For the Shame of Christ
Not content to merely to pour out his own life to proclaim the Gospel to the world, C.T. Studd wrote pamphlets to enlist Christians to join him in the spiritual battle to win souls to Christ. In the following pamphlet C.T. describes the ardent Crusaders of the past to stir up Christians to fight with equal ardor in the war for mens souls. Although C.T.s reference to the Crusades may seem obscure today, his stinging retort and rousing call to those who would excuse themselves from the sacrificial life of a Christian soldier ring as true now as when he penned it nearly 100 years ago.
"Therefore we pray you by God that you take pity on the land oversea, and the shame of Christ."
So spake the Crusader envoys to the Doge of Venice as they sought to enlist him and his people in the venture of the fourth Crusade. This was his reply: "Certes, it is a great thing that your lords require of us…a high enterprise…it is meet that so great a matter be fully pondered."
The Doge pondered the matter, then he called his council of 40, then of 100 others, then 200 more, then 1,000, and so spake that all consented and approved the enterprise. Lastly, he assembled 10,000 of his people in the chapel of St. Mark to hear Mass and to pray to God for counsel. The envoys also came into the church. The Doge requested them to address the people. They did so; they knelt at the people’s feet, weeping many tears, and said"For God’s sake help to avenge the shame of Christ Jesus."
Then the Doge and all the rest, lifting up their hands, with one voice cried"We consent! We consent!" They consented to assist, by ships and provisions, the host of the fourth Crusade.
Some Crusaders proved faithless to their vows, to their eternal shame!! Thus the faithful men’s shares of payment were insufficient to defray the agreed sum for transport and commissariat. The expedition was endangered and their own vows. How did the true Crusaders behave? Their words shall say:
"For God’s sake let each contribute all that he has so that we may fulfil our covenant: far better is it that we should give all that we have, than lose what we have already paid, and prove false to our covenants; for if this host remains here the rescue of the land oversea comes to naught." "Much rather would we give all that we have and go penniless with the host, than that the host shall fall to pieces and fail; for God will doubtless repay us when it so pleases Him."
Then the Count of Flanders began to give all that he had and all that he could borrow, and so did Count Lewis and the Marquis, and the Count of St. Paul, and those who were of their party.
Thus the expedition was enabled to sail. But such wholesouled conduct bore other fruit besides. So shone their light before men that the Doge himself took the cross and went with them. This Doge was indeed "a man." Peace and plenty, wealth, comfort, and pleasure lay in his staying at Venice. Hardship and peril by land and sea, sickness, want, wounds and death lay in his taking the cross and goingyet he went! He was worthy and good. He was "a real man," I say. He was stone blind, and ninety years of age!!! Truly "he was of a great heart!" He had so much reason to stay behindyet he went. "I go," said he, "to live or die with you and with the pilgrims." Many shed tears at the sight of the old blind hero taking the cross, and wearing it on his hat, because he wished that all men should see it. He was not ashamed of his Saviour. And many did better than to shed tearsheroism breeds heroes; for the Venetians began to take the cross in great numbers, whereas up to that day very few had taken the cross.
This "man of men" took the cross and went forth; he never returned. Three years later he died in a foreign land, and was buried with great honour in the Church of St. Sophia. But who can forget him? What man’s soul does not dance within him for an opportunity to do something at least as great and noble for Christs sake, yet in a better cause?
Those Crusaders went, gambling with their lives, for Christs sake, to capture the Holy Land and the tomb of Christ from the hands of the infidel. Every step threatened hardship, sacrifice, and danger, but they mocked at all, for they went to redeem "the shame of Christ Jesus."
Today we have better reason to go crusading. "The world lieth in the wicked oneas the Holy Ghost proclaimed through the Apostle John. We have the divine command to evangelize the world. Our Crusade! We see the shame of Christ. We acknowledge it! Yet stay at home! Where are the Crusaders of to-day? Why are not the rich, and the nobles, and the royalties in the firing line for Christ today? Where is our crusading spirit? Where our enthusiasm for Christ and the lands oversea?
We should go crusading for Christ. We have the men, the means, and the wayssteam and electricity and iron have levelled the lands and bridged the seas. The doors of the world have been opened wide for us by our God. We pray and preach; we bow the knee; we receive, we administer the Holy Communion of the passion of Christ; we recite the creed triumphantly; we are optimists every one; we should "Onward, Christian soldiers, marching on to war," and then? and then? we whisper, "I pray thee have me excused!!" What glorious humbugs we are! "I am too old!"
But what about the blind old Doge of ninety? And what about Miss Wilson who, at the age of fifty, went gaily crusading in Inland China some years ago, and others besides? "I am too young."
Then what about our young soldiers and officers? What about young Anstruther, who went crusading to the Crimea, and fell at the head of his regiment at the battle of the Alma, with the Queens colour in his hand, only eighteen years of age? John Nicholson, at seventeen, sailed for the scenes of his heroic deeds in India! Little Nelson, a weak boy of twelve years of age, volunteered in those troublesome times, and made his first voyage in one of the crazy ships of those days. And these are but samples of the multitudes. In the services they wait not to start till their constitutions are well established, neither do they go for gold! "But I might die so young!"
True! but God says, "To die is gain," and we say we believe The Book. Heaven’s meanest abode surpasses earth’s loveliest paradise. "But my Parents object!"
That is indeed strange, for they are proud when their sons go forth to serve an earthly King. Is the service of Jesus Christ less honourable? I wonder! And did not Christ say, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me," and "If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters. yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." "But I need more education!"
That is strange too, for you have already a great deal more than those unlearned and ignorant disciples whom Christ chose to be His crusaders in preference to the "scholars" and "somebodies" of His days, and with whom He did such wonders. "But do I not require first to take a Course in a Theological College?"
Well, the Holy Ghost conducts the best collegea universal one; one not made with men’s hands, a "college by spirit." "He shall teach you all things," and "guide you into all the truth." He uses one textbookHis ownThe Bible. He is not a critic of His own writings. He believes and teaches them.
If you go through an ordinary theological course, how many heathen will have "gone under" ere you come out? and then you’ll likely come out with half a Bible and a ton of conceit and unbelief. And the heathen don’t want theologythey need Christ. "But do I not need to be ordained?"
Surely! But by whom? By men or by God? But surely John the Baptist and the Apostles were ordained? Certainly. By God and by Christ, but not by men. "Then what wait I for?"
I’m sure I don’t know! Nobody knows! The trump of God has been sounding the charge unceasingly, and is still sounding, and this is what it says: "Go! Ye shall be witnesses unto Me, unto the uttermost part of the earth; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him." "Are not the odds too great?"
They are no greater, nor so great as Cortes and Pizarro and others faced gladly for gold! "But what shall I do with my money and estates?"
Lay them up in heaven, of course, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break not through nor steal; then you shall have treasure in heaven; while on earth you shall receive one hundredfold. Are they not safer than the safest gilt-edged securities? And, if not, then there can be but one alternative! Was Jesus Christ a fraudulent company promoter? Who dares to say so? "But the sacrifice is terrible, and is it altogether justifiable?"
That is well worth serious consideration. Of course Christ told us to follow in His footsteps, and, if our sacrifice is greater than His, we might be going before Him and so become guilty of presumption. He left heaven and His Father for our sakes; though rich He became poor; having a name above every name, He made Himself of no reputation, becoming despised and rejected of men; then He willingly laid down His life for us on the cross, after suffering every torture that men could think of. He endured the cross and despised the shame that He might buy us with His blood. No, I really do not think there is much danger of our sacrifice being greater than His and so unjustifiable. "But is there any Reward?"
Rather! Our rewards are waiting in heaven and our reception in state by our Lord Jesus Christ also; whilst here upon earth we have the unique privilege of serving Him where alone in the universe He is dishonoured and reviled; a privilege glorious enough to excite envy in the heart of every heavenly being. "But shall I receive a Title?"
Oh, yes! various ones. Those who love Jesus will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Those who don’t love Jesus, being really insane while thinking themselves wise, will call you mad or a fool. Did they not so style Christ and the Apostle Paul? A "fool for Christ’s sake." What a title! Better than a K.C.B. In heaven they will be pointing and saying, "There goes one who follows the Lamb whithersoever He goeth." "But can’t we do it cheaper?"
We have tried other and softer methods and have notably failed! Five hundred millions of heathen have never yet been evangelized, so it is computed! Yet our great missionary societies have reached high water mark, and if they have not already begun to retrench are seriously thinking of doing so. Meanwhile the heart of Asia, the heart of Africa, and well-nigh the whole continent of South America, are untouched with the Gospel of Christ.
The World lies open before the Christians of today.
But there is no possibility of occupying it for Christ except by a crusade. We have an invincible armamentthe Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. We have an unconquerable Commanderthe Holy Ghost. Hitherto we have bound Him with our traditions and prejudices, our disobedience and internal dissensions, our love of life and lack of faith and love. Let us up and avenge the Shame of Christ
"He could not bring them into the promised land of the world," they say. It is only too true. "He could not!" Yes, but only because we would not follow and obey Him; only because we love our lives and the world better than we love Christ and His sheep!
It is not that we do not know, but that we will not do. "Ye know these things, happy we ye if ye do them." We have churches and chapels, missions and conventions. About fifty million addresses of all sorts are given every year in the British Isles alone.
We are being drowned in a deluge of words!
Words without deeds! What ark can save us? Deeds, not words. Not words, but deeds won our British Empire! Not words, but deeds must win the world for Christ! Deeds that carry the Word of Life to the uttermost parts of the earth! "Why call ye Me Lord! Lord! and do not the things which I say?" "He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever!"
What did Pizarro say? "Choose each man what best becomes a brave Castilian." Thirteen stepped across the line! Thirteen against 200,000 soldiers of Peru! They went and won!
Who then will be a doer for Christ? For the shame of Christ and the lands oversea? Whatever the cost?
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 20 No 2
- No Independent Self
- The Real Problem: Satans Lie
- Tape Talk
- Editors Note
- Sin Ruled My Life
- Reminiscences of Rees Howells The Village Years, Continued
- For the Shame of Christ
- A Look at a Book
- BIBLE STUDY:The Letterto the Romans
- Yes, I Am
- The Faith Life Has Its Tight Times
- Letters from Norman