2 Timothy 2:3
Join me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
A Good SoldierMajor Smith.2 Timothy 2:3
A Good SoldierW. Landels, D. D.2 Timothy 2:3
A Good SoldierC. Garrett.2 Timothy 2:3
A Good Soldier of Jesus ChristG. Calthrop, M. A.2 Timothy 2:3
A Good Soldier of Jesus ChristC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 2:3
A Good Soldier of Jesus ChristS. Pearson, M. A.2 Timothy 2:3
A Recruiting Sergeant2 Timothy 2:3
A Sham BattleH. O. Mackey.2 Timothy 2:3
A Soldier AlwaysC. Garret.2 Timothy 2:3
A War for FiresideR. S. Barrett.2 Timothy 2:3
Aggressive GoodnessR. Glover.2 Timothy 2:3
Christ Provides for His SoldiersC. Garret.2 Timothy 2:3
Christian CourageC. Garrett.2 Timothy 2:3
Christianity and SoldiersCanon Liddon.2 Timothy 2:3
Culture of StrengthW.M. Statham 2 Timothy 2:3
Earnestness DemandedA. A. Harmer.2 Timothy 2:3
EnduranceAdam Scott.2 Timothy 2:3
Enduring Hardness2 Timothy 2:3
Enduring HardnessJ. B. Owen, M. A.2 Timothy 2:3
Enduring Hardness as a SoldierJ. N. Norton.2 Timothy 2:3
Enemies not to be Depised2 Timothy 2:3
Every Christian a SoldierT. R. Stevenson.2 Timothy 2:3
Every Convert a RecruitC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 2:3
Fellow SoldiersH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.2 Timothy 2:3
FortitudeE. Garbett, M. A.2 Timothy 2:3
In My Shirt SleevesC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 2:3
Luxury Unfits for SoldiershipC. H. Spurgeon.2 Timothy 2:3
Moral SoldiershipW. Harris.2 Timothy 2:3
No Feather-Bed Soldiers2 Timothy 2:3
Soldiers of ChristF. W. Farrar, D. D.2 Timothy 2:3
The Children's CrusadeH. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.2 Timothy 2:3
The Christian a SoldierW. H. Marriott.2 Timothy 2:3
The Christian Must be Prepared for Trial and ConflictC. Garrett.2 Timothy 2:3
The Christian SoldierA. Plummer, D. D.2 Timothy 2:3
The Good Soldier of Jesus ChristJ. Leifchild, D. D.2 Timothy 2:3
The Good Soldier of Jesus ChristChas. Kingsley.2 Timothy 2:3
The Good SoldiersRichard Newton, D. D.2 Timothy 2:3
The Inspiration of a True LeaderH. O. Mackey.2 Timothy 2:3
The Minister a Good SoldierJ. Leifchild, D. D.2 Timothy 2:3
Hardship in Connection with the Christian MinistryR. Finlayson 2 Timothy 2:1-13
The Apostle Bespeaks from Timothy a Copartnership in AfflictionT. Croskery 2 Timothy 2:3-7

I. THE DUTY OF SUFFERING HARDSHIP IN THE GOSPEL. "Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ."

1. The minister is a soldier of Christ, enrolled by him, trained by him, armed by him, supported by him, as the Captain of our salvation. The ministry is a warfare, involving, not only the "good fight of faith," but an increasing struggle against false teachers.

2. As a good soldier, he must be prepared to suffer hardships. Like the soldier, he must often leave home and friends, expose himself to cold and hunger and fatigue; he must fearlessly meet the enemies of his Lord, and die, if need be, in the arms of victory.

3. The apostle strengthens his admonition by an appeal to his own hardships and sufferings. Timothy took a sympathetic interest in the career of the greatest of the apostles. The tried veteran appeals to the young soldier.

II. ENCOURAGEMENTS TO BE DRAWN FROM THE DUTIES AND REWARDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. There are three pictures presented to our view - one military, another agonistical, and another agricultural.

1. The supreme unembarrassed devotion of the soldier to his commander. "No one that serveth as a soldier entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who enrolled him to be a soldier." The Roman soldier was isolated by express law from all trades and interests and agencies that would interfere with the discipline of his profession.

(1) The minister who is supremely concerned about the affairs of the next life must stand free from the entanglements of human occupation, so as to devote his whole energies without distraction or dispersion of thought to the business of his Master. The apostle had himself occasionally to resort to industry for his own support, under circumstances of a purely exceptional nature; but he demands an extrication of the ministry from all secular engagements in his elaborate plea to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9.).

(2) His sole motive is to please the Master who enrolled him in this service. It is not to please himself, or to please men by seeking ease, or emolument, or social position, but to please the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose book of life his name is written.

2. The severe training and lawful striving of the athlete in the games. "But if any one also strive in the games, he is not crowned unless he have striven lawfully." The figure was a familiar one to the people of that age who dwelt in cities.

(1) It is implied that ministers, in striving for the crown of life, must strip off all encumbrances" laying aside every weight" - that they may the more easily press to the mark, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

(2) It implies that they must undergo the discipline of severe training to fit themselves for the work of ministry, and carry on their service according to the high laws of the kingdom of Christ.

3. The reward of the labouring husbandman. "The labouring husbandman must needs first partake of the fruits of his labour."

(1) This does not mean that the husbandman would be the first to partake of the fruits, but that he must first labour before he obtained the reward. There is evidently an emphasis on the fact that a laborious husbandman was the most fully entitled to reward.

(2) The minister of Christ must plough and sow before he can reap; he must use all laborious diligence in his calling, not discouraged because he does not at once see the fruits of his labour, for the seed may not sprout up quickly, but ever looking upward for the dews of Heaven's grace to descend upon the wide field of his ministry.

III. THE DUTY OF GIVING CONSIDERATION TO ALL THESE FACTS. "Consider what I say, and the Lord will give thee understanding in all things."

1. It is the Lord only who can give us a true insight into both doctrine and duty.

2. Those who enjoy this Divine help are under the greatest obligation to use their understandings upon the highest of all themes. - T.C.

Endure hardness as a good soldier.
Every Christian, and especially every Christian minister, may be regarded as a soldier, as an athlete (ver. 5). as a husbandman (ver. 6); but of the three similitudes the one which fits him best is that of a soldier. Even if this were not so, St. Paul's fondness for the metaphor would be very intelligible.

1. Military service was very familiar to him, especially in his imprisonments. He must frequently have seen soldiers under drill, on parade, on gourd, on the march; most have watched them cleaning, mending, and sharpening their weapons; putting their armour on, putting it off. Often, during hours of enforced inactivity, he must have compared these details with the details of the Christian life, and noticed how admirably they corresponded with one another.

2. Military service was also quite sufficiently familiar to those whom he addressed. Roman troops were everywhere to be seen throughout the length and breadth of the empire, and nearly every member of society knew something of the kind of life which a soldier of the empire had to lead.

3. The Roman army was the one great organisation of which it was still possible, in that age of boundless social corruption, to think and speak with right-minded admiration and respect. No doubt it was often the instrument of wholesale cruelties as it pushed forward its conquests, or strengthened its hold, over resisting or rebelling nations. But it promoted discipline and esprit de corps. Even during active warfare it checked individual license, and when the conquest was over it was the representative and mainstay of order and justice against high-handed anarchy and wrong. Its officers several times appear in the narrative portions of the New Testament, and they make a favourable impression upon us. If they are fair specimens of the military men in the Roman Empire at that period, then the Roman army must have been indeed a fine service. But the reasons for the apostle's preference for this similitude go deeper than all this.

4. Military service involves self-sacrifice, endurance, discipline, vigilance, obedience, ready cooperation with others, sympathy, enthusiasm, loyalty.

5. Military service implies vigilant, unwearying and organised opposition to a vigilant, unwearying, and organised foe. It is either perpetual warfare or perpetual preparation for it. And just such is the Christian life; it is either a conflict or s preparation for one.

(A. Plummer, D. D.)

Ministers above all should be leaders and exemplars in this contest. For the apostle's fear of disapproval at last relates to him as a herald or preacher to others, calling them to the spiritual warfare. They should be like the statues of ancient heroes in the Palcestra, which the Roman youth were sent to admire and emulate, while they recounted the history of their achievements.

(J. Leifchild, D. D.)

Fight, not as Joash, who smote the ground with the arrows thrice and stayed before he was bidden, for which he was denied a full victory. Fight, not as Israel in Canaan, who, instead of seeking the decreed extermination of all the ancient inhabitants, suspended their conquests, and allowed many of them to remain in their immediate neighbourhood and intercourse; for which they received not the promise of full rest and enjoyment. But fight as Joseph, who said, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God!" Fight as Paul did, when he laboured to bring under his body and keep it in subjection. Fight as Christ told His disciples to fight, by cutting off the right hand and plucking out the right eye that causes them to offend. Fight as did your great Lord and Master Himself with the arch-traitor, when he sought to inject into His mind thoughts of discontent, of ambition, and of a debasing servility of soul: repelling him with a holy indignation, and saying, "Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."

