Galatians 6:17

I. THE APOSTLE IS THE SERVANT OF CHRIST. The stigmata are the brands, the name of the master burnt on the slave. The most honoured of the apostles regards himself as the branded servant of Christ. To no higher honour can any Christian aspire. Christianity is living, not for self, but for Christ. We must all understand that Christ stands to us in the relation of a Master. Our part is to submit to his will. The supreme and peculiar Christian duty is obedience to Christ (John 14:21).

II. THE TRUE SERVANT OF CHRIST BEARS THE HARK OF HIS MASTER. St. Paul bore on his body the scars of the sufferings he had endured in the service of Christ. These plainly marked him as Christ's. Christians must all bear indications of Christ on their lives. It may be granted that St. Francis was none the better for having the wound-marks as of the nails of the cross in his hands and feet. Yet this strange condition was the last proof of his passionate identification of himself with Christ in thought and will and affection. So the Christian must ever have the Name of Jesus upon him in the Christ-likeness of his life. It is useless to have it merely on the tongue; it must be on the body, i.e. on the life.

III. THE MARKS OF CHRIST COME THROUGH SUFFERING FOR CHRIST. Thus St. Paul received his. They were brands burnt in by fiery trials. Suffering for Christ proves our fidelity to him and brings out our Christ-likeness of character. They who are like the rocky soil and receive the Word with joy, but cannot withstand persecution, may sing of the sweetness of the Name of Jesus in sentimental hymns; but they have no such Name branded on their persons. After all their enthusiasm has evaporated, we see nothing but self left. The Christian must deny himself for Christ. His life may not be so hard as St. Paul's. Rarely has such hardship been known as the great apostle endured; rarely have the brands been burnt so deep with such cruel fires. Yet all must have an experience that is similar in kind, though perhaps far less in degree. The sufferer, however, may console himself with the thought that the more fiery the trial he endures for Christ becomes, the deeper will be the sacred marks of the Name of Jesus upon him. For nothing makes us so Christ-like and nothing binds us so near to Christ as patient suffering and toil for his sake. This suggests the fear that it is no easy thing to be a Christian. Certainly to be a true Christian such as St. Paul was is not easy; it is the depth of self-renunciation and the height of arduous fidelity. Count the cost, then. Look at the irons ready to brand the Name of Jesus before consenting to become his servant. But look also on the other side, at what he suffered for us and at the glory of his service.

IV. THE BRANDS OF SERVICE SHOULD BE THE SECURITY OF THE SERVANT OF CHRIST. With such marks upon him, how dare any man trouble the apostle by questioning his authority? Suffering for Christ should be a confirmation of our faith to others. It should also be a security against the danger of unfaithfulness. How can he who bears the Name of Jesus thus conspicuously burnt in by hard trial and long service forsake his Master? Such brands should be eternal. - W.F.A.







From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
A man who is growing old claims for himself in these words the freedom and responsibility of his own life. He asks that he may work out his own career uninterfered with by the criticism of his brethren. He bids them stand aside and leave him to the Master whom he serves, and by whom he must be judged. How natural that demand is I How we all long at times to make it! How every man, even if he dare not claim it now, looks forward to some time when it must be made. He knows the time will come when, educated perhaps for that moment by what his brethren's criticism has done for him, he will be ready, and it will be his duty to turn aside and leave that criticism unlistened to and say: "From henceforth let no man trouble me. Now I must live my own life. I understand it best. You must stand aside and let me go the way where God is leading me." When a man is heard saying that, his fellow-men look at him and they can see how he is saying it. They know the difference between a wilful and selfish independence, and a sober, earnest sense of responsibility. They can tell when the man really has a right to claim his life; and if he has, they will give it to him. They will stand aside and not dare to interfere while he works it out with God.

