The Chocolate Soldier
Heroism is the lost chord; the missing note of present-day Christianity!
Every true soldier is a hero! A soldier without heroism is a chocolate soldier! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? 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! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. 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, whom he counts among his bosom friends.
The otherwise Christian is a Chocolate Christian! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. "Sweeties" they are! Bonbons, lollipops! Living their lives on a glass dish or in a cardboard box, each clad in his soft clothing, a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little delicate constitution.
Here are some portraits of Chocolate Soldiers taken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
"He said, ‘I go sir,' and went not." He said he would go to the heathen, but he stuck fast to Christendom instead.
"They say and do not" — they tell others to go, and yet do not go themselves. "Never," said General Gordon to a corporal, as he himself jumped upon the parapet of a trench before Sebastopol to fix a gabion which the corporal had ordered a private to fix and would not fix himself, "Never tell another man to do what you are afraid to do yourself."
To the Chocolate Christian the very thought of war brings a violent attack of ague, while the call to battle always finds him with the palsy. …
"Thank the good Lord," said a very fragile, white-haired lady, "God never meant me to be a jellyfish!" She wasn't!
God never was a chocolate manufacturer, and never will be. …
A LION IN THE WAY
Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don't deter any but Chocolates from executing God's Will. When someone says there's a lion in the way, the real Christian promptly replies, "That's hardly enough inducement for me; I want a bear or two besides to make it worth my while to go.”
Chocolates are very fond of talking loud and long against some whom they call fanatics, as though there were any danger of Christians being fanatics nowadays! Why, fanatics among Christians are as rare as the "dodo." Now, if they declaimed against "tepidity," they would talk sense. God's real people have always been called fanatics. Jesus was called mad; so was Paul; so was Whitfield, Wesley, Moody, and 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 tepid 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 North or South 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." …
A SUBSTITUTE FOR OBEDIENCE
We Christians too often substitute prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good: but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is naught but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism. We need as many meetings for action as for prayer — perhaps more. Every orthodox prayer-meeting is opened by God saying to His people, "Go work today; pray that labourers be sent into My vineyard." It is continued by the Christian's response, "I go, Lord, whithersoever Thou sendest me, that Thy Name may be hallowed everywhere, that Thy Kingdom may come speedily, that Thy Will may be done on earth as in heaven." But if it ends in nobody going anywhere, it had better never have been held at all. Like faith, prayer without works is dead. That is why many prayer-meetings might well be styled "much cry, yet little wool." Zerubbabel didn't only hold prayer-meetings; he went and cut down trees, and started to build. Hence God said, "From this day will I bless thee."
Report says that someone has rediscovered the secret of the old masters. Cannot we Christians rediscover, and put into practice, that of our Great Master and His former pupils, Heroism? He and they saved not themselves; they loved not their lives to the death, and so kept on saving them by losing them for Christ's sake.
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. …
WILL YOU BE A CHRISTIAN OR A CHOCOLATE?
Wilt thou be to Christ the partner of His throne or an emetic (Revelation 3:21); a Militant or a Chocolate Christian? Wilt thou fear or wilt thou fight? Shall your brethren go to war and shall ye sit here? When He comes, shall He find faith on the earth?
A thousand times you have admitted Christ's
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands your life, your soul, your all.
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.