Quotes from our early church fathers!

THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP TO THE PHILIPPIANS [A.D. 65-100-155.]

INTRODUCTION

Irenaeus was his disciple, and tells us that “Polycarp was instructed by the apostles, and was brought into contact with many who had seen Christ”. Ignatius and Polycarp seem to have been friends from the days of their common pupilage under St. John.  

CHAPTER 1 PRAISE OF THE PHILIPPIANS 

I have greatly rejoiced with you in our Lord Jesus Christ, because ye have followed the example of true love because the strong root of your faith, spoken of in days long gone by, endureth even until now, and bringeth forth fruit to our Lord Jesus Christ, who for our sins suffered even unto death, [but] “whom God raised froth the dead, having loosed the bands of the grave.” To Him all things” in heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. 

CHAPTER 6 THE DUTIES OF DEACONS, YOUTHS, AND VIRGINS

Deacons should be blameless before the face of His righteousness, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. The virgins also must walk in a blameless and pure conscience.

CHAPTER 7 AVOID THE DOCETAE, AND PERSEVERE IN FASTING AND PRAYER

For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist;” and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan.

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE EPHESIANS  [A.D. 30-107.]

INTRODUCTION

Ignatius and Polycarp were fellow-disciples under St. John.

 CHAPTER 1 PRAISE OF THE EPHESIANS

I have become acquainted with your greatly-desired name in God, which ye have acquired by the habit of righteousness, according to the faith and love in Christ Jesus our Savior.

CHAPTER 3 EXHORTATIONS TO UNITY

I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person. But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken upon me first to exhort you that ye would run together in accordance with the will of God.

CHAPTER 7 BEWARE OF FALSE TEACHERS

But some most worthless persons are in the habit of carrying about the name of Jesus Christ in wicked guile, while yet they practice things unworthy of God, and hold opinions contrary to the doctrine of Christ, to their own destruction. Christ became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts. But the spirit of deceit preaches himself, and speaks his own things, for he seeks to please himself. He glorifies himself, for he is full of arrogance. For, says [the Scripture], “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.” Now the way is unerring, namely, Jesus Christ. For, says He, “I am the way and the life.” And this way leads to the Father. For “no man,” says He, “cometh to the Father but by Me.” Blessed, then, are ye who are God-bearers, spirit-bearers, temple-bearers, bearers of holiness, adorned in all respects with the commandments of Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER 11 AN EXHORTATION TO FEAR GOD, ETC

The last times are come upon us. Let us therefore be of a reverent spirit, and fear the long-suffering of God, that it tend not to our condemnation. For let us either stand in awe of the wrath to come, or show regard for the grace which is at present displayed. 

CHAPTER 14 EXHORTATIONS TO FAITH AND LOVE

No man [truly] making a profession of faith sinneth; nor does he that possesses love hate any one. The tree is made manifest by its fruit; so those that profess themselves to be Christians shall be recognized by their conduct. It is good to teach, if he who speaks also acts. For he who shall both “do and teach, the same shall be great in the kingdom.”

CHAPTER 18 THE GLORY OF THE CROSS

The cross of Christ is indeed a stumbling-block to those that do not believe, but to the believing it is salvation and life eternal. For the Son of God, who was begotten before time began, and established all things according to the will of the Father, He was conceived in the womb of Mary, according to the appointment of God, of the seed of David, and by the Holy Ghost.

CHAPTER 19 THREE CELEBRATED MYSTERIES

Now the virginity of Mary was hidden from the prince of this world, as was also her offspring, and the death of the Lord; three mysteries of renown, which were wrought in silence by God. Every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, God Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life.

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE MAGNESIANS  [A.D. 30-107.]

CHAPTER 9 LET US LIVE WITH CHRIST

If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day. To the end, for the eighth day, on which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ.

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE PHILIPPIANS  [A.D. 30-107.]

CHAPTER 13 VARIOUS EXHORTATIONS AND DIRECTIONS

If any one fasts on the Lord’s Day or on the Sabbath, except on the paschal Sabbath only, he is a murderer of Christ.

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE SMYRNAEANS  [A.D. 30-107.]

CHAPTER 2 CHRIST’S TRUE PASSION

The Word raised up again His own temple on the third day, when it had been destroyed by the Jews fighting against Christ. The Word, when His flesh was lifted up, after the manner of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, drew all men to Himself for their eternal salvation.

CHAPTER 3 CHRIST WAS POSSESSED OF A BODY AFTER HIS RESURRECTION

He was possessed of a body not only in His being born and crucified, but I also know that He was so after His resurrection, and believe that He is so now. He both ate and drank with them during forty entire days. And thus was He, with the flesh, received up in their sight unto Him that sent Him, being with that same flesh to come again, accompanied by glory and power. For, say the [holy] oracles, “This same Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, in like manner as ye have seen Him go unto heaven.”

CHAPTER 5 THEIR DANGEROUS ERRORS

Some have ignorantly denied Him, and advocate falsehood rather than the truth. These persons neither have the prophecies persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us. Let not those who seem worthy of credit, but teach strange doctrines, fill thee with apprehension. Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten.

CHAPTER 6 UNBELIEVERS IN THE BLOOD OF CHRIST SHALL BE CONDEMNED

Let no man deceive himself. Unless he believes that Christ Jesus has lived in the flesh, and shall confess His cross and passion, and the blood which He shed for the salvation of the world, he shall not obtain eternal life.

