Farewell Sermon

by Thomas Watson

(This sermon was given by Watson, on the eve of his ejection from his church, because of his non-conformity to the state church.)

"Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:9

The particular reason for my choice of this Scripture this day, if you compare my present situation with the intent of the Apostle in these words, you will easily understand. These words of the Apostle, being part of the close of his epistle to the Philippians, are his farewell to them. It is known to you, that I must now be parted from you; and I have pitched on this Scripture to be the close of my twenty years ministry among you.

God has sent me among you to be a builder, and I have chosen this text to be a hammer to fasten and drive home those nails of instruction and consolation, which I have been so long endeavoring to enter into you. God has sent me among you as a fisherman, and I have chosen these words to be the closing of the net. Behold! Once more the net is spread, and I am now making my last cast. Oh, that it might have the same good speed as Peter's had, Luke 5:6. It would then pay the charges, though the net broke. God has sent me among you as a farmer to plow and to sow, and I am now come to cover what has been sown. What my aim is in preaching, let it be yours in hearing. Oh, that both preacher and hearers might heartily join in this desire! God speed the plow! In this desire and hope, I drive on.

In the text observe a precept, a promise, and an entail of the promise on the precept. In the precept we have, first, an act, "put it into practice." Second, we have an object, "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me." The promise is in these words, "the God of peace shall be with you." The entail of the promise on the precept you have in the connective particle "and", which knits them together. Do the work—and have the reward; obey the precept—and enjoy the promise; "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Be careful of the former, and do not be anxious about the latter; if the precept is performed, the promise shall be made good.

Doctrine 1. Christians must be learners before they can be doers.

Doctrine 2. He has learned well who has learned to do well.

Doctrine 3. Christians' eyes, as well as their ears, may help them on in piety. The holy examples of ministers should be living sermons to people. "Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice." Therefore, the Apostle exhorts, Philippians 3:17, "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you." 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Be followers of me, as I am of Christ." That is, either, "I have been a follower of Christ, be therefore followers of me"; or else, "be followers of me as far as I have been a follower of Christ."

Those ministers may go off the stage with honor and comfort, who have left behind them the good seed of sound doctrine, and the good savor of a holy example. For my own part, what my doctrine and manner of life has been among you—you are witnesses, and God also. However, I have great reason to judge and condemn myself before the Lord, and to bewail that my life has been less exemplary and useful than it should have been! Yet I go off from you with this testimony upon my heart, that I have not been of those who bind heavy burdens and lay them on other men's shoulders—but will not touch them with one of their fingers. My endeavor has been to press on my own soul, and hold out in my own practice, that word of life which I have preached to you. Therefore, I am bold, in this sense, to exhort you, in the words of the Apostle, "Be followers of me" as far forth as you have seen me a follower of Christ."

DOCTRINE 4. Godly ministers, when they are departing from their people, would gladly leave God behind them. Though it is not unusual that, when the Lord sends them away, He goes with them. God and His messengers often take their farewell of people together; yet their earnest desire is that, though they must leave—yet the Lord would stay.

DOCTRINE 5. Faithful ministers would be messengers of peace, going as well as coming. As the Apostles' first words were to be, "Peace be unto you", so some of this Apostles' last words were, "the God of peace shall be with you."

DOCTRINE 6. Whenever ministers part with their people, if they can but leave godliness in them, they shall certainly leave God with them. Those who obey the gospel, whatever or whomever they lack, shall ever be in a peaceful and blessed condition.

"Put it into practice", that is, live in the practice and power of that doctrine of godliness "which you have received and heard", and then fear not, "the God of peace shall be with you."

This doctrine I shall fully prove to you after I have premised, first, the doctrine of godliness; the sum whereof take in these four particulars.

The Doctrine of Godliness

1. Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save sinners—came also to sanctify and purge them from their sins.

2. Those who believe in Jesus must be careful to maintain good works—and to live a godly life.

3. This godliness is not such a slight, easy, and empty thing, as the mistaken world imagines. True godliness consists in an exact conformity of the whole man, heart and life—to the whole will of God.

4. As whoever does not believe in Jesus cannot he saved—so whoever is short of this true, sincere godliness cannot be saved.

This is the sum of that doctrine which I have preached unto you, which, being the eternal truth of God, I herein embark my whole soul and life, desiring to be found in that same Jesus, and to be found walking in that same way of righteousness which I have declared unto you.

Second, my design and aim in preaching this doctrine to you, has been to beget in you and, through the influence and assistance of the eternal Spirit, to bring you to this true godliness. I have travailed in birth with you that Christ might be formed in you; that I might leave you possessors and partakers of that grace which accompanies salvation; that your faith might stand not in the wisdom of men but in the power of God; that your repentance might be repentance unto life not to be repented of; that you might obey from the heart that form of doctrine which has been delivered unto you; that you might stand complete in all the will of God; that you might be holy and harmless, the children of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked generation, among whom you must shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life; that, being rooted and grounded in love, you might comprehend with all saints what is the height, and depth, and length, and breadth, and might know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, and be filled with all the fullness of God.To this end have I taught everyone, and warned everyone, that I might present you perfect in Christ Jesus.

Third, that as far forth as the success has answered my design and aim upon any of your souls, so far forth you stand entitled to this glorious promise in the text, "the God of peace shall be with you." Look how many souls there are among you—who live in the power and obedience of those truths you have received. To so many I can, with confidence, give this farewell of the Apostle without "ifs" or "ands" — "the God of peace shall be with you." To whomever the Lord has been a God of grace, to them will He be a God of peace. Whoever among you has this God of grace dwelling and ruling in you—shall certainly find this God of peace dwelling and abiding with you.

These things premised, I shall now give you the full proof of the doctrine, in the following reasons. The doctrine, you remember, is that those who obey the gospel, whatever or whomever they lack, shall ever be in a peaceful and blessed condition. The reasons are:

First, the God of peace shall be with them.

Second, if God is with them, all things whatever befall them, shall make for their good.

REASON 1. The God of peace shall be with them. Practice these things—live in the obedience of the holy Doctrine which you have received—and the God of peace shall be with you. This glorious promise is pregnant with all the blessings that heaven and earth can afford. If you ask, "Why, what is there in it?" God is in the promise; all that is in God is here assured to the godly. The philosophers of old attained to some glimmerings of the excellencies which are in God, by these three ways:

First, conceiving of Him as a Being removed from all things signifying imperfection: as ignorance, impotence, iniquity, corruptibility, alteration, or any limits or bounds of His essence, power and glory.

Second, conceiving of Him as the Fountain of all other beings; and thence concluding that, whatever excellencies or perfections are scattered up and down in the whole creation—are all united in Him from whom they had their original.

Third, by way of excellency; so that whatever perfection, whatever goodness, is to be found in any creature, though it is not to be found in God formally—yet there is that in Him, He being the first cause of all, that infinitely, superabundantly, answers them all. Though there is not the same specific excellencies in Him, nor those very pleasures and delights issuing from Him which the creatures yield—yet there are such excellencies, such perfections, as transcend and surpass them all. The Scriptures tell us more positively and plainly that God is almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, infinite, eternal, unchangeable, all-sufficient, holy, righteous, gracious, the portion, the protection, the rewarder, yes, the exceeding great reward of those who diligently seek Him. And this is He who is in the promise. God is in the promise! I must not enlarge in this spacious field. I shall keep nearer the text, and shall confine myself to these four particulars:

1. God is in the promise—as the God of PEACE, as the Author

and bestower of peace. The greatest of blessings is the blessing of peace; peace has all blessings included in it. It has possession, fruition, and security; it has plenty, pleasure, and safety. Where there is no peace, there is no security for the holding, nor opportunity of enjoying what we have. Whatever we have, we have it as if we had it not. Peace is the greatest of blessings.

Peace with God is the most glorious peace. What is there that is excellent, what is there that is desirable— which is not comprehended in this peace with God? Where there is peace, there is pardon. Guilt cannot consist with this peace; "being justified by faith, we have peace with God." Where there is peace, there is grace and holiness; "There is no peace, says my God, to the wicked." Where there is peace, there is love and good will. As love, so peace is the union of hearts. "The God of peace is with you" signifies no less than this: The Almighty God bears you good will. These two, peace and good will, are twins: "on earth peace, and goodwill towards men." Where there is peace, there is life, everlasting life; internal peace is the seed of eternal peace. This peace is a portion; peace with God is our possession of the God of peace. This peace is a sanctuary; if the God of peace is with us, the peace of God will keep our hearts.

Christians, in the world you must have trouble. Suppose that you do have trouble—yet in Him you shall have peace, who has overcome the world. Isaiah 26:3, "You will keep him in perfect peace (in "peace, peace," as it is in the original) whose mind is stayed on You." Psalm 85:8, "I will hear what the Lord God will speak; He will speak peace to His people and to His saints." What a clattering is there in the world! What tumults and commotions are raised about the followers of Christ, as if the world were falling about their ears! The devil speaks wrath; evil men speak death and bonds to them, breathing out threatenings, reproaches, persecutions against them. In the midst of all this fearful noise, whatever men or devils speak—I will hearken, said the Psalmist, to what the Lord God will speak. Oh, He will speak peace to His saints!

