Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


I have hitherto had faint views of divine wrath, though I have indeed had frightful apprehensions of fire; gloomy ideas of the bottomless pit, and shocking thoughts of the state of the damned. But, there is one expression of our Savior's, which gives me a clearer view of divine vengeance, than all the anguish of the damned can do. Observe the God-man in his spotless innocence—suffering in our stead, carrying our sorrows, and bearing our grief. Although he knew he would triumph, and come off victorious, that he should see of the travail of his own soul, and be satisfied; and that, though he laid down his life, he should take it up again. Yet see, when the flood-gates of divine vengeance are opening on Immanuel—and pouring out wrath on him—how his soul, which is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death, suffers in such a manner—that his blood forces a passage at every pore, and in great drops trickles down upon the ground! while he puts up a petition which I should never forget, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" Which is as if he had said, 'Could you be glorified, justice satisfied, and the elect saved, any other way than by my drinking this tremendous cup of wrath—O let it be done! yet not my will—but may yours be done.'

Now, if thus the Son of God in our nature expressed himself under a sense of wrath, how dreadful, terrible, and intolerable must it be! what are streams of melted brimstone, floods of fire, utter darkness, the worm which never dies, the horrid gulf, the bottomless pit, the tormenting company of fiends and devils—but as it were—vehicles to convey wrath into the damned? for the wrath of the Almighty, of which the wicked must drink forever, is something above and beyond all these! "Who knows the power of your wrath!" "Who can stand if you are angry?" How must 'guilt' scream, when 'innocence' itself cries out so! How must despair roar, when he who was heard in that he feared, expresses himself in such a manner!

Three things may remain my wonder, the compassion of the Father, the condescension of the Son, and the insensibility of the sinner. O, then—be wise before instructed in the world of flames!