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Ignatius of Antioch, Theophorus: EPISTLE TO POLYCARP Complete

Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Shorter and Longer Versions)

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The Epistle of Ignatius to Polycarp - Shorter and Longer Versions


Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnaeans, or rather, who has, as his own bishop, God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: [wishes] abundance of happiness.

Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, and a witness for Jesus Christ, to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnaeans, or rather, who has, as his own bishop, God the Father, and Jesus Christ: [wishes] abundance of happiness.


Chapter I. — Commendation and exhortation.

Having obtained good proof that thy mind is fixed in God as upon an immoveable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy [to behold] thy blameless face, [1063] which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat thee, by the grace with which thou art clothed, to press forward in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. Maintain thy position with all care, both in the flesh and spirit. Have a regard to preserve unity, than which nothing is better. Bear with all, even as the Lord does with thee. Support [1064] all in love, as also thou doest. Give thyself to prayer without ceasing. [1065] Implore additional understanding to what thou already hast. Be watchful, possessing a sleepless spirit. Speak to every man separately, as God enables thee. [1066] Bear the infirmities of all, as being a perfect athlete [in the Christian life]: where the labour is great, the gain is all the more.

Having obtained good proof that thy mind is fixed in God as upon an immoveable rock, I loudly glorify [His name] that I have been thought worthy to behold thy blameless face, [1067] which may I ever enjoy in God! I entreat thee, by the grace with which thou art clothed, to press forward in thy course, and to exhort all that they may be saved. Maintain thy position with all care, both in the flesh and spirit. Have a regard to preserve unity, than which nothing is better. Bear with all even as the Lord does with thee. Support [1068] all in love, as also thou doest. Give thyself to prayer without ceasing. [1069] Implore additional understanding to what thou already hast. Be watchful, possessing a sleepless spirit. Speak to every man separately, as God enables thee. [1070] Bear the infirmities of all, as being a perfect athlete [in the Christian life], even as does the Lord of all. For says [the Scripture], "He Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." [1071] Where the labour is great, the gain is all the more.


[1063] i.e., to make personal acquaintance with one esteemed so highly.

[1064] Or, "tolerate."

[1065] Comp. 1 Thess. v. 17.

[1066] Some read, "according to thy practice."

[1067] i.e., to make personal acquaintance with one esteemed so highly.

[1068] Or, "tolerate."

[1069] Comp. 1 Thess. v. 17.

[1070] Some read, "according to thy practice."

[1071] Matt. viii. 17.

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