Sermon 3188. Discipline in Christ's Army
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 1910.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JULY 13, 1879.
"Pass through the host, and command the people." Joshua 1:11.
[When the "Army Discipline and Regulation Bill" was before the House of Commons, Mr. Spurgeon delivered this discourse uponit. Shortly afterwards, he published a summary of the sermon in The Sword and the Trowel, with a prefatory note in which hesaid, "We hope to print the whole discourse for the use of soldiers." With this view, he had commenced to revise it, but hadnot completed it, and it is now published for the first time. Workers among soldiers will find the sermon specially suitablefor them.]
BELIEVERS are called to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. As many of us as believe in Him and have obtained eternal life throughHim, are now enlisted beneath His banner to fight the battles of holiness against sin and of truth against error. We war not,however, with flesh and blood, but with spiritual enemies. We slay lust and lying, drunkenness and blasphemy-and we wage anever-ending warfare against everything which is dishonest, unkind, selfish, or ungodly. He who died upon the Cross out oflove to the undeserving has taught us how to endure hardness for His sake as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Our ambition isto fight a good fight and keep the faith. And by the power of the Holy Spirit we hope to do so and to receive from our GreatCommander's mouth the blessed commendation, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Being soldiers, we come under discipline, and it is well for all who are about to enlist to know what the discipline is, forour glorious Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, says to all who wish to join this army, "Count the cost." We, too, would sayto all who propose to be soldiers of the Cross and followers of the Lamb-"Count the cost." Do not join the ranks blindly andthen change your mind and desert. Enlist with your eyes open and stay in the service till you are veterans. There's nothinglike knowing what you are doing-and choosing Christ's service deliberately. It is to that end that I shall speak upon thediscipline of Christ's army, for perhaps some who are in the army of Christ in name, but not in truth, may find out theirmistake and endeavor, by sincere repentance, to make sure work of the matter so that they may not be deceived. It will bean awful thing to be found out to be a hypocrite and to be drummed out of the Lord's army at the last.
I have here a copy of the "Army Discipline and Regulation Bill" sent to me by a member of the House of Commons, with thiswritten in the corner of it, "May not the Christian soldier derive some profit from this?" I feel sure he may. May the HolySpirit enable us to do so!
This Bill contains a list of offenses for which a soldier on active service is liable to death-and those offenses are excellentfigures of certain spiritual offenses which must not be committed by the soldiers of Christ! If they fall into them, and continuein them, it will prove that they are already under sentence of death and are not Christ's servants at all. If any complainthat the discipline of our Lord Jesus is strict, it will be of benefit to them to see how severe is the discipline of everyarmy. Nothing can make Christ's service sweet except love to Him-His service appears hardest to those who have hard hearts-andjust as men grow right and true, they find the Lord's yoke to be easy and His burden light. Judging Christianity from theoutside, it will always seem to unregenerate men a very strict Puritanical system. But judging it from the inside, when theheart is renewed and the soul is charmed with the blessed Person of their Divine Redeemer, we love our Lord's service andfind intense delight in it. We consent to His Law, that it is good, and we long with all our hearts to keep His statutes evento the end. We are glad to know what offenses are, that we may pray to be kept from them for we would not willingly offendso good a Lord.
In this Bill, we read that "A Person subject to Military Law, when on Active Service, is punishable with Death, if he commitsany of the following offences"-
(1) . "Shamefully abandons or delivers up any garrison, place, post, or guard, or uses any means to compel or induce any governor,commanding officer, or other person, to shamefully abandon or deliver up any garrison, place, post, or guard, which was theduty of such governor, officer, or person to defend."
