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Title: Knights in Armour
Author: Woods, Edward S.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: KING ARTHUR _From a drawing by L. A. Hume-Williams._]

                          *KNIGHTS IN ARMOUR*

                       _By_ EDWARD S. WOODS, M.A

                            Chaplain of the
                   Royal Military College, Sandhurst
                               Author of
             "Modern Discipleship and What It Means," etc.

                              Foreword by
                       K.C.B., K.C.V.O., D.S.O.,
                  Chief of the Imperial General Staff

                          LONDON: ROBERT SCOTT
                            ROXBURGHE HOUSE
                         PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.

                         _All rights reserved_

                   Many Officers and Gentlemen Cadets
               of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst,
               who by unvarying friendliness end goodwill
                     made easier their Padre’s task
                            this little book
                      is affectionately dedicated


A feature of peace manoeuvres used to be the "sham fight."  In war there
are no sham fights.  One has to deal then with stern realities, and to
carry burdens which seem to be quite beyond one’s powers to sustain.
Especially is this the case with those in the position of leaders.  In
war, more perhaps than in any other business, men feel the need of
something more than the mere knowledge of their profession, no matter
how complete that knowledge may be.

I therefore commend this little book to all soldiers, and more
particularly to the younger ones, who desire to go into battle properly
prepared, for I am satisfied that definite and practical religious
convictions form an essential part of every soldier’s equipment.

_August_ 14, 1916.








"Be strong in the Lord.... Put on the whole armour of God."--EPHESIANS
vi. 10, 11.

"More than conquerors through Him that loved us."--ROMANS viii. 37.

                          *KNIGHTS IN ARMOUR*



To every Englishman there is something that stirs the blood and fires
the imagination in the ancient legends of King Arthur and his Knights of
the Round Table, the legends that Tennyson has immortalized in his
_Idylls of the King_.  It was a splendid vision that gripped the men who
bound themselves--

    "To reverence the King, as if He were
    Their conscience, and their conscience as their King,
    To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,
    To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,
    To speak no slander, no nor listen to it,
    To honour his own word as if his God’s,
    To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
    To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
    And worship her by years of noble deeds,
    Until they won her."

Who, if not soldiers, should be the inheritors and transmitters of these
noble traditions?  The highest meaning of a soldier’s vocation has many
points of contact with this Knightly ideal; and some of the greatest
soldiers of our history have been men who were also Knights of the
Cross.  Knights are held to higher ideals and charged with harder tasks
than lesser men.  And for you who serve our English King and are not
unmindful of your allegiance to the King of Kings, I would fain try and
draw a picture of what Christian Knighthood may mean.  I think I see, at
the least, four qualities, or virtues, which must needs distinguish a
Christian Knight.  These qualities are Courage, Chivalry, Purity,


    He who would valiant be
    ’Gainst all disaster,
    Let him in constancy
      Follow the Master.
    There’s no discouragement
    Shall make him once relent
    His first avowed intent
      To be a pilgrim.

    Who so beset him round
    With dismal stories,
    Do but themselves confound--
      His strength the more is.
    No foes shall stay his might,
    Though he with giants fight:
    He will make good his right
      To be a pilgrim.

    Since, Lord, Thou dost defend
    Us with Thy Spirit,
    We know we at the end
      Shall life inherit.
    Then fancies flee away!
    I’ll fear not what men say,
    I’ll labour night and day
      To be a pilgrim.




A wounded Highlander was describing one day to his ward Sister, in a
burst of confidence, the circumstances in which he was hit.  "We were
advancing a wee bit through a cornfield and the corn was bonny, thick
and tall.  Then they turned their machine-guns on us, and I saw the corn
cut and flicker, and the men fall and fall!  God forgive me!  I couldn’t
face it! ... I turned aside, mem, and I _hid_ on my face in the uncut

There was a pause.  He moistened his lips with his tongue and went on:
"Well, I lay there and lay I there, and I could hear the bullets going
swish, swish through the corn. Then something said to me ’Jock! will ye
lie here to be shot like a rabbit in the harvest? Get up, and take your
dose like a man!’  So I got up, mem, and I got it right enough!"[1]

[1] _Time and Talents_, July, 1916, p. 81.

The brave man--and that Scotchman was brave indeed--is not necessarily a
man who doesn’t feel fear; he is one who doesn’t yield to it.  Even that
hero General Gordon used to say he felt afraid when in action.  Most of
us would like to run away; but most manage, somehow, to "stick it out."
There are other situations where it is just as important, and almost as
difficult, to "stick it out" as in a shell-plagued trench.  There is
another War on hand, and the man who takes his place on this front will
need all the pluck that he can muster.

It is useless to disguise the fact that to be a Christian means you are
in for a fight--and a stiff one at that.  Some people seem to think of
the Christian religion as if it were a kind of Sunday Club, or a rest
cure, or a mutual benefit society.  But Christianity is not a passive
thing at all. If you are going to be a Christian you have got to take
sides in the eternal war of Right against Wrong; and a man cannot take
sides without taking hard knocks too. We sometimes speak of War as if it
were a kind of great game.  Here is the greatest Game of all.  And, as a
Christian, you are not spectator, linesman or referee: you are one of
the team; and it’s "up to" you to strip and get going and play the game
for all you are worth.

