Saturday, May 21, 2011

COOL STUFF FROM LIBRARY BOOKS, Entry #3: POLYCARP and Child Evangelism... by R. A. Torrey

 POLYCARP-- A Child Convert
by R.A. Torrey 

by R. A. Torrey, first published in 1907

 Painting: POLYCARP THE MARTYR by Peter S. Ruckman

A CHILD can be a true Christian. Some people do not believe that. Some people think a boy or girl must grow up until they are twenty or twenty-one, or at least until they are fifteen or sixteen before they can understand what it means to be a Christian. This is a great mistake. Boys and girls that can understand anything can understand that Jesus died for them and that He rose again and is able to help and keep them day by day, and they can take Jesus and trust Him as their own Saviour.
      Long, long years ago over in Western Asia, there was an old man ninety-five years of age with long beard hanging down upon his bosom, and long white hair hanging down upon his neck. His name was Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. A new Roman governor came to Smyrna who bitterly hated Christianity and determined to stamp it out of his province. His councilors said to him, " If you are going to stamp out Christianity, you would better deal with Polycarp, for he is the best and most influential Christian in Smyrna." Polycarp was away from Smyrna in the country at the time but the governor sent for him and had him dragged to Smyrna.
      When Polycarp was brought before the governor, he said to him, "Are you a Christian?"
      "Yes, I am a follower of Jesus."
      "But," said the governor, "you must renounce Jesus and sacrifice to the idols or I will throw you to the lions and they will tear you limb from limb." But Polycarp refused. The governor grew more angry and said, "Unless you renounce Jesus, I will have them burn you at the stake."
      Polycarp replied, "These eighty and six years have I served my Lord and He never did me any harm, and I cannot deny my Lord and Master now."
      They took old Polycarp out and tied him to the stake. They piled the fagots around him and they came with a torch and touched the light to the wood. Hotter and hotter grew the flames and Polycarp's flesh began to burn, but the aged saint stood there triumphant, rejoicing to suffer for the name of Jesus.
      He was ninety-five years old when he died. He had been a Christian, according to his own testimony, eighty-six years. Polycarp must have been converted when he was nine years of age.
      It is plain that a boy can be a Christian and a good one too. It is also plain that the good children do not all die young. Ninety-five years of age is not very young to die.


sage said...

A old and good story.

My grandmother, who is the longest member of the Presbyterian Church in which I was baptized, joined at the age of 8. She told me of having to convince the minister and Elders that she was ready at such a young age. She is still a member in her nineties (unfortunately, my dad and uncle had to move her to a nursing home closer to them and she doesn't get back very often, but she was still regularly attending when she turned 90).

Albie The Good said...

Thanks for commenting, Sage... I am now a follower of your blog as well... very cool.

Desert Rat, eh? I already know we have a lot in common then!

I myself can recall having my salvation questioned because I was considered too young to have a "saving knowledge" [I was converted at 8 in a church camp in Hereford, Az.] Torrey was wise in thsi insight, I think.

Thanks for sharing. I bet I woulda liked your grand-mom. :)

Sage said...

Thanks for following my blog--but it's the wrong one (I was making a temponary blog to use as I am on Sabbatical and getting ready to take a train across Asia and Europe). But I haven't yet posted there and think I'll dump it and start over. As for my regular blog, it's "" which I've had since 2004.

Albie The Good said...

OK now I got it... look forward to reading a bunch of it!