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unto the Lord, whom he loved. Wherefore, sailing into the Roman port, and those impure sports being almost at an end, the soldiers began to be offended at our slowness; but the Bishop with great joy complied with their hastiness.
XII. Being therefore soon forced away from the port so called, we forthwith met the brethren, (for the report of what concerned the holy Martyr was spread abroad,) who were full of fear and joy: for they rejoiced in that God had vouchsafed them the company of Theophorus, but were afraid, when they considered, that such an one was brought thither to die. Now some of these he commanded to hold their peace who were the most zealous' for his safety, and said, that "they would appease the people, that they "should not desire the destruction of the just*:" who presently knowing this by the spirit, and saluting all of them, he desired them that they would shew a true love to him; disputing yet more with them than he had done in his Epistle, and persuading them not to envy him who was hastening unto the Lord. And so, all the brethren kneeling down, he prayed' to the Son of God, in behalf of the Churches, that he would put a stop to the persecution, and continue the love of the brethren towards each other; which being done, he was with all haste led into the amphitheatre, and speedily, according to the command of Cæsar before given, thrown in, the end of the spectacles being at hand. For it was then a very solemn day, called in the Roman tongue the thirteenth of the calends of January; upon which the people were more than ordinarily
? Quietare plebem ad non expetere perdere justum.
wont to be gathered together. Thus was he delivered to the cruel beasts, near the temple, by wicked men; that so the desire of the holy Martyr, Ignatius, might be accomplished; as it is written, The desire of the righteous is acceptable'; namely, that he might not be burthensome to any of the brethren, by the gathering of his relics, but might be wholly devoured by them; according as in his Epistle he had before wished that so his end might be. For only the greater and harder of his holy bones remained; which were carried to Antioch, and there put up in a napkin, as an inestimable treasure left to the Church by the grace which was in the Martyr.
XIII. Now these things were done the thirteenth of the calends of January, that is, the twentieth day of December; Sura and Synecius being the second time consuls of the Romans;of which we ourselves were eye-witnesses. And being the night following watching, with tears, in the house; praying to God with our bended knees, that he would give us, weak men, some assurance of what had been before done,-it happened, that falling into a slumber, some of us, on the sudden, saw the Blessed Ignatius standing by us and embracing us; others beheld the Blessed Martyr praying for us; others, as it were, dropping with sweat, as if he were just come from his great labour, and standing by the Lord.
XIV. Which when we saw, being filled with joy, and comparing the visions of our dreams with one another, we glorified God, the giver of all good things; and being assured of the blessedness of the Saint', we have3 made known
1 Prov. x. 24.
2 Beatificantes Sanctum. Pronouncing him blessed.
unto you both the day and the time; that, being assembled together according to the time of his martyrdom, we may communicate with the Combatant, and most valiant Martyr, of Christ, who trod under foot the devil, and perfected the course he had piously desired, in Christ Jesus our Lord; by whom, and with whom, all glory and power be to the Father, with the Blessed Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.
CHURCH OF SMYRNA
MARTYRDOM OF ST. POLYCARP.
The Church of God which is at SMYRNA, to the Church of God which is at PHILADELPHIA'; and to all the other assemblies of the Holy Catholic Church, in every place; mercy, peace, and love from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied.
I. We have written to you, Brethren, both of what concerns the other Martyrs, but especially Polycarp the Blessed, who by his sufferings3 put an end to the persecution; setting, as it were, his seal to it. For almost all things that went before, were done, that the Lord might shew us, from above, a martyrdom truly such as became the Gospel. For he expected to be delivered up, even as the Lord also did, that we should become the followers of his example'; considering not only what is profitable for ourselves, but also for our neighbours' advantage. For it is the part of a true and perfect charity, to desire, not only that a man's self should be saved, but also all the brethren.
II. The sufferings, then, of all the other Martyrs, were blessed and generous; which they underwent according to the will of God. For
1 Philomelia Vid. Annot. Uss. n. 1. Comp. Vet. Lat. Interpr. et Euseb. Hist. Eccles. 1. iv. c. 15. 2 Παροικίαις. 6 Happy.
so it becomes' us, who are more religious than others, to ascribe the power and ordering of all things unto him. And, indeed, who can choose but admire the greatness of their mind, and that admirable patience, and love of their Master, which then appeared in them? Who when they were so flayed with whipping, that the frame and structure of their bodies were laid open to their very inward veins and arteries, nevertheless endured it. And when all that beheld them pitied and lamented them; yet they shewed so great a generosity of mind, that not one of them let so much as a sigh, or a groan, escape them, plainly shewing, that those Holy Martyrs of Christ, at the very same time that they were thus tormented, were absent from the body; or, rather, that the Lord stood by them, and conversed with them. Wherefore, being supported by the grace of Christ, they despised all the torments of the world; by the sufferings of an hour, redeeming themselves from everlasting punishment. For this cause, even the fire of their cruel and barbarous executioners seemed cold to them; whilst they hoped thereby to escape that fire which is eternal, and shall never be extinguished; and beheld, with the eyes of faith", those good things which are reserved for them that endure to the end; which neither ear has heard, nor eye seen, nor have they entered into the heart of man. But to them they were now revealed' by the Lord; as being no longer men, but already become angels. In like manner, those who were con
1 Vid. Correct. Coteler. et Vales. in Annot. ad Euseb. 1. iv. c. 15. p. 61.
*Shewing to all of us.
3 Attending to.
4 For they had before their eyes to escape. Of their heart.
1 Cor. ii. 9.