SERMON LIX

CHRIST THE BELIEVER’S REFUGE

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar, and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof, Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High: God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early. Psalm 46:1–6.

There was a tradition among the ancient Jews, that the manna which came down from heaven, though it was a little grain like coriander-seed, yet suited every taste; as milk unto babes, and strong meat to grown persons. Whether this supposition be founded on fact or not, the observation will hold good in a great measure respecting the sayings of David, for if we have eyes to see, and ears to hear, if God has been pleased to take away the veil from our hearts, we shall find, by happy experience, that let our circumstances be what they will, the book of Psalms may serve as a spiritual magazine, out of which we may draw spiritual weapons in the time of the hottest fight, especially those that are under trouble, when the hand of the Lord is gone seemingly forth against them; when unbelief is apt to make them say, All these things are against me! if we can have the presence of mind to turn to the book of Psalms, we may find something there suitable to our case, a word to refresh us in pursuing our spiritual enemy. This is true of the 46th psalm in particular, part of which I have just now read to you, and which I pray the blessed Spirit of God to apply to every one of our hearts. It is uncertain at what time, or upon what occasion, David wrote it; probably under some sharp affliction, which made him eloquent; or when the affliction was over, when his heart was swimming with gratitude and love, and when out of the fulness of it his pen was made the pen of a ready writer. It was a favourite psalm with Luther; for whenever Melancthon, who was of a melancholy turn, or any other of his friends, told him some sad news, he used to say, Come come, let us sing the 46th psalm; and when he had sung that, his heart was quiet. May every true mourner here, and afflicted person, experience the same; I know not, when I read it, which to admire most, the piety or the poetry, the matter or the manner; and I believe I may venture to defy all the critics on earth to shew me any composition of Pindar or Horace, that any way comes up to the diction of this psalm, considered only as human: he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Stop here, my friends, let us pause a while, and before we go further, may the Lord help us to draw some comfort from this very first verse: for observe, it is not said God is my refuge; David says so in another psalm, but he says here, God is our refuge: he speaks in the plural number, implying, that this psalm was of no private interpretation, but was intended for the comfort and encouragement of all believers, till time shall be no more. Observe the climax, God is our refuge, is one degree; God is our strength, another; God is our help, and not only so, but is a present help, yea, is a very present help, and at a time when we want it most, in the time of trouble. It is here supposed, that all God’s people will have their troubles, man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward; and if we are born to trouble as men, we are much more so as Christians. We forget ourselves, and the station in which God has placed us, when we so much as begin to dream of having much respite from trouble while we are here below. The decree is gone forth, like the laws of the Modes and Persians, it alters not; through tribulation, through much tribulation, we must all go; but blessed be God, we are to be carried through it; and blessed be God, glory is to be the end of it: may God give us to know this by happy experience! In the world, says our blessed Lord, ye shall have tribulation, tribulation and trouble of different kinds; and in another place, If any man will come after me, says he, let him take up his cross daily, and follow me; so that the day, when we take up no cross, we may say as Titus did, when he reflected that he had done no good that day, I have lost a day! But then what shall we do, my dear hearers, when trouble comes, when one trouble comes after another, and afflictions seem to pursue us wherever we go, seem to arise up out of the ground, meet us as we are walking along? Why, blessed be God, if we have an interest in Christ (mind that, if we have an interest in Christ,) God is our help, God is our asylum, our city of refuge, a place appointed by God himself, to which the pursued saints may fly by faith, and be safe. The wicked have no notion of this: when they are in trouble, what is their refuge? Let a soul be under spiritual trouble, and cry out, what shall I do to be saved? Let him go to a carnal minister, an unconverted wretch, that knows nothing about the matter, he shall be told, Oh! go, and play an innocent game at cards, and divert yourself:—that is to say, the devil must be your refuge. Worldly people have worldly refuges; and Cain would seem as if he were in earnest when he said, My punishment is greater than I can bear: what does he do, he goes and diverts himself by building a city, goes and amuses himself by building. The devil, my brethren, will give you leave to amuse yourselves; you may have your choice of diversions, only take care to be diverted from God, and the devil is sure of you; but the believer has something better: faith sweeps away the refuge of lies, and the believer turns to his God, and says, O my God, thou shalt be my refuge. The devil pursues me, my false friends have designs against me, my own wicked heart itself molests me, my foes are those of my own house; but do thou, O God, be my refuge, I will fly there; by these it may be said, God is our refuge. The question is, what shall I do to make him my refuge? How shall be helped to do so? You bid me fly; you say, I may fly there, but where shall I get wings? How shall I be supported? Here is a blessed word, God shall not only be our refuge, but God shall be our strength also. Strength, what is strength? Why, my brethren, to make every day of trouble so easy to us by his power, as to carry us through it; God has said, and will stand to it, As thy day is, so shall thy strength be. Afflictions even at a distance will appear very formidable, when viewed by unbelief. Our fears say, O my God, if I come to be tried this or that way, how shall I bear it? But we do not know what we can bear till the trial comes; and we do not know what strength God can give us, or what a strong God he will be, till he is pleased to put us into a furnace of affliction; and therefore it is said, not only that God is our refuge and our strength, but that God is our help also. What help? Why, my dear friends, help to support us under the trouble; help so as to comfort us as long as the trouble lasts; and, blessed be God, that the help will never leave us till we are helped quite over and quite thro’ it. But what kind of an help is it? O blessed be God, he is a very present help. We may have a helper, but he may be afar off; I may be sick, I may want a physician, and may be obliged to send miles for one; he might he a help if he were here, but what shall I do, now he is at a distance? This cannot be said of God, he is not only a help, but he is a present help: the gates of the new Jerusalem are open night and day. We need not be afraid to cry unto God; we cannot say of our God as Elijah does of Baal, perhaps he is asleep, or talking, or gone a journey: it is not so with our God, he is a present help; he is likewise a sufficient help, that is, a very present help, and that too in the time of trouble. It is but to send a short letter, I mean a short prayer, upon the wings of faith and love, and God, my brethren, will come down and help us. Now, to this David affixes his probatum est, David proves it by his own experience, and therefore if God is our refuge, therefore if God is our strength, if God is our help, if God is a present help, if God is a very present help, and that too in a time of trouble, what then? Therefore will we not fear.—Therefore, is an inference, and it is a very natural one, a conclusion naturally drawn from the foregoing premises; for Paul says, if God be for us, who can be against us? There is not a greater enemy to faith, than servile fear and unbelief. My brethren, the devil has got an advantage over us when he has brought us into a state of fear; indeed, in one sense we should always fear, I mean with a filial fear; blessed is the man, in this sense, that feareth always: but, my brethren, have we strong faith in a God of refuge? This forbids us to? fear; says Nehemiah, Shall such a man as I flee? And the Christian may say, Shall a believer in Jesus Christ fear? Shall I fear that my God will leave me? Shall I fear that my God will not succour me? No, says David, we will not fear; how so? Why, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Where is Horace, where is Pindar, now? Let them come here, and throw their palms down before the sweet singer of Israel. There is not such a bold piece of imagery in any human composition in the world. Can any thing appear more great, more considerable, than this? Imagine how it was with us some years ago, when an enthusiastic fool threatened us with a third earthquake; imagine how it was with us when God sent us the same year two dreadful earthquakes: had the earth been at that time not only shook, but removed, had the fountains of the sea been permitted to break in upon us, and carry all the mountains of England before it, what a dreadful tremor must we all unavoidably have been in? David supposes that this may be the case, and I believe at the great day it will be something like it; the earth, and all things therein, are to be burnt up; and, my brethren, what shall we do then, if God is not our refuge, if God is not our strength?

