Summary: A sermon based on a tract given to Confederate Soldiers preached for Veteran's Day (The full and unabridged edition of this tract is at: http://ia700400.us.archive.org/1/items/motherspartingwo00broc/motherspartingwo00broc.pdf)
As a group of soldiers stood in formation at an Army Base, the Drill Sergeant said, "All right! All you idiots fall out." As the rest of the squad wandered away, one soldier remained at attention. The Drill Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with him, and then raised a single eyebrow. The soldier smiled and said, "Sure was a lot of 'em, huh, sir?"
Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day. Veterans Day is an official US holiday which honors people who have served in armed service also known as veterans. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving.
In observance of Veteran’s Day I am going to be reciting portions of a tract that was given to Confederate Soldiers in the Civil War called “A Mother’s Parting Words to Her Soldier Boy.” Many chaplains of the Confederacy gave out these tracts to the soldiers with great spiritual success. I do not know who wrote this tract but it says a lot to all of us whether we served in the armed forces of our country or not. Now this tract has portions that promote the Southern cause for the Civil War so I am not including those. Also changed some words that have have different meanings today and omitted some other sentences for various reasons.
Thesis: A Mother’s Parting Words to Her Soldier Boy
At the time of our separation, my heart was too tenderly and deeply affected to permit me to give utterance to the words of affectionate counsel, which I longed to pour into your ear. My mingled emotions of love, grief, and anxiety could find vent only in tears. But I have concluded in this manner to trasmit to you the words of instruction, warning and encouragement which I should have preferred to speak to you with my lips, had not the feelings awakened by your departure for the army, overpowered my self control. You need not be told that I love you, that I cherish a deep solicitude for your welfare, and that my happiness is bound up with your prosperity. I have a claim to your attention which I am sure your parental affection will not allow you to disregard.
I write to you chiefly, my boy, to impress on your heart the importance of enlisting under the banner of the Cross. The searcher of hearts knows that my greatest desire is, that you should be a sincere and consistent Christian. I have feebly endeavored by my instructions, prayers and example, to win you to the service of Christ. You may have thought it strange that I have conversed directly with you so little concerning the state of your soul. I desire to confess to you, and with shame before God, my deficiency in this respect. I have ever found a difficulty in speaking to my children on the subject of salvation, arising from what I know not what else but timidity, that has caused me great sorrow, and especially since you have passed to the dangers of the tented field, and beyond the reach of my anxious, beseeching words. Forgive me this wrong, and accept this communication as the best atonement which under the circumstances, I can offer. I feel now, that if I could see you, I would, from the fulness of my fond and burdened heart entreat you in such words as follow:
The Body of the letter:
You did not cease to be a moral agent when you became a soldier. Assuming new responsibilities to your country, I pray you did not weaken your responsibilities to God. You should not only render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s but unto God the things that are God’s. Many good and intelligent men have maintained that a profession of arms is incompatible with a life of piety. It must be conceded that the genius and spirit of Christianity are utterly opposed to war. Christ is the Prince of Peace; at his birth the heavenly host sang “Peace on earth;” the Gospel is a message of peace, and its universal diffusion and influence will banish war from the earth. “He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.” Isaiah 2:4, NIV.
A careful examination of the Scriptures must convince us, that there is nothing in the demands of a just warfare at variance with the spirit and duties of Christianity. To say nothing of Moses, Joshua and David, who were renowned alike for their piety and their military achievements, we find that several Roman Centurions, in the beginning of the Christian age, were commended for their faith, devotion and good works. John the Baptist, the fearless harbinger of Christ, exhorted the Romans soldiers, not to abandon their standards, but to avoid the vices incident to their profession. “Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely--be content with your pay.”” Luke 3:14, NIV. I refer to these texts for the twofold purpose of confirming my views and leading you to consul the Scriptures, the only safe guide in faith and practice.