(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

Magnificent outburst of a heart filled to the overflow with the spirit of impassioned consecration. The man who utters it has made up his mind so firmly that he is conscious there is not the faintest possible chance of his ever changing his determination. He has come to so certain and final a conclusion that he tells those around: "You may as well save yourselves the trouble of ever arguing with me or seeking to alter me. I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. And these marks are only so many seals upon a resolution deliberately taken, and so awfully intense in its nature, that you may as well argue with a rock, and expect to move it by force of your logic, as anticipate effecting the slightest alteration in my determined purpose." It is the language of a wholly consecrated man. He has now given himself up to his Master without reserve. All in Paul belongs to Christ. There is not an atom of his manhood now which he feels he can claim as his own. It is lost time, lost trouble, and lost energy, for any to attempt to change his decision, or make him swerve to the right hand or to the left. "Let no man trouble me. I am given, up to Christ, and I bear His brand upon me." The word he uses is "stigmata." "I bear the stigmata of the Lord Jesus." This was the brand the slave used to wear, to show he was the property of his master. If you look at the context, you will see how magnificent a climax this verse forms. Throughout the Epistle St. Paul had been arguing with a Church that had yielded him but little joy. He seems now virtually to say, "I have taught you the gospel, I have preached Christ to you. Yea, I have so preached Him that He has been evidently set forth crucified before your eyes. I have denounced the folly of circumcision in the flesh. I have used every possible means to lead you wholly, solely, to Christ. Now you must take your own way. I cannot do more. I cannot say more. But be it known unto you, O Galatians, whichever way you may go, I cannot follow you if you go adrift from the gospel; for God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." The text is the language of a man who has not only hoisted his colours, but also deliberately nailed them to the mast. He has driven the nails right through. Pulled down those colours never can be. Displayed on any other masthead, never. "Christ is my Master, and Christ alone. For Him I live; for Him, if necessary, I will die. Let none attempt to make me swerve. I am past hope of change."

(A. G. Brown.)

It was the custom, in those days of darkness and cruelty, to prick or brand upon the body of a slave some distinctive letter or other mark of ownership, by which he might be deterred from attempting flight, or quickly traced and reclaimed in the event of his escape. More especially was this brand used in cases of theft or crime; as a mark of disgrace, a perpetual badge of degradation and contempt. In either case it stamped a poor, fallen, outcast creature as what he was; a slave at least — a man who through the misfortune of his birth or his country had never possessed, or had forfeited, the right of free will and free agency; perhaps one who through his own fault had sunk lower still, and had added to the involuntary misery of servitude the culpable appendage of crime and ignominy. To "bear in his body the marks" of any one, was to carry about with him everywhere one or both of the two reproaches. This man is a slave, and, This man is a convict. And was St. Paul then not ashamed to apply to himself such a figure? Was St. Paul some poor degraded being, who cared not whether he was a slave or a freeman, an innocent man or a criminal? We must draw a distinction here. The essence of slavery is to have no free will; to be the possession, the property, of another; to enjoy nothing, to have nothing, to do nothing, and to be nothing, save at the beck, command, will, of another. A dreadful state, if that other be a man like myself. But suppose my master be my Creator, Redeemer, Lord, and God. Suppose me His by a right antecedent to my being, a right only to be set aside by my self-abandonment and self-ruin. Will it then be any disgrace to bear His mark in my body, or to be incapable of severing myself from His all-watchful and all-beneficent ownership? St. Paul thought not.

(Dean Vaughan.)

He was growing an old man. Anybody who looked at him saw his body covered with the signs of pain and care. The haggard, wrinkled face, the bent figure, the trembling hands; the scars which he had worn since the day when they beat him at Philippi, since the day when they stoned him at Lystra, since the day when he was shipwrecked at Melita; all these had robbed him for ever of the fresh, bright beauty which he had had once when he sat, a boy, at the feet of old Gamaliel. He was stamped and marked by life. The wounds of his conflicts, the furrows of his years, were on him. And all these wounds and furrows had come to him since the great change of his life. They were closely bound up with the service of his Master, to whom he had given himself at Damascus. Every scar must have still quivered with the earnestness of the words of Christian loyalty which brought the blow that made it. See what he calls these scars, then. "The marks of the Lord Jesus." He had a figure in his mind. He was thinking of the way in which a master branded his slaves. Burnt into their very flesh they carried the initial of their master's name, or some other sign that they belonged to him, that they were not their own. That mark on the slave's body forbade any other but his own master to touch him or compel his labour. It was the sign at once of his servitude to one master, and of his freedom from all others.

(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

I. The text is an expression of that rest in love which those alone can have whose "life is hid with Christ in God." The immediate motive of its utterance here is a certain sense of powerlessness in swaying the minds of others. What is argument to him? What is the judgment of man? What is any outward evidence? Has he not within the surest of all proof, the experience of the highest faith? "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus Christ."