We may apply it to civil commotions; David had lately been beset with the Philistines and other enemies, that threatened to deprive him of his life; and there are certain times when we shall be left alone. This also, my brethren, may be applied to creature comforts: sometimes the earth seems to be removed, what then? Why, all the friends we take delight in, our most familiar friends, our soul-friends, friends by nature, and friends by grace, may be removed from us by the stroke of death; we know not how soon that stroke may come, it may come at an hour we thought not of; the mountains themselves, all the things that seem to surround and promise us a lasting scene of comfort, they themselves may soon be removed out of our sight; what then shall we do? They may be carried into the midst of the sea; what is that? Our friends may be laid in the silent grave, and the places that knew them may know them no more. It is easy talking, but it is not so easy to bear up under these things; but faith, my brethren, teaches us to say, Though all friends are gone, blessed be God, God is not gone. As a noble lady’s daughter told her mother, when she was weeping for the death of one of her little children, a daughter four years old, said, Dear mamma, is God Almighty dead, that you cry so long after my sister?—No, he is not dead, neither does he sleep. But here the imagery grows bolder, the painting stronger, and the resemblance more striking, though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof; what, will not this make us fearful? will not this shake us off our bottom, our foundation, and take up the roots? No, no, even then the believer need not fear; why, God is in the midst of her. Do not you remember God spake to Moses out of the bush? Did he stand at a distance, and call to him at a distance from the bush? No, the voice came out of the bush, Moses! Moses! as Mr. Ainsworth, who ways a spiritual critic, says.

