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His thoughts often crossed the briny sea that divided him from sacred Palestine, and awoke memories of his brethren, who had passed thither before him. He imaged the proud greeting that awaited him, when, his journey done, he reached their arrays. He thought of the vows which he had sworn. He looked on the Red Cross inscribed on his mail. If for a moment his purpose was shaken, memories like these strengthened him; and, however sore the temptation, he felt he could not now draw back to ruin and disgrace. He was a Soldier, too.
. membered his foes; and then he clutched with a firmer hold the brand he wore by his side. The heathen had come into the Lord's inheritance. His holy temple they had defiled, and made Jerusalem a heap of stones. The dead bodies of his brethren they gave to be meat unto the fowls of the air, and their flesh unto the beasts of the land. It was to undo all this violence, to check all this insolence, to rescue these hallowed places from pollution, he had himself assumed The Cross. Not an idle pageant was he dreaming of, but of the hard encounter and fierce war-struggle. He knew the nature of his calling, and he determined to follow it to the end.
He did, in very deed, take up his Cross. He wore it on his bosom night and day continually. It went with him on his journeyings; it was borne by him on shipboard. He had it, when first he stepped on Syrian sands. It accompanied him on the long march, and the hurried, broken rest. It was the first object that met the enemy's eye, when the hostile hosts came into mutual view; it was the last thing the dying Pagan gazed at from the field, where he made his bed in his own gore.
The Cross, wholly mistaken in its character, found this devotedness. Shall it be, when it is preached to us in its real nature, and lifted up as Jesus Himself bore it, that there shall be no response? “Come, take up the Cross !” is still the summons-not, however, as of old in the sense given to it when perverted by men, but in the righteous call when proceeding from the living God. (Luke, ix. 23) :
“And He said to them all, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me!'”
The conflict is not with flesh and blood, but with the rulers of the darkness of this world; and the weapons of the warfare are not carnal but spiritual. The battles of those olden warriors were conducted with confused noise, and soon were seen on all sides garments rolled in blood; but this is with burning and fuel of fire. Here is, indeed, the Holy War, for it is a war with sin and Satan; and the banner, under which only the combatant may find himself secure, is The Cross. What are the sentiments, that should now fill the awakened mind? Chiefest of all, are to be cultivated the feelings of
I. Pilgrims. “Gershom," i.e., a Stranger here, was the touching name given by Moses to his child, born in Midian; (Exodus, ii. 22 ;) for he said, “I have been a stranger in a strange land." The Lord's people in every age have had but the one sentiment respecting earth. They have felt that they are sojourning in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles soon to be taken down, and levelled with the dust. There is a land—a holy land, indeed—to which
, — their hopes lead them; and often do they in thought overpass the dividing distance, and extend yearning arms towards its full possession. And in that land is the City, whither they would fain proceed, New Jerusalem, whose walls are salvation, and whose gates are praise. In that better country, too, are
, many—oh! how many—of those dearest to their bosoms; friends, who went before them, according as they were severally summoned, and whose converse they cannot hope to enjoy, until they too stand on the borders of that far-away shore.
Joined with the chastened garb of Pilgrims, should be exhibited at the same time the high bearing of
II. Warriors. There is a vow that binds Christians to that land. In helpless infancy the badge was marked on their brow, in token that they should not afterwards be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, but manfully fight under His banner against sin, the world, and the devil, continuing Christ's faithful soldiers and servants unto their lives' end. But although that badge was the Cross, they knew not its import—they felt not its power, until a
, Voice was heard, even the Voice of The Beloved, summoning them to take up their Cross. There is a sanctuary (they now learn) that has been profaned. There are enemies, fierce and cruel, that have seized upon the Lord's inheritance; and sore and sharp will be the conflict, ere these be subdued. Not of ease,
nor of seasons of lying by, may the spiritual combatant dream. As the foe is untiring, such must be the nature of the warfare carried on against him. The victory is sure; for the great Captain of His people's salvation is in person at their head. Were they fighting by themselves, they would assuredly fail; but they are made more than conquerors through Him that loved them.
And now as I wend my way homeward from these old ruins, is it not occupied with thoughts far too deep for utterance? Feel I not overwhelmed with shame for the feebleness with which I have con. tended in the Holy War? Is not the head drooped low, and the cheek crimsoned, when the Spirit, striving with my spirit, convicts me of apathy and neglect—of giving little heed to taking up my Cross -of putting out of view, too often, the Jerusalem which is from above?
THE DESIRE TO BE REMEMBERED.
“When Thou Thy jewels up dost bind—that day
That where the beryl lies,
And the crystal 'bove the skies-
And our soul in the scroll
Of life and blissfulness enrol,
O hold a place in the memories of others may
be enumerated among the deep longings of
the human heart. Allmen, or almost all men, desire, Absalom-like, to erect for themselves some columnar claim on posthumous remembrance. “Fame,” according to the poet, “is the last infirmity of noble minds." Over men of opposite characteristics and diverse aims, she equally exercises despotic sway. Hearing the voice of this charmer, the pale Student expends his midnight oil; and, along with it, he often burns out the flickering light of life itself. The Statesman chooses an existence of turmoil and contention, taking as his meed the applause of listening senates. The Soldier seeks the bubble reputation in the cannon's mouth. Rich men join house to house, and lay field to field, while their inward thought is,