(J. Leifchild, D. D.)

The Saviour expects true saintliness will always be an aggressive thing. Where it is such, its activities rouse enmity. We have different views from the Saviour on this subject of aggressive goodness. We think saintliness is at liberty to be an unobtrusive, self-saving thing: carefully restricting its service to the quiet influence of its example, content to develop its own life sweetly. But the Saviour calls for something more vigorous than passive piety. Prince of Peace as He was, He proclaims: "I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword" — to set a man at variance with those around him. He defines His object to be to "send fire on the earth," and tarries only until it is kindled. He assumes that evil must be assailed, that falsehood will be contradicted, and sin denounced. He intends a true peace to be reached by the disturbance of the false. He expects sanctity ever to have something of the soldierly quality, and that the life will be a fight of faith. He did not contemplate sanctity adopting a live-and-let-live policy in the presence of falsehood and evil Silence is the earth in which the talent of truth is buried. He expects us to be His witnesses; bids us say, "Repent!" not merely to men in general, but to sinners in particular; expects us to reprove all evil, as well as to point to Him who is the source and pattern of all good. Wherever love is thus aggressive, truth thus bold, mercy thus active — hatred of the intensest kind must rise. For who can bear to have his ways denounced as evil; his views as false; his destiny — perdition; his duty — repentance? Moreover, the Christian has to be the reformer in a world of vested interests. And there is no evil under heaven, from idolatry to drunkenness, from gambling to gaiety, from heresy to vice, but some have an interest in maintaining it. You will not achieve any usefulness of any sort without the cry, "This our craft is in danger!" rising to the lips of those profiting by others ignorance, or servitude, or evil. In these circumstances, however meek and peace-making the saint of God may be, if he is faithful to his Saviour, and to the interests of men, he will suffer from the bitter speech or the deed of hatred of those who resent his whole spirit and activity.

(R. Glover.)

During the Crimean War a young chaplain, newly arrived in camp, inquired of a Christian sergeant the best method for carrying on his work, among the men. The sergeant led him to the top of a hill and pointed out the field of action. "Now, sir," said he, "look around you. See those batteries on the right, and the men at their guns. Hear the roar of the cannon. Look where you will, all are in earnest here. Every man feels that this is a life and death struggle. If we do not conquer the Russians the Russians will conquer us. We are all in earnest here, sir; we are not playing at soldiers. If you would do good, you must be in earnest; an earnest man always wins his way." Such was the advice of Queen Victoria's servant to the servant of King Jesus.

(A. A. Harmer.)

In writing the life of Uncle John Vassar, Dr. Gordon has so dealt with the materials at command that the successive chapters are made to pourtray the "good soldier of Jesus Christ," and to enforce the injunction — "Fight the good fight of faith." Uncle John not only deserves to be called a "good soldier." He was something more, for, while lighting the Lord's battles himself, he was an active recruiting sergeant, and never seems to have missed a chance of pressing home the question, "Who is on the Lord's side?" Accosting a gentleman on one occasion with the familiar question, "My dear friend, do you love Jesus?" he was met with the rejoinder, "I do not know that that concerns you, sir." Uncle John was too shrewd a tactician to be disconcerted, and at once followed up the assault with the remark, "Oh, yes it does. In these days of rebellion does it not concern every citizen as to which side every other citizen may take? How much more when a world is in rebellion against God, should we be concerned to know who is on the Lord's side!" In this way he fenced the resentment which the obtrusion seemed likely to provoke, and justified his advance as the anxious inquiry of an interested friend. Resisted or repulsed in his spiritual warfare, Uncle John never appears to have been vanquished. The word defeat was not found in his vocabulary.

Not only ministers, but laymen, should be Christ's ambassadors. Must a soldier be an officer in order to fight well? By no means. Minus gold lace and cocked hat, he may do good service. Hard blows may be given, or a sure aim may be taken, by him who is quite destitute of ribbon and medal. Thus is it spiritually. Eminent talent and honourable position are non-essentials in benevolent effort. The humblest warrior in the Saviour's army can be valiant and victorious. And he ought to be. Excuse here is quite vain. None that are saved have a right to be idle; all are to evangelise. The work is not to be delegated to one order or class. Each is expected to take his share. What should we think of him who refused to rescue a drowning man because he was not connected with the Royal Humane Society? "Let him that heareth," as well as him that preacheth, "say Come."

(T. R. Stevenson.)

It is said that the Duke of Wellington on one occasion, when asked why it was that he was so generally on the side of victory, replied that he never despised an enemy.

As the young Hannibal was brought by his father to the altar of his country, and there sworn to life-long hatred of Rome, so should we be, from the hour of our spiritual birth, the sworn enemies of sin, the enlisted warriors of the Cross; to fight on for Jesus till life's latest hour, when all shall be "more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us." The Spartan mother, as soon as her child was born, looked upon the babe as having in it the possibilities of share; and the whole training of the Lacedemonians aimed solely at producing good soldiers, who would honour the race from which they sprung. So should we look upon every young convert as a recruit; not merely as one who has been himself saved, but as having within his new-born mature the possibilities of a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I am much of the opinion of the soldier who, being brought before the Duke of Wellington and a committee of the House of Lords, on being asked if he had to fight the battle of Waterloo over again how he would like to be dressed, said, "Please, your Lordship, I should like to be in my shirt sleeves." And, depend upon it, the freest dress is the right costume of war. There is nothing like the shirt sleeves for hard gospel work. Away with that high stock and the stiff coat, in which you find it difficult to fight when you come to close contact with the enemy. You must dispense with pipeclay and bright buttons when it comes to blood, fire, and vapour of smoke.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Our filthy garments are to be taken off; we are to go to the Royal Fountain and wash; we are to go to the Royal Wardrobe to be clothed; we are to go to the Royal Armoury for our equipment; we are to go to the Royal Banqueting House to be fed; we are to go to the Royal Treasury to be paid. Christ's soldiers have no reason to care about the future.

(C. Garret.)

You cannot be a saint on Sundays and a sinner in the week; you cannot be a saint at church and a sinner in the shop; you can not be a saint in Liverpool and a sinner in London. You cannot serve God and Mammon. You are a soldier everywhere or nowhere, anti woe to you if you dishonour your King.

(C. Garret.)

The personal magnetism of General McLellan over his soldiers in the Civil War was a constant experience. Once when the tide of success seemed to go against the Union forces, and dismay was gradually deepening into despair, his arrival in the camp at night worked a revolution among the troops. The news "General McLellan is here" was caught up and echoed from man to man. Whoever was awake roused his neighbour, eyes were rubbed, and the poor tired fellows sent up such a hurrah as the army of the Potomac never heard before. Shout upon shout went out into the stillness of the night, was taken up along the road, repeated by regiment, brigade, division, and corps, until the roar died in the distance. The effect of this man's coming upon the army — in sunshine or in rain, darkness or day, victory or defeat — was ever electrical, defying all attempts to account for it.

(H. O. Mackey.)

It behoves thee not to complain if thou endure hardness; but to complain if thou dost not endure hardness.

( Chrysostom.)

Some of God's people seem to forget this. They think they are soldiers on pay days and at reviews: but as soon as the fiery darts begin to fall around them, and the road gets rough and rugged, they fancy they are deserters. A strange mistake this. You are never so much a soldier as when you are marching or fighting. I fear the fault of this mistake lies very much with some of us who may be called recruiting sergeants. In persuading men to enlist we speak much more of the ribbons, the bounty money, and the rewards, than we do of the battle-field and the march. Hence, perhaps, the error. But if we are to blame in this respect our great King is not. The whole of His teaching is in the other direction. He puts all the difficulties fairly before us, and we are exhorted to count the cost, so that we may not be covered with shame at last.

(C. Garrett.)

Thomas Garrett, of America, when he was tried and heavily fined for concealing fugitive slaves, and his judge said he hoped it would be a warning to him to have nothing to do with runaway slaves for the future, replied: "Friend, if thou knowest of any poor slave who is coming this way, and needs a friend, thou canst tell him I shall be ready to help him."

(C. Garrett.)