Learn from hence, that in all our afflictions God is afflicted; he is in the midst of the bush; and oh! it is a sweet time with the soul when God speaks to him out of the bush, when he is under affliction, and talks to him all the while. Though it were threatened by the fire which surrounded it with immediate and total desolation; yet the bush burned, and was not consumed. I do not know whether I told you, but I believe I told them at Tottenham-court, and perhaps here, that every Christian has got a coat of arms, and I will give it you out of Christ’s heraldry, that is, the burning bush; every Christian is burned, but not consumed. But how is it the saint is held up, whence does he get this strength? or how is this strength, this supporting, comforting strength, conveyed to his heart? Read a little further, you shall find David say, there is a river, mind that, there is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High; need I tell you, that probably here is an allusion to the situation of Jerusalem, and the waters of Shiloah, that flowed gently through the city of Jerusalem, which the people found sweet and refreshing in the time of its being besieged. So the rivers run through most of the cities in Holland, and bring their commodities even to the doors of the inhabitants. Pray, what do you think this river is? Why, I believe it means the covenant of grace; O, that is a river, the springs of which first burst out in Paradise, when God said, the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head; then God made this river visit the habitation of man, as the first opening of his everlasting covenant.

No sooner had the devil betrayed man, and thought he was sure to get him into the pit, even when he was laughing at man’s misery, and thinking he was revenged of God for driving him out of heaven; at that very time did the great God open this river, and made it flow down in that blessed stream to mankind, implied in those words, it shall bruise thy head. O this is a stream, which, I pray, may this night make glad this part of the city of God. If by the river we understand the covenant of grace, then, my brethren, the promises of God are the streams that flow from it. There is no promise in the Bible made to an unbeliever, but to a believer; all the promises of God are his, and no one knows, but the poor believer that experiences it, how glad it makes his heart. God only speaks one single word, or applies one single promise: for if when one’s heart is overwhelmed with sorrow, we find relief by unfolding ourselves to a faithful disinterested friend; if a word of comfort sometimes gives us such support from a minister of Christ, O my friends, what support must a promise from God applied to the soul give? And this made a good woman say, I have oft had a blessed meal on the promises, when I have had no bread to make a meal for my body.