And what of the fight?  Who is the enemy, and how are we to fight him?
You won’t need field glasses to see his front line.  "A soldier’s first
and last battle is with himself."  The enemy outside owes much of his
strength and success to his traitorous ally within the gates.  Many a
man’s worst foe is in his own heart and life. There are things that
start from within, habits of thought or word or deed, which definitely
militate against a man being a true Knight and a Christian gentleman.
There can be no truce with these things. The Christian Knight has got to
stand up against them.  And if he feels--and who does not?--that he is
woefully lacking in the needed strength and courage, then let him turn
once more to the living Son of God, Who alone can make weak men strong,
and Who loves to do it.

But the man who wants to "fight the good fight with all his might" is
called to tilt against the evil without as well as the evil within.  It
is a caricature of Christianity which makes it out to be simply a
provision for each man to save his own skin and qualify for heaven.
Christ did indeed come to save men; but He did it, not to ensure their
personal safety and exempt them from fighting, but to enlist them for
ever on the side of God and Righteousness.  The dimensions and issues of
_this_ War are such as to demand the utmost from every Christian
soldier.  On all sides of us Evil is everywhere entrenched, and in
positions that often seem impregnable; his worldwide forces are knit in
close alliance, and fight with the veteran skill of age-long experience.
Here in the England that we love, in any town, or village, in any school
or regiment, on any day, the Enemy is visibly, incessantly striving to
work grievous hurt on our manhood and womanhood.  Who, if not Knights of
the Cross, shall withstand him and fight him to the death?  William
Blake’s well-known lines might well serve as a motto for the Christian

    "I will not cease from mental fight,
      Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
    Till we have built Jerusalem
      In England’s green and pleasant land."

There is, in this campaign, no question of travelling to some distant
theatre of operations, nor of waiting for a selected moment.  You begin
at once, and just where you are.  Perhaps that is why the fighting needs
some stiff courage.  "To ride _abroad_ redressing human wrongs" would
have all the glamour of a great adventure.  But to strike a blow for
Truth and Right, and keep lifted high the Colours of the King of Kings,
in your own immediate circle, where you know the others and the others
know you--that needs real grit.  All the more because if you do that you
may easily find yourself alone.  Most people make no attempt to swim
against the stream, they float down with it.  The line of least
resistance, and the path of popularity, are barred to the Christian
Knight. As _Christian_ said to _By-ends_ in the _Pilgrim’s Progress_:
"If you will go with us, you must go against Wind and Tide: you must
also own Religion in his rags, as well as when in his silver slippers;
and stand by him too when bound in irons, as well as when he walketh the
streets with applause."

    "The Son of God goes forth to war,
      A Kingly crown to gain;
    His blood-red banner streams afar!
      Who follows in His train?"

Again and again, in Flanders, in Gallipoli, and on every front, courage
has shown itself to be a contagious thing.  Fired by an undaunted
leader, cheered by stout hearts at his side, many a man has proved
himself braver than he ever thought to be. In one of his campaigns the
Duke of Wellington happened, on one occasion, to be absent from the army
and rode up just as it was retreating.  A soldier saw him and shouted
out, "Yonder is Lord Wellington. God bless him."  The shout was taken up
by the whole force; the retreating army was inspired to a fresh effort,
turned and drove the enemy headlong.  Jesus Christ has a like effect on
those who get near enough to Him to feel the magic of His influence. It
just makes you a _man_ to be in His company.

    "I have a Captain,
    And the heart of every valiant man
    Has drunk in valour from His eyes
    Since first the War began.
    He is most merciful in fight.
    And of His scars a single sight
    The embers of our failing might
      Into a flame can fan."


"He saved others: Himself He cannot save."--ST. MATTHEW xxvii. 42.

"Ye ought to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said,
It is more blessed to give than to receive."--ACTS xx. 35.

    "Follow the Christ, the King,
    Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the king--
    Else, wherefore born?"--TENNYSON.



In the Middle Ages the lesser nobles used to follow their chiefs on
horseback; they were called _Knights_ (the word originally meant
servants, in German _Knechte_) and the system of knightly rules and
customs was called chivalry (French _chevalerie_). The order of
knighthood was only bestowed after many years of training and
discipline. In later times the movement lost its early meaning and
usefulness; but for many centuries the traditions and ideals of
knighthood did much to keep alive the Christian standard of a pure and
courageous manhood.

On one of the last days of His earthly life Jesus Christ did a thing
that astounded the men who saw it.  At the close of a supper with the
inner circle of His followers, He took water and a towel and went round
the little company washing each man’s feet in turn.  And then He
explained to them His acted parable.  He told them that they, like
Himself, were put in the world to _serve_: "not to be ministered unto
but to minister."  They learnt their lesson; and for the rest of their
lives every man, save one, spent himself ungrudgingly in serving others.

