« PreviousContinue »
have not a due sense of gratitude for the many comforts of their lot. They express their gratitude to God for the appearance of religion in their family; for the peace and harmony enjoyed in their house ; for the bounty of providence in supplying their wants ; for the good crop which they had last season ; for their continued health, while many around them were afflicted; and because their dependance was on the providence of heaven, and not on creature security. Their petitions are, that religion may flourish, and professors see eye to eye in the truth; that grace may be bestowed on themselves, and on all their friends; that if children are given them, they may belong to the election of grace, and early know God; that the blessing of the womb and the breasts may come together; that both may be enabled to instruct and correct children, if given them, as becometh christian parents; and the like. And their resolutions are, not to build their happiness on the creature ; to submit without murmuring to death when sent into their family ; to keep their hearts for God, and not to give them to any other; to approve of Providence,should he be pleased to bereave them of their all, seeing they had their treasure in heaven ; to keep up the worship of God in their house, and, finally, to look out for death, and improve for eternity.
Some months after, Mr. Meikle discovers the gratitude of his heart for the happiness he enjoyed in the marriage relation, and the tender solicitude ofan affectionate and pious husband, by expressing himself in this manner: "May 30, 1780. I wish to implore divine mercy in these things. 1. That as God has been pleased to set me, who was once solitary, in a family, and bestowed on me one that fears his name, he would be pleased, to spare her, and increase her graces. 2.
As it has pleased Heaven tliat she is with child, and near her time, that the child may be God's in life or in death. O that its soul may live before God! 3. That she may have a happy delivery, and that I may bless God for a living mother and a living child. 4. That if the child be spared, it may be early brought home to God. 5. I acknowledge that I leaned on thy providence for providing me a help-mate, and I have not hrad cause to complain of my divine support and guide. O to act faith always on him !"
This happiness did not long continue. Mrs. Meikle, some months after the birth of her first child, fell into bad health. Hopes and fears appear for a long period to have had the ascendency alternately in his mind; and her recovery, uniformly for more than twelve months, forms one of the petitions recorded in his private papers. On the 17th of May, 1781, they united together in supplications to God for the restoration of her health, and express themselves thus : « On account of the long distress in our family, we desire to humble ourselves before God, and to justify the heavenly conduct; for we have sinned, and have had our hearts too little on our native country, too little on heavenly things. While we accept of chastisement from our heavenly Father, we desire to turn to him that smites us; and we humbly plead, 1. For patience till he remove his rod from us. 2. For the sanctified use of this affliction. 3. That he would be pleased to restore to such a measure of health, that we may be enabled to attend on sacramental solennities in the ensuing summer, and find his presence there. 4. That he would direct us to right means for recovery, and bless the means used. 5. That we may not rely too h on the means used, but look to him alone. 6.
ray bless our child, and hold his hand about
her. 7. That he may give us his special presence in
“ J. MEIKLE,
The affiction, however, continued and increased during the ensuing summer. His prayers and tears could not avert the stroke with which Providence designed to chasten him. She languished till she brought forth a second child, which was still-born, and survived this event only three weeks. On the 11th of October, 1781, he was left a widower, mourning the loss of an amiable partner, yet not mourning as one of those who have no kope of their own happiness, or of the happi. ness of those who have been snatched from their embraces.
His exercise on this mournful occasion may be learned by perusing the Monthly Memorial, and Sccret Survey, under the proper date. In addition to what is to be found there, it appears from some other private papers, that he revered the providence of God in the dispensation, submitted to it as the correction of a father, and amidst his grief rejoiced in the persuasion of the happiness of her whose loss he bewailed. On the 22d of October he writes thus : “ This day my dear wife and I intended a private fast;* but now she is removed by death, and I am left alone to mourn the loss of a religious companion. ( to take God in place of all ! O comfort me against grief on every side! I wish not to have a stupid insensibility of such a loss; I wish also not to rise up in rebellion against the conduct
* Por some days after her delivery she was apparently recuy. ering
of Heaven, who is sovereign of all. I desire to lie low in the dust, and to go softly, because thou hast done it." And on the 25th he expresses himself in this manner : “ This day in my solitude, and after the loss of a dear wife, a religious companion, I desire to take God for my God, and the God of my child; and I make a cheerful surrender of myself and my child to God. I roll her over on his divine protection; and though I too were to be called out of the world, I can commit her to him, the hest of parents and the best of guardians, who is a father of the fatherless. I wish to live only for his glory, and to his praise.” The same day, among the mercies which he acknowledges to the praise of God, he enumerates the following: “ That my learest friend is gone to glory; that my child is in good health; that God, though he has afflicted, has not cast me off; that there is a fulness of grace and consolation in God for me;--that God has been pleased to connect me with a dear saint, and to bless us with the greatest peace and harmony in our married life, though he has seen fit to make it very short : but the thought is sweet, that she is gone to glory."
Mrs. Meikle's character may be described in her husband's words, proposed to be engraved on her monument :
6 How sweet she shone in social life,
Here, however, though with reluctance, the writer of this must stop. The unexpected length to which this narrative has run out, obliges him to forbear entering into any details of the remaining eighteen years of Mr. Meikle's life, and to break off his account at the very period when his personal acquaintance with him began. Materials still remain for exhibiting his character and exercise in various points of view. If what has been written should meet with acceptance, and promise to be useful, he may be induced to enlarge his account, and carry it down to the close of Mr. Meikle's life; if not, more than enough has been already said.
He cannot close his account of him, however, without mentioning, in a word, that he was married again, in the month of November, 1785, to the worthy woman who yet survives to mourn his loss; that in July, 1789, he was ordained to the eldership in the congregation of Biggar ; that in the course of the year 1797, having overcome the reluctance to appear professedly as an author, which had prevented the publication of those pieces which he had formerly intended for the press, he printed his “Metaphysical Maxims;" and that on the 7th of December, 1799, he was removed from this world to a better, leaving behind him a name which is better than precious ointment, and a widow and five children, with little on which to depend for future support but the good providence of that God, who, to use his own words, “ had guided him through all his wanderings, and supplied him during life to his heart's content,”
The cheerfulness of his disposition continued to the last. Disappointments never soured his temper. Tho' strict both in his principles and morals, he never appeared sullen or morose ; he was rather cheerful, jo