Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The world asleep

The whole world is, with respect to the future eternal state, as it were, fast asleep. In this night of universal darkness and ignorance, the greater part are dreaming in their sleep, and believing themselves to be wide awake, are verily persuaded that their delusions are real, because their dreams are regular. Yes, like night-walkers, they perform the actions of a busy world in their sleep; and, confident that they are in the full use and exercise of their reason, they wage war, they buy and sell, they marry and are given in marriage, and weary and fatigue themselves in this continual dream. Now, who can persuade us in a dream, that we ourselves are dreaming? This is the true but melancholy condition of the most part of mankind—They dream, while they think themselves to be awake, and slumber over the day of life, while they seem to exert the greatest activity to obtain solid and substantial good.

Alas! neither admonition nor reproof, nor the sad example of ten thousand dreamers who have gone before, can awake individuals, until they are led by the hand of death behind the curtain, and made to look at fully on the eternal world. Nor is the general race of slumberers to be roused, until the last trumpet sound in their affrighted ears, and eternity expands awful and unknown, in their staring eyes.

There are, however, a few, (and but a few, alas!) who are spiritually awake, and whose thoughts pierce through the dark shadows of this dismal night, into the light of glory, and the regions of bliss. Such look beyond the glittering and deceitful vanities of honors, riches, pleasures, and applause—which are the present chase, (which should be the shame,) and future cheat, (which shall be the sorrow,) of a comatose world. And yet, in this imperfect state, even they are but like men struggling with the darkness of the night-watches, waiting for the morning-light, and wishing for the perfect day. Such, however, are the only people who have their loins girt; and their lamps burning, in expectation of the Bridegroom, at whose coming the day will break, the shadow flee away, and a light, seven times brighter than the noonday sun, shall shine forever on them.

Then, and not until then, shall the darkness pass, and the true light without interruption shine. While in the dark we wander, while in the gloom we grope, waiting for the longed-for day, we are ready to fall asleep, and to spend our time in slumbering thoughtlessness, in drowsy inactivity. But when the day of glory shall spring, when the light of his countenance is lifted up on us forever, and the noon of uninterrupted communion spreads around us, then, unconscious of the falling shades, unconscious of returning night—divine strength from the Rock of ages shall invigorate every power of mind to adore the Most High, with all the ardor of seraphic love—in pleasureful, uninterrupted and eternal worship.