This is a grievous offense in the Church of God and I am sorry to say that it has often been committed. We are put in trustwith the Gospel of Jesus Christ-that is the citadel which we are to defend at all hazards-so what a sad thing it is when professedChrist's ministers give up Truth of God after Truth in order to please the public! "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not inthe streets of Askelon," that professed servants of Christ have betrayed the Gospel itself to the enemy! O you who followthe banner of Jesus, never do this! Defend it with your lives! Die in the defense of it, as the martyrs did, and never beashamed of it in any company. You may not be an officer and, therefore, you cannot give up a garrison or castle to the enemy-butyou have your own post to guard-take care that you guard it! Never give up the Bible-no, not a leaf of it! Never give up prayer-standsentry there and let no man laugh you out of it! Whatever post the Lord Jesus commits to you, take care that you hold it tillHe comes, or till you, yourself, are called Home to the heavenly headquarters. Hold fast, as with a grip of steel, every Doctrinewhich the Lord has taught you whether others approve of it or not! Hold fast, also, and endeavor, by the aid of God's Spirit,to put into practice every precept of the Lord. Value the practical part of Christianity as well as the doctrinal-and prizethem both beyond gold. Be not of the mind of those who say of Christ's rules, "These are of little consequence." No! YourMaster's command cannot be a trifle! And the spirit which thinks little of anything which Jesus commands is an evil spirit!We must pray against it and strive against it. Make it a matter of conscience to follow Jesus at all hazards wherever He goes.Stand up for the Scriptures and the true Gospel-and "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." Do notgive up a hair of the head of the Truth of God, nor let her enemies take away so much as a lace of her shoes.
I believe in the invincibility of truth. Only give truth time and God, being with her, she must prevail. I believe also inthe invincibility of the Church which is built upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, and against which the gates of Hell shall neverprevail. I am quite willing to be in a minority upon a great many questions. I would not believe any more than I do even ifeverybody else believed it-and I would not be any the less confident of its truthfulness if it was accepted by only a hundredthor a thousandth part of those who now believe it! Get hold of a Truth of God, my dear Brother or Sister, and you have laidhold of that in which God dwells! Know your Bible thoroughly and believe what the Bible reveals. And then, if there are arrayedagainst Biblical Truth-all the powers of Christendom, all the kings and princes and prelates and priests joined together-youmay rest assured that they will only be as so much chaff driven before the wind! If they believe error, and advocate error,all their pomp and power will be but as the wind, the earthquake and the fire in which God was not! But in your calm, quietadherence to the Truth of God-with a tenacity that would brave even martyrdom rather than renounce what God has revealed toyou in His Word and by his Spirit, there is a power that must win in the long run-so hold to it and be not afraid!
(2) . "Shamefully casts away his arms, ammunition, or tools in the presence of the enemy."
This is a terrible crime, indeed, in a Christian soldier. "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which has great recompenseof reward." Never let go your shield of faith! Under ridicule and persecution, buckle it to your arm. Grip firmly that blessedsword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God! Let no man take from you a single text of it! Speak up for the blessed Truthof God and stand to your gun-this will gall the enemy and protect yourself. Rally to the colors and wrap them around yourheart when they seem to be in peril-I mean, the blood-red colors of the Cross of Christ!
Dear young Brothers and Sisters who love the Lord, I know you have a hard fight of it when you get among your friends whoare so mean as to ridicule you. But never say, "Die"-never give up your faith, never yield to their sins, nor give them countenanceby so much as joining in their laughter! Do not be misled by false teachers, but obey the Word of God and follow that alone.Read it for yourselves and what you see there lay hold upon, and let it be your religion. I have often said to myself-
"Shouldall the forms that men devise Assault my faith with treacherous art, I'd call them vanity and lies, And bind the Gospelto my heart."
Let us, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, still hold without wavering to our confidence in the Gospel as God's great battle-axeand weapon of war! Let us be fully persuaded that this is the chosen instrument by which the Lord will glorify Himself andsubdue the nations of the earth. We may take it for granted that God's Providential dispensations will always tend in thatdirection and that the ponderous wheels full of eyes are always revolving in such a way as to work out the eternal purposesof Grace in the salvation of those whom Christ has redeemed. But, for all that, thepower which God mostly blesses is the energyof the Holy Spirit exerted through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ-not by kings and princes, or learned doctors or eloquentmen-but through the Gospel as preached by humble and earnest Believers, illustrated by gracious and holy lives, and supportedby fervent and unceasing prayers! So, Beloved, have faith in the Gospel! Do not put your confidence in anything that is notauthorized by the New Testament. Do not be so foolish as to use any means which are not in accordance with God's Word. Anddo not enter into any alliance with the world under the delusion that you will, by so doing, help the Gospel! Be satisfiedthat God is in the still small voice and, as He is there, give good heed to the message that He utters-and gad not about toseek any other ground of confidence, but be content with, "Thus says the Lord."
(3) . "Treacherously holds correspondence with or gives intelligence to the enemy, or treacherously or through cowardice sendsa flag of truce to the enemy."
