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Brave Words for Brave Soldiers and Sailors.

Brave Words for Brave Soldiers and Sailors.

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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 30, 2014
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BRAVE WORDS FOR BRAVE SOLDIERS AD SAILORS. BY CHARLES KIGSLEYMy friends, — I speak to you simply as brave men. I speak alike to Boman Catholic and Protestant I speak aiike to godly men and ungodly. I speak alike to soldiers and sailors. ... If you are brave, read these words. I call these brave words. They are not my own words, or my own message, but the message to you of the bravest man who ever lived, or who ever will live, and if you will read them and think over them, He will not Tnake you brave (for that, thank (Jod, you are already), but ke^ you brave, come victory or defeat. I speak to the brave men who have now fought three bloody battles, and fought them like heroes. All England has blessed you, and admired you ; all England has felt for you in a way that would do your hearts good to see. For you know as well as I, that no- thing is so comforting, nothing so endearing, as sym- pathy, 08 to know iJiat people feel for one. If one knows that, one can dare and do anything. If one feels that nobody cares for one's suffering or one's success, one is ready to lie down and die. It is so with a horse or a dog even. If there is any noble spirit in them, a word of encouragement will make them go till they drop. How much more will the spirit of a man ? I can well * This was written and sent out to the army before Sebantopol in the winter of 1S55. 200 Brave Words for Brave Soldiers and Sailors. believe that the Queen's beautiful letter put more heart into you, than the hope of all the prize money in the world would have done ; and that with the words of that letter ringing in your ears, you will prove true to
the last, to the words of the grand old song — '* Hearts of oak are our ships, hearts of oak are our men. And well fight, and we'll conquer again, and again." But, my friends, you know as well as I, that there are times when neither that letter, nor the feeling of duty, nor of honour, nor of glory, can keep your hearts from sinking. ot in battle ! o. Only cowards' hearts fail them there ; and there are no cowards among you. But even a brave man's heart may fail him at wlules, when, instead of the enemy's balls and bayonets, he has to face delay, and disappointment, and fatigue, and sickness, and hunger, and cold, and nakedness ; as you have, my brave brothers, and faced them as well as man ever did on earth. Ah ! it must be fearful work to 8i^ stiUy and shiver and starve in a foreign land, and to think of those who are in comfort and plenty at home ; and worse, to think of those, who, even if they arc in plenty, cannot be in comfort, because their hearts are breaking for your sake ; to think of brother and sister, wife and child, while you are pacing up and down those dreary trenches, waiting for your turn of sickness, per- haps of death. It must be bitter and disheartening at times ; you would not be men, if it was not One minute, perhaps, you remember that those whom you have left at home, love you and pray for you; and that cheers you ; then you remember that all England loves you, and prays for you in every church throughout Qie land ; and that cheers you ; but even that is not Brave Words for Brave Soldiers and Sailors. 201 enough, you feel ready to say, " What is the use of my going through all this misery ? Why am I not at home ploughing the ground, or keeping a shop, anything rather than throwing away my life by inches thus. My people at home feel for me, but they cannot know, they never
will know, the half of what I have gone through. The nation wiU provide for me if I am crippled, but they cannot make up to me for losing the best years of my life in such work as this ; and, if I am killed, can they make up to me for that ? Who can make up to me for my life?" Have you not had such thoughts, my friends, and sadder thoughts still lately ? Tou need not be ashamed of them if you hava For hard work you have had, and it must have told at times on your spirits as heavily as it has on your bodies. But. my friends, there is an answer for these sad thoughts. There are brave words for you, and a noble message from God, which will cheer you when nothing else can cheer you. K your own people cannot know all that you go through, there is One who can and does ; if your own wives and mothers cannot feel enough for you, there is One above who does, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ You have hungered ; so has He. You have been weary ; so has He. You have felt cold and nakedness ; so has He. You have been houseless and sleepless ^ so has He. While the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests. He, the maker of them all, had not where to lay His head. You have felt the misery of loneliness and desolation ; but never so much as did He, when not only every earthly friend forsook Him and fled, but He cried out in His very death pangs, " My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me V* 202 Brave Words for Brave Soldiers and Sailors. Above all, you have felt how difficult it was to die, not fighting sword in hand, but slowly and idly, and helplessly, by cholera or fever, hunger or cold. Terrible it is ; but the Lord Jesus Christ has felt that too. For three years He looked death in the face — a death of

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