Let the sons of contention do what they can, the sons of God shall be sons of peace. They shall live in peace; they shall die in peace; they shall dwell in peace forever. Isaiah 32:17-18, "The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness shall be quietness and assurance forever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." Oh, how great is the peace they have, who love Your law! Christians, fear not to follow God; let not that sad word, nor the fulfilling of it, scare you out of your duty, "All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." What if they do, while you are able to say, "I am persecuted—but I have peace. I am poor—but I have peace; I am in a prison—but I have peace; I am in a wilderness—but I have peace; though all the world be against me, God is at peace; my soul is in peace." What discouragement should all that be to you?"

2. He who is the God of peace—is the God of POWER. He promises peace, and He promises no more than He can perform. He can create peace. He can make their enemies to be at peace with them. He can make a league for them with the beasts of the field, with the lions, with the wolves, and with the most brutish among the people. He can say to the proud winds and waves, "Peace, be still!" and they obey Him. He can give them rest from the days of adversity; He can give them rest in the days of adversity; He can give his beloved sleep upon the points of sword and spears.

3. He who is the God of peace—is the God of PATIENCE. This is my great fear that, though God gives peace—yet I shall break my peace. The God of peace is with me! Oh, this is He whom I trouble daily by my distrusts, discontents, impatiences, murmurings. May such a heart have the peace of God? What peace, so long as such unbelief, so much iniquity as I find daily within me, remains upon me? Will He, with whom no iniquity can dwell, dwell in that heart where there is so much iniquity, by which He is provoked every day? But He who is the God of peace—is also the God of patience; who, though He will not bear the iniquities of His adversaries—yet He will bear much with the infirmities of His people. "But if his sons forsake my law and fail to walk in my ways, if they do not obey my decrees and fail to keep my commands—then I will punish their sin with the rod, and their disobedience with beating. But I will never stop loving him, nor let my promise to him fail. No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said." Psalm 89:30-34.

4. He who is the God of peace—is the God of HOPE. I have

no peace in possession, whatever there is in the promise. I live in the fire; I am born a man of trouble. What likelihood is there that I should ever live to see a good day? My comforts are broken; my estate is lost; my liberty is gone; friends I have none; enemies I have—many and mighty. I dwell in Mesech; I have my habitation in the tents of Kedar; I am for peace—they are for war. Wherever I look, round about me, before me, behind me, on the right hand or on the left—all speaks trouble and terror to me. I have no peace.

What, do you have no hope of peace, either? Where is your God, man? Have you a God in you—and yet no hope in you? The God of peace-and yet no peace! The God of hope—and yet no hope! "The God of hope will yet fill you with joy and peace in believing," Romans 15:13. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 43:5. The God of hope will open a window of hope in the darkest times—and a door of hope in the most desperate cases. The God of hope will bear up the spirits of His saints in hope, against hope; and this hope will never disappoint them. It shall never be said, "there is no peace, there is no hope," until it can be said "there is no God in Israel."

But how, or in what sense, is it to be understood, that this God of peace will be with us? I answer in three particulars:

1. The HEART of God will be with you. Joseph's blessing, "the good will of Him who dwelt in the bush" will be your portion, Deuteronomy 33:16. What was that bush? The church of God. What case was the bush in? It was all on fire; it was all in a flame. Who was it who dwelt in the bush? God was in the bush—and that kept it from consuming, though not from burning. The good will of this God shall be with you—His love, His favor, His care. "I love those who love Me," Proverbs 8:17. "The Lord loves the righteous," Psalm 146:8. The love of God, is the womb of all good. Hence sprang "the morning-star"; from the love of God, came the Son of God. Hence came that "womb of the morning", the blessed gospel which is so big with glorious grace, with light, life, pardon, peace, glory, immortality; from the love of God came the glorious gospel of God. "The upper springs"—all spiritual and heavenly blessings, "the nether springs"—all earthly and outward blessings—all rise and bubble up out of this fountain, the love of God.

The precious things of heaven, the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, the precious fruits put forth by the moon, the chief things of the ancient mountains, the precious things of the lasting hills, the precious things of the earth, and the fullness thereof, all these flow in with "the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush."

Love is all. The Apostle tells us that our love to God is the fulfilling of the law; that is, it will bring forth all that to God, all that duty and obedience, which the law requires. I may tell you that God's love to us is the fulfilling of the gospel; that is, it will pour down all that upon us; it will do all that for us, which the gospel promises. Look over the whole gospel; read and study every precious leaf and line of

that blessed book and, if there is enough in all that to make you blessed and to encourage you on in your holy course—all this is yours! You have that love of God with you—which will fulfill the Gospel. There shall not one jot or tittle fail you, of all that the Gospel promises. "The zeal of the Lord Almighty will perform this," Isaiah 9:7.

2. The HELP of God will be with you—the Lord will be your Helper in the day of your distress. Hebrews 13:5-6, "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you." So that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me." He has said, "I will not leave you", and, therefore, we may say, "I will not fear." He has said, "I will be your helper", and, therefore, we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper." He has said that He will not forsake you, He will help you.

Our case may be so desperate—as to be above all human help. If one should cry out, as the woman to the king of Israel, "Help, O king!" the king must answer, "If the Lord does not help you, whence shall I help you?" If he cries out, "Help! Oh, my friends!" all these must answer, "If the Lord does not help you, how shall we help you?" But what case is there in which a "Help Lord!" will not do? Foolish men count their case desperate, when they come to their "God help!" That is a usual expression to set forth the extremity and helplessness of any man's case. When we see men lost in any misery, and their case utterly hopeless—then to signify our sense of such men's lost condition, we cry out, "God help that man! God help that woman! They are lost creatures!" Aye—but if men understood and considered what the help of the Lord is, they would see there could be no case so desperate but a "Help, Lord!" might recover all, 1 Samuel 30:6. When David was greatly distressed, and all was gone, "he encouraged himself in the Lord His God." Consider here two things:

What his case was. He was in great distress; he had lost all that he ever had. His spoils that he had taken were all gone; his grain, his cattle, his wives and his city were all lost. He did not have a habitation in all the world; he had nothing left him but a poor army, and these were worse than lost. They were even ready to turn against him. "The people spoke of stoning him—but he encouraged himself in the Lord his God."

What the outcome was. Why, God helped him to all he had again; verse 19, "There was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters; neither spoil, nor anything they had taken: David recovered all." Hence note that a Christian, when he has lost all, has yet a God to go to at last. While a Christian has a God to go to, his case is never desperate. Let him but encourage himself in his God—and all will be recovered.

When Christians are at their worst, when they are brought as low as the pride and malice of the ungodly can lay them, though they should be stripped naked and left destitute of all their comforts, though all the world should ride on their backs and tread on their necks—yet do not rejoice against the poor people of God. Though they fall, they shall arise; when they are at their worst, there is still help for them in their God.

3. The PRESENCE of the Lord shall be with them. Wherever

they may be scattered, they shall not be scattered from their God. That promise made to Moses, Exodus 33:14, "My presence shall go with you", belongs to all the Israel of God. "My presence"; in the original it is, "My face"; in the Septuagint, "Myself shall go with you."

The presence of God is either general, or special.

By His general presence, He is everywhere. He fills all things. He beholds all things. He upholds all things. He governs all things. But I will let this pass, as it is not so proper to our purpose.

There is His special or gracious presence, whereby He manifests Himself to be with His people. This He does three ways:

1. In some visible tokens of His presence; as in those extraordinary tokens—the pillars of the cloud and of the fire; and in those ordinary tokens—the ark and the temple of old, and the ordinances of the gospel now.

2. In some inward influences upon the heart of His people.

3. In some visible and signal effects of His presence, whereof there are very many. There are, among others, these two notable effects of God's gracious presence, which His people, by virtue of this promise, may with confidence expect: guidance and protection. They shall be led in their way; and they shall be hidden in their way.

First, guidance. The Lord will be with them to lead them and guide them in the way that they should go. Psalm 25:9, "The meek will He guide in judgment, the meek will He teach His way." Psalm 107:7, "He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation." Psalm 5:8, "Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness, because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face." The Lord leads His people in their way chiefly by His Word, which is a light to their feet, and a lantern to their paths; and, sometimes, also by His providences, hedging up all byways, and leaving but one way open to them, which has the least appearance of the way of God; so ordering the matter, that any other way that is before them looks with too foul a face, to leave any doubt upon them whether it is the way of God or not.

It is never uncomfortable to the people of God, while they see their way before them; doubts about their way are more perplexing than dangers in their way. When they know what God would have them do, they can cheerfully trust Him for anything they are likely to suffer. Do you meet with wolves or lions in the way? You may bless God it is there you meet them; it would be ill meeting them elsewhere.

Second, protection in their way. Psalm 31:20, "You shall hide them in the secret of your presence, from the pride of man; you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues. You shall hide them in Your presence, or face." Your light shall be their dark place to cover them. "You are my hiding place," Psalm 32:7. "In the secret of Your presence." The saint's hiding place is a secret: such where neither the pride of man can find them, nor can they understand what it is. Reproaches shall not find those whose souls are hidden in God; they are not found when they are found. They are hidden when they seem to lie most open and most exposed to men's will and lust.

