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the opportunity never occurred to them to win it. We THE VICTORIA CROSS.
have said that no Christian soldier need despair of EARS ago our gracious sovereign saw fit to insti- being able to win the crown of life, because it is freely
tute a new decoration, to be bestowed upon offered to all; so we would now say that no soldier of
those of her soldiers or sailors who should dis- the cross can excuse himself by saying that he has tinguish themselves by any remarkable act of bravery never had the opportunity of fighting against evil. If or daring in the presence of the enemy. Since that we are truly Christians we have a life-time of battles time nearly three hundred of these decorations have to fight, each one of which would be too hard for us. been awarded to soldiers and sailors of all ranks, from if we were not aided by God's Holy Spirit, who helps the colonel and commander to the common sailor or our infirmities. We must fight against evil in every private soldier; and it is considered among the highest form, against temptations from the evil one, and temphonours that can be gained in the army or navy to be tations that spring from our own corrupt natures, against, able to wear upon the breast the plain-looking Victoria our own sins and against the sins of others. We must. Cross.
not be contented with acting always on the defensive, And yet, after all, what is the value of it? It is always being prepared to make a stand against the merely a plain, small gun-metal cross, of no great
attacks of the enemy. value in itself. True, there is a small money pension There is a great difference between the warfare carried attached to the winning of the Victoria Cross; but on by man against man, or nation against nation, and what is most valued is the honour of wearing a decora- that in which the Christian soldier is engaged. Tho tion given by a beloved sovereign in
wars of the world are the outcomings recognition of meritorious conduct.
of lust and covetousness. Men What volumes are contained in
desire more than they have, and those two words, For Valour,”
fight and war that they may obtain inscribed on the cross !
what they desire; and so out of For length of service and good
covetousness and envy come strife conduct, or merely for presence in
and all the horrors of war. How a campaign, a medal may be earned ;
different the Christian warfare ! “We but not so the Victoria Cross. The
wrestle not against flesh and blood, man who would wear this must make
but against principalities, against up his mind to win it by some signal
powers, against the rulers of the darkact of valour or deed of daring; and
ness of this world, against spiritual even then he may not succeed; for
wickedness in high places.” And the opportunity of winning it may
the fightings of the Christian, unlike never present itself.
those of the worldling, are productive It is not thus with the prize that
of good, and are the means of hastenis offered to every soldier of Jesus
ing that time when all the world Christ—the crown of life, promised
shall be at peace,
66 shall to all those who fight manfully and
beat their swords into ploughshares,
The Victoria Cross. valiantly the good fight of faith.
and their spears into pruning-hooks ;" This is a prize that may be obtained
when“ nation shall not lift
sword by every soldier in the great Christian army; not by against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. one who has been exceptionally situated or remark- So also there is a difference between the soldiers. ably valiant, but by every one who has “done what
employed. The man who wins and wears the Victoria. he could” in the service of his Saviour.
Cross is probably a physically strong man—he must be Let us look for a few moments at the inducements
a physically bold one, or it would not be awarded there are held out to the Christian to fight bravely and him ; while some of the strongest and best of Christian constantly against the enemies of the Lord.
warriors have been but feeble and timid men.
Of There is the promised prize ; this is no mere decora- themselves quite incapable of doing any great work, tion of little value, to be worn for a few short years at but filled with the Holy Spirit, they have been able to most, and then to be laid aside.
work marvels in pulling down the strongholds of Satan, It is a “crown of life," of "righteousness," of and in hastening on the coming of Christ's kingdom. “glory," it is "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, Let us then take courage ; putting on the whole and that fadeth not away.” It is to be admitted into armour of God, always remembering to seek His help, the society of the spirits of just men made perfect, of who alone is able to keep us from falling; and then the holy angels of God, of Christ our Saviour, of our when the time comes for us to lay down the sword, we Father in heaven.
shall be enabled joyfully to exclaim, “Henceforth there For every soldier in the British army who gains the is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Victoria Cross, there are thousands who never possess Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; it; not that there is any lack of bravery on their part, and not to me only, but to all them that love His nor want of ambition to secure it, but simply because appearing."