This is another thing that Christian soldiers must never do. Their orders are clear-"Come out from among them and be you separate,says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing." This battle of ours against sin admits of no truce whatever-no terms of compromise-nogoing a certain way with sinners in the hope of inducing them to come a little way with us! No, there must be nothing of thekind. Let the word, "compromise," with regard to evil never even cross your thoughts! Our Lord and Master made no compromises.He told us that it would be better to pluck out our right eye and cut off our right hand rather than that they should causeus to offend. Give your heart so fully up to Jesus, my Beloved Brothers and Sisters, that you are altogether separated fromthis world! Let the world know whereyou are, what you are and take care that youknow where it is and what it is! Be not, Ipray you, conformed to this world! And, on the other hand, never hide your religion. Do not ask for a truce with the enemy,for that would be treachery to your Lord. Remember that solemn warning, "Whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemyof God." That is no saying of mine-it is one of the faithful and true declarations of this Inspired Book!
I must not stay to say more about this matter, though it is a most suggestive point.
(4) . "Assists the enemy with arms, ammunition, or supplies, or knowingly harbors or protects an enemy not being a prisoner"
Now, every professor who leads an inconsistent life furnishes Christ's enemies with "arms, ammunition, or supplies," for theysay, "Ah, that is one of your Christians!" They fire that as a most deadly shot against us. They point to the ways of inconsistentprofessors and they turn to us and say, "That is what you Christians are!" If they take one bad sovereign, they never thinkof saying that all the sovereigns in circulation are counterfeit-yet they might as well say that as declare that because hereand there a professor is a hypocrite or inconsistent, therefore, we are all so! That is not true, yet it gives the enemy encouragementand supplies him with ammunition when any of you who profess to be Christ's, walk as you ought not to walk!
And then, dear Friends, if we conceal any sin within our bosoms, this is knowingly harboring an enemy. If you who are supposedto be Christian people drink too much in secret-and there are some, not only men, but women, who make a profession of Christianity,who sin in this way. And we must speak very plainly when this evil becomes as common as it is-you are knowingly harboringan enemy! If, in your trade, you follow unrighteous customs-and there are plenty of tradesmen who do that-and if you adopttheir schemes though you profess to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are knowingly harboring His enemy-and you arenot worthy to be called a good soldier of Jesus Christ!
The enemy will get in if he can, but we must do all we can and also cry to God to keep him out. You know that on a cold winter'sday, a man shuts the door, lights a fire, draws the curtains and insulates the door, yet even then the cold gets in. So isit with sin-you may watch and guard against it as much as you like but, still, the cold will get in-but it is a very differentkind of cold from that which would come in if you were to open the windows and doors and let it in. That is what some do concerningsin. They keep no watch, no guard against it. They tempt the devil to tempt them-and those who do this and thus knowinglyharbor the enemy are no true soldiers of Jesus Christ.
(5) . "Having been made aprisoner ofwar, voluntarily serves with or voluntarily aids the enemy. " Now young men, especially-youwho are members of this Church or some other Church-there are times when you
get into a great fix. There are all round you persons who are opposed to true religion-and they begin by inviting you to dothis, and that, and the other, and then they try to compel you to do as they wish. They make you, as it were, a prisoner ofwar, and they say, "You shall do such-and-such and such-and-such or we will make you do it." Or possibly they suppose thatif they use enough ridicule, or enough taunts and jeers, they will get the mastery over you. Now is your time to play theman! You are taken, as it were, a prisoner of war, but do not forfeit your honor by voluntarily serving with or aiding theenemy! They want a song from you, do they? Well then, sing them one of the songs about Jesus and they will soon want you tostop! But do not yield to their desire by singing the song of the worldling, even if you know one. If you are Christ's truesoldier, you will be most faithful in the hour of the greatest trial. But you will need to cry to the Strong for strengthand ask God to give you sufficient Grace for every time of need.
Christian tradesmen are sometimes taken prisoners of war in this sense. They get into financial difficulties and then it issuggested to them by Satan, "You must do such-and-such-you cannot help doing it. Of course you would rather not do it, but,under the circumstances, you cannot help yourself!" Do not do wrong, my Brother, whatever the circumstances may be! Becomea bankrupt, lose all that you have and go to the workhouse rather than do the least wrong! It would be better to die in aditch than to live and be rich with a guilty conscience! As you love your Lord, I beseech you, by that precious blood of Histhat has redeemed you from all iniquity, do not "crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame," but stand fast!And having done all, still stand. God help any of you who are thus taken prisoners of war to avoid doing anything willinglyagainst your Prince and thus aiding His enemy!
