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“The duty of a Christian is simple in persecution—it is clear under tyranny—it is evident in despite of heresy—it is one in the midst of schism—it is determined amidst infinite disputes ;-being, like a rock in the sea, which is beaten with the tide, and washed with retiring waters, and encompassed with mists, and appears in several figures, but always dips its foot in the same bottom, and remains the same in calms and storms, and survives the revolution of ten thousand tides, and there shall dwell till time and tide shall be no more. So is our duty uniform and constant, open and notorious, variously represented, but in the same manner exacted ; and, in the interest of our souls, God hath not exposed us to uncertainty in the variety of anything that can change.”
For more than a quarter of a century, travellers from various parts of the world have been drawn to the field on which was fought the terrible battle which exhausted for the time the fatal animosities of Europe. Every place for miles round the plain of Waterloo, is associated with the recollection of incidents of deadly strife. The details to which the stranger is compelled to listen, respecting the magnitude and severity of the struggle—the vast number of the slain—the fearful suspense felt as to the issue of the conflict—the tremendous effect of the decisive charge, and the revolting and melancholy spectacle presented when the fight was over-leave a somewhat stunning effect upon the mind. It is only when you retire from the field, to visit the church in the neighbouring village, that you begin to consider the general statements you have received—or rather when losing sight of these, you hear the story of
individual sufferers, that you realize, in imagination, some of the truly mournful circumstances attendant
For several weeks this place of worship was used as a hospital. The mangled bodies of those who still survived their ghastly wounds were huddled together on the floor. After protracted agonies, hundreds breathed their last, and were buried within a small enclosure a few yards distant. The walls of the church are covered with monuments erected to the memory of the more distinguished as to rank. In particular the attention of the visitor is directed to a beautiful tablet, on which three orphan sisters have inscribed the name of a youthful officer, who, after several campaigns in the Peninsula, here closed his martial career.
That simple memento of sisterly affection speaks to the heart. Forgetting the lapse of years, we enter into the feelings of the bereaved family, as if some recent stroke of calamity had befallen them. The youth was only eighteen when he perished in battle. In common with myriads, he was sacrificed at the shrine of ambition. The demon that led to their destruction can only be exorcised by vital christianity, and it behoves every one who has adopted the principles of the Gospel, to do all within his power to dispel the fatal illusion which has thrown its enchantment over scenes of blood. Here is a melancholy example of its infatuating influence. It is hardly possible to conceive of a greater perversion of moral sentiment, than must have been exhibited in
the character and course of this poor young man. These sisters who record his deeds of valour, and who were the companions of his childhood, were willing that he should be withdrawn from every useful pursuit, and be associated with the dregs of European society in the scenes of licentiousness which disgraced the Spanish war. They anticipated with delight the time when he should return from the field of slaughter, and they should listen with interest to the stories of battle. Like the devotees of Juggernaut, he went gaily to the harvestfield of death. As infatuated as the pagan devotee, but not as free from ferocious excitement. His own fame was the object of his blind idolatry, and he sought it by the destruction of others. The warrior in recording his exploits, rarely discloses the working of his own passions. What if we could know the internal history of this youthful soldier in the days of Waterloo ; or with what feelings he spent his last Sabbath on earth (the 18th of June)? What were his moral or religious sentiments ? In what state of mind did he meet the stroke of death ?
Happily, public opinion is greatly changed with respect to war. The restless spirit of vain and selfish ambition is exchanged for the nobler passion
The glories of Thermopylæ, of Marathon, of Cannæ, of Blenheim, and of Waterloo, are destined to wane. The period is coming when the hero of a hundred fights will be regarded as a kind