The old wrestlers did not decline ten months of laborious and abstemious training to make their bodies supple and their will indomitable; so much so, that "a wrestler's health" became a proverb. If Plato challenged his disciples — "Shall our children not have energy enough to deny themselves for a much more glorious victory?" ("De Leg.," 7:340), a greater man than Plato urged, "Now they do it for a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible"; and our ardour, self-denial, and moral training, or, as St. Paul calls it, our spiritual gymnastics, should exceed theirs, in some such ratio as our prize exceeds theirs; and thus, "if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

(J. B. Owen, M. A.)

A young Christian officer said, "Our heavenly Captain wants no feather-bed soldiers. He wants those who are not afraid of camp bed and marching orders, who don't mind "roughing it a little by the way, because they know that perfect rest awaits them when their home-call sounds, and their race here is ended."

At the festival of Treviso, to which the neighbouring towns were invited, the chief feature was the storming of a fortress, defended by the most beautiful ladies and their servants, by noblemen who made war with fruits, flowers, sweetmeats, and perfumes.

(H. O. Mackey.)

I remember a story of a French grenadier, who, in a war with the Austrians, was in charge of a small fort commanding a narrow gorge, up which only two of the enemy could climb at a time. When the defenders of the fort heard that the enemy were near, being few in number, they deserted, and left the brave grenadier alone. But he felt he could not give up the place without a struggle, so he barred the doors, raised the drawbridge, and loaded all the muskets left behind by his comrades. Early in the morning, with great labour, the enemy brought up a gun from the valley, and laid it on the fort. But the grenadier made such good use of his loaded muskets that the men in charge of the gun could not hold their position, and were compelled to retire; and he kept them thus at bay all day long. At evening the herald came again to demand the surrender of the fort, or the garrison should be starved out. The grenadier asked for a night for consideration, and in the morning expressed the willingness of the garrison to surrender if they might "go out with all the honours of war." This, after some demur, was agreed to, and presently the Austrian army below saw a single soldier descending the height with a whole sheaf of muskets on his shoulder, with which he marched through their lines and then threw them down. "Where is the garrison?" asked the Austrian commander, astonished. "I am the garrison," replied the brave man, and they were so delighted with his plucky resistance that the whole army saluted him, and he was afterwards entitled the "First Grenadier of France."

(Major Smith.)

The Commons of England being very importunate with Edward

IV. to make war with France, he consented to satisfy their importunity, though willing rather to enjoy the fruits of his wars and toils, and spend the rest of his days in peace. When he took the field he ordered to accompany him a dozen of fat, capon-eating burgesses, who had been most zealous for that expedition. These he employed in all military services, to lie in the open fields, stand whole nights upon the guard, and caused their quarters to be beaten up with frequent alarms, which was so intolerable to those fat gentry accustomed to lie on soft down, and that could hardly sit on a session's bench without nodding, that a treaty being desired by King Louis, none were so forward to press the acceptance of his offers, or to excuse so little done by the king with so great preparations.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"Home guards to the front!" was the cry of '65. Look at them, slight lads stooping under their heavy muskets, decrepit men tottering on with cane in one hand and gun in the other; convalescent, furloughed soldiers rising like a wounded war-horse. And has war come to this? Yes, and worse. It has seen the nursing mother, and feeble, aged women, and delicate girls, defending the parapet. The hearth must be protected, and the husband, the little lad, and the white-haired father are gone, dead, dead in their blood! Women are to the front only because there are no men, none at all. But wait; there is a war for home and fireside, a war for rights more dear, and from foes more cruel, in which women face its fury, not because the men have fallen first, but because men shirk. Yes, men shirk the discipline, the hardships, the responsibility of this war. Not all men, thank God! yet many do. Happy in their homes, receiving the blessings of Christianity, they are willing to see the wives and mothers fight the battle. The hosts of hell, with black flag unfurled, surround us, menacing the peace of home, threatening slavery and death. With dreadful malice and cruelty they contend for every inch of ground. It is a battle remorseless, ceaseless, momentous. It appeals to all that is manly in men to take their places in it, to submit to its discipline, to endure its hardships, to shoulder its responsibility.

(R. S. Barrett.)


II. THE SOLDIER AFTER HAVING BEEN ENLISTED HAS TO BE DRILLED — that is to say, he has to learn his business. A good soldier is not to be made in a day; there must be time and pains spent upon him; he must be trained and taught, and that very carefully, before he is fit to fight against the enemies of his country. And it is just the same with Christian soldiers. They have to learn to act together, so as to support and help one another in the conflict with evil. And then they have to learn the use of their weapons — of one more especially, which is called the "sword of the Spirit."

III. WE HAVE ENEMIES TO FIGHT WITH — real enemies, not imaginary ones: "the world, the flesh, and the devil." In order to enable you to understand what is meant by fighting against the "flesh" and "the devil," I will tell you a story, or rather, two stories, both of them true. Some years ago there lived a good and holy man, who was a most useful minister of the gospel. This good man's Christian name was William. Now when he was a little boy, about four or five years old, he one day was left in the dining-room alone, and on the table was a plate of sweet cakes, of which he was particularly fond, but which he had been forbidden to touch. Somebody coming quietly into the room found the boy looking at the cakes, his little hands tightly clasped together behind his back, and saying to himself over and over again, as if he were saying a lesson, "Willie mustn't take them, 'cause they are not Willie's own." Now this was a victory over the "flesh." The flesh said, "These cakes are very nice, Willie; just smell them. No one will see you, Willie, if you do take one. Mamma will not miss the cakes, Willie, there are so many of them." But little Willie would not do wrong, although he was sorely tempted to it. He fought with the "flesh," and came off conqueror. But there was one sad occasion on which Willie, now grown up to be a tall, handsome lad of seventeen, was beaten by the enemy. There was a servant in the family who was a wicked man; and wicked men, whether they know it or not, are agents for the devil, and do his work. This servant, annoyed at his young master's goodness, said once, in a sneering sort of way, and in William's hearing, "Oh! as for Master William, he's not man enough to swear." The taunt — it was just like a fiery arrow shot from Satan's bow — stung the young lad beyond endurance; and for the only time in his life, I believe, he took God's holy name in vain, and swore a terrible oath. Whenever William spoke of the matter — years, long years, after — it was with expressions of the bitterest regret, though he felt in his heart that God had forgiven him. Well, that was a fight with the devil in which the devil was the victor. The Christian soldier was beaten, for the moment. Satan, through the mouth of one of his servants, triumphed over him.

IV. THE APOSTLE TELLS US THAT WE ARE TO BE GOOD SOLDIERS OF JESUS CHRIST. A "good" soldier obeys orders strictly; does not get tired of his duty, but sticks to it; and never dreams of turning his back and running away when the enemy is coming.

V. AND NOW LET ME TELL YOU BY WHAT MEANS WE ARE TO BECOME GOOD SOLDIERS. A good general makes good soldiers. He infuses his own spirit into them, and leads them to victory. And we have a good general, the Lord Jesus Christ. Put yourselves, then, into His hands, and He will make you what you ought to be. I wish you especially to notice that you cannot be a true Christian warrior without possessing that loyal devotion to Christ which springs from love.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.)

Much as war is at variance with the spirit of Christianity, there are few things to which the Scriptures more frequently allude when treating of the spiritual life. There is reason for this; for, notwithstanding all that is objectionable in the soldier's occupation, there are many things in the personal qualities of the man which pertain to the very noblest type of character. That which makes him a good soldier would also, if combined with other elements, make him a higher style of man.

I. THE FIRST THING REQUIRED OF A GOOD SOLDIER IS HEARTY SERVICE. "One volunteer is worth many pressed men." The adage was singularly verified during the war between Austria and Prussia. The Austrian soldiers fought well, but not with the enthusiasm of men who cordially approve of the object for which they fight. Drawn from various nationalities — believing, some of them, that the war was hostile to the dearest interests of their country — they were not so much free agents as machines forced into the strife; and this fact, perhaps, more than bad generalship or insufficient equipment, accounted for their signal defeat. Whereas the Prussians, although not enlisted voluntarily in the first instance, nevertheless entered voluntarily into the conflict. With an appreciation of the purposes of the war which few gave them credit, believing that it was to promote the much-coveted unity of the Fatherland, they fought with an enthusiasm which is the surest pledge of victory; and to this, quite as much as to the superiority of their arms and their leaders, did they owe their splendid triumphs. And so to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must freely and enthusiastically engage in His service.

II. The second thing required of a good soldier is IMPLICIT OBEDIENCE TO HIS COMMANDER'S ORDERS. Much has been said of the drill and discipline of the Prussian soldiers as accounting for that marvellous succession of victories which, culminating in Sadowa, changed the map of Europe. The far-seeing men who contemplated and conducted the war, with a keen appreciation of the means by which their end was to be gained, had been drilling most severely for years, until the soldier had become a kind of living machine. And that is really what is required in order to good soldiership.

