garments of glory, a crown of righteousness, a crown of life; the tree of life to feed upon, the fountain of life to drink of, and the garden of God to walk in. We have life above the reach of death, health secured from sickness, and pleasure without pain. Our bodies are immortal, our souls immaculate, our senses sanctified, our conceptions spiritualized, our faculties enlarged, and our whole soul replenished with divinity. Our past bliss is present with us in the sweet remembrance, our present bliss entrances in the enjoyment, and our future bliss is present with us in the full assurance of our eternal felicity. Thus we are for ever blessed to the highest degree.

We are above all fear, beyond anxiety and doubt—and fixed above all change. Our service is sincere, our adorations ardent, our knowledge profound and satisfying. Rapture rushes in at every part; our eyes are ravished with seeing the King in his beauty, our ears with hearing the songs of the inner temple, our nose with the fragrance of the Rose of Sharon, the plant of renown; our feet with standing in his holy place; our hands with handling of the word of life; and our mouth with the wine of our Beloved, which goes down sweetly, causing our souls to shout aloud—and the lips of us who were once silent in death, asleep in the grave, to sing, and never cease. Our experience of his fullness, our vision of his perfections and glory, our interest in his offices and relations, our union to the incarnate Word, our communion with all the persons of the glorious Godhead, and our participation with the divine nature—constitute our most exalted bliss, and are the heaven of heavens!

Here Jesus, of whom Solomon in all his majesty was once a languid type—is crowned with all the brightness of his Mediatorial glory; and this is the day of eternal espousals, the day of the gladness of his heart. The Bridegroom and the Bride have arrived at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, for all things are now ready. The banquet is prepared, and the guests have sat down, and the table is furnished! Blessed are those who eat the bread of life in the kingdom of God.

O the sweetness of the Lamb of God! O the honied excellency of the true manna, who came down to earth to feed us there, and is taken up to heaven to feast us here! O the table discourse of glory! O the melting language of mutual love! we never knew what communion was until here. The banquet shall never be ended, the guests shall never leave this feasting on, and with the beloved Redeemer.

The Father has loved the Son, and given all things into his hand. The Son has loved us, and given us all things richly to enjoy. The Father has loved us as his own Son! Love is love here indeed! O the sacred familiarity that is in love! O the kindness of Immanuel's heart! 'Father, I desire that those whom you have brought here, see all my glory which you have given me—for they love me, and delight in my glory!'

Lord, you that know all things, know that we love you, and that our happiness is in beholding your glory. O what torrents of eternal love teem from the throne into our souls! Now, we know that God is love, and in his love he rest towards us. And do you delight in the work of your hands? Are you charmed with the love of your creatures? "Turn away your eyes, for they have overcome me!" Nay, Lord, we have fixed our eyes on you, O you who is fairer than the sons of men, than the angels of God! On you they shall be fixed—and feast forever! Our eyes shall dwell on you, and our hearts fly out at our eyes!

Glory is a native of the better country. Glory has her habitation in our land. Darkness is debarred the regions of eternal day, and sorrow banished the realms of bliss. Our winter is over and gone, our spring is in perpetual verdure, our summer in eternal bloom. Our SUN is in his height, our day is at its noon, and there is no night here. Our love is in the flame, and our well-beloved is ours, and we are his; he feeds among the lilies. The day has broken, and the shadows blown away, and we walk with him in white; yes, we are changed from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord who dwells in us. We are called up into the mount of communion, from which we never shall come down; and here we talk and speak face to face with him, as a man speaks unto his friend; and our hearts burn within us, while he talks with us, and opens to us the mystery of redemption, the wonders of his love!

Here we search with serenity, satisfaction, and joy—into the secrets of eternity—into all the deep things of God. The perplexing contingencies of our transitory life shine now with harmony, wisdom, and goodness through the whole. And though we once complained of our own afflictions—yet now we adore his astonishing conduct with us—and confess that we were foolish in our judgments. Now true religion triumphs, piety is vested in her honorary robes; and all those who stood boldly up for the honor of the King, when trampled upon by his demented enemies—ride on white horses in his glorious retinue, clothed in the garments of salvation with a royal crown upon their head, and the royal proclamation made from the throne—Thus shall it be done through eternity, to the men whom the King delights to honor!

