Soldiers of Christ, illustrated by Thomas Noyes-Lewis.
Little Colour Cards, Series V.
Leighton Buzzard: Faith Press, 1920.
Digitized and transcribed by Richard Mammana, 2011.
1. Soldiers of Christ is a phrase used of those who are admitted to Holy Church by Baptism. You have no doubt been at a "Christening" (to use the beautiful homely phrase), the making of a Christian. You will remember that the Swearing in of the recruit at the Font is an important part of the ceremony. So in the Catechism we begin with the recollection of the Promise and Vow made at Baptism. On the other side of this card is a picture of the Swearing-in of recruits for a Crusade (and your life should be a Crusade). Hand on book those who wish to serve Christ take the vow, to pass out for training under the Red Cross Flag which waves in the field. 2. Guard the Deposit. The trained soldier goes forth under the Banner of the Cross. He wears the Cross on his breast; he grasps it in the hilt of his sword. To this day soldiers in Church stand with their hands on the hilts fo their swords when they say the Creed. It is a memory of those olden days when men fought to defend the Faith. Our picture shows a party of Crusaders at their Mattins,—the Flag raised—the Knights with their cross-handled swords half-drawn. They are saying "I believe." In such a spirit say the Creed. It is the Deposit of Truth which we must guard—Faithful unto death.
3. Duty towards God. The picture on the other side shows a party of Knights making their way through the Forest of Trial. Beasts and dangers lurk on every side, but they have no fear. They are on their Master's services and nothing can turn them aside. Their eyes are fixed straight in front; their swords are drawn; their courage is high. Why should they fear? The Captain of their Salvation is to be trusted and that is enough. They love to do his work. So does the Christian count his Duty towards God. With all his heart, with all his mind, with all his soul, with all his strength he serves—and leaves the rest to God. 4. Duty towards Neighbour. There are two sides to everything, even to war. In some things we are passive, leaving the directions to others. In other things we are active, because there is work which we must do ourselves. So it is with the Two Duties. We trust in God to put us where we are ost useful. But, in the sphere or department of life to which he calls us, the responsibility is ours. So in the picture on the other side we see now the Knights active in the work of the Christian life, battling against evil, succouring the fallen, helping the weak, fighting shoulder to shoulder. It is a great and noble calling and, wherever you are, it is yours.
5. The Secret of Victory. In an army there are many ranks of soldiers, but all alike serve one cause and one leader. So it is with the Christians. But in the Army of Christ we have a privilege which even the British soldiers of the Great War had not got—we can always speak to our Leader, Jesus Christ. There is the Secret of Victory. He knows no distinction of station or of work. All alike can speak to him in Prayer. And he answers each in his own way. There is an old story (illustrated on the other side) of how the Figure on the Cross stooped to bless his worshipping knight. We may not see him, but we know he stoops to us. 6. Sacraments. All through our service in the Army of Christ, his Church has special hifts for us at each special stage of our work. The Seven Sacraments we call these gracious gifts, and we can picture them passing through our lives, as a Church Procession passes round the House of God. First comes the Font (Baptism) then the violet banner of the Cross and the broken chains of sin (Absolution), the red of Confirmation with the Holy Dove, the Chalice and Host (Communion), the Ring of Matrimony (Symbol of the New Christian home), the Mitre with the Crosier and Staff (Apostolic Orders), and lastly the black banner of the Holy Oils for the anointing of the Sick, By using these seven Sacraments we are fitted to serve.
7. Baptism. Two of the Seven Sacraments stand out as "necessary to salvation." None can be full members of the Christian Church without them. Baptism is the first of these. In olden Time (see picture) it was the custom that none could be a Knight without a special washing, although of course the candidate had already been baptised. [This custom is still remembered in England as the origin of the Order of the Bath.] So great importance did the men of old attach to getting rid of all "foreign matter" by those who were pure in heart. It is a good lesson to the Christian. Our whole nature is changed or transfigured by the Holy Ghost in Baptism. Henceforth we are Christ's alone. 8. The Supper of the Lord. Here also we illustrate by an old knightly story. The Cup which our Saviour blessed in the Upper Room was removed, men said, from earth and only those who were tried and true and pure could be allowed to see it. The Holy Grail men called that Cup, and the Knights of old went forth to serve with the hope of being worthy of the wonderful visions. Alas! few found their quest. But they laboured on as we may now. And in the Holy Communion, though the veil between earth and heaven is not pierced, we get a foretaste of what lies behind—the Vision Beautiful of the Victory of Jesus over sin and death.
Soldiers of Christ, illustrated by Thomas Noyes-Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.