II. What are the "marks" here signified? Whatever they are, no doubt they are proofs that he is Christ's, and Christ is his. But what are they? Elsewhere, he speaks of his labours and sufferings in the cause of Christ; and that too on an occasion like the present, when some were disparaging him, and making invidious comparisons between himself and the earlier apostles. He is obliged to say in his own cause, "I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles." Then he speaks of his severe sufferings as signs of his apostleship. Are these uppermost in his mind now? I think not. Again, he speaks to the Corinthians of the vision vouch. safed to him — "How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." And he concludes, "In nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds." Is it to the same that he is referring now? Or, once more, does he allude to the many converts whom he had made, signs, if there be any, that Christ is with him? Well might his heart rest in thoughts like this, as when he wrote to the Church at Corinth — "Though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel;" "And the seal of my apostleship are ye in the Lord." Or when he calls the Philippians "my brethren, dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown." Is this the mark of the Lord Jesus which he looks at, and takes comfort at the sight? No. I think not. It is something closer to him than this. Sufferings may find a man and leave a man separate from Christ: "Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it is nothing." Of visions he says, "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory;" and lest he should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given unto him a thorn in the flesh. Of miracles and mighty works, One greater than Paul said — "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." And as to making converts, here is his own solemn caution, "Lest when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." What are these marks? They are the stigmata, the marks (as the Greeks would say, whose word it was), burnt into a slave, the brand set on a runaway slave: a sign graven upon the very body, as inseparable as a birth-mark; one that has indeed been imposed in after years, and by another hand, but now become part and parcel of the man himself, as his own flesh and bone. They are the stigmata, the marks (as Christians would say, in memory of Him who bore them on Himself), of Christ their Master: His marks on their body, as signs that they are members of His Body, in all purity and chastity and holiness, as being "temples of the Holy Ghost;" His marks on their temper, as those who have taken up their cross and borne it after Him in self-denial and mortification, in patience, in forgiveness, in humility, in cheerfulness; His marks on their soul, as being set free from condemnation by the atoning mercy of the Saviour, as being made partakers of the precious fruits of His sacrifice upon the cross — the mark of justification, and the mark of sanctification — the imputed righteousness of Christ, the imparted and inherent righteousness wrought in them by the Holy Ghost: His marks on their spirit, being full of all spiritual affections — love, joy, peace, patience, amid the trials of earth, longing for the security of heaven, the present enjoyment of an almost perfect rest in the arms of God; in short, "a life hid with Christ in God."

III. In the next place observe, that this is not an unusual thought with St. Paul, and will not admit of being explained away as a momentary instance of highly-wrought enthusiasm. It was his life! Did it seem to any a mischievous intrusion of imagination into holy things, to speak of love imagining the Saviour's wounds to be traced in the Christian's heart? Then how do you read St. Paul's words to the Colossians — "I, Paul, who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh;" or these to the Philippians — "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death;" and again to the Galatians — "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ that liveth in me"? These are the marks branded by the fire of God's love upon his heart. "What marks have I of the Lord Jesus?" and again, "Without these marks will Christ know me for His own?" They are brands burnt into the very body, so no outward thing will satisfy; nothing that your hands have done, nothing that the world can measure, for it is beneath all the dress and apparel of a so-called religious life, of which the world takes cognizance. They are part and parcel of yourself, so they can be nothing which can be taken up and laid down at will. Think how great is the risk of self-deceit; because that mark is not genuine unless it be found in the very inmost circle of your life.

(G. W. Furse, M. A.)