Christ Jesus. There is a right way and a wrong way; WHAT OF THAT?
whichever you are taking, count the cost. God's VIRED? Well, what of that?
favour is cheap at any price, but the cheapest sin will Didst fancy life was spent on beds of ease,
be found in the end to be far too dear.
you count the cost ? Do you reckon breeze?
the price you have to pay? A man took a journey by Come, rouse thee! work while it is called day! coach in great haste ; rode outside ; went slow enough Coward, arise ! go forth upon thy way.
up the hill ; rather too fast down. He urged the coachLonely? And what of that?
man to hurry on, but did not count the cost. The Some must be lonely : 'tis not given to all
coachman should have known better. Smack went the To feel a heart responsive rise and fall,
whip, on sprung the horses, round went the wheels, To blend another life into its own.
and over went the coach at the bottom of a hill, Work may be done in loneliness. Work on! flinging passengers and driver into a gravel-pit, Dark? Well, what of that?
one with a broken arm, and the other with a broken Didst fondly dream the sun would never set ?
leg. Foolish men! They ought to have counted Dost fear to lose thy way? Take courage yet!
the cost. Learn thou to walk by faith, and not by sight; An aeronaut went up in a balloon-dangerous Thy steps will guided be, and guided right.
enough to do that—but he would come down in a para
chute; this was still more dangerous. Thoughtless Hard? Well, what of that?
man! He had never counted the cost. He ascended Didst fancy life one summer holiday, With lessons none to learn, and naught but play?
without accident, but he did not descend without one. Go, get thee to thy task! Conquer or die !
No! He was too heavy for the parachute; down they It must be learned : learn it, then, patiently.
came together, over and
People said he
was dead before he reached the ground; but cerNo help? Nay, 'tis not so !
tainly he was dead enough soon after he did reach Though human help be far, thy God is nigh; the ground. Who feeds the ravens, hears His children cry. He's near thee, wheresoe'er thy footsteps roam,
A miner went down a coal-pit, but he never came And He will guide thee, light thee, help thee home.
up again alive. How was that? say you. Did the rope break? Did he tumble out of the skip? or did anything fall on his head from the top ? No! none of these things occurred. There was fire-damp in the
pit, and he knew it; but he was thoughtless, wilful, DO YOU COUNT THE COST?
and obstinate, for he would not be persuaded to count
the cost. The light of his lantern set the fire-damp TOP a moment. You shall not be in a blaze. The miner was working at one end of the
kept long. Time is too precious pit, but his scorched body was found almost at the to be wasted. I ought to value other. Whether you travel by coach, or by any other it; you ought to value it; we all conveyance; whether you go up high in the air, or ought to value it; but do we? down deep into the ground, use the prudence that God What project have you in hand ? has given you, and in every case count the cost. Make Are you working, or remaining no exception to this general rule, but ask the question
idle? going on, or standing still ? in every project you undertake, hoping or fearing, doing good, or doing evil? What- suffering or enjoying. . ever it may be,-ploughing or sowing, Some fast through poverty, and sigh for table putting up or pulling down, lending crumbs! How is it with you? Are you sitting down
or borrowing, buying or building, to a well-spread board, banqueting on dainty morsels, the question I wish to ask is this, Do you count and dressing yourself in gay attire ? Have a care! the cost ?
The rich man in the parable did this before you ; but Hardly could I ask a more serious question, a more
he counted not the cost. He never dreamed that it important question, or a more necessary question. would harden his heart. He never suspected it would Answer it openly and honestly. Attend to this inquiry, make him selfish. What a price did he pay for his and all may be right; neglect it, and all may be wrong. feastings! Be on your guard ; venison and turtle Some people count differently to others; David counted must be paid for-sparkling wine that moveth itself God's thoughts towards him to exceed the sands, and aright has a price. Count, then, the cost of them. his own iniquities to outnumber the hairs of his head. Let them not lure you from God, and pay not for Many reckon their afflictions to be overwhelming, them more than they are worth. but Paul reckoned his not worthy to be compared with Are you building a house, digging a well, and the glory to be revealed. Most of us count the good fencing in fields? If so, proceed with discretion. things of the world as everything, but he counted all down first and count the cost; or haply, when you things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of' have laid the foundation of your dwelling, you may be
mocked with the words, “This man began to build, can they inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Others are and was not able to finish.” Did you never hear of depending on the unblemished moral character they a man being so foolish as to build his house on the bear. They are good citizens. They are kind and sand? He never counted the cost. No wonder that, generous friends. They are well-disposed neighbours. when the storm raved, his habitation came tumbling All this will go so far, they think, and Christ's merits down about his ears. Are you a wise master-builder? will make up the difference. Vain notion ! By no Are you building for the sunshine or the shower? for such piece of patchwork as this is man to be saved. the summer or the winter? for time or eternity? for A woman called, one day, on Dr. Chalmers in great earth or for heaven?
