Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! We GET to go back to church! Here is TW, from his "The Beatitudes" book. . . .
"Great is the honour we bring to Christ and the gospel by suffering. It was an honour to Caesar that he had such soldiers as were able to fight with hunger and cold and endure hardship in their marches. It is an honour to Christ that He has such listed under Him as will leave all for Him. It proclaims Him to be a good Master when His servants will wear his uniform though it be sullied with disgrace and lined with blood. Paul's iron chain made the gospel wear a golden chain. Tertul-lian says of the saints in his time that they took their sufferings more kindly than if they had had deliverance. Oh, what a glory was this to the truth, when they would embrace it in the flame! And as the saints' sufferings adorn the gospel, so they propagate it. Basil says, the zeal and constancy of the martyrs in the primitive times made some of the heathens to be Christianized. 'The Church is founded in blood and by blood it increases.' The showers of blood have ever made the church fruitful. Paul's being bound made the truth more enlarged (Php. 1:13). The gospel has always flourished in the ashes of martyrs.
"Consider who it is that we have engaged ourselves to in baptism. There we took our press-money. We solemnly vowed that we would be true to Christ's interest and fight it out under His banner to the death. And how often have we in the blessed supper taken the oath of alleg-iance to Jesus Christ that we would be His servants and that death should not part us! Now if when being called to it, we refuse to suffer persecution for His name, Christ will bring our baptism as an indict-ment against us. Christ is called 'the Captain of our salvation' (Heb. 2:10). We have listed ourselves by name under this Captain. Now if, for fear, we shall fly from our colours, it is perjury in the highest de-gree, and how shall we be able to look Christ in the face another day? That oath which is not kept inviolably shall be punished infallibly. Where does the 'flying roll' of curses light, but in the house of him that 'swears falsely' (Zech. 5:4)?"