2 Timothy 2:3
You therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.