"كتابات الآباء "
THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE ANTIOCHIANS
Ignatius, who is
also called Theophorus, to the Church sojourning in Syria, which has
obtained mercy from God, and been elected by Christ, and which
first(1) received the name Christ, [wishes] happiness in God the
Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
CHAP. I.--CAUTIONS AGAINST ERROR.
THE Lord has rendered my bonds light and easy since I learnt that
you are in peace, that you live in all harmony both of the flesh and
spirit. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,(2) beseech you, that
ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,"(3) guarding
against those heresies of the wicked one which have broken in upon
us, to the deceiving and destruction of those that accept of them;
but that ye give heed to the doctrine of the apostles, and believe
both the law and the prophets: that ye reject every Jewish and
Gentile error, and neither introduce a multiplicity of gods, nor yet
deny Christ under the pretence of [maintaining] the unity of God.
CHAP. II.--THE TRUE DOCTRINE RESPECTING GOD AND CHRIST.
For Moses, the faithful servant of God, when he said, "The Lord thy
God is one Lord,"(4) and thus proclaimed that there was only one
God, did yet forthwith confess also our Lord when he said, "The Lord
rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from the Lord."(5)
And again, "And God(6) said, Let Us make man after our image: and so
God made man, after the image of God made He him."(7) And further
"In the image of God made He man."(8) And that [the Son of God] was
to be made man [Moses shows when] he says, "A prophet shall the Lord
raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me."(9)
CHAP. III.--THE SAME CONTINUED.
The prophets also, when they speak as in the person of God,
[saying,] "I am God, the first [of beings], and I am also the
last,(10) and besides Me there is no God,"(11) concerning the Father
of the universe, do also speak of our Lord Jesus Christ. "A Son,"
they say, has been given to us, on whose shoulder the government is
from above; and His name is called the Angel of great counsel,
Wonderful, Counsellor, the strong and mighty God."(12) And
concerning His incarnation, "Behold, a virgin shall be with Child,
and shall bring forth a Son; and they shall call his name
Immanuel."(13) And concerning the passion, "He was led as a sheep to
the slaughter; and as a lamb before her shearers is dumb, I also was
an innocent lamb led to be sacrificed."(14)
The Evangelists, too, when they declared that the one Father was
"the only true God,"(15) did not omit what concerned our Lord, but
wrote: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All
things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that
was made."(16) And concerning the incarnation: "The Word," says [the
Scripture], "became flesh, and dwelt among us."(17) And again: "The
book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of
Abraham."(18) And those very apostles, who said "that there is one
God,"(19) said also that "there is one Mediator between God and
men."(1) Nor were they ashamed of the incarnation and the passion.
For what says [one]? "The man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself"(2) for
the life and salvation of the world.
CHAP. V.--DENUNCIATION OF FALSE TEACHERS.
Whosoever, therefore, declares that there is but one God, only so as
to take away the divinity of Christ, is a devil,(3) and an enemy of
all righteousness. He also that confesseth Christ, yet not as the
Son of the Maker of the world, but of some other unknown(4) being,
different from Him whom the law and the prophets have proclaimed,
this man is an instrument of the devil. And he that rejects the
incarnation, and is ashamed of the cross for which I am in bonds,
this man is antichrist.(5) Moreover, he who affirms Christ to be a
mere man is accursed, according to the [declaration of the]
prophet,(6) since he puts not his trust in God, but in man.
Wherefore also he is unfruitful, like the wild myrtle-tree.
CHAP. VI.--RENEWED CAUTIONS.
These things I write to you, thou new olive-tree of Christ, not that
I am aware you hold any such opinions, but that I may put you on
your guard, as a father does his children. Beware, therefore, of
those that hasten to work mischief, those "enemies of the cross of
Christ, whose end is destruction, whose glory is in their shame."(7)
Beware of those "dumb dogs," those trailing serpents, those scaly(8)
dragons, those asps, and basilisks, and scorpions. For these are
subtle wolves,(9) and apes that mimic the appearance of men.
CHAP. VII.--EXHORTATION TO CONSISTENCY OF CONDUCT.
Ye have been the disciples of Paul and Peter; do not lose what was
committed to your trust. Keep in remembrance Euodias,(10) your
deservedly-blessed pastor, into whose hands the government over you
was first entrusted by the apostles. Let us not bring disgrace upon
our Father. Let us prove ourselves His true-born children, and not
bastards. Ye know after what manner I have acted among you. The
things which, when present, I spoke to you, these same, when absent,
I now write to you. "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let
him be Anathema."(11)
Be ye followers of me.(12) My soul be for yours, when I attain to
Jesus. Remember my bonds.(13)
CHAP. VIII.--EXHORTATIONS TO THE PRESBYTERS AND OTHERS.
Ye presbyters, "feed the flock which is among you,"(14) till God
shall show who is to hold the rule over you. For "I am now ready to
be offered,"(15) that I "may win Christ."(16) Let the deacons know
of what dignity they are, and let them study to be blameless, that
they may be the followers of Christ, Let the people be subject to
the presbyters and the deacons. Let the virgins know to whom they
have consecrated themselves.
CHAP. IX.--DUTIES OF HUSBANDS, WIVES, PARENTS, AND CHILDREN.
Let the husbands love their wives, remembering that, at the
creation, one woman, and not many, was given to one man. Let the
wives honour their husbands, as their own flesh; and let them not
presume to address them by their names.(17) Let them also be chaste,
reckoning their husbands as their only partners, to whom indeed they
have been united according to the will of God. Ye parents, impart a
holy training to your children. Ye children, "honour your parents,
that it may be well with you."(18)
CHAP. X.--DUTIES OF MASTERS AND SERVANTS.
Ye masters, do not treat your servants with haughtiness, but imitate
patient Job, who declares, "I did not despise(19) the cause(20) of
my man-servant, or of my maid-servant, when they contended with me.
For what in that case shall I do when the Lord makes an inquisition
regarding me?"(21) And you know what follows. Ye servants, do not
provoke your masters to anger in anything, lest ye become the
authors of incurable mischiefs to yourselves.
CHAP. XI.--INCULCATION OF VARIOUS MORAL DUTIES.
Let no one addicted to idleness eat,(22) lest he become a wanderer
about, and a whoremonger. Let drunkenness, anger, envy, reviling,
clamour, and blasphemy "be not so much as named among you."(23) Let
not the widows live a life of pleasure, lest they wax wanton against
the word.(24) Be subject to Caesar in everything in which subjection
implies no [spiritual] danger.
Provoke not those that nile over you to wrath, that you may give no
occasion against yourselves to those that seek for it. But as to the
practice of magic, or the impure love of boys, or murder, it is
superfluous to write to you, since such vices are forbidden to be
committed even by the Gentiles. I do not issue commands on these
points as if I were an apostle; but, as your fellow-servant, I put
you in mind of them.
I salute the holy presbytery. I salute the sacred deacons, and that
person most dear to me,(1) whom may I behold, through the Holy
Spirit, occupying my place when I shall attain to Christ. My soul be
in place of his. I salute the sub-deacons, the readers, the singers,
the doorkeepers, the labourers? the exorcists, the confessors.(3) I
salute the keepers of the holy gates, the deaconesses in Christ. I
salute the virgins betrothed to Christ, of whom may I have joy in
the Lord Jesus.(4) I salute the people of the Lord, from the
smallest to the greatest, and all my sisters in the Lord.
CHAP. XIII.--SALUTATIONS CONTINUED.
I salute Cassian and his partner in life, and their very dear
children. Polycarp, that most worthy bishop, who is also deeply
interested in you, salutes you; and to him I have commended you in
the Lord. The whole Church of the Smyrnaeans, indeed, is mindful of
you in their prayers in the Lord. Onesimus, the pastor of the
Ephesians, salutes you. Damas,(5) the bishop of Magnesia, salutes
you. Polybius, bishop of the Trallians, salutes you. Philo and
Agathopus, the deacons, my companions, salute you, "Salute one
another with a holy kiss."(6)
I write this letter to you from Philippi. May He who is alone
unbegotten, keep you stedfast both in the spirit and in the flesh,
through Him who was begotten before time(7) began! And may I behold
you in the kingdom of Christ! I salute him who is to bear rule over
you in my stead: may I have joy of him in the Lord! Fare ye well in
God, and in Christ, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit.