Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and composed a presence; and what needed all subjection and reverence to princes,) but because this stir to hunt and take this poor old man? He they knew that the Romans, too apt to flatter the nothing concerned, ordered a table to be spread, ambition of their emperors into a fondly, usurped and provisions to be set upon it, inviting them to divinity, by that title usually understood God, as partake of them, and only requesting for himself

, Tertullian tells them; in any other notion of the that in the mean while he might have one hour word, they could as freely as any call him Lord; for prayer. Leave being granted, he rose up, and though, as he adds, even Augustus himself mobetook himself to his devotions, wherein he had destly forbade that title to be ascribed to him. such mighty assistances of divine grace, that he 9. St. Polycarp returned no answer to their continued praying nearly two hours together, demand, ti!l importunately urging him, he replied, heartily recoinmending to God the case of all his that he would not at any rate comply with their friends and acquaintances, whether great or little, persuasions. Frustrated of the ends which they honorable or ignoble, and the state of the catholic had upon him, they now lay aside the vizor of church throughout the world; all that heard him their dissembled friendship, and turn their kindbeing astonished at it, and of them now repenting ness into scorn and reproaches; thrusting him that so divine and venerable an old man should be out of the chariot with so much violence, that he put to death.

bruised his thigh with the fall. Whereat nothing 8. His prayer being ended, and they ready to daunted, as if he had received no hurt, he cheerdepart, he was set upon an ass; and (it being fully bastened on to the place of his execution, then the great sabbath ; though what that great under the conduct of his guard; whither when sabbath was, learned men, I believe, will hardly they were come, and a confused noise and tumult agree till the coming of Elias) conducted him into was arisen, a voice came from heaven, (heard by the city. As they were upon the road, they were many, but none seen who spake it,) saying, “Polymet by Herod and his father Nicetes, who indeed carp, be strong, and quit thyself like a man. were the main springs of the persecution, and had immediately he was brought before the public triput the tumult into motion. This Herod was an bunal, where a great shout was made; all reirenarcha, one of those, ad quos tuende publice joicing that he was apprehended. The proconsul pacis vigilantia pertinebat, as St. Augustine de- (whose name was L. Statius Quadratus,) this scribes them: their office was much the same very year, as Aristides, the orator, who lived at with that of our modern justices of the peace, this time at Smyrna, informs us, the proconsul of they being set to guard the provinces, and to se- Asia, (as not long before he had been consul at cure the public peace and quietness within their Rome,) asked him, whether he was Polycarp; several jurisdictions; to prevent and suppress which being confessed, he began to persuade him riots and tumults, robberies and rapines, and to to recant. «« Regard,” said he, “thy great age; enquire into tbe companions and receivers of all swear by the genius of Cæsar; repent, and say such persons, and to transmit to the magistrates with us, Take away the impious." These were the examinations and notices which they had re a ourndes avrors, as my authors truly observe, their ceived of such matters. They were appointed usual terms and proposals to Christians, who stoutly either by the emperor himself, or the præfecti refused to swear by the emperor's genius; upon prætorio, or the decurious ; and at this time the which account the heathens generally traduced custom in the provinces of the lesser Asia was, them as traitors and enemies to the state ; though, that every city did yearly send ten of the names to wipe of that charge, they openly professed, of their principal persons to the governor of the that though they could not swear by the fortune province, who choose out one to be the irenarcha, of the emperor, (their genii being accounted the keeper or justice of the peace. Being after- deities, whom the Christians knew to be but dewards found grievous and troublesome to the peo- mons, and cast out at every turn,) yet they scrupled ple, they were take:1 away by a law of the not to swear by the emperor's safety, a thing more younger Theodosius, though the office remained august and sacred than all the genji in the world. under another name. This office at Smyrna was 10. The holy martyr looking about the Stadium, at this time managed by this Herod, whom Baro- and with a severe and angry countenance behold. nius conjectures to be Herodes Atticus, a man of ing the crowd, beckoned to them with his hand, consular dignity, and of great learning and elo- sighed and looked up to heaven, saying, (though quence, and who had been tutor to the present quite in another sense than they intended,) “Take emperor. Certain it is, that that Herod governed away the impious.” The proconsul still persuaded in the free cities of Asia, and resided sometimes him to swear, with promise to release him; withal at Smyrna: though it cramps the conjecture, that urging him to blaspheme Christ ; for with that the name of that Herod's father was Atticus, of temptation they were wont to assault Christians, this Nicetes; unless we will suppose him to have and thereby to try the sincerity of their renega. had two names. But whoever he be, a great dos; a course which Pliny tells us he observed enemy he was to Polycarp, whom meeting upon towards apostate Christians; though he withal the way, he took him up into his chariot, where both confesses, that none of them that were really he and his father, by plausible insinuations, sought Christians could ever be brought to it. The moto undermine his constancy; asking him what tion was resented with a noble scorn, and drew great harm there was in saying, My lord the em- from Polycarp this generous confession : “Fourperor, and in sacrificing, by which means he might score and six years I have served him, and he escape. This was an unusual way of attempting never did me any harm; how then shall I now blasthe Christians; not that they made any scruple pheme my King and my Saviour ?" But nothing to acknowledge the emperor to be their lord, will satisfy a malicious misguided zeal : the pro(none were so forward, so earnest to pay all due consul still importuned him to swear by Cæsar's 101

(24)

genius ; to whom he replied, “Since you are so | let a lion upon the malefactor. Which he told vainly ambitious that I should swear by the em- them he could not do, having already exhibited peror's genius, as you call it, as if you knew not the hunting of wild beasts with men, one of the who I am; hear my free confession: I am a famous shows of the amphitheatre. Then they Christian. 'If you have a mind to learn the Chris- unanimously demanded, that he might be burnt tian religion, appoint me a time, and I will instruct alive : a fate which he himself from the vision in you in it.” The proconsul advised him to per- his dream, had prophetically foretold should be his suade the people : he answered, "To you I rather portion. The thing was no sooner said than done, choose to address my discourse; for we are com- each one striving to bear a part in this fatal tramanded by the laws of our religion, to give to gedy, with incredible speeed fetching wood and princes and the powers ordained by God, all that faggots from several places; but especially the due honor and reverence thai is not prejudicial Jews were peculiarly active in the service ; malice and contrary to the precepts of religion. As for to Christians being almost as natural to them as them, (meaning the common herd,) I think them it is for the fire to burn. The fire being prepared, not competent judges, to whom I should apologize, St. Polycarp untied his girdle, laid aside his garor give an account of my faith.”

ments, and began to put off his shoes; ministries il. The proconsul now saw it was in vain to which he before was not wont to be put to; the use any further persuasives and entreaties; and Christians ambitiously striving to be admitted to therefore betook himself to severer arguments. do them for him, and happy he that could first “I have wild beasts at hand,” said he, “ to which touch his body. So great a reverence even in his I will cast thee, unless thou recant." “ Call for younger years had he from all for the admirable them,” cried the martyr, " for we are immutably strictness and regularity of his holy life. resolved not to change the better for the worse ; 13. The officers that were employed in his exe. accounting it fit and comely only to turn from cution having disposed all other things, came acvice to virtue.” “Since thou makest so light of cording to custom to nail hiin to the stake ; which wild beasts,” added the proconsul, “I have a fire be desired them to omit, assuring them, that he that shall tame thee, unless thou repent.” “ Thou who gave him strength to endure the fire, would threatenest me with a fire,” answered Polycarp, enable hin, without nailing, to stand immovable " that burns for an hour, and is presently extinct, in the hottest flames. So they only tied him, who but art ignorant, alas! of the fire of eternal dam- standing like a sheep ready for the slaughter, denation, and the judgment to come, reserved for the signed as a grateful sacrifice to the Almighty, wicked in the other world. But why delayest clasping his hands, which were bound behind him, thou ? bring forth whatever thou hast a mind to.” he poured out his soul to heaven in this following This and much more he spake with a pleasant prayer: “O Lord God Almighty, the Father of and cheerful confidence; and a divine grace was thy well-beloved and ever-blessed Son, Jesus conspicuous in his very looks, so far was he from Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge cowardly sinking under the great threatenings of thee; the God of angels, powers, and of every made against him. Yea, the proconsul himself creature, and of the whole race of the righteous, was astonished at it: though finding no good who live before thee; I bless thee that thou hast could be done upon him, he commanded the crier, in graciously condescended to bring me to this day the middle of the stadium, thrice to make open pro- and hour, that I may receive a portion in the clamation, (as was the manner of the Romans in number of thy holy martyrs, and drink of Christ's all capital trials,) “Polycarp has confessed him-cup, for the resurrection to eternal life, both oi self a Christian.” Whereat the whole multitude, soul and body, in the incorruptibleness of the Holy both of Jews and Gentiles, that were present, Spirit. Into which number grant I may be re(and probably it is, that the common council or ceived this day ; being found in thy sight as a fair assembly of Asia, might about this time be held and acceptable sacrifice, such a one as thou thyat Smyrna, for the celebration of their common self hast prepared ; that so thou mayest accomshows and sports ; for that it was sometimes held plish what thou, ó true and faithful God, hast here, is evident from an ancient inscription making foreshown. Wherefore, I praise thee for all thy mention of it,) gave a mighty shout, crying out mercies. I bless thee, I glorify thee, through the aloud, “ this is the great doctor of Asia, and the eternal High-Priest, thy beloved Son, Jesus father of the Christians; this is the destroyer of Christ; with whom to thyself and the Holy our gods, who teaches men not to do sacrifice, or Ghost, be glory both now and for ever, Amen." worship the deities.”

