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relinquish that course, he keeps away from the cross; and thus, even whilst he may yet intend one day or other to seek salvation, his soul is lost.
Possibly these pages may fall into the hands of one who feels that he has been of late increasingly absorbed in the pursuits of the world, and that they have become the subject of
more fretting, anxious care. The gain he has already secured has only served to increase his desires after wealth; and there is the resolve, scarcely avowed, perhaps, but still most determined, that till he has attained his purpose the care of the soul must be postponed. Beloved reader, let that stand first—" Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness." You
may fail in your pursuit of present good, and all your plans may issue only in disappointment. Should you succeed, you will still need something else and something better to give you true satisfaction. And all will profit you nothing if your soul be lost. The Saviour offers you still the unspeakable gifts of his mercy, forgiveness through the blood of the cross, peace, everlasting life; and you have but to believe in him to be enriched for ever. He came that he might seek and save that which was lost, and by this appeal, as well as by many an appeal besides, he seeks that he may save you. Commit, then, your soul, with all its interests, to him. So doing, you may say, with all the confidence of faith, “I know whom I have believed, and that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
J. F. SHAW, BOOKSELLER, SOUTHAMPTON ROW, AND
PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON ; AND W.INNES, BOOKSELLER, SOUTH HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, 14, Bartholomew Close, London.
THE GREAT BATTLE-FIELD.
We are living in a great battle-field,—and thousands on thousands are continually falling around us! Some of those who fell during last year died in the arms of victory-eternal victory! They had long followed the Captain of their salvation —had fought his battles, and assisted to plant the standard of the Redeemer in the darkest citadels of Satan. And when they confronted “the last enemy"-whether at the Crimea, or elsewhere-they were not afraid. For Death to them was a conquered foe. At the very commencement of their career they were assured by their illustrious Leader of being conquerors, and more than conquerors, through faith in his love and all prevailing power.
But while the soldiers of the cross are being thus crowned with victory, even in the hour of death, these gaps in the great army are continually being filled up-as in the following caseby new volunteers, who have, by the grace of God, been convinced of their madness in fighting against the Redeemer, and drawn by the love of God to enlist under his banner.
Some of these volunteers had been arrested in their previous dreadful career, in the most unlooked for circumstances; and that by the same power which suddenly converted a profligate Colonel Gardiner, into a holy and most devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. How unlikely, for example, was it, that a gay, worldly youth should become awakened to his perishing condition as an enemy to God, even when surrounded by the hilarity and excitement of a new year's morning ; and that, too, all alone, in a railway carriage! Yet such was the case with one who is now an earnest servant of God---most deeply interested in the sending forth of these silent messengers of truth. His brief narrative (which I now present in his own truthful words) was unexpectedly given to me but a few days ago, during a visit,—as an illustration of the grand importance of keeping eternity in view,--and of regarding every new year, when it dawns, as another and another call from on high-to prepare to meet our God.
Engaged (said he) in the legal profession, I was wholly absorbed with the passing affairs of this life, and saw nothing beyond. During the year 1845, I was so deeply engaged in railway business, that I had but little time (even if I had had the inclination) to think about spiritual things. And during the latter part of that year,—when what has been termed the railway mania' had reached its height,-- I was wholly absorbed in getting forward and serving parliamentary notices before New Year's Day. I was, indeed, dead in trespasses and sins. I lived without God in the world ; and on whatever my hope might have been built, it certainly was not on the Rock of Ages. Jesus Christ was not my all in all. Being commissioned on the 30th of December to discharge some of the above urgent professional duties in the North of England, ere the year had expired, I left London in great haste. Having accomplished my work, I reached Lancaster on the last night of the year. All was life and bustle. The bells were ringing out the old year. Being exceedingly tired, I retired for rest,and thus faded into gloom the year
1845. Had the Lord seen fit to cut me off then, I should have lifted
for I had lived in a world where a Saviour had been preached, but I had rejected him. Having breakfasted next morning in the hotel, I proceeded to the railway station, and entered a first-class carriage for Liverpool.
“Seated in the carriage alone, I was led, from former custom on the first morning of the year, to pray to God and to repeat several hymns. While repeating Newton's hymn for New Year's Day, I felt most deeply impressed with its reference to eternity.