Sinners do not understand what refuge the saints have in God. It is a great secret, a mystery to them. As the joy of the saints, the comforts of the saints, are a secret—a stranger cannot understand his joy. They do not understand what kind, or how great security; what sure nor sweet repose the saints find in God. The secret of God's presence is a sure and a sweet resting place for all His saints; but how sure and how sweet, no man knows but those who enjoy it. The secret intimations of the care of God for them—-of His everlasting kindness to them, of His governing hand in all that befalls them, working it to their greater good; the secret supports and refreshings darted in like the beams of His countenance; their secret sense of their safety—will yield such rest in the day of greatest adversity, as men can neither see—nor take from them.

The pillar of the cloud interposed—-both hindered the Egyptians' pursuit—and hid from their eyes the comfort of that light which shone upon the camp of Israel. Moses knew what the comfort of God's presence meant when he said, Exodus 33:15, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here!" Israel was then in a wilderness, among wild beasts, among briars and thorns, in a weary pilgrimage; but they had God among them! The Lord was carrying them to Canaan, the land of their rest, a land flowing with milk and honey; but Moses prayed, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here!" We would rather be where we are, in a wilderness with God, than go to Canaan and leave our God behind us! If Your presence goes with us, we are willing to go when You will; where You will, which way You will; though through the armies of enemies. We will go anywhere as long as God goes with us. The absence of God makes a Canaan worse than a wilderness; the presence of God makes a wilderness better than a Canaan. And this presence of God shall be the lot of all His saints.

REASON 2. If God is with you, all shall work for your eternal good. All providential occurrences and events whatever, all difficulties, straits, disasters, disappointments whatever that may come upon you—shall work for your eternal good. Roman 8:31, "If God is with us, who can be against us?" Who can be against us? That is, none can be against us; or, if any is—yet those who are against you, shall be for you. Genesis 43:36, Said old Jacob, "all these things are against me!" But yet, as old as he was, he lived to see all these things working for him. Romans 8:28, "We know all things shall work together for good, to those that love God." This is such a promise as, if it were thoroughly believed, would set our feet on the necks of all our fears and dangers, and will prove the truth of Samson's riddle, "From the one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet."

Now, because there is so great encouragement to godliness in it, I shall spend the more time in enlarging upon it; and shall show:

First, what those things are which are especially intended in that comprehensive term "all things."

Second, what that good is which these things shall work to.

Third, to whom these things shall work for good.

Fourth, how these things shall work for good.

Fifth, that they shall undoubtedly work for good to them that love God.

First, what those things are which are especially intended in that comprehensive term "all things." There are some, like Augustine and others, who understand it universally, of all things whatever, whether good or evil. Even the sins of the saints work together for their good. God often brings good out of these evils, making use of former sins, to be forces against future sins. There is nothing which makes the sinner more weary and wary of sin--than sin itself. The review of the evils we have done--often frightens us from doing any more. When you look back on sin and see its horrid face--you will fear it the more whenever you meet it again. There is no argument which more effectually humbles and breaks the heart, and makes it more fearful and watchful against sin--than the shame and the smart of those sins we have fallen by! This is true—God often makes use of sin to be its own cure; and, therefore, it is sometimes seen that the chief of sinners have come to be the chief of saints.

Yet, besides that, this is not the subject matter that the Apostle here treats. Let those who bring sin within the compass of this promise—that even all the sins of the saints shall work for their good; let such tell us, how or in what way it is imaginable that the sinful decays of such who backslide from God and never recover to their former life and vigor, but live and die in a languishing state of soul; let them tell us how such sins can be imagined to work for their good. Until then we must enter our dissent from this interpretation. This, then, is not the sense of the promise—that all sins shall work together for good. And yet, if it were, it would be but a poor argument to take the more liberty to sin—because God will turn it to good. This would be as rational as for a man to tear his flesh, break his bones, pluck out his eyes, and burn his house—because God will turn all his suffering to good. He is little better than mad—who would not conclude such a man out of his wits.

Others say that this promise pertains to the evil things which befall the saints, their sufferings and afflictions; to that vanity, and those vexations they are in bondage under, and under which, with the whole creation, they groan and travail in pain, waiting for their redemption, of which the Apostle had been treating in the former part of the chapter. And yet, while they pitch the sense especially on such things as these, they grant it may be extended to all other things, sin only excepted; to all things and events, whether prosperous or afflicting.

These I take to have hit it right. All troublesome things, all the sufferings and afflictions of the saints, and not only these—but all other things whatever, which in the whole course of Providence are their lot or portion, all the dealings of God with them, all the dispensations of Providence towards them—shall all work for their good.

Second, in what sense, all things may be said to work good to them. The sense in general is this: they shall all work to their welfare. They shall all happen to them for the better; there shall nothing befall them, but one time or other they shall have reason to say, "It was well for me that it was thus with me. The wisdom and goodness of God cut out such portions continually for me, led me through such a series and succession of cases and events which, though I could not understand—yet now I see that every condition, every contingency and occurrence of my life, through which Providence led me—was useful and could not well have been omitted, but it would have been the worse for me." Thus, the promise in the general.

Particularly, for the fuller understanding what good it is that all things work to, consider that there is a twofold good of the saints:

1. such as they obtain and enjoy while they are in their way or course;

2. such as they shall obtain when they have gotten to the end of their way, when they are come to their place.

Or thus: there is a threefold good of the saints:

1. temporal good

2. spiritual good

3. eternal good

1. Temporal good, or the outward good things of this life, which may serve and please, and delight us in these days of our pilgrimage; which may abide with us and attend us to our graves—but there will take their leave of us.

2. Spiritual good, which is either:

(1) External good, as the ordinances of God, the light, liberties, and privileges of the gospel, the society, and communion of saints, and our peaceful and plentiful enjoying of them; or

(2) Internal good, as spiritual grace, faith, love, hope, and patience.


3. Eternal good, or that glory and joy, that everlasting rest and peace, the possession of that incorruptible, and undefiled inheritance, which is reserved in heaven for us. Now here note these things:

First, our outward good things are only good for us—as they are conducive to the good of our souls. This world is but a nursery for eternity. We are planted in this world—in order to our transplanting into the eternal world; and whatever we have here is either good or evil according to the respect that it bears to the eternal world. As far forth as our immortal part is improved by these perishing things—so far forth only, are they good for us. He who has this world's goods—and is not hereby made more rich towards God; he who prospers in this world—and yet his soul does not prosper; much more, he whose worldly fullness becomes the emptiness and leanness of his soul—are these good things good for him? Is he in prosperity upon a true account—whose soul does not prosper?

It cannot be universally said, that it is good to be rich; it is good to be in health; it is good to be in honor; it is good to be at liberty. The contrary may sometimes be true. It is good to be poor, to be sick, to be in disgrace, to be in bonds. The necessity of our souls often requires it. Then alone, is it good to be full and to abound—when our outward abundance furthers our spiritual welfare.

Christians, our outward good things are only good for us—as far forth as they conduce to our spiritual good. Could we receive this truth and live under the power of it—what a different judgment would we then have of all these worldly matters from what we now have! And how strangely would the course of the world he then changed! Would there then be such violent and eager pursuing these carnal things? Would there then be such whining, complaining, and murmuring at every cross providence? We would then say, "This may be good for me; good for my soul—however sad it looks!"

Second, external spiritual good things—the ministry and ordinances of the gospel—are good to us as far as they conduce to our eternal spiritual good; and they, being ordinarily so, it must be concluded that, ordinarily, it is good for us that we enjoy them, and are not deprived of them. God may see cutting Christians short of those privileges and liberties to be sometimes needful for them; and then even this also makes for their good.

Third, our inward spiritual good is good for us, so far as it tends to our eternal good; and, therefore, grace is ever good for us. It is always true that it is good to be holy, good to be humble, to live in the fear of God, and to flourish in His grace. We may have too much money or too much material things—but we can never have too much grace. Our greatest flourishing and fruitfulness in grace, will certainly abound to our more full reward.

Fourth, note that this is the plain sense and meaning of the promise, "all things shall work for good." That is, whatever befalls us—shall certainly promote our internal and eternal welfare. And as far as the outward privileges of the gospel, yes, and the good things of this life, conduce towards this—all shall work for good. If it is good for us to be rich, if it is good for us to be in honor, good for us to be at liberty—good for our souls, good in reference to our eternal state, if it is good for us that we enjoy the ministry of the gospel—there shall nothing befall us, which shall hinder us. There shall be nothing lacking to us, that might further our good.

The sum is that all providential dispensations shall he so ordered that we shall lack nothing but what it is better to lack—than have. We shall suffer nothing but what we cannot well be without—but what the good of our souls requires. That which we possess, and that which we suffer, shall not fail to bring about its end—the advancing of our eternal good.

