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THE MARTYRDOM OF ST. POLYCARP IIHE CHURCH OF GOD dwelling as a pilgrim at Smyrna to the Church of Cod in pilgrimage at Philomelium and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place. May the mercy and peace and love of God the Father and of our Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied. Chapter 1 1 We write to you, brethren, the details concerning the martyrs and blessed Polycarp, who, by his martyrdom, as by a seal, put an end to the persecution. For almost all the recent events occurred that the Lord might show us a martyrdom on the Gospel model. For, like the Lord, he waited to be betrayed, that we might become his imitators, not regarding ourselves alone, but also our neighbors.1 For it is a sign of real and steadfast love not to desire to save oneself alone, but to save also all the brethren. Chapter 2 1 Those martyrdoms are blessed and noble, then, which take pla~e according to the will of God, for we must be careful to ascribe to God the power over all occurrences. For everyone surely marvels at their nobility and patience and love of the Lord. 2 For, when they were so torn by whips that the structure of their flesh was visible even to the inner veins and arteries, they endured, so that even the bystanders pitied I Phil. 2.4. 151 152 THE MARTYRDOM them and wept; while some of them attained such a degree of heroism that they neither groaned nor cried, thus showing all of us that at the time of their torture the noble martyrs of Christ were absent from the flesh, or rather that the Lord stood by and spoke to them. 3 Because they kept in mind the grace of Christ, they despised the tortures of the world, thus purchasing eternal life at the price of a single hour. And the fire of their savage torturers was cool to them; for they kept before their eyes the escape from eternal and unquenchable fir, and with the eyes of their heart they looked up to the good things which are stored up for those who have persevered, 'which neither ear hath heard nor eye hath seen, nor hath it entered into the heart of man.l1 This they were shown by the Lord, for they were no longer men, but already angels. 4 In the same way, also, those condemned to the beasts endured terrible tortures. With sharp shells spread out under them they were beaten with a variety of other kinds of torments , to see, if possible, whether the tempter might bring them to a denial by continued torture. For the devil schemed in many ways against them. Chapter 3 But, thanks to God, against none did the tempter prevail. For, the most noble Germanicus gave them strength in their fear by his own endurance, and his fight against the wild beasts was outstanding. For, as the Proconsul tried to persuade him with the plea that he have pity on his youth, he forcibly dragged the beast upon himself, in the desire to be released the quicker from this unjust and lawless life. 2 So, after this, the whole crowd, amazed at the nobility of the lIsa. 64.4; I Cor. 2.9. OF SAINT POLYCARP 153 God-loving and God-fearing race of Christians, shouted out: 'Down with the atheists; let Polycarp be found.' Chapter 4 1 However, there was one, Quintus by name, a Phrygian recently arrived from Phrygia, who at the sight of the beasts became a coward. He was the one who had forced himself and some others to come forward voluntarily. The Proconsul persuaded him with many pleas to take the oath and to offer sacrifice. For this reason, therefore, brethren, we do not approve those who give themselves up, because the Gospel does not teach us this. Chapter 5 1 Now, when the most admirable Polycarp first heard of this, he was not disturbed, but desired to stay in the city. However , the majority persuaded him to leave quietly, so he went out secretly to a farm not a great distance from the city and, remaining with a few friends, night and day he did nothing but pray for all his people and for all the Churches throughout the world, as was his custom at all times. 2 And, as he prayed, he fell into an ecstasy three days before his...


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