Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Saints honorable

Among the failings with which the saints are chargeable surely this is one—Too low apprehensions of their own greatness—which they have in Christ. The poor man who has many troubles every day to combat with, and is subjected perhaps to daily indigence, would think it presumption for him to believe that there were orders given in the court of heaven concerning him by name, that necessary supply should be sure to him; and that no less than angels, who attend the throne, were commissioned to secure his safety! But since God's eternal Son condescended to come to save his people, "and give his life a ransom for many," it well befits the brightest of the angelic multitudes, to minister unto the heirs of salvation.

Truly, O saint! a serious consideration of your high estate, (for "since you were precious in his sight, you have been honorable,") ought not to puff up your mind with pride—but to fill your heart with holy admiration and wonder, and to swell your soul with ecstasy and love! The men of the world may scorn your poor cottage; but had they but one glance of the angelic guards that do duty there, they would conclude it to be the palace of a king, or the gate of heaven. Elisha's servant was of the same mind with the world; he thought his master was a helpless, though a holy man—"Alas! my master, how shall we survive? we are undone, for we have no power to withstand the Syrian army." But, presently, he sees the mountain shining around them with celestial guards, and covered with the flaming chariots of the King of glory. Now, O saint! Elisha's God is your God, and the standing forces of eternity are still the same, being truly the immortal legion; yes, their employment is also the same, until all the saints are brought safe to glory!

When on a journey you put up at an inn, you may be obliged to take the worst room, while others, who have a grand retinue, and numerous attendants, have the best lodgings. But what do you think of this—that not only angels should be your guards—but the Lord God himself should be your watchman? How secure, then, are you—seeing your omnipotent Guardian neither slumbers nor sleeps! If, under your earthly sovereign, you are called to the battle field, you may pitch your tent in the open field; while the general of the army fixes his splendid pavilion in the center—yet only men encamp around him. But wherever you pitch, "the angel of the Lord encamps round about you."

What, then, should your conduct be, O you who are highly favored of the Lord! You should study holiness in the highest degree, in gratitude to him who deals so amazingly with you; and humility, that you may never forget yourself, and so cease to wonder at the heavenly condescension! Is it your part, O saint! when so honored, so defended by the King, to hold disloyal conferences with his implacable enemies—self, sin, Satan, against whom the "Lord has sworn that he will have war forever?" When he, in redeeming grace, has raised you up to heaven, will you through sin debase yourself to hell? Now, O saint, you are no less happy, and your condition no less grand than this. Live, then above the world and its vanities, with a greatness of soul that evidences your divine pedigree—until the day comes, in which you shall be exalted to that glory—of which you are now an expectant, candidate, and heir!