Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The Traveler

'Gentlemen of taste' frequently travel abroad: and it is so much in vogue to wander over some part of the world once in life, that he is hardly accounted an accomplished gentleman that has not spent a part of his time in climates and countries remote from that which gave him birth: whence he returns rich in observations, and mightily improved, having made an accurate survey among whatever people he visited—whether as to the genius, stature, complexion, religion, laws, government, rites, and dress of the natives: or the merchandise, produce, rivers, soil, air, language, etc. of the country. And does this render men more agreeable company, to have glanced from head to foot, as it were, over only one page of the great volume of creation? For what is our earth in comparison of God's handy works?

His observations must be few, since the shortness of his life forbids him to stay long abroad, unless he intends to drop his dust in the tour: which unhappy event has many a time sent sorrow across the seas, for the dear youth that shall see his native land no more.

Now, to compare earthly things with heavenly—how accomplished must the soul be, that shall be an eternal searcher into the perfections of God, an entranced beholder of the beauties of paradise: that shall take a tour through the fields of bliss, and be a traveler in the region of glory! If this 'mole-hill heap' is surprising for many things found therein, as mountains towering to the clouds, volcanoes spewing melted fire, extremes of heat and cold, and creatures of tremendous shape and size, and all in this small speck of earthly creation; what must the numerous excellences be of his kingdom, which is higher than the heavens! O the beauties on the other side creation! O the glories which beam in pure essential day! All things in time, only improve us for another in the things that are temporal: but there the improvement is for eternity, and the mind enlarged for God.

O happy day! when I shall rove over the extent of paradise, lost in wonder, and ravished with delight, amidst his excellences! O the innate beauty of his laws, the glory of his reign, the splendor of his throne, the mysteries of his being and workings, and the wonders of his love! O the loveliness of the inhabitants of the better country! O the rivers of pleasures which water the true Canaan! How pure the religion of the inner temple! What ecstacy and ravishment shall rise from beholding all these beatitudes, all these glories—as one eternally involved in them all!

Travel, then, you sons of fortune, towards every wind: rest not in the old continent—but ransack them all. Let nothing pass unobserved, and be delighted with the productions of the fertile Arabia, or the teeming Indies. Let the magnificence of the opulent East attract your attention, and the curiosities of the learned West gain your regard.

Not satisfied with the narrow appearance of this 'atom hung upon nothing', I wait for the dawning of celestial day, to commence an everlasting travel through all the glories above. Surveying the perfections of God, I shall hold on my journey through unnumbered ages. In my tour I shall find curiosities which could never enter into the conception of travelers below. Let them talk of the magnificent structure, or pleasant situation of the metropolis of every kingdom, I shall see the city of the mighty King, whose foundations are precious stones, whose walls are jasper, whose gates are pearls, and the streets and city pure gold, like transparent glass; whose laws are love, and whose light is glory. I shall see those people who are immortal, and cannot die—a kingdom where every subject is a king, where every servant has a throne, and sways a scepter. I shall see an assembly of worshipers, that are all priests, high-priests, and are admitted into the holy of holies forever. I shall see the blessed effects of death, and the ecstasies of men that spring from the agonies of our incarnate God. I shall see children of wrath made heirs of life, and the family of heaven married to the family of earth, yes, to the heirs of hell! These are wonders to be wondered at, mysteries to be dwelt upon, divine curiosities to be recorded on the table of my heart, and mentioned in the grateful accents of my song. Then hasten, Lord, that day when I shall set out for eternity, and commence my journey, my immediate journey to your throne, there to explore the adorable perfections of the Godhead, the mysteries of the Trinity, and all the glories of the upper world!