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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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Chapter II. — Exhortations.

If thou lovest the good disciples, no thanks are due to thee on that account; but rather seek by meekness to subdue the more troublesome. Every kind of wound is not healed with the same plaster. Mitigate violent attacks [of disease] by gentle applications. [1072] Be in all things "wise as a serpent, and harmless as a dove." [1073] For this purpose thou art composed of both flesh and spirit, that thou mayest deal tenderly [1074] with those [evils] that present themselves visibly before thee. And as respects those that are not seen, [1075] pray that [God] would reveal them unto thee, in order that thou mayest be wanting in nothing, but mayest abound in every gift. The times call for thee, as pilots do for the winds, and as one tossed with tempest seeks for the haven, so that both thou [and those under thy care] may attain to God. Be sober as an athlete of God: the prize set before thee is immortality and eternal life, of which thou art also persuaded. In all things may my soul be for thine, [1076] and my bonds also, which thou hast loved.

If thou lovest the good disciples, no thanks are due to thee on that account; but rather seek by meekness to subdue the more troublesome. Every kind of wound is not healed with the same plaster. Mitigate violent attacks [of disease] by gentle applications. [1077] Be in all things "wise as a serpent, and harmless always as a dove." [1078] For this purpose thou art composed of both soul and body, art both fleshly and spiritual, that thou mayest correct those [evils] that present themselves visibly before thee; and as respects those that are not seen, mayest pray that these should be revealed to thee, so that thou mayest be wanting in nothing, but mayest abound in every gift. The times call upon thee to pray. For as the wind aids the pilot of a ship, and as havens are advantageous for safety to a tempest-tossed vessel, so is also prayer to thee, in order that thou mayest attain to God. Be sober as an athlete of God, whose will is immortality and eternal life; of which thou art also persuaded. In all things may my soul be for thine, [1079] and my bonds also, which thou hast loved.


[1072] Literally, "paroxysms by embrocations."

[1073] Matt. x. 16.

[1074] Literally, "flatter."

[1075] Some refer this to the mysteries of God and others to things yet future.

[1076] Comp. Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, chap. xxi., etc.

[1077] Literally, "paroxysms by embrocations."

[1078] Matt. x. 16.

[1079] Comp. Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, chap. xxi., etc.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/ignatius/epistle-polycarp.asp?pg=2