And if this is the meaning, what a glorious promise is this! What more can any rational man desire! Nothing shall befall him—but shall be for his good! He shall be deprived or kept short of nothing—but what it is better to be without than have. He who is unsatisfied with this promise, it is either from lust or unbelief. Either he does not believe that God is true and will perform this word—or else it is because

his lust must be satisfied. He who desires a large worldly estate, ease, pleasure, liberty, or anything else upon any other terms but as they may be for his eternal and spiritual good—has as much lost his wits as his faith. And he who will take upon him to know what is good for him, better than God—may as well take upon him the government of the world. You may, with as good reason, desire a fever or a cancer that you may have the pleasure of your drink—as for the pleasures that carnal things would bring you in to desire them, when they would be a snare to your souls.

Thirdly, to WHOM these things shall work for good? To those who love God—to those who are called according to His purpose—to the people of God who you see are here described by their election and effectual calling—the called according to His purpose and their sanctification; those who love God. Love God—and you will live in the obedience of His whole will. These are the people to whom the promise is made; prove your calling and election, prove your sanctification, and you may write your names in this glorious promise: all things shall work for your good!

To those who are rebels and reprobates from God, all things shall work together for evil. While hurtful things work together for good to the saints—all good things work together for the hurt of sinners. Their peace hurts them; their plenty hurts them; their pleasure hurts them; yes, both their prosperity and adversity, their plenty and their poverty, their pleasure and their trouble, their honor and disgrace, everything which befalls them, turns to their harm. Their prosperity destroys them; their table is their snare; their pleasures are their plagues; and their very punishments are turned into sin! Everything which befalls them, heightens and hardens them in their wickedness, and ripens them for God's vengeance. God is not with them and, therefore, nothing prospers with them. God is with His saints and, therefore, nothing comes amiss to them—but all for their greater advantage. Christians, this is your portion and your privilege, wherein the men of this world shall neither partake with you, nor ever be able to deprive you of it!

Fourthly, HOW all things work for their good. How shall the evil things, the sufferings of this life, be for their good? How can this be? Must we disbelieve our senses, and forfeit our reason, before we can believe the Scriptures? Must we call evil good—and good evil? Must we count darkness light—and light darkness? Is pleasure pain—and pain pleasure? Is loss gain—and gain loss? Is ease torment—and torment ease? Does religion make things cease to be what they are—and to be what they are not? Or at least, must we believe that darkness is the mother of light—that good is the daughter of evil? Can we gather grapes from thorn bushes—or figs from thistles? Can darkness gives light—or death itself brings forth life? How can these things be?

But must God give a reason for His actions? Though evil cannot bring good; and darkness cannot bring forth light; yet God can bring forth good out of evil—and light out of darkness! Though darkness cannot bring forth light and evil cannot bring forth good by a natural causation; yet God can make evil an occasion of good! Though the torment the medicine puts men to, is not ease—yet may it not work towards ease? The storm, though it does not help—yet it may hasten the laborer on his work or the traveler on his way. May not the darkness of the night, make us more diligent in the day? May not sickness teach men more temperance; and poverty teach men more frugality?

But to proceed more distinctly, how can the saints' evil things work to their good? That they do so cannot be denied—unless we will deny Scripture and common sense and experience. But how does it come to pass? I answer in four particulars:

1. The afflictions and tribulations of the saints are the way that leads them on to the possession of that good which God has intended to them. Afflictions are the way of the kingdom; the cross is the way to the crown. Acts 14:22, "Through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God." Psalm 66:11-12, "You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Observe it, their troubles are their way to their triumph; their very falling into the net is their way to escape. Their enemies boast, "Escape! Arise! Yes, let them free themselves with such hopes while they will; we have them sure enough. We have them under foot; we have them in the net. If this is their way, we will keep them in their way long enough! Now we have them down, they shall not be able to rise." Aye—but yet it appears, through all this, that the Lord led them forth into a place of abundance.

When Israel was to go to Canaan, they had the brick-kilns, the Red Sea, the wilderness, and the Jordan River in their way. Could anyone have imagined that the bondage, the straits they were under, the doubling of their tasks, the cruelty of their taskmasters, their enclosure at the Red Sea—meant any good to them? Yet how did it fall out at last? Their darkest dispensations had light in their latter end; their greatest bondage led to their greatest liberty. Every cross providence is a step to the accomplishment of the promise. The wheel is ever moving on to its end. It moves forward even when it seems to go quite backward. The river, by its many turnings and windings, forward and backwards, is still in motion to the sea when it seems to be running quite contrary.

Christians, if ever the salvation of God seems to be removed farther from you, if the work of God should at any time seem to go backward, if cross-winds should turn the whole course so that you appear rather to be marching back to Egypt than on to Canaan—yet be not discouraged. Though your way is an unlikely and unpromising way, though you are led about forwards and backwards—yet still you are moving on! Though the lesser wheels are never so cross and contrary in their motions—yet the great wheel is still moving right on to your blessed and hoped end. God intends your good—your spiritual good here, your eternal good hereafter. And believe it now, for He will let you see it hereafter—that those very things which most threaten your undoing, and a total abortion of your hopes—are all made to concur to bringing them about, and to your more full and speedy possession of them.

Note further here other things:

(1) All things work for their good. Not they shall work—but they do work. The work is already on the wheel, and every wheel is in its motion, works for you; not only your brethren, the saints and angels, who are all praying for your peace and seeking your good, but your enemies also. The dragon, with all his armies, is at work for you; all the councils of this world are already sitting upon the very matter. God has called them together for this purpose; the pope, with all his conclave, the Jesuits, priests, monks and friars, with all their conventicles; yes, the devil, with all his conclave of hell—are all at work for the good of saints!

It is true, they do not mean nor intend any such thing; their designs are against you. They reckon that they are working for themselves; as it is said concerning the Assyrian, "Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. But this is not what he intends, this is not what he has in mind; his purpose is to destroy, to put an end to many nations." Isaiah 10:5-7. God sent him forth upon a design of His own, to execute His counsel in the punishing of hypocrites, to purge out the chaff from the wheat. Nevertheless, he does not intend so, nor does his heart think so. The Assyrian minds not what God's design is—but follows his own design, fights for himself and conquers for himself; but God's design is still carried on by him—though he thinks not of it.

All the events in the world are driving the same way. Every disease or infirmity which comes upon you, every loss that you sustain, every scoff or reproach that you suffer, the shame in your faces, the sorrow of your hearts, the torment in your affections, the aches in your bones—are all working your good. All the changes of your conditions, your fair weather and your foul weather, your sunshine and your clouds, your plenty and your poverty, your health and your pains, your liberties and your prisons—are all working for you. Your good is already working by all these things. See, Christians, what a harvest of blessedness is growing up to you—out of this promise! The seed is already sowing; your good is already working; God is at work; the whole creation is at work; men and angels, good men and evil men, friends and enemies, heaven, and earth, and hell—are already engaged to work your good!

They work together; that is, as some understand it, they work together with God. All these second causes work together with the first cause. Or, as others understand it, they work together among themselves. There is such a uniting and concentrating of these second causes in the same design that, however they seem to thwart, cross, and destroy—yet they are all united in their end. They jointly contribute to the welfare of the saints. Though, if I mistake not, this latter is the best sense of the two—yet I know no reason why both may not be understood.

In the hand, and under the presence, of Providence—all these lower things concur and co-operate in the good of the believer. By the way, observe what a harmony there is in all the works of Providence. The most cross and thwarting occurrences all conspire, and go hand in hand, to bring about the same end. As the differing virtues of various drugs all concur to make up the medicine; as the differing sounds of several strings or instruments all together make up the melody; as the differing colors in a picture, the dark as well as the bright, jointly contribute to the beauty of the painting—no less do the most contrary and contradictory actions and events both make up the beauty of Providence, and jointly subserve that one end to which, by an unseen hand and an all-seeing eye, they are directed and intended.

(2) The evil things which befall the saints, come upon them to keep out worse things. Wherever the cross comes, if it had not come, something worse might. The cross may be a means to secure from the curse; the curse was slain on the cross of Christ, and our cross also has its use: to deliver us from it. 1 Corinthians 11:32, "We are chastened by the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." I would have died—if I had not suffered. It is no bad exchange to have a cross instead of a curse.

(3) The evil things of the saints, prepare them for better things; that they may work good for them, they are working them to good, working out their sin and iniquity, wearying them of sin. Hosea 2:6, "I will hedge up her way with thorns—then shall she say, I will return". Sin brought afflictions into the world—and afflictions help to carry sin out! The cross to which sin was once nailed—is not nailed to sin; the saints can seldom be meddling with sin but they find it too heavy for them. Our Lord beats the devil with His own weapons, by those very means purging His saints by which he endeavors to pollute them; making those very persecutions by which he labors to force them from holiness—to fix them in it.

Christians, comfort your hearts. Those floods that are cast against you shall but wash you the whiter, and make you more fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Your purgatory prepares you for your paradise. No unclean thing must enter in there, and you are not likely to be made so clean as by falling into the hands of the unclean. The saints never look so well, like sheep come from the washing, as when they come up from the pots. Their very black makes them lovely. Oh, Christians! What a comfort would it be if your experiences might come in and seal to this truth; if you could say, "Thus it has been with me: Before I was afflicted I went astray. I was proud, vain, wanton, slothful, and carnal—but now have I kept Your Word!"

