The Chocolate Soldier
Or, The Lost Chord of Christianity by C.T. Studd
HEROISM is the lost chord; the missing note of present-day Christianity!
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 – 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 soldier! 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.
“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 wouldn’t 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. “I really cannot move,” he says. “I only wish I could, but I can sing, and here are some of my favourite lines:
‘I must be carried to the skies
On a flowery bed of ease,
Let others fight to win the prize,
or sail thro’ bloody seas.
Mark time, Christian heroes,
Never go to war;
Stop and mind the babies
Playing on the floor.
Wash and dress and feed them
Forty times a week.
Til they’re roly poly,
Puddings so to speak.
Chorus: Round and round the nursery
Let us ambulate;
Sugar and spice and all that’s nice
Must be on our slate.’
God never meant me to be a jelly-fish! God’s men are always heroes.
Noah walked with God; he didn’t only preach righteousness, he acted it. He breasted the current of the popular opinion of his day, scorning alike the hatred and ridicule of the scoffers who mocked at the thought of there being but one way of salvation. Noah was untainted by the fear of man.
Abraham, a simple farmer, at a word from the Invisible God, marched, with family and stock, through the terrible desert to a distant land to live among a people whose language he could neither speak nor understand!
Not bad that! But later he did even better, marching hot foot against the combined armies of five kings, flushed with recent victory, to rescue one man! His army? Just 318 odd fellows, armed like a circus crowd. And he won too! “He always wins who sides with God.” What pluck! Only a farmer! No war training! Yet what hero has eclipsed his feat? His open secret? He was THE FRIEND OF GOD.
Moses – scholar, general, law-giver, leader – brought up as the emperor’s grandson with more than a good chance of coming to the throne. “Refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, he chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin and success for a season, accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”
To liberate Pharaoh’s slaves from right under his very nose, and to lead them across that great and terrible wilderness. A WILD-CAT AFFAIR.
Look at Jordan, Jericho, Gideon, Goliath, and scores of others. Real Christians revel in desperate ventures for Christ, expecting from God great things, and attempting the same with exhilaration. History cannot match these feats of Moses.
Again I see the old grey-beard descending the Mount with giant strides and rushing into the camp, his eyes blazing like burning coals. One man against three million dancing dervishes drunk with debauchery.
“If God be for me who can be against me? I will not be afraid of 10,000 of the people that have set themselves against me. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear.”
David – the man after God’s own heart – was a man of war and a mighty man of valour. When all Israel were on the run, David faced Goliath – alone… with God – and he but a stripling, and well scolded too by his brother for having come to see the battle. As though David would go to see a battle and not stay to fight! They are chocolate soldiers who merely go to see battles, and coolly urge others to fight them.
No! David went to the battle and stayed to fight, and won! Wise beyond his years, he had no use for Saul’s armour. It cramped his freedom of action. He tried it on and took it off, quick sharp.
The Chocolates ran away – but David ran upon Goliath. David’s secret was that he had but one Director, and He, the Infallible One. “He shall teach you all things, He shall guide you into all the truth.”
“This is My Beloved Son: Hear Him.”
“One Mediator only, between God and Man, the man Christ Jesus.”
One Director of Christian men – God the Holy Ghost. Whose directions require indeed instant obedience, but not the endorsement of any man.
Whence did this raw youth derive his pluck and skill? Not from military camps, nor theological schools, nor religious retreats. “To know the only true God and Jesus Christ,” is enough. Paul determined to know only Jesus Christ, and look at the grand result! Whilst others were learning pretty theories, David, like John, had been alone with God in the wilds, practicing on bears and lions. He knew God and did exploits. He knew God only. He trusted God only. He obeyed God only. That’s the secret. God alone gives strength.
Yet hero as he was, even David (alas!) once played the role of Chocolate Soldier. He stayed at home when he should have gone to war. His army, far off, in danger, fighting the enemy, won. David, at home, secure, within sight of God’s house and often going there, suffered the one great defeat of his life, entailing such a bitter, life-long reaping as might well deter others from the folly of sowing wild oats. David’s sin is a terrific sermon (like Lot’s preaching in Sodom must have been), its theme – “Don’t be a chocolate soldier!”
In his simple, quick and full confession, David proved himself a man again. It takes a real man to make a true confession – a chocolate soldier will excuse or cloak his sin. He tumbles in the mud, flounders on, wipes his mouth to try to get the bad taste of his acted lie out of it, and then goes on his way saying “I have done no wickedness.” A self-murdering fool! Killing his conscience to save his face like Balaam beating the donkey who sought to save his master’s life. Being a Chocolate Soldier nearly did for David. Beware!
Nathan was another real Christian Soldier. He went to his king and rebuked him to his face, like Peter’s dealing with Ananias (only David embraced his opportunity and confessed), and unlike the Chocolate Soldiers of today who go whispering about and refusing either to judge, rebuke, or put away evil.
