Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
IGNATIUS: Chapter IV.—Have but one Eucharist,...
Chapter IV.—Have but one Eucharist, etc.
Take ye heed, then, to have but one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth 904 ] the unity of His blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants: that so, whatsoever ye do, ye may do it according to [the will of] God.
I have confidence of you in the Lord, that ye will be of no other mind. Wherefore I write boldly to your love, which is worthy of God, and exhort you to have but one faith, and one [kind of] preaching, and one Eucharist. For there is one flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ; and His blood which was shed for us is one; one loaf also is broken to all [the communicants], and one cup is distributed among them all: there is but one altar for the whole Church, and one bishop, with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants. Since, also, there is but one unbegotten Being, God, even the Father; and one only-begotten Son, God, the Word and man; and one Comforter, the Spirit of truth; and also one preaching, and one faith, and one baptism; 905 and one Church which the holy apostles established from one end of the earth to the other by the blood of Christ, and by their own sweat and toil; it behoves you also, therefore, as “a peculiar people, and a holy nation,” 906 to perform all things with harmony in Christ. Wives, be ye subject to your husbands in the fear of God; 907 and ye virgins, to Christ in purity, not counting marriage an abomination, but desiring that which is better, not for the reproach of wedlock, but for the sake of meditating on the law. Children, obey your parents, and have an affection for them, as workers together with God for your birth [into the world]. Servants, be subject to your masters in God, that ye may be the freed-men of Christ. 908 Husbands, love your wives, as fellow-servants of God, as your own body, as the partners of your life, and your co-adjutors in the procreation of children. Virgins, have Christ alone before your eyes, and His Father in your prayers, being enlightened by the Spirit. May I have pleasure in your purity, as that of Elijah, or as of Joshua the son of Nun, as of Melchizedek, or as of Elisha, as of Jeremiah, or as of John the Baptist, as of the beloved disciple, as of Timothy, as of Titus, as of Evodius, as of Clement, who departed this life in [perfect] chastity, 909 Not, however, that I blame the other blessed [saints] because they entered into the married state, of which I have just spoken. 910 For I pray that, being found worthy of God, I may be found at their feet in the kingdom, as at the feet of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; as of Joseph, and Isaiah, and the rest of the prophets; as of Peter, and Paul, and the rest of the apostles, that were married men. For they entered into these marriages not for the sake of appetite, but out of regard for the propagation of mankind. Fathers, “bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;” 911 and teach them the holy Scriptures, and also trades, that they may not indulge in idleness. Now [the Scripture] says, “A righteous father educates [his children] well; his heart shall rejoice in a wise son.” 912 Masters, be gentle towards your servants, as holy Job has taught you; 913 for there is one nature, and one family of mankind. For “in Christ there is neither bond nor free.” 914 Let governors be obedient to Cæsar; soldiers to those that command them; deacons to the presbyters, as to high-priests; the presbyters, and deacons, and the rest of the clergy, together with all the people, and the soldiers, and the governors, and Cæsar [himself], to the bishop; the bishop to Christ, even as Christ to the Father. And thus unity is preserved throughout. Let not the widows be wanderers about, nor fond of dainties, nor gadders from house to house; but let them be like Judith, noted for her seriousness; and like Anna, eminent for her sobriety. I do not ordain these things as an apostle: for “who am I, or what is my fathers house,” 915 that I should pretend to be equal in honour to them? But as your “fellow-soldier,” 916 I hold the position of one who [simply] admonishes you.
Eph. iv. 5.81:906
Tit. ii. 14; 1 Pet. ii. 981:907
Eph. v. 22.81:908
1 Cor. vii. 22.81:909
There was a prevalent opinion among the ancient Christian writers, that all these holy men lived a life of [chaste] celibacy.81:910
Or, “it is not because, etc., that I have mentioned these.”81:911
Eph. vi. 4.81:912
Prov. xxiii. 24.81:913
Job 31:13, 15.81:914
Gal. iii. 28.81:915
1 Sam. xviii. 18; 2 Sam. vii. 18.81:916
Phil. ii. 25.
Next: Chapter V.—Pray for me.
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