The word knight, as we saw, means "servant"; and it is not for nothing
that the Army and Navy are called "The Services."  Taught by stern
discipline, the soldier and the sailor know that self counts nothing,
and others everything.  That is perhaps the biggest truth in life.  Many
people had forgotten it before the War; but we have learnt it now.  That
great host who have laid down their lives for their friends, and those
countless others who have learnt to hold the nation dearer than safety
and comfort, than pleasure and money--all these have shown it to be
startlingly true that a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of
things that he possesseth; and that it is verily "more blessed to give
than to receive."  Chivalry is re-born; Honour has come to its own
again.  As that young poet sang so truly and beautifully, shortly before
he gave his own life:[1]

[1] Rupert Brooke died in the Aegean, April, 1915, aged 28.  From _1914
and Other Poems_.

    "Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
      There’s none of these so lonely and poor of old,
      But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
    These laid the world away; poured out the red
      Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
      Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
      That men call age; and those who would have been,
    Their sons, they gave, their immortality.

    "Blow, bugles, blow!  They brought us, for our dearth,
      Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
    Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
      And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
    And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
      And we have come into our heritage."

True knights are called to chivalrous service, not in war-time only, or
just for a temporary Cause, but always, and everywhere, on behalf of
all.  If Christians generally lived up to this Christian ideal, and
cared little for _getting_, but everything for _giving_, the world would
rapidly become a very different place.  Selfishness is the cause of
nearly all our ills; and chivalry is just the opposite of selfishness.
There is no chivalry in the man who is wrapped up in his own affairs,
and who turns a cold eye on all except his own particular friends. It is
chivalry that makes you interested in that other fellow who happens to
be less fortunately situated than yourself, and sets you wondering how
you would like it if you were in his shoes, until at last you feel you
must somehow find some way of being a friend to him and giving him a
helping hand.  And it is chivalry that is always on the watch to protect
the defenceless.  In every group of people, in all sections of society,
there are always some individuals who seem curiously unable to fend for
themselves and invariably get pushed to the wall.  Do you do your share
in the general pushing?  Or do you, with Christian chivalry, try and
stand up for those who cannot or do not stand up for themselves?

The chivalrous man, moreover, is never unfair nor unmerciful.  War-time
makes a big demand on the qualities of fairness and mercy.  Thank God
our Nation has, on the whole, and despite terrible provocation, shown
itself to be a chivalrous foe to the enemy.  If you are going to be
chivalrous, there is no room for vengeance or retaliation. Soldiers and
sailors know this by instinct, and act accordingly.  I always notice
that it is newspaper people, and people who sit snug in their arm-chairs
at home, who talk so loud about reprisals and retaliation.  In the
trenches it’s quite different.  When Thomas Atkins takes a prisoner he
generally offers him a cigarette.  As an Officer said the other day,
"Tommy’s only idea, when he catches these fellows, is to feed them."  At
least that is his usual practice, whatever his theories are about what
he will do to the "blanked Hun" when he catches him. A recent number of
_Punch*[2] had a lovely description of Thomas Atkins’ vengeance. A
Cavalry outpost in Egypt, sweltering in the heat, devoured by
mosquitoes, in a temper reflecting the choice surroundings, decides that
the only thing to do with wandering parties of the treacherous Arabs is
to shoot them at sight.  Sudden report from the sentry: "Corporal, I can
see ’alf-a-dozen of them blighters coming along about a mile away.
Shall I give ’em one?"  "No, you idiot," says the Corporal, "Let’s ’ave
a look at ’em first."  There arrives on the scene a middle-aged Arab,
dressed in indescribable rags, and in the last stage of exhaustion, and
decidedly populous as to his person; various members of his family are
hovering about a short distance away. He falls flat on his face at the
sight of the Corporal, crying, "Bimbashi, bimbashi, mongeries,
mongeries."  "Yes, I’ll bash yer all right," says the Corporal,
"Grey-’eaded old reprobate, you ought to know better."  "Lor’," comments
one of the Troopers, "’e do look thin, pore beggar, *Mongeries_--that
means food, don’t it?  ’E looks as if ’e hadn’t eaten nothing for weeks.
’Ere, ’ave a biscuit, old Sport."  "Try ’im with some bully," suggests
another Trooper; "they say they won’t eat that, though."  "Won’t ’e!"
says the first, "I never seen the stuff go so quick.  ’Ere, old fellow,
don’t eat the tin."  "Don’t give him any more," says the Corporal, "or
’e’ll kill ’isself.  Let’s see if his family can do the disappearing
trick as quick as he can.  Poor devils they’ve been through something.
’Ere, you family, _mongeries_."  The family are brought up and fed on
the day’s rations.  "Take ’em back to camp now," orders the Corporal,
"and ’and ’em over.  Come on, old boy; you’re all right.  Lor’, ain’t
they pretty near done. Lucky they found us when they did."  Such is the
way of Thomas ... and it is the way of chivalry; and that is the way of
Christ. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirsts, give him