(6) . "Knowingly does, when on active service, any act calculated to imperil the success of Her Majesty's forces or any partthereof."
That is rather a strong clause because it takes a very wide sweep. But, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we must not knowinglydo anything calculated to imperil the success of our Master's cause. Will you try to think what a comprehensive clause thisis? It may be that what you do will not actually imperil the success of Christ's cause. You may be too insignificant for youract to have any very great result, but still, if it is even calculated to have that effect, it is forbidden by the articlesof war of Prince Emmanuel!
I will tell you of some things that I think are calculated to imperil the success of our Master's cause. There are some ofyou who have never been baptized and who are not members of any Christian Church. "Well," someone says, "I believe that Iam a Christian and that I can go to Heaven without being baptized, or joining a Church, or even going to the Communion Table."Yes, I know that is what you think, but that course of conduct of yours is, in my opinion, calculated to imperil the successof Christ's cause! If it is right for you to act thus, then every other Christian has as much right to act thus as you have-andsuppose that everybody were to do as you are doing-that would be an end to the visible Church of Christ and to the maintenanceof the visible ordinances of Christ-and this would be most perilous to the success of Christ's cause! Just think of that,I pray you, and if you are leaving undone that which you ought to do, or are doing anything which has a tendency to imperilthe success of Christ's cause, repent of it and forsake it, lest it should turn out that, after all, you are not a loyal subjectand soldier in the army of King Jesus!-
"Put on the Gospel armor, And watching unto prayer, Where duty calls, or danger, Be never wanting there."
(7) . "Misbehaves or induces others to misbehave before the enemy."
I do not quite know what "misbehavior" of a soldier may mean, but I know that a Christian should never misbehave, becausehe is always in the presence of the enemy. You must never say, "Oh, now, you know, I may do what I like for there is nobodylooking." Is there not? Your great Captain is certainly looking-and it is frequently when men think they are least seen thatthey are the most observed! The world has an eagle's eye for a Christian's faults! It tries to see faults where there arenone-and where there are small faults, it is sure to magnify them! For my part, I am very glad it is so, and I say, let theworld watch us-it will help us to be the more exact in our conduct! If we are ashamed to be seen anywhere, it must be becausewe have good reason to be ashamed! Let us endeavor to live so that we need not be ashamed-
"Lord I desire to live as one
Who bears a blood-bought name.
As one who fears but grieving You
And knows no other shame.
As one by whom Your walk below
Should never be forgot-
As one who gladly would keep apart
From all You love not."
When I was pastor at Waterbeach there was a young man who joined the Church and who seemed to run well for a time. But thevillage feast came round and there was a good deal of drunkenness and all sorts of low merriment. The young man went intothe dancehall, but he had not been there many minutes before someone came to him and said, "Don't you belong to Spurgeon?"He tried to deny it, but there were many others who knew it was true and, before long he was thrown out of a window. The worldpitched him out as a hypocrite! And shortly afterwards, the Church also turned him out as a hypocrite, so that he was disownedby both the Church and the world. And I think that by the Grace of God, this led him to a hearty and true repentance. I wasthankful that the worldlings kept such a watch over the members of my Church that they would not see them acting wrongly withoutmaking them suffer for it! And I hope they will serve you in the same way if any of you try to act as that young man did.You must be one thing or the other-either wholly for Christ or wholly for His enemies! If you are not prepared to be out-and-outfor Jesus Christ, do not pretend to enlist in His army. If you want to "hold with the hare, and run with the hounds," we shallcertainly not ask you to join our ranks. There must be nothing of this kind of spirit among good soldiers of Jesus Christ.May God keep us free from
(8). "Leaves his commanding officer to go in search of plunder "
Oh, dear! Have I not known some who professed to be soldiers in Christ's army who have done this? They thought there was somethingto be gained elsewhere, so they left Christ in "search of plunder." There was one who did this in Paul's day, of whom theApostle wrote, "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world." "Oh, but," says one, "would you not have me marrywhen there was money to be had, even though it was to a worldly man?" Or, "an ungodly woman?" You can do so if you want toleave Christ "to go in search of plunder." "Would you not have me take a job where I could get several hundreds of poundsa year even though I had to mix with ungodly men, and to do unrighteous things?" O you mean-spirited wretch, how little areyou worthy to be numbered among those who are descended from the martyrs for the Truth of God! How little are you worthy tobe among those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes! The Lord teaches those who are really His people that "godliness withcontentment is great gain" and, therefore, for Christ's sake, they can afford to despise and lose all other so-called "gain"!
