Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

The casting of the scales or balances

There is a real difference between the righteous and the wicked. The one is the heir of bliss, the other the child of the curse. But O how is the appearance misrepresented and inverted, in the eye of carnal men! The wicked are accounted happy, and the saints the most miserable of all men. But let us fight the worldlings with their own weapons. The wicked are traveling through the evening twilight of declining grandeuróto the darkness of eternal night. But the saints are marching through the growing beams of morning light to the perpetual splendor of glory.

Truly, the wicked now seem to have the upper hand on the godly, and their rod lies heavy on the back of the righteous; but they shall be found on the left hand in the day when distinctions most avail, and over them shall the godly have eternal dominion. The one may go mourning, and pour out their complaint before God, while the others spend their days in mirth, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. But the sorrow of the one shall be turned into everlasting joy, while the songs of the other shall issue in eternal howlings.

Great men weigh valuable in the balance of the world, while the saints are accounted as the offscouring of all things. Nevertheless, in the balance of the sanctuary, when both are weighed, the sinner shall be found lackingóbut "the precious sons of Zion shall be comparable to fine gold."

Now, dare I calculate with the world, and call them happy, whom the world counts happy? Or, more daring still, dare I choose to be where happiness, sacred happiness, is not to be found? However beautiful the evening be, it is soon black night; but however cloudy the morning be, it is soon broad day. So it was with Dives, who, dragged from his luxurious table and flowing cups, is plunged into the lake of fire, and lifts up his eyes amidst devouring flamesóparched, and petitioning for one drop of water to cool his scorched tongue. While Lazarus, full of sores, and without attendance at the inhospitable gate, except for the kindly dogs, is wafted by angels from all his sorrows, and set down to banquet richly at the table of eternal love. Surely, then, my choice shall be to live in their humble condition; die in their hopeful condition; and rise to their happy condition!