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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
POLYCARP: Chapter VI.—The duties of presbyters...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—The duties of presbyters and others.

And let the presbyters be compassionate and merciful to all, bringing back those that wander, visiting all the sick, and not neglecting the widow, the orphan, or the poor, but always “providing for that which is becoming in the sight of God and man;” 374 abstaining from all wrath, respect of persons, and unjust judgment; keeping far off from all covetousness, not quickly crediting [an evil report] against any one, not severe in judgment, as knowing that we are all under a debt of sin. If then we entreat the Lord to forgive us, we ought also ourselves to forgive; 375 for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and “we must all appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, and must every one give an account of himself.” 376 Let us then serve Him in fear, and with all reverence, even as He Himself has commanded us, and as the apostles who preached the Gospel unto us, and the prophets who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Lord [have alike taught us]. Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error.



Rom. xii. 17; 2 Cor. viii. 31.


Matt. vi. 12-14.


Rom. xiv. 10-12; 2 Cor. v. 10.

Next: Chapter VII.—Avoid the Docetæ, and...

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