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MARTYRDOM OF ST. IGNATIUS.
Translated from the Original Greek, published by DR. GRABE,
I. WHEN Trajan, not long since, came to the Roman empire, Ignatius, the disciple of St. John the Apostle [and Evangelist'], a man in all things like unto the Apostles, governed the Church of Antioch with all care; who being scarcely able to escape the storms of the many persecutions before under Domitiam, as a good governor, by the helm of prayer and fasting, by the constancy of his doctrine and spiritual labour, withstood the raging floods; fearing lest they should sink those who either wanted courage, or were not well-grounded in the faith.
II. Wherefore the persecution being at present somewhat abated, he rejoiced greatly at the tranquillity of his Church; yet was troubled as to himself, that he had not attained to a true love of Christ, nor was come up to the pitch of a perfect disciple: for he thought, that the confession which is made by martyrdom, would bring him to a yet more close and intimate union with the Lord. Wherefore continuing a few years longer with the Church, and after the manner of a divine lamp
♦ Magis simpliccs. In MS. Cotton, infirmum.—Gr. ausgasorigwv. • More to a familiarity of the Lord.
illuminating the hearts of the faithful by the exposition of the Holy Scriptures, he attained to what he had desired.
III. For Trajan, in the nineteenth year of his empire, being lifted up with his victory over the Scythians and Dacians, and many other nations; and thinking that the religious company of Christians was yet wanting to his absolute and universal dominion; and thereupon threatening them that they should be persecuted, unless they would choose to worship the devil, with all other nations; fear obliged all such as live religiously, either to sacrifice, or to die. Wherefore our brave soldier of Christ, being in fear for the Church of Antioch, was voluntarily brought before Trajan; who was at that time there, on his way to Armenia, and the Parthians, against whom he was hastening.
IV. Being come into the presence of the emperor Trajan, the emperor asked him, saying; "What a wicked wretch art thou, thus to en"deavour' to transgress our commands, and to "persuade others also to do likewise, to their destruction"?" Ignatius answered; "No one
ought to call Theophorus after such a ́manner1; "forasmuch as all wicked spirits are departed far "from the servants of God. But if, because I am a trouble to those evil spirits, you call me 66 wicked, with reference to them I confess the charge; for having [within me] Christ, the heavenly king, I dissolve all the snares of the "devils."
1 Every man's heart.
* See Bp. Pearson's Diss. of the year of St. Ignatius's Martyrdom, p. 61, • Manly. 4 Devil.-Vid. Pears. Vind. Ign. par. ii, cap. 12. ΣroudάZwv.-Gr. To set thyself.
That they may be miserably destroyed.-Gr.
V. Trajan replied, "And who is Theophorus?" Ignatius. "He who has Christ in his breast."— Trajan." And do not we then seem to thee to have "the gods within us', who fight for us against "our enemies?"-Ignat. "You err, in that you call the evil spirits of the heathens, gods. "For there is but one God, who made heaven "and earth, and the sea, and all that are in them; "and one Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, "whose kingdom may I enjoy."
VI. Trajan. "His kingdom you say who was "crucified under Pontius Pilate."-Ignat. "His "who crucified my sin, with the inventor of it; "and has put all the deceit and malice of the "devil under the feet of those who carry him in "their heart."-Trajan. "Dost thou then carry "Him who was crucified within thee?"-Ignat. "I "do: for it is written, I will dwell in them and walk in them."―Then Trajan pronounced this sentence against him: "Forasmuch as Ignatius "has confessed that he carries about within him"self Him that was crucified, we command that "he be carried, bound by soldiers, to the great "Rome, there to be thrown to the beasts, for the "entertainment* of the people."
VII. When the holy Martyr heard this sentence, he cried out with joy, "I thank thee, O Lord, "that thou hast vouchsafed to honour me with "a perfect love towards thee; and hast made me "to be put into iron bonds with thy Apostle "Paul." Having said this, he with joy put his bonds about him; and having first prayed for the
1 In our mind.-Gr. In our breast: so MS. Cotton. To have an understanding of the gods; or, the gods according to understanding. So the other, of Abp. Usher. Metaphrastes joins both together. Vid. Annot. Usser, n. 5. Gr.-Delight.
2 You mean him.-Gr.
32 Cor. vi. 16.
Church, and commended it with tears unto the Lord, he was hurried away, like a choice ram, the leader of a good flock, by the brutish soldiers, in order to his being carried to Rome, there to be devoured by the blood-thirsty beasts.
VIII. Wherefore with much readiness and joy, out of his desire to suffer, he left Antioch and came to Seleucia; from whence he was to sail. And after a great deal of toil, being come to Smyrna, he left the ship with great gladness, and hastened to see the holy Polycarp, his fellowscholar', who was bishop there: for they had both of them been formerly the disciples of St. John.
IX. Being brought to him, and communicating to him some spiritual gifts, and glorying in his bonds, he entreated, first of all, the whole Church, (for the churches and cities of Asia attended this holy man by their Bishops, and Priests, and Deacons, all hastening to him, if by any means they might receive' some part of his spiritual gift,) but more particularly Polycarp, to contend with God in his behalf; that being suddenly taken by the beasts from the world, he might appear before the face of Christ. And this he thus spake, and testified, extending so much his love for Christ as one who was about to receive heaven through his own good confession, and the earnest contention of those who prayed together with him: and to return a recompense to the Churches, who came to meet him by their governors, he sent letters of thanks to them, which distilled spiritual grace, with prayer and exhortation. Seeing there
Partake of his spiritual blessing.-MS. Cotton. Hear his discourses-Metaphrast. 4 To contend to his purpose. disappearing to the world. 7 Gr.-By sending.
"That the more suddenly
fore all men so kindly affected towards him; and fearing lest the love of the brotherhood should prevent his hastening to the Lord, now that a fair door of suffering was opened to him; he wrote the Epistle we here subjoin to the Romans. (See the Epistle before.)
X. And having thus strengthened such of the brethren at Rome as were against his martyrdom, by this Epistle, as he desired; setting sail from Smyrna, (for he was pressed by the soldiers to hasten to the public spectacles at great Rome, that being delivered to the wild beasts in sight of the people of the Romans, he might receive the crown for which he strove ;) he came to Troas; from whence going on, being brought to Neapolis, he passed by Philippi through Macedonia, and that part of Epirus which is next to Epidamnus: having found a ship in one of the sea-ports, he sailed over the Adriatic sea; [and from thence entering into the Tyrrhene,] and passing by several islands and cities, at length he saw Puteoli; which being shewed to the holy man, he hastened to go forth, being desirous to walk from thence, in the way that Paul the Apostle had gone': but a violent wind arising, and driving on the ship, would not suffer him so to do; wherefore, commending the love of the brethren in that place, he sailed forward.
XI. And the wind continuing favourable to us, in one day and a night, we indeed were unwillingly hurried on, as sorrowing to think of being separated from this holy Martyr: but to him it happened justly according to his wish, that he might go the sooner' out of the world, and attain
1 Acts xxviii. 13, 14.
2 The ship being repelled from the forepart would not permit. Being in haste to go.