Another mark of the chivalrous man is the stainless honour of all his
relations with women.  In the days of our fathers and grandfathers it
was thought very important that the relations between men and women
should always be what was called "proper," with the result that they
often became self-conscious, stilted, affected, and even stupid. In our
day there is a strong reaction against those Victorian ideas and
manners.  This reaction is very natural, and much of it is sane and
sound.  The relation between the sexes to-day is often that of a
healthy, happy, easy comradeship, born of sport or some other rational
joint interest, a thing of the open air, metaphorically as well as
literally.  And there are many men who have cause to bless a blameless
friendship with a good woman.  But if some profit by this new liberty,
others, it must be confessed, have shown themselves less worthy of it.
It is all too easy for the man of to-day to fall below the standard
which is planted in the conscience and instinct of every true gentleman.
There is much--too much--in modern life to make men think that women are
in the world just to minister to their amusement and gratification, and
to make women acquiesce in that idea. There are those who deliberately
give effect to that degraded conception.  There are others who, without
descending to vice, have half-unconsciously allowed their thought of the
man and woman relationship to be lowered and coarsened.  Influenced by
the presentment of life which they see at most theatres and cinemas, and
in a certain type of novel, they learn to think of love as something
easy, exciting, pleasurable, irresponsible, unfettered by ordinary
restraints, something to be gazed at, feasted on, dissected, toyed with;
and so perhaps they come to play with love in their own experience, and
thus both work grievous hurt on other lives, and, for themselves,
fritter away in little bits, cheaply and unthinkingly, that which is the
very highest thing in all the capacity and heritage of their manhood.
Far otherwise is it with the man who is mindful of the dictates of true
chivalry. His whole thought of womanhood is on a different level,
breathes another atmosphere. For him, Love is a high and holy thing, to
be revered, not played with.  For him, all that womanhood is and may be,
the tender grace and charm, the beauty of form and face, the appeal of
her dependence, the subtle surprises of her companionship, the
ministries of her sympathy, the wonder of her friendship, the selfless
glory of her love--all this he sees to be God’s sheer gift for the
blessing of humanity.  Something of this vision, this instinct, will be
at the back of his mind in all his contact with the women he knows and
sees.  And, therefore, his one guiding principle as he meets and mixes
with them will be--_reverence_.  A deep reverence for womanhood is the
hall-mark of true chivalry.

[2] May 10, 1916.

Does this seem an impossibly high standard for a man who has to live his
life in modern society?  Perhaps it would be out of reach of us ordinary
men, if it were not for a new and mighty spiritual stimulus which, if we
will, we may make our own. The secret of chivalry, like the secret of
courage, may be learned in the companionship of the one perfect
chivalrous Gentleman that the world has seen--Jesus of Nazareth. He,
born of a human mother, acquainted with family love.  Friend of gentle
women, for ever blessed and sanctified the friendship and love of men
and women.  From the Manger to the Cross He lived out and taught the
first law of all chivalry, the great guiding principle of all human
relationships, the highest glory both of manhood and womanhood, that it
is ever more blessed to give than to receive.  As Charles Kingsley,
himself a most chivalrous gentleman, sung of his Master in lines noble
and true:

    "He taught mankind on that first Christmas Day
    What ’twas to be a man; to give, not take;
    To serve, not rule; to nourish, not devour;
    To help, not crush; if need to die, not live."

[Illustration: SIR GALAHAD _Photo F. Hollyer G. F. Watts, R.A. by
permission of Mrs. Watts_]


"And I saw ... and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was
called Faithful and True... And His armies followed Him upon white
horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."--REV. xix. 11, 14.

"Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?"--1 COR.
vi. 19.

    God who created me
      Nimble and light of limb,
    In three elements free,
      To run, to ride, to swim:
    Not when the sense is dim,
      But now from the heart of joy,
    I would remember Him:
      Take the thanks of a boy.

    Jesu, King and Lord,
      Whose are my foes to fight.
    Gird me with Thy sword,
      Swift and sharp and bright.
    Thee would I serve if I might;
      And conquer if I can.
    From day-dawn till night,
      Take the strength of a man.

    Spirit of Love and Truth,
      Breathing in grosser clay,
    The light and flame of youth.
      Delight of men in the fray.
    Wisdom in strength’s decay;
      From pain, strife, wrong to be free.
    This best gift I pray,
      Take my spirit to Thee.--HENRY CHARLES BEECHING



One of the old legends of King Arthur and his Knights concerns that
which men called the "Holy Grail."  The story ran that the Holy Grail,
which was the cup used at Christ’s last supper with His disciples, was
treasured carefully by Joseph of Arimathaea and brought by him,
ultimately, to Glastonbury.

    "And there awhile it abode; and if a man
    Could touch or see it, he was healed at once,
    By faith, of all his ills.  But then the times
    Grew to such evil that the holy cup
    Was caught away to heaven and disappeared."

