And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man…
Notwithstanding the too general prevalence of impiety and immorality in the military life, there are many honourable exceptions. We read of the believing and humble centurion of Capernaum, who said that he was not worthy that Christ should come under his roof, and that if He would but speak the word his servant should be healed; which led our Lord to declare, that He had not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. We read, too, of Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian band, a devout man, who feared God with all his house, and gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always, and to whom Peter was sent, more fully to instruct him. There is something peculiarly interesting in almost every case in which genuine religion decidedly influences the mind and conduct of a soldier. These principles must be sincere, and of considerable strength, which enable him to overcome the varied temptations with which he is beset. The trials of his physical and mental courage have been severe, and his opportunities of observation have been extensive. The result of all this is the obvious, and, in the eye of the enlightened Christian, the very adorning and engaging, union of frankness with caution, of complaisance with faithfulness, of meekness with manliness, and of the knowledge of the world, from which, however, he is separated, with the knowledge of God, in which he continues to grow, and under the influence and in the comfort of which he is prepared, if it be the will of God, to live, and equally prepared, if it be the will of God, to die. Let no soldier be so infatuated as to imagine, that his profession will be sustained as a satisfactory excuse for his impiety, when he comes to stand before the judgment-seat of God: for whatever be the difficulties in his way, he is offered Divine aid in proportion to these difficulties, if he apply for it. Let no soldier imagine that, because he is a soldier, irreligion, or profane swearing, or violence, or intemperance, or licentiousness in him, can possibly be passed over, unless he exercise repentance towards God and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ, unless he be actually reformed and converted. On the other hand, let no soldier who is in earnest about his salvation be discouraged. Let him be prepared to set at nought the profane and unhandsome sneers with which he may expect to meet. Let him study at once to live like a Christian, and to be exemplary in the duties of his profession, and then even those who affect to despise will inwardly respect him, and even in their own estimations appear small before him.
(James Foote, M. A. .)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.