666 As the winged arrow flies
Speedily the mark to find;
Darts, and leaves no trace behind;
Bear us down life's rapid stream;
*** Thanks for mercies past receive;
Pardon for our sins renew;
“When I came to repeat the lines-
“ Teach us henceforth how to live
“a ray of light, as from the Sun of Righteousness, darted into my soul, and displayed all the fearful gloom and blackness that was around! How (continued I) have I been living with eternity in view,—an eternity without God! How have I been living in pleasure and in frivolity--in sin, and in sordid moneymaking! All these startling thoughts, and many more, flashed across my mind. The purgatory and restitution of Unitarianism, of which I had hitherto dreamed, failed to satisfy me; and for the first time in my life my ground felt hollow underneath me.
Eternity in view ! What is that? If I should be summoned there now,—what then? My mind is fixed. My tide of wickedness, which had rolled on till this moment, now heard the fiat of Omnipotence—Thus far shalt thou rise and no higher; here thy proud waves shall be stayed.' And though I did not soon perceive much retirement of the flood, still the morning had dawned on my soul, whose perfect day can only be consummated in eternal blessedness.”
Year after year has passed away since this momentous turning to Christ; and though the narrator has had to sustain many trials of his faith and constancy during that interval, and fight many battles for his new Captain, he has never for one moment repented of the enlistment.
The entire army of the Redeemer unite in one testimony—that the service of their great Commander—where it is entered with the whole heart -is but a succession of victories ;-and, amid all its trials and hardships,is its own reward.
And now let me earnestly and affectionately demand of every reader-Are you living every day“ with eternity in view”? If not,—be entreated to consider how soon and unexpectedly you may be called to enter within its awful portals. Let me for a moment point to the East, and illustrate the uncertainty of your life by a brief reference to the present desolating war.
Who can describe the intensity of interest or the alternation of feeling, with which multitudes, in all lands, have gazed on the affecting scenes of the Crimea during the bygone year! Never, in the history of the present age, were such events, on such a scale, exhibited to the anxiety,—grief,—exultation,--or commiseration of mankind at large. But no part of the fearfully prolonged tragedy, in that awful theatre, has been more affectingly witnessed than what necessarily followed the successive engagements. On the evening after each battle, when the troops were mustered to count the number of the killed, what mournful gaps were to be seen in the places of both officers and men ! How many a noble spirit was found missing !
How many had set out in the morning, strong, healthy, and brave, full of ehivalrous ardour and patriotic zeal,---but now stretched on the cold field or hurried into the soldier's grave. There might be seen brothers, and friends, and comrades in arms lamenting their losses, and sadly anticipating the poignant suffering which these sudden bereavements would inflict on the affeetionate family circles far away.
But next morning, when the loud trumpet blast summoned the remainder of the army to a new engagement, the thoughts and feelings of all are, for the time being, totally changed. No more, in that dread moment of hurry and preparation, do they think (if they have time at all for reflection of those who died yesterday, but of the number who must fall to-day ;everyone, from a sense of duty, or from the hope of victory, bracing his mind for the possible issues. Each soldier is ready to confess that in that day he may fall as well as any other ; --that his youth, strength, and courage, afford him no security of preservation.
Now each of these dreadful scenes presents but too vivid an illustration of the GREAT BATTLE-FIELD of the entire world ; and especially of the close of one year, with its affecting review, and the commencement of another, with its certain issues. Surely the close of a year is like the evening after a great battle, when the armies are engaged in reckoning the dead. What multitudes in this and all lands are missing ;-seen but, as it were, yesterday in perfect health ! What vast numbers all around us, of all ranks, conditions, and ages, have during the past year been swept away into eternity by the ten thousand arrows of Death! How many gaps may be reckoned in the mighty hosts who set out at the commencement of that recent period.-strong, healthy, and full of hope from that proud monarch on his exalted throne, downwards, who plunged the world into the present desolating war,---but who now lies on a level with the lowest peasant ! How sudden, unexpected, and deeply affecting the bereavements of many families ! How many then were thoughtless, young, and gay, but now are gone! The place which once knew them-shall know them no more for ever.
But if the scene which immediately follows the termination of a great battle illustrates the close of a year, with its sad reminiscences,--it is no less manifest that the going forth of armies to another dread conflict on the field of action represents in the sight of heaven the beginning of the new year, during which millions, it may be, including ourselves, shall be hurried into the world of spirits, who have not now the most distant thought of such a change.
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY, 27, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON.