Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Only a rumor heard of the triumphant state

This thought is now come into my mind—that the triumphant state of glory is but little understood, even after all the divine descriptions given thereof in sacred revelation. Not that God cannot tell—but man cannot hear; for when Paul was caught up to the third heaven, and his ear opened to hear the Hosannas of the higher house, he says, he had heard ineffable things, which it was not fit, proper, or becoming for a man to reveal, because the language of eternity cannot be adapted to the dialect of time. After all the pleasing and glorious metaphors used to represent eternal felicity, still there is a deficiency, though neither from the fullness of that felicity, nor the divine Relater—but from us who hear. Were the definition too refined, the relation too sublime, we would not be able to comprehend it. Therefore, things that make up the excellences of this lower world, on which men fix their esteem, place their delight and settle their affections—are chosen to illustrate it.

Hence it is called a kingdom—for there the King Eternal keeps his court; there majesty and honor, glory and renown, are before his face; there are vast dominion, noble privileges, sweet society, and mutual connections.

But as a kingdom is subject to concern and change, therefore it is called a crown of glory, which fades not away—an eternal day, where saints shine as suns; a royal palace, where there is unceasing harmony, and divine delight; an inheritance in light, and a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

And as paradise, or the garden of God, was the sum of created perfection, from whence the first Adam was driven, so the heavenly state is called paradise, being the place where the brightest display of uncreated glory is given, and where the second Adam, Lord of all, has entered. Gems, pearls, and precious stones, which men wear on their hands and heads, are but the metaphors of their streets and walls, which are far more excellent than those things that shadow them out. What, then, must be the liberty, the privileges, the happiness of the inhabitants! But as death destroys all possessions, and darkens the brightest day, therefore this is a state of the most permanent bliss, immortal life, eternal vigor, and perpetual bloom.

But as to live alone is not consistent with complete happiness, or congruous to the human soul, that is not made to be alone; so in the better country there is an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and church of the first-born, and God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in whose presence is fullness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. Rivers of living water, and the tree of life bending with fruits of paradise, set out the sufficiency, satisfaction, and abundance of spiritual refreshment and delight that abound there.

But still, there is something in the blessed state above, which supplies the soul with the fullest tides of serenest rapture, ecstasy, and joy—of which all these descriptions of felicity come infinitely short; and that is, the vision and fruition of the Lamb, participation of the divine nature, living in and with God, and communion with Jehovah—pitched up to the highest degree of divine intimacy, carried on through eternity in an uninterrupted out-going of the soul towards her supreme and chief good; and receiving the divine emanations of all his adorable perfections, breathed by the Holy Spirit into all the panting, enlarging affections, and powers of the sanctified soul!

But what this is, who can tell? How shall finite and infinite meet? Will God in very deed dwell with man and in man? Shall man in very deed dwell in and with God? Shall a finite spirit have communion with the Father of spirits? Oh! what remains to be revealed in that exalted state, which has not yet entered into the heart of man! Prepare, my soul, prepare for that felicity to come, which is sufficient to satisfy with transport and delight—ten thousand heavens of seraphim, much more my shallow mind!