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The Epistles of St. Ignatius



[Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and was the port which conducted in Roman times most of the trade of the great highway leading from the East to the AEgaean. There is probably an allusion to this great trade-route in Eph. 12.  The city was naturally chosen by St. Paul as a centre for missionary labours.  See Acts xviii., xix.  Christianity spread rapidly, and Ephesus is mentioned first among the seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation (Rev. i. 11, ii. 1). A tradition dating from the last quarter of the second century represents St. John as spending his later years at Ephesus (see c. 11, note). Ignatius had not visited Ephesus, but the Church had sent delegates to him at Smyrna. The present letter was written from Smyrna to thank them for their kindly interest in him. He reminds them of their glorious history (cc. 8, 11, 12), and praises them for their adherence to the truth and their regard for order (c. 6). At the same time he warns them against false teachers who had been passing through Ephesus (c. 9).  He urges upon them the importance, in face of heresy, of faith in the historical manifestation of Jesus Christ, a more frequent use of corporate worship, and adherence to the bishop.  From the language of cc. 7, 18, 19, 20, and the opening inscription (see notes), it would seem that the heresy alluded to was Docetic. There are no references to Judaism.]

IGNATIUS, who is also Theophorus,[1] to her that is blessed with greatness[2] through the fulness[3] of God

[1] Probably a title adopted by Ignatius himself to remind him of his Christian calling. The word may bear an active or a passive meaning, 'bearing God' or 'borne (or inspired) by God,' according as we read it θεοφο'ρος or θεο'φορος.  In favour of the active meaning it may be urged, (1) Ignatius in c. 9 uses the word in this sense. (2)  The word was commonly interpreted in this sense in the following centuries. Thus, in the Antiochene Acts of the Martyrdom, c. 2, when Trajan asks, 'Who is he that beareth God?' Ignatius replies, 'He that hath Christ in his breast.' (3) The idea thus contained in the word was common in early writers. Cf. the early Latin reading of 1 Cor. vi. 20, 'glorify and bear God in your body,' found also in Tertullian and Cyprian. From the passive sense, 'borne by God' arose the tradition that Ignatius was the child whom our Lord took up in His arms (Mark ix. 36).
[2] The word 'greatness' refers to the spiritual growth of the Church at Ephesus.
[3] The word 'fulness,' or pleroma, is the word used in John i. 16,


the Father, foreordained before the ages to be continually for abiding and unchangeable glory; united and chosen out by a passion truly suffered,[1] through the will of the Father and Jesus Christ our God; to the Church which is at Ephesus [in Asia], worthy of congratulation, heartiest greeting in Jesus Christ and in joy that is without reproach.

I. I welcomed in God your dearly loved name,[2] which is yours by nature[3] [in an upright and just mind] by faith and love towards Christ Jesus our Saviour. Being imitators of God, you were kindled into action by the blood of God, and perfectly fulfilled a task which accorded with your nature. For when you heard [4] that I was come from Syria in bonds for the Name and hope common to us all, and that I was hoping by your prayer to attain my purpose of fighting with wild beasts at Rome, that through my attaining I may be enabled to be a disciple, you were anxious to visit me.  I received therefore your numerous body[5] in the name of God in the person of Onesimus, whose love surpasses

Rom. xv. 29, Eph. i. 23, etc. It denotes, in the language of St. Paul and St. John, the whole sum of the Divine attributes.  Out of the Divine fulness each man receives the gifts and graces needed for the spiritual life.  The word 'fulness,' as also the words 'blessed,' 'foreordained,' 'glory,' 'chosen out,' 'the will [of the Father],' are perhaps reminiscences of the opening verses of St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians.
[1] The words 'truly suffered' are an allusion to the Docetic error.
[2] The word 'name' is used in the sense of 'character.'
[3] This character was due to natural gifts rather than training or accidental circumstances. The words in brackets have been added by Lightfoot from the abridged Syriac version, having probably fallen out at a time earlier than any existing copies of the Greek text.
[4] Probably at the point where Ignatius' guards took the northern route through Philadelphia, instead of the southern route through Tralles, Magnesia, and Ephesus, messengers were sent to inform those Churches of Ignatius' approaching visit to Smyrna. 
[5] In receiving their bishop Onesimus, Ignatius received the whole Church which he represented.


words, who is, besides, in the flesh your bishop. I pray that you may love him with a love according to Jesus Christ, and that you may all be like him.  For blessed is He Who granted unto you, worthy as you are, to possess such a bishop.

