Hymn writer (lyrics): Sabine Baring-Gould
Music composer: Arthur S. Sullivan
Notes: Sabine, born in 1834, was a well off landowner and priest of the Anglican Church. Sullivan, who composed his first song at the age of eight, is best known for his collaborative efforts with W. S. Gilbert. Together they created such memorable operatic works such as The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.
Soldiers played an active, even sometimes positive, role in the New Testament.
Soldiers were some of the many people who came to hear John the Baptist teach and preach. When they asked what they should do to prove their repentance John stated that they should not steal or take by force any money from anyone or to falsely accuse another person. John also told them to be satified with what they are paid.
14. Then those who were soldiers also asked him (John the Baptist), saying, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not oppress or falsely accuse anyone, and be satisfied with your wages." (Luke 3:14, HBFV)
Soldiers were involved in the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:43 - 50; Luke 22:47 - 53; John 18:3 - 12). Pontius Pilate's soldiers made fun of Christ, placed a crown of thorns on his head, whipped and beat him severely, then pretended he was a king while they spit and beat him some more (Matthew 27:27 - 31, Mark 15:16 - 20; Luke 23:11, 36 - 37). Soldiers divided up Jesus' clothes after they placed him on the cross (John 19:23 - 24) and were involved in mocking him as he was dying (Luke 23:36). At the request of religious leaders who hated him a guard was posted at Jesus' tomb to insure thieves did not steal his body (Matthew 27).
It was a soldier name Cornelius, who was a captain in the Roman army regiment called 'The Italian Regiment,' that God called to be the first Gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10). Soldiers also saved the life of Paul when they took him into custody after those involved in a temple riot seized him and began to beat him to death (Acts 21).