Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
IGNATIUS: Chapter IX.—Honour the bishop.
Chapter IX.—Honour the bishop.
Moreover, 1032 it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence 1033 both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for ye are worthy. Ye have refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ [shall refresh] you. Ye have loved me when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for whose sake, while ye endure all things, ye shall attain unto Him.
Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. For “in Hades there is no one who can confess his sins.” 1034 For “behold the man, and his work is before him.” 1035 And [the Scripture saith], “My son, honour thou God and the king.” 1036 And say I, Honour thou God indeed, as the Author and Lord of all things, but the bishop as the high-priest, who bears the image of God—of God, inasmuch as he is a ruler, and of Christ, in his capacity of a priest. After Him, we must also honour the king. For there is no one superior to God, or even like to Him, among all the beings that exist. Nor is there any one in the Church greater than the bishop, who ministers as a priest to God for the salvation of the whole world. Nor, again, is there any one among rulers to be compared with the king, who secures peace and good order to those over whom he rules. He who honours the bishop shall be honoured by God, even as he that dishonours him shall be punished by God. For if he that rises up against kings is justly held worthy of punishment, inasmuch as he dissolves public order, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, 1037 who presumes to do anything without the bishop, thus both destroying the [Churchs] unity, and throwing its order into confusion? For the priesthood is the very highest point of all good things among men, against which whosoever is mad enough to strive, dishonours not man, but God, and Christ Jesus, the First-born, and the only High Priest, by nature, of the Father. Let all things therefore be done by you with good order in Christ. Let the laity be subject to the deacons; the deacons to the presbyters; the presbyters to the bishop; the bishop to Christ, even as He is to the Father. As ye, brethren, have refreshed me, so will Jesus Christ refresh you. Ye have loved me when absent, as well as when present. God will recompense you, for whose sake ye have shown such kindness towards His prisoner. For even if I am not worthy of it, yet your zeal [to help me] is an admirable 1038 thing. For “he who honours a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophets reward.” 1039 It is manifest also, that he who honours a prisoner of Jesus Christ shall receive the reward of the martyrs.
Literally, “to know.”90:1034
Ps. vi. 5.90:1035
Isa. lxii. 11.90:1036
Prov. xxiv. 21.90:1037
Comp. Heb. x. 29.90:1038
Matt. x. 41.
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