“When a believer has fallen into a low, sad state of feeling, he often tries to lift himself out of it by chastening himself with dark and doleful fears. Such is not the way to rise from the dust, but to continue in it. It is not the law, but the gospel which saves the seeking soul at first; and it is not a legal bondage, but gospel liberty which can restore the fainting believer afterwards. Slavish fear brings not back the backslider to God, but the sweet wooings of love allure him to Jesus’ bosom…Whatever good quality there is in divine grace, you shall enjoy it to the full. All the riches of divine grace you shall receive in plenty; you shall be as it were drenched with it: and as sometimes the meadows become flooded by the bursting rivers, and the fields are turned into pools, so shall you be — the thirsty land shall be springs of water.”
“Courageous manliness is personified in the story of Gaius Mucius, a noble Roman youth from the early Republic. An Etruscan king named Porsenna had besieged Rome by garrisoning his soldiers around the city. Gaius Mucius asked the Roman senators for permission to slip into the Etruscan camp and kill Porsenna. He killed Porsenna’s secretary by mistake, and he was captured by the king’s bodyguards. Gaius Mucius said to the king:
“I am Gaius Mucius, a citizen of Rome. I came here as an enemy to kill my enemy, and I am as ready to die as I am to kill. We Romans act bravely and, when adversity strikes, we suffer bravely. Nor am I the only one who feels this way; behind me stands a line of those who seek the same honour.” [*]
Porsenna threatened to throw Gaius Mucius into the fire. Gaius Mucius responded by thrusting his own hand into the fire. As his hand burned, he said:
“Look upon me and realize what a paltry thing the body is for those who seek great glory.” [*]
Porsenna told Gaius Mucius that, were he a member of his own tribe, he would commend him for his bravery. Gaius Mucius was released, but he told Porsenna that there were three hundred other Romans who would be willing to sacrifice themselves as he had to save their city, and that if the siege of Rome persisted, sooner or later one of them would manage to succeed in killing the king. Porsenna sent an envoy to the Romans, offering peace terms. Gaius Mucius earned the nickname “Scaevola,” meaning “left-handed,” after losing his right hand to the fire.”
-Jack Donovan’s book: The Way of Men
I used this story in our ManKamp final gathering to ignite the courage needed to pursue Jude 1:23 “…save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
An example of men moved by God’s love for men, daring to get into the fire for the purposes of God.
*Livy. The Rise of Rome: Books One to Five (Bks. 1-5) Book 2: 12.
[Bronze statue of Gaius Mucius Scaevola by German sculptor Wilhelm Kumm (1861-?)]