Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799


How manifold are the mercies of God, and how surprising the scene of adorable Providence! Here wheels revolve within a wheel, and all the glorious spokes are full of flaming eyes, signifying omniscience and wisdom. Seeming contradictions just conduce to bring about the longed-for blessing. Providence aloud proclaims a God; and to the observing eye, the providential government of the world in general, and of men and their affairs of life in particular—is not less beautiful, is not less surprising, than the creation of the world. What mighty mountains are removed, what stupendous difficulties are dissolved by providence—that a plain and easy passage may be prepared for the approaching good!

O how is my soul delighted with the back-look into my life, and ravished with the sweet survey of the conduct of Providence! All mercies are benignant and comforting; but O how do some exceedingly surprise! when I behold the instrument or hand by which, the way and manner how, and the time when they came. Have I not seen it from a hand I expected nothing from, in a way and manner I never could have contrived, and at a time when least apparent? has not holy Providence written a blank on my wisdom and prudence, in baffling my enterprises, rendering my endeavors abortive, and bringing my counsel to nothing—that he alone might be exalted? And then, in a way out of my view, foreign to my expectation, and without my endeavors, granted the very same request I had sought?

Sometimes seeming contradictions vex the poor expectant, though only sent to exercise his faith in God, and patience for the performance of the promise. I have also seen disappointments multiplied. Disappointments not only bring about, but beautify the blessing. Sometimes providence has hindered me to embrace an offered favor, when I knew not how or why, that to my greater advantage it might be afterwards bestowed.

Your path, O Governor of men and angels! is in the mighty waters, and your footsteps are not known! For who can know the ways of him who is wonderful in working? Therefore I approve his conduct, admire his goodness—and where I cannot see his end, am silent, and adore!