Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Little known of the bliss above

I verily believe the saints here are like a stranger come from the skirts of the kingdom to the chief city, who never saw anything grand or noble all his life until he came there. When he comes to the palace of the king, he is astonished to see the stately buildings, royal guards, grand attendance, delightful walks, fragrant arbors, the palace garden, and the noble personages who are admitted in. While gazing with wonder at the external appearance, he is filled with surprise to think what must be within. Rooms hung with fine tapestries, furniture gilt with gold, the throne, the crown, the scepter, and the robes of state, and all the royal inhabitants.

Even so the saints, who are charmed with the beauties of the church below, which is the house of the living God, wonder what the palace of the great King must be. For if the ordinances of his grace be pleasant beyond comparison, what must the eternal overflowings of his love be, in the land of his glory? If the exceeding great and precious promises, and the scriptures of truth, be better than thousands of gold and silver, what must the fulfilment of the one, and the subject of the other, be in the world above? How may we, when we see the outwalks of our God, the goings of our King in the sanctuary, wonder what the chamber of presence must be above!

Happy, you who stand before him, and see him on his throne, even face to face, not as we do, who only get a window-glimpse, and through the dimming glass. What must the glory of the highest heaven be, when such beauty beams in the created skies! What must that glory be that supplies the absence of the sun! What must that beatific vision be which changes the soul at its first entrance into it! What must those pleasures be which ravish every moment! and those delights which surfeit not, even while eternally enjoyed!

Surely that divine bliss is too sublime for nature's light to know about, or see into; and revelation can tell but a little of it, because of our carnality, and shallow knowledge of sacred things. Yes, should the happiness of the blessed be described in the language used before the throne, it would be too sublime to enter into a mortal ear. So that it still holds true, that ear has not heard, eye has not seen, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive—what God has laid up for his saints. But such a portion is it, that faith in them makes them endure hardships, patient under trouble, silent in affliction, joyful in tribulation; to trample on worldly greatness, riches, honor, and renown; and to endure all things, as seeing him who is invisible, and thus to wait for his son from heaven!