Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


Mathematicians have never attempted to measure eternity, or the duration of the world to come. Here the finite mind has no idea of eternity but by succession of ages, and yet succession belongs to time, not to eternity.

Days, weeks, and months, are nothing there; years, ages and generations are lost there; hundreds, thousands, and millions are no more there; times, eras, and determinate durations are forever gone there; all is fixed, all eternal there! There is no first and last, sooner and later, in eternity; for though Abel, with respect to time, was sooner plunged into perpetuity, yet no sooner than the saints that shall be alive at the last day, with respect to eternity.

The saints are like so many guests assembling to a feast, some are set down, some sitting down, some standing ready to sit down, some entering the door, and some at a little distance from the house, yet all come in due time for the feast. Adam, Enoch, and Elijah, are set down at the banquet of love; the prophets and apostles are set down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb; some are entering the door of bliss, and many are on their way there; but they shall all come time enough to the divine entertainment which shall satisfy all the guests in the mansions of glory.

Alas! with what desperate madness am I chargeable—who am thus taken up with transitory trifles, and neglect the realities of the everlasting world? When I consider the vanity of all earthly greatness, I cannot help concluding, that such as pursue after it are intoxicated with poison more dangerous than that of the tarantula; which makes men die by dancing; as the one effects the soul, the other only the body. But even if the pleasures of this world were real and solid, yet they are so transient, that they are not worthy our pursuit. O how wise they are for earthly trifles—but how foolish for eternal realities! For what man, to appear in all the majesty and grandeur of a king for a day, would forfeit his estate, and spend the rest of his miserable life in poverty and reproach? And yet for vanity, for trifles of a day, we throw ourselves away for eternity!

I look forward a few years, perhaps a few days, and see myself in eternity: but I cannot look still more forward, and see myself out of eternity into another state. O Eternity! I am to be in you forever; and why should you not be in all my thoughts? You shall shortly overtake me; why then should I chase you from me, or flee away from you?

It matters not much to him who is going but out of one door into another, whether it be in a summer heat, or winter-blast—since a few steps finish his journey. Nor should it much more concern him who enters by the gate of death into the palace of the great King, his mansion for eternity, whether it be under the sun-shine of prosperity, or the bitter blast of adversity; because the one cannot profit him, nor the other pain him there. And our journey, from our coming into this world, until our going into the world of spirits, though we should reach the age of Methuselah, is performed sooner with respect to eternity, than our going from one room to another in respect of time. Now, my moments are numbered, and precious; but, O that blessed state when numbers are no more!

No incursions there on the adoring soul, from the world, or from vanity, from sin, Satan, or the flesh. No weariness there, where my adorations are not measured by minutes, cramped by corruption, or cut short by bodily indisposition. But when I have stood an ardent adorer before the throne for ten thousand years, I shall be as vigorous in my love, as active in my adorations, as in the first moment I began the work of angels, the employment of heaven.

Now vain thoughts mingle with my contemplations, distractions with my devotions, impertinent rovings with my most importunate prayers; unbelief resists my faith, carnality is a clog to the heavenly mind, corruption a dead weight on the soul, and the things of time a hindrance to all. But then I shall be delivered into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

Once a great king made a great feast for his nobles for a hundred and eighty days; nothing less than a royal treasury could support the expense of such an entertainment. But the King of kings shall feast and satiate all his mighty angels, all his chosen people on his own undiminished fullness through eternity itself! Here is bliss without ceasing, abundance beyond all bounds, and possession without end! No matter, then, how long I live in this present world; for whenever the lamp of life expires, the sun shall rise and shine forever! "In Your presence is fullness of joy! In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore!" (Psalm 16:11)