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coincidence, have words so striking first arrested him. The oft-pleaded prayer of an absent mother had come up as a memorial before God; a glance at the word of life calls up the . remembrance of old days—of an open Bible—a kneeling mother -a lisping child-an agonizing prayer ; quick and powerful is “the sword of the Spirit ;" bitter his thoughts of the past ; anxious his glance at the future. The prayer is heard. O could the mother know it ! “ At the end it shall speak.”
“ When thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” The christian soldier was alone in his tent.
But one day had passed since that eventful eve from which he might date his second birth, yet was it sufficient to verify the truth, “ The servant is not greater than his Lord.” Opposition poured in upon him like a flood; the firm friends of yesterday were but as the treacherous Judas ; hypocrisy was laid to his charge; he was scouted as “a saint" and a madman. But the soldier had “handled the plough;" he had already counted the cost, and their utmost malice seemed but the dash of the angry wave upon the senseless rock. Though, like Elijah, he felt as a solitary witness for Christ, he could yet discern the chariots and horses of fire in the far off hills. Alone he was, yet not alone; “ the cross was indeed his, but it led to "the crown;" the cloud overshadowed him, but the bow yet spanned it, and bright letters glowed therefrom; “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Nay, so far were the shafts of ridicule from taking effect, that he gloried in the imputed name, but felt with another his unworthiness to bear it.
" A saint! Oh would that I could claim
The privileg'd, the honour'd name!
Though lowest in the saintly band!
Some seal, to prove the title mine;
And did any words of Scripture gleam with a peculiarly brilliant lustre ?—they were those which had at first struck him, and had since been ever in his mind; gracious in their unbounded freeness, generous in their inexhaustible fulness, precious beyond expression, because to him not expecting, not deserving : “ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin.” Nor was the resolution which accompanied them frail and
fleeting as the morning cloud; it became a ruling principle, adhered to by the help of God, and followed out in dependence
“ If this be true for me, by the grace of God I will live henceforth as a man cleansed by the blood of Christ should live.”
Oh, mother! here is the seed “found after many days;" faint not, neither be weary ; “blessed are they that sow beside all waters." “ At the end it shall speak.”
“I was sick, and ye visited me." It was the autumn of the year 1854, and the foot of the christian soldier trod the land of Greece. Yet neither the beauty of the vine-clad valley, nor the grandeur of the pinecovered mountain, were protection against the ravages of disease. Cholera and fever, hand in hand, swept on with pitiless force, and decimated the regiment. The dawn of the thirtieth day gilded the crests of one hundred and twenty graves.
But death did not claim them as his own before they had been told of One who had met and vanquished him. Day and night, as they slowly succeeded each other, marking the transition of many a soul, found him at the post of duty and the place of choice. The dismal hospital, lined with beds, tenanted by ghastly forms of suffering and decay, failed to affright the christian soldier. His visits, like those of " ministering spirits,” were not the result of calculation or of impulse. In each suffering frame he beheld a needy brother, and burned to wait upon the Saviour in the person of a disciple. Not Andrew in search of his brother Simon; not Philip in quest of Nathanael, ever evinced greater zeal in bringing the loved one to Christ, than he in bidding the dying soldier look up to the crucified Son of man. Who will question the love which prompted the request ? “O pray for my poor regiment, that they may come to Jesus and have life !” Who will doubt the sincerity of his purpose, or the simplicity of his faith, when, from amid the complicated horrors of disease and death, words breathing a holy, Christ-like sincerity found their way to the absent ones at home. “ Should I never write again, remember, my only hope, my only confidence, my only assurance, is the cross of Jesus Christ my Saviour ; in the certainty that · His blood cleanseth from all sin,'-words as precious to me now as when brst made to my soul 'the power of God and the wisdom of Gr!"
Who can fail to perceive that the very spirit of his words betrays a hope too sure, a love too pure for earth ; that beams from on high gladdened his onward course; and that, though
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY, 27, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON,
knowing but in part, he rejoiced in the prospect of an intimacy whose duration would be eternal, whose perfection would be complete ? Nor did “the bed, where parting life was laid,” alone command the presence of the christian soldier. The eye no longer flashes with happy consciousness; the ear can bear unmoved the din and clash of discord; the life-blood has ceased to flow, the limbs to move, the pulse to beat; all is in fearful stillness; all in pitiable helplessness; all in alarming prostration; the silver cord is loosed; the golden bowl is broken ; “man goeth to his long home." Silently and with measured tread a troop of mourners quit the hospital. A comrade is to be committed to the dust, and they are to perform the weary task. Yet walks there one by that bier who deems it a privilege to be so engaged, while considering his duty to be but half performed so long as the dust has not returned to the earth as it was. Joy, despite the grief which a newly-snapped link in the chain of affection must call forth, is the uppermost feeling in the soldier's breast.
A calm, too serene for earth, pervades his spirit; and as he follows to the grave all that is left of one whose hour of sickness had been cheered by the presence of the Saviour, and to whom he had been permitted to unfold the glories of redemption, he cannot but indulge a happy, hopeful confidence that the labourer at the eleventh hour has been accepted and received into paradise.
