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(cover) The Soldiers' Almanac for 1863.
George B. Taylor
Prepared by George B. Taylor
Call number 5049 Conf (Rare Book Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
digitization project, Documenting the American South.
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LC Subject Headings:
1 Come, let us anew,
Our journey pursue,
Roll round with the year,
And never stand still,
Till the Master appear.
2 His adorable will
Let us gladly fulfil,
And our talents improve
By the patience of hope,
And the labour of love.
3 Our life is a dream,
Our time as a stream
Glides swiftly away;
And the fugitive moment
Refuses to stay.
4 The arrow is flown,
The moment is gone;
The millennial year
Rushes on to our view,
And eternity's here.
5 O that each in the day
At his coming may say,
"I have fought my way through
I have finished the work
Thou didst give me to do."
6 O that each from his Lord
May receive the glad word,
"Well and faithfully done!
Enter into my joy,
And sit down on my throne!"
When Sir Henry Havelock entered Persia, at the head of a British army, he wrote: "I have good troops and cannon under my command; but my trust is in the Lord Jesus, my tried and merciful friend. To Him all power is entrusted in heaven and on earth. Him daily seek for me, as I seek Him without shadow of doubting." After a battle, he wrote: "We must be ever thankful for the preserving mercies of the day. The cannonade was warm, and my steamer, the Berenice, crowded with Highlanders, led the troop-ships to the point where we landed. I felt throughout that the Lord Jesus was at my side." When tidings of peace came, he wrote: "The intelligence, which elevates some and depresses others, finds me calm in my reliance on that dear Redeemer, who has watched over and cared for me, even when I knew Him not, these three-score and two years."
'With desire have we desired' to hear that voice from our civil rulers or military leaders, and have not heard it. Alas, it has had no echo in the official papers of the President, the resolutions of Congress, or the dispatches of Generals. Search through all those, and you will not find a word that is distinctively Christian. Every one of them might have been penned by a mere Theist. None testifies that the author of it has a "Lord Jesus."
And is there no grievous wrong, no desert of national chastisement, in this? Is not the Lord Jesus, by the testimony of Scripture, the Administrator of Providence, "the Prince of the kings of the earth," who rules and overrules all things, in preparation for the time when the glad acclaim shall be heard, "The kingdoms of this world are
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever?" Is it not true that we can never conquer peace and independence, until He--the Lamb in the midst of the throne--"has taken to Himself His great power" and exercised it on our behalf? And shall He not withhold the more signal interpositions of His hand, if, when that Hand is put forth to help us, our authorities persistently seal their lips against all confession of it? Oh, for at least one hearty, outspoken acknowledgment of the Lord Jesus, from the men who fill the high places of the Government and the army! It would come to us as one rift in the clouds that overhang the nation--one ray of serener light from the heavens.
There is an unseen battle field,
In every human breast,
Where two opposing forces meet,
And where they seldom rest.
That field is veiled from mortal sight,
'Tis only seen by One
Who knows alone where victory lies,
When each day's light is done.
One army clusters strong and fierce,
Their chief of demon form;
His brow is like the thunder cloud,
His voice the bursting storm.
Pride and Lust, and Hate,
Whose troops watch night and day,
Swift to detect the weakest point,
And thirsting for the fray.
Contending with this mighty force
Is but a little band;
Yet there with an unquailing front,
Those warriors firmly stand!
Their leader is of God-like form,
Of countenance serene;
And glowing on his naked breast
A naked cross is seen.
His captains, Faith, and Hope, and Love,
Point to that wondrous sign,
And gazing on it, all receive,
Strength from a source divine.
They feel it speaks a glorious truth,
A truth as great as sure,
That to be victors they must learn
To love, confide, endure.
That faith sublime, in wildest strife,
Imparts a holy calm;
For every deadly blow a shield,
For every wound a balm.
And when they win that battle-field,
Past toil is quite forgot;
The plain where carnage once had reigned,
Becomes a hallowed spot:
A spot where flowers of joy and peace
Spring from the fertile sod,
And breathe the perfume of their praise
On every breeze--to God.
Haste, traveller, haste! the night comes on,
And many a shining hour is gone;
The storm is gathering in the west,
And thou art far from home and rest;
Haste, traveller, haste!
Oh, far from home thy footsteps stray,
Christ is the life, and Christ the way,
And Christ the light. Yon setting sun
Sinks ere the noon is scarce begun;
Haste, traveller, haste!
The rising tempest sweeps the sky,
The rains descend, the winds are high,
The waters swell, and death and fear
Beset thy path, no refuge near;
Haste, traveller, haste!
Oh yes, a shelter you may gain,
A cover from the wind and rain--
A hiding place, a rest, a home--
A refuge from the wrath to come;
Haste, traveller, haste!
Then linger not in all the plain;
Flee for thy life, the mountain gain;
Look not behind, make no delay;
Oh, speed thee, speed thee on thy way;
Haste, traveller, haste!
Poor, lost, benighted soul, art thou
Willing to find salvation now?
There yet is hope, hear mercy's call--
Truth, life, light, way, in Christ is all;
Haste, traveller, haste!