Later, in the days of King Arthur, the vision of the cup returned again.
It was a memorable day.  The seat at the Round Table, the "Siege
Perilous," left ever empty for the coming of one who should, be worthy
to sit therein, was filled at last by the young and fair and pure Sir
Galahad, brought thither by the "ancient clothed in white."  He was clad
in white armour, with no sword or shield save only an empty scabbard
hanging by his side.  Thereupon the second marvel of that day took
place. The fair sword, stuck fast in the great stone of red marble,
which no other Knight had been able to move, was lightly and easily
drawn by Sir Galahad, who said as he took it, "For the surety of this
sword I brought none with me; for here by my side hangeth the scabbard."
That same evening, after even-song in the great minster at Camelot, they
were all at supper in Arthur’s Hall.  "And all at once," runs the old
legend, retold in Tennyson’s verse,

    "And all at once, as there we sat, we heard
    A cracking and a riving of the roofs,
    And rending, and a blast, and overhead
    Thunder, and in the thunder was a cry.
    And in the blast there smote along the hall
    A beam of light seven times more clear than day.
    And down the long beam stole the Holy Grail
    All over cover’d with a luminous cloud,
    And none might see who bare it, and it past.
    But every Knight beheld his fellow’s face
    As in a glory, and all the Knights arose...."

All saw the light, and heard the sounds, but Sir Galahad alone had sight
of the Grail itself.  Whereupon all the rest took solemn vows to ride a
twelvemonth and a day in quest of it.  And the legend goes on to tell
how they fared and what adventures they had in their quest.

It is a beautiful and significant story. G.F. Watts, the artist, caught
the spirit of it in his well-known picture of Sir Galahad standing by
his white horse, with purity of vision and strength of high resolve
written on every line of his uplifted face.  Both legend and picture
seem to catch and illumine an idea that was fundamental in the whole
conception of Knighthood, the idea that the true Knight must be pure in
heart.  Sir Galahad stands forth as the type and embodiment of strong
and pure manhood.

Sermons on sin and exhortations to holiness may leave us cold, but this
Knightly ideal carries an appeal that is permanent and powerful; it
cannot fail to find some response in the heart of anyone who is a real
man.  For the point is that Sir Galahad, with all his purity, was no
milksop, no untempted saint; he was uncommonly strong in the right arm,
as other men found to their cost.  But there was, and is always, a
deep-down connexion between what a man is and what he does.  A man’s
whole life is the product and expression of the real quality of the
hidden self.  The nature of the tree determines the fruit.  The question
of purity has its roots in these secret places of a man’s being that lie
hid from any human eye.  "There is nothing," insisted Christ, "from
without a man that entering into him can defile him, but the things
which come out of him, from within, out of the heart ... those are they
that defile the man."[1]

[1] St. Mark vii. 15, 21.

Psychologists tell us that below the level of our conscious thought
there are large subterranean places where the things we hear and read
and think about are being stored up.  The things that come up to the
surface, whether we produce them voluntarily--’remember’ them, or
whether they come up unbidden when our upper minds are empty and
receptive, naturally are of the stock that is stored below.  What sort
of stock are you accumulating in your mental underground?  What sort of
pictures hang in the most private galleries of your mind?  What kind of
thoughts come floating up from those mysterious depths, and what are the
thoughts that you most enjoy thinking?  There is many a man who is often
visited by thoughts that he would rather be without; they seem to catch
on to some part of him that has a sneaking liking for them, and he
cannot dislodge these unwelcome guests. He is almost conscious of a sort
of dual personality: part of him wants what is clean and good, but the
rest of him seems a very odd mixture which he is powerless to regulate
or alter.  He feels that he would make a better affair of life if only
all the parts of him would push together in the right direction.  Is
there any way of achieving such a state of affairs?  I know of no other
certain way but one.  There is only one power I ever heard of that could
plumb the depths of a human soul and transform the quality of all the
stuff that lies down there, and clean out all the refuse, and stiffen
the dethroned will and put it back in its place of power--and that is
the "Spirit" of Jesus Christ.  It is said of the great John Nicholson,
that wonderful leader of men, that, however desperate the circumstances,
his presence could put new heart into a whole camp.  It is just that,
with yet deeper result, that Christ does for those who trust Him.  He
told His followers that if they would open their hearts to receive Him,
He would give them His Spirit; by which He meant that, inspired by His
influence, they would actually become like Him, and think His thoughts,
and will His will, and live the kind of life He lived. What He said
would happen _does happen_; and not just "Saints" but ordinary people
find that _He_ can make them true and pure in a way that nothing else

    "Spirit of purity and grace.
    Our weakness pitying see;
    Oh make our hearts Thy dwelling place
      And worthier Thee."