Blessed are the men whom you have thus chosen, and made approach unto you. Surely we are abundantly satisfied with your goodness—with the divine bounty of your temple—which you prepared for us when we were poor in the world. You have crowned the year of your grace—with your eternity of glory! The hills of glory rejoice on every side, and the heavens shout and sing to you, for you have made them glad. Though our enemies rode over our heads in the days of trouble and turmoil, yet we had power over them in the dawn of glory, in the morning of the resurrection. Though we passed through the fires of persecution, through the waters of adversity; yes through the rapid stream of death at last—yet you have brought us to a wealthy land, so that we have a goodly heritage. The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places, being led to the goodly mount which your right hand had purchased for us, O Immanuel!

Here will I pay my vows through all eternity, which I spoke in the day of my trouble, in the land of my pilgrimage. O love! never to be forgotten—which has brought me safely through so many winding labyrinths, and crooked paths, in sight of so many enemies, in spite of a tempting devil, in spite of the accusations of my sins, the rebellion of my lusts, the carnality of my affections, and the weakness of all my graces—to dwell at last forever in heavenly bliss—and bless God in the congregation of sinless adorers!

Here our vision is full and assimilating, our fruition satisfying and solacing, and our communion free and uninterrupted. O how rapturous to begin converse with the God of glory—for eternity! We have found him in Bethel, his own house, in his own heaven—and here we speak with him! Yes, we weep for joy, and pour out acclamations of ecstasy—since he will never go away. We have power over the uncreated Angel, and, in the struggles of seraphic love, we wrestle and prevail with him—that he shall never, never, never leave us. O the pleasure that is in his presence! O the exuberant rivers of joy that flow at his right hand! How much better is his love than life, and the light of his countenance than the possession often thousand creations!

Honor only dwells here. O deluded mortals!—who strive so for empty names, and transitory epithets below! For honor and majesty are before God, strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Where are all these shining sons of honor now, all the men of fame and prestige? Ah! they are enrapt up in midnight darkness!—while the righteous shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father! With what envious eye, and angry heart, do our haters, who accounted us the refuse and offscouring of all things—see us, in our princely robes, and royal apparel, mount our thrones by divine command, to judge impenitent men, and apostate angels?

How could we ever complain of being hated of all men for your sake? Why did we ever think much of the most cruel mockings, of the calumniating lip, or slandering tongue? Even then we were more than recompensed by the testimony of a good conscience, and tokens of peace from the eternal throne. But O! what a reward is this—that the ridicule of a few days should be repaid with ineffable renown in the sight of all the angels of God, through all the days of eternity! This is the true and triumphant state of glory. O, what glory to reign on high with the King of kings! to sit down with him on his throne for all ages, and never be degraded from that divine dignity!

O eternity! once the comfort of our longing expectations—now the transport of our enlarged souls! For we are ever with the Lord, seeing his unclouded face, wearing his divine name, drinking at the streams of his pleasures, eating of his hidden manna, sitting beneath the Tree of life, basking under the beams of the Sun of righteousness, singing hallelujahs to him who loved us, who washed us from our sins in his blood, and brought us here to be forever with his blessed self—sharing in his dominions, and dividing the spoil, for the warriors share the prey with the almighty Conqueror.

Here we dwell in God, and he in us; we know his love, are transformed into his glorious likeness, and made partakers of his divine nature. O state of complete happiness, and consummate bliss; only to be apprehended in the possession, known in the enjoyment, and understood in its eternal duration! Now the day has broken, the shadows fled away, and all is eternal noon! Not a desire I had—but larger than its dimensions, is fulfilled! Not a request but, more than it contained, is granted! And all my soul is satisfied and replenished with the divine plenitude of your superabundant goodness.

Come, my Beloved, let us hold the most intimate communion; here will I give you my love. Blessed I! What glorious blaze! what wonders rise! What ardors glow within! All is light and glory, all joy and exultation! All is transport and praise, all astonishment and wonder! All is vision and likeness to Jesus, all fruition and satisfaction! All is God! God and the Lamb are all in all—to all the heavenly nations—through all ages! Amen!