II. Concerning my fellow-servant Burrhus,[1] who by God's appointment is your deacon and is blessed in all things, I pray that he may remain here unto the honour of yourselves and the bishop.  And Crocus, who is worthy of God and of you, whom I received as a pattern of the love borne by you, has relieved me in all things—may the Father of Jesus Christ in like manner refresh [2] him—along with Onesimus and Burrhus and Euplus and Fronto, in whose presence my love saw you all.  May I have joy of you all continually, if I be worthy.  So then it is fitting in every way to glorify Jesus Christ Who has glorified you, that in one obedience you may be perfectly joined together, submitting yourselves to the bishop and to the presbytery, and may in all things be found sanctified.

III. I do not command you, as though I were somewhat. For even though I be bound in the Name, I have not yet become perfected in Jesus Christ. For now I am making a beginning of discipleship, and I address you as my fellow-disciples.[3] For it were meet for me to be anointed by you [4] for the contest with

[1] For Burrhus, cf. Philad. II, Smyrn. 12, from which we see that the request of Ignatius was granted.
[2] Probably a reminiscence of 2 Tim. i. 16.
[3] The word used here (συνδιδασκαλιται) is understood by Lightfoot and Zahn to mean 'school-fellows.' The word is not found elsewhere, but Lightfoot adduces in illustration a Latin word found in inscriptions, 'compedagogita,' which is used in the plural to denote slaves trained in the same school or under the same master. The master in this case is Christ.
[4] The anointing of the athlete was the work of the trainer. Cf. Rom. 3. In both passages the idea is that the Church alluded


faith, admonition, patience, long-suffering.  But since love does not suffer me to be silent concerning you, I have therefore hastened to exhort you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable Life, is the Mind of the Father, as also the bishops, established in the furthest quarters,[1] are in the mind of Jesus Christ.

IV. Hence it is fitting for you to set yourselves in harmony with the mind of the bishop, as indeed you do.  For your noble presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted to the bishop, as the strings to a harp.  And thus by means of your accord and harmonious love Jesus Christ is sung.[2]   Form yourselves one and all into a choir, that blending in concord, taking the key-note of God, you may sing in unison with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father, that He may hear you and recognize by means of your well-doing that you are members of His Son. Therefore it is profitable for you to live in unblameable unity, that you may be also partakers of God continually.

V. For if I in a short space of time had such intercourse with your bishop, not after the common way of men, but after the spirit, how much more do I con-

to had encouraged and instructed, by example and precept, the martyrs of Christ.  Ephesus was, in Ignatius' phrase, 'the highway of martyrs' (c. 12).  Prisoners condemned to the wild beasts in the Roman amphitheatre, coming from the East, would in most cases sail from the port of Ephesus to Ostia. Ramsay (Ch. in R. Emp., p. 318) shows that the route taken by Ignatius was unusual.
[1] Ignatius is introducing the great theme found in all his epistles, the importance of unity. Christ is at one with the Father; the bishops, however distant from each other, are at one with Jesus Christ.  In the phrase 'furthest quarters,' Ignatius would be contemplating regions as distant as Gaul on the one hand and Mesopotamia on the other' (Lightfoot).
[2] Jesus Christ is the theme of their song. For the metaphor, cf. Philad. 1, and Rom. 2.


gratulate you, who are knit to him as closely as is the Church to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ to the Father, that all things may accord in unity. Let no man be deceived. If any one be not within the enclosure of the altar,[1] he lacks the bread of God.[2]  For if the prayer of one or two hath so great efficacy,[3] how much more has the prayer of the bishop and of the whole Church.  So then he who comes not to the congregation thereby shows his pride and straightway cuts himself off. For it is written, 'God resisteth the proud.'[4]  So then let us take heed not to resist the bishop, that we may be living in submission to God.[5]

VI. And so far as a man sees a bishop keeping silence,[6] let him hold him all the more in reverence. For every one, whom the Master of the household sends to administer His own household, we ought to receive even as the Sender's very self. The bishop then we ought plainly to regard as the Lord Himself.   Now Onesimus of his own accord praises highly your orderly manner of life in God, how that you all live in accordance with truth and that in your midst no heresy has its dwelling.  Nay, you do not even listen to any one if he speak of aught beyond[7] Jesus Christ in truth.

