"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

What can give rest, if the presence of an Almighty Savior cannot—the habitually felt shade of the Heavenly Palm? Israel had but one Elim. Christ's people have the Divine Reality at each resting place of the journey, until the last stage of all be reached; and then, only to be ushered, from the partial glimpses of faith, into the full vision and fruition of glory!

When Jesus spoke the words of our motto-verse, sorrow was filling the hearts of His disciples at the thought of His departure, when the most sacred of friendships seemed about to be ended forever. But by one glorious promise He turns their sadness into joy. 'I go,' He seems to say, 'and yet I will never leave you. These heavens are about to receive Me: but though My personal presence be withdrawn; though this Risen body is soon to be screened from view behind the veiled glories of the Holiest of all, do not think in reality I am gone—"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age!"'

That farewell saying has lost none of its comfort. How delightful the contemplation! the assurance of the upholding arm of a personal, living, loving Savior; susceptible of every human sympathy; bending over us with His pitying eye; entering with infinite tenderness into every earthly need and woe; drawing near in all the dark experiences of life, as He did to the disciples on their midnight sea, and whispering the calming words, "It is I" (or rather, "I AM"), "do not be afraid." 'I am the Living One; I am the Controlling One (yes, and to "as many as I love"); I am the Rebuking One, and the Chastening One!' Let us think of this, not as a cold abstraction, or beautiful fantasy, but as a glorious truth, a sublime and comforting verity. He is ever with us!

In the midst of sacred musings over departed friends, when visions of the loved and lost come flitting before us like shadows on the wall, how often do we indulge the pleasing imagination of their still mingling with us in mysterious communion, their wings of light and smiles of gladness hovering over us: delighting to frequent with us hallowed visits and participate again in hallowed joys. This may perhaps be a fond illusion regarding others, but it is sublimely true regarding Jesus. When the gates of the morning are opened; swifter than the speeding light, His footstep of love is at our threshold. When the gates of the evening revolve on their silent hinges, and day merges and melts into twilight, He is there! Amid the bustle of life, in "the loud stunning tide of human care," He is there! By the lonely sickbed, when the glow of health has left our cheek, and the dim night-lamp casts its flickering gleam on our pillow, He is there! When the King of terrors has entered our dwellings—when we are seated amid the awful stillness of the death-chamber, listening in vain for the music of cherished voices, hushed for the forever of time, He is there!

In all these diverse experiences, He draws near in touching tenderness, saying, "Surely I am with you always. I will come in the place of your loved ones. I will be near to cheer and comfort, to support and sustain you. I who once wept at a grave am here to weep with you. I will be at your side in all that trying future. I will make My grace sufficient for you, and My promises precious to you, and My love better than all earthly affection. The one is changeable; I am unchangeable—the one must perish; I am the strength of your heart and your portion forever!"

In the original, the word ALWAYS, in the parting promise, is expressive. It means "all THE days" (all the appointed days). Our times are in the hands of Jesus, He counts not our years but our days; He promises to be with us every day, to the last day of all. And when that last day comes, He withdraws not His Presence, but changes the scene of it, and says, "TODAY shall you be with Me in PARADISE."

"Oh, there is nothing in the world
To weigh against Your will;
Even the dark times I dread the most,
Your covenant fulfill:
And when the pleasant morning dawns
I find You with me still.

"There in the secret of my soul,
Though hosts my peace invade,
Though through a waste and dreary land
My lonely way be made,
You, even You, will comfort me,
I need not be afraid."

"The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest."

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