Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The aggrandizing visit

If a fellow-creature, who has gathered together more riches than many of his acquaintance, or has attained to more honor, and has more high-sounding titles than others, condescends, as they call it, to visit an inferior, or to admit an inferior to visit him—the whole neighborhood is astonished, and the men that receive the compliment consider themselves as highly honored by it. Yet what is this person with whose visit they are so delighted—but a 'fellow worm of the earth'—a mere insect, which crawls on the face of the ground? As, however, infinite wisdom has divided the inhabitants of the world into different classes, distinctions, and orders, for a time, the sons of men are not to despise such a visit; but as it is only for a time, the saints the sons of God, are not to idolize it, or think that riches and honor are the channel through which the favor and love of God to his people is conveyed.

But how stupid are the world, who never observe the great honor done to the saints, when the royal family of heaven makes them an abiding visit! "Behold I stand at the door, and knock; and if any man hears my voice, and opens to me, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." There the Creator and creature sit at one table! and God, to the astonishment of angels, is gone to be guest with men! Such a visit is to be contended for; such a guest is to be received with open arms, and entertained with flowing love, like that of the spouse, who said, "While the King sits at his table, my spikenard sends forth the smell thereof." Nor is the heavenly visit a transient one, like those among the sons of men; for, says the glorious visitant, "If a man loves me, my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."

It is much to see a great person visit a poor man, more to see a king enter the drab hut; but most of all, if ever after the visit he were to keep his residence at the humble cottage. However lowly the saints think of themselves, yet since the King and the King's Son, even the eternal, undivided family of heaven, dwells with them, there must be immortal angels and thousands of fiery chariots, to defend them from all dangers, to deliver them from all foes. How happy, then, are the saints of God! how happy the select number, whom the world think so basely of—and count so miserable!

But, again, great men may make a visit to poor creatures, without changing their condition. It will not make a poor man rich, that a rich man visits him, unless he proves a liberal donor, or a generous benefactor also. Nor will it exalt a subject, a slave to a throne, that a king comes to see him. But it is otherwise here—Heaven is always bestowed—in the visit of the Most High; and regardless of his past sinfulness, the man is assuredly an heir of glory, with whom God comes to dwell. For as by his Spirit he dwells in and with his people for eternity; so by faith here, and vision hereafter, they dwell in and with him for the same desirable eternity.

O then that the saints would think more highly of themselves, in living above the world, and its vanities, and in walking like those whom the King Eternal honors with a visit! Should any other of their surly and ill-natured neighbors make them sad of heart—when the Lord of heaven and earth countenances them in so singular a manner?

Now, if it aggrandizes men, that the nobles of the earth visit them, and that great men take any notice of them; surely the saints are the most excellent of all men, with whom the God of glory condescends to dwell. But how shall I evidence that God dwells with me? By walking like one who has been with Jesus, with a heavenly deportment and divine carriage. Then, let the King of glory visit my heart, and I shall never seek to tread in the courts of mere earthly kings. Let my conversation be in heaven, and I shall not care, though the great men of the world never converse with me. Between my soul and the throne of God let a daily correspondence be kept up—and I shall cheerfully live in the most complete solitude, and retirement from all mankind.