Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Fear, and other passions

Four things I should fear—God, myself, temptation, and sin. I should fear God, for his greatness; self, for its infirmity; temptation, for its danger; and sin for its defilement. I should fear God with love; myself with caution; sin with hatred; and temptation with resolution. The fear of God will take away the fear of man; the fear of self will moderate the love of self; the fear of sin will make watchful against sin; and the fear of temptation will be an antidote against temptation. My fear of God should be constant with cheerfulness; of self, constant with trembling; of sin, constant with watchfulness; and of temptation, constant with vigilance. The first is my attainment; the second is my duty; the third is my wisdom; and the fourth is my prudence.

The fear of sin shall fly away, when I am made perfect in holiness, and pass into glory; the fear of self shall cease, when self is put off, and God is all in all; the fear of temptation, when Satan is trodden under my feet. But the fear of God shall endure forever; only the panic is removed, when love is made perfect, and casts out fear; for the fear of saints, struggling, with a body of sin and death, has torment in it; but there is no torment in the fear of seraphic hosts, who, with the profoundest awe and reverence before the throne, cover their faces with their wings. I see, then, that love, accompanied with fear that has cast out the torment of terror, shall dwell in every glorified bosom.

Several things should be the objects of my most ardent desire; as, the lessening of Satan's kingdom; the downfall of the Roman Antichrist and the Mohammedan delusion; the conversion of the Jews; the spreading of the gospel and knowledge of God through the world; the growth of practical religion in every bosom; and the hastening of the glory of the latter days.

Several things I should admire and wonder at; as, the being and perfections of God; the unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity; the love of God; the incarnation of the Son; the passion of Christ; the purchase of his sufferings; the names of Immanuel; the offices of the Redeemer; the relations of the God-man; the Holy Spirit's indwelling in the soul; the union of saints to their Head; the communion of creatures with God; the justification of the guilty; the sanctification of the unclean; the glorification of man—who is but a worm; the great and precious promises; the excellency of grace; the efficacy of faith; the nature and immortality of the soul; and the glories of the world to Come.

Several things I should mourn over; as, the hardness of my heart; my ignorance of God; my luke-warmness in the matters of his glory; the prevalence of sin; my lack of love; my promptitude to revenge; my delight in created enjoyments; a carnal mind and tongue; and carelessness about the concerns of the unseen world. And abroad In the world, I should mourn over the degeneracy of the times; the corruption of morals; the abounding of iniquity; the trampling on truth; and the adorning of the temple of error; which, if attacked, the outcry is made, "Great is the light of nature! Great the power of free will, and the excellency of morality! Great is the goddess of the universe!"

Several things I should seek above all others; as, the glory of God to more than all other things; his honor more than my credit; and his love more than my own life. And I should grieve more at the sins of others, than for my own sorrows and afflictions, and count my sins a heavier burden than my afflictions. I should esteem the promise of eternal life more than the possession of all created things, and inward joy more than outward peace.

And, finally, in the midst of all, several things should cause me to rejoice; as that God governs all things; that all things shall work for his glory, and the good of his people; that righteousness shall dwell in the earth, and sin punished; that grace shall be perfected; and love be blown into a flame, when eternal life is the portion of the soul, and God is all in all in heaven, where vision shall be perfect, fruition complete, communion inconceivably and divinely near, knowledge full, and the saints, (in the highest perfection that creatures can attain unto,) made partakers of the divine nature! Now, what joy may it afford, that the glory of this day, the dawning of eternal glory, is not very far away?