Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The soul's enlargement in heaven

Here the soul, confined to to its clay tenement, is like a royal personage in prison, whose grand attendance is not seen, because he cannot come abroad. While this heaven-born excellency is here below, wisdom differs but a little from folly: understanding is but a few degrees removed from ignorance: and all the mental powers are feeble. But O the enlargement of the soul in heaven! This map of future glories, now folded up in flesh, shall be extended in breadth and length above. How penetrating then shall wisdom be! how active every power! how vigorous the flame of love! how enlarged the understanding! and how beautiful in the heights of glory shall the whole soul appear!

Here, the child of grace, who was glad of a seat on the threshold of the temple, and could with joy have been but a door-keeper in the house of God; shall not only be a pillar in the temple above—but shall be a living temple, in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, shall condescend to dwell, and fill forever with his glory! O transcending bliss! to be dignified with such an inhabitant, who will write, in letters of immutable love, "This is my rest, here will I dwell forever, for I desire it, and delight in it." Yes, in fine, the soul which would be content to shine as the least star in the sky of glory, shall, in the visions of God, be extended to a transparent heaven, and spread into a cloudless sky, in which all the perfections of God shall sparkle like the stars, and the graces of the Holy Spirit, like so many planets shall roll round the sun of righteousness, eager to approach his assimilating beams, his vivifying rays: while God, the sum and source of bliss, fixed in his love in the center of the soul, shall spread his quickening flames to every corner of the heart.

No more vexations, like vapors exhaled by the heat of righteous indignation, shall fill my atmosphere with the suffocating fogs of anguish, or fall in showers of sorrow that end in streams of briny tears. Thunders and tempests there no more molest—where all is tranquility; no eclipse—where all is light; no shadow—where all is illumination; no evening—where all is everlasting day.

This sky, spread out by the fingers of redeeming love, this new created heaven, is not only beauteous—but shall be strong to stand forever; and then, and there, O how shall union be strengthened, holiness increased! How shall joy heighten, wisdom grow, knowledge ripen, communion be most free, and ecstasy and rapture swell, fill, and overflow forevermore!