The Martyrdom of Polycarp or Letter of the Smyrnaeans

The Martyrdom of Polycarp or Letter of the Smyrnaeans
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Apostolic Fathers (Lightfoot)

0:1 The Church of God which sojourneth at Smyrna to the Church of God which sojourneth in Philomelium and to all the brotherhoods of the holy and universal Church sojourning in every place;
0:2 mercy and peace and love from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied.
1:1 We write unto you, brethren, an account of what befell those that suffered martyrdom and especially the blessed Polycarp, who stayed the persecution, having as it were set his seal upon it by his martyrdom.
1:2 For nearly all the foregoing events came to pass that the Lord might show us once more an example of martyrdom which is conformable to the Gospel.
1:3 For he lingered that he might be delivered up, even as the Lord did, to the end that we too might be imitators of him, {not looking} only {to that which concerneth ourselves, but also to that which concerneth our neighbours.}
1:4 For it is the office of true and steadfast love, not only to desire that oneself be saved, but all the brethren also.
2:1 Blessed therefore and noble are all the martyrdoms which have taken place according to the will of God (for it behoveth us to be very scrupulous and to assign to God the power over all things).
2:2 For who could fail to admire their nobleness and patient endurance and loyalty to the Master?
2:3 seeing that when they were so torn by lashes that the mechanism of their flesh was visible even as far as the inward veins and arteries, they endured patiently, so that the very bystanders had pity and wept;

The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians

The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians
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0:1 Polycarp and the presbyters that are with him unto the Church of God which sojourneth at Philippi;
0:2 mercy unto you and peace from God Almighty and Jesus Christ our Saviour be multiplied.
1:1 I rejoiced with you greatly in our Lord Jesus Christ, for that ye received the followers of the true Love and escorted them on their way, as befitted you–those men encircled in saintly bonds which are the diadems of them that be truly chosen of God and our Lord;
1:2 and that the stedfast root of your faith which was famed from primitive times abideth until now and beareth fruit unto our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured to face even death for our sins, {whom God raised, having loosed the pangs of Hades;
1:3 on whom, though ye saw Him not, ye believe with joy unutterable and full of glory;}
1:4 unto which joy many desire to enter in;
1:5 forasmuch as ye know that it is {by grace ye are saved, not of works,} but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.
2:1 {Wherefore gird up your loins and serve God in fear} and truth, forsaking the vain and empty talking and the error of the many, {for that ye have believed on Him that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave unto Him glory} and a throne on His right hand;
2:2 unto whom all things were made subject that are in heaven and that are on the earth;

Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna; Macedonia and Crete

Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna; Macedonia and Crete
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Ignatius, the martyr of Antioch, is regarded as the most important and most successful ecclesiastical representative in the second-century struggle against heresy prior to Justin. He is an organization man whose significance H. Lietzmann recently characterized thus: “In Ignatius we already find that the monarchial episcopate is an accomplished fact and is applicable to both Syria and western Asia Minor.”[1] I think that with a man like Ignatius who, in his exuberance, time and again loses all sense of proportion, one must be especially careful in evaluating the accuracy of his statements. Indeed, he even speaks of communities such as Magnesia and Tralles, whose situation he knows primarily from the descriptions of their “bishops,” who had no reason to place themselves and their influence in an unfavourable light. That Ignatius is less concerned with depicting the actual situation than with portraying the ideal is already suggested by the fact that, for the most part, his approach takes the form of admonition rather than of description.

What is it that makes the monarchial episcopacy seem so attractive to a man like Ignatius? First of all, he does not begin from a position in which he sees a plurality of ecclesiastical bodies of officials who for practical reasons may be governed by one particular office which, nevertheless, is not necessarily superior. No, for him the first and foremost figure is the bishop, who is like God or Christ in whose place he stands.[2] And [66] just as there can be no second, even [[ET 62]] approximately similar position beside them, neither can there be such beside the bishop.

The Reliques of the Elders Preserved in Irenaeus

The Reliques of the Elders Preserved in Irenaeus
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Apostolic Fathers (Lightfoot)

I. Irenaeus Heresies, Preface to Bk. I.

According to what was said of such cases by one better than we are:

the precious stone, The emerald, accounted of much worth, Is shamed by artful mimicry in glass,

whenever he is not by, who hath power to prove it, and Detect the craft so cunningly devised.

Again, when alloy of brass Is mixed with silver, who that simple is Shall easily be able to assay?

The Greek is preserved in Epiphanius Haer. xxxi. 9 (ed. Dindorf, 1859-62, 11. p. 148).

II. IRENAEUS i. 13. 3.

As he that was better than we are affirmed of such persons, A daring and shameless thing is a soul heated with empty air.

The Greek from Epiphanius Haer. xxxiv.2 (Dindorf, II. p. 220).

Irenaeus

Irenaeus
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Greek: Εἰρηναῖος Eirēnaios; c. 130 – c. 202 AD) was a Greek bishop noted for his role in guiding and expanding Christian communities in what is now the south of France and, more widely, for the development of Christian theology by combating heresy and defining orthodoxy. Originating from Smyrna, now Izmir in Turkey, he had seen and heard the preaching of Polycarp, the last known living connection with the Apostles, who in turn was said to have heard John the Evangelist.

Chosen as bishop of Lugdunum, now Lyon, his best-known work is Against Heresies, often cited as Adversus Haereses, an attack on gnosticism, in particular that of Valentinus. To counter the doctrines of the gnostic sects claiming secret wisdom, he offered three pillars of orthodoxy: the scriptures, the tradition handed down from the apostles, and the teaching of the apostles’ successors. Intrinsic to his writing is that the surest source of Christian guidance is the Church of Rome, and he is the earliest surviving witness to regard all four of the now-canonical gospels as essential.

He is recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church, which celebrates his feast on 28 June, and in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which celebrates the feast on 23 August.

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book V

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book V
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PREFACE

IN the four preceding books, my very dear friend, which I put forth to thee, all the heretics have been exposed, and their doctrines brought to light, and these men refuted who have devised irreligious opinions. [I have accomplished this by adducing] something from the doctrine peculiar to each of these men, which they have left in their writings, as well as by using arguments of a more general nature, and applicable to them all.(1) Then I have pointed out the truth, and shown the preaching of the Church, which the prophets proclaimed (as I have already demonstrated), but which Christ brought to perfection, and the apostles have handed down, from whom the Church, receiving [these truths], and throughout all the world alone preserving them in their integrity (bene), has transmitted them to her sons.

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book IV

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book IV
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PREFACE

1. By transmitting to thee, my very dear friend, this fourth book of the work which is [entitled] The Detection and Refuation of False Knowledge, I shall, as I have promised, add weight, by means of the words of the Lord, to what I have already advanced; so that thou also, as thou hast requested, mayest obtain from me the means of confuting all the heretics everywhere, and not permit them, beaten back at all points, to launch out further into the deep of error, nor to be drowned in the sea of ignorance; but that thou, turning them into the haven of the truth, mayest cause them to attain their salvation.

2. The man, however, who would undertake their conversion, must possess an accurate knowledge of their systems or schemes of doctrine. For it is impossible for any one to heal the sick, if he has no knowledge of the disease of the patients. This was the reason that my predecessors–much superior men to myself, too–were unable, notwithstanding, to refute the Valentinians satisfactorily, because they were ignorant of these men’s system;(1) which I have with all care delivered to thee in the first book in which I have also shown that their doctrine is a recapitulation of all the heretics. For which reason also, in the second, we have had, as in a mirror, a sight of their entire discomfiture. For they who oppose these men (the Valentinians) by the right method, do [thereby] oppose all who are of an evil mind; and they who overthrow them, do in fact overthrow every kind of heresy.

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book III

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book III
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PREFACE

Thou hast indeed enjoined upon me, my very dear friend, that I should bring to light the Valentinian doctrines, concealed, as their votaries imagine; that I should exhibit their diversity, and compose a treatise in refutation of them. I therefore have undertaken—showing that they spring from Simon, the father of all heretics—to exhibit both their doctrines and successions, and to set forth arguments against them all. Wherefore, since the conviction of these men and their exposure is in many points but one work, I have sent unto thee [certain] books, of which the first comprises the opinions of all these men, and exhibits their customs, and the character of their behaviour. In the second, again, their perverse teachings are cast down and overthrown, and, such as they really are, laid bare and open to view. But in this, the third book I shall adduce proofs from the Scriptures, so that I may come behind in nothing of what thou hast enjoined; yea, that over and above what thou didst reckon upon, thou mayest receive from me the means of combating and vanquishing those who, in whatever manner, are propagating falsehood. For the love of God, being rich and ungrudging, confers upon the suppliant more than he can ask from it. Call to mind then, the things which I have stated in the two preceding books, and, taking these in connection with them, thou shalt have from me a very copious refutation of all the heretics; and faithfully and strenuously shalt thou resist them in defence of the only true and life-giving faith, which the Church has received from the apostles and imparted to her sons. For the Lord of all gave to His apostles the power of the Gospel, through whom also we have known the truth, that is, the doctrine of the Son of God; to whom also did the Lord declare: “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me, and Him that sent Me.”3308.

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book II

Irenaeus: Against Heresies Book II
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PREFACE

1. IN the first book, which immediately precedes this, exposing “knowledge falsely so called,”(1) I showed thee, my very dear friend, that the whole system devised, in many and opposite ways, by those who are of the school of Valentinus, was false and baseless. I also set forth the tenets of their predecessors, proving that they not only differed among themselves, but had long previously swerved from the truth itself. I further explained, with all diligence, the doctrine as well as practice of Marcus the magician, since he, too, belongs to these persons; and I carefully noticed(2) the passages which they garble from the Scriptures, with the view of adapting them to their own fictions. Moreover, I minutely narrated the manner in which, by means of numbers, and by the twenty-four letters of the alphabet, they boldly endeavour to establish [what they regard as] truth. I have also related how they think and teach that creation at large was formed after the image of their invisible Pleroma, and what they hold respecting the Demiurge, declaring at the same time the doctrine of Simon Magus of Samaria, their progenitor, and of all those who succeeded him. I mentioned, too, the multitude of those Gnostics who are sprung from him, and noticed(2) the points of difference between them, their several doctrines, and the order of their succession, while I set forth all those heresies which have been originated by them. I showed, moreover, that all these heretics, taking their rise from Simon, have introduced impious and irreligious doctrines into this life; and I explained the nature of their “redemption,” and their method of initiating those who are rendered “perfect,” along with their invocations and their mysteries. I proved also that there is one God, the Creator, and that He is not the fruit of any defect, nor is there anything either above Him, or after Him.

Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenæus

Fragments from the Lost Writings of Irenæus
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Text edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson and first published by T&T Clark in Edinburgh in 1867. Additional introductionary material and notes provided for the American edition by A. Cleveland Coxe, 1886.

Book I.

I adjure thee, who shalt transcribe this book, [4797] by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by His glorious appearing, when He comes to judge the living and the dead, that thou compare what thou hast transcribed, and be careful to set it right according to this copy from which thou hast transcribed; also, that thou in like manner copy down this adjuration, and insert it in the transcript.

Footnotes

[4797] This fragment is quoted by Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., v. 20. It occurred at the close of the lost treatise of Irenæus entitled De Ogdoade.