Which last words he pronounced with a more 12. The cry being a little over, they immedi- clear, audible voice; and having done his prayer, ately addressed themselves to Philip, the asiarch. the ministers of execution blew up the fire, which These asiarchs were Gentile priests belonging to increasing to a mighty flame, behold a wonder, the commonalty of Asia, yearly chosen at the (seen, say my authors, by us, who were purposely common council or assembly of Asia, to the num- reserved, that we might declare it to others, ber of about ten, (whereof one was principal,) out the flaines disposing themselves into the reseinof the names returned by the several cities. It blance of an arch, like the sails of a ship swelled was an office of great honor and credit, but withal with the wind, gently encircled the body of the of great expense and charge; they being obliged martyr, who stood all the while in the midst, nat to entertain the people with sights and sports upon like roasted flesh, but like gold or silver purified in the festival solemnities; and therefore it was not the furnace; his body sending forth a delightful conferred but upon the more wealthy and substan- fragrancy, which like frankincense, or some other tial citizens. In this place was Philip at this costly spices, presented itself to our senses. time, whom the people clamorously requested to 14. How blind and incorrigibly obstinate is un

belief! The infidels were so far from being con- , well suppose him to have been less than sixteen vinced, that they were rather exasperated by the or twenty years old: besides his converse with miracle ; commanding a spearman, one of those the apostles and consecration by St. John, reasonwho were wont to despatch wild beasts when they ably suppose him of some competent years; for became outrageous, to go near and run him we cannot think he would ordain a youth, or a through with a sword; which he had no sooner very young man, bishop, especially of so great and done, but such a vast quantity of blood flowed populous a city. The incomparable primate, from from the wound, as extinguished and put out the a passage in his epistle, conjectures him to have fire; together with which a dove was seen to fly lived (though not then converted to Christianity) from the wounds of his body, which some suppose at the time when St. Paul wrote his epistles; to have been his soul, clothed in a visible shape which if so, must argue him to have been of a at the time of its departure ; though true it is, greater age. Nor is this any more improbable that this circumstance is not mentioned in Euse- than that Quadratus, the Christian apologist, who bius's account, and probably never was in the lived under Hadrian, and dedicated his Apologetic original. Nor did the malice of Satan end here; he to that emperor, reports ; that there were some knew by the innocent and unblameable course of of those whom our Lord had healed, and raised his life, and the glorious constancy of his martyr- from the dead, alive even in his time. And of dom, that he had certainly attained the crown of Simeon, successor to St. James in the bishoprie. immortality, and noth now was left for his spite of Jerusalem, Hegesippus expressly relates that to work on, but to deprive them even of the ho he was a hundred and twenty years old at the nor of his bones. For many were desirous to time of his martyrdom. Sure I am Irenæus parhave given his body decent and honorable burial, ticularly notes, of our St. Polycarp, that he lived and to have assembled there for the celebration a very long time, and was arrived to an exceeding of his memory; but were prevented by some who great age, when he underwent a most glorious prompted Nicetes, the father of Perod, and and illustrious martyrdom for the faith. brother to Alce, to advise the proconsul not to be 16. He suffered on the second of the month stow his body upon the Christians ; lest having Xanthicus, the seventh of the kalends of May; their crucified master, they should henceforth though whether mistaken for the seventh of the worship. Polycarpus. A suggestion however kalends of April, and so to be referred to March managed by the heathens, yet first contrived and 26, as some will have it, or for the seventh of the prompted by the Jews, who narrowly watched the kalends of March, and so to be adjudged to FeChristians when they would have taken away his bruary 23, as others, is difficult to determine. It body from the place of execution ; "little consider shall suffice to note, that his memory is celebrated ing (they are the words of my authors) how im- by the Greek church, February 23; by the Latin, possible it is that either we should forsake Christ, January 26. The amphitheatre where he suffered who died for the salvation of the whole world, or is in a great measure yet remaining; (as a late, that we should worship any other. Him we adore eye-witness and diligent searcher into antiquity inas the Son of God; but martyrs, as the disciples forms us ;) in the two opposite sides whereof are and followers of our Lord, we deservedly love for the dens where the lions were wont to be kept. their eminent kindness towards their own prince His tomb is in a little chapel, in the side of a and master, whose companions and fellow-disci- mountain, on the south-east part of the city, so. ples we also by all means desire to be." So far lemnly visited by the Greeks upon his festival day; were those primitive and better ages from that and for the maintenance and reparation whereof, undue and superstitious veneration of the relics travellers were wont to throw in a few aspers into of martyrs and departed saints, which after ages an earthen pot that stands there for that purpose. introduced into the church, as elsewhere we have How miserable the state of this city is under the shown more at large.