Sinners, whatever your mind is in persecuting the saints, never think to debauch them by it. If that is your aim, you mistake your course. The living spark which God has kindled in them will not be blown out—but will be blown up by your puffing at it. The dirt you cast upon them only scours them the brighter. You take the best course you can to keep them closer to the Lord and His way; the warm sun will more hazard the casting off of their garments—than the blustering wind. Let them alone; the Spirit of the Lord within them, will be too hard for hell with all its black regiments, and will not only secure them but advance them yet higher by all their assaults. These stars shine the brightest, when the night is darkest. When you have done your worst, it will be the better with them; though they will not thank you—yet they will thank God for what they have suffered by you. If this is your aim, to make them like yourselves, you may give over such a vain attempt. Your fury is likely to do as little to force them, as your sins are to invite them to a compliance with you. Your faces are too foul to draw them into your love, and yet not fierce enough to drive them into your fear. Satan, try your utmost strength and skill, and if you lose not by your own play at last, if you do not find the poor people of God gotten nearer heaven by your attempts of plucking them down to hell—then let your lies be believed before the everlasting gospel!

Christians, make me not ashamed in this same confident boasting of you. Yes, do not deny your God by allowing yourselves to be corrupted by evil men. The Lord's glory relies upon your integrity and steadfastness. The honor of His truth and faithfulness, lies at stake. He has said that "they shall not be afraid of any evil tidings, their heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord," Psalm 112:7. He has said, "By this shall their iniquity be purged, and this shall be all the fruit to take away their sin." God has said, "All things shall work together for good to them." They shall not be the worse—but the better for all that befalls them; they shall love Me and My holy ways the more. They shall cleave unto Me the closer; they shall be made more pure and more tender by all they suffer for righteousness' sake.

God has ventured deep on you; do not make Him a liar. The devil and his instruments will be ready to say concerning you, as once he did to the Lord concerning His servant Job, "Put them into our power; let us have the handling of them a while—and you shall quickly see what truth there is in them, or what trust there is to them. They will curse You to Your face; they will deny You to Your face. They will eat their own words. They will be ashamed of their God, their godliness and confidence."

Let God be true, Christians, and the devil a liar. Be living commentaries on this blessed text; let the world and its black prince see that they cannot make you miserable because they cannot make you sinners like themselves; that you are still the more upright for falling into the hands of a crooked generation. Let them see that you are contented to serve God for nothing! Though His hedge is removed from you—yet your heart is not removed from Him. Be able to say, "Though all this has come upon us, our heart is not turned hack; neither have we declined the way." Be increasing in the grace of God, and abounding in the works of righteousness. Be a standing witness for God in the world, and a seal to His Scriptures, and especially to the glorious truth of this text.

(4) The evil things of the saints, prepare better things for them. Their sufferings go towards their reward. "As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds by Christ." Every suffering comes with a comfort in its belly; and the sweet is so great it swallows up the bitter. It is a hundred-fold that the saints gain by all their losses in this life—but how great shall their reward be in heaven! 2 Corinthians 4:17, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." They shall not only have weight for weight, measure for measure, their load of glory for their load of sufferings—but they shall have over-weight, over-measure; good measure, pressed down, heaped together, and running over shall then be given unto them.

According to their deep poverty, shall be the height of their riches; according as their blackness has been in their houses of bondage shall, be their brightness in the land of promise. "For all your shame, you shall have double", the double of your reproach in renown, the double of your tears in triumphs. All your bottled tears shall be returned in flagons of joy—yes, in rivers of eternal pleasure!

By this time, Christians, you see what glory there is in this good Word: "All things shall work together for good to those who love God."

5. All things do, and shall certainly work for good to those who love God. That none may have the face to say all this is but a dream, I shall, in the next place, bring in clear and undeniable evidence that it is certainly and unquestionably so, as has been said. And therefore know that all things do and shall certainly work for good to those who love God. This (besides the testimony of the Scripture) I shall make evident from these three propositions:

1. There is a Divine Providence which governs the world.

2. The design of Providence is the accomplishment of the good purpose and promise of God.

3. The Providence of God shall never fail of accomplishing its end.

1. There is a Divine Providence which governs the world. The Epicureans, who deny Providence and leave all to chance and fortune, may as well deny that there is a God, which yet they are ashamed to stand to. It can be no way reconcilable to the infinite wisdom of God, who made this glorious fabric with the various creatures therein, either not to determine them to their ends—or else to take no care for the accomplishing of those ends which He has determined. The whole current of Scripture is so plain in these matters, that he who runs may read. Let the following Scriptures, among others, be considered.

Psalm 97:1, "The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice, let the isles be glad." Psalm 145:15-16, "The eyes of all wait upon You, and You give them their food in due season; You open Your hand, and satisfy the desires of every living thing." Psalm 36:6, "You preserve man and beast." Psalm 75:6-7, "For no one on earth—from east or west, or even from the wilderness— can raise another person up. It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall." Amos 3:6, "Shall there be evil in a city—and the Lord has not done it?" Psalm 17:13-14, "Deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Your sword; from men which are Your hand." The confessions of those infidels, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, speak the same, Daniel 4:35, "All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: What have you done?" Daniel 6:26-27, "I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end. He rescues and saves his people; he performs miraculous signs and wonders in the heavens and on earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions!"

But, more distinctly, the Lord governs all inanimate and animate creatures in their actions. He orders the stars in their courses. He governs the winds and the floods. He brings forth the winds out of His treasuries, He rides upon the wings of the wind. He makes the cloud His chariots. He sits on the floods. The thunder, and the hail, and the rain, and the frosts are all at His command. He gives snow like wool, and scatters the musty frost like ashes. He casts forth the ice like morsels. He sets bounds to the sea which it shall not pass. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea, yes, the stones and dust of the earth—are all at His beck and call.

More especially, He rules and governs the men of this world. He sits in all the councils of men, though they see Him not. He orders all their decrees; there is no decree which can pass, unless God gives His vote. He rules in all the actions of men. Even those things which are acted through our shortsightedness, do not come to pass without the Providence of God. He rules in all the changes that are in the world. He changes the times and the seasons. He changes kingdoms and governments. He removes kings and sets up kings. He makes war and creates peace. He bends the bow, breaks the bow, cuts the spear in sunder, and burn the chariots in the fire. Peace and war, health and sickness, plenty and famine, life and death, are all the disposal of His hand. He orders all the events and causalities of the world, even from the greatest to the smallest. Without Him, not a sparrow shall fall to the ground—nor a hair of the head shall perish. Though there are causalities or contingencies to men—yet to the Lord there are none. All things come to pass according as His hand and counsel had before determined.

2. The design of Providence, as it respects the elect, is the accomplishment of God's good purpose and promise. God's Providence governs the world—and God's purpose and promise governs Providence. All the works of Providence are according to God's purpose. God does nothing in vain; it is not consistent with the wisdom of God, to do anything for nothing. God would have His people look farther than to the things which are before them, because all those things have a farther aspect themselves. All the works of Providence have a double aspect: they look backward to the purpose and promise—and look forward to the end for which they are. As they look backward, so they have truth in them, exactly answering the purpose and promise from which they have their birth. As they look forward to their end, so they have good in them, and that good, their subservience to their end, is the reason of their being. Here note two things:

The subserviency of things to their end is the goodness of them; if the end is good, the means must as such be good also. If what God has purposed and promised is good—then all things which fall in between, having the respect of means to their accomplishment, must upon that account be good. If our crosses and afflictions subserve the bringing about of God's good will and good Word, we must say concerning them, "Good are the works of the Lord." It is not how anything looks or feels at present—but what it means and to what it tends. If the potion is bitter and yet tends to health, if the messenger looks harsh—and yet comes upon a good errand, you may bid him welcome. And thus, all the providences of God are good.

If you should ask of any providence, "Why have you come? Do you come peaceably? Do you come for good?" They must all answer, "Yes, peaceably; for good, and no hurt. It is but to help all that good into your hand—which has been in the heart, and has proceeded out of the mouth of your God who loves you." There is not a messenger of Satan which comes to buffet you—but is also a messenger from God which comes to you for good. The very thorns in your flesh shall serve you for plasters; your eye-sores shall be your eye-salve; and your very maladies shall be your medicines.

This relative goodness of all the works of providence is the reason of their being. Therefore, God does what He does that, hereby, He may do what He has said and intended. I do not say that the reason of God's taking this or that means is always from anything in itself, or for its natural tendency to such an end above anything else. God has His choice of means. He can choose this or that at pleasure. He can make use of what He will, to serve His design. But the reason why things are—is that God, in His wisdom, saw their means to this good end, and thereupon, in His providence, He orders and brings them to pass. So that, now, whatever befalls a Christian, he has this to allay and take off the grievousness and sharpness of it—"This would never have been, but for the good will and good Word of the Lord to me. The Lord God has said He will bless me and do me good. He will heal me, and sanctify and save me, and now He is about it. By this, He is working that salvation for me."

Christians, you have no reason to say, "If the Lord is with me, why am I thus? Why so poor, why so pained, why so persecuted, so scorned and trampled upon? Surely, if the Lord had meant my good, it would have been better than it is with me."

