"Go, labour on: spend, and be spent,
thy joy to do the Father's will:
it is the way the Master went;
should not the servant tread it still."
Look at the following quote from O&R's for Field Officers (1908) on the subject of holidays (which were only really permitted where ill-health demanded it):
"The Army does not allow Officers to be absent from their duty merely for pleasure or recreation. The field Officer who could contemplate spending his time for personal pleasure would prove thereby that he had lost the spirit of the war – if he had ever possessed it!"
And again later in the same chapter:
"When on furlough the FO must not take part in such sight-seeing, pleasuring or amusement, or anything else as is unseemly for an Officer. Things may be lawful for others which are not so for him."
It is quite clear that such an attitude to rest was not only foolish but it was in direct conflict with the instruction of God (as set out in scripture) and against the example of Christ who knew the benefits of contemplative rest.
To resist the natural urge to rest is (according to God) as sinful as adultery, murder, lying or worshipping idols. When we break the command to rest we take ourselves outside the providential care of God (as we do every time we sin).
This disregard for rest among our forbears resulted in many of them (Booth and Railton included) being disabled for long periods (sometimes months at a time) as a consequence of complete physical and mental breakdown.
2008 has been a busy year – September to December has been particularly busy. I am on furlough until Monday January 5th (apart from Sundays of course) and I intend to rest, enjoy myself, play with my children, ride my bike, watch football on TV, walk and generally do nothing. On Monday 5th I will re-enter the fray, batteries recharged, armour polished and all guns blazing. As far as the Salvation War goes the next few days are the equivalent to a homeland pass. The war goes on but for me there is time for a short break.
Of course I will still pray and read my bible and by God's grace live a life of holiness - if the call comes I will be ready to return to the front (if and when my help is requested) but it is my intention (circumstances willing) to rest.
I need not feel guilty and the battle will not suffer by my absence – the command to retreat comes not from me but from my Commander-in Chief.
Grace and prayers, A.
P.S. The picture's not me!