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VII To Polycarp DGNATIUS THEOPHORUS to Polycarp, the Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnaeans--or, should I say, to one who is under the bishopric of God the Father and Jesus Christ?-I wish you every joy. (1) I was glad enough to learn that your mind is grounded in God as on an immovable rock, but I rejoice exceedingly to have been able to see your face. May its candor be a joy to me in God. I exhort you by the grace with which you are clothed to press forward in the race, and exhort all others, so that they may be saved. Live up to the demands of your office by unceasing care in your practical and spirituaP duties. Be preoccupied about unity, for nothing is better than this. Help others along, as the Lord helps you. Bear with all out of love, as indeed you do. Find time for unceasing prayer. Ask for more wisdom than you have. Keep your spirit awake and on the watch. Copy the ways. of God' in speaking to each as an individual person. Like an athlete in perfect condition, give a hand to all who are sick. Where there is more work, there is much reward. (2) There is no thanks for liking good pupils. The real task is by mildness to bring to obedience the ones who plague you. Not every wound is healed by the same salve. Where the pains are sharp, give relief with embrocation. In all things be wise as the serpent and at all times be as simple as the dove.2 You are made of flesh and spirit so that you may be 1 Literally, 'of flesh and spirit.' 2 Cf. Matt. 10.16. 124 TO POLYCARP 125 able to persuade what you can see to come to yOU;3 as for the invisible realities, pray that they may be revealed to you. In this way nothing will be lacking, and you will abound in every gift. The age is in need of you, if it is to reach God-as pilots need· the winds and as a storm-tossed sailor needs port. Be temperate, like an athlete of God; the prize is immortality and eternal life. Of this you have no doubt. I offer up all for you, both myself and my bonds which you loved.4 (3) There are some who seem plausible enough, but who teach heretical doctrine. Do not let them disturb you. Stand firm like an anvil under the hammer. A great boxer will take a beating and yet win through. We ought to put up with anything especially for the sake of God, so that He will put up with us. Become more zealous even than you are. Understand the age in which we live.5 Look for Him who is beyond all time, the Eternal, the Invisible who became visible for our sake, the Impalpable, the Impassible who suffered for our sake, who endured every outrage for our sake. (4) Do not let the widows be neglected. After God, you should be their guardian. Let nothing be done without your consent; and continue, as at present, to do nothing yourself without the consent of God. Do not weaken. Let your assemblies be more frequent. Seek out all by name, and do not overlook the slaves, whether men or women. At the same time, they should not be puffed up, but rather better workers for the glory of God, so that they may be given by God an even 3 The general idea seems to he that the 'world' can he humored into obedience to God if the ministers of the Gospel become, like St. Paul, all things to all men. 4 It is not unlikely that the faithful kissed the chains of the martyr on his way to death. 5 Cf. Luke 12.56: 'Poor fools, you know we)) enough how to interpret the face of land and sky; can you interpret the times you live in?' 126 SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH better freedom. Lest they become slaves of their own desires, they should not long to obtain freedom at the public cost. (5) Avoid anything like magic, but do not fail to speak to the people about such things. Tell my sisters to love the Lord and to be satisfied with their husbands in flesh and spirit. In the same way tell my brothers in the name of Jesus Christ to love their wives as...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813211015
Related ISBN
9780813215495
MARC Record
OCLC
867796587
Pages
426
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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