VII. For some are wont, out of malicious cunning,

[1] On the word translated 'enclosure of the altar,' see Trall. 7, Philad. 4, with notes. The 'enclosure of the altar' is the court of the congregation in the old Tabernacle or Temple. This was separated from the outer court. Here it denotes the assembly of the faithful in each individual church.
[2] Lightfoot brackets the words 'of God.'
[3] Cf. Matt, xviii. 18—20.
[4] Prov. iii. 34.
[5] The translation follows Zahn's reading. Lightfoot's text yields the sense, 'we may be God's by our subjection.'
[6] Ignatius is here indirectly pleading for their bishop Onesimus, whose quiet and modest demeanour might lead some to despise him. Cf. c. 15, and the similar directions in Philad.1, Magn. 3.
[7] Lightfoot's reading has been followed.


to bear about with them the Name, while they practise certain other deeds unworthy of God. These you must needs avoid as wild beasts.[1]  For they are mad dogs, biting stealthily, against whom you must be on your guard, for their bite is hard to heal. There is one Physician, of flesh and of spirit,[2] originate and unoriginate,[3] God in man, true Life in death, son of Mary[4] and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord.

VIII. Let no man then deceive you, as indeed you are not deceived, for you are wholly given to God.  For when no evil desire is implanted in you, which can torment you, then are you living after a godly manner.  I devote myself to abasement for your sakes,[6] I sur-

[1] Cf. Smyrn. 4, Philad. 2.
[2] On the antithesis of 'flesh' and 'spirit' in these epistles, see Introd. § 4. The word 'spirit' expresses here the Divine nature of Christ.  We may compare 2 Clem. c. 9, ' Christ the Lord . . . being first spirit, then became flesh.'  The human element is expressed by the word 'flesh.'  For this balanced antithesis, cf. Polyc. 3. 
[3] The terms employed by Ignatius are γεννητος and αγεννητος.  Ignatius is using the words to express little more than 'created and uncreate.'  Such language, however, points to an early period of doctrinal statement, and could not have been used in later days without incurring the charge of heresy, as it would have seemed to deny the Divine generation of the Son. 'The conception of a Divine Sonship was realized by the Church before the conception of a Divine generation' (Swete, Apostles' Creed, p. 28). Hence the use of such language by Ignatius at a time when there was no exact definition of theological terms involves nothing inconsistent with the Nicene Creed, and affords no proof that he denied the pre-existence of Christ. This latter finds expression in Magn. 6 and Polyc. 3. See further Lightfoot's Excursus , vol. ii. pp. 90, foll.
[4] The whole of this passage is aimed at the Docetic error, which denied the reality of the Incarnation.
[5] Literally, 'I am your offscouring.' The same word, περιψημα, is used by St. Paul in 1 Cor. iv. 13. It is a word used of condemned criminals of the lowest classes, who were sacrificed as expiatory offerings in times of plague or other visitations, to avert the wrath of the Gods.  It thus includes the two ideas of 'self-devotion' and 'abasement.'


render myself as an offering for the Church of you Ephesians, which is renowned unto the ages.  They that are of the flesh cannot do the works of the Spirit,[1] neither can they that are spiritual do the works of the flesh, even as faith cannot do the works of unbelief, nor unbelief the works of faith.  But even the things which you do after the flesh are spiritual.[2]  For you do all things in Jesus Christ.

