“  might fly away and be at rest.” He learns to feel that the sweetest element of that “rest” which “remaineth for the people of God,” next to freedom from personal sin, is the being where “the wicked cease from troubling.” He realizes the necessity, for the happiness of the good, that “the wicked shall be driven away in his wickedness;” he feels that sin itself, in its last results, will itself be a hell. Do not think I exaggerate the sin of the army, or intimate that there are not many men there who are good, aye, better for being there. But in the army many wicked men are massed together, and many of the restraints to sin—such as the family, the society of children and females, the Sunday-school and Church— are largely removed, so that the sin which was in the heart before, which is in the hearts of those at home, is simply developed. If the world is the theatre where God is showing the universe what sin is, war is one of the scenes where the illustration is most perfect. It is frequently said that the war will end when the nation is better, as if the ungodly were at least to be partially purified and raised to a higher moral status. Is not this a false view? Do not the bad ever (i. e., while impenitent) “wax worse and worse?” Is there any way for any society to improve but for men to be converted and for Christians to “grow in grace? ” Outside of this, is not the morality of society getting worse? This war is like any affliction, in that it makes those who suffer from it better or worse. This is realized with reference to the soldier, but I fear not with reference to the loved ones at home, and by them. They are sufferers, too. Are they thinking more of the war's ending, or of being made better by it? God help the man or woman who comes out of it no better! God have mercy on him who turns God's very rod into a lever by which to improve his earthly condition and pamper his lusts. Ah! I have seen some hardened by this war, and I fear God will say of them: “I tried to make them better, and they transmuted my very discipline into a means of indulgence. They have their choice. I will ‘let them alone.’” O reader! is the war making you better?
The Confederate disasters of the early part of 1862 brought our people once more to their knees, and the active campaign which followed very decidedly improved the religious tone of the army. As men stood amid the leaden and iron hail of battle,