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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:
IGNATIUS: Chapter II.—Ignatius is condemned by...

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter II.—Ignatius is condemned by Trajan.

For Trajan, in the ninth 1403 year of his reign, being lifted up [with pride], after the victory he had gained over the Scythians and Dacians, and many other nations, and thinking that the religious body of the Christians were yet wanting to complete the subjugation of all things to himself, and [thereupon] threatening them with persecution unless they should agree to 1404 worship dæmons, as did all other nations, thus compelled 1405 all who were living godly lives either to sacrifice [to idols] or die. Wherefore the noble soldier of Christ [Ignatius], being in fear for the Church of the Antiochians, was, in accordance with his own desire, brought before Trajan, who was at that time staying at Antioch, but was in haste [to set forth] against Armenia and the Parthians. And when he was set before the emperor Trajan, [that prince] said unto him, “Who art thou, wicked wretch, 1406 who settest 1407 thyself to transgress our commands, and persuadest others to do the same, so that they should miserably perish?” Ignatius replied, “No one ought to call Theophorus 1408 wicked; for all evil spirits 1409 have departed from the servants of God. But if, because I am an enemy to these [spirits], you call me wicked in respect to them, I quite agree with you; for inasmuch as I have Christ the King of heaven [within me], I destroy all the devices of these [evil spirits].” Trajan answered, “And who is Theophorus?” Ignatius replied, “He who has Christ within his breast.” Trajan said, “Do we not then seem to you to have the gods in our mind, whose assistance we enjoy in fighting against our enemies?” Ignatius answered, “Thou art in error when thou callest the dæmons of the nations 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, the only-begotten Son of God, whose kingdom may I enjoy.” Trajan said, “Do you mean Him who was crucified under Pontius Pilate?” Ignatius replied, “I mean Him who crucified my sin, with him who was the inventor of it, 1410 and who has condemned [and cast down] all the deceit and malice of the devil under the feet of those who carry Him in their heart.” Trajan said, “Dost thou then carry within thee Him that was crucified?” Ignatius replied, “Truly so; for it is written, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in p. 130 them.’ ” 1411 Then Trajan pronounced sentence as follows: “We command that Ignatius, who affirms that he carries about within him Him that was crucified, be bound by soldiers, and carried to the great [city] Rome, there to be devoured by the beasts, for the gratification of the people.” 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 bound with iron chains, like 1412 Thy Apostle Paul.” Having spoken thus, he then, with delight, clasped the chains about him; and when he had first prayed for the Church, and commended it with tears to the Lord, he was hurried away by the savage cruelty 1413 of the soldiers, like a distinguished ram 1414 the leader of a goodly flock, that he might be carried to Rome, there to furnish food to the bloodthirsty beasts.


Footnotes

129:1403

The numeral is uncertain. In the old Latin version we find “the fourth,” which Grabe has corrected into the nineteenth. The choice lies between “ninth” and “nineteenth,” i.e., a.d. 107 or a.d. 116.

129:1404

Literally, “would choose to submit to.”

129:1405

Some read, “fear compelled.”

129:1406

Literally, “evil-dæmon.”

129:1407

Literally, “art zealous.”

129:1408

Or, “one who carries God.”

129:1409

Literally, “the dæmons.”

129:1410

The Latin version reads, “Him who bore my sin, with its inventor, upon the cross.”

130:1411

2 Cor. vi. 16.

130:1412

Literally, “with.”

130:1413

Or, “beast-like.”

130:1414

[Better, “like the noble leader,” etc.; remitting κριὸς to the margin, as an ignoble word to English ears.]


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