The following remarks, by the Hon. H. V. Johnson, Confederate States Senator, of Georgia, merit the serious consideration of all who desire the peace of their country:
"When is this struggle to end? Shall we conquer the North? No, we have no desire to do this. Shall the North conquer us? Forbid it, Heaven! But I tell you that this war will never be ended till we are all conquered by the chastising hand of Providence, and we are brought back to the virtues of our forefathers. Though our armies have been victorious in nearly every battle, yet almost every man and woman is bathed in tears and cast down with sorrow at the loss of some friend or kinsman most dear. Every hearthstone is reft of its enjoyments by mourning and weeping, and the wails of sadness are heard all over the land. This is the chastisement of God, inflicted upon us for a departure from the paths of virtue. This is the lesson of the hour. Then let us return with humility to the practice of those great virtues which our fathers cherished, and without which our liberties cannot be maintained."
Oh! the unspeakable privilege to have him for our Father, who is the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort[.] Do not think he can shut out a bleeding soul that comes to him, and refuse to take and to bind up a broken heart that offers itself to him puts itself into his hand and entreats his help. Doth he require pity of us, and doth he give it to us, and is it not infinitely more in himself? All that is in angels and men, is but an insensible drop to the ocean.--Leighton.
Scenes of deep distress await us all. It is in vain to expect to pass through the world without falling into them. We have in our Lord's example a model for our behaviour in the most severe and most trying of these occasions; afflicted, yet resigned; grieved and wounded, yet submissive; not insensible of our sufferings, but increasing the ardor and fervency of our prayer in proportion to the pain and acuteness of our feelings. But whatever may be the fortune of our lives, one great extremity, at least, the hour of approaching death, is certainly to be passed through. What ought, then, to occupy us? What can their support us? Prayer, prayer, with our blessed Lord himself, was a refuge from the storm; almost every word he uttered, during that tremendous scene, was prayer; prayer the most earnest, the most urgent --repeated, continued, proceeding from the recesses of his soul--private, solitary--prayer for deliverance--prayer for strength--above everything, prayer for resignation.--Paley.
A correspondent of the Confederate Baptist writing from Morris Island says that drear and bleak as it is, to many a soul it has been as Patmos to the apostle John, where he was inspired to sing "unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." God's Holy Spirit has been in their midst, blessing their nightly services with refreshing from on high. Christians have been greatly revived and strengthened, and several are rejoicing in "hope of glory."
The martyred dead have taken possession of this Southern soil for the Southern people. It was theirs originally, by the gift of God, and they have bought it anew by their blood. This land will be endeared to us and to our posterity, because it is the earthly resting-place of our immortal dead. It was the boast of the ancient Greek, as his eye wandered over his beautiful and beloved land, that every hill bore the tomb of a hero or the temple of a god. But more noble dust mingled not with the soil of Attica than that which reposes in the bosom of our own dear native land. It surely lends attraction to heaven, viewed with reference to our present constitution, to think that there we shall behold and converse with the best and loveliest we have known on earth. If Socrates could talk of transports of joy at the prospect of seeing Palamedes, Ajax and other heroes of antiquity in a future world, how should the Christian feel when he looks forward to all everlasting abode, not a transient meeting with the saints of all ages--with his Christian friends who have fallen in his defence--and with Christ Himself, the Author and Finisher of our faith. If he hoped for felicity in comparing his experience with theirs--how shall we rejoice in reviewing dispensations of Providence now impenetrably dark, or in, perfectly understood, but then shining in the light of Heaven. The past and the future meet in the memory of the dead. The sweetest and brightest link in the chain that stretches back over the past, binds us to the dead; and that chain stretches forward to eternity and attaches itself to the throne of the living God. Thus death joins on to life; and all that is sacred in memory connects itself with all
that is inspiring in hope. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.--Rev. J. M. Atkinson.
Admiral Benbow, after many years of hard service, for he had only merit to recommend him, visited Shrewsbury, his native town, and, on his arrival, proceeded to the house of his nativity, which was then occupied by people in no way related to him. Yet he entered the house as if it had been his own, walked up stairs, went into the room where he first drew breath, fell on his knees, and returned thanks to the great Disposer of events, for His protection and support through his past eventful life.
Dr. Samuel Johnson, as is well known, was distinguished as a moral writer; his compositions have seldom been excelled in energy of thought and beauty of expression. To a young gentleman who visited him, on his death-bed, he said, "Young man, attend to the voice of one who has possessed a certain degree of fame in the world, and who with shortly appear before his Maker; read the Bible every day of your life."
A Richmond correspondent of the "South-Western Baptist" says: "Stonewall Jackson remarked to an officer, 'I believe as truly as I do anything, that if I die heaven will be my home. Thank God, that matter is settled; and I have nothing to fear from Yankee bullets.' "
To be a Christian is an unspeakable privilege Calvin did not overrate it, when he wrote to Edward VI.: "It is a great thing, Sire, to be a king, especially of such a country; and yet I doubt not that you regard it as above all comparison greater to be a Christian." It lifts us from the depths of hostility to God, and numbers us with His elect-- adopts us among His sons. It assures us of His Favor, employs us the accomplishment of His purposes, transforms us into His likeness, animates us with His Spirit, and finally gathers us to His presence.
No man knows what a day may bring forth; what miseries, what good or what evil, what afflictions, what liberty, what bonds, what good success, or what bad success, a day may bring forth; and therefore, a man need every day be in the closet with God, that he may be prepared and fitted to entertain and improve all the occurrences, successes, and emergencies which may attend him in the course of his life.
No, no! It is not dying
To Jesus' self to go;
The gloom of earth forsaking,
In one's pure home awaking,
Should give no pang of woe.
No, no! It is not dying,
To leave this world of strife;
And seek that blessed river,
Where Christ shall lead forever,
His sheep 'neath trees of life.
(Organized temporarily February 8th, 1861; permanently, February 18th, 1862.)