But by the river we may likewise understand, the Spirit of the living God. If you remember, Jesus Christ declared at the great day of the feast, if any man believe on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water; this, saith the beloved disciple, spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive. My brethren, the divine influences are not only a conduit, but a deep river, a river of broad waters. Here is room for the babes to walk, and for the man of God to bathe and swim in from time to time; and supposing that the river mean the Spirit of God, as I believe really it does, why, then the streams that flow from this river are the means of grace, the ordinances of God, which God makes use of as channels, whereby to convey his blessed Spirit to the soul. Nay, by the river we may understand God himself, who is the believer’s river, the Three-One, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. This river is in the midst of the city, not at the court-end of the town only, or one corner or end, but quite through, in a variety of streams, so that high and low may come to it for supply; and not only be supported, but have their hearts made glad daily thereby: God help us to drink afresh of this river! If this be the case, well may David triumph and say, glorious things are spoken of the city of God; are spoken of her, in the feminine gender. The church is spoken of in that sense, because Eve, the first woman, was the mother of all believers; we may apply this to a single saint, as well as to a community, under trouble, she shall not be moved. Not moved? Pray, would you have them stupid? Do you love, when you strike a child, to see it hardened and regardless? Do you not like the child should smart under it and cry, and when it is a little penitent, you almost wish you had not struck it at all. God expects, when he strikes, that we should be moved; and there is not a greater sign of a reprobate heart, of a soul given over by God, to have affliction upon affliction, and yet come out like a fool brayed in a mortar, unmoved and hardened. My brethren, this is the worst sign of a man or woman’s being given over by God. Jesus was moved, when he was under the rod; he cries, Father! if it be possible, let this cup pass from me! he was moved so as to shed tears, tears of blood, falling to the ground. Woe, woe, woe be to us, if when God knock at the door by some shocking domestic or foreign trial, we do not say, My God! my God! wherefore dost thou strike? When we are sick, we allow physicians to feel our pulse, whether it be high or languid; and when we are sick and tried with affliction, it is time to feel our pulse, to see if we were not going into a high fever, and do not want some salutary purge. It is expected therefore that we should be moved; we may speak, but not in a murmuring way; Job was moved, and God knows, when we are under the rod, we are all moved more than we ought to be, in a wrong way; but when it is said here, she shall not be moved, it implies, not totally removed; perplexed, says the apostle, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; therefore removal means destruction: when the earth is moved, the mountains shake, and the waters roar, where can we flee? What can we see but destruction all round us? But, my brethren, since there is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, since God is our refuge, since God is our strength, since God is our help, since God is a present help, since God is a very present help in the time of trouble, since God is in the midst of her, since God causes the streams to make her glad, blessed be God, we shall not, my brethren, be totally moved; nay, though death itself do remove our bodies, though the king of terrors, that grisly king, should come armed with all his shafts, yet in the midst of death we are in life, even then we shall not be moved; even though the body be removed in sleep, the soul is gone where it shall be sorrowful no more. One would have imagined that David had said enough, but pray observe how he goes on, he repeats it again, for when we are in an unbelieving frame we have need of line upon line, words upon words, God shall help her: ah! but when? when? when will he help her? when will he help her? why, right early; God shall help her, and that right early. Why, sometimes we knock for a friend, but he will not get up early in the morning, but God shall help us, and that right early, in the morning. Ah! but, say you, I have been under trouble a long while; why, God’s morning is not come: you said right early; yes, but you are not yet prepared for it, you must wait till the precious right moment come, and you may be assured of it. God never gives you one doubt more than you want, or ever defers help one moment longer than it ought to be.

Now, my dear hearers, if these things are so, who dares call the Christian a madman? If these things are so, who would but be a believer? Who would not be a faithful follower of the Son of God? My brethren, did you ever hear any of the devil’s children compose an ode, that the devil is our refuge; the god of this world, whom we have served so heartily, we have found to be a present help in time of trouble? Ah! a present help to help us after the devil: or did you ever hear, since the creation, of one single man that dared to say, that all the forty-sixth psalm was founded on a lie? No, it is founded on matters of fact, and therefore, believer, believer, I wish you joy, although it is a tautology. I pray God, that from this time forth till we die, you and I, when under trouble, may say with Luther, Come let us sing the forty-sixth psalm.

