"كتابات الآباء "
THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS(1)
the presbyters(2) with him, to the Church of God sojourning at
Philippi: Mercy to you, and peace from God Almighty, and from the
Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, be multiplied.
CHAP. I.--PRAISE OF THE PHILIPPIANS.
I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because
ye have followed the example(3) of true love [as displayed by God],
and have accompanied, as became you, those who were bound in chains,
the fitting ornaments of saints, and which are indeed the diadems of
the true elect of God and our Lord; and because the strong root of
your faith, spoken of in days(4) long gone by, endureth even until
now, and bringeth forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our
sins suffered even unto death, [but] "whom God raised froth the
dead, having loosed the bands of the grave."(5) "In whom, though now
ye see Him not, ye believe, and believing, rejoice with joy
unspeakable and full of glory; "(6) into which joy many desire to
enter, knowing that "by grace ye are saved, not of works,"(7) but by
the will of God through Jesus Christ.
CHAP. II.--AN EXHORTATION TO VIRTUE.
"Wherefore, girding up your loins,"(8) "serve the Lord in fear"(9)
and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error
of the multitude, and "believed in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus
Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory,"(10) and a throne at His
right hand. To Him all things" in heaven and on earth are subject.
Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the
dead.(12) His blood will God require of those who do not believe in
Him.(13) But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise(14) up us
also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what
He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness,
love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness; "not rendering evil for
evil, or railing for railing,"(15) or blow for blow, or cursing for
cursing, but being mindful of what the Lord said in His teaching:
"Judge not, that ye be not judged;(16) forgive, and it shall be
forgiven unto you;(17) be merciful, that ye may obtain mercy;(18)
with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again;(19)
and once more, "Blessed are the poor, and those that are persecuted
for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God."(20)
CHAP. III.--EXPRESSIONS OR PERSONAL UNWORTHINESS.
These things, brethren, I write to you concerning righteousness, not
because I take anything upon myself, but because ye have invited me
to do so. For neither I, nor any other such one, can come up to the
wisdom" of the blessed and glorified Paul. He, when among you,
accurately and stedfastly taught the word of truth in the presence
of those who were then alive. And when absent from you, he wrote you
a letter,(22) which, if you carefully study, you will find to be the
means of building you up in that faith which has been given you, and
which, being followed by hope, and preceded by love towards God, and
Christ, and our neighbour, "is the mother of us all."(23) For if any
one be inwardly possessed of these graces, he hath fulfilled the
command of righteousness, since he that hath love is far from all
CHAP. IV.--VARIOUS EXHORTATIONS.
"But the love of money is the root of all evils."(1) Knowing,
therefore, that "as we brought nothing into the world, so we can
carry nothing out,"(2) let us arm ourselves with the armour of
righteousness;(3) and let us teach, first of all, ourselves to walk
in the commandments of the Lord. Next, [teach] your wives [to walk]
in the faith given to them, and in love and purity tenderly loving
their own husbands in all truth, and loving all [others] equally in
all chastity; and to train up their children in the knowledge and
fear of God. Teach the widows to be discreet as respects the faith
of the Lord, praying continually(4) for all, being far from all
slandering, evil-speaking, false-witnessing, love of money, and
every kind of evil; knowing that they are the altar s of God, that
He clearly perceives all things, and that nothing is hid from Him,
neither reasonings, nor reflections, nor any one of the secret
things of the heart.
CHAP. V.--THE DUTIES OF DEACONS, YOUTHS, AND VIRGINS.
Knowing, then, that "God is not mocked,"(6) we ought to walk worthy
of His commandment and glory. In like manner should the deacons be
blameless before the face of His righteousness, as being the
servants of God and Christ,(7) and not of men. They must not be
slanderers, double-tongued,(8) or lovers of money, but temperate in
all things, compassionate, industrious, walking according to the
truth of the Lord, who was the servant(9) of all. If we please Him
in this present world, we shall receive also the future world,
according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from
the dead, and that if we live(10) worthily of Him, "we shall also
reign together with Him,"(11) provided only we believe. In like
manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being
especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as
with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they
should be cut off from(12) the lusts that are in the world, since
"every lust warreth against the spirit; "(13) and "neither
fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
shall inherit the kingdom of God,"(14) nor those who do things
inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain
from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons,
as unto God and Christ. The virgins also must walk in a blameless
and pure conscience.
CHAP. VI.--THE DUTIES OF PRESBYTERS AND OTHERS.
