Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799



There is a reciprocal crucifixion which I should desire and seek after. First, that the world may be crucified unto me. And, secondly, that I may be crucified unto the world. This is a noble figure representing the Christian's full and free disentanglement from the world.

It is possible to break the connection, and cut asunder the bands between two people of the closest friendship, sameness of sentiment, and oneness of interest enough that one party be crucified; for the other may still have affections and feelings after the mangled, though once amiable companion. But when both are crucified, all bonds are broken, and all ties are eternally dissolved.

When a person becomes noxious to society, an enemy to the commonwealth and a rebel against just authority—then he merits such an ignominious death as crucifixion. Well, then, the world is an enemy to the life divine, noxious to the welfare of my soul, and a rebel against the authority of Heaven. Therefore I should earnestly seek to have it crucified to my affections—and my affections to it.

When a person is crucified, his friends need expect no favor from him, and his foes need fear no harm at his hand. So, if the world be crucified to me, I shall neither court its smiles, nor fear its frowns. I shall expect nothing—and I shall never be disappointed. I shall dread nothing—and I shall never be in danger.

He who would win heaven must crucify the world. For while the world lives in the affections, it will all ways come between the soul and heaven. Now, what a mighty mountain, what a steep ascent is this—the sad experience of unhappy thousands can tell, who never could climb over the terrestrial globe to the heavenly land! But, intoxicated with pleasures, choked with cares, and crushed with the ponderous mass—sink down to endless woe!

Again, as a crucified man, whose extremities are bored through and whose body is besmeared with blood, and his countenance disfigured in death, is a very moving spectacle to every feeling beholder; so the world, crucified to the believing soul, will appear vain and empty, vile and abominable, and loathsome for the fond embraces of mental affection.

And as a dead body soon becomes stinking carrion, so a crucified world, in the nostrils of a renewed soul, can send nothing up but a vile odor. All its perishing pleasures—which are rich perfumes to carnal minds—will be but like open graves to gracious souls.

Finally I shall be an immense gainer by this double crucifixion; for as no man will hoard up human skulls, bones, and putrefying carcasses, for a treasure; so the world thus crucified, and all its vanities—shall be the object of my deepest contempt and loathing! While things spiritual, heavenly, and divine—shall share my whole esteem, and enrich my soul for eternity itself!