Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

True Joy

Sometimes, indeed, I am amazed at the joy of sinners, while those who have the greatest cause of exultation are rather too sad. Yes, I wonder that, on due consideration, joy of soul bursts not my mortal frame. Though I should never think highly of myself, yet I should never think lowly or basely of the manifestations of the love and favor of God. What shall I, then, think of this quiet of mind, this peace of God which passes understanding—pouring into my soul, and giving me the life of a prince—while one would be ready to conclude that I lived like a prisoner? What of this dwelling under the smile of Heaven? this joy that I have in believing these transforming glances of glory, which give a sweet promise of the fruition to come, and make me long for the day of perfect communion with God? What of my daily allowance from the table of the King, yes, sometimes my being allowed to eat at the King's table of the hidden manna, and bread of life—and to behold his glory with the eye of faith.

Surely, then, I ought to sing and rejoice; for as the sorrow of the world works death, so the joy that is spiritual tends to life. God remembers both the place and time where he lets out his love to his people. Hence, "I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your espousals." Dare I, then, despise the day of small things, or forget what God may be pleased to remember? And if I look but a little further to the end of my life, which is perhaps nearer than I realise—what a flood of glory waits to replenish my enlarged soul, when sin and imperfection shall be put off, and perfection put on! Should not such a happy change, secured to me by the faithfulness of him who cannot lie—but who rests in his love, cause a continual joy in my soul?

I daily see sinners, whose life is one scene of joviality, one round of mirth—and yet they know not on what account they are so cheerful. And why should I be sad, who have the truest cause of purest joy? Neither should the outward troubles of time disquiet me—any more than a king riding in his coach of state, attended with his guards, should be disturbed that dust should fly round him, or a gentle shower fall on him, when screened from both. So I am safe in the promise; yes, I ride in the chariot of my Beloved with greater security, and statelier bearing—than the kings of this world, could ever boast of.

Hasten your flight, O time, that I may see him whom I love, for whom I long, on whom I have fixed my affection, and with whom my soul dwells by faith. Now will I rejoice in you with a joy superior to those who divide the spoil; and wait for the day when I shall be allowed to bring to the throne of your glory, the tribute of praise for all your mercies to me, and among the rest—for this true substantial joy.