III. A third quality essential to the good soldier is FAITH IN HIS LEADER. In the war to which we have referred, the Austrian soldiers, after two or three defeats attributable to mismanagement, lost all faith in the capacity of their general, and not only ceased to fight with spirit, but were forthwith changed into a panic-stricken rabble. Even the brave Italians, with all their enthusiasm, recovered slowly from their defeat at Custozza, because of the manifest bungling which brought about the disaster. Whereas the Prussians, having in their leaders men whose clearness of vision and capacity for command were equal to their own fighting efficiency and power of endurance, do not seem ever to have faltered in their victorious career. Such confidence is manifestly indispensable. The private soldier knows little or nothing of the plan of the battle in which he is an actor, knows not why he is led into this position or that, or how he is to be led out of it, knows not why he is required to do this or that; but his general knows, and unless he has full confidence in the men who are directing the movements of the troops he will fight with very little courage, and prove himself but a poor soldier. And in our warfare we are equally required to have faith in our King.

IV. A fourth quality is CAREFUL TRAINING. In the war referred to, the best trained and most intelligent men proved the best fighters. Intelligence consists with, and is conducive to, the highest state of discipline; and of the human machine, which the soldier must needs become, the thinking is by far the most efficient specimen. So in our warfare the best soldier, other things being equal, is the man whose mind is most thoroughly trained. The servants of Christ should seek to understand the requirements of their time, and prepare to meet them. The conditions of warfare and the works required of the Christian soldier now are not what they were once; and unless men have understanding of the times, they may, though with the best intentions, render very bungling service. The worthier the master, the more efficient should his servants be.

V. HEROIC EFFORT AND PATIENT ENDURANCE ARE NECESSARY. We cannot understand in what sense they are soldiers of Christ who enter His service simply with a view to their own comfort. Their notion is that they are to have a nice pleasant time, plenty of sweet experiences, and no trials, with temporal comforts to match the unruffled smoothness of their spiritual course. So much has been said of making the best of both worlds, that the highest con ception which many form of Christianity is that it is a system which rewards men in the next world for seeking to be comfortable in this. Young men should under stand that a soldier's life is one of warfare and endurance. In order to your being good soldiers of Jesus Christ, there must be —

VI. CONCERTED ACTION. Union is strength, insomuch that one small band of men, acting together for one purpose and under one head, will scatter thousands who have neither leader nor organisation.

(W. Landels, D. D.)

Many men, many minds. In reference to what a Christian is there have been very many and diverse opinions. Paul's description of a Christian in the text is that of a soldier, and that means something very far different either from a religious fop, whose best delight is music and millinery, or a theological critic who makes a man an offender for a word, or a spiritual glutton who cares for nothing but a lifelong enjoyment of the fat things full of marrow, or an ecclesiastical slumberer who longs only for peace for himself. The Christian is a self-sacrificing man as the soldier must be. A soldier is a serving man. A soldier is full often a suffering man. Once again, the true soldier is an ambitious being. Paul does not exhort Timothy to be a common, or ordinary soldier, but to be a "good soldier of Jesus Christ"; for all soldiers, and all true soldiers, may not be good soldiers. David had many soldiers, and good soldiers too, but you remember it was said of many, "These attained not unto the first three." Now Paul, if I read him rightly, would have Timothy try to be of the first three, to be a good soldier.


1. We must begin with this fundamental — he must be loyal to his King.

2. He is obedient to his Captain's commands.

3. To conquer wilt be his ruling passion.Wellington sent word to his troops one night, "Ciudad Rodrigo must be taken to-night." And what do you think was the commentary of the British soldiers appointed for the attack? "Then," said they all, "we will do it." So when our great Captain sends round, as he doth to us, the word of command, "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," if we were all good soldiers of the cross, we should say at once, "We will do it." The passion for victory with the soldier often makes him forget everything else. Before the battle of Waterloo, Picton had had two of his ribs smashed in at Quatre Bras, but he concealed this serious injury, and, though suffering intensest agony, he rode at the head of his troop, and led one of the greatest charges which decided the fortunes of the day. He never left his post, but rode on till a ball crushed in his skull and penetrated to the brains. Then in the hot fight the hero fell. In that same battle one of our lieutenants, in the early part of the day, had his left fore-arm broken by a shot; he could not, therefore, hold the reins in his hand, but he seized them with his mouth, and fought on till another shot broke the upper part of the arm to splinters, and it had to be amputated; but within two days there he was, with his arm still bleeding, and the wound all raw, riding at the head of his division. Brave things have been done amongst the soldiers of our country — Oh, that such brave things were common among the armed men of the Church militant!

4. A good soldier is very brave at a charge.

5. A good soldier is like a rock under attack.

6. He derives his strength from on high.This has been true even of some common soldiers, for religious men when they have sought strength from God have been all the braver in the day of conflict. I like the story of Frederick the Great; when he overheard his favourite general engaged in prayer, and was about to utter a sneering remark, the fine old man, who never feared a foe, and did not even fear his majesty's jest, said, "Your Majesty, I have just been asking aid from your Majesty's great ally." He had been waiting upon God. In the battle of Salamanca, when Wellington bade one of his officers advance with his troops, and occupy a gap, which the Duke perceived in the lines of the French, the general rode up to him, and said, "My lord, I will do the work, but first give me a grasp of that conquering right hand of yours." He received a hearty grip, and away he rode to the deadly encounter. Often has my soul said to her Captain, "My Lord, I will do that work if Thou wilt give me a grip of Thy conquering right hand." Oh, what power it puts into a man when he gets a grip of Christ, and Christ gets a grip of him!

II. Thus I have described a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Give me a few minutes while I EXHORT YOU TO BE SUCH.

1. I exhort you who are soldiers of Christ to be good soldiers, because many of you have been so. Dishonour not your past, fall not from your high standing. "Forward" be your motto.

2. Be good soldiers, for much depends upon it.

3. Good soldiers we ought to be, for it is a grand old cause that is at stake.

4. I implore you to be good soldiers of Jesus, when you consider the fame that has preceded you. A soldier when he receives his colours finds certain words embroidered on them, to remind him of the former victories of the regiment in which he serves. Look at the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, and see the long list of the triumphs of the faithful. Remember how prophets and apostles served God; recollect how martyrs joyfully laid down their lives; look at the long line of the reformers and the confessors; remember your martyred sires and covenanting fathers, and by the grace of God I beseech you walk not unworthy of your noble lineage.

5. Be good soldiers because of the victory which awaits you.

6. Besides, and lastly, if I want another argument to make you good soldiers, remember your Captain, the Captain whose wounded hands and pierced feet are tokens of his love to you. Redeemed from going down to the pit, what can you do sufficiently to show your gratitude? Assured of eternal glory by-and-by, how can you sufficiently prove that you feel your indebtedness.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Let no one say that he has no taste for warfare. Each one of us is pledged to fight. Each one of us bears the sign of the Cross, which binds him to be Christ's soldier till his life's end. Once, in the old wars, an English drummer-boy was taken prisoner by the French. They amused themselves by making the lad play on his instrument, and presently one asked him to sound the retreat. The drummer answered proudly that he had never learnt how to do that! So in our warfare there is no retreating. It was the boast of Napoleon's soldiers — the guard dies, but never yields! We Christians are bidden to be faithful unto death, and Jesus promises us a crown of life. When Maximian became Emperor of the West he did his utmost to destroy Christianity. There was in the Roman army a famous legion of ten thousand men, called the Thebian Legion. It was formed entirely of Christians. Once, just before going into battle with the enemy, the Emperor commanded the Thebian Legion to sacrifice to idols. Their leader, in the name of his ten thousand soldiers, refused. The Emperor then ordered them to be decimated — that is, every tenth man to be killed. Still they were firm, and again, the second time, the cruel order was given for every tenth man to be slain. Fully armed, with their glittering eagles flashing on their helmets, the Christian soldiers stood in the perfect discipline of Rome, ready to die, but not to yield. Again they were ordered to sacrifice, and the brave answer was returned, "No; we were Christ's soldiers before we were Maximian's." Then the furious Emperor gave the order to kill them all! Calmly the remaining soldiers laid down their arms, and knelt whilst the other troops put them to the sword. So died the Thcbian Legion, faithful unto death! Each one of us is in one sense a martyr, a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Those of us who bear hard words, and cruel judgments, and harsh treatment, patiently, rendering not evil for evil, are martyrs for Jesus. Again, as fellow soldiers, let us remember the NAME under which we serve. To a Roman soldier of old the name of Caesar was a watchword, which made him ready to do or die. In the wars of the middle ages, when our countrymen went into battle the cry was, "St. George for Merry England," and every soldier was ready to answer with his sword. They tell us that the name of the great Duke of Wellington was alone enough to restore courage and spirit to the flagging troops. Once when a regiment was wavering in the fight, the message was passed along the ranks, "The Duke is coming," and in an instant the men stood firm, whilst one old soldier exclaimed, "The Duke — God bless him! I had rather see him than a whole battalion." The name of our Leader is one indeed to inspire perfect faith, courage, and hope. In all ages certain regiments have had their distinguishing names. Among the Romans of old time there was one famous band of warriors known as the Thundering Legion. In later times there have been regiments known as the "Invincibles," the "Die-hards." One famous corps has for its motto a Latin sentence meaning "By Land and Sea," and another has one word for its badge, meaning "Everywhere." These mottoes remind the soldier that the regiment to which he belongs has fought and conquered, served and suffered, all over the world. The proud badge of the county of Kent is "Invicta— unconquered; that of Exeter is The Ever-faithful City. All these titles belong of right to our army, the Church of Jesus Christ. It is said that in New Zealand, some years ago, many of our troops were mortally wounded by concealed natives, who hid them selves in holes in the earth, and thence darted their deadly spears upward against the unsuspecting soldier. So our spiritual enemy, Satan, hides himself in a thousand different places, and wounds us with some sudden temptation when we are least aware.