Those words contain not a beautiful aspiration but a literal

Once a man begins to make this great discovery, all sorts of results
ensue.  Lost things are found again, among them that happy, guileless
certainty of God which is childhood’s heritage and which so often slips
away when men grow older.  Life gets crowded and men lose sight of God;
some men even think He is not there because they have lost the knack of
looking for Him. If you cannot see properly through a telescope it is
rash to conclude that the object you are looking for is not there; it
would be better to clean the lens.  It is not God who deserts us; it is
we who, blinded by sin, miss Him.  "Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God."  Here again it is not the "Saints" only who are
gifted with this capacity for spiritual vision.  It is the birthright of
every man and woman born into the world.  The path of purity is a right
of way, and the place of vision has no fences round it; all who will may
enter there, and there is none to forbid them but themselves.  I believe
there are numbers of men who have a dim consciousness of these great
possibilities but who, from one cause or another, have never really
begun to explore them.  The one thing needful, for many a man, is simply
that he should _give his soul a chance_.  Early in the War there was
killed in France at the age of twenty, a man of brilliant endowments and
high promise--Charles Sorley, of Marlborough and University College,
Oxford. A few months before his death he wrote these lines, which put
into winged words this haunting sense of unexplored spiritual

    "From morn to midnight, all day through,
    I laugh and play as others do,
    I sin and chatter just the same
    As others with a different name.

    And all year long upon the stage
    I dance and tumble and do rage
    So vehemently, I scarcely see
    The inner and eternal me.

    I have a temple I do not
    Visit, a heart I have forgot,
    A self that I have never met,
    A secret shrine--and yet, and yet

    This sanctuary of my soul
    Unwitting I keep white and whole,
    Unlatched and lit, if Thou should’st care
    To enter or to tarry there.

    With parted lips and outstretched hands
    And listening ears Thy servant stands;
    Call Thou early, call Thou late,
    To Thy great service dedicate."

The War is creating a hunger for reality, and above all for spiritual
reality.  "Break me, O God, destroy me if you will, but save me from
self-complacency and little interests and little successes and the life
that passes as the shadows of a dream."

If purity is the condition of vision, it is also the secret of strength.

    "My strength is as the strength of ten
    Because my heart is pure."

Sir Galahad had made the discovery which true men always make.  Sin is a
source of weakness.  Purity is a fount of strength. Unclean men are
never conquerors--they have lost the first and most important of
battles, that with themselves.  It was not for nothing that Lord
Kitchener emphasized the supreme importance of self control in his
famous letter to the troops at the beginning of the War.  "Success in
War," says the Field Service Regulations, "depends more on the moral
than on the physical qualities."  Foremost among moral forces is that
wonderful thing, all powerful though difficult to define, which men call
_discipline_.  Of the many qualities which make up discipline, there is
one of unrivalled importance, which it partly evokes and partly creates,
and that is self-control.  It is of the essence of discipline that a man
should learn entirely to subordinate his own wish or pleasure or safety
to a larger common purpose.  Standing in the ranks he must control the
desire to move his head or fidget with his hands. In the face of the
enemy he must control his desire to run away.  At all times and in all
places he must control his desire to consult his own comfort or
convenience. Such self-control involves a considerable measure of moral
strength.  Will a man be strong here, where strength is so needed, if
all the while he is gravely weak in the region of his inner life?  Is it
likely that he will be able to inspire others with cheerful fortitude in
face of hardships and death if the very source is fouled whence his own
strength must be drawn?

With all possible emphasis I would press this point upon you, that there
is a vital connexion between purity and moral strength. And I urge it,
not simply for your own sakes, but even more because of what you may be
and do for others.  "For their sakes I consecrate myself."  The motive
of that one perfect life is the only adequate motive for us who try to
be His followers.  How can I serve others, if my own soul is shackled in
iron bonds?  How can I fight for righteousness, in this War or in the
Greater War, if in my own heart and life I have secret dealings with the

The Knights of Christ are men who have no use for dirt of any kind.
"And I beheld a white horse, and He that sat upon him was called
Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make War ...
and the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean."[2]  There is nothing so unclean
but that Christ can cleanse it; and to all who would be His Warriors He
can, and He does, give the white armour which they must have.  Here is
the greatest soldiering of all.  It is worth the struggle to be a better
man, it is worth the effort of faith which will let Him re-make your
life, if thereby you may be fit to take your place in His Army and go
after Him as He rides forth to conquer in the Holy War.

[2] Revelation xix. 11, 14.


"Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in
heaven."--ST. MATTHEW vii. 21.

"Be Thou the King, and we will work Thy will Who Love Thee."--TENNYSON.

    "Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
    Does his successive journeys run;
    His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
    Till moons shall wax and wane no more."--ISAAC WATTS.



