Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Christ, and none but he, satisfies desires

There is a restless, a boundless desire in the mind of man for something which this world in all its glory is unable to bestow. This immortal appetite, this living desire, blinded mortals seek to gratify—some with honor, others with pleasure, some with riches, others with empire and glory. And need we therefore be surprised that they are never satisfied? Though I could trace my pedigree through illustrious heroes, and renowned kings, back to the first foundation of kingdoms, this would not furnish my soul with all it would desire. Though I had the knowledge of all educated men summed up in myself, so that the wisest philosophers might come and learn at my feet, still my desire would have its void to fill. Though I had all magnificent titles, honorary epithets, aggrandizing distinctions, and appellations of renown, even these would not fill the extensive blank. Though I had the uncontrolled dominion of the whole universe devolved on me, so that my name were revered in every nation, statues set up to me in all lands, and my fame and glory echoed through every kingdom, still would my desires be making new demands. Though Arabia, as my possession, should present me all her fragrant spices, the Indies, as my inheritance, amass for me all their riches, and all kingdoms, as tributary, send me their wares; though the earth should burst open all her silver veins and golden mines to enrich my treasures; though my throne were of one pearl, and my crown of one diamond; though my guards were kings, my menial servants princes, and my immediate subjects nobles; though the daily guests of my table were thousands and ten thousands of honorable personages; and though, for the entertainment of my table, my flocks should cover every hill, my herds range over every flowery valley, and the fowls of every wing alight around my palace, while the fish of every fin came, when needed, spontaneously ashore; though the fountains should flow with oil, the rivers stream with wine, and the forests drop honey—yet my heart would not say, 'It is enough!'

Though perpetual summer should shine on the place of my habitation, and storms and tempests stand at a distance from my abode; though, according to the philosopher's conceits, the worlds on the other side the sun should bow to my scepter, though the sparkling stars, the glories of the higher skies, which rise sphere above sphere innumerable, were added to my inheritance; though I had the faculties of an angel, and the insight of a seraph; there would still be something lacking, without which I could not be happy. Though my health were never attacked by sickness—but my family flourishing as the blooming flowers, my offspring numerous as the piles of grass that clothe the verdant plain, and never lessened by death; and though in this happiness I should multiply my days as the grains of sand; yet my desires would then be as far from being satisfied, as when I began to enjoy this shadowy, this imaginary all.

Where, then, is this all-sufficient plenitude to be found? or what is it that will satiate my immense desires? A triune God reconciled to me in his own Son, and conveying himself to me, in the infinite plenitude of his spiritual riches; and the eternal portion of my immortal soul.

All the gathered parts of creation—knowledge, titles, honor, riches, renown, attendants, dependants, family, friends, dominion, health, longevity, and every other excellence—are but like a drop to my parched soul, of which I could swallow many, and yet be altogether faint beneath the scorching beam. But Christ is an ocean of overflowing fullness! I stand on this shore, and am astonished! I look, and in its boundless extension lose myself! I possess, and am replenished—so that I can desire no more. What a divine plenitude is this divine One! All things without Christ cannot give satisfaction; for truly without Christ all things are nothing—but, with him what seems next to nothing is more and better than the worldling's all things! Material things, however excellent, do not suit; and cannot satisfy the immaterial and immortal soul.

But in Christ there is something that satiates, refreshes, and enraptures the believing soul, even when my prospect is towards that tremendous day, when nature shall be set on flames; or further still, towards eternity, where the creature dares not present itself as a proper portion for the soul. "In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." My desires are complete in him. I can go no further, I can wish no more than he has. Then, for the present, I am happier than the happiest worldling, having a heaven in possession! While a heaven of rapture and delight, floods of ecstasy and bliss, are in reserve for me!