Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Saints have the greatest reason to rejoice!

No wonder that Paul doubles his admonition to the converted Philippians, "Rejoice in the Lord always—again I say rejoice;" for nothing better befits the saints than spiritual joy—though none are greater strangers to what they have so good a title, than they. The joy of the sinner and the laughter of the fool are alike—just as the crackling of thorns under a pot—nothing but a noise, and quickly gone. But it is not so with the saints, for there is more joy even in their penitential groans, more consolation in their mourning—than in all the gladness of the carnal world. What should make the children of a King sad—with such a Sovereign as Jesus—who is "the King eternal, invisible, immortal, dwelling in light inaccessible, and full of glory;" who alone has immortality essentially, and in the light of whose countenance saints commence their journey here towards his more immediate presence; and shall hereafter hold on their journey towards his adorable perfections forever!

If my hope can lay hold on Jesus; if my faith can fasten here, I ought certainly to be filled with more joy than I have; and, from this divine relation to him who is the Lord of the whole creation, should be possessed of a joy that shall be more than a match for all sublunary sorrow. Indwelling sin, prevailing temptation, and tempestuous corruption only claim perpetual sorrow, and unceasing lamentation; yet, with the great apostle, while with one breath I cry, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" I may in another breath say, in view of the sure and sweet deliverance that shall come, "I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Does it befit those to be sad—who are possessors of all things? and, O saints! "all things are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Is it seemly for those to weep—at whose conversion angels joy, and on whose account heaven and earth are in harmony? Is it fitting for a child of God—to bewail the loss of a pebble—when he has a crown set with diamonds, yes, a crown of glory that fades not away, reserved for him? Is it congruous for the expectants of celestial bliss to lament the loss of earthly trifles—when the treasures of eternity are reserved for them? Is it fitting for the spiritual spouse, the Lamb's wife, to be inconsolable at the death of a carnal relation—when the Husband, who is better than any, than all other relatives, is eternally alive?

How pathetic is it, in the one who is born from above—to look dejected because the world looks down upon him—when God beholds him with a pleasant countenance? How foolish would it be, for one traveling through a strange country to be disquieted because the children of every town stare at his foreign dress, or the fools laugh at him in his journey; when he is conscious that his king is acquainted with his character, approves his journey, and will honor his arrival home?

In a word, how abject and base for the Christian to complain of the whirlwinds scattering his mole-hill of sand; when the treasures of eternity shall enrich him for evermore!

Now I reprove my sorrow, and reprehend my sadness. I will rejoice in the Rock of my salvation with acclamations and shouting! Yes, sometimes I would gladly emulate the cherubim in their sublimest strains, did not the sight of so much dishonor done to the divine majesty by others always, and by myself too often, make my joys recoil, and inward sorrow flow. Yet in you will I rejoice, until the day dawns, when I shall enter into the joy of my Lord, which likewise entering into me, shall be my everlasting strength!