As for you that are wicked, what shall I say to you? Are you in high spirits to-night? has curiosity brought you here to hear what the babbler has to say on a funeral occasion? Well, I am glad to see you here, though I have scarce strength to speak for the violence of the heat, yet I pray God to magnify his strength in my weakness; and may the God of all mercy over-rule curiosity for good to you! I intend to speak about this death to the surviving friends; but, my dear hearers, the grand intention of having the funeral sermon to-night, is to teach the living how to die. Give me leave to tell you, that however brisk you may be now, there will a time come when you will want God to be your help. Some pulpit may ere long be hung in mourning for you; the black, the dreary appendages of death, may ere long be brought to your home; and if you move in a high sphere, some such escutcheon as this, some achievement, may be placed at your door, and woe, woe, woe be to those who in an hour of death cannot say, God is my refuge. You may form schemes as you please; after you have been driven out of one fool’s paradise, you may retreat into another; you may say, now I will sing a requiem to my heart, and now I shall have some pleasant season; but if God love you, he will knock off your hands from that, you shall have thorns even in roses, and it will imbitter your comforts. O what will you do when the elements shall melt with fervent heat; when this earth, with all its fine furniture, shall be burnt up; when the archangel shall cry time shall be no more! whither then, ye wicked ones, ye unconverted ones, will ye flee for refuge? O, says one, I will fly to the mountains: O silly fool, O silly fool, fly to the mountains, that are themselves to be burnt up and moved! O, says you, I will flee to the sea; O you fool, that will be boiling like a pot: O then I will flee to the elements; they will be melting with fervent heat. I can scarce bear this hot day, and how can you bear a hot element? There is no fan there, not a drop of water to cool your tongue. Will you fly to the moon? That will be turned into blood: will you stand by one of the stars? They will fall away: I know but of one place you can go to that is, to the devil; God keep you from that! Happy they that draw this inference; since every thing else will be a refuge of lies, God help me from this moment, God help me to make God my refuge! here you can never fail; your expectations here can never be raised too high; but if you stop short of this, as the Lord liveth, in whose name I speak, you will only be a sport for devils; a day of judgment will be no day of refuge to you, you will only be summoned like a criminal, that has been cast already, to the bar, to receive the dreadful sentence, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. There is no river to make glad the inhabitants of hell, no streams to cool them in that scorching element: were those who are in hell, to have such an offer of mercy as you have, how would their chains rattle! how would they come with the flames of hell about their ears! how would they rejoice, even there, if a minister were to tell them, Come, come, after you have been here millions and millions of years, there shall come a river here to make you glad. But the day is over; God help us to take warning: and, oh! with what gratitude should we approach him to-night, for bearing with, and for forbearing us so long; let each say to-night, why am I out of hell? How came I not to be damned, when I have made every thing else my god, my refuge, for so many years? May goodness lead every unconverted soul to repentance, and may love constrain us to obedience: fly, fly, God help thee to fly, sinner; hark! hear the word of the Lord, see the world consumed, the avenger of blood, this grim death, is just at thy heels, and if thou dost not this moment take refuge in God, to-night, before to-morrow, you may be damned for ever; the arms of Jesus yet lie open, his loving heart yet streams with love, and bids a hearty welcome to every poor soul that is seeking happiness in God. May God grant that every unconverted soul may be of the happy number!