"But," says one, "I don't know where we should be if we were so scrupulous and exact as that." I can tell you where you wouldbe-you would be walking in the light as God is in the light, and you would have fellowship with Him-and you would be no loserby acting thus, but you would be a gainer all round, for Christ has assured you that no one shall leave houses, or lands,or husband, or wife, or children for the Kingdom's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time and, inthe world to come, life everlasting! If you cannot lose for Christ, you have already lost Christ, for He said, "Whoever doesnot bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple." He who loves the world better than Christ loves not Christ atall! God save us from being of that character!
Time would fail me if I mentioned all the offenses specified in this list, so I will pass on to number 15 in the Act-
(15). "By discharging firearms, drawing swords, beating drums, making signals, using words, or by any means whatever intentionallyoccasions false alarms in action, on the march, in the field, or elsewhere."
It is a very great sin on the part of Christian soldiers to make false alarms to discourage and dispirit their fellow soldiers.There are some professors who seem to delight to tell us of a new discovery in science which is supposed to destroy our faith.Science makes a wonderful discovery and straightaway we are expected to doubt what is plainly revealed in the Word of God!Considering that the so-called "science" is continually changing and that it seems to be the rule for scientific men to contradictall who have gone before them-and that if you take up a book upon almost any science, you will find that it largely consistsof repudiations of all former theories-I think we can afford to wait until the scientific men
have made up their minds as to what science really is! In any event, we have no cause to be distressed concerning science,so let no Christian's heart fail him-and let him not raise any alarm in the camp of Christ!
Some raise these alarms by slandering their fellow Christians. I will say very few words about this matter, but they mustbe very strong ones. That man is grossly guilty who makes up a lie or who reports a lie against one who is his Brother orSister in Christ. We are all faulty enough, but let us go with the mantle of charity and cover up the faults of others andnever expose them. Those who raise false alarms of this sort deserve to be tried by court martial and to receive some veryexemplary punishment for such a grave offense!
(16). "Treacherously makes known the password to any person not entitled to receive it; or, without good and sufficient cause,gives apassword different from what he received."
It is a great crime to give the wrong password to Christ's army. Our password is, "blood." It is an offensive word to manypeople, but we know that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. I pray God that every stone of this Tabernaclemay tumble to its ruin and every timber be splintered to atoms before there should stand on this platform a man to preachwho denies the substitutionary Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, or who even keeps it in the background, for this is our password!You shall know us among all professors by the emphasis which we lay upon Atonement by the blood of Jesus Christ! Of the redeemedin Glory we read, "These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in theblood of the Lamb." And the saints on earth join in John's Doxology, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sinsin His own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.Amen." "The precious blood of Jesus" is our password in life, and the password with which we hope to enter through the gatesof death into eternal Glory and blessedness-
"Dear dying Lamb, Your precious blood Shall never lose its power, Till all the ransomed Church of God Is saved to sin no more."Further on in this list, I notice another suggestive crime-
(18). "Being a sentinel, commits any of the following offenses; that is to say, sleeps or is drunk on his post; or leaveshis post before he is regularly relieved."
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, "Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." And this is one of the dutiesof every Christian, for all Christ's soldiers are sentinels, watchmen on the walls of Zion! Then again, it is our duty notto leave our post till we are regularly relieved. Do you not think that some teachers leave the Sunday school before theyare regularly relieved? I think they do. There are some who get tired of the work and leave it. I do not think you can truthfullysay that you are regularly relieved of any work until you find a suitable successor-and I hope that some of us will neverbe regularly relieved until we close our eyes in death. Our prayer is that we may die in harness-
"Our body with our charge lay down, And cease at once to work and live."
Who wishes to be regularly relieved from Christ's service except it is by receiving his crown and entering into his
"The land of triumph lies on high,
There are no fields of battle there!
Lord, I would conquer till I die
And finish all the glorious war.
