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the merriment and the feasring, of my old service ; I find I cannot be a soldier, and to speak truth, I was in the very act of deserting, when I was stopt short by the cannon ball. . So that I feel the guilt of deserting, and the misery of having lost my leg into the bargain.”
The officer thus replied : “your state is that of every worldly, irreligious man. The great family you served is a just picture of the world. The wages the world promises to those who are willing to do its work, are high, but the payment is attended with much disappointment; nay, the world, like your great family, is in itself insolvent, and in its very nature incapable of making good the promises, and of paying the high rewards which it holds out to tempt its credulous fellowers. The ungodly world, like your family, cares little for church, and still less for prayers; and considers the bible rather as an instrument to make an oath binding, in order to keep the vulgar in obedience, than as containing in itself a perfect rule of faith and practice, and as a titledeed to heaven. The generality of men love the world as you did your service, while it smiles upon them, and gives them easy work, and plenty of meat and drink; but as soon as it begins to cross and contradict them, they get out of humour with it, just as you did with your service. They then think its drudgery hard, its rewards low. They find out that it is high in its expectations from them, and slack in its payments to them. And they begin to fancy (because they do not hear religious people murmur as they do) that there must be some happiness in religion. The world, which takes no account of their deeper sins, at length brings them into discredit for some act of imprudence, just as your family overlooked your lying and swearing, but threatened to drub you for breaking a china dish ; such is the judgment of the world; it particularly bears with those who only break the laws of God, but severely punishes the smallest negligence by which property is injured. The world sooner pardons the breaking ten commandments of God, than even a china dish of its own.
“ After some cross or opposition, worldly men, as I said before, begin to think how much content and cheerfulness they remember to have seen in religious people. They therefore begin to fancy that religion must be an easy and delightful as well as a good thing. They have heard that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace ; and they persuade themselves that by this is meant worldly pleasantness and sensual peace. They resolve at length to try it, to turn their back upon the world, to engage in the service of God, and turn Christian; just as you resolved to leave your old service, to enter into the service of the King, and turn soldier. But as you quitted your place in a passion, so they leave the world in a huff. They do not count the cost. They do not calculate upon the darling sins, the habitual pleasures, the ease and vanities, which they undertake by their new engagements to renounce, any more than you counted what indulgences you were going to give up, when you quitted the luxuries and idleness of your place to enlist in the soldiers welfare.— They have, as I said, seen Christians cheerful, and they mistook the ground of their cheerfulness; they fancied it arose, not because, through grace they had conquered difficulties, but because they had no difficulties in their passage. They fancied that religion found the road smooth, whereas, it only helps to bear with a rough road without complaint. They do not know that these Christians are of good cheer, not because the world is free from tribulation, but because Christ, their captain, has overcome the world. But the irreligious man, who has only seen the outside of a Christian in his worldly intercourse, knows little of his secret conflicts, his trials, his self-denials, his warfare with the world without, and with his own corrupt desires within.
“ The irreligious man quarrels with the world, on some such occasion as you did with your place. He now puts on the outward forms and ceremonies of religion, and assumes the badges of Christianity, just as you were struck with the shows of a fieldday ; just as you were pleased with the music and the marching, and put on the cockade and the red coat. All seems smooth for a little while. He goes through the outward exercises of a Christian, a degree of credit attends his new profession, but he never suspects there is either difficulty or discipline attending it; he fancies religion is a thing for talking about, and not a thing of the heart and the life. He never suspects that all the psalm-singing he joins in, and the sermons he hears, and the other means he is using, are only, as the exercises and the evolutions of the soldiers, to fit and prepare him for actual service; and that these means are no more religion itself, than the exercises and evolutions of your parade, were real warfare.
“ At length, some trial arises. This nominal Christian is called to differ from the world in some great point ; something happens which may strike at his comfort, or his credit, or security. This cools his zeal for religion, just as the view of an engagement
cooled your courage as a soldier. He finds he was only angry with the world; he was not tired of it. He was out of humour with the world, not because he had seen through its vanity and emptiness, but because the world was out of humour with him. He finds that it is an easy thing to be a fair weather Christian, bold where there is nothing to be done, and confident where there is nothing to be feared. Difficulties unmask him to others; temptations unmask him to himself; he discovers that, though he is a high professor, he is no Christian ; just as you found out that your red coat and your cockade, your shoulder knot and your musket, did not prevent you from being a coward.
“ Your misery in the military life, like that of the nominal Christian, arose from your love of ease, your cowardice, and your self-ignorance. You rushed into a new way of life, without trying after one qualification for it. A total change of heart and temper was necessary for your new calling. With new views and new principles, the soldier's life would have been, not only easy, but delightful to you. But, while with a new profession, you retained your old nature, it is no wonder all discipline seemed intolerable to you.
“ The true Christian, like the brave soldier, is supported under dangers by a strong faith that the fruits of that victory, for which he fights, will be safety and peace.-But, alas ! the pleasures of this world are present and visible ; the kingdom and the crown for which he strives, are remote. He is therefore apt to think them uncertain. He is therefore apt to fail, because nothing short of a lively faith can outweigh the present temptation, and teach him to prefer the joys of conquest to the pleasures of sloth.”
Whether William went back to his old service, or was received again into the army, we do not know,
Allegory II.— The Grand Trial.
THERE was in a certain country a great king, who was also a judge. He was very merciful, but he was also very just; for he used to say that justice was the foundation of all goodness. His subjects were apt enough, in a general way, to extol his merciful temper, and especially those subjects who were always committing crimes, which made them liable to punished by his justice. This last quality, they constantly kept out of sight, till they had cheated themselves into a notion that he was too good to punish at all.
Now it happened a long time before, that this whole people had broken their allegiance, and had forfeited the king's favor, and had also fallen from a very prosperous state in which he had placed them, having one and all become bankrupts; but when they were thus deeply in debt, and had nothing to pay, the king's son most generously took the whole burden of the debts on himself; and, in short, it was proposed, that all their affairs should be settled, and their very crimes forgiven (for they were criminals as well as debtors) provided only they would show themselves to be sorry for what they had done, themselves, and be thankful for what was done for them, I should however remark, that a book was also given them, in which a true and faithful account of