IX. I have learned that certain persons from yonder [3] have passed through your city, bringing with them false teaching. These you did not suffer to sow seeds among you, for you closed your ears that they might not receive the seeds sown by them, since you were stones [4] of the temple, prepared beforehand [5] for a building of God the Father, being raised to the heights by the engine of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, using as your rope the Holy Spirit. Your faith is the windlass,[6] and love is the way which leads up to God. So then you are all companions in festal procession along the way,[7] bearing your

[1] Suggested by 1 Cor. ii. 14 sq. 
[2] See Introd. § 4. 
[3] It is uncertain what place is alluded to. Lightfoot conjectures Philadelphia.
[4] The change of metaphor is sudden, after the manner of Ignatius, and is followed by another change. They are in succession the soil in which seed is sown, stones of a building, and members of a festal procession.
[5] Lightfoot's emendation has been adopted.
[6] The whole of this passage is a somewhat extravagant expansion in great detail of the metaphor used by St. Paul in Eph. ii. 20 sq. In the building of the Church, the faithful are the stones, the Cross is the crane, the Holy Spirit is the rope by which the stones are raised, faith is the windlass which sets the machine in motion, and love is the inclined plane along which the stones are drawn.
[7] Another change of metaphor. The figure is now a heathen procession, in which the pilgrims, arrayed in festal attire, carry small shrines, images, and other sacred emblems.  Such processions would be common in Syria, Asia, and elsewhere.  For a gift of such images to the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, see Lightfoot, Ignatius , II. 17.


God and shrine,[1] bearing Christ and your holy treasures, fully arrayed in the commandments of Jesus Christ. And in your rejoicings I too have part, and am suffered to associate with you by letter, and to rejoice with you that you love nothing pertaining to man's outward life,[2] but God only.

X. And for the rest of men pray unceasingly[3]—for there is in them hope of repentance—that they may attain unto God.  Suffer them therefore to learn discipleship at least from your works. In face of their outbursts of wrath be meek; in face of their boastful words be humble; meet their revilings with prayers; where they are in error, be steadfast in the faith[4]; in face of their fury be gentle. Be not eager to retaliate upon them. Let our forbearance prove us their brethren. Let us endeavour to be imitators of the Lord, striving who can suffer the greater wrong,[5] who can be defrauded, who be set at naught, that no rank weed of the Devil be found in you. But in all purity and sobriety abide in Christ Jesus in flesh and in spirit.

XI. These are the last times.[6] Henceforth let us feel shame, let us stand in awe of the long-suffering of God, lest it turn to our judgment. For either let us fear the wrath to come, or let us love the grace which is present —either this or that; only be it ours to be found in Christ Jesus unto life which is life indeed. Apart from Him, let nothing dazzle you.  For in Him I wear my bonds, my spiritual pearls, in which I pray that I may rise again by the help of your prayer—may it ever be mine to have a share in that—that I may be found among

[1] For these shrines cf. Acts xix. 24. They were small models offered to the god or goddess, or kept at home as amulets, and sometimes placed in graves by the side of the dead.
[2] Lightfoot's emendation has been adopted. 
[3] Cf. 1 Thess. v. 17.
[4] See Col. i. 23. 
[5] A reminiscence of 1 Cor. vi. 7.
[6] Cf. 1 John ii. 18.


the band of those Ephesian Christians, who were, besides, continually of one accord [1] with the Apostles [2] in the power of Jesus Christ.

XII. I know who I am and to whom I write. I am a condemned man, you have obtained mercy. I am subject to peril, you are established secure. You are the highway of those who are being conducted by death unto God.[3] You are initiated into the mysteries along with Paul,[4] who was sanctified and well approved, who is worthy of congratulation; in whose footsteps may I

[1] Or with Zahn's reading, 'consorted with.'

[2] In addition to St. Paul, who had resided and taught at Ephesus, there may be a reference to St. John, whom a tradition, dating from the last quarter of the second century, represents as residing in his later years at Ephesus. See Irenaeus, adv. Haer. III. i. 1; Polycrates, quoted by Eusebius, H. E. v. 24 ; Clement of Alexandria, Quis dives salvetur, c. 42; cf. Tertullian, adv. Marc, iv. 5. On the evidence of a statement attributed to Papias in some recently recovered fragments of Philip of Side (fifth century) to the effect that the Apostle John was slain by the Jews, this residence at Ephesus has been called in question by some recent scholars, and it is certainly surprising that Ignatius in his letter to the Ephesians nowhere expressly refers to St. John.  See for a discussion of the whole question Stanton, Gospels as Historical Documents , I. 162 f., 213 f.   St. Peter's first epistle is addressed to Asiatic Christians, and St. Andrew and St. Philip are represented in early tradition as having lived in these regions.