No, no, it is because the Lord is with you and means you well—that He deals in this manner with you. The design of His providence towards you—is the accomplishment of His promise.

3. The providence of God shall never fail of accomplishing its end. There is nothing lacking which might give us the fullest assurance hereof. For:

The providence of God has power with it. He who has promised, is the Almighty. He who rules in the earth, dwells in heaven and does whatever He will. "Our God is in heaven—and does whatever He will." "From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. No one can reverse my actions!" Isaiah 43:13. Were it not for our unbelief, our attitude would be still the same in greatest difficulties as when the coasts are most clear. We might say of difficulties, as the Psalmist of darkness, "There is no darkness with You, to You the day and night are both alike." Difficulties are no difficulties with Him, nor is there difference between hard and easy. He can save with many or with few—and with none as well as with some. We once read He had too many—but never that He had too few, to bring about His work. Oh, how do we disparage the power of God when our difficulties make us doubt! He is God and not man! Why, then, do you doubt? Whatever God has said—He can do. Believe He is God, and you will never say, "How can these things be?"

The providence of God has wisdom with it. He is the only wise God—He is the all-wise God. "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations," 2 Peter 2:9. He knows what is good for His saints—and when it will be in season. He understands what is proper and pertinent to every case; what is proper to every purpose, to every person, and for every season. He knows when it is a season to abate and when to exalt; when to afflict and when to deliver; when to put on the yoke and when to take off the yoke; when to pull down and when to build up. Everything is beautiful in its season. If mercies came out of season, mercies would not be mercies; and if troubles came in their season, troubles would not be troubles. He knows the best method and means to His end, the fittest means. He sees sometimes the unfit test to us—to be the fittest; the most unlikely unpromising means to us—often best serve God's end. Christians, if you would receive every dispensation as coming from the hand of the wise God, you would never quarrel with your lot nor say of anything which befalls, "I might be happy—but this stands in my way." If you would give God permission to be wiser than you, you would say, wherever you are, "It is good for me to he here, this is my way to my rest."

The providence of God has faithfulness with it, Psalm 25:10. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies, Psalm 111:8. His works are done in truth. God's works may be said to be done in truth in a double sense. In reality and in fidelity.

In reality. Not in show only, for God's comforts are comforts indeed. God's salvation is salvation indeed. The devil will come with his gifts, comforts, and deliverances—but they are, for the most part—but like himself—shows and apparitions, quite another thing than what they seem to be. Sinners' comforts, deliverances, and enjoyments, with which the devil feeds them—leave them in as poor a case, and worse, than they found them. You will never thank the devil for his kindnesses when you have seen them for what they are. If the glittering glories and pleasures he entices you by and entertains you with, prove to be trash and dirt and mere lies in the end—then say, "The devil's works will be even like himself — false and deceitful." But God is true, and all His works are done in truth.

In fidelity. His works are according to His Word, 1 Kings 8:24. "In Your faithfulness You have afflicted me," Psalm 119:75. Not only in Your faithfulness You have saved me, in Your faithfulness You have comforted me, in Your faithfulness You have succored me; but in Your faithfulness You have afflicted me. In Your faithfulness, You have humbled me, broken me, and cast me down. The promise of God is that we shall lack nothing; we shall neither lack His staff nor His rod, neither comforts nor crosses, neither joys nor sorrows. We cannot well lack either—and we shall lack neither because God is faithful. You may not only write down with the Apostle, "God is faithful, and will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear." But you may write also, "God is faithful and will not allow you to fall in temptation."

When it is seasonable, your hearts shall be glad; and, if need be for a season, you shall be in heaviness. God is faithful; He will ever be true to Himself and, therefore, to you. 2 Timothy 2:13, "He abides faithful, He cannot deny Himself." Should He be false to His people, He cannot be true to Himself, to His purpose and promise. His Word is not yes and nay. God is not as a man that He should repent, that He should say and not do. You may write God's name upon every Word He has spoken; you may write His name, I AM, upon all that He has said.

Now Christians, put these three particulars together and, if you cannot spell out the conclusion out of them—that the providence of God will certainly accomplish His good purpose and promise concerning you, you are of little understanding as well as of little faith. If God governs the world, and nothing comes to pass but by His providence; if providence governs according to God's purpose and promise, providence cannot fail of accomplishing both. If God is almighty and can, if God is wise and knows how, if God is faithful and true, let the devil, if he can, with all his sophistry, evade the conclusion—that he will certainly do all that good for you which He has purposed and promised. If God is not able to perform, He is not almighty; if He mistakes His way, if He uses impertinent, improper means, He is not the all-wise God. If He does not actually perform what He is able and knows how to do when He has said it, He ceases to be the true God. So that the matter is brought plainly to this issue: if God is God, if God is the all-wise God, if God is the true and faithful God, this Word which He has spoken, "All things shall work together for good to those that love God", shall not fail of its accomplishment in its season.

A few words of CAUTION

Having thus proved the doctrine, I shall add a few words by way of caution.

CAUTION 1. Do not limit the Lord to your time and way. God will make good His Word—but you must give Him permission to take His own season. "He who believes shall not make haste." Believe God—but do not pre-judge lest you fall into temptation. Put no more into the promise, neither for matter nor circumstance, than God has put in it. Put not that into the promise which God has not put in it lest you miss and come short of that which God has put in it. Let others' mistakes and miscarriages be warnings to you. Until God has manifestly said, "This is the time", don't you say it. Build not your confidence on conjectures, your faith on the strongest presumptions, lest your faith prove but a dream and your confidence your confusion. Make not the promise of God of none effect by looking for its effect out of season. Do not believe yourselves into infidelity. Consider Acts 1:7, "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons, which God has put in His own power." Study the Word and its commentary, the works of God—but be sober in your conclusions.

This you may safely depend upon, and this will be enough, if you have no more. God will make good His Word to you sooner or later—in one time or other, in one way or other, in the best time, in the best way, in the appointed time. Habakkuk 2:3, "Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, and will not tarry." At least, at the end of the days when you shall arrive on the banks of Canaan and shall then look back on the promises and providences of God, you shall see and say, "God is faithful. There has not failed one word of all that He has promised. Now I understand, though once I could not, how every wheel was turning, every instrument was moving, every event was working towards my good and everlasting welfare!"

CAUTION 2. Let not your looking for mercy, hinder the working of your affliction. It is not seldom, and the Lord grant it is not too common a case—that our door of hope becomes a door of sin. We do not set ourselves with that seriousness to humble, to purge ourselves from our iniquities, as we would do if we apprehended our case more desperate. Our fears and our sorrows have not their kindly work upon us; our hope hinders it. We might have been more broken-hearted, had it not been for our hopes of building up. When a person conceives himself to be dying, he then falls to praying, repenting, and setting his heart in order because he must die; but, upon a little hope of recovery, he lays by his dying thoughts and preparations.

Christians, whenever you are under afflictions, take heed that your expectation of deliverance is near; put it not so much the farther off. Watch narrowly over yourselves and look diligently to it that your hope of redemption does not harden your hearts nor hinder your humiliation and repentance. Hope in God and wait for the promise of His coming; but know that, until the rod has done its work, it is not likely in mercy to be laid by, and it is better to be continued in the furnace—than to he brought forth with your dross unpurged away.

By the way, learn hence two things.

First, rejoice in this promise of God. Has the Lord put in your name here? Let your heart say, "It is enough." Be more joyful in this, that God has thus undertaken the care of you, than if God had wholly put you to your own keeping. In what will you rejoice, if not in this—that the whole creation is engaged to do you a kindness, to help you into the possession of your God? You may now not only submit to—but thankfully embrace, every providence, knowing upon what errand it comes to you—for good and not for hurt. You may now triumph not only in the consternations, but in the triumphs of your enemies. Whether they ride over your back or you tread upon their neck—it is all one—the outcome will be the same. Your troubles and your consolations differ only in their countenance. With whatever grim face your afflictions look, there are God's smiles underneath. Learn to see through them, and you may see light on the other side. Believe this promise—you may read it written upon everything that befalls you. There's no messenger which comes, but brings this promise in his hand, "Even this shall work for good." Read it, and rejoice.

Second, lay yourself down quietly under it. No more perplexing or distracting cares what shall become of you, no more unwarrantable shifting for yourself. Shift not for yourself—lest God should leave you to your own shifts. Let not the violence of evil men disturb your peace or provoke you to unpeaceableness. Whatever provocations you may have, avenge not yourself, neither give place unto wrath, murmuring, or fears. In patience, possess your soul, your God, and His good Word. Your strength is to sit still. Stand still and see the salvation of God; you have nothing to do—but to be holy. Let that be your only care; your God will see to it you shall be happy. He is faithful, who has promised. Love God, and leave yourself and your whole interest in this blessed word, "All things shall work to you for good."

By this time you see something of the riches of this promise. God is in the promise, the God of peace, the God of power, the God of patience, the God of hope, the heart of God, the help of God, the presence of God—by virtue whereof all that ever befalls you, shall work for your good. I think the hearing of this promise opened should set your souls and all that is within you to crying out, "Oh, that this were my portion! Wherever my lot falls, as to outward things, though in a prison, though in a desert, though on a dunghill, let the lot of my soul lie in this promise, The God of peace shall be with you!"