The Coronation Service of His Majesty King George V. is still a
comparatively recent event.  The whole ceremony is, as many will
remember, full of beautiful symbolism.  One of the most moving and
dramatic moments is that when, after the King has been crowned, his
chief subjects come forward to kneel down and do him homage.  One after
another the Archbishops, the Princes of the Blood Royal and the Peers of
the Realm, kneel down, putting off their coronets, and pronounce the
words of homage: "I do become your liege man of life and limb, and of
earthly worship; and faith and truth I will bear unto you, to live and
die, against all manner of folks. So help me God."  And then, proceeds
the rubric, "the Peers having done their Homage, the first of each
Order, putting off his coronet, shall singly ascend the throne, and
stretching forth his hand, touch the Crown on His Majesty’s head, as
promising by that ceremony for himself and his Order to be ever ready to
support it with all their power; and then shall he kiss the King’s
cheek."  This sense of owing loyal service to a King is an immemorial
instinct in men.  And it is a deep-rooted tradition that those who are
his "Knights" are bound to him in the closest ties of honourable
obligation.  In the earliest centuries of our national history the King
used to have his "war band," bound personally to him by their free
choice, and sworn to fight for him to the death.  He was their "lord,"
they his "thegns."

Most of us call ourselves "Christians."  Have you realized that to be a
Christian, in the true sense of the word, means nothing less than that
you are Christ’s "liege man of life and limb," and that you are utterly
committed "faith and truth to bear unto Him, to live and die, against
all manner of folks?"  This personal devotion to the living Christ is
the most central thing in Christianity.  If a man is going to be a real
Christian it will mean more than just assenting to the Creed, and going
to Church, and "feeling religious" at favourable moments.  It will mean
entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and letting Him
be in command, not on specified occasions, but every day and all the
time. The difficulty with many people is that Christianity only touches
the circumference of their existence and never seems to get established
right at the centre of heart and life.  It simply makes the whole
difference when once you discover that Jesus Christ is a real Person
Who, on His side, is interested in you and loves to help you and go
about with you, and Whom you, on your side, can talk to and lean on and,
gradually, begin to love.  It is always in this personal way that God in
Christ offers Himself to men.  He is the Redeemer Who will release you
from the iron bonds of sin, the Friend Who will stand by your side, the
King Who would have your loyal service.  And, in order to break for good
and all the power of sin and death, and that He might found His Kingdom
on the free loyalty of love, _He died_....  It is a common thing for men
to lay down their lives for king and country; but here is a King dying
for His subjects.  Have you ever tried to realize what _sin_ means?  It
must mean at least this: that when you and I do wrong we are doing
something that hurts God, something that inevitably puts a barrier
between Him and us.  And is it not premature to speak of love and
loyalty to Him as long as that barrier is there?  Now, however amazing
it may seem, there has proved to be no other way but one in which that
barrier could be utterly and finally broken down--and God chose that
way, the way of the Cross.  Deliberately, gladly, the Son of God _died_.
That which is a lasting puzzle to theologians and philosophers, is just
sheer good tidings, and tidings found to be true, to ordinary people who
are hungry in soul. I always think that at once the simplest and
profoundest statement of the meaning of the death of Christ is that
contained in the old children’s hymn:

    "He died that we might be forgiven,
      He died to make us good;
    That we might go at last to heaven,
      Saved by His precious blood."

Can we withhold our loyalty from Him Who stands before us, not only as a
King demanding our rightful allegiance, but as One Who loves us so much
that He died for us?

    "Were the whole realm of Nature mine,
      That were an offering far too small;
    Love so amazing, so Divine
      Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Once you get fairly hold of this idea of Christianity being largely a
matter of personal loyalty to Jesus Christ, then your "religion" will
begin to become alive in all sorts of unsuspected ways.  Prayer will
cease to be a more or less formal duty which you hardly like to give up,
and will become instead a real intercourse with God which you find you
cannot do without.  The Bible, too, will no longer be, what it too often
is, a mere adjunct of conventional religion, but will become instead a
living book, a book which makes you see, as nothing else can, the mind
and character and purposes of the King you are trying to serve.  Public
worship will be a pleasure instead of a bore, because you have
discovered its point and meaning.  And the Holy Communion, instead of
being either a religious "extra" beyond your reach or else an occasional
effort out of touch with your ordinary life, will take its place as an
indispensable means of bringing new life to your soul, as a wonderful
pledge of His amazing love and of all that you long to give Him in

Now there are two things which this loyalty to the King of Kings will
necessarily involve.  To be loyal to Him will mean being loyal to the
Christian Brotherhood and loyal to the Christian Cause.  Loyalty to a
brotherhood is a thing that should come naturally to a soldier, or
indeed to anyone who has imbibed the highest traditions of our Public
Schools and Universities and Services.  "Comradeship," says a soldier
who ought to know, "Comradeship is the saving characteristic of the
British Army."  A man has learnt one of the greatest lessons of life
when he realizes that the honour of the Regiment is of far greater
moment than his own personal success, than his life even. As a senior
subaltern said to a junior brother officer, when giving him some homely
advice on the day that he passed his recruits’ drills and was finally
"off the square":--"All that you’ve got to remember is that it’s the
Regiment which counts; and you’ve got to make yourself a credit to
it."[1]  Again and again in this war it has been shown what a wonderful
force there is in this Regimental _esprit de corps_.  There can be no
doubt--to cite one instance only--that this spirit, this tradition, was
a vital factor in the glorious achievements of the immortal 29th
Division at Gallipoli.

