(from: _Apostolic Fathers_, Lightfoot & Harmer, 1891 translation)
IGNATIUS to Polycarp
0:0 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto Polycarp
who is bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans or
rather who hath for his bishop God the Father and
Jesus Christ, abundant greeting.
1:1 Welcoming thy godly mind which is grounded as it
were on an immovable rock, I give exceeding glory that
it hath been vouchsafed me to see thy blameless face,
whereof I would fain have joy in God.
1:2 I exhort thee in the grace wherewith thou art
clothed to press forward in thy course and to exhort
all men that they may be saved. Vindicate thine office
in all diligence of flesh and of spirit. Have a care
for union, than which there is nothing better. Bear
all men, as the Lord also beareth thee. Suffer all men
in love, as also thou doest.
1:3 Give thyself to unceasing prayers. Ask for
larger wisdom than thou hast. Be watchful, and keep
thy spirit from slumbering. Speak to each man
severally after the manner of God. Bear the maladies
of all, as a perfect athlete. Where there is more
toil, there is much gain.
2:1 If thou lovest good scholars, this is not
thankworthy in thee. Rather bring the more pestilent
to submission by gentleness. All wounds are not healed
by the same salve. Allay sharp pains by fomentations.
2:2 _Be thou prudent as the serpent_ in all things
_and guileless_ always _as the dove._ Therefore art
thou made of flesh and spirit, that thou mayest humour
the things which appear before thine eyes; and as for
the invisible things, pray thou that they may be
revealed unto thee; that thou mayest be lacking in
nothing, but mayest abound in every spiritual gift.
2:3 The season requireth thee, as pilots require
winds or as a storm-tossed mariner a haven, that it
may attain unto God. Be sober, as God's athlete. The
prize is incorruption and life eternal, concerning
which thou also art persuaded. In all things I am
devoted to thee -- I and my bonds which thou didst
3:1 Let not those that seem to be plausible and yet
teach strange doctrine dismay thee. Stand thou firm,
as an anvil when it is smitten. It is the part of a
great athlete to receive blows and be victorious. But
especially must we for God's sake endure all things,
that He also may endure us.
3:2 Be thou more diligent than thou art. Mark the
seasons. Await Him that is above every season, the
Eternal, the Invisible, who became visible for our
sake, the Impalpable, the Impassible, who suffered for
our sake, who endured in all ways for our sake.
4:1 Let not widows be neglected. After the Lord be
thou their protector. Let nothing be done without thy
consent; neither do thou anything without the consent
of God, as indeed thou doest not. Be stedfast.
4:2 Let meetings be held more frequently. Seek out
all men by name.
4:3 Despise not slaves, whether men or women. Yet
let not these again be puffed up, but let them serve
the more faithfully to the glory of God, that they may
obtain a better freedom from God. Let them not desire
to be set free at the public cost, lest they be found
slaves of lust.
5:1 Flee evil arts, or rather hold thou discourse
about these. Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to
be content with their husbands in flesh and in spirit.
In like manner also charge my brothers in the name of
Jesus Christ to love their wives, _as the Lord loved
5:2 If any one is able to abide in chastity to the
honour of the flesh of the Lord, let him so abide
without boasting. If he boast, he is lost; and if it be
known beyond the bishop, he is polluted. It becometh
men and women too, when they marry, to unite themselves
with the consent of the bishop, that the marriage may
be after the Lord and not after concupiscence. Let all
things be done to the honour of God.
6:1 Give ye heed to the bishop, that God also may
give heed to you. I am devoted to those who are
subject to the bishop, the presbyters, the deacons.
May it be granted me to have my portion with them in
the presence of God. Toil together one with another,
struggle together, run together, suffer together, lie
down together, rise up together, as God's stewards and
assessors and ministers.
6:2 Please the Captain in whose army ye serve, from
whom also ye will receive your pay. Let none of you be
found a deserter. Let your baptism abide with you as
you shield; your faith as your helmet; your love as
your spear; your patience as your body armour. Let
your works be your deposits, that ye may receive your
assets due to you. Be ye therefore long-suffering one
with another in gentleness, as God is with you. May I
have joy of you always.
7:1 Seeing that the church which is in Antioch of
Syria hath peace, as it hath been reported to me,
through your prayers, I myself also have been the more
comforted since God hath banished my care; if so be I
may through suffering attain unto God, that I may be
found a disciple through your intercession.
7:2 It becometh thee, most blessed Polycarp, to call
together a godly council and to elect some one among
you who is very dear to you and zealous also, who
shall be fit to bear the name of God's courier -- to
appoint him, I say, that he may go to Syria and
glorify your zealous love unto the glory of God.
7:3 A Christian hath no authority over himself, but
giveth his time to God. This is God's work, and yours
also, when ye shall complete it: for I trust in the
Divine grace, that ye are ready for an act of well-
doing which is meet for God. Knowing the fervour of
your sincerity, I have exhorted you in a short letter.
8:1 Since I have not been able to write to all the
churches, by reason of my sailing suddenly from Troas
to Neapolis, as the Divine will enjoineth, thou shalt
write to the churches in front, as one possessing the
mind of God, to the intent that they also may do this
same thing -- let those who are able send messengers,
and the rest letters by the persons who are sent by
thee, that ye may be glorified by an ever memorable
deed -- for this is worthy of thee.
8:2 I salute all by name, and especially the wife of
Epitropus with her whole household and her children's.
I salute Attalus my beloved. I salute him that shall
be appointed to go to Syria. Grace shall be with him
always, and with Polycarp who sendeth him.
8:3 I bid you farewell always in our God Jesus
Christ, in whom abide ye in the unity and supervision
of God. I salute Alce, a name very dear to me. Fare ye
well in the Lord.
Go to the Chronological List of all Early Christian Writings
Please buy the CD to support the site, view it without ads, and get bonus stuff!