What a testimony does the outward man give to the inner life — the body becomes the tell-tale of the soul! We bear in our body the brand of the master whom we serve. The horny hand of the labourer tells that he is the slave of unceasing, unpitying toil. The dinted brow of the merchant declares what master it is that sits over him in the counting-house as he pores over his ledger, and anxiously balances his gains and losses. The thoughtful features of the student reveal his servitude to a higher master — the love of knowledge and truth. The sailor's weather-beaten brow, the soldier's scars or dismembered frame, tell of a more arduous service; and a grateful country can confer on them no decoration more honourable than those which they have already themselves acquired. On many a once robust and comely frame sickness and pain, or grief or anxiety, have wrought their work, have set their seal, too deeply as we are apt to think. In others the wrinkled countenance, the trembling hands, the whitening hair, the dim eye, the dull ear, are signs of the submission that we. must all make to the universal law of God, the law of Nature — not to be repined at, not to be evaded, however heavily it may weigh upon us. But there are disfigurements of the poor body which betoken no such honourable or natural servitude. There are marks to be seen deeply stamped on cheek and lip and eye, signs of sottishness and sensuality, signs that the body, which was formed to be a temple of the Holy Spirit, is given over to be the slave of selfish indulgence, of appetites and passions that are meant to serve, not to rule. If the life has been given to God's service, and the soul has been filled with the love of Christ, our will subjected to His will, our spirit pervaded by His Spirit, intent on the fulfilment of His gracious purposes towards ourselves and all mankind, there will scarcely fail to be some outward signs, in the meek and chastened deportment, in the melting voice and kindling eye — the doors and windows of the soul — through which even the careless observer may become aware of the purity of the spirit that dwells within, of the Master who rules it, and who in return for the service which He asks gives peace and joy, and the sense of perfect freedom. And we may be sure, however they may be overlooked or looked down upon by us, these ornaments of the outer man are in the sight of God of great price. They are in part a fulfilment of the command which the apostle gives us, that we should endeavour to glorify God in our body as well as our spirit, for both are God's, created by Him for His glory, owned by Him now in their low estate, to be hereafter blessed and purified by Him, so as to partake of His glory. And they whose spirits are now increasing in grace and holiness, which shine through their earthly tabernacle, they make the poor body, be it ever so much a wreck from age, from sickness, or from pain — they make it more beautiful before God than the most perfect youthful form, marred as yet by no suffering, chastened by no trials, not convinced of sin, of righteousness, or of the judgment to come.

(Prebendary Humphrey.)

American Homiletic Review.
I. THE WORD-PICTURE HERE PRESENTED.

1. The figure, "slave brands."

2. The facts (1 Corinthians 4:9, 15; 2 Corinthians 11:23, 30).

3. The challenge.

II. THE SUGGESTION THE PICTURE MAKES.

1. He who follows the Lord Jesus must expect that some will try to "trouble" him.

2. He whose "marks" are most conspicuous will be troubled the least.

3. He who has "marks" may take comfort in knowing how much his Master paid for him.

4. He who is owned may remember that his Master owns and recognizes the "marks" also.

5. He that has no "marks" is either a better or a poorer Christian than St. Paul.

6. Satan outwits himself when he gives a believer more "marks."

7. A sure day is coming when the "marks" will be honourable.

(American Homiletic Review.)

Here is a man whose body shows the signs of toil and care. I will not read the long, familiar catalogue. The whitened hair, the cautious step, the dulness in the eye, the forehead seamed with thought; you know them all, you watch their coming in your friend, you feel their coming in yourself. What do they mean? In the first and largest way they mean life. The difference between this man and the baby, in whose soft flesh there are no branded marks like these, is that this man has lived. But then they mean also all that life has meant; and life, below its special circumstances, always means the mastery in obedience to which all the actions have been done and all the character has taken shape. For instance, here among the white careworn features there are certain lines which tell, beyond all misunderstanding, that this man has struggled and has had to yield. Somewhere or other, sometime or other, he has tried to do something which he very much wanted to do, and failed. As clear as the scratches on the rock which make us sure that the glacier has ground its way along its face, so clearly this man lets us know that he has been pressed and crushed and broken by a weight which was too strong for him. What was that weight? If it were only disappointment, then these marks are the marks of simple failure. If the weight were laid on him as punishment, then these marks are marks of sin. If it were a weight of culture, then the marks are marks of education. If the weight was the personal hand of the Lord Jesus Christ teaching the man that his own will must be surrendered to the will of a Lord to whom he belonged; if the Lord Jesus Christ has been drawing him away from every other obedience to His obedience; then these marks which he bears in his body are the marks of the Lord Jesus. It is as if a master, seeking for his sheep, found him all snarled and tangled in a thicket, clinging to and clung to by the thorns and cruel branches. He unsnarls him with all tenderness, but the poor captive cannot escape without wounds. He even clings himself to the thorns that hold him, and so is wounded all the more. When the rescue is complete and the master stands with his sheep in safety, he looks down on him and says, "I need not brand you more. These wounds which have come in your rescue will be for ever signs that you belong to me. No other sheep will carry scars just like them, for every sheep's wanderings, and so every sheep's wounds, are different from every other's. Their pain will pass away, but the tokens of the trials through which I brought you to my service will remain. They shall declare that you are mine. You shall bear in your body my marks for ever."

(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)

These "brands" were used —

1. In the case of domestic slaves. With these, however, branding was not usual, at least among the Greeks and Romans, except to mark such as had attempted to escape, or had otherwise misconducted themselves, and such brands were held a badge of disgrace.

