Ignatius to Polycarp
1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto Polycarp who is bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans or rather who has for his bishop God the Father and Jesus Christ, abundant greeting. Welcoming your godly mind which is grounded as it were on an immovable rock, I give exceeding glory that it has been vouchsafed me to see your blameless face, whereof I would fain have joy in God.
2 I exhort you in the grace wherewith you are clothed to press forward in your course and to exhort all men that they may be saved. Vindicate your 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 bears you. Suffer all men in love, as also you do.
3 Give yourself to unceasing prayers. Ask for larger wisdom than you have. Be watchful, and keep your 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.
1 If you love good scholars, this is not thankworthy in you. Rather bring the more pestilent to submission by gentleness. All wounds are not healed by the same salve. Allay sharp pains by fomentations.
2 "Be you prudent as the serpent" in all things "and guileless" always "as the dove." Therefore are you made of flesh and spirit, that you may humour the things which appear before your eyes; and as for the invisible things, pray you that they may be
revealed unto you; that you may be lacking in nothing, but may abound in every spiritual gift.
3 The season requires you, 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 you also are persuaded. In all things I am devoted to you -- I and my bonds which you did cherish.
1 Let not those that seem to be plausible and yet teach strange doctrine dismay you. Stand you 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.
2 Be you more diligent than you are. 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.
1 Let not widows be neglected. After the Lord be you their protector. Let nothing be done without your consent; neither do you anything without the consent of God, as indeed you do not. Be steadfast.
2 Let meetings be held more frequently. Seek out all men by name.
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.
1 Flee evil arts, or rather hold you 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
2 If any one is able to abide in chastity to the honor 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 becomes 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 passion of lust. Let all things be done to the honor of God.
1 Give you 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.
2 Please the Captain in whose army you serve, from whom also you 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 you may receive your assets due to you. Be you therefore long-suffering one with another in gentleness, as God is with you. May I have joy of you always.
1 Seeing that the church which is in Antioch of Syria has peace, as it has been reported to me, through your prayers, I myself also have been the more comforted since God has banished my care; if so be I may through suffering attain unto God, that I may be found a disciple through your intercession.
2 It becomes you, 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.
3 A Christian has no authority over himself, but gives his time to God. This is God's work, and yours also, when you shall complete it: for I trust in the Divine grace, that you 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.
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 enjoins, you shall 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 you, that you may be glorified by an ever memorable deed -- for this is worthy of you.
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 sends him.
3 I bid you farewell always in our God Jesus Christ, in whom abide you in the unity and supervision of God. I salute Alce, a name very dear to me. Fare you well in the Lord.