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give him peace and joy. All things are in truth working for good. The meetings and partings, the absence and presence, of those dear to him, are all from the Lord, all in love, all for his good.
My circumstances call me to say farewell. May you indeed fare well both in body and in soul, in time and in eternity. The expression farewell, comprehends my heart's wish and prayer for you all.
It includes EVERY NEEDFUL TEMPORAL GOOD. I would say to each of my brethren in Christ, Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. May all providential dealings with you be full of loving-kindness and mercy. May our God supply all your need out of his riches in glory, by Jesus Christ. May every temporal good, as far as is consistent with your higher and best good, be bestowed upon you. May our God realise in your happy experience those rich promises made to his people: Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. (Deut. xxviii. 3-6.) I am sure that if you do steadily and determinately seek first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness; all those things shall be added unto you. Devotedness to
Christ is the wisest way to insure the largest measure of temporal happiness, for his ways are ways of pleasantness, and all his paths are peace. Fare you well in this world's blessings.
It includes a good wish also for EVERY SPIRITUAL BLESSING: These are the chief blessings, given to God's elect, and preparing them for their heavenly home. O may you then, my brethren, all be greatly enriched with the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost! May the faith of each and of every one grow exceedingly, and your hope rise to the full assurance of hope, and your love towards God and towards each other, and to all men, be yet more enlarged and enflamed. May the Holy Ghost dwell in you, and ever produce in you all his multiplied and varied fruits. May you be filled with joy and peace, gratitude and thankfulness; may contrition, and humility, and compassion, and a tender conscience, mark all your characters, and may the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Fare you well in spiritual good. May your souls prosper.
It includes a good wish also for ETERNAL BLESAll is infinitely short of your real happiness without this; but indeed spiritual blessings are the very meetness for heavenly and everlasting
blessedness. You must be born again before you can see the kingdom of God, you must attain holiness if you would see the Lord; the title to glory is Christ's work, out of us, the meetness for glory is from the work of the Spirit of Christ in us. Now God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. O my brethren, here is my chief, my best wish for you, that none of you may be wanting when God counteth up his jewels: that you may all be bound up in the bundle of life everlasting, and that all your names may be written in the Lamb's book of life. I call you to fight the good fight, and lay hold on eternal life. And O, may our God minister to each of us an entrance abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
IV. THE PROMISE ADDED.
The God of love and peace shall be with you. A rich promise! O may it, in all its blessedness, be yours.
There is ever a connection between holy practice and holy joy-the ways of godliness are the ways of peace. The fulfilment of the practical directions which we have been explaining, will bring a richer enjoyment of the Divine presence with all those inestimable blessings that presence ever brings. This is according to that gracious
promise, Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. (Matt. xiii. 12.) We have nothing without God, and where he gives one degree, it is a pledge to encourage us to hope for more. Attend to the practical directions, Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace, and then shall follow the blessing, the God of love and peace shall be with you. The due exercise of grace, which itself must be traced to sovereign and free love in God, brings more grace. The Holy Spirit loves to dwell in peaceful and tranquil bosoms: he is grieved and driven away when we admit angry contentions and unholy feelings to dwell in us and rankle in our hearts. O take heed how you quench the Spirit-that holy, Divine, and loving guest, that makes the body of the Christian the temple of God, from which the living waters are perpetually flowing!
TO WHOM ARE WE TO LOOK FOR The blessing? The God of love and peace.
What a comfort it is, my brethren, to direct you hither! A mother on parting with her children to take a distant journey, feels it an unspeakable relief to be able to leave them with a kind and tender, with a skilful and watchful, with an able and confidential nurse or friend. And, my brethren, it is my greatest relief of mind, on leaving you, to be assured the God of love and peace shall be with you.
The God of love! What a title! God is love. Love in its essence, source, and fulness. All other love is but derived from him; there is no love that is sweet, and delightful, and excellent, in the creature, but it is a ray from his beauty and glory. The love of parents to children, and children to parents, is very tender and endearing; the love of husbands to wives, and wives to husbands, is very entire and intimate and comforting; the love of minister and people is a bond of which I now more than ever feel the force and strength; but all these are little drops and streamlets. There is a full river of love proceeding from God. The fountain-head of all love is God himself. O the wonders of his love! It has heights beyond the starry sky, it has depths beyond those of the great deep; it has lengths and breadths further than from east to west or north to south. It passes knowledge. No tongue can fully declare it. Nor can one human being who knows that God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, for a moment reasonably doubt his love.
The God of peace also! Peace flows from love. He is the author of peace, and lover of concord. And O how wonderfully has he displayed this character in the gospel of peace: To wit that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them and hath com