[3] Ephesus was 'a highway of martyrs.'  Criminals were frequently reserved for the shows and hunting scenes in the amphitheatre, and the provinces were resorted to for the supply of victims.  The. Christians would be treated as common criminals, unless they were Roman citizens. Such bands of prisoners from the East would pass along the great route which reached the sea at Ephesus, and would thence be shipped to Ostia, the port of Rome.

[4]  A metaphor derived from the ancient mysteries and suggested by the language of St. Paul, who constantly uses the word of the Gospel, and in Phil. iv. 12, speaks of himself as 'initiated' (A.V. 'I am instructed').  Ignatius is speaking of their intercourse with martyrs.  Among these was St. Paul, who had resided and taught at Ephesus.  The notices in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Tim. i. 3, 2 Tim. i. 18, iv. 13, 20) represent the Apostle as traversing these same regions and, like Ignatius, journeying to Troas on his way to Rome for his final trial and martyrdom. On the silence of Ignatius as to St. John's residence at Ephesus, see note on c. II. 


be found closely following, when I attain unto God; who makes mention of you in every letter[1] in Christ Jesus.

XIII. Be diligent therefore to come together more often to render thanks [2] to God and to give glory. For when you frequently assemble together, the forces of Satan are overthrown and the destruction which he is planning is undone by the harmony of your faith. Nothing is better than peace, by which all warfare of heavenly and earthly foes is brought to naught.

XIV. None of these things escapes your notice, if you hold fast perfectly your faith and love in Jesus Christ, for these are the beginning and the end of life. The beginning is faith, the end is love. And the two blending in unity are God, and all else follows on these, ending in perfect goodness. No man who professes faith lives in sin, nor if he possesses love, does he live in hatred. The tree is manifest by its fruit.[3]  In like manner they who profess to be Christ's, shall be apparent by their deeds. For at this time the Work [4] is no mere matter of profession, but is seen only when a man is found living in the power of faith unto the end.

XV. It is better to keep silence and to be than to talk and not to be.[5] It is good to teach, if the speaker act.  Now there was One Teacher, Who spake and it

[1] The words 'in every letter.' are difficult.  Pearson translates 'throughout his letter,' and refers it to the Epistle to the Ephesians. There are, however, references to the Ephesian Christians and to Ephesus in several of St. Paul's epistles, e.g. Rom. xvi. 5; 1 Cor. xv. 32, xvi. 8, 19; 2 Cor. i. 8 sq.; 1 Tim. i. 3; 2 Tim. i. 18, iv. 12.
[2] Lit. 'come together for thanksgiving.' The word ευχαριστια is here probably used generally, but indirectly refers to the Eucharist.
[3] See Matt. xii. 33 ; cf. Luke vi. 44.
[4] For 'the Work' in the sense of 'the preaching and practice of Christianity,' see Rom. 3, and cf. Acts xv. 38, Phil. ii. 30. Cf. also John. iv. 34, vi. 29, xvii. 4.
[5] Probably he is thinking of the quiet demeanour of their bishop.


came to pass.[1]  And the deeds which He has done in silence are worthy of the Father.  He who is truly master of the spoken word of Jesus is able also to listen to His silence,[2] that he may be perfect, and so may act by his speech, and be understood by his silence.  Nothing is hidden from the Lord, but even our secrets are brought nigh unto Him.  Let us therefore do all things in the assurance that He dwells within us, that we may be His shrines [3] and He Himself may dwell in us as God. For this is indeed true and will be made manifest before our eyes by the services of love which as our bounden duty we render unto Him.

XVI. Be not deceived, my brethren. They that corrupt houses [4] shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If then they who did such deeds after the flesh were put to death, how much more if a man by his evil teaching corrupt God's faith for which Jesus Christ was crucified. Such a man, becoming defiled, shall go into unquenchable fire, and in like manner he that heareth him.