The grave is yet open, and as the falling earth conceals the soldier and the friend, he reminds his comrades, in stirring tones, of a change which must pass upon them all, and bids all and each apply the warning, “ Prepare to meet thy God."
Thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war." The month of November saw the 97th regiment quartered in the Crimea. The fresh climate, and more stirring scenes, were new to the christian soldier; yet, unlike those who depend for enjoyment upon the chance pleasures and exciting events of life, and who exist from day to day, sustained by the stimulus of a past and the anticipation of a future delight, he felt how true was the sentiment of a heathen poet, when he said, that the traveller experiences a change of sky but not of mind.” He required not the constant intervention of variety to make life supportable, or to relieve it of monotony. His feelings knew not the ebb and flow consequent upon a worldly tide. Reader, would you know their source? In that pure perennial stream which, reflecting the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, murmurs, as it glides, of an heavenly origin, are the still depths which have no other name than “ Perfect peace.” They are the water which the Saviour gives, and in the christian soldier they were “a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.” Christ in making his will forgot not the weakest believer; and the soldier had discovered in it a clause which bequeathed to him a parting, a precious legacy, “ Peace I leave with you.” The life which he lived was by faith in the Son of God; and though “in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ,” while longing still further to glorify Him on the earth, he could with patience wait and say, « All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change comes.” His letters home breathe the same “ cheerful, manly, and pious" spirit; and as true religion will vindicate its worth in spite of all opposition, and the surpassing excellency of the christian character be admired and honoured, so the consistent course of this christian soldier failed not to witness for Christ, and to excite in the breasts of all, esteem-of some, emulation.
"Fear not for me,” he writes, “I am safe in my Saviour's arms; I know it; I feel it; for life or for death." Nor was this an idle boast. Awful were the times for the unconverted, the undecided, the unregenerate ! “ Nothing” was there to use his own words)" but death, death on every side.” Hourly, like another hell, did the gloomy hospitals enlarge themselves to receive the suffering body, often too sure a prelude to intenser torments. O what mingled feelings must have centered in that soldier's breast, as he beheld the fast-multiplying victims of disease and war, and laboured prayerfully, “if by any means he might save some.” An hospital of patients ! O what a field for Christ-like devotedness! What an arena on which to confront Satan, and to win souls ! Souls for whom Christ died ! Here lay the irresistible attraction of these priceless purchases ! Could aught then avail to deter the labour of love ? could the utmost power of the evil one stay the flow of holy comfort and “strong consolation”? Nay, though with some it was "the hour and power of darkness;" though ten-fold strong seemed the iron yoke of the god of this world, there were those whose hearts throbbed and eyes wept, as they heard tell of “the balm in Gilead," and the « Physician there,” and who gently fell asleep murmuring the life-restoring name of Jesus. The prayer of faith hallows the chamber of death, and many a bleeding heart becomes the Spirit's temple. But the strong and healthy were his constant care. Grouped within that frail tent their
from heaven-are an earnest, likeminded officer band. Sweet, they
feel, is the communion of saints on earth, foretaste of an eternal intercourse !
Nor were the cold picket nights, and the gloomy trenches, void of all pleasurable reminiscences. When thus alone, his Saviour had often been very near, and the bright stars in the sky above led him, as he tells us, to contemplate the babe at Bethlehem and the crucified at Calvary. Who shall measure the amount of comfort and edification drawn in the dead of night from the word of his heavenly Father, as its precious promises shone forth in the lurid light of the watch-fire ?
Who shall set a limit to the valuable agency of those silent messengers, which he daily distributed in large numbers their burthen, “ Come to Jesus ;” their aim, the eternal happiness, the everlasting well-being of immortal man ? Reader, is the chain of evidence complete, or want you further proof ? Another link shall be added; it shall witness to the firmness of his faith, the confidence of his hope, and the warmth of his love; it shall speak in the closing words of his last letter on earth. “ Jesus is near, and very precious to my heart and soul.”
“The battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled
in blood.” “ The battle is set in array;" “ the host goeth forth to the fight;" obstinate is the dreadful struggle, and the slain fall fast and thick. How fares it with our soldier ? Shrinks he from that death which he had faced unflinchingly, when presented to him in the more lingering forms of fever and disease ? No; little recks he how the warfare close, and the battle of a life-time end ! “ Sudden death” he feels to be “sudden glory.” Is he to live ?--it is Christ! Is he to die ?—it is gain! He has no will but God's; the issue he refers to him.
Is it fancy, or is there in truth the thrilling echo of the home-call; yes, it comes nearer ; it speaks of a finished strife-a fought fighta victory won; it tells of dismissal-promotion ; it promises a rest-a haven—a crown! Death has seized its prey; yet “in death the glazing eye is illumined by that better hope." stricken warrior" falls; his death is glorious and devoted; his life is lost in saving the lives of his countrymen. But the heavenly call has reached him; he hears, and with joy acknowledges the summons. “Cry unto him that his warfare is accomplished !"
Unconverted reader! Anxiety about your eternal state prompts me to add a parting word. You have read, perhaps with some pleasure, this slight sketch of one of the Lord's servants. You have watched the bedside of holy faith, and mar