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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Miscellaneous Poems. III. The Christian Soldier (“Servant of God! well done”)

James Montgomery (1771–1854)

  • Occasioned by the sudden death of the REV. THOMAS TAYLOR; after having declared, in his last Sermon, on a preceding evening, that he hoped to die as an old soldier of Jesus Christ, with his sword in his hand.

  • “SERVANT of God! well done;

    Rest from thy loved employ;

    The battle fought, the victory won,

    Enter thy Master’s joy.”

    —The voice at midnight came:

    He started up to hear,

    A mortal arrow pierced his frame:

    He fell,—but felt no fear.

    Tranquil amidst alarms,

    It found him in the field,

    A veteran slumbering on his arms,

    Beneath his red-cross shield:

    His sword was in his hand,

    Still warm with recent fight;

    Ready that moment at command,

    Through rock and steel to smite.

    It was a two-edged blade,

    Of heavenly temper, keen;

    And double were the wounds it made,

    Where’er it glanced between:

    ’Twas death to sin;—’twas life

    To all who mourn’d for sin;

    It kindled and it silenced strife,

    Made war and peace within.

    Oft with its fiery force,

    His arm had quell’d the foe,

    And laid, resistless in his course,

    The alien armies low.

    Bent on such glorious toils,

    The world to him was loss;

    Yet all his trophies, all his spoils,

    He hung upon the Cross.

    At midnight came the cry,

    “To meet thy God prepare!”

    He woke,—and caught his Captain’s eye;

    Then, strong in faith and prayer,

    His spirit, with a bound,

    Burst its encumbering clay;

    His tent, at sun-rise, on the ground,

    A darken’d ruin lay.

    The pains of death are past,

    Labour and sorrow cease,

    And life’s long warfare closed at last,

    His soul is found in peace.

    Soldier of Christ! well done;

    Praise be thy new employ;

    And while eternal ages run,

    Rest in thy Saviour’s joy.