Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!"
(Romans 5:20)

Dear Savior, in your sufferings I not only see the infiniteness of sin, but also the infiniteness of your love; so that, though I have cause with myself to be angry on account of sin, I need not despair. If the desert of my sinful folly is death—the merit of your sufferings is life! If my sins mount up to heaven—your mercy is above the heavens! Though my sins reach to the very throne to accuse me—there is ONE upon the throne who will not condemn me! My sins, in their seven-fold abominations, can rise no higher than the throne, but the rainbow of redeeming love and grace is both around and above the throne, and that in its seven-fold beauties—power, wisdom, justice, goodness, holiness, mercy, and truth. And as all the different rays meet in one glorious beam of light, so all the attributes, all the perfections of God, are summed up in LOVE! God is graciously pleased to be called by his favorite name, "God is love!" By the mingling rays of this beauteous rainbow, all my blackness is removed, and I am clothed with his beauty!

When I look to myself and see my vileness and necessity--I am confounded with shame! But when I look to you, and see your fullness and all-sufficiency, I am confounded with wonder! Am I weak? He is my strength. Am I foolish? He is my wisdom! Am I wicked? He is my righteousness! Am I impure? He is my sanctification! Am I in bondage? He is my complete redemption! Am I in misery? From him tender mercy flows. Am I deceitful? He is wholly truth! In a word, am I enmity itself? Then he is love itself which passes understanding! Mine is but the enmity of a creature—but his love is the love of God!

Sin may raise the tempest of wrath, but can do no more. But Christ not only calms the raging tempest, but gives peace of conscience, flowing from intimations of peace with God, and makes me heir of all things! Where sin abounded—grace did much more abound! Where misery has surrounded me—mercy has crowned me! Sin is too strong for me—but your grace is too strong for sin!

Why, then, am I so vexed with fears, doubts, and unbelief? Because I am sinful? On that very account, Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin—that I, who knew no righteousness, might be made the righteousness of God in him. But I am a great sinner! Then, he is a Savior, and a great One! Where is boasting now soul? See—it is great mercy in God, great merit in Christ—which saves a great sinner! Since rich and free grace builds the temple of salvation, let it have all the glory!

But I fall often into the same sin! That is my failing, over which I ought to mourn, and by which I should be driven out of all boasting in my own holiness, high attainments, and religious duties; and cry, with tears of holy joy, "Grace, grace to him that has laid the foundation, carries on the whole work of redemption, and will, with shouting bring forth the topstone!"

Now, law, what have you to do with me? Go to my Surety, Jesus. O curse! you have lighted on his head, that the blessing might rest on mine! The brandished sword of justice, is beaten into the pruning-hook of the promise—that I may even plead justice for the blessing, as well as the performance of the promise.

Though once I dared not lift my eyes heavenward, for fear of divine wrath—yet now I may come boldly to the throne of grace, and claim the blessings of his purchase!

In fine, it is the glory of the Son of God that I am saved. Even if he had no concern for my immortal soul, yet he is jealous of his own glory, and will not cast his honor away, the honor of his justice, the honor of his love, the honor of his merits, and the honor of his word of promise—all which are concerned in my salvation. Nothing could hinder him to love me—what then shall make him hate me, seeing his love is stronger than death? He loved me when I was in a state of enmity against him—and now, when I am reconciled to him, will he be angry with me, now when I love him who first loved me? His love found me when I was wandering from him—and will he abandon me now when I am panting and seeking after him? When I was altogether sin, he had mercy on me; and will he now take vengeance upon me, when I am mourning over sin, and grieved that I offend him? I had no claim, no qualification that could cause his love to descend on me, and abide with me; but his love, in his sovereignty visited me—and in sovereignty will dwell with me forever! And though my sin offends him—I shall never sin away his love, nor his presence altogether. For he shall appear the second time without sin—and deliver me from all my inherent sinfulness!

Though my sin is my burden—it shall not be my bane! Yet I shall never willingly let the traitor rest in my bosom—which would persuade my soul into rebellion against my dearest Lord, and best friend. I may have continual war with the invader—but shall obtain the victory at last! Meanwhile, I will grieve more for offending him whose name is Love, by my sin—than for the clouds, afflictions, and chastisements which seize me because of my sinfulness.

Now, with the arms of my faith, I clasp the promise—and Jesus in the promise! Here will I live, and here will I die, blessing God, who causes me always to triumph in Jesus Christ my Lord!