Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The Divine Lover

How many great geniuses have employed their noble talents on subjects of human love! And by their flowery expressions, pitch up the imaginary bliss in these luscious scenes to such a height, as if nothing more sublime could be pursued by immortal souls! And how easy such trifling subjects gain on carnal minds, mournful experience may convince us. But where is he who dwells on the Divine Lover, and expatiates on his matchless grace, with strokes that melt the soul with astonishment and rapture? How often does the poet, in his paean of a created beauty, step beyond the truth, talk at random, yes rove above possibility itself! But here, in the love of the Son of God, we can never exceed. It is higher than heaven, and brought him down from his father's bosom to our earth! It is deeper than hell, and brought us up from thence! It is larger than the sea, and can never be exhausted! Broader than the earth, and can never be described. How vehemently did the heavenly flame burn, even "when sorrows of death compassed him about, when the pains of hell took hold on him!"

How has art and oratory embellished human loves!—What surprising narratives have been written of the amours of princes! and what pages have been filled with the fictitious adventures of lovers! But what has been said to purpose of the Supreme Lover, who loved his own to the end, in the hour of death, in the pangs of dissolution, and amidst the keenest sense of his Almighty Father's wrath! This is what no mortal ever could do; for death flings another theme into their mind, and as their breath expires, their thoughts perish. Death, in the person loving or beloved, finishes the strongest affection, though their memory may be dear; but death cannot separate from his sacred love.

There never was such disproportion between parties loving and beloved, as here; no, not though kings should choose their queens from the ash-heap. Here the Prince of peace, the king of kings, the flower of paradise, the darling of his father's love, the express image of his person, and brightness of his glory, the heir of all things, the eternal God—loves an ugly, deformed miserable creature, a crawling worm, a condemned criminal, an insolvent debtor, a rebel against heaven, a daring sinner, a drudge to hell, a slave to lust, a captive of Satan, a prisoner of the pit! This is love indeed, love that will be the wonder of angels, and the song of the church of the first-born through endless ages.

For shame you celebrated bards! will you choose such lifeless, tasteless, dying themes—and neglect the work of angels, the employment of heaven? How ardently, O Divine Lover! should my soul go out after You! I long for that glorious day, when I shall mourn Your absence no more--when, admitted into Your presence, I shall delight in all Your love, and feast on all Your charms, world without end!