Turkish yoke at this day, is without the limits of 15. The centurion beholding the perverseness | my business to inquire. To look a little higher to and obstinacy of the Jews, commanded the body the times we write of, though I love not to make to be placed in the midst, and in the usual manner severe and ill-natured interpretations of the actions to be burned to asies; whose bones the Chris- of divine Providence, yet I cannot but observe, tians gathered up as a choice and inestimable how heavy the divine displeasure, not long after treasure, and decently interred them. In which Polycarp's death fell

, as upon other places, so more place they resolved, if possible, (and they prayed particularly upon this city, by plague, fire, and God nothing might hinder it,) to meet and cele- earthquakes, mentioned by others, but more fully brate the birth-day of his martyrdom; both to do described by Aristides their own orator, who was honor to the memory of the departed, and to pre- contemporary with St. Polycarp. By which means pare and encourage others hereafter to give the their city, before one of the glories and ornaments like testimony to the faith. Both which consider- of Asia, was turned into rubbish and ashes, their ations gave birth and original to the Memoria stately houses overturned, their temples ruined ; Martyrum, those solemn anniversary commemo one especially, which as it advanced Asia above rations of the martyrs, which we have in another other countries, so gave Smyrna the honor and place more fully shown, were generally kept in precedence above other cities of Asia; their traffic the primitive church. Thus died this apostolical spoiled, their marts and ports laid waste, besides man, ann. Chr. 167, about the hundreth year of the great numbers of people that lost their lives. his age; for those eighty-six years, which himself Indeed the fate so sad, that the orator was forced speaks of, wherein he had served Christ, cannot to give over, professing himself unable to debe said to commence from his birth, but from his scribe it. baptism or new-birth, at which time we cannot 17. I cannot better close the story of Polycarp's

martyrdom, than with the preface which the useful, says St. Jerome, sav Jayasa, (as Suidas church of Smyrna has in the beginning of it, as and Sophronius style it,) a most admirable epistle. what eminently represents the illustrious faith and Irenæus gives it this eulogium, that it is a most patience of those primitive Christians. “ Evident perfect and absolute epistle, whence they that are it is, (say they,) that all those martyrdoms are careful of their salvation may learn the character great and blessed, which happen by the will of of his faith, and the truth which he preached. To God; for it becomes us Christians, who have a which Eusebius adds, that in this epistle he makes more divine religion than others, to ascribe to God use of some quotations out of the first Epistle of the sovereign disposure of all events. Who would St. Peter. An observation that holds good with not stand and admire the generous greatness of the epistle, as we have it at this day, there being their mind, their singular patience, and admirable many places in it cited out of the first, not one out love to God? who, when their flesh was with of the second epistle. Photius passed this just scourges so torn off their backs, that the whole and true judgment of it, that it is full of many adframe and contexture of their bodies, even to their monitions, delivered with clearness and simplicity, innermost veins and arteries, might be seen, yet according to the ecclesiastical way and manner of patiently endured it: insomuch that those who interpretation. It seems to hold a great affinity, were present, pitied and grieved at the sight of it, both in style and substance, with Clemen's Epistle while they themselves were endued with so in to the Corinthians; often suggesting the same vincible a resolution, that none of them gave one rules, and making use of the same words and sigh or groan ; the holy martyrs of Christ letting phrases ; so that it is not to be doubted but he had us see, that at that tiine, when they were thus that excellent epistle particularly in his eye at the tormented, they were strangers to their own ho- I writing of it. Indeed it is a pious and truly Chrisdies; or rather that our Lord stood by them to tian epistle, furnished with short and useful precepts assist and comfort them. Animated by the grace and rules of life, and penned with the modesty and of Christ, they despised the torments of men, by simplicity of the apostolic times; valued by the one short hour delivering themselves from eternal ancients next to the writings of the holy canon : miseries. The fire which their tormentors put and St. Jerome tells us, that even in his time it to them seemed cool and little, while they had it in was read in Asia conrentu, in the public assemtheir eye to avoid the everlasting and unextin- blies of the Asian church. It was first published guishable flames of another world ; their thoughts in Greek by P. Halloix, the Jesuit, ann. 1633, and

