THE GOOD SOLDIER'S PROSPECT BY JAMES SMITH
There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. 2 TIMOTHY iv. 8. THE soldiers of Christ have every thing to stimulate and encourage them. Their present position is honourable, their future prospects are. glorious. Their Captain will try them, but never trifle with them. Suffer they may, surrender they should not. They are more than a match for all their foes,_ for never was one left dead on the field. Their lives are insured, and their crown is prepared. This being the case they ought to be courageous, confident, and constantly at their post. Christian soldier, look up to your Captain for supplies, and look forward to the glory that awaits you for encouragement in every conflict. The war will soon be over. Your discharge will soon be signed and sent you. Home is even now in view. But how different your end to your beginning ! Think of what you were before you enlisted what you were when a raw recruit what you have often been through doubts, fears, and misgivings and then at what you will be. What a contrast ! How striking ! How sur'prising ! A crown is laid up 'for you. ot a crown of bay, or laurel, or myrtle, but a diadem. A diadem of glory. More durable than gold, more
202 THE GOOD SOLDIER'S PROSPECT.
costly than any earthy monarch's crown. Gold, pearls, or precious stones, are not to he compared to it. Its gems will sparkle brighter that the stars on a winter's evening, as a whole, it will shine brighter than the sun on a summer's noon. It is a crown of glory, a most glorious crown. ot merited by your labours or sufferings in the Lord's service, but graciously pro.jnised, and gratuitously bestowed. Promised by your glorious Leader, preserved most carefully in the palace of the Most High, to be presented to every faithful soldier at the final and grand review. Yes, it will be placed on your brow by bis hands, who won you to his service, led you to the field, made you victorious, and will rejoice in your honour and happiness for ever. It will be worn before God's Ingn throne, before the angelic hosts, among God's saints for ever. What thrilling jov, what extatic pleasure, what inconceivable delight, will you realize when you first feel it rest on your brows ! What a look will your Saviour give you, when you lift up your head that he may place it on you, and your eye meets his in his Father's presence ! Surely,, surely we ought to be fired with love, filled with zeal, and prepared for every conflict however arduous by such a prospect. But shall J be crowned? Brother soldier, will you ? Yes, if we are indeed loyal soldiers. If we are engaged in the holy war. If we are attached to Immanuel and his cause. And the crowns we shall wear, will remind us of the con.-
THE GOOD SOLDIER'S PEOSPECT. 203 fects we have endured below of the foes we have conquered on earth of the desires kindled
and cherished while engaged in the campaign, and of the faithfulness of our king to the proraises he made. We shall see that not one thing hath failed. We shall realize that he has done for us exceeding and abundantly above all that we asked of him, or thought that he would give. The promised land will be far above our expectations. The glory to be revealed will far exceed our most enlarged desires. The weight of glory will transcend our most comprehensive thoughts. Grace, free grace will shine most gloriously on that day. The atonement of Jesus, as the procuring cause of all our blessedness, will be radient with glory then. The songs of the enraptured company will be divinely sweet. how our blessed Saviour's heart will dance for joy ! How Ms eyes will sparkle with delight ! His migjity spirit will realize full satisfaction, to see Ins whole host collected, arranged, and glorified before him. ot one missing. All that the Eather gave him, there. All for whom he offered up himself as a sacrifice, there. All to whom he sent the Comforter, there. All who enlisted under his banner and were sworn into his army, there. Those who were once wounded, weeping, and lagging behind the regiment, there. His great enemy completely defeated. His causehonourably carried. His troops passing again under the hand of him that telleth them. Blessed! be God for a certain salvation / A salvation,,
204 THE GOOD SOLDIEE'S PROSPECT. secured by the oath of the Father, the blood of the Son, and the veracity of the Holy Spirit. A salvation, secured by all the attributes of God's nature, the honours of the divine throne, and the stipulations of the covenant of grace. Glorious
