The Church Militant

The Church Militant (ecclesia militans).—The “saints” of Christ, His “holy nation” (1 Peter ii, 9), fight here on earth, not with loud clamor or great display, but in quiet and stillness. Their wrestling is not against men, but against sin; they seek the pearl of great price and the hidden treasure.

They are depicted in the Sermon on the Mount, in the concise and graphic phrases of our Lord.

They are the “poor in spirit,” the little ones of state and Church and society, the unappreciated and despised, who day by day go their inconspicuous way of duty, and cannot marvel enough that the great and holy God should wish to be with them also.

They are the “meek” who never grumble at life and who ever accept with great content whatever God sends them.

They are the “mourners” who in the lonely night cry plaintively to God: Lord, not my will, but Thine be done, and who at the last can thank their God with glad hearts that they are allowed to suffer with Jesus.

They are those who “hunger and thirst after justice,” those who reck nothing of comfortable piety and well-fed virtue, but on the contrary are pierced to the soul with the thought of their unworthiness, and put their whole trust constantly in the redeeming power of Jesus.

They are the “merciful,” for whom the need of others is their need, whom no obstacle, no sin or foulness can hinder from succoring their starving brother, and whose hands are closed by no ingratitude.

They are the “pure of heart,” men of a childlike simplicity and singleness of aim, kindhearted, guileless and always cheerful, for whom life is all sunshine, a constant loving cry of Abba, Father!

They are the “peace-makers,” men of the Holy Spirit, of inward maturity and serene equipoise of mind, from whom quiet and peace flow forth as from a sanctuary, before whom all discord is ashamed and dumb.

And lastly they are those who are persecuted “for justice sake,” “for His sake,” those apostolic souls and tireless workers in the vineyard, who proclaim His truth by speech and writing, by teaching and example, “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. iv, 2). They seek not their own advantage, neither recognition from the world, nor honors from the Church; they seek only souls. And commonly their lot is abuse, persecution and hatred. For their life is a special challenge to the world, and draws down the scorn and laughter of its wise ones.

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