2. Slaves attached to some temple, or persons devoted to the service of some deity were so branded.

3. Captives were so treated in very rare cases.

4. Soldiers sometimes branded the name of their commander on some part of their body. The metaphor here is most appropriate, if referred to the second of these classes. Such a practice at all events cannot have been unknown in a country which was the home of the worship of Cybele.

(Bishop Lightfoot.)

Although the first and the chief meaning of "stigmata" is the brand the slave bore to show that he was the property of another, yet the word also meant any scar, and I am inclined to think that the apostle had this also in his mind when he said, "Don't you trouble me. I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus." There were the weals — the red lines-through the scourgings. There were the bruises through the stonings. I think Paul says to all, "It is no use your trying to turn me back. You are not talking to any young recruit. I have fought in the battle. I have been wounded in the conflict. I have tried and tested my Captain in actual war. Look at the scars I have on me." And methinks his eyes would flash as he would say, "Yes, I have scars already, and I am willing to have a great many more. Why, look at what I have suffered for Him. Do you think I am going to give Him up now? Look at what I have endured for Him. Do you think that, after bearing all the scourgings and buffetings and loneliness that I have, I am likely to be turned on one side now?" He was proud of his scars. Do you see what a beautiful expression it is — "the marks of the Lord Jesus? We may say, Paul, it is a most disgraceful thing to be whipped. Why, you have on your back the brand of infamy." He only smiles and says, "No, I have on my back the marks of the Lord Jesus." "Why, Paul, look at your wrist; there is a deep, blue line round it where the manacle has been. You have the mark of the fetter on you." Says the apostle: "You mistake it; I have the mark of the Lord Jesus." He looked upon these scars as so many badges of honour. Go, walk through Greenwich Hospital tomorrow, or go down to Chelsea and talk to some of the old pensioners. Are they ashamed of their scars? Why, I remember how a few months back we had, at one of our meetings, a brother who had served in the Crimean war, and he showed me how a bayonet had gone in here and come out there; how there was a mark in his arm where a ball had gone right through, and a scar in his face where the sword had cut. I think he told me that he had about twenty scars on him, and his eyes flashed fire as he told the story. And have not you, brethren, some marks of the Lord Jesus of this sort? Have not you been wounded in conflicts willingly endured for the Master's sake? Have not you known what it is to be jeered at for Christ's sake? Have you not had to stand a rattling artillery of scoffs in your workshop? Have not some of you deep scars now through being cruelly misrepresented, and you knew it was for Christ's sake? I will say to you as Paul said to the Church at Galatia, "Have you suffered so many things in vain, if it be yet in vain?" Oh, by the scars of the past, I pray you be heroes in the present. I demand of you a complete consecration. Will you yield to the demand which He here makes by me? If some of us have had to say, "Lord, I am afraid that the mark is not as clear as it used to be," then I will tell you what we had better do. We had better go and kneel down at His feet, and say, "Lord Jesus, brand us anew. Put Thy mark on us again. Thine we are, and on Thy side. Brand us. Put the iron upon us, though it burn us. Oh, do not listen to our cries, but put a deep indelible mark, so that in business life, in home life, in church life, men and women shall say, 'Lo, there are men who carry the stigmata of their Lord upon them.'" May God fill us with this holy impassioned earnestness — this sense of having taken an irretrievable step, which shall lead us to say to all about us, "From henceforth let no man trouble me. From henceforth clear the road, for I bear in my body the brand of the Lord Jesus." The Lord put His brand on us afresh for His name's sake. Amen.

(A. G. Brown.)

A slave once carried a message written in punctures on the skin of his head, which had been previously shaved bare to receive the writing. When his hair was grown so as to hide the letter, he went unsuspected; and the person to whom the message was sent, having shaved the letter-carrier's head, read the message. The slave in old times often carried in his body (as the poor slave does still where slavery is rampant) the marks of his master, just as the sailor in our own time loves to have printed on his arm the initials of his own name and ship, the figure of his crucified Redeemer, or the anchor and cable. St. Paul carried in his body the marks of the master to whom he belonged. The weals made by the Roman lictor's rods, with which he was thrice beaten; the red lines of those two hundred stripes which had been laid on him in the Jewish synagogues; the scars left by the stones which had bruised and beaten him down, so that he was left for dead, — these "marks of the Lord Jesus he carried with him, the proofs as to whose he was and whom he served."