And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all,
bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not
neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always "providing
for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man ; "(15)
abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjust judgment;
keeping far off from . all covetousness, not quickly crediting [an
evil re port] against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing
that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to
forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive;(16) for we are
before the eyes of our Lord and God, and "we must all appear at the
judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of
himself."(17) Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence,
even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who
preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed
beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us]. Let us be
zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from
causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in
hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into
CHAP. VII.--AVOID THE DOCETAE, AND PERSEVERE IN FASTING AND
"For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the
flesh, is antichrist;"(18) and whosoever does not confess the
testimony of the cross,(19) is of the devil; and whosoever perverts
the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is
neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of
Satan.(20) Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false
doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to
us from(21) the beginning; "watching unto prayer,"(22) and
persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplications the
all-seeing God "not to lead us into temptation,"(1) as the Lord has
said: "The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak."(2)
CHAP. VIII.--PERSEVERE IN HOPE AND PATIENCE.
Let us then continually persevere in our hope, and the earnest of
our righteousness, which is Jesus Christ, "who bore our sins in His
own body on the tree,"(3) "who did no sin, neither was guile found
in His mouth,"(4) but endured all things for us, that we might live
in Him.(5) Let us then be imitators of His patience; and if we
suffer(6) for His name's sake, let us glorify Him.(7) For He has set
us this example s in Himself, and we have believed that such is the
CHAP. IX.--PATIENCE INCULCATED.
I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of
righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen
[set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed
Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among
yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This
do] in the assurance that all these have not run(9) in vain, but in
faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place
in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they
loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our
sakes was raised again by God from the dead.
CHAP. X.--EXHORTATION TO THE PRACTICE OF VIRTUE.(10)
Stand fast, therefore, in these things, and follow the example of
the Lord, being firm and unchangeable in the faith, loving the
brotherhood,(11) and being attached to one another, joined together
in the truth, exhibiting the meekness of the Lord in your
intercourse with one another, and despising no one. When you can do
good, defer it not, because "alms delivers from death."" Be all of
you subject one to another? having your conduct blameless among the
Gentiles,"(14) that ye may both receive praise for your good works,
and the Lord may not be blasphemed through you. But woe to him by
whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed!(15) Teach, therefore,
sobriety to all, and manifest it also in your own conduct.
CHAP. XI.--EXPRESSION OF GRIEF ON ACCOUNT OF VALENS.
I am greatly grieved for Valens, who was once a presbyter among you,
because he so little understands the place that was given him [in
the Church]. I exhort you, therefore, that ye abstain from
covetousness,(16) and that ye be chaste and truthful. "Abstain from
every form of evil."(17) For if a man cannot govern himself in such
matters, how shall he enjoin them on others ? If a man does not keep
himself from covetousness,(16) he shall be defiled by idolatry, and
shall be judged as one of the heathen. But who of us are ignorant of
the judgment of the Lord ? "Do we not know that the saints shall
judge the world ?"(18) as Paul teaches. But I have neither seen nor
heard of any such thing among you, in the midst of whom the blessed
Paul laboured, and who are commended(19) in the beginning of his
Epistle. For he boasts of you in all those Churches which alone then
knew the Lord; but we [of Smyrna] had not yet known Him. I am deeply
grieved, therefore, brethren, for him (Valens) and his wife; to whom
may the Lord grant true repentance! And be ye then moderate in
regard to this matter, and "do not count such as enemies,"(20) but
call them back as suffering and straying members, that ye may save
your whole body. For by so acting ye shall edify yourselves.(21)
CHAP. XII.--EXHORTATION TO VARIOUS GRACES.
For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures, and
that nothing is hid from you; but to me this privilege is not yet
granted.(23) It is declared then in these Scriptures, "Be ye angry,
and sin not,"(23) and, "Let not the sun go down upon your
wrath."(24) Happy is he who remembers(25) this, which I believe to
be the case with you. But may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, and Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Son of God, and our
everlasting High Priest, build you up in faith and truth, and in all
meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, forbearance, and
purity; and may He bestow on you a lot and portion among His saints,
and on us with you, and on all that are under heaven, who shall
believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and in His Father, who "raised Him
from the dead.(1) Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings,(2)
and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate
you,(3) and for the enemies of the cross, that your fruit may be
manifest to all, and that ye may be perfect in Him.
CHAP. XIII.--CONCERNING THE TRANSMISSION OF EPISTLES.
Both you and Ignatius(4) wrote to me, that if any one went [from
this] into Syria, he should carry your letter(5) with him; which
request I will attend to if I find a fitting opportunity, either
personally, or through some other acting for me, that your desire
may be fulfilled. The Epistles of Ignatius written by him(6) to us,
and all the rest [of his Epistles] which we have by us, we have sent
to you, as you requested. They are subjoined to this Epistle, and by
them ye may be greatly profited; for they treat of faith and
patience, and all things that tend to edification in our Lord.
Any(7) more certain information you may have obtained respecting
both Ignatius himself, and those that were(8) with him, have the
goodness to make known(9) to us.
These things I have written to you by Crescens, whom up to the
present(10) time I have recommended unto you, and do now recommend.
For he has acted blamelessly among us, and I believe also among you.
Moreover, ye will hold his sister in esteem when she comes to you.
Be ye safe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with you all.(11)