As though God’s cause would suffer more through a bold declaration and defense of the truth and the use of the knife, than by the hiding up of sin, and the certain development of mortification in the member.
We are badly in need of Nathans today, who fear God and nought else.
Daniel was another hero. I love to watch him as he walks, with firm step and radiant face, to the lions’ den. God shut the mouths of the lions against Daniel, but opened them wide against those who had opened their mouths against His servant.
A man is known by his works, and the works of Daniel were his three friends, who, rather than bow down to men or gold, braved the fiery furnace. There he stands before the king, braving torture or instant death – but it’s the king who quails, not Daniel – who tells him to his face the whole hot truth of God, diminishing not a jot.
John the Baptist – man taught and made and sent of God. He always told the bang flat truth, with emphasis.
The leaders of religion sent to John to ask him, “By what authority doest thou these (good) things?” John’s answer was plain and pungent, “I am nobody, but ye and your masters are a generation of vipers.”
Thus also he faced Herod after six months in an underground dungeon. “Thou shalt not have that woman to be thy wife.” A whole sermon in one sentence, as easy to remember as impossible to forget.
John received the unique distinction of a first-class character from both God and the agent of the devil. Hark to the Saviour indulging in an outburst of exquisite sarcasm, “What think ye of John? A reed shaken by the wind? A man clothed in soft raiment?”
“A prophet? Nay, much more than a prophet! Of men born of women there is none greater than John.” And what did the devil’s agent say when, after John’s death, he heard of Jesus? “This,” I tell you, “is John risen from the dead.” What a character! Fancy Jesus being mistaken for anyone! John was a man – pure granite right through, with not a grain of chocolate in him.
Yet Christ said, referring to His subsequent gift of the Holy Ghost to every believer, “He that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he,” intimating that even greater powers than those of John are at the disposal of every Christian, and that what John was each one of us can be – good, straight, bold, unconquerable, heroic.
But here are other foot tracks – outrageous ones: they can belong only to one man – that grandest of Christian paradoxes – the little giant Paul. Once he thought and treated every Christian as a combination of knave and fool. Then he became one himself. He was called “fool” because his acts were so far beyond the dictates of human reason, and “mad” because of his irresponsible fiery zeal for Christ and men. A first-class scholar, but one who knew how to use scholarship properly; for he put it on the shelf, declaring the wisdom of men to be but folly, and determined to know nothing else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The result – he made the world turn somersault. His life was a perpetual gamble for God. Daily he faced death for Christ. Again and again he stood fearless before crowds thirsting for his blood. He stood before kings and governors and “turning not a hair.” He didn’t so much as flinch before Nero, that vice-president of hell. His sufferings were appalling; read them. He trod in his Master’s footsteps, and so received – God is always just in His favours – the same splendid compliment that Jesus did. “All forsook him.” So there were some Chocolate Christians in those days too.
Doubtless the “Chocolates” excused themselves as they do today. “Who could abide such a fanatical, fiery fool? Such an uncompromising character? Nobody could work with him, or he with them!” A tactless enthusiast, who considered it his business to tell every man the unvarnished truth regardless of consequences. He won his degree hands down. A first-class one, too – that of a headman’s axe – next best to that of the cross.
And so the tale goes on. Go where you will through the Scriptures or history, you find that men who really know God, and didn’t merely say they did, were invariably Paragons of Pluck; Dare-Devil Desperadoes for Jesus; Gamblers for God. “Fools and Madmen,” shout the world and the Chocolates. “Yes, for Christ’s sake,” add the Angels!
The Chocolate Christians of today are Chocolates a la Reuben, who have great searchings of heart, and make great resolves of heart too. But somehow they still sit among the sheepfolds, listening to the pipings of their much-loved organs and church choirs. It’s good to have a great heart searching. It’s better to make a great heart-resolve. But, if instead of obeying, we squat among the sheep, leaving our few hard-pressed brethren to tackle the wolves by themselves, verily we are but Chocolate Christians. You made a great resolve to go to Africa for Christ a year or two ago. Where are you now? In England? Yes! Yes! Lollipop! (Judges 5:16).
There are Chocolates Meroz, who earned the curse of the angel of the Lord. War was declared; the battle about to begin; the odds were outrageous, and Meroz remained in England attending conventions until the battle was over, then he went, in comfort and security, as a Cook’s tourist! Doubtless they said, “They couldn’t fight till they had been properly ordained, and, besides, there was so very much to be done in fat, overfed Meroz, and surely to feed a flock of fat sheep in a safe place has always been considered the ideal training for war.” As though the best training for the soldier was to become a nurse maid!!! (Judges 5:23)
Chocolate Du Balaam would look at earth and mammon and Miss Popularity. He ought to have done as God told him, and plucked it out. But he said that was too much to ask of any man, and besides he wanted the best of both worlds. He had a hearty desire to die the death of the righteous, but he wasn’t willing to pay the price of a righteous life.
Chocolate Demas left old fiery hard-hitting Paul for an easier path.