Why, brethren, will you take up with godliness? You have learned and received and heard the Word of the Lord—the word of faith, the word of righteousness and holiness. Will you hearken to, will you obey these words? "These things do—and the God of peace shall be with you." Oh, what foolish creatures are we, that we should ever be afraid of true religion, afraid of holiness, afraid to own, obey, and follow God and His holy ways! What unreasonable fears are these to those who believe the Scriptures! If the Scriptures are true, this is the only way, this following God in holiness—to put yourselves out of all danger, to put yourselves into the heart, arms, presence, and protection of the Almighty God of heaven and earth! Oh, that I could persuade you in this—and there leave you! If you are once in the Lord's arms, you are safe enough, into whatever hands you fall.

Christians, my business while I have been with you—has been to bring you to God, to espouse you to Christ. I can give you assurance that He will shortly come and make up the marriage. I must say to you, as Naomi to Ruth, Ruth 3:12, "Sit still, my daughter, until you see how the matter will fall; for the man will not he in rest, until he has finished the thing this day." Sit still, Christians, until you see how matters will fall; and, however they fall, know your Lord will not be at rest until He has finished this thing and brought you home to be with Him where He is. I am now parting from you in this confidence that, however, after a few days I shall see your faces no more in this world; yet I shall shortly meet you in the bride-chamber of glory where we shall forever be with the Lord!

Beloved in the Lord, I must now leave you—but give me permission before I go to deal freely with you, and yet a little further, in the close of my day, this once more to open my heart to you and to tell you:

I. What my parting fears are.

II. What my parting wishes for you are which I carry upon my spirit.

I. My parting fears as I go off from you, are especially these:

1. 1 am afraid that there are many of you upon whom I have bestowed my labor in vain. I am afraid that I have instructed you in vain, exhorted, persuaded, beseeched, and reproved you in vain. It was the Apostle's case, and his fear, concerning the Galatians, chapter 4:11. It is my grief that, when I would have no more to speak but a healing word, a comforting word—I must yet drop down a bitter word on some of you; that when I would speak only from Mount Gerazim, I must yet again speak to some from Mount Ebal; that when I would leave a blessing behind me upon you all, I am likely to leave some bound under a curse. It is grievous to me thus to speak—yet, for the discharge of my duty and for your own necessity, bear with me. I am afraid that, while I have been preaching to you of an incorruptible crown, of an everlasting rest, a kingdom of joy and glory, I am afraid there are many of you that have no part nor lot in this matter—but are still in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity!

"If the gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are lost." And are there none among you from whom this gospel is hidden—as to the light of it—hidden as to the saving power and efficacy of it? I am afraid there is many a blind eye, many a hard heart, many a spirit still in prison, under the power of their lusts and brutish sensuality! I am afraid there are many such among you, and are not you afraid so too? Oh, that you were!

2. I have a greater fear than this. I am afraid of some of you that not only all my past labors—but this last will be lost also. Those who stand it out to their last day—usually stand it out in their last day. Blessed be God that there are among you those over whom my soul is comforted, to whom I can speak in the words of the Apostle, Romans 6:17, "God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin; but you have obeyed from the heart, that form of doctrine that has been delivered unto you; and being now made free from sin, you are become the servants of righteousness." Oh, that I could thus speak! Oh, that I could thus rejoice over you all! But, as the Apostle said to the Galatians, 2 Corinthians 12:20, "I fear lest when I come, I shall find you such as I would not." So must I say with a grieved heart; I fear that now I am going I shall leave you such as I would not. I would not leave one blind person, one vain person, one loose liver, not one unbeliever or impenitent, among you all. Oh, what a good day would this day of my departure be! What light would there be in this dark evening were it thus with you! If I might see you all recovered out of the snares of the devil, every man's eyes opened, every man's fetters off, every man's prison broken and his soul escaped from that deadly bondage; if every poor deadly creature among you, who yet lies bound hand and foot in his grave-clothes might now at last stand up from the dead, and live the life of God, this would be my, and your, great rejoicing! But, oh, I fear with this Apostle, 2 Corinthians 12:21, that my God will humble me and grieve me and afflict me to see in what a woeful plight I must leave many of you!

Oh, you sons of the night—you poor, ignorant, and dark souls upon whom the light has shone—but your darkness comprehended it not! Oh, you poor, obstinate, and hardened souls upon whom I have been plowing as upon rocks, and hewing as upon adamant, who still remain under as great hardness as if no dew nor rain had ever fallen on you! Oh, you poor, half-baked, almost Christians who have taken up your stand in your present attainments; my soul is under great fears and must weep in secret for you while my tongue must henceforth be silent! Oh, every soul that is without fear of himself, my soul is afraid for you! The fearless soul is in a fearful state!

Sinners, let my fears be your fears. What! is there such astonishing guilt upon you—and are you yet not afraid? Such a dreadful sentence written against you, and are you yet not afraid? So many Sabbaths, sermons, warnings lost, never to be recalled; nor any assurance left of one sermon or warning more—and yet not afraid? Such a subtle devil, such a deceitful heart, such a tempting world that you have to deal with. Such a black and bottomless pit into which you are falling—and yet not afraid? Oh, what stocks and stones has the gospel to deal with!

Beloved, I have labored much with you, both publicly and from house to house, to bring you under a due fear and jealousy of yourselves; but hitherto your hearts have been too hard for me. Oh—yet for trembling hearts; tremble and sin not; fear and pray, fear and hope, fear and repent. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Oh, if my fears ever became your fears—your fears would become my hopes! Oh, what a day-spring of hopes would arise from the shaking of secure hearts! These fears would be as the thicker darkness, forerunners of the break of day.

II. My parting wishes and desires for you are:

1. That the good seed which has been sown among you is well-rooted in every heart. I wish that my twenty year ministry among you may not be lost labor to any one of your souls.

2. I wish that your next seedsman may he more skillful and successful; that the good Lord will provide you a man who may teach you in wisdom, gain you in love, lead you on to life by a holy example; and, if the Lord grants you this mercy, I wish that such a one may be dearly prized and cheerfully accepted by you. God keep this flock from a ravening wolf and a deceitful shepherd!

3. I wish that there may be no root of bitterness springing up among you; that there he no divisions or contentions—but that you may live in peace and love, that the God of peace and love may be with you.

4. I wish that this place, where so much good seed has been, sown, may become a fruitful field; that the fruits of faith and repentance, the fruits of righteousness and holiness, may be in you and abound; that you may be neither barren nor unfruitful; that true religion, in the power and practice of it—may so visibly flourish in the several persons, in the several families of this congregation, that those who go by may see and say, "This is the field which the Lord has blessed!"

5. I wish that whatever clouds may at any time gather over you may not fall down in a withering storm or a sweeping flood—but may pass away in a mist, or dissolve into a fruitful dew; that no persecutions or temptations may ever carry you down the stream with evil men, nor blight any hopeful beginnings that are budding forth in any of your souls. If tribulation should be any of your lots, I wish it may not be to you as the hail of Egypt—but as the dew of Hermon. I wish you a joyful harvest that you may reap in eternity—what has been sown in time. May you now sow in righteousness and hereafter reap in mercy; may every one who is now sowing in tears—may forever reap in joy. May you who go on your way weeping and bearing precious seed, return with joy and bring your sheaves with you. May the showers of this day, be the watering of your seed—that it may spring up to eternal life.

Brethren, my heart's desire for you all is that you may be saved; and, if there are any persons that bear evil will to me, my particular wish for them is that the good-will of Him who dwelt in the bush be those

men's portion forever. These are some of my wishes for you. Will you join your wishes with mine? Will you turn your wishes into prayers and let this be your prayer, "The Lord grant you your heart's desire, and fulfill all your mind."

Brethren, do I wish you any harm in all this? If not, if it is to be wished that the word of Christ were rooted in your hearts and your souls, thereby rooted in the grace of God; if it is to be wished that your lust were rooted out, your sins dead and dried up, your foot gotten out of the snare, your souls brought into the fold, your fruits of righteousness and holiness abounding and growing up to eternal life; if all this is to be wished—then give in your votes with mine. Wish and pray, pray and press on, press on and wait for the accomplishment of this grace in you all. I tell you again, I wish you well, and not only I—but the Lord God who has sent me to you. The Lord Jesus wishes you well. He wishes and woos, woos and weeps, weeps and dies—that your souls might live and be blessed forever. He has once more sent me to you, even to the worst among you, to tell you, from Him that He is unwilling that you should perish, that He has a kindness for you in His heart—if you will accept it. He has blood and affections for you— blood to expiate your guilt, to wash away your filth—and affections to offer you the benefit of His blood; with this wish, "Oh, that it were theirs! Oh, that they would hearken and accept!"

Only I must add that the Lord has two sorts of wishes concerning sinners. The first is, "Oh, that they would hearken!" Oh, that they would come in, be healed, and be saved, Deuteronomy 5:29. This wish is an olive branch which brings good tidings, and gives great hopes of peace and mercy.

