Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The heavenly vision assimilating

There are a thousand unfathomable depths in divine love. Who can open the everlasting treasuries, or look into these unseen glories? And this is not least to be admired—that the sinful worms and potsherds of the earth should be admitted into the visions of God.

Here on earth we see something of him though darkly, his back part being only presented to view—and even of that we have an imperfect glance. But in the world to come, the saints shall see him as he is, and thereby be happy above their highest hope, beyond their most extensive faith. Now, how astonishing that the saints should be admitted into the perfect visions of God! and how entrancing that this vision should so assimilate them to him, that the soul, accustomed to unremitting longings below for this crowning bliss, shall remain eternally satisfied with her divine conformity to God!

How, then, of consequence, must the saints shine in glory, since their conformity is not to an imperfect vision—but first, they see him as he is, (and what that is, who can tell?) and then, according to this dear sight, is their assimilation to him. If here there be such an excellence in the saints, from the imperfect views of the glory of God in the face of Jesus—what must it be where the darkness is past, and the true light shines? Surely it may be said of the saints in that state, "You are all sons of the highest." Nor need we wonder that John had almost worshiped a fellow-saint, who shone with so much amazing glory. This assimilation is in part begun below; for "we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed, or transformed, into the same image, from glory to glory." And it is perfected above, when the whole soul is assimilated, as far as finite can receive of communicable perfection, to him who is the Father of spirits. If a broken heart be a burden here that cannot be borne, surely the harmony that shall arise from a sense that all the powers of the soul have put on the divine likeness, shall be ineffably sweet. Thus the whole family of heaven shall have one appearance, and prove themselves to be of one Father; and, being like their elder Brother, shall look like the children of a King!

Briefly, then, this blessed similitude to God consists,

1. In being holy, as he is holy.

2. In knowing all things to their satisfaction; as God in his infinite knowledge rests satisfied.

3. In willing, through the perfection of holiness, nothing but what is good; as God, through the perfection of his divine nature, can will nothing but what is holy.

4. In being happy in their condition, and ravished with their felicity in God; as God is supremely and eternally happy in himself.

5. In never being fatigued; they rest not day nor night, and yet are never weary; as the Creator of the ends of the earth neither faints nor is weary.

6. In being made kings and priests to God and to the Lamb, and reigning with him forever; as God sits king forever, and of his government there is no end.

And, lastly, in being fixed in their supreme felicity, above the fear of change, or end; as God is from everlasting to everlasting God.

How complete must their happiness be, who possess God in all his plenitude, in all his perfections, and are like him in his communicable glory!

There is some difference now between the saint and sinner, though both are in houses of clay; but how vast will it be then, when the one shall be all deformity and darkness, the other all loveliness and glory! For to these the Christian shall be revealed in the nearest and most open views, in the face of Jesus; but hid from those in the darkest and obscurest manner forever, when "they shall be banished from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power forever."

This is the excellency of true religion above reason, that it reveals God as he is! this is the happiness of the saints above sinners; that they see something of God now, and are somewhat like him, though imperfectly; and this is the privilege of all saints, that, like Moses, they may seek after, and receive repeated views of his glory. But the crowing vision is reserved for eternity, when "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is!"