George Everard, 1871
In writing this little book I seem to have been talking to a great many young friends. Some may live in a quiet village — and others in a large town. Some may spend their time in the midst of smoke and noise and bustle — and others in a retired country scene, where everything is green and beautiful. Some may live at home with parents — and others at service in the house of another. There may be some among you who may be in sorrow; and if so, I would share your sorrows. Some of you may be able to thank God for an even course, without any great trial to bear; and if so, I would rejoice with you.
But now we must part company. Perhaps you may lay aside your book, or give it to another young friend, and never look at it again. Still I hope some thoughts may remain with you, and assist you in fighting the battle of life. If so, I shall be richly rewarded.
Good bye! There is something in these words to make us think. Who can tell when two friends say farewell to each other whether they will ever meet again on earth? In traveling by railway I have often found a Christian brother, and we have had a pleasant talk together for a short time, and then perhaps I have given him a little printed messenger of peace — a tract or leaflet; and then the train has stopped, and one has alighted, and we never again see each other during our pilgrimage.
Ah, but, young sister, we shall all meet when the Lord comes! The Apostle Paul in his day seemed to have before his eye a great cloud of witnesses — witnesses of God's truth and goodness and love. But how far greater will be that gathering of God's saints, when all are added that since then have won their crown. Blessed indeed will be that great gathering! But there will meet before the Great White Throne, those that have rejected Christ and His salvation! And will not every faithful minister of Christ be compelled then to bear witness against those to whom he has preached the Word? And will not this book be a witness also against any one who has read it — and yet has continued to walk in the way of evil? Whatever it has spoken to you of sin, or the Savior, or the power of prayer, or God's willingness to receive you — will be a testimony on that day, that upon your own head lies the burden of your eternal condemnation. Oh, shall it be so?
We say Good bye one to the other now; but why should not our meeting be a joyful one? When you see for the first time face to face, the writer of "Safe and Happy," if by God's infinite mercy he is among those washed and redeemed through the blood of the Lamb — what a joy would it be if you likewise should be among that blessed throng, and you should acknowledge the words written here to have been an instrument in the hand of the Spirit to lead you to the Savior! Why should it not be so? God uses the weak things of this world to confound the mighty; and the plain and simple truths you have read in this book are enough to save you. Only believe — and live forever! Only look in your heart to the crucified Savior with the prayer, "Lord, save me!" and He will hear and bless you!
Good bye! There is something sorrowful about this saying. Partings are often very painful. When Paul was bidding farewell to the Ephesian elders, we are told that they all wept freely, sorrowing most for the words he spoke, that they should see his face no more.
A young girl leaves her home and all she has loved for the first time to go among strangers, and she feels that she may not see her home for many a month, and then the gushing tear starts to the eye. When the last scene comes to one dear to us, and the dark river will henceforth separate us from a long familiar face — then there is a sorrow here that is beyond words to express.
A solitary lot often follows the "good bye." And few trials are harder to bear than a lonely path.
But here comes the consolation.
The very expression — Good bye — suggests it. For what does it mean?
Good bye means, "God be with you." It is only shortened for convenience. What a wish for one who is desolate and alone! What a wish for one who has been left to mourn over a lost friend, or parent, or child!
May God be with you! May . . .
the God of Jacob, who so faithfully led him through his pilgrimage;
the God of all comfort, who comforts them that are cast down;
the God of all grace, who makes His strength perfect in weakness;
the God of peace, the God of hope, the God whose name is Love
— may He be with you!
With you, my young sister, as your own God, as your Father, as your Guide, as your Keeper!
May He be with you to bless you!
May He who made Heaven and earth bless you out of Zion!
May He bless you indeed, and enlarge your heart to desire more of His grace, and to rejoice more in His love!
May He increase your usefulness!
May His hand ever be with you, that He may keep you from evil, that it may not grieve you!
May He bless you with present comforts more than ever you have anticipated!
May He bless you with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!
May He bless you with a sure and certain hope of life eternal!
May He bless you with His everlasting favor!
And will you not join with me in asking this?
Will you not ask for yourself a Father's blessing? Isaac had no blessing left for Esau — at least, not the best blessing; but your Father has a blessing — the richest, the sweetest — for each who seeks it!
"May God's blessing be with you," said a Christian man, as he parted from a lady at the door of her house. "God's blessing be with me!" she said to herself. "I never think of it — I never ask it. How can it be? But I will ask it." And so she sought and found the blessing that makes rich, and brings no sorrow with it!
And you may find also this same blessing! Be this your prayer: "Great Father, bless me, and make me a blessing for Jesus' sake!" And when it shall be well with you, ask a blessing for all who read this book, and for him who wrote it. If you have gained any blessing from its perusal, forget not to do this, that all may receive benefit, and that our Father may be glorified.
Once more, Good bye! Farewell! Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace — and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.