being fixed upon those rewards which are prepar- not many years after by bishop Usher: and I pre. *ed for them that endure to the end, such as sume the pious reader will think it no unuseful di

“neither ear hath heard, nor eye hath seen, nor gression, if I here subjoin so venerable a monuhath it entered into the heart of man;" but which ment of the ancient church. were shown to them by our Lord, as being now no longer mortals, but entering upon the state of angels. In like manner those who were condemned to be devoured by wild beasts, for a long time en

THE EPISTLE. dured the most grievous tortures: shells of fishes were strewed under their naked bodies, and they Polycarp and the presbyters that are with him, to forced to lie upon sharp-pointed stakes driven into the church of God which is at Philippi : mercy the ground, and several such-like engines of tor unto you, and peace from God Almighty, and ture devised for them, that, (if possible,) by the Jesus Christ our Saviour, be multiplied. constancy of their torments, the enemy might drive them to renounce the faith of Christ. Vari. 1. I REJOICED with you greatly in our Lord Jesus ous were the methods of punishment which the Christ, that ye entertained the patterns of true devil did invent; though, blessed be God, there love, and (as became you) conducted onwards were not many whom they were able to prevail those who were bound with chains, which are the upon.” And, at the end of the epistle, they par- ornaments of saints, and the crowns of those that ticularly remark concerning Polycarp, that he was are the truly elect of God, and of our Lord; and not oniy a famous doctor, but an eminent martyr; that the firm root of your faith, formerly published, whose martyrdom all strove to imitate, as one who does yet remain, and bring forth fruit in our Lord by his patience conquered an unrighteous judge; Jesus Christ, who was pleased to offer up himself and by that means having attained an immortal even unto death for our sins : " whom God raised crown, was triumphing with the apostles, and all up, having loosed the pains of death :"* " in whom, the souls of the righteous, glorifying God the Fa- though you see him not, ye believe, and believing ther, and praising of our Lord, the disposer of our ve rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;"+ bodies, and the bishop and pastor of the catholic whereinto many desire to enter, knowing that'" by church throughout the world. Nor were the Chris- grace ye are saved, not by works, but by the will tians the only persons that reverenced his memory, of God through Jesus Christ.”[ but the very Gentiles (as Eusebius tells) every 2. “Wherefore, girding up your loins,"ll serve where spoke honorably of him.

God in fear and truth, forsaking empty and vain 18. As for his writings, besides that St. Jerome talking, and the error wherein so many are involvmentions the volumes of Papias and Polycarp, and ed, believing in him who raised up our Lord Jesus the above-mentioned Pionius's epistles and homi- Christ from the dead, and gave him glory,”'and a lies, Irenæus evidently intimates that he wrote several epistles ; of all which none are extant at this day, but the Epistle to the Philippians, an * Acts ii. 24. +1 Pet. i. 8.

# Eph. ii. 8. epistle peculiarly celebrated by the ancients, very H 1 Pet. i. 13. $ 1 Pet. i. 21.

[ocr errors]

throne at his right hand; to whom all things, both; to please him in this world, we shall receive the in heaven and in earth, are put in subjection, whom reward of the other life, according as he has proevery thing that has breath worships, who comes mised to raise us from the dead; and if we walk to judge the quick and the dead, whose blood God worthy of him, “we believe that we shall also will require of them that believe not in him. But reign with him." Let the young men also be unhe who raised him up from the dead, will raise up blamable in all things, studying in the first place us also, if we do his will, and walk in his com- to be chaste, and to restrain themselves froin all mandments, and love what he loved, abstaining that is evil. For it is a good thing to get above from all unrighteousness, inordinate desire, covet- the lusts of the world, seeing every lust wars ousness, detraction, false witness ; “not rendering against the spirit; and that "neither fornicators, evil for evil, or railing for railing.' or striking for nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with striking, or cursing for cursing ; but remembering mankind shall inherit the kingdom of God,"* nor what the Lord said when he taught thus, “Judge whoever commits base things. not, that ye be not judged; forgive, and ye shall 5. Wherefore it is necessary that ye abstain be forgiven; be merciful, that ye may obtain from all these things, being subject to the presinercy: with what measure ye mete, it shall be byters and deacons, as to God and Christ. That measured to you again.”'t And that “Blessed the virgins also walk with a chaste and undefiled are the poor, and they which are persecuted for conscience. Let the presbyters be tender and pirhiteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of merciful, compassionate towards all, reducing those God.”1