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

I suppose many of you have read of those strange wars called the Crusades? They were undertaken to deliver the Holy Sepulchre of Jesus at Jerusalem out of the hands of the heathen. Thousands of brave men, besides their friends and followers, went to the Holy Land, at different times, to fight in the Crusades. The warriors wore a blood red cross on their clothing, from which they got their name of Crusaders, and their motto was, "The Will of God. It was a very good motto, but not a very true one for them, for I am afraid they did many cruel and wicked things which certainly were not the will of God; and thousands of people perished miserably abroad, who might have been doing useful work at home. Well, amongst these Crusades there was one called the Children's Crusade. A boy in France went about singing in his own language —

Jesus, Lord, repair our loss,

Restore to us Thy Holy Cross."Crowds of children followed him, singing the same words. No bolts, no bars, no fear of fathers, or love of mothers, could held them back, they determined to go to the Holy Land, to work wonders there! This mad crusade had a very sad ending; of course young children could do nothing, being without leaders, or experience, or discipline, and they all perished miserably either by land or sea. Now I want you to think about another Children's Crusade, in which you are all engaged. What do you think is required of a good soldier?

I. First of all he must be BRAVE. We all like to hear about acts of bravery, like that of the little midshipman who spiked the Russian guns in the Crimean war; or of the boy Ensign, Anstruther, who at the battle of the Alma planted the colors of the 23rd Regiment on the wall of the great Redoubt, and then fell, shot dead, with the colours drooping over him like a pall. But the courage which is thought most of in heaven is the courage to do right. I have read a story of a wounded soldier lying on a battlefield, whose mouth had been struck by a shot. When the doctor placed a cup of water to his mouth, the man was eagerly going to drink, when he stopped and said, "My mouth is all bloody, it will make the cup bad for the others." That soldier, in giving up self for the sake of others, was more of a hero then than when charging against the foe. Try to remember that story, children, and if you are tempted to do anything selfish or wrong, stop and think, "It will make it bad for the others."

II. YOU MUST EXPECT TO FIND ENEMIES AND DIFFICULTIES IF YOU DO WHAT IS RIGHT. Every one was against Daniel because he prayed to God. Every one was against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, because they would not bow down to an idol. But God was on their side. There was once a famous man of God named . He was bold enough to maintain the true faith of Christ against Emperors, and Bishops, and he was driven into banishment over and over again. Some of his friends advised him to give in, for, said they, the world is against you; "Then," answered Athanasius, "I am against the world." Now you must, as Christ's soldiers, "learn to suffer and be strong." To win a victory we must fight, to get to the end of a journey we must bear fatigue. Let me tell you a fable about that. Three animals, an ermine, a beaver, and a wild boar, made up their minds to seek a better country, and a new home. After a long and weary journey, they came in sight of a beautiful land of trees and gardens, and rivers of water. The travellers were delighted at the sight, but they noticed that before they could enter this beautiful land, they must pass through a great mass of water, filled with mud and slime, and all kinds of snakes and other reptiles. The ermine was the first to try the passage. Now the ermine has a very delicate fur coat, and when he found how foul and muddy the water was, he drew back, and said, that the country was very beautiful, but that he would rather lose it than soil his beautiful coat. Then the beaver proposed that as he was a good architect, as you know beavers are, he should build a bridge across the lake, and so in about two months they might get across safely. But the wild boar looked scornfully at his companions, and plunging into the water, he made his way, in spite of mud and snakes, to the other side, saying to his fellow-travellers, "Paradise is not for cowards, but for the brave." Dear children, between you and the Paradise of God there lies a long journey, the enemy's country, where the devil and his angels will fight against you, where there are deep pools of trouble to be gone through, rough, stony roads of temptation to be traversed, high rocks of difficulty to be climbed: but don't be afraid, only be brave, and go forward, and follow Jesus year leader, and you will be able to say, as St. Paul said, "Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ."

III. Well, we have seen that soldiers must be brave, what else must they be? OBEDIENT. God told Saul to do a certain thing, and he did not, and God would no longer have him as a soldier. Do you remember what was said to him? "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice."

(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)

The question before us is, — How may we become good soldiers of Jesus Christ?

I. WE MUST WEAR THE UNIFORM OF CHRIST. This uniform is not made up of different-coloured cloth, such as we see other soldiers wear. No; but it is made up of the tempers, or dispositions, which form their character. To wear the uniform of Jesus, then, is to have the same mind, or spirit, or temper that He had.

II. The second thing for us to do, if we would be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, is to — OBEY THE ORDERS OF JESUS. Some time ago, a largo ship was going from England to the East Indies. She was carrying a regiment of soldiers. When they were about half-way through their voyage, the vessel sprang a leak, and began to fill with water. The lifeboats were launched and made ready, but there were not enough of them to save all on board the ship. Only the officers of the ship, the cabin passengers, and some of the crew, could be taken in the boats. The soldiers had to be left on board, to go down with the ship. The officers determined to die with their men. The colonel was afraid the men would get unruly if they had nothing to do. That he might prevent this he ordered them to prepare for parade. Soon they all appeared in full dress. He set the regimental band on the quarter-deck, with orders to keep on playing lively airs. Then he formed his men in close ranks on the deck. With his sword drawn in his hand, he took his place at their head. Every officer and man is at his post. The vessel is gradually sinking; but they stand steady at their post, each man keeping step. And then, just as the vessel is settling for its last plunge, and death is rushing in upon them, the colonel cries, — "Present arms!" and that whole regiment of brave men go down into their watery grave, presenting arms as death approached them. Those were good soldiers. They had learned to obey orders. But this is a hard lesson to learn. Several boys were playing marbles. In the midst of their sport it began to rain. One of the boys, named Freddie, stopped and said, "Boys, I must go home. Mother told me not to stay out in the rain." "Your mother — fudge!" said two or three of the boys. "The rain won't hurt you any more than it will us." Freddie turned on them with a look of pity, and yet with the courage of a hero, while he calmly said, "I'll not disobey my mother for any of you." That was the spirit of a good soldier. After a great battle once, the general was talking to his officers about the events of the day. He asked them who had done the best that day. Some spoke of one man who had fought very bravely, and some of another. "No," said the general, "you are all mistaken. The best man in the field to-day was a soldier who was just lifting up his arms to strike an enemy, but when he heard the trumpet sound a retreat, he checked himself, and dropped his arm without striking the blow. That perfect and ready obedience to the will of his general is the noblest thing that has been done to-day."

III. We must FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. When Alexander the Great was leading his army over some mountains once, they found their way all stopped up with ice and snow. His soldiers were tired out with hard marching, and so disheartened with the difficulties before them, that they halted. It seemed as if they would rather lie down and die than try to go on any farther. When Alexander saw this, he did not begin to scold the men, and storm at them. Instead of this, he got down from his horse, laid aside his cloak, took up a pickaxe, and, without saying a word to any one, went quietly to work, digging away at the ice. As soon as the officers saw this, they did the same. The men looked on in surprise for a few moments, and then, forgetting how tired they were, they went to work with a will, and pretty soon they got through all their difficulties. Those were good soldiers, because they followed the example of their leader.

(Richard Newton, D. D.)


1. A soldier is a person wire has enlisted in an army. Had looked at the reasons for and against entering the army, and at last he enlisted.

2. He is the property of the king. Gives up his free agency. Gives up his very name. Known and called by the number he bears.

