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us. This was done not many days ago in this garrison on an occasion of special interest to military men, and most especially to the regiment whose colours are here before us.* "In the name of our God," said the Psalmist, "we will set up our banners." And your colours, soldiers
regiment, have just now been unfurled and elevated in the same great and glorious name, "in the name of the Lord of Hosts." They have been delivered into your custody and care with the christian accompaniment of prayer unto God, that he would prosper, and bless, and succour "their going out, and their coming in." And it is becoming a christian regiment, that their colours should be so consecrated. It is neither unfitting, nor unmeaning, when a body of men receive those ensigns, which are the ensigns. of earthly allegiance, the rallying point
* This sermon was preached on the Sunday subsequent to the presentation of colours to a regiment in the garrison.
in the day of battle, the pledge and token of union and loyalty it is, we say, most fitting that the blessing of heaven should be invoked, and that a public and devout acknowledgment should be made where and on whom we rely for victory, honour, and prosperity. For is it on our own wisdom and riches, on our own strength and youth, that we rely, and rely fondly and solely? O how quickly may these fail! "Yea, even as a dream when one awaketh." And fearful and shameful may be our fall. And the triumph and the glory shall depart from us in the day when the Lord visits us for our forgetfulness and disrespect, visits us "for evil and not for good." "For them that honour me," said the Almighty by his prophet, “I will honour, and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed."9 Surely it is this sentiment which, as lovers of our ownselves, we should cherish : it is the sentiment or instruction conveyed in the
9 1 Sam. ii. 30.
words of our text, which, as lovers of our country, we should remember and observe. -"Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Sin is indeed a reproach to any people, and to any profession. And however an evil custom and the light speaking of an age may have introduced and given sanction to the notion that this or that vice is more venial, more excusable in one profession than another, yet in the word of God we shall find no such dangerous distinctions. "He that doeth wrong," saith an apostle, "shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Soldiers, then, professing the christian faith, are to be told that it is equally incumbent upon them as upon others to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world ;" and that rapine and cruelty, licentiousness and irreligion, are equally abominable in the sight of a pure, just, and holy God,
1 Col. iii. 25.
whether these crimes be committed by the labouring husbandman, or by the trained warrior; and that both will hereafter be held accountable for the things in which they have wilfully offended and disobeyed the known and positive commandments and precepts of the Lord their God.
And to revert for one moment to the recent occasion which has given rise to these observations: the soldiers to whom the colours now before us have been so recently entrusted, are to be reminded, that as they would maintain the honour, as they would extend the fame of these, the standards of their regiment, they must themselves be diligent and exemplary in observing and doing all the commandments of the Gospel; and that as they would have the name of their regiment, and the approach of their colours respected and hailed with joy by the inhabitants of any town, or country whither they may be sent in the course of service,
they must be not only as a regiment exemplary for courage and obedience, but exemplary also as individual men for those virtues, and for that right principle of moral conduct, the fear and the love of God, which at once mark and elevate the character of a Christian. In a word, the practice of righteousness is essential to the well-being of any society, be it small or great. It is essential to its good name.
The Lord, indeed, in his fearful justice, as a punishment or trial to others, may, and does oft-times, permit wicked and profligate men and nations to flourish, and to be a scourge, and to go on in apparent triumph for a time. But let not such therefore "boast that they can do mischief." The wicked have therefore no cause for joy, no ground for security. "The countenance of the Lord is, and ever shall be, against them that do evil." 2 Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."3
2 Psa. xxxiv. 16.
3 Rom. xii. 19.