[1] "The Making of an Officer."  _The Times_, June 8, 1916.

"It’s the Regiment which counts."  The Christian Church could do with
more of this spirit of mutual loyalty.  We are "members one of another,"
urged St. Paul; and yet how little there is of real brotherliness among
us Christians!  When we find a man is a fellow-Christian, whatever his
social position may be, we ought to have that kind of feeling towards
him that we should have if he had been at our school, or belonged to our
Regiment.  There is no free-masonry like that which links together those
who have a common love for Jesus Christ and a common interest in His
purposes.  Moreover, this sense of being one of a great Brotherhood is a
spiritual safeguard and incentive.  When you and I fail, it is not just
our own Christianity that suffers: we are "letting down" the whole
Brotherhood, we are lowering great and immemorial traditions, we are
proving unworthy of the unnumbered multitude of Christian heroes who, in
every generation, have fought the good light of faith. "_Therefore_,
surrounded as we are by such a vast cloud of witnesses let us fling
aside every encumbrance and the sin that so readily entangles our feet,
and let us run with patient endurance the race that lies before us,
fixing our gaze on Jesus our Prince Leader in the Faith."[2]

[2] Hebrews xii 1, 2.  _Weymouth’s_ Version.

Any genuine loyalty to our "Prince Leader" carries with it, of
necessity, loyalty to His Cause.  I have said something, in a previous
Chapter, about the call to Christians to do some fighting in the real
Holy War.  I would urge, once more, that the true Knight of Christ
cannot do less than place himself, and all that he has, at the disposal
of his Master’s Cause.

"A Christian," says a recent writer, "is one who believes in _and
supports_ the claim of Christ to universal Sovereignty."  Christ needs
men who will spend themselves in His Cause with the same splendid
devotion that men show when they are fighting for their country.  In the
recent advance,[3] as the Newfoundland Regiment was pushing along
through a storm of lead, a corporal turned to the man by his side and
said, "If I go down you take charge and go straight ahead."  A minute
afterwards a bullet hit him in the chest and he dropped.  The man he had
spoken to tried to lift him up, but he was done for, and his last words
were "Push on with it."

[3] July, 1916.

Those words might serve as a motto for all those who are beginning to
see that the greatest Enterprise of all, and one most worth serving, is
that of extending the Kingdom of God over the face of the whole earth.
The time is ripe indeed for a general Christian offensive.  The war has
laid bare, as never before, the moral need of the world, and now is the
opportunity to begin afresh the task of giving men Christianity, and to
"_push on with it_."  It is to a mighty Adventure, with big risks and
great sacrifices, that Christ is calling us; and that is the kind of
call that a real man always loves to hear.  At the supreme crisis of his
fortunes, after the capitulation of Rome, Garibaldi, the Saviour of
Italy, called for volunteers to go after him.  "I am going out from
Rome," he cried; "I offer neither quarters, nor provisions, nor wages.
I offer hunger, thirst, forced marches, battles, death.  Let him who
loves his country with his heart, not with his lips only, follow me."
And men streamed out after him into the hills.  That is the spirit in
which Christ summons men to serve _His_ Cause.  "If any man will come
after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross daily, and follow
Me."  And the curious thing is that when men at last cut loose from a
snug religion and fling themselves with a certain recklessness into the
service of Christ and His Kingdom, then they begin to taste the real joy
of life.  As at a Coronation, as soon as the homage is accomplished, the
trumpets blow.  When a man, at whatever cost, "does his bit" in a mighty
enterprise, then he begins to enjoy "the top of the fulness of life."
In one of the battles of history, when in an advance a soldier was
mortally wounded, a comrade bent over him and cheered him with the
tidings, "They have taken the position: the flag is planted on it."  A
film was on the eyes of the dying man, and he could see nothing; but
with a smile on his face he murmured, "I helped to put it there."  Will
you and I be able to say that when the flag of the triumphant Christ is
unfurled in His final victory?

        "And the King sat
    Crown’d on the dais, and his warriors cried,
    ’Be Thou the King, and we will work Thy will
      Who love Thee.’"

Have you taken these vows?  Christ the King would have your services and
make you His Knight.  He _wants_ you, for Himself and for His Cause.  To
be wanted by Jesus Christ--who can hold back from a call such as that?

    "He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
    Oh! be swift, my soul, to answer Him, be jubilant, my feet:
      Our God is marching on!"

                               *A PRAYER
                      OF S. RICHARD OF CHICHESTER
                               1240 A.D.*

    Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
      For all the benefits which Thou hast given me,
      For all the pains and insults, which Thou hast borne for me.
    O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
      May I know Thee more clearly,
      Love Thee more dearly,
      And follow Thee more nearly.  Amen.

                _Printed for_ ROBERT SCOTT, _Publisher_,
                  PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON, E.C., _by_
                        BUTLER & TANNER, FROME.

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