XVII. For this cause[5] the Lord received the ointment[6] upon His head, that He might breathe the odour

[1] He applies to Christ's work the words which the Psalmist used (Ps. xxxii. [xxxiii.] 9) of God's action in Creation.
[2] Instances of this silence are the thirty years' retirement before His public ministry, His withdrawal from popular demonstrations, His retirement for prayer, and His silence at his trial.
[3] Cf. 1 Cor. iii. 16, ?7, vi. 19, 2 Cor. vi. 16, Rev. xxi. 3, and see Philad. 7.
[4] Suggested by the passages quoted in the preceding note. The 'corrupters of houses' refer to those who pollute their hearts and bodies by evil.
[5]The words refer to what follows, 'that He might breathe,' etc.
[6] This refers to the anointing at Bethany.  See Mark xiv. 3 sq., Matt. xxvi. 6 sq., John xii. 2 sq.  Zahn and Lightfoot find the parallelism to 'breathe upon the church' in the words recorded by St. John only, 'the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.'   They infer accordingly from the passage a knowledge by Ignatius of St. John's narrative. But it is more probable that


of incorruption upon the Church. Be not anointed with the foul odour of the teaching of the Prince of this world,[1] lest he lead you captive and exclude you from the life set before you.  And why do we not all become prudent by receiving the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish in ignorance of the gift which the Lord has truly sent?

XVIII. My spirit abases itself for the sake of the Cross,[2] which is an offence [3] to the unbelievers, but to us it is salvation and life eternal. Where is the wise man?  Where is he that disputeth? Where is the boasting of the so-called men of understanding?  For our God, Jesus Christ, was conceived by Mary according to a Divine purpose,[4] of the seed of David, and yet of the Holy Spirit; Who was born and baptized, that by His Passion He might purify water.[5]

the relation here conceived of between Christ and the Church is that of the Head to the Body. The Body partakes of the fragrant ointment which has been poured 'upon the Head.'  This interpretation, which is suggested by Von der Goltz (Texte u. Unters. xii. 3), accords with the interpretation of the incident given by Origen, c. Cels . vi. 79.
[1] 'The prince of this world' recalls the similar phrase in St. John (xii. 31, xiv. 30, xvi. 11). The words for 'world,' however, are different. In Ignatius αιων is found, in the Gospel κοσμος is used.  The phrase occurs again Eph. 19, Magn. 1, Trall. 4, Rom. 7, Philad. 6.
[2] Lit. 'my spirit is the oflscouring of the Cross.'  See note on c. 8.
[3] Suggested by 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. The following clause is a reminiscence of the same chapter.
[4] Or 'dispensation' (οικονομιαν}, a word specially used of the Incarnation. Cf. Eph. i. 10.
[5] The thought of Ignatius appears to be that by His own baptism our Lord set apart and appropriated water to the use of His Church in the future for the Sacrament of Baptism.  The virtue of baptism, however, was derived from the cleansing power of the Cross communicated in the Sacrament.  Hence the reference to the Passion. Similarly the water of Baptism is connected with the Cross in Barnabas II.


XIX. And from the prince of this world were hidden [1] Mary's virginity and her child-bearing, in like manner too[2] the death of the Lord.[3]  Three mysteries are these for open proclamation, wrought in God's silence.  How then were they manifested to the ages?  A star [4] shone forth in Heaven more brightly than all the stars, and its light was greater than words can tell, and its strange appearing caused perplexity. And all the other stars,[5] with the sun and moon, formed themselves into a band about the star.  But the star itself surpassed them all in its brightness.  And there was distress to know whence came this strange sight so unlike the other stars. From that time all sorcery and every spell began