3. He is provided for by the king. Must take off his own clothes, whether of best broadcloth or corduroy. Must be clothed, and fed, and armed by the king.

4. He must always wear his regimentals. A soldier can always be recognised as such.

5. He is prepared for trial and conflict. Soldiers are the result of war, and if there were no war, there would be no soldiers. He enlisted to fight. For this purpose he is armed, and trained, and drilled.

II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING A SOLDIER OF CHRIST? It is implied that Christ is a King, that He has enemies, that He has an army, and that the person spoken of belongs to this army. I have to glance at the ground we have already passed — You have enlisted, etc.

III. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN BEING A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST? There are soldiers and soldiers. There are some who are idle and dissipated: a disgrace to the profession to which they belong. Others only swell the numbers and fill up the ranks, they look very well at reviews, but don't count for much in the battle-field. Others are so true and faithful that they cover the army to which they belong with glory.

1. A good soldier is thoroughly loyal. Not a mercenary, fighting for pay. Proud of his uniform, his name, his king.

2. Patriotic. Loves his country. Every soldier is his comrade. The defeat of the army is his sorrow; its success his joy.

3. Obedient. He may be at home in the midst of his family — a telegram comes; by the next train he leaves to join the army, perhaps to cross the seas and perish in a distant land.

4. Earnest.

5. Brave.

6. Patient. Not enlisted for a day, but for life. Often put where there is nothing to excite or gratify ambition. There will be the long wearisome march, or the still more wearisome halt. While his comrades are assaulting cities and winning victories, he has to stand and watch, or lie and suffer.

7. Self-denying.

8. Modest. His motto, Deeds not words. It is said that the word "glory" is not found in the despatches of the Duke of Wellington. He merely states what the army had done. So with the Christian. What are you? A rebel? Your defeat is certain. A deserter? Return. A penitent, longing to be enlisted in Christ's army? Come. A soldier? Be "a good soldier."

(C. Garrett.)

The contrast between the saints of the Old Testament and of the New Testament is very great, especially in the relation which they bore to war. No great saint or apostle of the New Testament was a soldier. But in the Old Testament we read of the faith of Abraham, of the wisdom of Moses, of the courage of Joshua, of the nobility of David, of the piety of Josiah, of the zeal of Nehemiah; and all these had at some parts of their lives to go forth to the battle-field. But it was not so with Peter, James, John, Paul, and the rest of the early disciples. The distinction is to be accounted for partly by the circumstances in which they severally lived. In Old Testament and primitive times men had to obtain a footing for their very life, and to contend for national existence. But in the time of Christ the Roman Government secured the safety of person and property, and within certain limits left the Jew to indulge in his national customs. So, in the history of our own country, we see how greatly circumstances have changed. In the time of Queen Elizabeth Englishmen of every creed were compelled to have the soldierly spirit unless they wished to succumb to the Spaniard. And in the time of the Stuarts men were obliged to keep their armour bright unless they were prepared to put their liberties at the mercy of a tyrant. Thus we have in both periods of English history, and also during the struggles of Jewish history, saints who were also and literally soldiers. Bat there is a deeper reason for the change which has come about. And that reason is to be seen in the gentle and forgiving spirit which is inculcated by the Christian religion. The religion of Christ banishes war by taking away its occasions and its causes. It bids its adherents still enter on a battle. It utilises those pugnacious principles which exist in us all, by confronting us with the great moral struggle between good and evil, where every man must choose his side. There are certain plain and palpable qualifications of a good soldier of Christ which we will point out.





(S. Pearson, M. A.)

The metaphor which the apostle here chooses to describe the work of a primitive Christian bishop cannot bat strike us as remarkable. Himself a servant of the Prince of Peace, and writing to another servant of the Prince of Peace, he might, we may think, have gone somewhere else for his metaphor than to the profession of arms. How are we to explain the honour which the apostle puts upon the military profession when he points to a soldier as embodying, at any rate, some of the qualities which he desires to see in a ruler of the Church of God? We cannot say, by way of reply, that the metaphor is so accidental or so singular that stress ought not in fairness to be laid on it, for there is a great deal more religions language with a military colour or flavour about it, not merely in the Old Testament, but in the New. The relation between the military profession and religion thus traceable in Scripture reappears in the history of the Church. If, in her higher moments, the Church has done her best to check or condemn bloodshed, as when St. excommunicated the Roman Emperor , at the very height of his power, for the slaughter of Thessalonica, she has distinguished between the immediate instruments in such slaughter and the monarchs or the captains who were really responsible for it. If, in the first centuries of the faith, Christians were often unwilling to serve in the Roman ranks, and in some cases preferred martyrdom to doing so, the reason was that such service was then so closely bound up with pagan usages that to be an obedient soldier was to be a renegade from the Christian faith. When this difficulty no longer presented itself, Christians, like other citizens, were ready to wear weapons and to serve in the wars, and so long as warfare is defensive — devoted, not to the aggrandisement of empire, but to maintaining the peace and the police of the world — the Christian Church, while deploring its horrors, cannot but recognise in it at times a terrible necessity. When the great Bishop Leo of Rome or the great soldier Charles Martel set their faces against the destructive inroads of barbarism, they had behind them all that was best and purest in Christendom; and the rise of the military orders, the Knights of the Temple and the , marks a yet closer intimacy, the form of which was determined, no doubt, by the ideas of the twelfth century rather than of our own, between a soldier's career and the profession of religion. We cannot pass that noble home of the law, as it is now, the Temple, without remembering that it was once tenanted by an Order of soldiers, bound by religious obligations, devoted to the rescue and the care of those sacred spots which must always be dearest to the heart of Christendom. Here, then, let us ask ourselves the question, What are the qualities which are common to a good soldier and to a good Christian? The answer will explain and will justify the language of the apostle.

I. THE FIRST IS, THAT EACH, THE CHRISTIAN AND THE SOLDIER, DOES HIS WORK WELL IN THE EXACT DEGREE OF HIS DEVOTION TO HIS COMMANDER. The greatest generals have been distinguished by the power of inspiring an unbounded confidence in and attachment to their persons. This is true in different senses of Alexander, of Hannibal, of Caesar, of Napoleon. And what is the deepest secret of the Christian life if it be not an unbounded confidence in the Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ our Lord, devotion to His person, undoubting belief in His Word, readiness to do and to endure whatever He may order?

II. AND THE SECOND VIRTUE IN A SOLDIER IS COURAGE. In the conventional language of the world, a soldier is always gallant, just as a lawyer is learned, just as a clergyman is reverend. Whatever be a man's real character, the title belongs to him by right of his profession. There are virtues in which a soldier may be wanting without damage to his professional character, but courage is not one of these.

III. AND A THIRD EXCELLENCE IN A SOLDIER IS THE SENSE OF DISCIPLINE. Without discipline an army becomes an unmanageable horde, one part of which is as likely as not to turn its destructive energies against another, and nothing strikes the eye of a civilian as he watches a regiment making its way through one of our great thoroughfares in London more than the contrast which is presented by the unvarying, I had almost said the majestic, regularity of its onward movement and the bewildering varieties of pace, gesture, direction, costume of the motley crowd of curious civilians who flit spasmodically around it. Discipline in an army is not merely the perfection of form, it is an essential condition of power. Numbers and resources cannot atone for its absence, but it may easily with small resources make numbers and greater resources powerless.

IV. AND ONE MORE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE MILITARY SPIRIT IS A SENSE OF COMRADESHIP. All over the world a soldier recognises a brother in another soldier. Not only members of the same regiment, of the same corps, of the same army and country, but even combatants in opposing armies are conscious of a bond which unites them, in spite of their antagonism; and the officers and men of hostile armies have been known to engage in warm expressions of mutual fellowship as soon as they were free to do so by the proclamation of peace. This generous and chivalrous feeling which survives the clash of arms confers on a soldier's bearing an elevation which we cannot mistake. When, in the later years of his life, Marshal Soult, who had been in command in the Peninsula, visited this country, he came to St. Paul's Cathedral, and the monument which most interested him, and which then had been recently erected in the South Transept, was that of Sir John Moore, the hero of Corunna. "Soult," says one who witnessed it, "stood for some time before the monument; he could not speak; he could hardly control himself; he dissolved in a flood of tears." Certainly it was meant to be so m the Church. "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one towards another." But there is an important difference between the services. The one terminates, if not before, yet certainly and altogether at the moment of quitting this earthly scene. The last possible point of contact that even a Wellington can have with the profession of his choice is seen in the device on his coffin, in the epitaph on his grave. The other service — that of Jesus Christ — although under changed conditions lasts on into that world to which death is but an introduction, and which He, our Captain, has opened to us by His death on the cross, by His resurrection from the dead.