Let every flying hour confess
I gain Your Gospel fresh renown!
And when my life and labors cease,
May I possess the promised crown!" Still further on, I notice that this is put down-
(23). "Disobeys any lawful command given by his superior officer in the execution of his office. " I know of only one superiorOfficer in Christ's army, and that is our blessed Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the Captain of our salvation! He said toHis disciples, "One is your Master; even Christ, and all you are brethren." And He also said to them, "A new commandment Igive unto you, That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love
one another." Mind that you do not disobey that command of your superior Officer-"Love one another." Be true brethren to oneanother. You know that when Jesus had washed His disciples' feet, He said to them, "If I, then, your Lord and Master, havewashed your feet; you, also, ought to wash one another's feet." Imitate this action of your Captain by rendering any servicethat you can to those who are your Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Seek their good for edification and be not easily provoked,but abound in that charity which "thinks no evil; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
Keep every command of your Master. I put the question to the conscience of everyone of you who profess to be Christ's soldiers.Is there any one of His commands that you know of that you have not kept? I will not mention one even if I could do so, butI ask you whether there is one command of Christ which you know is His command, which you have not kept? You may think thatthe command is only a little one, but the spirit which thinks it is little is not a little evil, but a great evil! If youget a small stone in your boot, you know how it affects you in walking-and a little thing on the conscience, no matter howlittle it is, causes great trouble in a Christian's life. Blisters, very painful ones, will be upon the spiritual foot ifthere is either an omission or a commission that is knowingly indulged in contrary to the command of Christ. We are not savedby our works, but when we are saved, we are saved from sin, saved from disobedience, saved from unholiness, saved from selfishness-saved in order that we may live no longer unto ourselves but unto Him that loved us and gave Himself for us.
(25 & 26). The last two articles in the list are these- "Deserts or attempts to desert from Her Majesty's Service; persuades,endeavors to persuade, procures, or attempts to procure anyperson subject to military law to desert from Her Majesty's Service.'"
Brothers and Sisters, you and I, when we enlisted in Christ's army, entered it for life, did we not? I never believed in anysystem of salvation which comes to an end. There are some who believe that you may be saved today and lost tomorrow. Well,if they like that sort of salvation, they are welcome to it! I do not want it, nor would I have it as a gift. But the salvationthat I received when I believed in Jesus Christ was everlasting salvation-that salvation of which the Apostle writes to theHebrews, "that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, whohave fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Many of us, like Paul, bear in our body the marks of the LordJesus. Does anyone ask, "Where are those marks?" Well, some of us have the watermark which has been buried with Christ byBaptism into death. That is the outside mark. And then in our hearts we have another mark which the Spirit put upon us inthat day when we passed from death unto life by His regenerating power. If these marks are really on us and in us, we shallnever desert from our Lord's service, but shall be faithful even unto death!
Possibly there is someone here who has turned back in the day of battle and become a deserter. Where are you, my Friend? Iam glad to see you once more, for it is a long while since you were last here. You used to be a member of the Church and youmade a great profession, but you know where you have been lately-you have been serving Satan. May God help you to desert fromthe devil's service and may you never go back to it again! If you ever were the servant of God, return, O Backslider, andreturn at once!-
"Return, O wanderer, to your home,
Your Father calls for thee!
No longer now an exile roam
In guilt and misery-
He that has been a mere professor and has turned back, must be branded, "Deserter." No, not on his flesh, but on his conscience,seared as with a hot iron! Some desert because they have grown rich and can no longer associate with poor Christian people.Some desert because they have become poor and they say they have no clothes fit to come in, as if any sort of clothes wereneeded beyond such as might cover a man decently! Any clothes, if they are paid for, are fit to wear to this place of worship!But let those who say they are too poor to come, remember that it is in poverty and in sickness that a man most needs theGospel and, therefore, the lower he gets in the world, the more closely he ought to cling to Christ! Yet, alas, there aresome who desert because of poverty, and some because of wealth. O you deserters, may the Lord have mercy upon you and grantthat you may not be real deserters, but may come back to the colors! Our Great Captain is ready to receive you and to forgiveyou, for He says, "Him that come to Me I will in no wise cast out." Yes, even though
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you are a deserter, if you do but come to Christ, He will receive you graciously, love you freely and His anger shall be turnedaway from you. God bless you, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.