His last wish is, "Oh, that they had hearkened, that they had accepted!" Psalm 81:13, "Oh that my people had hearkened to me!" Luke 19:42, "If you had known even you, in this your day, the things which concern your peace." This wish has nothing but dread and death in it; it is the black flag hung out that proclaims eternal wars. The sense is, Israel had once a fair time of it, a time of love, a time of grace, a time of peace, Oh, that they had hearkened then, that they had known the things which concern their peace! But woe, woe to them, it is now too late. The door is shut; the season is over; the day is past! "But now they are hidden from your eye!"

There are three deadly darts in this wish: "O that you had!" It includes in it these three cutting words:

You have not;

you might have;

you shall not have forever.

1. You have not. What have I not? Why, you have not known the things which belong to your eternal peace. You have had the door of glory, the gate of heaven opened to you, and have been called for and invited in—but you have lost the opportunity. You knew not when you were well-offered, nor would take notice what a day was before you, what a prize was in your hand. Your peace, the gospel of peace, the Prince of peace, a kingdom of peace was set open, offered, and brought home to your doors—but you had so many other matters to look after—that you took no notice of it but have let it slip. There is one dart, "You have not known." There is a gospel gone; there is a Christ gone; there is a soul, a kingdom lost!

2. You might have. Oh, that you had! Why—might I? Yes, you might; if you would, you might. Your God did not mock you when He preached peace to you; He was willing and wished it yours. If you would—you might have made it your own; but while He would—you would not. There is another dart—I might have known. I have none to thank but myself for the loss; my undoing was my own doing. There are no such torments as when the soul flies upon itself and takes revenge on itself. Oh, the gashes that such self-reflection makes! "Soul, how did you come into all this misery? Oh, it is of myself! I have been the cause of my own destruction! The door was open, and I was told of it and was bid come in—but I would not. That I am lost and undone was not my fate which I could not avoid—but my fault and my folly!"

It seems to give some ease of our torment when we can shift off the fault. "It was not I—but the woman," said Adam. "It was not I—but the serpent," said the woman. If that had been true, it would have given ease as well as serve for an excuse. "This thought (it was my own doing) tears my heart! Oh, I have none to blame but myself, my own foolish and stubborn heart. This is my ignorance, this is my unbelief, this is my wilfulness! My lust and my pleasures and my idols that I was running after—have brought me under this dreadful loss. It was my own doing!"

3. You shall not have forever. Oh, that you had! Why, may I not yet? Is there no hope of recovering the opportunity? No, no, it is too late, too late! You have had your day; from henceforth no more forever. There is the last dart—time is past. There is the death, the hell and anguish, the worm that shall gnaw to eternity! This one word, "time is past", sets all hell a-roaring; and, when it is once spoken to a sinner on earth—there is hell begun. Go your way, wretch; fill up your measure of sin—and then go to your place in hell! The gospel has no more to say to you but this one word: "But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you! Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them!" Proverbs 1:24-32.

Beloved, my hopes are, that you are yet under the first wish, "Oh, that they would!" Christ is yet preaching you to faith, and sends His wish along with His Word, "Oh, that they would believe!" Christ is yet preaching repentance and conversion to you and wishes, "Oh, that they would repent!" that they would be converted; and to this wish of my Lord, my soul, and all that is within me says "Amen!"

Brethren, will you yet again say to your Lord "No!" Shall Christ have His wish? Shall your servant for Jesus' sake, shall I have my wish? Will you now at last consent to be sanctified and to he saved? Let me have this wish, and I dare promise you from the Lord, you shall have yours, even whatever your soul can desire. Brethren, this once hear, this once be prevailed upon; be content that your lusts be rooted out—and your Lord planted into your souls. Be content to be pardoned, content to be converted, content to be saved. This once hear lest, if you now refuse—yet no more be persuaded with, "Oh, that they would!" but be forever confounded with "Oh, that they had!" Lest all our wishes and wooing of you—be turned into weepings and mournings over you, this once hear: "Oh, that you would!"


I heartily thank you for your good wishes and goodwill towards me, for your willing and cheerful entertainment of my person, and attendance on my ministry; and particularly for your passionate desire of my longer stay among you, which desire, if God had not denied you, my soul could not have denied you. The Almighty, to whose pleasure it is fit that we all submit, has said "nay" to that wish of yours; yet let your souls say "Amen" to this last wish of mine, that the Lord God would dwell among you and in you, both now and forever.

And having thus finished my labors among you, I shall now close up with this double account.

Of my discharge of my ministry in this place.

Of my deprival. And so I shall commit you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

1. Of my DISCHARGE of my ministry. What my doctrine and manner of life has been, is known to you; and what my aim and intent has been, is known to God. The Searcher of hearts knows that it is the salvation of souls that has been the mark at which I have aimed. My way has been to use all plainness that I might be made manifest in your consciences. Weaknesses and infirmities, both natural and sinful—may the Lord pardon; I have had many. I am sensible that much more might have been done, both in public and in private, had it not been for a weak body and a slothful heart. I repent that I have had no more zeal for God, no more compassion to souls. I repent that I have been no more constant and importunate with you about the matters of eternity. Oh, eternity, eternity, that you were no more in the heart and lips of the preacher, in the hearts and ears of the hearers!

But while I thus judge myself for my failing, blessed is God. I have a witness in my conscience, and I hope in yours also, that I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Brethren, I call heaven and earth to witness this day that I have set before you life and death, good and evil, and have not ceased from day to day to warn you to choose life and that holy way that leads to it—and to escape for your lives from the way of sin and death! Oh, remember the many instructions I have given you, the many arguments whereby I have striven with you, the many prayers that have been offered up for the guiding and gaining your souls into the path of life, and the turning your feet out of the way of destruction. Oh, might I be able to give this testimony concerning you all at my departure, "They have trodden in the right path; they have chosen the good part which shall not be taken from them!"

Brethren, beloved, with whom I have travailed in birth that Christ might be formed in you, I must shortly give up my account in a more solemn assembly. Will you help me to give it up with joy by showing your souls before the Lord as the seals of my ministry? Every sincere convert among you will be a crown of rejoicing to me in that day. Just so, let me rejoice, and let my joy be the joy of you all.

What shall I say more? If there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, any affections and mercy; if the glory of the Eternal God, the honor of the everlasting gospel, the safety of your immortal souls, the incorruptible crown, the exceeding eternal weight of glory weighs anything with you—then, once more, let me beseech you by all this to hearken to that Word of the gospel which God has spoken to you by me.

2. Of my DEPRIVAL. The most glorious morning, has an evening. The hour is come wherein the sun is setting upon many of the godly pastors. The shadows of the evening are stretched forth upon us; our day draws to a close, and our work seems to be at an end. Our pulpits and places must know us no more. This is the Lord's doing; let all the earth keep silence before Him.

It is not a light thing for me, brethren, to be laid aside from the work, and cast out of the vineyard of the Lord; and it must be something of weight that must support under so severe a doom. I know there are many who will add to the affliction of the afflicted, by saying that it is our own fault; "They might have prevented it—if they had wanted to." Whether this is so or not, God knows, and let the Lord be judge. Blessed be God, that this is not laid to our charge as the reason of our expulsion, either deficiency or scandal!

You are not ignorant what things there are imposed on us as the condition of our continuing our ministry; which, however lawful and expedient they seem in the judgment of many—yet have the most specious arguments that plead for them. They have left me utterly dissatisfied in my conscience about them. I must profess before God, angels, and men, that my non-submission is not from any disloyalty to authority, nor from pride, or any factious disposition or design—but because I dare not contradict my conscience nor do anything concerning which my heart tells me, "The Lord says—Do it not."

After all my most impartial inquiries, after all my seeking counsel from the Lord, after all my considering and consulting with men of all persuasions about these matters—I find myself so far short of satisfaction, that I am plainly put to this choice—to part with my ministry—or my conscience. I must choose that my ministry be sealed up by my sufferings, than lengthened out by a lie. But however, though I must now no longer act as a minister, I shall, through the grace of God, endeavor peaceably and patiently to suffer as a Christian. I should, to testify my obedience to authority, have become all things to all men to the uttermost that I could, with any clearness of heart; but, since matters stand so, I must lose my place or my peace. I cheerfully allow myself to be thrust off the stage.

And now, welcome the cross of Christ; welcome reproach; welcome poverty, scorn and contempt, or whatever else may befall me on this account! This morning I had a flock—and you had a pastor; but now, behold a pastor without a flock—and a flock without a shepherd! This morning I had a house—but now I have none! This morning I had a living—but now I have none! "The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away! Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Beloved, I am sensible of many weaknesses and disadvantages I am under which may render a suffering state the harder to be borne. Help me by your prayers, and not me only—but all my brethren also with whom my lot must fall. "Pray for us, for we trust that we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly." Pray:

1. That God would make our silence speak, and preach the same holy doctrine that we have preached with our lips.

2. That He would give supports answerable to our sufferings; that He who comforts those who are cast down, will also comfort His servants who are cast out.

3. That, according to our earnest expectation and our hope, as always, Christ may be magnified in us, whether it be by life or by death.

And thus, brethren, I bid you all farewell. In the words of the Apostle, 2 Corinthians 13:11, "Finally, brethren, farewell. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you."

"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21.