But, my brethren, the most heavy task of this night yet lies unperformed; indeed, if my friendship for the deceased did not lead me to it, I should pray to be excused; my body is so weak, my nerves so unstrung, and the heat beats too intensely on this tottering frame, for me to give such a vent to my affections as I am sure I should give, if I were in vigorous health: you may easily see, though I have not made that application, with what design I have chosen this psalm; you may easily see by the turn, I hope no unnatural one, that has been given to the text as we have passed along, that I have had in my view a mournful widow here before me. Did I think, when this black furniture was taken from the pulpit when two branches were lopt off within about a year one after another, both lopt off from on earth, I hope and believe, to be planted for ever in heaven; little did I think that the axe was in a few months’ time to be laid to the root of the father; little did I think that this pulpit was then to be hung in mourning for the dear, the generous, the valuable, the universally benevolent, Mr. Beckman; a benefactor to every body, a benefactor to the tabernacle; he has largely contributed Doth to the chapel and tabernacle, and, my dear hearers, now his works follow him, for he is gone beyond the grave. Such a singular circumstance I believe rarely happens, that though I was last night, at near eleven o’clock, dead almost with heat, I thought if death were the consequence, I would go to the grave, and have the last look at my dear departed friend: to see a new vault opened; to see a place of which he has been, in a great measure, the founder; to see a place which he was enlarging at the very time he died; to see a new vault there, first inhabited by the father, and two only sons, and all put there in the space of two years’ time: Oh! it was almost too much for me, it weighed me down, it kept me in my bed all this day; and now I have risen, God grant it may be to give a seasonable word to your souls. Oh! my friends, put yourselves in the state of a surviving widow, and then see who is secure from cutting providences. The very children, when they are young, are a trial; but the young man, for whom a handsome fortune awaited; for a tender loving father, to have his son taken away; for the widow, to have the husband taken away soon after; indeed, dear madam, you had need read the forty-sixth psalm; you may well say, call me no more Naomi, that signifies pleasant, but call me Marah, for the Lord hath dealt bitterly with me. These are strokes that are not always given to the greatest saints. Such sudden strokes, such blow upon blow, Oh! if God is not a strength and refuge, how can the believer support under it? But blessed be the living God, I am witness God has been your strength, I am witness that God has been your refuge; you have found, I know you have, already, that there is a river, a river in which you have swam now for some years, the streams whereof make glad your waiting heart. Surely I shall never forget the moment in which I visited your deceased husband, when the hiccoughs came, and death was supposed to be really come, to see the disconsolate widow flying out of the room, unable to bear the sight of a departing husband: I know that God was then your refuge, and God will continue to be your refuge. You are now God’s peculiar care, and as a proof that you will make God your refuge, you have chosen to make your first appearance in the house of God, in the tabernacle, where I hope God delights to dwell, and where you met with God, and which I hope you will never leave till God removes you hence. Whatever trials way yet await you, remember you are now become God’s peculiar care. You had before a husband to plead for you; he is gone, but your pleader is not dead, he lives, and will plead your cause: may you find him better to you than ten thousand husbands; may he make up the awful chasm that death has made, and may the Lord God be your refuge in time, and your portion to all eternity; and then you will have a blessed change. You are properly a Naomi; I would humbly hope that your daughter-in-law, which so lately met with a stroke of the same nature, will prove a Ruth to you, and though young, and having a fortune, she may be tempted to take a walk in the world, yet I hope she will say, where thou goest, I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. It is to your honour, madam, and I think it right to speak of it, you had the smiles of your departed father-in-law; you had behaved with deference and love; he was very fond of you; God make you a comfort to your surviving mother, who has adopted you, and may the Lord Jesus Christ enable you to take God to be your portion!

As for you that are the relations of the deceased, there is one of you that has been honourably called to the service of the ministry: you, sir, was sent for over by an endearing uncle, you have been a stranger in a strange land: the Palatines will bless your ministry; God has, I hope, blessed it, and provided you a place to preach in. May God grant that that church may be filled with his presence and his glory; and you, madam, be made the instrument of sending the news to heaven to your husband, that this and that man was born of God there. As for you, the other friends of the deceased, may God grant that when you die, and when you are buried, the people may follow you with tears as they did dear Mr. Beckman last night. I was told by one this morning, that walked along with the funeral, that it was delightful to hear what the people said when the coffin passed by; they blessed the person contained therein: Oh! he was a father to the poor. The poor have indeed lost a friend; and I believe there has not been a man, a tradesman in London, for these many years, that has been more lamented than the dear man who now, I hope, is at rest. You well know how mindful he has been of you, and that soon after the decease of his disconsolate widow, his substance will be divided among some of you. Give me leave to charge and entreat you, by the mercies of God in Jesus Christ, to be kind to the honoured widow. Do not say, Mr. Beckman my uncle is dead, come pluck up, let us plague her now she is living, we shall have all when she is dead. The plague of God will follow you, if you do: if you valued your dear uncle, do all you can to make her life easy; pay her that respect which you would pay the deceased were he now living; this will shew your love is genuine and not counterfeit, and do not lay up wrath against the day of wrath. Follow the example of your dear deceased uncle; the gentleman was visible in him, as well as the Christian; he would be in his warehouse early in the morning, that he might come soon to his country-house, and there employ himself in his friendly life, and open the door to the disciples of Jesus.—It is time to draw to an end, but I will speak a word to the servants of the family, who have lost a good and a dear master. May the Lord Jesus Christ be your Master for ever, that you may be the Lord’s servants, however you may be disposed of in this world; that you may meet your master, your mistress, and all the family, in the kingdom of the living God, then we shall have a whole eternity to reflect upon the goodness of a gracious God. O may God help us to sing the forty-sixth psalm; may we find him to be our strength and our refuge, a very present help in the time of trouble; may the river of the living God make glad your hearts, and may you be with God to all eternity; even so, Lord Jesus, Amen and Amen.