Sir Roderick, too, had a kind parting word for his friend: “Accept my warmest acknowledgments for your last farewell note. Believe me, my dear friend, that no transaction in my somewhat long and very active life has so truly rewarded me as my intercourse with you, for, from the beginning to the end, it has been one continued bright gleam.”
To this note Livingstone, as was his wont, made a hearty and Christian response: “Many blessings be on you and yours, and if we never meet again on earth, may we through infinite mercy meet in heaven!”
The last days in England were spent in arrangements for the expedition, settling family plans, and bidding farewell. Mrs. Livingstone accompanied her husband, along with Oswell, their youngest child. Dr. Livingstone’s heart was deeply affected in parting with his other children. Amid all the hurry and bustle of leaving he snatches a few minutes almost daily for a note to one or more of them:
“London, 2d February, 1858.—MY DEAR TOM,—I am soon going off from this country, and will leave you to the care of Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps, and never disappointed any one who put his trust in Him. If you make him your friend He will be better to you than any companion can be. He is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. May He grant you grace to seek Him and to serve Him. I have nothing better to say to you than to take God for your Father, Jesus for your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit for your sanctifier. Do this and you are safe for ever. No evil can then befall you. Hope you will learn quickly and well, so as to be fitted for God’s service in the world.”
“‘Pearl,’ in the Mersey, 10th March, 1858.—MY DEAR TOM,—We are off again, and we trust that He who rules the waves will watch over us and remain with you, to bless us and make us blessings to our fellow-men. The Lord be with you, and be very gracious to you! Avoid and hate sin, and cleave to Jesus as your Saviour from guilt. Tell grandma we are off again, and Janet will tell all about us.”
In his letters to his children from first to last, the counsel most constantly and most earnestly pressed is to take Jesus for their friend. The personal Saviour is continually present to his heart, as the one inestimable treasure which he longs for them to secure. That treasure had been a source of unspeakable peace and joy to himself amid all the trials and troubles of his checkered life; if his children were only in friendship with Him, he could breathe freely in leaving them, and feel that they would indeed FARE WELL.
THE ZAMBESI, AND FIRST EXPLORATION OF THE SHIRE.