that are in error, visiting all that are weak; not 3. These things, brethren, I write to you con- negligent of the widow and the orphan, and him cerning righteousness, not of my own humor, but that is poor, but ever providing what is honest in because yourselves did provoke me to it. For the sight of God and men; abstaining from all neither I, nor any other such as I am, can attain wrath, respect of persons, and unrighteous judg. to the wisdom of blessed and glorious St. Paul; ment; being far from covetousness, not hastily who being among you, and conversing personally believing a report against any man, nor rigid in with those who were then alive, firmly and accu- judgment; knowing that we are all faulty, and rately taught the word of truth ; and when absent, obnoxious to punishment. If therefore we stand wrote epistles to you, by which, if you look into in need to pray the Lord that he would forgive them, ye may be built in the faith delivered unto us, we ourselves ought also to forgive. For we you, which is the mother of us all, being followed are before the eyes of him who is Lord and God, by hope, and led on by love, both towards God and “all must stand before the judgment-seat and Christ, and to our neighbor. For whoever of Christ, and every one give an account of him. is inwardly replenished with these things, has ful self.”+ Wherefore let us serve him with all fear filled the law of righteousness; and he that is fur- and reverence, as he himself has commanded us, nished with love, stands at a distance from all sin. and as the apostles have preached and taught us, But love of money is the beginning of all evil. - and the prophets who foreshowed the coming of Knowing therefore that " we brought nothing into our Lord. Be zealous of that which is good, ab. the world, and that we shall carry nothing out,"|| staining from offences and false brethren, and those let us arm ourselves with the armor of righteous who bear the name of the Lord in hypocrisy, who ness; and in the first place be instructed ourselves seduce and deceive vain men; for “every one that to walk in the commands of the Lord, and next confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the teach your wives to live in the faith delivered to fesh, is anti-Christ ;"4 and he who doth not acthem, in love, and chastity ; that they embrace knowledge the martyrdom of the cross, is of the their own husbands with all integrity, ard others devil; and whoever shall pervert the oracles of also with all temperance and continency; and that the Lord to his private lusts, and shall say, that they educate and discipline their chil«iren in the there is neither resurrection nor judgment to come, fear of God. The widows, that they be sober that man is the first-born of Satan. Leaving and modest concerning the faith of the Lord ; that therefore the vanity of many, and their false docthey incessantly intercede for all, and keep them- trines, let us return to that doctrine that from the seves from all slandering, detraction, false witness, beginning was delivered to us : let us be watchful covetousness, and every evil work; as knowing in prayers, persevering in fasting and supplicathat they are the altars of God, and that he ac- tions, beseeching the all-seeing God that he would curately surveys the sacrifice, and that nothing not lead us into temptation ; as the Lord has said, can be concealed from him, neither of our reason “ the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is ings, nor thoughts, nor the secrets of the beart. weak.”|| Let us unweariedly and constantly ad. Accordingly, knowing that God is not mocked, here to Jesus Christ, who is our hope and the we ought to walk worthy of his command, and of pledge of our righteousness, “ who bare our sins his glory.

in his own body on the tree, who did not sin, 4. Likewise let the deacons be unblamable be- neither was guile found in his mouth,"$ but enfore his righteous presence, as the ininisters of dured all things for our sakes, that we inight live God in Christ, and not of men; not accusers, not through him. Let us, then, imitate his patience, double-tongued, not covetous, but temperate in all and if we suffer for his name, we glorify him ; for things; compassionate, diligent, walking accord such a pattern he set us in himself, and thus wo ing to the truth of the Lord, who became the dea- have believed and entertained. con or servant of all : of whom, if we be careful

* 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. + Rom. xiv. 9, 10. # 1 Pet. iii. 9. + Matt. vii. 1; Luke vi. 36, 38. 1 John iv. 3; 2 Epist. v. 7.

11 Mait. xxvi. 41. • Matt. v. 3, 10. III Tim. vi. 7.

§ 1 Pet. ii. 22, A.

« AnteriorContinuar »