“Cowards never won heaven. Christ tries his children by their courage that dare look on the face of death and danger for his sake (Mark 8:34-35). How uncomely a sight is it to see a bold sinner and a fearful saint, one resolved to be wicked, and a Christian wavering in his holy course; to see guilt put innocence to flight and see hell keep the field, impudently braving it with displayed banners of open profaneness; [to see] saints hide their colors for shame, or from from them for fear, who should rather wrap themselves in them, and die upon the place, than thus betray the glorious name of God, which is called upon by them to the scorn of the uncircumcised. Take heart therefore, O ye saints, and be strong; your cause is good, God himself espouses your quarrel, who hath appointed you to his own Son, General of the field, called ‘the Captain of our salvation,’ (Hebrews 2:10).

He shall lead you on with courage, and bring you off with honor. He lived and died for you; he will live and die with you; for mercy and tenderness to his soldiers, none like him. Trajan, it is said, rented his clothes to bind up his soldiers’ wounds: Christ poured out his blood as a balm to heal his saints’ wounds; tears off his flesh to bind them up. For prowess, none compare with him. He never turned his head from danger. No, not when hell’s malice and heaven’s justice appeared in field against him, knowing all that should come upon him, He went forth and said, ‘Whom seek ye’ (John 28:4). For success insuperable, he never lost battle even when he lost his life. He won the field, carrying thereof in the triumphant chariot of his ascension to heaven with him, where he makes an open show of them to the unspeakable joy of saints and angels.

You march in the midst of gallant spirits, your fellow-soldiers every one the son of a Prince. Behold, some, enduring with you here below a great fight of afflictions and temptation, take heaven by storm and force. Others you may see after many assaults, repulses, and rallying of their faith and patience, got upon the walls of heaven, conquerers, as it were, look down and call you, their fellow-brethren on earth to march up the hill after them crying aloud: fall on, and the city is your own, as now it is ours, who for a few days’ conflict are now crowned with heaven’s glory, one moment’s enjoyment of which has dried up all our tears, healed up all our wounds, and made us forget the sharpness of the fight with the joy of present victory.”

Gurnall, William. (2016) The Christian in Complete Armor. Glasgow, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust.

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