Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

On the Scriptures

An entertaining history, or a striking description of some famous battle will challenge our attention, and cause us to light another candle. But a small portion of the scriptures suffices us; yes, some are more occupied with a well-written romance, than with all the interesting truths of the word of God. This is my lamentation.

Ah! how am I to blame—who do not more value this invaluable book, where the style is lofty, the images striking, the figures beautiful, the harmony conspicuous, the subjects of infinite consequence, and the glory of God the scope of all. Here corruption and grace are portrayed to the life; and the struggles of the old and new man set forth in an instructive light. Here are arrows that pierce the stubborn heart, and balm of comfort for the bleeding soul. Here kings are taught how to reign, and princes how to judge; and here is an unerring directory for churches in their public, and Christians in their private capacities, to walk by. This is the armory of heaven, from which I may be furnished with weapons for my spiritual warfare; for the sword of the Spirit is the word of God.

Like a kindly comforter, the Word stills my complaints, chases away my sorrows, cheers my sinking spirit, revives my hope, strengthens my faith, and sets me above the hurricanes of time. This feeds me with manna; not the manna of the wilderness, of which all who ate are died—but the divine manna, preserved in the golden pot of the promise, laid up in the ark of the covenant of grace, for all the chosen seed. Surely "your words were found me, and I ate them, and your word was the joy and rejoicing of my heart." This is the only food that can support the strength of the traveler heavenward. This makes my table so well furnished, and so richly spread, in presence of my foes. With this my cup overflows; and this is my daily allowance from the King's table, until the day I am admitted to sit at table with the King. "The words of your mouth are better to me than thousands of gold and silver. I rejoice at your word as one that finds great spoil."

Without this sacred book I would have no happiness here, no hope for the future; for it is the Christian's charter for the glorious inheritance above. The bible is my directory in all conditions, at all times, in all difficulties, amidst all companies, and in all places. To be condemned to read a human composition again and again, would be intolerable; but to be debarred from reading the scriptures, would be death. They are always savory and refreshful to the spiritual taste; as the traveler drinks at the stream that attends him through the desert, as often as he is parched with thirst, and finds it always refreshful. Those truths, which at one time we read with a belief that they are divine, come at another time, when the Spirit breathes on them with such power, that in them we hear God talking with us, and our heart burns within us.

Here time is bounded, and eternity brought forth: the world set on flames, and the new creation formed; here heaven and earth talk together, God and man converse; here conscience is accosted, thoughts discerned, and secrets brought to light; so that the Word is both full of eyes, and solemn all around.

This is the light of revelation, which dispels the darkness of corrupt nature, shows me the world to come, sets the judgment-throne, sounds the trumpet, gathers the nations, passes the sentence, and brings in eternity! Yes from this sacred volume, I may learn on what hand I shall stand, and what my sentence will be in that tremendous day.

May I build for myself a dwelling in the word of promise which shall stand when the hail shall sweep away the refuges of lies. From this dear book, will I choose my songs in the house of pilgrimage; and will count myself happier with a few promises from it, than if possessed of scepters, crowns, and kingdoms. This is the window at which the Beloved looks out; the lattice through which he shows himself—until the day breaks and the shadows flee away. In a word, this sacred word is the beauteous day-star that gives the pleasant dawn, until the Sun himself arises and shines in the sky of glory.