salvation, in which every poor, maimed, weather beaten, discouraged soldier of the cross shall share ! But the crown we shall wear is called "a crown of righteousness :" a righteous crown. A crown to which we have a right. A rig^t, founded in God's most free, sovereign, and glorious grace. A right, revealed in Christ's most glorious, gracious, and everlasting gospel. A right, secured by the most simple, magnificent, and precious promises. A crown, which will eternally prove that God his faithful to his Son, his soldiers, and his word. A crown that will show that God " is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." The right crown will be on the right head. It will just fit. It will sit easy. It will look . graceful. It will never be taken off, except when each one takes it off himself, to cast it at the feet of his beloved Lord. It is a crown of life a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Header, what a prospect is this ? How bright, how glowing, how enchanting ! Is it your prospect, ? Is there a . crown laid up for you ? Are you looking forward, and longing for the day when it shall be placed on your head, and when you shall wear it to the honour of free grace for ever ? Are you
THE GOOD SOLDIER'S PROSPECT. 205 indeea a soldier of Christ ? Can you look back and reir ember when the thought first came into your head to enlist into his army, the exercise of soul youhad before you came to the final decision? The feelings with which you put forth your hand to receive the King's coin ? The thrill which passed through your heart when you realized, I
am enlisted I am a soldier I cannot go back? Bo you remember how you felt when you went to be sworn in, and the solemnity which filled you mind, when as with the heart-searching eye of God resting upon you, you pledged your word to be the Lord's, for life for ever ? Do you remember the exercises of your spirit when takea into the stripping room, and how you felt as your rags were removed from you, until the last, your once fondly loved self-righteousness was gone ? Do you remember the sensations you experienced when the glorious blood-red regimentals were put upon you ? How nicely they fitted, how you held up your head ; how erect you walked, how singularly peaceful and happj" you felt ? Were they not happy hours when all was thus new, the sun shone bright, the souih wind blew softly, the birds sung_ sweetly, our comrades all spoke cheerfully, and it was as much like heaven as any thing on earth can be ? The pocket was filled with the bounty money, the eye was flashing with delight in the prospect of glory, the heart was swelling with satisfaction, and we forgot our own family and our father's house. o life appeared like the life of a soldier. o
THE GOOD SOLDIER'S BROSPECT. beiflg appeared so glorious as our Captain. o company could equal our troops. The banners, the arms, the armour, the discipline, the officers, all appeared to be as nearly perfect as they could be. We knew nothing of the battle field, the confused noise, the groans of the wounded, or the garments rolled in blood, then. But, reader, do you know any tiling of these things now ? Kemember, no cross, no crown. o conflict, no conquest. The crown is only for overeomers.
We cannot overcome unless we come into confact, unless we strive, unless we throw and disable our foe. Are you fairly enlisted? Are you wearing the King's regimentals ? Are you in one of the King's regiments ? Do you understand the true military discipline ? Have you ever taken the field ? Did you ever return from the conflict like David, with the head of some Goliath in your hand? Do you prefer a soldier's life with all its toils, privations, sufferings, and dangers to all others ? These are searching questions, I beseech you to lay them to heart. Let them be carefully considered and honestly answered. Brother soldier, you who have for some time served the Lord Christ, I greet you in his most holy name. I give you joy, and rejoice in your honourable connexion. Suffer the word of exhortation, your General sends it, I give it in his own words, " Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." Be faithful to your engagements, your oath, and your Sovereign.
GOOD SOLDIER'S PBOSPECT. 207 ever crouch to Ms foes. ever com.promise in. Ms cause. ever put off any part of your armour. ever neglect any of your orders. Walk erect and show a manly bearing. Use your sword daily and keep it bright. Watch your foes closely for they are crafty, cunning, and determined. Let nothing daunt or discourage you. Go straight forward and cut through all and every tMng that opposes. Keep your ears open to your Commander's voice, and your eye fixed on the crown of glory in his hand. He will stand by you. He will fight for you. He
will conquer through you. Soon, very soon, you will say, if you cannot just now, " I am a Conqueror, and more than a conqueror, through him that loved me." -And when we meet on the plains of the promised land, when we are waiting for the conclusion of the war that the whole host may be crowned together, we will talk of our perils and dangers, of our conflicts and conquests, of the past and the present, and above all of the love, care, kindnesss, faithfulness, forbearance, and grace of our glorious King, and bJess his holy name. for ever and ever. Then, with what rapture! we will sing, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in Ms own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and Ms Father ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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