Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

God his people's inheritance

The priests in Israel were allowed to approach nearer to God than others, and were enriched with many excellent privileges; yet these favorite ones were to have no possession in the land. Was this because he loved them less than the other tribes, or would show himself unkind to his them? No! It was because he loved them extremely, and would give them no less than himself for their inheritance! Why, then, should it seem hard to me to have little or nothing in this world—who has such a possession as the Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth?

But, replies repining Incredulity, "These priests were secured of the tithe, and a certain portion their sacrifices; now, had I only means for a sufficient and honest livelihood, I would seek no more." Ah! wicked fears, impious doubts! Is it not in the power of the same Lord to furnish two tables alike? They fed at his altar, at the table of his offerings, that they might ever be present with him. Was not this kindness? I feed at the table of his providence, that I may daily make my prayer to him, "Give us this day our daily bread," and depend upon him. Is not this kindness? Is not the one as sure as the other?

A bad season made a thin harvest, consequently the tithe was less. The provider is the same Lord—the promise is the same truth—and all things are still in the same hand. Now, how agreeable and befitting is it, that such as are 'a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own'—as all his saints are—should be deprived of these creature-enjoyments, which might deprive them of nobler privileges, and more spiritual possessions! It is the wisdom of those who would dwell near God, to be divorced from the world. But since this, in the greatness of our folly, is not our choice—it is good in God, in his infinite wisdom, to confer such kindness on us, as it were against our will; thus keeping us empty-handed of worldly possessions, that we may inherit eternal glory.

He who is, though deprived of all earthly things, not only pleased—but transported with this promise, "I am your possession, I am your inheritance," has a blissful life! If the whole world were bestowed on that man—that would not make him more happy.

Oh! consummate madness!—to mistake between imaginary and real happiness; shadowy and substantial pleasures; transient and eternal joys! This world at best, is under the curse. But the divine inheritance contains fields of glory, paradises of bliss, rivers of life, oceans of love, scenes of pleasures, heavens of ecstasy! Yes, in a word, the plenitude of God!