the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Hypocrisy: Present Age Suitable to
Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
There was an age of chivalry, when no craven courted knighthood, for it involved the hard blows, the dangerous wounds, the rough unhorsings, and the ungentle perils of the tournament; nay, these were but child's play: there were distant eastern fields, where Paynim warriors must be slain by valiant hands, and blood must flow in rivers from the Red-cross knights. Then men who lacked valour preferred their hawks and their jesters, and left heroes to court death and glory on the battle-field. This genial time of peace breeds carpet knights, who flourish their untried weapons, and bear the insignia of valour, without incurring its inconvenient toils. Many are crowding to the seats of the heroes, since prowess and patience are no more required. The war is over, and every man is willing to enlist. When Rome commenced her long career of victory, it was no pleasant thing to be a soldier in the Roman legions. The power which smote the nations like a rod of iron abroad, was a yoke of iron at home. There were long forced marches, with hunger and cold and weariness; heavy armour was the usual load when the legionary marched at ease; but 'ease' was a word he seldom used. Rivers were forded; mountains were scaled; barbarians were attacked; proud nations were assailed; kingdoms were subdued. No toil too stern for the scarred veteran, no odds too heavy, no onslaught too ferocious, no arms too terrible. Scarcely were his wounds healed, ere he was called to new fields; his life was battle; his home the tent; his repast was plunder; his bed the battle-field; while the eagle's bloody talons removed all need of sepulchre for his slaughtered body. But afterwards when Rome was mistress of the world, and the Pratorian cohorts could sell the imperial purple to the highest bidder, many would follow the legions to share their spoils. It is not otherwise to-day. Into the triumphs of martyrs and confessors few are unwilling to enter; in a national respect to religion, which is the result of their holiness, even ungodly men are willing to share. They have gone before us with true hearts valiant for truth, and false traitors are willing to divide their spoils.
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Hypocrisy: Present Age Suitable to'. Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fff/​h/hypocrisy-present-age-suitable-to.html. 1870.