The biographer of St. Francis of Assisi says, that after having fasted for forty days in his solitary cell, and passed the time in a fervour of prayer and ecstatic contemplation, transported almost to heaven by the ardour of his desires — then he beheld, as it were, a seraph with six shining wings, bearing down upon him from above, and between his wings was the form of a man crucified. By this he understood to be figured a heavenly and immortal intelligence, subject to death and humiliation. And it was manifested to him that he was to be transformed into a resemblance to Christ, not by the martyrdom of the flesh, but by the might and fire of Divine love. When the vision had disappeared, and he had recovered a little from its effects, it was seen that in his hands, feet, and side, he carried the wounds of the Saviour.

When the Spartan king advanced against the enemy, he had always with him some one that had been crowned in the public games of Greece. And they tell us that a Lacedaemonian, when large sums were offered him on condition that he would not enter the Olympic lists, refused them. Having with much difficulty thrown his antagonists in wrestling, one put this question to him, "Spartan, what will you get by this victory?" He answered with a smile, "I shall have the honour to fight foremost in the ranks of my prince." The honour which appertains to office in the Church of God lies mainly in this — that the man who is set apart for such service has the privilege of being first in holiness of example, abundance of liberality, patience of long-suffering, zeal in effort, and self-sacrifice in service.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE MARKS — slave brands.

1. The body of the Christian is itself a badge of servitude to Christ.

2. Baptism is another.

3. So is bodily persecution and mental.

II. THE INFERENCE TO BE DRAWN.

1. No man can legitimately doubt our Christianity and therefore need not be told about it.

2. We need not trouble ourselves, we ever bear the incontestible evidences of being Christ's.In conclusion:

1. Let no man infer that singularity makes a Christian.

2. The reward of bearing the marks.

(1)Hope.

(2)Happiness.

(Dean Vaughan.)

1. The crown of thorns pierces his head when his sinful conceits are mortified.

2. His lips are drenched with vinegar and gall, when sharp and severe restraints are given to his tongue.

3. His hands and feet are nailed when he is, by the power of God's Spirit, disabled to the wonted courses of sin.

4. His body is stripped when all colour and pretences are taken away from him.

5. His heart is pierced when the life-blood of his formerly. reigning corruptions is let out.

(Bishop Hall.)

When North America was merely an English colony the very timber of the country was sorted out, and wherever a valiant pine or noble oak, fit for the masts or for the ribs of ships was found, the arrow — the Broad Arrow as it was called — was stamped upon it. The tree was in no respect different, dendrologically speaking, after the arrow was put on from what it was before; but when people saw the Broad Arrow on the tree they said, "That is the king's"; or, "It does not belong to us: it belongs to the king"; and it had attached to it a sense of royalty, a sense of appropriation; and it took to itself something of the dignity which belongs to real royalty. Now it is not an arrow; it is a cross that is stamped on us — the sign and symbol of the purchase of suffering, by which we are Christ's and manifest it to the world.

(H. W. Beecher.)

As it is a glory to a soldier to have received many wounds and to have many scars in his prince's quarrel, and for the defence of his country; so it is a glory for the Christian soldier to have the marks of the Lord Jesus in his body, as of wounds, scourges, and imprisonments for the truth. But if these be the glory of Christ's servants, what shall we say of those who not only have their consciences seared as with a hot iron, but have the marks of Bacchus and Venus in their bodies.

(R. Cudworth.)

The well-defined spiritual life is not only the highest life, but it is also the most easily lived. The whole cross is more easily carried than the half. It is the man who tries to make the best of both worlds who makes nothing of either. And he who seeks to serve two masters misses the benediction of both. But he who takes his stand, who has drawn a boundary line, sharp and deep, about his religious life, who has marked off all beyond as for ever forbidden ground to him, finds the yoke easy and the burden light. So even here to die is gain.

(H. Drummond, M. A.)

John Clark, of Meldon, in France, being for Christ's sake whipped three several days, and afterwards having a mark set in his forehead, as a note of infamy, his mother beholding it, encouraged her son, crying with a loud voice, Vivet Christus ajusque insignia," "Blessed be Christ, and welcome be these prints and marks of Christ." I conclude this discourse with that saying of Pericles, "It is not gold, precious stones, statues, that adorn a soldier, but a torn buckler, a cracked helmet, a blunt sword, a scarred face." Sceva is renowned for this, that at the siege of Dyrrachium he so long alone resisted Pompey's army that he had two hundred and twenty darts sticking in his shield, and lost one of his eyes, and yet gave not over till Caesar came to his rescue.

(Trapp.)

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Galatians 6:16
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