(Canon Liddon.)

Here the apostle is not thinking of the soldier on the field of battle engaged in conflict with the enemy. His exhortation to Timothy is not to fight well, but to endure, or, as the same word is rendered elsewhere (2 Timothy 1:8), to suffer affliction well. He thinks of the soldier being drilled and disciplined for the fight. As a prisoner at Rome he would be, very probably, a daily eye-witness of the severe training through which the emperor's troops had to pass. These were good soldiers of Caesar. They were true patriots, laying upon the altar of their country their very lives. Now Timothy was, like the apostle himself, a soldier; but the soldier of avery different King from Caesar, and had a very different warfare to wage than such wars as the Roman soldiery were so frequently engaged in. He was the soldier of Jesus Christ.

I. Let me remind you THAT THERE IS HARDNESS TO BE ENDURED BY ALL OF US. Christianity means to-day as it always did, continual cross-bearing. The word "duty" has still a rough edge. For example, here is a Christian merchant who has so many shares in a concern which he has for some time back had good reason for thinking is in a rather shaky condition, and an opportunity occurs for his selling out, and that at a good price. Just at present a few hundred pounds in hard cash would be of immense service to him in his business. But no, he won't sell. He means to be the true Christian gentleman, and he feels that that he cannot be and sell as good that what he has his doubts about. Yet it is hard, especially if one can see at his back a wife and so many daughters inclining rather to be extravagant, and who cannot appreciate "father's scruples." This is his cross, and as a good soldier of Jesus Christ he bears it. Come what may, he will be honest — will not finger a shilling that does not come to him lawfully. I think, then, that in the region of commercial morality those of us who belong thereto will find occasion for the exercise of the precept, "Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

II. Let me see if I can give the true word of direction; if I can at least indicate to you THE SPIRIT IN WHICH WE ARE TO ENDURE. I think Paul does this himself for us. We are to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. That is, we also, like Timothy — and like those good soldiers at Rome which Paul saw — are to take to our task kindly. We are not to despise the cross that is laid upon us. We are not to run out of the way of duty. We are not to rebel when our Master chastens.

III. Let me see if I can say anything THAT MAY HELP TO STIMULATE US TO DARE AND DO THE RIGHT, So that we may not repeat the mistakes of the past which have brought to us so much misery and unrest. Observe, then, what Paul says — "As a good soldier of Jesus Christ." That is, as a soldier under Jesus Christ. Think of that name — Jesus Christ. Can we for a moment suppose that He would give an unkind command or put upon us an unnecessary burden? Jesus! Why the name suggests all that is kindest, and noblest, and gentlest, and truest. But there is one other thought here I should like to take up and lay upon your hearts, "As a good soldier of Jesus Christ" — that is, of Jesus Christ as our Leader. He is not the Master to say "Go." His way is always to say "Come." The heaviest cross ever borne was that which He bore.

(Adam Scott.)

I. LET US UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THE INJUNCTION, "ENDURE HARDNESS." The reference is to the life of privation and suffering which a soldier, far more in those times than now, had to undergo, and which in all times he is expected to bear without murmuring, to endure willingly, as a part of that profession which he has voluntarily embraced. Endurance is not merely bearing suffering, but bearing it manfully. To bear hardship with the spirit of a hero is to "endure hardness as a good soldier." Samuel Rutherford, when in prison, used to date his letters from "Christ's Palace, Aberdeen," and when Madam Guyon was confined in the castle of Vincennes, she said, "It seems as if I were a little bird whom the Lord has placed in u cage, and that I have nothing now to do but sing." Paul, too, did not tell his son in the faith to do more than he had done himself.

II. The Christian's profession, as a soldier, IMPLIES A. VOLUNTARY CHANGE OF POSITION IN LIFE.

III. It is now nearly universally allowed that AN INTELLIGENT ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE PLANS OF THE GENERAL, AND WITH THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE BATTLE IS FOUGHT, OR THE CAMPAIGN UNDERTAKEN, BY BEGETTING CONFIDENCE IN HIS LEADER, ENABLES THE SOLDIER TO RENDER MORE EFFICIENT SERVICE. So in proportion as a Christian grows in the knowledge of God and of His plans for the redemption of our world as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, in that proportion he throws his whole soul into the fight. Four special conditions in which a soldier is called upon to "endure hardness."

1. In standing his ground. Wellington brought peace to Europe by his stand at Waterloo. To retire would have been disgrace, to advance would have been destruction. Holding his position brought victory. The battle of Inkermann was won by an eight hours' resistance of six thousand men to sixty thousand. So a Christian soldier often finds himself so hotly assaulted by the world, the flesh, and the devil, that he is unable to advance a foot. But a firm, resisting stand is conquest.

2. A soldier must endure hardness in marching. The chief care of one who has a long march before him is to be well shod. If this be not attended to, even things so insignificant as thorns and briars will occasion suffering, and may unfit the soldier for the fight. So the lesser vexations and petty cares and trials of patience in everyday life, if not guarded against, will weary and wound the "feet of the soul," as Bishop Home calls the affections, and, footsore and wearied, he will be ill-prepared for those special encounters with the enemy to which he is always liable.

3. The soldier must endure hardness in action.

4. Although many an earthly soldier endures who is never crowned, no soldier of Christ is overlooked in the day of victory. The only condition is endurance.

(W. Harris.)

It sometimes happens that a verse in our English Bible contains a Scriptural rule of the utmost value, though it represents neither the best reading nor the accurate translation. Such is the case with this text. The true translation in reading it is: "Share, my son, in my suffering as a fair soldier of Jesus Christ"; and yet the words "endure hardness" convey a most valuable general lesson, and involve the exhortation of the entire context. Perhaps some careless epicurean man of the world, perhaps some envious fashionable woman of the world, perhaps some easy, self-indulgent, godless youth asks me, "Why should I endure hardness? Life has troubles enough in store; why should I add to them? There is no religion in making myself uncomfortable; how can God be pleased by self-denials which will only be a burden to me?"

1. My first answer to your question is, Do it for your own sakes because we men cannot live like beasts to be cloyed with honey; because sickness and satiety are the just nemesis of self-indulgence; because, by the very constitution of the nature God has given you, it is a bad thing as well as ruinous to all earthly happiness that the body should be pampered, since where the body is pampered the spirit is almost necessarily starved. We have bodies; but we are spirits. tie who would truly live must walk in the Spirit, and he who would walk in the Spirit must keep the body under stern control.

2. But we go further and say, endure hardness also because it is the manifest will of God. See what pains God takes to teach us that it is His will. The everlasting hills are full of their mineral riches, but to get them men must drive the tunnel and sink the shaft. The soil teems with golden harvests, but to win them man must scatter his seeds into the furrow, and breathe hard breath over the plough. Nature has priceless secrets in her possession; but she holds them out to us clenched in a granite hand, which sheer labour must unclasp. Everywhere in nature God teaches us the same great lesson. Anything worth having is not to be had for nothing.

3. Endure hardness also because it is the training-school of worth. When God wants a nation to do Him high service, to fight His battles, to wrestle in His arenas, then lie gives that nation labours and sorrows too. He takes them out of the sluggish levels of Egypt, and makes them climb His granite mountains and listen to the wild music of His desert winds. A nation of greedy slaves might have been contented to live and die in gluttonous animalism; but when God wants heroes, then out of His house of bondage He calls His sons. Read God's lessons written on the broad page of history. The type of Egypt's centuries of sluggish placidity is but the cruel, motionless, staring Sphinx; but the type of immortal Greece and the brave flash of her glory is the Apollo launching at the Python with his arrows. What would Sparta have been had she never had Thermopylae? What would Athens have been but for Salamis and Marathon?

4. Endure hardness, scorn sloth, embrace labour, despise sham, practise self-denial in the path of duty, because Christ did it. It is the will of Christ; because there is no virtue and there is no holiness possible without it. The word "virtue" occurs but once in the whole of the New Testament; because the pagan world has made of it too dwarfed an ideal, and Christianity had better words than that; but even the pagan world saw that broad is the path of evil — broad, and straight, and smooth to ruin by the steps of sin. The type of nobleness, even to the pagan world, was not Sardanapalus, but Hercules; not Apicius, the glutton, but Leonidas, the king. They knew it was difficult to be a good man — difficult, and not so easy as it seems; they knew that any fool could be a money-getter, or a drunkard, or a debauchee; that out of the very meanest, vilest clay that ever was you can make an effeminate corrupter, or selfish schemer, or a slanderer, or a thief; but that it takes God's own gold to make a man, and that it wants the furnace and the toil to make of that gold and fine gold; and it is strange how unanimous all nations have been on this point. David Hume has a passage in his writings about virtue, and her affability, and her engaging manners, nay, even, at proper intervals, her frivolity and gaiety, and her parting not willingly with any pleasure, and requiring a just calculation, and her ranking us as enemies to joy and pleasure, as hypocrites, or deceivers, or the less favoured of her votaries; whereupon one of our men of science, far from being a dogmatist, says that in this paean of virtue there is more of a dance measure than will sound appropriate in the ears of most of the pilgrims who toil painfully, not without many a stumble, along the rough and steep road that leads to the higher life. But if virtue be difficult of acquirement, far more is holiness.

