Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Mercy going before God, makes meeting him a mercy

God and I must meet; there is a day appointed for it; and surely the thoughts thereof would be like death, and worse, were I not assured that mercy goes before him. Why, then, should I be afraid to meet with God, since mercy goes before his face? Mercy means no ill—will do no harm—displays the flag of peace—proclaims the manifesto, that "mercy shall be built up forever." But how shall I know that mercy goes before his face! Because truth goes hand in hand with mercy; and the veracity of truth forbids me to doubt the certainty of mercy.

How must the heart of a guilty rebel rejoice—to find that pardon is proclaimed by his offended sovereign! Mercy and truth are the best means of preserving the kings of the earth, and when they exercise it, their throne is upheld by mercy. But the King of heaven, in every act of his administration, preserves mercy and truth; and in them establishes his throne. The King of kings will never go without his royal retinue, his life-guards—mercy and truth shall form the van—justice and judgment support his throne—infinity, eternity, and immutability carry his crown—power and omnipotence bear the robe of royalty—wisdom and righteousness hold the regal scepter—graciousness, long-suffering, and patience proclaim his sacred name—and love encircles all the flaming train!

In every circumstance, then, I can be in, I have comfort; for, in his providence towards me, mercy goes before him; and it works for my good; yes; even in my afflictions, mercy goes before him, and I am chastened, that I may not be condemned with the world. Thus mercy is the precious ointment that, in all things, at all times and in all places—casts its pleasant scent abroad, and perfumes his conduct towards me.

And whenever, or wherever I meet God; whether in the dissolving pang, or solemn appearance at his bar, I shall find him a reconciled Father, and all his affections yearning for the son of his adoption. Neither the hour of death, therefore, nor the day of judgment, shall terrify me. "But I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known your faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up forever; your faithfulness shall you establish in the very heavens!"