Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Love in its fourfold extension

"I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God's love." (Ephesians 3:17-18)

Some things may have—height as the heavens, depth as the sea, and breadth and length as the earth. But divine love has a height which cannot be seen, a depth which cannot be sounded, a length which cannot be limited, and a breadth which cannot be measured! O Lord! may I know your love in its depth, in bringing me out of the lowest hell; in its height, in setting me on the Redeemer's throne; in its breadth, in making me an heir of God; and in its length, in eternalizing my bliss in the regions of glory! This love, in its depth, recovers and restores fallen man to endless felicity; in its height, crowns and confirms the church of the first-born; the inhabitants of the better country walk at liberty in its breadth, and rejoice in its length, its eternal duration.

You, Lord, have, in your love, been my dwelling-place before the mountains were brought forth; and are my dwelling-rock while I wander in the howling desert, and will be my temple when sun and moon are no more. Well does your love deserve a fourfold definition, that answers my fourfold situation. You have loved me with an everlasting love, when in the loins of my parents, therefore with loving kindness do you draw me to yourself. You love me now, when I appear in this world, a man composed of soul and body; therefore do you reveal yourself to me. You will love me when I exist in a separate state, when my body is laid in the silent grave, and my soul carried to the world of spirits; therefore, at my dissolution, shall I enter into the joy of my Lord. And you will love me when my soul and body are united again; therefore you will pass the gracious sentence on me, in the sight of men and angels; and, in the sight of the whole world, present me with a crown of life, a crown of glory, which fades not away. When I lay weltering in my blood, it pitied me; when running on in the mad career of sin, it converted me; and now that I am reconciled, your love will never leave me—but at last will crown my graces with perfection.

Your glorious love extends to every point, to every quarter. In the rugged path of life, it supports me; amidst the sorrows of life, it comforts me; in the hour of death, it is my sun and shield; and at the day of judgment, shall spread all heaven before me. This love, in its depth, answers my necessities; in its height, crowns my highest expectations; in its breadth, replenishes my soul with goodness; and in its length, satiates my most enlarged desires of mind, and suits the eternity of my existence. In the depth of this love, the Son of God became man: and in its height men are made the sons of God. It locks the gates of hell, so that I shall never fall into perdition: it opens the gates of heaven, so that I shall enter in, to swim in an ocean of love, whose height and depth, breadth and length, shall be the subject and the song of the church triumphant around the throne, through everlasting day!