Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Still ignorant of God below

It was a question proposed long ago, by a great teacher, in his divine lectures of God, "What is his name, and what is his Son's name, if you can tell?" And it remains unanswered unto this day: "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him." Now, this revelation on account of our ignorance, cannot be bright; for if, when the great Teacher told us of earthly things, we could not understand them, how much less if he should tell us of heavenly things, and least of all if he should reveal to us the mysteries of his eternal Godhead!

Alas! am not I, in some respects, a Christian heathen—if I may be allowed the expression—while I pay my devotions to the unknown God? I walk in the twilight, I adore in a cloud, and worship I know not whom. But do I not worship God? well, what is God? Is he not a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable; wise, powerful, holy, just, good, gracious, faithful, omniscient, and omnipresent? But what it is to be infinite, eternal, and unchangeable—I neither can conceive nor tell. I stretch my thoughts towards infinity, until I lose myself in the unfathomable abyss; I revolve his eternal duration before time began, and when time shall be no more, until all my thoughts are swallowed up. But when I have done my utmost, conceptions are only forming some grand ideas of a creature; for as my thoughts of his infinity are circumscribed within bounds, and of his eternity come to an end—they belong to a creature, and not to the Creator. How, then can I repair the indignity done to his majesty by my groveling meditations? Only thus, by confessing, that after all my stretch, his every perfection is still infinitely beyond all that I can say or think.

Hence, let me join reverence with my ignorance; holy fear with my shallow conceptions of God; and ardent love, and profound humility, with all my devotions. Mindful that the solemn mystery could be revealed by none, because none has seen, none has known God; let me be thankful, that "the only-begotten Son, who lay in the Father's bosom, has declared him."

Every divine perfection, every adorable attribute, is more than sufficient to engross the study and attention of men and angels forever; and the more they search, and the longer they learn, the more they see and confess God to be infinite and unknown.

When shall that glorious morning dawn, when my ignorance, like the early fogs that flee at the rising sun—shall be no more, and the great Apostle and High-Priest of our profession shall, in the light of glory, declare to me the God whom now at best I ignorantly adore?