Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

A pleasant Consideration

There is one consideration that may make me endure affliction with fortitude, and triumph in my trouble, which is—That what I endure today, I shall not feel tomorrow. Every sip of affliction lessens the bitter cup that is put into my hand, which contains its given quantity, and is not always kept full. So the more frequent, or the more largely, I drink at one time, the less remains for me; and some time or other I must drink it all, and glut down the last drop in the expiring pang. The afflictions I feel today I shall feel again no more forever; that is, in their first onset, though they may follow up and repeat their stroke for many days.

Though the shower is heavy upon me, yet, to my comfort, the same clouds shall not return after the rain. And though clouds and darkness, tempest and storm, should fill my sky all the days of my life—yet after death my heaven shall brighten, and be obscured no more. My troubles diminish in the enduring of them—but my consolations are of another nature; they are a flowing spring, at which I may daily drink, and still they overflow. Affliction is like the foam of a river, that perishes as we pass over, and can be found no more; but the divine comforts are like Israel's stream in the wilderness that followed them all the way. The present loss of dearest relatives, which brings most pungent sorrow, would cease; were I assured that in a few years they were to rise again. Then, should it not cease, when I reflect on the certainty of enjoying my relations, where spiritual friendship is pitched up to sublime heights, never known below, and that to endure forever? I look a little further—and my afflictions are no more! I look a little further—and infinite consolations are mine for evermore. Why, then, should I suffer much from any grief that passes, never to return; when pure joy, to comfort me with mighty strides approaches, never to pass away?