distress of mind. “Oh, Doctor !” said she, “what must Have you set your heart on riches ? Count the cost, I do to get peace ?” “ Do,” replied he, “nothing." for riches may be bought too dear. On power? Count “Nothing?" replied the disappointed inquirer, “nothe cost, for you may become weak before you are thing? Is that all the comfort you have for me?"
On fame? Count the cost, for the bubble may “Yes, that is all; you have nothing to do, but you burst suddenly. Why, a fit of the tooth-ache, the have something to take. It's all done. Christ has head-ache, the heart-ache, renders the rich poor, the done it. He has bought pardon and peace for you, strong weak, and the celebrated unmindful of his and you have got to take them.” “I see it, I see it,” popularity. Think of this, and think of the fading replied the woman joyfully, and left in peace. nature of earthly things.
Do you see it? There is no mystery about it. It is A certain sage was called the weeping philosopher. a simple, though great and wondrous redemptive He saw nothing in the world to laugh at, but much to seheme. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became your make him mourn. Sad habit, the habit of repining! surety. He made a mighty stoop. He left heaven. Oh for a cheerful spirit, a thankful spirit, a rejoicing He clothed Himself in robes of clay, and came to spirit ! for this is the sunshine of the heart. Another, earth. He stood in your room and stead. He obeyed whom many esteem wise, was called the laughing the whole law for you. He suffered for you an ignophilosopher. He saw nothing in the world worth a minious death, and bare the penalty your sins deserved. tear, but everything to provoke his mirth. Sad afflic- He wrought out for you a perfect righteousness. And tion, the affliction of a light and trifling spirit! Will now from His throne in glory He says to you, “ Believe laughing at water prevent it drowning you ? or jesting
on Me as your
upon God as your reconat fire hinder it from burning you? You know it will ciled Father through Me; ask of Him to accept of you not. Are you melancholy, unthankful, and repining? because of My obedience and death : thus seek to be Count the cost. Are you light, trifling, and foolish ? one with Me; regard Me as your salvation; cast your Count the cost. Let philosophers laugh or weep; be self for eternity on Me : do this, and live for ever.” thankful for God's gifts, and desirous of His glory.
Reader! Look away from yourself in the great Are you leading or following? teaching or learning? matter of acceptance with God. You have nothing to In either case you have enough to do. You cannot do but to trust. Faith in Jesus Christ to save is the afford to cast aside your Bible, to neglect prayer, to way to heaven. An anxious inquirer could not get mis-spend the Sabbath, or to absent yourself from the peace. The convictions of sin were deep and clear. house of God. There is a sunbeam over your head, if
She assented to all the doctrines of grace. She sought your are heavenly-minded, and charitable, and com- earnestly to attain salvation. But she could get no passionate, and kind; and there is a dark cloud above comfort for a time. At length she came to a friend, you, if you are worlilly, and selfish, and hard-hearted, and told him she had made a new discovery. On and cruel. See to these things, see to them quickly, see being asked what it was she had found out, she replied to them now, and count the cost of putting the burden that the way of salvation all seemed to her now perof to day's duties on the back of to-morrow.
fectly plain—that the darkness was gone, and that she saw now what she never saw before. On the question being put to her what she saw now, she said, “Don't
you think the reason why we do not get out of darkWHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED ?
ness sooner is that we don't believe? As you were
reading a hymn last night, I saw the whole way of salHat a solemn question! It is the cry of an
vation perfectly plain, and wondered that I had never awakened sinner. And how momentous
seen it before. I saw that I had nothing whatever to his inquiry! He has got a view of his guilt do but to trust in Christ. The verses which brought and his danger. He knows that before him is a dark
me to peace were these :eternity, and beneath him a dreadful hell. And he
“ My soul obeys the almighty call, looks around for deliverance from his perilous position.