[1] The idea that Satan was deceived by the mysterious silence and reserve of God in the Incarnation is found in writers of the second, third, and fourth centuries.  Thus Gregory of Nyssa (Or. Cat. 26) says: 'He who first deceived man by the bait of sensual pleasure, is himself deceived by the presentment of the human form.' 
[2] One of the two MSS. of the Curetonian Syriac Version omits all mention of the death, and dissociates 'the three mysteries' from what precedes. The words then run: 'the virginity of M. and the birth of our Lord and the three mysteries of a cry.'  But it is difficult to see what 'the three mysteries' can mean, when thus dissociated from the preceding words.  The absence of the omitted clause in the quotation of this passage by Origen (Hom, in Luc. vi.) is explained by the fact that he is quoting the passage merely with reference to the Virgin-Birth.
[3] By 'the death of the Lord' here Ignatius means the atonement brought about through the death.  The fact was known to Satan; its significance escaped him. Cf. 1 Cor. ii. 7 sq.
[4] A later expansion, doubtless, of the incident described in Matt. ii. 1 sq., but whether derived from oral tradition or a written source we cannot tell.  The only other passage where Ignatius shows knowledge of a tradition other than that preserved in our Gospels is in Smyrn. 3.  In Clement of Alexandria, Exc. Theod . 74, the incident of the star is expanded in language which may show acquaintance with this passage of Ignatius.
[5] The idea appears to have been suggested by Joseph's dream. For similar legendary additions, see passages quoted by Lightfoot, vol. ii. pp. 81, 82. How far this passage is intended as an actual description it is difficult to say.


to lose their power; [1] the ignorance of wickedness began to vanish away; the overthrow of the ancient dominion was being brought to pass,[2] since God was appearing in human form unto newness of life eternal.  That which had been perfected in the mind of God was coming into being.  Hence all things were disturbed, because the overthrow of death was being planned.

XX. If Jesus Christ permit me through your prayer, and it be God's will, in my second treatise, which I am about to write unto you,[3] I will go on to set forth the Divine plan, which I began to expound, with reference to the new man,[4] Jesus Christ, consisting in faith in Him and love toward Him, in His Passion and Resurrection, especially if the Lord make any [5] revelation to me. Meet in common assembly in grace, every one of you, man by man, in one faith and in one Jesus Christ, Who is according to the flesh of the stock of David, the Son of man and Son of God, so that you may obey the bishop and the presbytery with a mind free from distraction; breaking one bread,[6] which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote preserving us that we should not die but live for ever in Jesus Christ.

[1] Magic and witchcraft were widely prevalent in the Empire throughout the first four centuries. Cf. Acts xix. 19 for an account of its prevalence at Ephesus. The emperor Hadrian, in a letter written to Servianus about 134 A.D., says with reference to the city of Alexandria: 'There is no ruler of a synagogue there, no Samaritan, no Christian presbyter, who is not an astrologer, a soothsayer, a quack.'  The idea that the power of witchcraft was broken by the coming of Christ is commonly found in the Fathers.
[2] Lightfoot's reading has been adopted. 
[3] There is nothing to show that this design was ever carried out.
[4] For the 'new man,' cf. 1 Cor. xv. 45, 47. Lightfoot suggests that Ignatius may have understood Eph. iv. 24 to refer to Christ.
[5] Zahn's emendation has been adopted.
[6] For the phrase, cf. Acts ii. 46, xx. 7, etc., 1 Cor. x. 16.  The reference is to the Eucharist, which is the bond of unity between Christ and His members.  See Smyrn. 8, Philad. 4. With the following words cf. John vi. 53, 54.


XXI. I am devoted to you[1] and to those whom you sent to Smyrna for the honour of God.  It is from thence, moreover, that I am writing to you with thanksgiving to the Lord, and with love for Polycarp as well as for yourselves.  Remember me, even as Jesus Christ remembers you.  Pray for the Church which is in Syria, whence I am being led in bonds to Rome, though I am the last among the faithful there; according as I was deemed worthy to be found destined for the honour of God.  Farewell in God the Father and in Jesus Christ our common Hope.

[1] Lit. 'I am a sacrifice for you.' The word αντιψυχον, used here, occurs again, Smyrn. 10, Polyc. 2, 6. It closely resembles the word used in c. 8. But the prominent idea is simply 'devotion to, and love for, another.' The word may be illustrated by another word of similar formation, ισοψυχος, 'like-minded,' which is found not only in Phil. ii. 20, but also in the LXX version of Ps. liv. [lv.] 14 (translated in the P.-B. V. 'my companion').  Others, however, see in the phrase a fuller significance, 'I give my life for you,' and find in it an allusion to his coming martyrdom. Cf. for the idea 1 John iii. 16, Athanasius (de Inc. 9) uses the word of our Lord's sacrifice.

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