In 1869, at the age of 24, Jan Rubingh left Wildervank, for America. He delivered this solemn farewell address to the Young Menís Society of his church. He left it with his sister Grietje, who gave it to her son Geuchien, who gave it to me in Rotterdam in 1955. The sentences go on and on, in the style of the apostle Paul.

Farewell Address Given to theYoung Menís Society

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Dear Friends,

It is for me, and surely also for you, a significant moment, united as we are by the bond of brotherly love for a sacred purpose, namely the searching of the Holy Scriptures to further an edifying lifestyle and to promote the nurture of our fruit-bearing, for Godís glory and the extension of his kingdom, as well as the salvation and blessing of the Youth, both in and outside the society, can it cause anything other than pain when this bond of love is severed?

And yet, my Friends, Iíve now come before you to speak my last farewell; before long I will be leaving you and going to a distant place; yet the love which binds us together with the bond of sanctification makes it impossible for me ever to forget you. It is one of the most painful farewells for me that I must leave you, and if I had not so obviously received strength from an Almighty God which supported me and strengthened me in my intention, then it would have been for me an insurmountable matter, but He who gives me the strength to go, may He also give you strength to go forward on your chosen way.

With joy I fulfill my mission and even though at times there were many problems encountered, yet I followed the good purpose we put before ourselves. But I must confess with shame before God that imperfections and mistakes have clung to me. But this is the basis of my prayer, that He who is rich in mercy for Jesusí sake may perfect that which is faulty and take away that which is wrong, so that his free grace may be glorified in all of this.

What this means as far as the society is concerned, Iím fully convinced that I have always taken to heart the interests of the society and advanced them as much as I was able. And that is why I call on you for support in prayer that you (even though I am on the other side of the ocean) will remember me in your meeting before the throne of God, that He through this may be near to me, too, and that one Spirit may animate us. Then my spirit will be present with you and I will continually enjoy and experience the goodness of your meeting. And if it goes otherwise, my brothers, that if I should bring my concerns there and you here should carry my concerns before the rumbling bowels (must be a Dutch idiom! - ER) of His mercy, then He who promised that everything you ask of the Father in my name that will be given to you, and His blessing will be generously poured out upon us.

Yes, my friends, the father of lights from whom every good and perfect gift comes down, will not let Himself without witness, for he is mighty, more than overflowing, above all that we can ask or think, may our hope and our expectation then always be in the God of Jacob, and we will not be disappointed, for no one who trusts in God will be shamed. May the Lord be always present with His Spirit in your meeting in order that sinners may be subdued so that his preceding love in the granting of the grace of the Gospel may encourage and elicit your love in return, so that you will become many, that the one lost in despair may find salvation, that he may come to the crucified Jesus to be washed in his blood and desire to be cleansed from his guilt.

May you together experience the pouring out of His love in order to tell the great things God has done for your souls, that you may be an example for imitation by others, then through your society many pearls will be brought before Jesus, and would not even one soul be worth all your efforts? How wonderful that would be when you appear before his face on the last day! Seek for the good of your fellow travelers and the honor of Him who left his heavenly throne to bear the curse of the law and the wrath of God aroused by sin, who bore the most horrible misery of soul and body. Should you then not seek from the heart that which pleases Him?

So let your mutual love be a bond of sanctification to bind you to one another and never allow the enemy of your souls be able to break it through his evil designs. But always keep in mind your holy purpose which we have set before us and put our hands to, so that you may encourage one another to praise the Lord and keep your promise. ďWhere two or three are gathered together there am I in the midst of them.Ē

And you, my brothers, who know what it means to gather in Jesusí name, seek to arouse your brothers, because where Jesus is at the center, each one esteems the other more than himself. For there no pride reigns but each one seeks to arouse the other in the most holy faith. One doesnít point out the otherís faults and weaknesses in comparison with himself, but rather points to the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world through the blood of Jesus, which cleanses from all our sins. This occurs through Godís covenant, which is the reason for our preservation and salvation.

So yes, my friends, the time flies and the moment nears that we shall call out to each other the last farewell. A solemn thought, that last farewell, and then be separated so far from each other! The society weighs so heavily in my heart that it is so difficult to part. Yet my hope is that the Lord himself may be in your midst with his Spirit to lead you in your chosen path, and may go with me and bless me for his Sonís sake. This encourages me, encourages me with an eye to the future, for even though we may not see each other again, yet we will once again see one another, that is, far above in the land of rest in the heavenly Jerusalem, where there will never be parting, where every one will come who here hungers and thirsts after the righteousness of Christ and has found the pearl of great value.

This I finally wish for you, esteemed Friend, that you may lead the society for a long time and be an example to them in word and deed, and you may share in her joy, and they may acknowledge your position as it has been right up to the present. And that the Lord who is rich in mercy may shine the light of his loving countenance upon you that you may finish the race of faith and enter into the joy of your Lord.

And also you, Brother ____, I wish with all my heart that you will have much to give the society, that your work bears fruit in the Lord and also that the society may give evidence that it acknowledges your work from the basis of love for God and her good. And you, after that you here have given Godís counsel, may enter into that eternal rest, which remains for Godís people and blessed ones.