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Text Illustrations
Martyrdom Of Polycarp

Polycarp, venerable bishop of Smyrna was a personal friend and pupil of John the Apostle. When he was age 86, he was urged by the Roman proconsul to reproach Christ and be set free.

“Eighty and six years have I served Him and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

The proconsul said: “I have respect for your age. Simply say, ‘Away with the Atheists’ and be set free.” Polycarp solemnly said, “Away with the Atheists”—pointing to the pagan crowd.”

He joyfully went to the stake, thanking God for counting him worthy to be numbered among the martyrs.