Since thou art vainly urgent that, as thou sayest, I should swear by the fortune of Caesar, hear me declare with boldness, I am Christian!1
Polycarp and Christian Boldness
Polycarp, Church Father and bishop at Smyrna, rails against the proconsul in Rome. The story describes how people heard a voice from heaven when Polycarp was entering the stadium, “Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!” And Polycarp faced his death with courage and strength. They decided to burn him alive and he requested that they refrain from nailing him to the wood, “Leave me as I am; for He that giveth me strength to endure the fire, will also enable me, without your securing me by nails, to remain without moving in the pile.” They did this and, to our great benefit, a prayer was recorded of Polycarp as he lay there waiting for the fire. This prayer reveals the key to boldness.