Mark joined the Chocolate Brigade once. He left Paul and Barnabas in the lurch, and went back to Jerusalem for a rest cure – a religious retreat. Thank God he got sick of it ere long, resigned his commission, and re-enlisting in God’s army became a useful soldier (Acts 13:13).
Old prophets who have lost their fire, or fire off words instead of deeds, usually become Great Chocolate Manufacturers.
The floor of Christendom and elsewhere is littered with wrecks made by old prophets. God won’t stand nonsense from any man. Every man has to choose between Christ and Barrabas, and every Christian between God and some old prophet. Better be a silly donkey in the estimation of an old prophet than listen to his soft talk and flattery, and afterwards become a wreck.
You say you believe the Bible! Do your deeds give the lie to your words? (1 Kings 13).
The ten spies were chocolates. They melted and ran over the whole congregation of Israel, turning them into Chocolate creams – “softies”, afraid to face the fire and water before them. God put them all into the saucepan again and boiled them for forty years in the desert, and left them there. He has no use for Chocolates. For He said, “Your little ones shall inherit the promised land which you have forfeited through listening to men and despising Me.” (Numbers 13).
Jonah became a Chocolate Soldier once. Told to go to Africa, he went to Liverpool and took ship for America. Luckily he met a storm and a whale, which, after three days’ instruction, taught him how to pray and obey, and set him once again on the right track (Jonah 1).
Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don’t deter any but Chocolates from executing God’s Will. When some say 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, Spurgeon. No one has graduated far in God’s School who has not been paid the compliment of being called a fanatic. Had we but half the fire and enthusiasm, we would have the world evangelised 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 daredevil 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. “Shame” on us Christians, who generally brand the braving of risks and fighting against odds as a “tempting of God.”
Chocolate Caramels – “sticky jaw,” boys call them – jawing, “I go, sir,” and sticking fast in Christendom. No conquest is made in assured safety, and conquest for Christ certainly cannot so be made.
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. 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 it is 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.
Re-discover the secret. 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, for “close action” flying.
When “Instant Obedience” and “Fiery Valour” are missing, Heroism is an impossibility.
Do let us make a real start now – at once. We must divorce Chocolate and Disobedience and marry Faith and Heroism. The Apostles led in the war of God to the uttermost parts of the earth. Likewise in the Crusades, the kings and princes of State and Church led; then why not today in the Crusade of Christ to evangelise the world?
God’s summons today is to the young men and women who call themselves by the Name of Christ:
Listen: “And it shall be in the last days, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions (of faith), your old men shall dream dreams (of valorous obedience); yea, and on My bondmen and on My bondmaidens in those days will I pour forth of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy; and I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth beneath; and it shall be that whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.”
But how can they call on Him of whom they have not even heard? Must you stay, young man? Can’t you go, young woman, and tell them?
Wilt thou fear or wilt thou fight? Shall your brethren go to war and shall ye sit here? When He comes, shall He find you working or playing?
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?
Possessing and enjoying the vineyard, wilt thou, like the husbandman, refuse the agreed rent? Wilt thou fear death, or devil, or men? And wilt thou not fear shame? Some shall rise to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Shall we refuse to emulate the heroes of old or shall we accomplish the double fulfillment of those glorious words?
All these being men of war came with a perfect heart to make Jesus King over all the world. They were all mighty men of valour for the war! He that was least was equal to a hundred, and the greatest to a thousand! They were not of double heart! Their faces were like the faces of lions! They were as swift as the roes upon the mountains (to do their Lord’s commands)! Ye sought in time past, for Jesus to be King over you. Now, then, do it. (Compare 1 Chronicles 12:8, 33 and 38, and 2 Samuel 3:17 and 18.)
Come, then, let us restore the “Lost Chord” of Christianity – Heroism – to the world and the crown of the world to Christ. Christ Himself asks thee, “Wilt thou be a Malingerer or a Militant?”
To your knees, man! And to your Bible! Decide at once! Don’t hedge! Time flies! Cease your insults to God, quit consulting flesh and blood. Stop your lame, lying, and cowardly excuses.
Enlist! Here are your papers and oath of allegiance. Scratch out one side and sign the other in the presence of God and the recording angel. Mark God’s endorsements underneath:
For Me, To live is Christ, to die is gain. Or For Me, Chocolate is my name.
I’ll be a militant. A man of God. Tepidity my temperature.
A gambler for Christ. A Hero. A malingerer I.
A child of men.
A self excuser
God’s promises are sure in either case:
“Lo, I am with you always.” or “I will spew thee out of My mouth.”
Baptize us with the Holy Ghost, and with fire; Cure us of all this dread plague of Sleeping Sickness, that even as we unceasingly pray, Thy Name may be hallowed everywhere; Thy Kingdom come speedily; Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The above message is an abridged version of English cricketer turned pioneer missionary, C.T. Studd’s classic best selling “The Chocolate Soldier.”
C.T. Studd gave up on a successful career as England’s champion cricketer to serve as a missionary to China, India and the Congo. He founded the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade