By C. T. Studd
Heroism is the lost chord, the missing note of present day Christianity! Every true soldier is a hero! A Soldier without heroism is a Chocolate Soldier! Who has not been stirred to scorn and mirth at the very thought of a Chocolate Soldier? 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 hearts desire or perish in the attempt. Battle is the soldiers vital breath! Peace turns him into a stooping asthmatic. War makes a whole man again, and gives him the heart, strength and vigor of a hero. Every true Christian is a soldier of Christ a hero par excellence! Braver than the bravest, 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 Christian! Dissolving in water and melting at the smell of fire. Sweet 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. Here are some portraits of Chocolate Soldiers taken by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself:
He said, I go sir, and went not; he said he would go to the heathen, but stuck fast to Christendom instead.
They say and do not they tell others to go, and yet do not go themselves. Never, said General Gordon to a corporal in the midst of a battle, tell another man to do what you are afraid to do yourself.
To the Chocolate Soldier the very thought of war brings a violent attack of sickness, while the call to battle always finds him paralyzed. I really cannot move, he says. I only wish I could, but I can sing, and here are some of my favorite 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. Till they’re roly poly Puddings so to speak. Round and round the nursery Let us ambulate Sugar and spice and all that’s nice Must be on our slate.
Thank the good Lord, said a very fragile, white-haired lady, God never meant me to be a jelly-fish! She wasn’t! God never was a Chocolate manufacturer, and never will be. Gods men are always heroes. In Scripture you can trace their giant foot-tracks down the sands of time.
Noah walked with God, he didn’t only preach righteousness, he acted it. He went through water and didn’t melt. 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. He warned the unbelieving and, entering the ark himself, didn’t open the door an inch when once God and shut it. A real hero untainted by the fear of man!
Learn to scorn the praise of men, Learn to lose with God; Jesus won the world thro shame! And beckons us His road.
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, rushing out 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 courage! Only a farmer! No war training! Yet what hero has eclipsed his feat? His open secret? He was the friend of God!
Moses the man of God was a species of human chameleon: scholar, general, law-giver, leader, etc. Brought up as the Emperors grandson with more than a good chance of coming to the throne, one thing only between him and it Truth what a choice! What a temptation! A throne for a lie! Ignominy, banishment, or likely enough death for the truth! He played the man! Refusing to be called the son of Pharaohs 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.
Again I see him. Now and old man and alone, marching stolidly back to Egypt, after forty years of exile, to beard the lion in his den, to liberate Pharaohs slaves right under his very nose, and to lead them across that great and terrible wilderness. A wild-cat affair, if ever there was one! When were Gods schemes otherwise?! Look at Jordon, Jericho, Gideon, Goliath, and scores of others. Tame tabby-cat schemes are stamped with another hallmark that of the Chocolate Brigade! How dearly they love their tabbies yet think themselves wise men! Real Christians revel in desperate ventures for Christ, expecting from God great things and attempting the same with exhirliration. History cannot match these feats of Moses. How was it done? He consulted not with flesh and blood, he obeyed not men but God.
Once again I see the old grey-beard, this time descending the Mount with giant strides and rushing into camp, his eyes blazing like burning coals. One man against three million dancing dervishes drunk with debauchery. Bravo! Well done, old man! First class! His cheek pales not, but his mouth moves, and I think I catch his words, 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. And he didn’t. He wins again. Whence this desperate courage? Listen! Now the man Moses was very meek above all the men which were upon the face of the earth…the Lord spake unto Moses face to face as a man speaketh unto his friend. My servant, Moses, said his Master, is faithful in all Mine house, with him will I speak mouth to mouth. Such is the explanation of Moses the chameleon, the man and friend of God and consequently a first-class hero.
David the man after Gods own heart was a man of war and a mighty man of valor. 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. What a splendid fool Eliab must have been! 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. They had better save their journey money and use it to send out real fighters instead. Soldiers don’t need dry nurses, and if they did the Holy Ghost is always on the spot and ready to undertake any case on simple application. No! David went to the battle and stayed to fight, and won! Wise beyond his years, he had no use for Saul’s armor. It cramped his freedom of action. He tried it on and took it off quick. And, besides, it made such a ghastly rattle, even when he walked, that he could not hear the still small voice of God, and would never have heard Him saying afterwards, This is the way to the brook, David! and there are the five smooth stones! Trust only in Me and them. Your own home-made sling will do first class, and there! that’s the shortest cut to Goliath. The Chocolates ran away they were all Chocolates but David ran upon Goliath. One smooth stone was enough.
David’s secret was that he had but one Director, and He the Infallible One. He directed the stone, as He directed the youth. Too many directors spoil the sport, and two are too many, just the One. Thus Christ said to His soldiers: 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 Man God the Holy Ghost. Whose directions indeed require instant obedience, but not the endorsement of any man.
The devil needs red-hot shot, fresh from the foundry of the Holy Ghost. He laughs at sold shot or tepid, and as for that made of half-iron and half-clay, half-divine and half-human, why you might just as well pelt him with snowballs.
Whence did this raw youth derive his courage 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! While others were learning pretty theories, David, like John, had been alone with God in the wilds, practicing on bears and lions. The result? He knew God and did exploits. He knew God only. He obeyed God only. That’s the secret. God alone gives strength. God adulterated with men entails the weakness of iron and clay Chocolate brittleness!
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 Gods house and often going there, suffered the one great defeat of his life, entailing such a bitter, life-long reaping as might deter others from the folly of sowing wild oats. David’s sin is a terrific sermon (like Lots 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 ass who sought to save his masters life. Being a Chocolate Soldier nearly did in David. Beware!
Nathan was another real Christian Soldier. He went to his king and rebuked him to his face, like Peters dealing with Ananias (only David embraced his opportunity and confessed), and unlike the Chocolate Soldiers of today who go whispering about and refusing to either judge, rebuke, or put away evil because of the entailed scandal. Veritable Soapy Sams. They say It is nothing! Nothing at all! A mere misunderstanding! As though Gods cause would suffer more through a bold declaration and defense of the truth and the use of the knife, than by the hiding of sin, and the certain development of mortification in the member, involving death to the whole body. He that doeth righteousness is righteous, and he that doeth sin is of the devil, and ought to be told so. He that is a second time led captive by the devil needs neither salve nor medicine, but the vigorous rebuke and summons to repentance of a righteous man to effect his salvation. We are badly in need of Nathans today, who fear God and naught else, no, not even a scandal!
Daniel was another hero. Of course he was! Was he not the man greatly beloved of God who sent an angel to tell him so? I love to watch him as he walks, with firm step and radiant face, to the lions den, stopping but once like his Master en route to Calvary to comfort his weeping and agonized emperor. 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. Again we see him going to the banquet hall, and hear his conductor whisper in his ear, Be careful, Daniel, be statesmanlike. Position and power again for you if you are tactful and wise especially tactful! And Daniel’s simple reply, Get thee behind me, Satan! There he stands before the king, braving torture or instant death but its the king, not Daniel who tells him to his face the whole hot truth of God, diminishing not a jot.
John the Baptist a man taught and made and sent of God good old John! Who doesn’t love and admire him? Why, even Herod did. A genuine deficiency of oil and salve in his composition. He always told the bang flat truth, with emphasis. As he loved, so he warned. He knew not how to fawn. He wooed with the sword, and men loved him the better for it. They always do. The leaders of religion sent to John to ask him the dearly loved question of every Pharisee, By what authority doest though these (good) things? They asked that of Christ Himself, and crucified Him for the doing of them. Johns answer was plain and pungent, I will tell you what you ask and more. (John was always liberal) I? I am nobody, but ye and your masters are a generation of vipers. A good hot curry, that! John never served his curries with butter sauce, but he was always very liberal with chutney a man of God no sugar plum nor Chocolate Soldier he!
Thus he faced Herod after six months in an underground dungeon, and he a man of Gods Open-air Mission. Brought straight in before the king; surrounded with all the might and majesty of camp and court, blinking at the unaccustomed sight of light, but by no means putting blinders on the truth, he blurted out his hot and thunderous rebuke, 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 had preached like that before; like Hugh Latimer, he was not above repeating a good sermon to a king, word for word, when the king had not given sufficient heed to it.
John received the unique distinction of a first-class character from both God and the agent of the devil. Hark to the Savior 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 Chocolate Soldier? (How delicious! The Chocolates were right in front of Jesus at the time Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, scribes, lawyers, and other hypocrites. How the crowd must have enjoyed it!) A prophet! Nay, much more than a prophet! Of men born of women there is none greater than John. And what did the devils agent say when, after Johns death, he heard of Jesus? This I tell you, is John risen from the dead. What a character! Fancy Jesus being mistaken for anyone! He could have been mistaken only for John. Nobody envies him the well-deserved honor, great though it was, for John was a man pure granite right through, with not a grain of chocolate in him.
Had John but heard Jesus say, Ye shall be My witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth, I very much doubt if Herods dungeons, or his soldiers, could have detained him. He surely would have found some means of escape, and run off to preach Christ’s Gospel. If not in the very heart of Africa, then in some more difficult and dangerous place. Yet Christ said, referring to His subsequent gifts 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 a 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 whose head was as big as his body, and his heart greater than both. 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 irrepressible 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 turned not a hair. He didn’t so much as flinch before Nero, that vice-president of hell. His sufferings were appalling; read them. He walked in his Masters footsteps, and so received (God is always just in His favors) the same splendid compliment that Jesus did. All forsook him. So there were some Chocolate Christians in those days too. Anyone who forsook Paul must have been made of Chocolate. 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! (What a lie! Jesus did, and they got on well together.) A tactless enthusiast, who considered it his business to tell every man the unvarnished truth regardless of consequences. He won his degree hands down, and without touch of the spur. A first-class one, too that of the headman’s ax 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 knew 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!
Nobly they fought to win their prize, Climbing the steep ascents of heaven, Thro peril, toil, and pain O God, to us let grace be given, to follow in their train.
The Chocolate Christians of today can at least boast of having ancient pedigrees. There 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. Its good to have a great heart searching. Its better to make a great heart resolve. But, if instead of obeying, we sit 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 Chocolate 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 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 had always been considered the ideal training of war; as though the best training for the soldier was to become a nurse-maid!!! (Judges 5:23)
Chocolates du Balaam begin first-class, and earn the name of prophets. They develop a squint, melt, and finally run out of the frying pan into the fire, this Balaam. One day he couldn’t get his left eye to look at God. It would look at earth and mammon and that chit of a girl, Miss Popularity. He ought to have done as God told him, and plucked it out. But he said that was too much to ask 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. He hadn’t the courage to curse Gods people, so he made plans for others to make them sin. But one day, while his dupes were putting his chestnuts into the fire, they fell in themselves, and Balaam with them. (Numbers 22-24)
I counsel thee to buy of me eyesalve, that thou mayest once again have a single eye, and be enabled to see the folly of flirting with the world.
Chocolate Demas, who left old fiery hard-hitting Paul for an easier path. He said he though Paul should wink at, or slobber over sin, instead of rebuking it. He was so very fond of the knife, you know; and he never would use sticking-plaster, because he said it never healed the sore but made it burrow underneath and become bigger, worse, and dangerous. (2 Timothy 4:10)
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-enlisted in Gods army and became a useful soldier. (Acts 13:13)
Many fine youngsters are tuned into Chocolate Soldiers by old prophets. Old prophets who have lost their fire, or fire off words instead of deeds, usually become Great Chocolate Manufacturers. That poor young prophet. He did so well when he obeyed God only, but it was all over with him when he listened to another voice, even though that of an old prophet. Didn’t the old prophet say he was a prophet? What a damnable lie! The floor of Christendom and elsewhere is littered with wrecks made by old prophets. God wont stand nonsense from any man. Every man has to choose between Christ and Barabas, 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 flatter, and afterwards become a wreck. This is My beloved Son, hear HIM. No! Not even Moses, nor Elijah, nor both. Hear Him. You have an appointment from God, and you have no need that any man teach you. 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. Its not small things He despises, but Chocolates; for He said, Your little ones shall inherit the promise 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)
There’s nothing that shows up Chocolates so much as a bit of a breeze among Gods people. Paul and Barnabas had one once. Judging from experience, I guess there were some Chocolates about then who got into a fog right away! Before that, they had vowed they would go to the heathen; but this breeze between P and B put them off. If they hadn’t been made of chocolate they would have said, This affair between Paul and Barnabas only makes it more necessary for me to keep close to God, and do what He told me to do more exactly and punctually; so I shall go a bit sooner to Africa that’s all! Difficulties, dangers, disease, death, or divisions don’t deter any but Chocolates from executing Gods will. When someone says 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 spoke out against lukewarmness, they would talk sense. Gods 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 Gods School who has not been paid the compliment of being called a fanatic. We Christians of today are indeed a tepid bunch. Had we but half the fire and enthusiasm of the Suffragettes in the past, we would have the world evangelized and Christ back among us in no time. Had we the courage 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 dare-devil enterprise, we could have every soul on earth knowing the 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. The Militants daily risked their lives in furtherance of their cause, and contributed of their means in a way that cried shame on us Christians, who generally brand the braving of risks and fighting against odds as tempting God. These are Chocolate Caramels stick-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. We need as many meetings for action as for prayer perhaps more. Every orthodox prayer meeting is opened by God saying to His people, Go work today; pray that laborers be sent into My vineyard. It is continued by the Christians response, I go, Lord, withersoever Thou sendest me, that Thy Name may be hallowed everywhere, that Thy Kingdom may come speedily, that Thy Will may be come on earth as in heaven. But if it ends in nobody going anywhere, it had better never been held at all. Like faith, prayer without works is dead. That is why many prayer meetings might well be styled much cry, little wool. Zerrubbable didn’t only hold prayer meetings, he went and cut down trees, and started to build. Hence God said, From this day will I bless thee.
Report says that someone has re-discovered the secret of the old masters. Cannot we Christians re-discover, and put into practice, that of our Great Master and His former pupils, Heroism? He and they saved not themselves; they loved not their lives to 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, with the signal for close action flying.
The Vox Humana plays too important a part in our Christian organs and organization today. The music, whoever plays, is bound to be thin when the tops of Instant Obedience and Firey Valor are missing or unused, and without them to play the Lost Chord of Heroism is an impossibility.
Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it, said the Blessed Virgin. Do what? Not put oil and spice into the soft holy vessels inside the house, but pour the Water of Life into those empty stone ones outside. Canas marriage feast would have ended in shame had the wine run short. Christ’s marriage feast begins only when the wine is sufficient a blend from every tongue and kindred and tribe and nation. The supply is assured, as soon as the water is poured out as Christ directed, into the uttermost parts of the earth. The mischief today is the reluctance of the servants to do the outside work. They all want to serve indoors, wear smart clothes, listen to the conversations, and make a terrible lot of themselves in the butlers pantry.
Let us make a real start now at once! For years, like Mr. Winkle, we’ve declared we were just about to begin, and then never began at all. We must divorce Chocolate and Disobedience, and marry Faith and Heroism. Who shall begin the battle? asked the king. Thou, replied the prophet, and when the king and the young prince led the way, the odds against them were terrific, they won with ridiculous ease. So, too, the Apostles led in the war of God to the uttermost parts of the earth. Likewise in the Crusades, the kings and prince of State and Church led; then why not today in the Crusade of Christ to Evangelize the World?
Gods summons today is to the young men and women of Great Britain and America and Christendom, who call themselves by the name of Christ. New wine, said Christ, must be placed in new bottles. Those superfluously labeled and patched up old fashioned ones are as hopeless as the New Theology. They cant be moved lest they burst with pride and spill the wine in the wrong place. Listen: And it shall be in the last days, I will 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? Cant you go, young woman, and tell them? Verily we are in the last, the Laodicean stage that of the Lukewarm Church.
Will you be to Christ the partner of His throne or an emetic [a medicine which induces vomiting. ed.s note] (Rev. 3:21); a Militant or a Chocolate Christian? Will you fear or will you fight? Shall your brethren go to war and shall you sit here? When He comes, shall He find faith on earth?
A thousand times you have admitted Christ’s Love so amazing, so divine, Demands your life, your soul, your all.
Will you be a miser and withhold what honor demands of you? Will you give like Ananias and Sapphira, who pretending to give all, gave only a part? Possessing and enjoying the vineyard, will you, like the husbandman, refuse the agreed rent? Will you fear death, or devil, or men? And will you 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 valor 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 Lords commands!). Ye sought in time past, for Jesus to be King over you. Now, then, do it! (Compare 1 Chron. 12:8, 33, 38 and 2 Sam. 3:17, 18)
Shall we not reply: Thine are we, Jesus, and on Thy side, God do so to me, and more also, if as God has sworn unto Him, I do not even so to Jesus to translate the kingdom from the house of Satan, and set up the throne of Jesus Christ over all the world. (Compare 1 Chron 12:18 and 2 Sam. 3:10)
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 the question, Will you 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.