Heroism is the lost chord; the missing note of present day Christianity! In peace true soldiers are captive lions, fretting in their cages. War gives them their liberty and sends them, like boys bounding out of school, to obtain their heart's desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldier's vital breath! War makes him a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength, and vigour of a hero.
EVERY TRUE CHRISTIAN IS A SOLDIER of Christ - a hero "par excellence"! Braver than the bravest - scorning the soft seductions of peace and her oft-repeated warnings against hardship, disease, danger, and death.
Noah walked with God... He breasted the current of the popular opinion of his day, scorning alike the hatred and ridicule of the scoffers who mocked at the thought of their being but one way of salvation... A real hero untainted by the fear of man. Learn to scorn the praise of men.
Abraham, a simple farmer, at a word from the Invisible God, marched, with family and stock, through the terrible desert to a distant land to live among a people whose language he could neither speak nor understand! Not bad that! But later he did even better, marching hot foot against the combined armies of five kings, flushed with recent victory, to rescue one man! His army? Just 318 odd fellows, armed like a circus crowd. And he won too. "He always wins who sides with God." What pluck! Only a farmer! No war training! Yet what hero has eclipsed his feat? His open secret? He was THE FRIEND OF GOD.
Moses - the man of God - was a species of human chameleon-scholar, general, lawgiver, leader, etc. Brought up as the Emperor's grandson with more than a good chance of coming to the throne, one thing only between him and it - TRUTH - what a choice! What a temptation! A throne for a lie! Ignominy, banishment, or likely enough death for the truth! He played the man! "Refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin and success for a season, accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt."
Again I see him. Now an old man and alone, marching stolidly back to Egypt, after forty years of exile, to beard the lion in his den, to liberate Pharaoh's slaves right under his very nose, and to lead them across that great and terrible wilderness.
REAL CHRISTIANS REVEL IN DESPERATE VENTURES FOR CHRIST, expecting from God great things and attempting the same with exhilaration. History cannot match these feats of Moses. How was it done? He consulted not with flesh and blood, he obeyed not men but God.
Once again I see the old gray-beard, this time descending the Mount with giant strides and rushing into the camp, his eyes blazing like burning coals. One man against three million dancing dervishes drunk with debauchery. Bravo! Well done, old man! First class! His cheek pales not, but his mouth moves, and I think I catch his words, "If God be for me who can be against me?"
Whence this desperate courage? Listen! "Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." "The Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend." "My servant, Moses," said his Master, "is faithful in all Mine house, with him will I speak mouth to mouth." Such is the explanation of Moses, the man and friend of God and consequently a first-class hero.
David - the man after God's own heart - was a man of war and mighty man of valour. When all Israel were on the run, David faced Goliath - alone...with God.
Whence did this raw youth derive his pluck and skill? NOT from military camps, nor theological schools, nor religious retreats. Whilst others were learning pretty theories, David, like John, had been alone with God in the wilds, practicing on bears and lions. The result? HE KNEW GOD AND DID EXPLOITS. He knew God only. He trusted God only. He obeyed God only. That's the secret. God alone gives strength.
Nathan was another real Christian Soldier. He went to his king and rebuked him to his face, like Peter's dealing with Ananias, and unlike the Chocolate Soldiers of today who go whispering about and refusing either to judge, rebuke, or put away evil because of the entailed scandal in truth.
Daniel was another hero... Was he not the man greatly beloved of God who sent an angel to tell him so? I love to watch him as he walks, with firm step and radiant face, to the lion's den. God shut the mouths of the lions against Daniel, but opened them wide against those who had opened their mouths against His servant.
John the Baptist
John the Baptist - a man taught and made and sent of God... Who doesn't love and admire him? Why, even Herod did... He always told the flat truth, with emphasis. As he loved, so he warned. He knew not how to flatter. HE WOOED WITH THE SWORD, AND "MEN" LOVED HIM THE BETTER FOR IT. They always do.
Here are other foot-tracks - outrageous ones: they can belong only to one man - THAT GRANDEST OF CHRISTIAN PARADOXES - THE LITTLE GIANT PAUL - whose head was as big as his body, and his heart greater than both. Once he thought and treated every Christian as a combination of knave and fool. Then he became one himself. He was called "fool" because his acts were so far beyond the dictates of human reason, and "mad" because of his irresponsible fiery zeal for Christ and men. He determined to know nothing else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
His life was a perpetual gamble for God. Daily he faced death for Christ. Again and again he stood fearless before crowds thirsting for his blood. He stood before kings and governors and "turned not a hair". He didn't so much as flinch before Nero, that vice-president of hell. His sufferings were appalling.
Who could abide such a fanatical, fiery fool? Such an uncompromising character? A tactless enthusiast, who considered it his business to tell every man the unvarnished truth regardless of consequences.
Go where you will through the Scriptures or history, you find that men who really knew God, and didn't merely say they did, were invariably Paragons and Pluck; Dare-Devil Desperadoes for Jesus; Gamblers for God. "Fools and Madmen," shout the world. "Yes, for Christ's sake," add the Angels!
Fanatics among Christians are as rare as the "dodo bird." God's real people have always been called fanatics. Jesus was called mad; so was Paul; so was Whitfield, Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon. No one has graduated far in God's School who has not been paid the compliment of being called a fanatic. We Christians of today are indeed a lukewarm crew. Had we but half the fire and enthusiasm of the Suffragettes in the past, we would have the world evangelized and Christ back among us in no time. Had we the pluck and heroism of the Flyers, or the men who volunteered for the Polar Expeditions, or for the Great War, or for any ordinary dare-devil enterprise, we could have every soul on earth knowing the name and salvation of Jesus Christ in less than ten years.
Alas! What stirs ordinary men's blood and turns them into heroes, makes most Christians run like a flock of frightened sheep. The Militants daily risked their lives in furtherance of their cause, and subscribed of their means in a way that cried "Shame" on us Christians, who generally brand the braving of risks and fighting against odds as a "tempting of God".
WE ARE FRITTERING AWAY TIME AND MONEY IN A MULTIPLICITY OF CONVENTIONS, conferences, and retreats, when the real need is to go straight and full steam into battle, with the signal for "close action" flying.
The "Vox Humana" plays too important a part in our Christian organs and organizations today. The music, whoever plays, is bound to be thin when the tops of "Instant Obedience" and "Fiery Valour" are missing or unused, and without them to play the "Lost Chord" of Heroism is an impossibility.
Wilt thou be a miser and withhold what honour demands of thee? Wilt thou give like Ananias and Sapphira, who, pretending to give all, gave only part?
Come, then, let us restore the "Lost Chord" of Christianity - HEROISM - to the world, and the crown of the world to Christ. Christ Himself asks thee, "Wilt thou be a Slacker or a Militant?" To your knees, man! And to your Bible! Decide at once! Don't hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses!