Mrs Seaton's Story
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by Mrs Seaton

Dear Boys and Girls,

Most of you probably know the story of the Rich Young ruler who came to Jesus once and asked Him what he must do in order to have “eternal life.” Our Lord Jesus spoke these words to him: “If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor.” The Bible tells us that the young ruler “turned away sorrowful”, for he was very rich, and he didn't want to give up his riches in order to follow Jesus.

Many people are like that, boys and girls, but I want to tell you about another rich young man who heard those same words of Jesus, but who did what Jesus said. His name was Peter Waldo and he lived in the city of Lyons in France.

About the year 1170 – that's over eight-hundred years ago – Peter Waldo called to see one of the men who was a priest in one of the churches in Lyons. “Sir Priest,” he said, “I have a question to ask. The other day, a friend of mind died. Men will die, I suppose; I will die. But, my friend was not ready to die. Sir Priest,” he said, “tell me: what is the surest road to heaven?” The priest took down a copy of the Bible that he had which was written in Latin and read some words; then he spoke the words in Peter Waldo's own language. They were those words that Jesus spoke to that rich young Ruler: “If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” As day followed day, Peter Waldo thought on those words, and in the end, he said to the Lord, “I will do it.”

Soon Lyons was ringing with the news, we read, “that rich Peter Waldo the merchant, had sold everything he possessed, and had given the money to the poor.” He wasn't sad, however, for now he knew that he had that “treasure in heaven” that Jesus had spoken about. Like most people in his day he wasn't able to read or write, but he soon began to learn so that he could read the Bible for himself. He was disappointed, however, for he soon discovered that all the Bibles were like the one that the priest had and were written in Latin, or some other difficult language. But Peter refused to be beaten, and in a little time he persuaded two of his friends, who were great scholars to translate the Bible into the people's own tongue.

Now, as he began to read the words of Jesus for himself, he was struck by another saying of the Lord's: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Gathering his friends around him, he read these words, and said, “Then we must go.” They had very little money, or even none at all; but they each had a copy of the word of God and off they went. Many of them used to carry a pedlar's pack with them full of the kind of things that the people in the lonely farms would want to buy. “Laces; fine needles; ribbons; dainty pouches,” they used to call; and after the people of the farms would buy what they wanted, then, Peter Waldo and his friends would say, “But I have a treasure much more rare and precious than these. May I show it to you, mistress, and tell you all about it?” Then, out would come the Word of God and soon the gospel was being told to people who had never heard it before.

After a time, however, the priests began to forbid the people to listen to these “Waldensians” as Peter Waldo and his friends were now called, and they were greatly persecuted because they believed that they must go on preaching regardless of what the priests said. Many hundreds were put to death by the priests and their armies, and sometimes whole villages were burned and every person killed or taken prisoner to the dungeons. Some of them were frozen to death in the winter snows, and some others, who had hidden in caves to escape the armies, were smoked to death as the priests and soldiers lit great fires at the caves' mouths.

In spite of all this, though the Waldensians refused to deny the Lord Jesus Christ, or to give up His Word, the Bible. “We promise,” they vowed, “to maintain the Bible without admixture ... persevering in this holy religion, though it be at peril of our life, in order that we might transmit it to our children intact and pure, as we received it from our fathers.”

Peter Waldo has long-since died, of course, boys and girls, although there are still many Christians called Waldensians who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Peter Waldo gave up the treasure in this life that he had, because that is what Christ asked him to do, but, now that he has died, through faith in the Lord Jesus he has gone to be with Him in heaven, and there he will have that heavenly treasure that Jesus promised him.

   Mrs Seaton.

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This Page Title – Boys & Girls Page – Peter Waldo, the Rich Young Man
The Wicket Gate Magazine "A Continuing Witness".
Internet Edition number 87 – placed on line November 2010
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