Polycarp, A.D. 69–A.D. 155

[Mentioned in Science and Health, p. 77; Miscellaneous Writings, p. 345; The People's Idea of God, p. 13]

Polycarp was one of the Apostolic Fathers, an expression used to indicate that an individual knew one or more of the apostles. Polycarp had heard John at Ephesus and been appointed bishop of Smyrna by him. Polycarp's teaching of Jesus' pre-existence and incarnation clearly show John's influence. While Polycarp must have written many letters, the only one that is preserved is his letter to the Philippians. In this he entreats them to "serve God in fear and in truth," and to demonstrate unity.

When the persecution of the Christians began in Smyrna, his friends, in an effort to save him, twice removed Polycarp to farms outside the city. But one night armed soldiers awoke him in his hiding place. After greeting them and ordering refreshments for them, he requested an hour for prayer. This was granted, and he was then led to the city. Friends and even the proconsul pleaded with him that he swear by Caesar and thus be spared. But Polycarp replied: "No. Eighty and six years have I served Christ, and he hath never wronged me." When threatened by beasts, he said, "Let them come; I cannot change from good to bad."

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Signs of the Times
June 12, 1954
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