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  • Concerning Military Service.

    Chapter XIX.—Concerning Military Service.

    In that last section, decision may seem to have been given likewise concerning military service, which is between dignity and power.314

    314 Elucidation II.

    But now inquiry is made about this point, whether a believer may turn himself unto military service, and whether the military may be admitted unto the faith, even the rank and file, or each inferior grade, to whom there is no necessity for taking part in sacrifices or capital punishments. There is no agreement between the divine and the human sacrament,315

    315 “Sacramentum” in Latin is, among other meanings, “a military oath.”

    the standard of Christ and the standard of the devil, the camp of light and the camp of darkness. One soul cannot be due to two mastersGod and Cæsar. And yet Moses carried a rod,316

    316 “Virgam.” The vine switch, or rod, in the Roman army was a mark of the centurion’s (i.e., captain’s) rank.

    and Aaron wore a buckle,317

    317 To fasten the ephod; hence the buckle worn by soldiers here referred to would probably be the belt buckle. Buckles were sometimes given as military rewards (White and Riddle).

    and John (Baptist) is girt with leather318

    318 As soldiers with belts.

    and Joshua the son of Nun leads a line of march; and the People warred: if it pleases you to sport with the subject. But how will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace, without a sword, which the Lord has taken away?319

    319 Matt. xxvi. 52; 2 Cor. x. 4; John xviii. 36.

    For albeit soldiers had come unto John, and had received the formula of their rule;320

    320 See Luke iii. 12, 13.

    albeit, likewise, a centurion had believed;321

    321 Matt. viii. 5, etc.; Luke vii. 1, etc.

    still the Lord afterward, in disarming Peter, unbe**d every soldier.  No dress is lawful among us, if assigned to any unlawful action.


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