Health and Holiness

One day, while standing in the waiting-room of a railway station, I heard some one behind me say to another who was leaving her, "Well, keep your health." It was to me a new form of good-by, arresting my attention and calling for thought. The words "keep your health" led back to the old days when health and holiness, or wholeness, were synonymous terms, and it seemed an appropriate and beautiful last word before parting, though differing little in essential meaning from the ordinary "farewell," "good-by," and "adieu" in general use. These latter have become, in the main, mere mechanical expressions, with little thought back of them. The popular "Well, by-by; be good and you'll be happy," has the vigor of good cheer in it. It is as though one said, "I give to you, as we part, my best thought for your happiness: be good."

We can indeed rejoice that humanity everywhere uses in some form the same words as a parting benediction, "Keep your health," — your holiness, which is the only true health. The speaker's words may have been uttered in a merely perfunctory way, conveying only a material thought of health, but they were words "fitly spoken," and in their higher meaning held in themselves a blessing and a promise for those ready to receive them.

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The Risen Christ
April 29, 1916
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