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

The apostle Paul, a true and valiant hero, gives counsel in the text to each minister of God who stands up in any age to do battle for the Lord. He must not only understand the art of war as a theory, but put his know ledge into practice, going before the mighty host of God's elect in order that they may triumph gloriously — "Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." The apostles all set this example to the world. The advice of St. Paul in the text had reference in its original application to the clergy, but it is no less a rule which is binding on all Christians. The fact that we are Christian soldiers suggests three corresponding duties.

I. THE WILL OF THE SOLDIER SHOULD BE WHOLLY ABSORBED IN THAT OF HIS COMMANDER. "My life consists in being, rather than in doing," said a good Christian woman, when cut off from active work by long-continued sickness. "I cannot fight much, but if I can hold the standard for other eyes, I may inspire tired soldiers with fresh courage, and so, if nothing but a colour bearer, help in the good cause!" Yes, brave and devoted woman, many a jaded and disheartened one will take heart and hope, as you thus bear aloft with unflinching hand the standard of faith and patience!

II. A soldier, to deserve the name, must possess TRUE COURAGE.


(J. N. Norton.)

Suppose a young man went of his own will for a soldier, was regularly sworn in to serve the Queen, took his bounty, wore the Queen's uniform, ate her bread, learnt his drill and all that a soldier need learn, as long as peace lasted. But suppose that as soon as war came and his regiment was ordered on active service, he deserted at once and went off and hid himself. What should you call such a man? You would call him a base and ungrateful coward, and you would have no pity on him if he was taken and justly punished. But suppose that he did a worse thing still. Suppose that the enemy, the Russians say, invaded England, and the army was called out to fight them; and suppose this man of whom I speak, be he soldier or sailor, instead of fighting the enemy, deserted over to them, and fought on their side against his own country, and his own comrades, and his own father and brothers, what would you call that man? No name would be bad enough for him. If he was taken he would be hanged without mercy, as not only a deserter but a traitor. And who would pity him or say that he had not got his just deserts? Are not all young people, when they are old enough to choose between right and wrong, if they choose what is wrong and live bad lives instead of good ones, very like this same deserter and traitor? For are you not all Christ's soldiers, every one of you? Did not Christ enlist every one of you into His army, that, as the baptism service says, you might fight manfully under His banner against sin, the world, and the devil — in one word, against all that is wrong and bad? And now when you are old enough to know that you are Christ's soldiers, what will you deserve to be called if, instead of fighting on Christ's side against what is bad, you forget you are in His service. But some may say, "My case is not like that soldier's. I did not enter Christ's service of my own free will. My parents put me into it when I was an infant without asking my leave. I was not christened of my own will." Is it so? Do you know what your words mean? If they mean anything, they mean that you had rather not have been christened, because you are now expected to behave as a christened man should. Now is there any one of you who dare say, "I wish I had not been christened"? Not one! Then if you dare not say that; if you are content to have been christened, why are you not content to do what christened people should? But why were you christened? not merely because your parents chose, but because it was their duty. Every child ought to be christened, because every child belongs to Christ. You have now no right to choose between Christ and the devil, because Christ has chosen you already — no right to choose between good and bad, because God, the good God Himself, has chosen you already, and has been taking care of you, and heaping you with blessings ever since you were born. And why did Christ choose you? As I have told you, that you may fight with Him against all that is bad. But if we go on doing bad and wrong things, are we fighting on Christ's side? No, we are fighting on the devil's side, and helping the devil against God. Do you fancy that I am saying too much? I suspect some do. I suspect some say in their hearts, "He is too hard on us. We are not like that traitorous soldier. If we do wrong, it is ourselves at most that we harm. We do not wish to hurt any one; we do not want to help the devil."

(Chas. Kingsley.)

Weakness and effeminacy have ever accompanied the latter stages of all human civilisation. Either society actually rottens and falls to pieces by the dissolving influence of its own vices, or, weakened by indulgence, it falls a ready prey in its turn to the sword of some ruder but manlier enemy. In the ancient nations of the world such has been the invariable process. The question has often been asked, Does the law still hold good, and must the nations of modern Europe decay and die, as the great nations of antiquity have done? If we had nothing but human nature to look to the reply would be an unhesitating, Yes. But we have another element in our case, what our Lord calls the leaven, to spread its own healthy influence through the otherwise fermenting mass of humanity; and upon its regenerating force all our hopes of a happier future must rest. If Christianity keeps us from effeminacy, it will keep us from ruin. I cannot for a moment doubt its power, because it is the power of God. But it therefore follows that, if it is to save us, it must be a real Christianity — a Christianity such as God originated and such as God will work by. Now it is, I think, the most serious thing in the present condition of the world that, not only has a luxurious civilisation weakened the domestic virtues, especially among some women, whose extravagances have become almost a satire upon womanhood — I say among women, because the love of athletic sports to a considerable degree checks the tendency among men; hut that our Christianity itself has caught the infection and is demoralised by self-indulgence. The effeminacy has reached even our religion. Words and sentiments take the place of deeds. The charm of the eye and the ear are substituted for great inward principles; the grandest truths are welcomed, admitted, admired, but not acted upon in daily life. The Church is enormously below her own standard. A refined self-indulgence spreads everywhere, and if it continues to spread till it touches the very heart of the Church and nation, then indeed there can be no hope for us. I cannot doubt that it is the providential object of the struggles of faith belonging to our day to revive the manliness, the independence, the reality, and power of our religion, just as nations amid sufferings and disaster recover the manly virtues which have rusted in prosperity and ease. There are many obvious reasons for cultivating a more robust and manly earnestness in our religion.

I. IT IS DUE TO THE CHARACTER OF THE GREAT MASTER WHOM WE SERVE. We look up to the Captain of our salvation, and every imaginable motive which can nerve the human heart combines to inspire us with dauntless courage and unflinching fortitude.

II. A ROBUST EARNESTNESS IS DUE TO THE NECESSITIES OF THE WORK. God takes every possible precaution in His Word that we should count the cost, before we enlist under our Captain's banner. We have, indeed, Divine strength to help us; but it is given to help, not to supersede. Our battle requires all our strength, and nothing less will suffice. The very saints hardly press into the kingdom: they take it by violence, and enter like soldiers after a hard-fought fight — wounded, bleeding, and weary, but conquering. And this endurance of hardness is the more necessary because, not only are habits of personal self-denial and self-restraint, watchful devotion and earnest effort, the conditions of victory, but they are actual parts of the victory themselves.

III. MANLY VIGOUR IS DUE TO THE ABUNDANCE OF THE REWARD. Salvation itself is not of reward; it is all of grace. But once let the soul find Christ, let it be accepted within the family circle, let it fairly take service beneath the banner of Christ as the faithful soldier and servant of a crucified Master, and then God deals with it by rewards.

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

I. THE SOLDIER GIVING UP THE DIRECTION OF HIS OWN ACTIONS AND EXERTIONS, GIVES HIMSELF UP TO THE SERVICE OF ANOTHER. The Roman soldier, to whose case St. Paul must be supposed particularly to refer, was nothing but a soldier. So it is with the Christian: he may not serve the world and his God together. He must either be all Christ's or none of His.


III. The third point of similarity observed in the conditions of the soldier and the Christian is, that EACH IS BOUND TO BE FAITHFUL IN THE DISCHARGE OF THE DUTIES OF HIS PROFESSION BY THE OBLIGATION OF A SOLEMN OATH. At the time St. Paul wrote, the Roman soldier, when first enrolled, took an oath to obey the commands of his emperor, and never to forsake his standard: and this oath was yearly renewed. A Christianised imagination found a parallel to this in the solemn engagement entered into at baptism, and renewed in the holy communion of the supper of the Lord, "obediently to keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in the same all the days of our life." For this very reason those two awful rites of our religion received from the primitive Church the name which they yet bear, the name of sacraments. Sacrament was the usual term for the soldier's military oath, and it was transferred by the ancients to baptism and the eucharist, because in them the believer, as it were, binds himself by solemn compact faithfully to serve in the spiritual armies under the orders of the King of heaven.

(W. H. Marriott.)

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