And runs to this relief; Whence is relief to come ?
I would believe Thy promise, Lord,
Oh! help mine unbelief. Some make a fair profession. They are regular in
“ A guilty, weak, and helpless worm, their attendance on ordinances. They are professing
On Thy kind arms I fall; members of the Christian Church. Because of this,
Be Thou my strength and righteousness, they expect to be saved. Vain notion ! Not thus
My Jesus and my all!”
helped by skilful management of the sail to "wear," or turn the ship away from the fearful mountain of ice before them. They were none too soon, for they barely cleared the ice, which, had they struck, would have broken the ship to pieces. They remained in this position until morning, fearing to move in the darkness lest they should strike the ice. When daylight came they found themselves surrounded by fields of ice, having several icebergs on them, looking like mountains on a plain. There was only one way to escape, and that was by a natural channel leading to the north-east; and, fearful to tell, this passage was gradually closing up. But with all sail set, and a fair wind, they managed at length to get through, and they reached the open sea only a few moments
before the ice
together and the channel was closed.
In the mean. time there was, about three miles to the westward, other ship in a far more dangerous position, for she
completely surTHE CRUSHED SHIP.
rounded by ice, and it was rapidly closing in upon her. Nearer and nearer it came.
There was no way of escape ome years ago an emigrant ship left England, for this as for the other ship. The poor creatures on
having on board nearly four hundred and fifty board fired guns and hoisted signals of distress, but alas! passengers. For ten days they had fine weather
none could help them. Those in the other vessel had and light winds, when a furious gale sprung up from the south and drove them northward. After this gale ice, like a great giant, moved nearer to them with its
as much as they could do to save themselves. So the had lasted for a week, the wind changed to the north, huge arms, until at last it closed up all around the and the weather became very cold. One very dark
ship and broke it in pieces as easily as a child would night, the man whose duty it was to look ahead of
crush an egg-shell. The stout timbers were broken, the ship, to see if there was anything in the way,
the tall masts tottered and fell, and in a few minutes saw something large and white floating just before
all was over. Not one of those on board was saved. them. He at first thought it was a ship, and sung out
Prepared or unprepared, they went to meet their as loud as he could, “Ship ahead! Starboard ! hard a
God. starboard !” which meant that the man at the helm must turn the ship to the left, to prevent striking the They close around us and threaten to destroy.
Life is a great ocean. Temptations are its icebergs.
If object in the way. At these words the second mate,
we look to God for help He will make a way of escape, who had charge of the vessel at the time, looked out
and give us the Holy Spirit to guide us in the safe on the dark waters, and at once cried out : “ It's no
path to heaven. ship. It's an iceberg! All hands wear ship!” The sailors sprang to their posts ; the captain and other
God is the refuge of His saints officers, and those of the crew who had been sleeping
When storms of sharp distress invade;
Ere we can offer our complaints, below rushed to the deck, startled by the noise, and all
Behold Him pre nt with His aid.
HE well-known Richard Cecil, when
a young man, was an avowed
infidel, but in later life was as unceasing in his efforts to win souls for the Lord Jesus as he had before laboured to propagate his infidel opinions. “When about twenty years old,” he says, “the very notion of Jesus Christ or of redemption repelled me. I could not endure a system so degrading. I thought there might possibly be a Supreme Being; and if there were such a Being, He might hear me when I prayed. To worship the Supreme Being seemed somewhat dignified. There was something grand and elevating in the idea. But the whole scheme of Jedemption appeared mean and degrading and dishonourable to man. The New Testament, in its impossible to be believed as a religion suitable to sentiments and institutions, repelled me, and seemed man." About this period, when lying in bed one night