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Ignatius to the Magnesians

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians


0:1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to her that is blessed in the grace of God the Father, in Jesus Christ our Saviour, in whom I salute the Church that is in Magnesia by the Maeander, and pray in God the Father and in Jesus Christ that they may rejoice greatly.


1:1 Having heard of the abundant good order of your love which is according to God, I have with gladness chosen to address you in the faith of Jesus Christ;

1:2 for having been deemed worthy of the most Godlike name in the bonds I bear about, I celebrate the Churches, in which I pray that there may be the union of the body and spirit of Jesus Christ, our everlasting life, and of faith and love, to which there is nothing preferable, but above all of Jesus and the Father, in whom abiding and escaping all the insults of the ruler of this world, we shall attain unto God.


2:1 Since, therefore, I have been deemed worthy to behold you through Damas, your bishop, who is worthy of God, and your worthy presbyters Bassus and Apollonius, and my fellow-servant the Deacon Sotion, of whom may I have joy, because he is subject to the bishop as to the grace of God, and to the presbytery as to the law of Jesus Christ.


3:1 And you it beseemeth not to despise the youth of your bishop, but to award all reverence unto him, respecting the power of God the Father which is in him, even as I have known the sacred presbyters to do, not having regard to his apparently youthful position, but as wise men in God yielding unto him: yet not unto him but unto the Father of Jesus Christ, who is bishop of all.

3:2 It is therefore right that we should obey without any hypocrisy, to the honour of him who hath willed that we should do so; since not only doth a man deceive the visible bishop, but he also sets at nought the invisible one. But he who doeth such things has to give an account not unto the flesh, but unto God, who knoweth the secret things.


4:1 It is therefore fitting not only to be called Christians, but also to be so, and not to be as some who acknowledge the bishop, but do all things apart from him; but such appear to me not to be of good conscience, since they do not steadfastly assemble themselves together according to the commandment.


5:1 Since, therefore, things have an end, the choice of two things, death and life, is placed at once before us, and each is about to depart to his own place.

5:2 For as there are two kinds of coins, the one of God, the other of the world, and each hath its own impression, the unbelieving the impress of the world, the believers in love the impress of God the Father through Jesus Christ, through whom unless we attain voluntarily to die unto his passion, his life is not in us.


6:1 Since, then, I have in the persons of those above mentioned beheld as it were your whole multitude in faith and have loved you, I exhort you to be careful to do all things in the unity of God, since the bishop sits in the place of God, and the presbyters in the place of the synod of the Apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, have been entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the world began, and was manifested in the end.

6:2 Do ye all then, having put on the same divine disposition, have respect one to another, and let no one behold his neighbour according to the flesh, but love each other continuously in Jesus Christ. Let there be nothing in you that shall be able to divide you, but be ye united to the bishop and to those who preside, after the form and doctrine of incorruption.


7:1 As, therefore, the Lord did nothing apart from the Father, being united to him, neither by himself nor by the Apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and the elders; neither try that anything should appear reasonable to yourselves separately; but let there be in unison one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love, and in blameless joy. There is one Jesus Christ, than which there is nothing better.

7:2 Do ye therefore all come together as unto the temple of God, as unto one altar, as unto one Jesus Christ, who came forth from one Father, and lived in one, and departed unto one.


8:1 Be not deceived by heretical opinions, nor by ancient fables, which are unprofitable. For if we live until this present, according to the religion of the Jews, we acknowledge that we have not received grace.

8:2 For the divine prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account were they also persecuted, who by his grace were inspired, to the end that the disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ, his Son, who is his eternal Word, who came not forth from Silence [some mss. omit "not"], who in all things was well pleasing to him that sent him.


9:1 If, therefore, they who were under the older dispensation came into a new hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath, but living in observance of the Lord's day, on which day also our life rose through him and through his death, which certain deny, through which mystery we have received faith (and through this abide, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ, our only teacher),

9:2 how shall we be able to live apart from him, of whom even the prophets were disciples, and waited for him in the spirit as their teacher? And on this account, he whom they rightly expected, when he came, raised them from the dead.


10:1 Let us, therefore, not be insensible to his goodness. For if God should imitate our actions, we are undone. On this account, becoming his disciples, let us learn to live according to the religion of Christ. For he who is called by any other name than this is not of God.

10:2 Lay aside, therefore, the evil leaven, which hath waxed old and become sour, and be ye changed into a new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in him, to the end that none of you become corrupt, since by your savour shall ye be tried.

10:3 It is inconsistent to name the name of Christ Jesus, and to live after the manner of the Jews. For Christianity did not believe upon Judaism, but Judaism upon Christianity, so that every tongue which believed might be gathered together unto God.


11:1 Concerning those things, my beloved, I wish you to be warned beforehand (not because I knew that any of you were so disposed, but as being less than you), so that you fall not into the snares of vainglory, but may be fully persuaded of the birth, the passion, and the resurrection which happened in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate, which things were truly and surely done by Jesus Christ, our hope, from which hope may it happen to none of you to be turned away.


12:1 May I have joy of you in all things, if at least I am worthy. For even though I be in bonds, yet I am not to be compared to one of you who are free. I know that ye are not puffed up, for ye have Jesus Christ in yourselves; and still more when I praise you, I know that ye are put to shame, as it is written, The just is his own accuser.


13:1 Be diligent, therefore, to be confirmed in the doctrine of the Lord and of his Apostles, that ye may be prosperous in all things, whatsoever ye do, both in flesh and spirit, in faith and love, in the Son and the Father and the Spirit, in the beginning and the end, together with your most worthily-distinguished bishop, and the nobly woven spiritual crown of your presbytery, and of your deacons, who walk according to God.

13:2 Submit yourselves to your bishop and to each other, as Jesus Christ to his Father according to the flesh, and the Apostles to Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit; that there may be a union both fleshly and spiritual.


14:1 Knowing that ye are full of God, I have exhorted you briefly. Remember me in your prayers that I may attain unto God; and the Church in Syria, whence I am not worthy to be called. For I need your united faith and love in God, that the Church in Syria may be deemed worthy to be refreshed by your Church.


15:1 The Ephesians from Smyrna, from which place also I write unto you, salute you; they have in all things refreshed me, being present for the glory of God, as also are ye, who have in all things refreshed me, together with Polycarp the bishop of the Smyrnaeans. And the rest of the Churches in the honour of Jesus Christ salute you. Be strong in the unity of God, possessing his inseparable Spirit, which is Jesus Christ.

{End of Ignatius to Magnesians}

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