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THE LIFE OF MR. JAMES MEIKLE.
cular, and merry. There does not appear, for forty years, among all his voluminous papers, notwithstanding the many severe censures which he passes in them upon himself, one expression from which it can be certainly concluded, that he entertained any doubt of his interest in the divine favour. This, and the constitutional gaiety of his temper, will account for the surprise which many of his most intimate acquaintances have expressed at the perusal of his writings, and explain what otherwise might be deemed paradoxical; that a man uniformly chcerful in company, should in private, make death and the future world the favourite subjects of his meditations. To him death was surrounded with no terrors ! the future world captivated his imagination, and filled him, as frequently as he contemplated it, with most exquisite joy. He maintained his reputation for piety, and his unshaken faith in God, to the end ; and the God whom he serve ed honoured him with continued usefulness in his station, almost to his last hour. On the first of December, he officiated at Lanark as an elder in the dispensation of the Lord's supper ; on the second, he wrote. a short article in the Monthly Meinorial ; on the sixth, he was still serving medicines to his patients; on the seventh he was with God.
Edinburgh, June 12, 1805.
WHAT a load of business presses me on every hand when about to leave my native country! I must state and clear with all my creditors and debtors before I go! Besides, when I am about my ordinary business, a little pocket-money will defray my charges; but it is not so when going abroad; I must have bills of exchange for a considerable sum, and changes of apparel agreeable to that part of the world to which I am bound.
Now, if I am thus busied, thus anxious and concerned about my going from one part to another of this terrestrial globe, with what justice will all this care, anxiety, and concern, be increased, when I must commence my journey to eternity, and set out for the other „ world? This is an event that unavoidably awaits me ; and who can tell how soon? Of what folly would I prove myself possessed, should I propose to go so far without a farthing? But with much greater madness would I be intoxicated, should I launch into eternity without an interest in the heavenly treasure. To be poor in any part of this world, begets contempt among the men of the world; but poverty in the world of spirits, is an eternal shame, and an irretrievable loss.
Again, would I not blush to go with tattered cloaths and coloured shoes, to a part of the world where it is fashionable to be finely dressed ? How, then, shall I appear without the white raiment of a Saviour's righteousness, in the presence of God, where angels walk in robes of innocence, and saints in broidered garments? When the marriage of the Lamb shall be come, and his wife shall have made herself ready, if found without the wedding-garment, with what confusion of face shall I be covered, and with what anguish cast into outer darkness !
How I am hurried at the last in setting out, notwithstanding I have been so long proposing, and so long preparing for this voyage ! Yea, an express arrives, that the ship is ready to sail, and I am taken, as it were, unawares, though for some time I have been expecting such a message.
Then, since I have this momentous, this interesting voyage into the world of spirits before me, let my daily study be so to set all my grand concerns in order, that when death the transport comes, I may have nothing to do but set my foot aboard, and be wafted over to the land of rest. Again, though looking for death daily, yet I, and all my friends, may be surprised at last.
Now of friends and acquaintances I take a long farewell; but at death I bid the whole world an etera nal adieu.
ON TAKING FAREWELL.
EVERY thing beneath the sun has vanity and vexation engraven on it; and it is fit it should be so, lest men, possessing what they aspire after, should forget themselves. So we see, we feel, that pleasure is interwoven with pain, sweet with sour, joy with sorrow, riches with anxiety and cares, greatness with torment, health with disease, and life with death.
When I took farewell of my friends to see other nations, and rise into a more universal knowledge of the world and men (trifles that please an aspiring mind) yet how were all my fine prospects more than balanced to think, that I might never see my native land again, the land of liberty and light, the Hephzibah of God! What if I should drop into the unfathomed deeps of the ocean, and be a prey to the finny tribe ? But, abstracting from these gloomy forethoughts, how was joy turned into a flow of friendly sorrow! Can I yet forget the affectionate grasp of hand, the melting tear, the parting kiss, and kindly look, as if it might have been the last,* and all from friends so near and dear? Yet this must be : I must either forbear going abroad, or take farewell of all my friends; and who knows if ever I shall see them again, till in another world, where the nearest ties are loosed, and the dearest relation dissolved, unless a spiritual relation unite our souls to him, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is
• The Author never saw some friends, alluded to above, again in life, particularly his mother.
named, a family that shall never scatter or be dispersed through the ages of eternity! The highest wisdom of the traveller, then, is to get himself made a member of the heavenly family. Thus, when the frail family, of which he is a mortal member, must be divided, parted, and spread abroad, some in death, some in distant lands, he shall never be cast out of the celestial family, nor denied the high privileges thereof, but may cry to God, Abba, Father, and shall find him not far off, when roaring oceans interrupt the father's passionate care, and bound the tender mother's melting flow of affection. Without such a relation we are orphans, though we had the best of fathers, and the kindest of mothers; we are friendless, though we had the most sympathizing sisters, and obliging brothers; destitute, amidst our numerous, rich, and munificent relations ; and more desolate than the pelican of the wilderness, or the midnight owl, though crowded with visitants, and among a world of acquaintances. But, blessed with it, no tongue can tell our happiness. Our heavenly Father, who knows our need, is ever atour hand; his power and promptitude to do us good exceed the father, excell the kindly mother; his mercy
outshines the sympathizing sisters, and his bounty the obliging brother; his promises are better than all our relations, his providence than our richest friends; and his presence than a world of acquaintance, or the levee of kings. In such a situation, the deserts of Arabia shall please, like the places where we were born and brought up. May this, then, be my case, and I am happy in my peregrinations, and joyful in my journeys.