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On 17 March 1841, Dr. David Livingstone sighted Table Mountain as his ship edged into Table Bay to begin one of the most incredible careers of the best friend Africa ever had.
An Example of Excellence
Dr. David Livingstone is an example of excellence. His life, legacy and literature continue to speak to us today. The challenge of David Livingstone is most relevant to our times.
If Dr. David Livingstone was here today, what would he say to us?
We do not need to guess. We have his writings and published statements available. We can know exactly what David Livingstone would say to us today. It is what he said to the people of his generation:
"The Salvation of men ought to be the chief desire and aim of every Christian!"
"All men have the right to hear God's Word. No nation ought to hoard the Gospel like a miser!"
"Can the love of Christ not carry the missionary where the slave trade carries the trader?"
"If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come even if there is no road at all!"
"We must be uncommon Christians, i.e. imminently holy and devoted servants of the Most High. Let us seek that selfishness be extirpated, pride banished, unbelief driven from the mind. Every idol dethroned and everything hostile to holiness and opposed to the Divine will crucified; that holiness to the Lord may be engraved on the heart and evermore characterise our whole conduct."
"We have still a debt of gratitude to Jesus… and there is no greater privilege on earth, than after having our own chains broken off, to go forth and proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of prison to them that are bound."
From the Ends of the Earth
“Listen to Me, you islands; hear this you distant nations… you are My servant Israel.. to restore the tribes of Jacob.. I will make you a light for the gentiles, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:1-6
To the Ends of the Earth
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness…” Psalm 24:1
Our Creator, and Redeemer, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the eternal Judge is “The God of all the earth…” Isaiah 54:5
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 1 Corinthians 10:26
“The whole earth is full of His Glory…” Isaiah 6:3
It is the earnest prayer of all believers: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your Glory above all the earth.” Psalm 108:5
Our Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10
The Lord’s Word is to be proclaimed “to the end of the world...” Isaiah 62:11
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The year was A.D. 155. The persecution against Christians had swept across the Roman Empire. It had come to the city of Smyrna. The Pro-Consul of Smyrna, swept up into this persecution, put out the order to arrest Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp. He was to be arrested and brought to the local Coliseum, for execution.
Polycarp had been warned to flee, but he had decided not to. He invited his captors in, treated them as friends, prepared them food and served them a meal. Polycarp just asked for one hour to pray before they took him away. The Roman officers overheard his prayers, which actually went on for two hours. They probably began to have second thoughts: "What are we doing arresting an old man like this?" A man well advanced in his eighties.
An Offer for Reprieve
The crowd screamed when they saw this famous Christian leader come forward. They wanted his blood. The Pro-Consul, however, offered him a way of reprieve. He said: "Pity your grey hairs old man. Just curse Christ and I will release you." Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrna, responded: "Eighty-six years I have served Christ and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?"