 

 THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS [A.D. 30-100.]   

INTRODUCTION

Clement was probably a Gentile and a Roman. He seems to have been at Philippi with St. Paul (A.D. 57). From the apostle, and his companion, St. Luke, he had no doubt learned the use of the Septuagint, in which his knowledge of the Greek tongue soon rendered him an adept. This Epistle will be found animated with the loving and faithful spirit of St. Paul’s dear Philippians, among whom the writer had learned the Gospel. The general opinion is that Clement is the same as the person of that name referred to by St. Paul (Philippians 4:3). This Epistle was held in very great esteem by the early Church. The account given of it by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., 3. 16) and its place in the Alexandrian MS., immediately after the inspired books, is in harmony with the position thus assigned it in the primitive Church.

CHAPTER 5 THE MARTYRDOM OF PETER AND PAUL

Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labors, and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.

CHAPTER 7 AN EXHORTATION TO REPENTANCE

These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. 

CHAPTER 8 CONTINUATION RESPECTING REPENTANCE

As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;” Wash you, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before mine eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together.

CHAPTER 32 WE ARE JUSTIFIED NOT BY OUR OWN WORKS, BUT BY FAITH

And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

CHAPTER 38 LET THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH SUBMIT THEMSELVES, AND NO ONE EXALT HIMSELF ABOVE ANOTHER

Let our whole body, then, be preserved in Christ Jesus; and let every one be subject to his neighbor, according to the special gift bestowed upon him. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever.

CHAPTER 51 LET THE PARTAKERS IN STRIFE ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR SINS

Let us therefore implore forgiveness for all those transgressions which through any suggestion of the adversary we have committed. For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up sedition against Moses the servant of God, and whose condemnation was made manifest unto all.

 

 

 

 

THE EPISTLE OF MATHETES TO DIOGNETUS [A.D. 130.] INTRODUCTION

Mathetes was possibly a catechumen of St. Paul or of one of the apostle’s associates.

CHAPTER 5 THE MANNERS OF THE CHRISTIANS

They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.

CHAPTER 6 THE RELATION OF CHRISTIANS TO THE WORLD

The (Christian) soul dwells in the body, yet is not of the body; and Christians dwell in the world, yet are not of the world. The soul is imprisoned in the body, yet preserves that very body. The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tabernacle; and Christians dwell as sojourners in corruptible [bodies], looking for an incorruptible dwelling in the heavens.

 

 

CHAPTER 7 THE MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST

God Himself, who is almighty, the Creator of all things, and invisible, has sent from heaven, and placed among men, Him who is the truth, and the holy and incomprehensible Word, the very Creator and Fashioner of all things — by whom He made the heavens — by whom he enclosed the sea within its proper bounds — whose ordinances all the stars faithfully observe — from whom the sun has received the measure of his daily course to be observed — whom the moon obeys, being commanded to shine in the night, and whom the stars also obey, following the moon in her course; by whom all things have been arranged, and placed within their proper limits, and to whom all are subject. As a king sends his son, who is also a king, so sent He Him; as God He sent Him; as to men He sent Him; as a Savior He sent Him, and as seeking to persuade, not to compel us; for violence has no place in the character of God.

CHAPTER 8 THE MISERABLE STATE OF MEN BEFORE THE COMING OF THE WORD

Do you accept of the vain and silly doctrines of those who are deemed trustworthy philosophers? But such declarations are simply the startling and erroneous utterances of deceivers; and no man has either seen Him, or made Him known, but He has revealed Himself. As long, then, as He held and preserved His own wise counsel in concealment, He appeared to neglect us, and to have no care over us. But after He revealed and laid open, through His beloved Son, the things which had been prepared from the beginning, He conferred every blessing all at once upon us, so that we should both share in His benefits, and see and be active in His service.

CHAPTER 9 WHY THE SON WAS SENT SO LATE

As long then as the former time endured, He permitted us to be borne along by unruly impulses, being drawn away by the desire of pleasure and various lusts. This was not that He at all delighted in our sins, but that He simply endured them; But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us. He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors. Having therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain to life, and having now revealed the Savior who is able to save even those things which it was [formerly] impossible to save.

CHAPTER 10 THE BLESSINGS THAT WILL FLOW FROM FAITH

For God has loved mankind, on whose account He made the world, to whom He rendered subject all the things

that are in it, to whom He gave reason and understanding, to whom alone He imparted the privilege of looking upwards to Himself, whom He formed after His own image, to whom He sent His only-begotten Son, to whom He has promised a kingdom in heaven, and will give it to those who have loved Him.

CHAPTER 10 THESE THINGS ARE WORTHY TO BE KNOWN AND BELIEVED

Having been a disciple of the Apostles, I am become a teacher of the Gentiles. I minister the things delivered to me to those that are disciples worthy of the truth. For who that is rightly taught and begotten by the loving Word, would not seek to learn accurately the things which have been clearly shown by the Word to His disciples.

CHAPTER 12 THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWLEDGE TO TRUE SPIRITUAL LIFE

When you have read and carefully listened to these things, you shall know what God bestows on such as rightly love Him, being made as you are a paradise of delight, presenting in yourselves a tree bearing all kinds of produce and flourishing well, being adorned with various fruits.

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One Response

  1. I once heard a quote to the effect that “the church is built on a foundation of water.” I believe that it was from an early church father. Do you have any way of finding this source for me?

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