To Soldiers

I KNOW that a good many soldiers will read this paper, and my story is about a soldier. This world is sometimes called a "field of battle," and there are numbers of soldiers, who are fighting every day, and who are sure of victory, because they are led by a Captain who never once lost a battle, and never will. I don't mean any great general, and when you get to the end of this paper you will find out for yourselves who I mean. I know a little about fighting, though I did not go through the Crimean War, but I have some old friends who went through it all.
How sick some of you get of the idleness of barrack life, and so you play cards and toss, and all that sort of thing, to "kill time." Now see, friends, there's honest, hearty work for all of you to do, if only you will start right. But you must enlist afresh for it. You cannot buy a commission under my Captain; but He will never turn a man away, who really wants to fight under Him. There's plenty of fighting for you, and never a defeat, provided you obey orders.
Some years ago I knew S., of the —th foot. Now no one cares to be over much in the barracks hospital, but S. was obliged to be there pretty often. The part of it he liked the least was that when a lady, who came to read to the sick soldiers, sometimes spoke a word to him. S. was very well satisfied with himself, and was annoyed at this lady's plain speaking with him. She was kind enough, he could not deny; she did her utmost by bringing little comforts to cheer the invalids; but nothing she could do for S. would make him even civil to her, and he tried all he could to get away whenever she came into the ward. Many years' experience of similar work had taught Mrs. R. the value of the, bare word of God; so she would quote a pointed text of Scripture to S. and leave him.
After a time S. was sent home on furlough; and when there he began to look into the Bible. On his wife expressing her astonishment at this, he said, "Oh, I am only looking for some words that a lady read at the hospital. I want to see if they are really here." So he searched for them, which was much to the joy of his wife, who loved the Bible herself.
Some long time elapsed, when it happened that Mrs. R. was passing through the hospital at the garrison in—. The sergeant said to her, "There's a man upstairs, ma'am, would be glad to see you," but she did not recognize his name.
On going up as directed, she was astonished to see poor S., who had been brought in again. She saw at a glance that he was very ill. How pleased she was to find that instead of wishing her to go away, he was eager to be spoken to about his soul—his never-dying soul.
Mrs. R. read to him out of the Bible of Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God, who became a man, and stooped so low as to take God's punishment for sin on Himself, so that repenting sinners might justly be forgiven and saved. She read, too, of His precious blood that cleanses from all sin. This was just what poor S. wanted; he put his whole trust in Jesus, who shed His blood to wash away our sins. He enlisted afresh, and found that the "Captain of our salvation" was willing to take him just as he was.
But all this was not the work of one day; many times did Mrs. R. visit him; she explained to him the holiness of God, and how that no sin could be found in His holy presence. How then can a sinner stand there? Now God "commandeth all men everywhere to repent," and thank God, poor S. learned by the Holy Spirit's teaching what he was, and what God was, too. And at length the day came when he could say, "I am saved at last—Christ died for my sins; the blood has done it; I do trust Him.”
One day Mrs. R. found his brothers and friends gathered round his bed, and S. telling them all to seek salvation. He was speaking with difficulty, and using his little strength to warn others not to put off to a dying bed the salvation that God offered them at such a cost to Himself.
After some little talk, Mrs. R. said to him, "We may not meet again down here." He at once brightly said, "We shall in heaven. Jesus Christ died for my sins.”
“Have you no doubts?" she asked.
“No, and I want Him to take me.”
And then his Captain granted the wish, and poor S. was poor no longer, for he had passed out from the bare ward of the hospital, from all his sufferings, up to the presence of Jesus, who died for him.
S. was gone. There was a soldier's funeral. Some, who once had mocked at the Bible as he formerly had done, followed his body, and not one of those men would have dared to say, as they stood there by the open grave, that they would rather die as they were. No, they knew, and you know, comrades, that it is not all right with you unless you are one of "Christ's own." You may get along now without Him, as I did once, and think you I are going to enjoy life and all that, but can you enjoy death?
Come, then, to Christ! He will receive you, and instead of death being a terror to you, living or dying you will be the Lord's. Fight for Him; He is worthy; and presently you shall go home to Him, and share the spoils of the victory He has won. Soldiers, won't you enlist under Him? L. T.