No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:4
Words & Music: H. Ernest Nichol (1862–1926), in Redemption Songs (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1900), number 917 (🔊 pdf nwc). Some hymnals give the author as Colin Sterne, Nichol’s pseudonym.
If you know where to get a good photo of Nichol (head-and-shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels), would you ?
Why are you marching along to war?
Soldiers true, who are you?
What is the cause you are fighting for?
Why are you never sad?
O we are only rank and file,
Treading the path for many a mile;
Still every face must bear a smile,
For Jesus has made us glad.
We’ve enlisted in the cause victorious
Of the everlasting Lord;
We are marching in the ranks all glorious,
Resplendent with the shield and sword.
Christ is our captain, Christ our might,
So we fight, seeking right;
Christ is leading us to light
In the all victorious army.
Who are the foes that you fight withal,
Ye who stand, sword in hand?
Do you not fear in the strife to fall,
Struck by a deadly blow?
Strong are the foes that bar our way,
Many the sins we have to slay;
Still we shall rise and win the day,
Tho’ oft in the dust laid low.
What is the secret of your great power,
Soldiers bright, full of might?
Why are you fearless in danger’s hour,
Strong with the foe to cope?
Jesus it is that makes us strong,
Trusting in Him we march along;
He ever fills our hearts with song,
Our eyes with the light of hope.
Where is the home you are marching to,
Hearts of youth, hearts of truth?
Is there a kingdom beyond the blue,
Where you may rest from strife?
Jesus has said that we shall stand,
Victors of faith at His right hand,
Crowned in the light of God’s own land
With joy and eternal life.