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We are to be saved through the merits of the Saviour; our own must not be mentioned. So with regard to the other quality, “worthy is the Lamb that was slain ;” but in that attribute no human being has any share. With these abatements, we may safely exhibit the prayer as one which neither soldier, sailor, nor citizen need disown; and the writer must be classed among those heroes who, though liable to an occasional theological inaccuracy, are not ashamed, while they serve their country, to fear God, and render to him the homage of their lives.
And how finely was the Christian character exemplified in the life of Colonel Gardiner! This gentleman, when a mere youth, was engaged in active service. He signalized himself by uncommon exertions at the battle of Blenheim. At that time, destitute of religion, he sought “the bubble reputation, e'en in the cannon's mouth;" and while in the act of leading on his men to a desperate assault upon the enemy's intrenchments, swearing most profanely, a musket shot struck him in the mouth, and came out at the back of his neck. The infliction of the wound was so instantaneous, that in the rage of the moment, though conscious of being struck, he thought he had swallowed the bullet. In almost the next moment he was undeceived, and fell senseless. There he lay, weltering in blood, for some time ; but being of a hale and vigorous constitution, he was observed, when the fury of the fight had diminished, among a heap of the dying and dead, to be yet alive. Surgical help was directly obtained, and he was mercifully given back from the very gate of death. It is well known that he afterwards became an eminent Christian. His conversion to the faith, like that of Paul, was sudden, decisive, and glorious; and late in life he fell by the blow of a Lochaber axe, nobly fighting, when nearly all others fled, at the battle of Preston
field,---a capital instance of bravery, refined and exalted by the purity of religious principle.
The goodly fellowship of our devout and enterprising heroes must also include another associate : this is no less a person than Frederick the Great, of Prussia,--a man who, when almost the whole of continental Europe had combined to dismember his kingdom, arose with gigantic prowess, and defended himself with such singular ability and courage, that, while his numerous and powerful enemies were repelled, his influence as a Monarch was firmly estabÎished. That the mind of Frederick was deeply imbued with scriptural truth, is confirmed by his celebrated confession of faith ; which, for clearness of conception, and the forcibleness of the terms in which his sentiments are expressed, shows that he knew the truth. He was unhappily led away in old age by the subtleties of Voltaire, who had contrived to insinuate himself into the presence of Prussian royalty ; but that apostasy on the part of His Majesty may be viewed in part as an error of feeble senility, nor does it destroy, or even derogate from, the value of the testimony yielded to religion by the master-mind of Frederick, when the suffrage of his credence was worth having, in the prime and vigour of his days, and the more leisurely exercise of his masculine intellect.
Old Colonel Berdeleben belongs undoubtedly to our corps. He was a favourite of the great Frederick of Prussia, who lavished several honours upon the worthy veteran. Deeply grateful for the distinction thus conferred, but more entirely overcome with a sense of divine goodness, he observed, “Should I die this moment, I die in the favour of God and my King. I truly rejoice that my Sovereign has assured me of his favour; but of what avail would the King's favour be towards the consolation of my con
science, and what would it help me in my present situation, did I not possess the favour of God?” Reasonings like this may be scorned, but they cannot be confuted.
The late French Emperor may perhaps be quoted as an exception to our rule ; for he had no religion, and yet was successful. But this wants looking at. To be sure, Napoleon was a mighty hunter of the human race ; he drove furiously, and often astonished his compeers by boldness of enterprise, and rapidity of movement. He was, no doubt, an instrument in the hands of Providence for the accomplishment of certain designs; the eventual tendency of which, the world has, it may be, yet to learn. His warmest admirers must not, however, claim for him the homage due to an universal conqueror.
He was foiled twice, at any rate ; once at the opening of his career, and once at the close.
Sir Sydney Smith repulsed him at Acre, and his Grace of Wellington at Waterloo. So that religion has the best of it, after all.
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INSTANCES of genuine conversion to the faith of the Gospel, attended by the fruits of the Spirit, are also to be met with among what are generally termed “common soldiers," by which are understood the private men composing the main body of an army, by whom, as making up the physical force employed, the brunt of actual fighting is chiefly sustained ; and it has pleased the great Head of the church so to magnify his grace, that many of these men, when exposed to the most imminent peril, were enabled not only to perform their duty with coolness and intrepidity, but to rejoice in the midst of privation and suffering. No serious and intelligent man can forget that about a century ago, a most remarkable revival of religion took place in these lands; and the influence, it appears from authentic records, extended to the British army. Ninety years since, a pious soldier, engaged in one of the German campaigns then in operation, has observed, “ The day we marched to Maestricht, I found the love of God shed abroad in my heart, that I thought my very soul was dissolved in tears. The day we engaged the French at Dettingen, as the battle began, I said, ' Lord, in thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded.' Joy overflowed my soul, and I told my comrades, "If I fall this day, I shall rest in the everlasting arms of Christ.'" He did not fall; and about ten months afterwards, in another written communication,
directed to his Pastor, he seems more happy than ever, though in circumstances which, in ordinary cases, would have been destructive of mental calm
At the close of a severe action, he states, “As to my own part, I stood the fire of the enemy above seven hours ; then my horse was shot under me, and I was exposed both to the enemy and our own horse. But that did not discourage me at all ; for I knew the God of Israel was with me. I had a long way to go, the balls flying on every side, and thousands lay dying and dead on either hand. Surely I was as in the fiery furnace; but it never singed one hair of my head.” Providentially, the veteran was not left to stand alone; for true godliness is essentially communicative. He adds, “Going on, I met one of our brethren with a little dish in his hand, seeking for water. He smiled and said, he had got a sore wound in his leg. I asked him, “ Have you gotten Christ in your heart?” He answered, " I have, and have had him all day.” Now, it is not possible that there can be any mistake here. Persons reposing on the lap of ease, and without an earthly desire unfulfilled, may contrive, with but moderate devotion of heart, to keep up, at least, the semblance of contentedness; for the profession of faith is not costly when trials are all away: but when a man, just in the jaws of destruction, and with scarcely the hope of relief, can express and exemplify such confidence in Almighty goodness, we may rest assured he possesses some power beyond, and superior to, that which nature yields. The name of the soldier whose remarks I have quoted was John Haime; and he lived to be a useful member of the church. He was favoured, while in active military service, with the correspondence of one of the most venerable and learned Ministers of that
A copy of one of the letters thus received from him