|« Prev||The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans||Next »|
THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE ROMANS
Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that hath found mercy in
the bountifulness of the Father Most High and of Jesus Christ His
only Son; to the church that is beloved and enlightened through the
will of Him who willed all things that are, by faith and love towards
Jesus Christ our God; even unto her that hath the presidency in the
country of the region of the Romans, being worthy of God, worthy of
honor, worthy of felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success,
worthy in purity, and having the presidency of love, walking in the
law of Christ and bearing the Father's name; which church also I
salute in the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the Father; unto them
that in flesh and spirit are united unto His every commandment, being
filled with the grace of God without wavering, and filtered clear
from every foreign stain; abundant greeting in Jesus Christ our God
Forasmuch as in answer to my prayer to God it hath been granted me
to see your godly countenances, so that I have obtained even more
than I asked; for wearing bonds in Christ Jesus I hope to salute you,
if it be the Divine will that I should be counted worthy to reach
unto the end;
for the beginning verily is well ordered, if so be I shall
attain unto the goal, that I may receive mine inheritance without
hindrance. For I dread your very love, lest it do me an injury; for
it is easy for you to do what ye will, but for me it is difficult to
attain unto God, unless ye shall spare me.
For I would not have you to be men-pleasers but to please God, as
indeed ye do please Him. For neither shall I myself ever find an
opportunity such as this to attain unto God, nor can ye, if ye be
silent, win the credit of any nobler work. For, if ye be silent and
leave me alone, I am a word of God; but if ye desire my flesh, then
shall I be again a mere cry.
Nay grant me nothing more than that I be poured out a libation to
God, while there is still an altar ready; that forming yourselves
into a chorus in love ye may sing to the Father in Jesus Christ, for
that God hath vouchsafed that the bishop from Syria should be found
in the West, having summoned him from the East. It is good to set
from the world unto God, that I may rise unto Him.
Ye never grudged any one; ye were the instructors of others And my
desire is that those lessons shall hold good which as teachers ye
Only pray that I may have power within and without, so that I may not
only say it but also desire it; that I may not only be called a
Christian, but also be found one. For if I shall be found so, then
can I also be called one, and be faithful then, when I am no more
visible to the world.
Nothing visible is good. For our God Jesus Christ, being in the
Father, is the more plainly visible. The Work is not of
persuasiveness, but Christianity is a thing of might, whensoever it
is hated by the world.
I write to all the churches, and I bid all men know, that of my own
free will I die for God unless Ye should hinder me. I exhort you, be
ye not an unseasonable kindness to me. Let me be given to the wild
beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and
I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure
bread [of Christ].
Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my sepulchre and
may leave no part of my body behind, so that I may not, when I am
fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one. Then shall I be truly a
disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not so much as see my
body. Supplicate the Lord for me, that through these instruments I
may be found a sacrifice to God.
I do not enjoin you, as Peter and Paul did. They were Apostles, I am
a convict; they were free, but I am a slave to this very hour. Yet if
I shall suffer, then am I a freed-man of Jesus Christ, and I shall
rise free in Him. Now I am learning in my bonds to put away every
From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea,
by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company
of soldiers, who only wax worse when they are kindly treated. Howbeit
through their wrong doings I become more completely a disciple; yet
am I not hereby justified.
May I have joy of the beasts that have been prepared for me; and I
pray that I may find them prompt; nay I will entice them that they
may devour me promptly, not as they have done to some, refusing to
touch them through fear. Yea though of themselves they should not be
willing while I am ready, I myself will force them to it.
Bear with me. I know what is expedient for me. Now am I beginning to
be a disciple. May naught of things visible and things invisible envy
me; that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Come fire and cross and
grapplings with wild beasts, [cuttings and manglings,] wrenching of
bones, hacking of limbs, crushings of my whole body, come cruel
tortures of the devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain unto
The farthest bounds of the universe shall profit me nothing, neither
the kingdoms of this world. It is good for me to die for Jesus Christ
rather than to reign over the farthest bounds of the earth. Him I
seek, who died on our behalf; Him I desire, who rose again [for our
The pangs of a new birth are upon me. Bear with me, brethren. Do not
hinder me from living; do not desire my death. Bestow not on the
world one who desireth to be God's, neither allure him with material
things. Suffer me to receive the pure light. When I am come thither,
then shall I be a man.
Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of my God. If any man hath
Him within himself, let him understand what I desire, and let him
have fellow-feeling with me, for he knoweth the things which straiten
The prince of this world would fain tear me in pieces and corrupt my
mind to Godward. Let not any of you therefore who are near abet him.
Rather stand ye on my side, that is on God's side. Speak not of
Jesus Christ and withal desire the world. Let not envy have a home in
Even though I myself, when I am with you, should beseech you, obey me
not; but rather give credence to these things which I write to you.
[For] I write to you in the midst of life, yet lusting after death.
My lust hath been crucified, and there is no fire of material longing
in me, but only water living and speaking in me, saying within me,
Come to the Father.
I have no delight in the food of corruption or in the delights of
this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Christ
who was of the seed of David; and for a draught I desire His blood,
which is love incorruptible.
I desire no longer to live after the manner of men; and this shall
be, if ye desire it. Desire ye, that ye yourselves also may be
desired. In a brief letter I beseech you; believe me.
And Jesus Christ shall make manifest unto you these things, that I
speak the truth--Jesus Christ, the unerring mouth in whom the Father
hath spoken [truly].
Entreat ye for me, that I may attain [through the Holy Spirit]. I
write not unto you after the flesh, but after the mind of God. If I
shall suffer, it was your desire; if I shall be rejected, it was your
Remember in your prayers the church which is in Syria, which hath
God for its shepherd in my stead. Jesus Christ alone shall be its
bishop-He and your love.
But for myself I am ashamed to be called one of them; for neither am
I worthy, being the very last of them and an untimely birth: but I
have found mercy that I should be some one, if so be I shall attain
My spirit saluteth you, and the love of the churches which received
me in the name of Jesus Christ, not as a mere wayfarer; for even
those churches which did not lie on my route after the flesh went
before me from city to city.
Now I write these things to you from Smyrna by the hand of the
Ephesians who are worthy of all felicitation. And Crocus also, a name
very dear to me, is with me, with many others besides.
As touching those who went before me from Syria to Rome unto the
glory of God, I believe that ye have received instructions; whom also
apprise that I am near; for they all are worthy of God and of you,
and it becometh you to refresh them in all things.
These things I write to you on the ninth before the Calends of
September. Fare ye well unto the end in the patient waiting for Jesus
|« Prev||The Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans||Next »|