Solitude Sweetened

by James Meikle, 1730-1799

Distance diminishes views

Things at a distance seem vastly less than what they really are. The lofty hill that seems so large when we are at its base—so lessens when we recede from it—that it soon seems no larger than a mole-hill, and then sinks out of sight.

Now, how true does this hold of spiritual and eternal things! What narrow notions and confined conceptions have we of the world to come! Nothing but the eye of faith, through the telescope of Scriptural revelation, can view the eternal state. But how often do mists of ignorance darken the eye, and clouds of unbelief obscure the glass! Hence, the pleasing thought is often interrupted, and the view at best falls very far short of what it shall be—when faith is changed to sight in the day of glory.

What a poor and partial opinion we now have of the celestial paradise! It is so distant from our sight and affections, that we are apt to think the garden of God no better than a barren desert, and that there is neither fruit nor flower in all the heavenly Eden. We think nothing of the hosannas of the higher house—and nothing of the howlings of the lowest hell. What unconcerned views have we of the wrath to come—and of the glory that shall be revealed! We dwell at such a distance from the throne of grace, that we are little benefitted by the healing beams; and the throne of glory is so far distant, that we behold but little of the heavenly splendors. Alas! like children who peep through the wrong end of the telescope—we conceive a future world to be of no great importance; and we set our own death at such a far distance—that it almost disappears from our sight!

But, were our glances of eternity rightly guided—we would believe that obtaining heavenly glory would be all our concern; and behold our death as always at the door. The sun which lights the world, by his great distance—appears to us only as a small globe of fire. But, were he as near as the clouds, his vast bulk would make a magnificent and dreadful appearance—and wherever we would roll our eye, it would be all one sky of fire!

Even so, how little do we see of him who kindled up the sun, and lighted all the stars! Though he be not far from everyone of us, yet we see him not—who is all things in all! But when our eye is spiritually enlightened, we shall see him in all things—in heaven above, and on earth beneath—in creation and providence—in the scriptures of truth, and in the Son of his love—in the heavenly multitudes, and in his people on earth—in his own perfections, and in every power of the soul.

No wonder that true religion appears ill-favored and ugly to the men of the world—who have never taken a close look at her countenance and charms. But the nearer we live to the Savior, the more of his loveliness we shall see, and be the more enamored we will be! The more we exercise ourselves in piety, the duties thereof will still be the more amiable and engaging.

Now, if glory at this great distance, (for what can be more removed from each other—than time and eternity—this and the eternal world?) be so desirable, so divine, whose very anticipation sheds a heaven into the soul, which rejoices with exceeding great joy, in hope of the glory of God! What must eternal glory be—when possessed to the full! If the numbered drops that water the fields below be so refreshful—what must that overflowing fullness be in the regions above, which satiates and replenishes the soul! If the Sun of Righteousness shines so bright in the skies of grace, through all the clouds; where he is but beginning to arise—what must his clear, his unclouded beams be in the skies of glory, where his meridian splendor is eternal!

If this eternal bliss, this happiness, this life, this joy and glory—be accounted by us, while little known—immense, excellent, and infinite; what must it be, when beheld in full light, possessed in a higher capacity, and enjoyed to its full extent!