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have both St. Polycarp and Eusebius to assure us. For, first, St. Polycarp", in the close of his epistle, (which I am now to look upon as sufficiently proved to be his,) speaking to the Philippians of this holy man, tells them that he had sent them all such epistles of his, as Ignatius had either written to himself, or to his Church at Smyrna, or as had hitherto come to his hands. So that here, then, we have a plain account of two of those epistles which we affirm Ignatius to have written: one to St. Polycarp himself; another to the Church of Smyrna, of which he was bishop.
4. But Eusebius will enable us to carry this testimony yet farther. Whilst assuring us that he wrote four epistles from Smyrna; namely, to the Churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, and Rome, he gives us just grounds to conclude that these also must have been part of St. Polycarp's collection; and have been some of those others, besides the two before mentioned, which he tells us he sent to the Philippians, unless we should suppose that either he knew not of Ignatius's writing, though every day, almost every hour, with him at the time that he wrote them: or else, that knowing of it, he took no care to preserve the copies of his epistles; which yet we see he put the highest value, that can well be imagined, upon. Seeing, therefore, we cannot with any reason suppose, either that St. Polycarp did not know of Ignatius's writing to these churches; nor is it probable that, being present with him at the writing of them, and acquainted with it, he should not have kept any copies of his letters to them: seeing, lastly, he himself tells us that he had copies of more of the epistles
Annot. Cotel. in loc. Polycarp.
* Polycarp. Epist. num, xiii. P. 486. B.
of this great saint, besides those that were sent to Smyrna, and that what he had he sent to the Philippians; neither can we reasonably doubt but that these also were in his hands, and sent by him to the Church at Philippi.
5. And thus have we, I think, upon very good grounds, concluded that six of the seven Epistles, which we affirm to have been written by St. Ignatius, were collected by St. Polycarp; and sent, together with his own Epistle, to the Philippians. Let me add yet farther, that neither can we reasonably question but that the seventh, too, was at that time in the hands of St. Polycarp; and by consequence, that what we now have is no other collection than what he made (and by that means helped to preserve to after-ages) of the epistles of this holy martyr. Now this I conclude, not only from the nearness of the Church of Philadelphia, to which it was written, to that of Smyrna, in which St. Polycarp presided; and from the great respect which all the neighbouring churches payed to him, as a kind of universal bishop of the whole Lesser Asia; but from the conclusion of the epistle itself, which tells us that it was sent by Ignatius to the Philadelphians, not only from the same place, and at the same time, that he wrote to St. Polycarp himself, and to his Church of Smyrna, but also by the same person that carried the other two, and that person St. Polycarp's own deacon, whom he had sent with Ignatius to Troas, and by whom Ignatius wrote back that epistle.
6. St. Polycarp therefore certainly knew of Ignatius's writing to the Philadelphians; and very probably sent on Burrhus, his deacon, from Smyrna to Philadelphia, with his letter. And then, I think, we may very reasonably conclude, that he brought back with him the copy of it;
and that St. Polycarp had that epistle too in his hands when he wrote to the Philippians.
7. Such good grounds are there to believe that the collection we now have of St. Ignatius's Epistles was no other than what St. Polycarp himself made, and referred to in that passage of his own epistle to the Philippians which I have before shewn to be truly his, and not the addition of any later hand. And the same is the account which Eusebius' himself has given us of this matter. He tells us, that, as Ignatius was on his way to Rome, where he was to be cast to the wild beasts, he not only confirmed the churches that were in the places through which he passed, by his exhortations, but wrote to the chiefest of those others that were near such epistles as these of which we are now speaking: and that, as he goes on, in this following order. First, from Smyrna', where he tarried some time with his old acquaintance and fellow-disciple, St. Polycarp, he wrote to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, and Romans: and being gone farther on his way to Troas, he from thence wrote to the Philadelphians and Smyrneans; ιδίως τε τω ταύτης προηγουμένη Πολυkápaw, and a particular letter to Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna.
8. I say nothing to the testimony of St. Hierome' as to this matter, who as he exactly agrees with Eusebius in all this, so I make no question but that he transcribed his account out of him. It is sufficiently evident, from what has been already observed, not only that St. Ignatius did in general write some epistles (which even Monsieur Daillé himself thinks ought not to be any question), but
1 Hist. Eccles. lib. iii. cap. 36.
that he wrote to those particular churches to which the epistles we now have are directed; and of which I am persuaded there' ought to be as little doubt.
9. As for the other point proposed, and by which the foregoing also will be yet more fully confirmed; namely, that those epistles we now have are the same that Ignatius wrote; two things there are that seem to determine our belief of it: First, That there is nothing in these epistles, as we now have them, either unworthy of the spirit of Ignatius, or the character that antiquity has given us of them; nothing disagreeing to the time in which he wrote, or that should seem to speak them to have been the work of any lạter author. Now this, as it hardly ever fails to discover such pieces as áre falsely imposed upon ancient authors; so there not appearing any thing of this kind in these epistles, inclines us the more readily to conclude that they were undoubtedly written by him whose they are said to be.
io. But this is only a presumptive argument in favour of these epistles; which though it may serve to dispose uš the more readily to receive them as true and genuine, yet is it not alone sufficient to prove them so to be. The other argument I have to offer is positive and convincing; namely, That we find these epistles, as they now are, exactly agreeing both with the descriptions which St. - Polycarp' and Eusebius have left us of those which they took to be the authentic epistles of this holy man; and with the numerous quotations which the ancient Fathers have made out
1 Pearson, Vind. Ignat. par. I. cap. 3. p. 27. 2 Ibid. cap. 2. p. 8.
on. ibid. p. 8. ad 25. Comp. Testim. Cotelerii de Ignat. et Usser. Dissert. Jgnat.
of them; and which all occur in the same words, in our present copies of them, that they are cited in their writings.
11. This has been so fully shewn by our most learned bishop Pearson, and indeed was so mạnifest of itself to any one that had ever made any comparisons of this kind, that Monsieur Daillé himself could not deny but that we have the same epistles now that Eusebius, Athanasius, St. Jerome, Theodoret, and Gelasius, had heretofore. So that the only question then to be considered by us is, Whether those epistles which Eusebius, &c. had, were not counterfeit, but the true epistles of this great martyr?
12. And here, first, it is evident, that if those epistles which Eusebius first, and then the rest of those ancient writers whom I before mentioned, took for the genuine Epistles of St. Ignatius, were none of his, the true epistles, which I have just now shewn, and which it is confessed were written by him, must before that time have been utterly lost, or otherwise destroyed, out of the world: it being very improbable that had the true epistles been still remaining, neither so inquisitive a searcher into antiquity as Eusebius should have heard of them, nor such great and learned men as those that followed after have had any suspicion of any such deceit, But now, whether this be probable; whether it can be supposed that such epistles as these, directed to so many great and eminent churches, collected by so venerable a man as St. Polycarp, and written by so glorious a martyr as St. Ignatius, should within so little time have been utterly lost out of the Church ; I shall leave it to any one, who considers how great a
Apud Pearson. Vind. Ignat. Proæm. p. 20, et Vind, par. I, p. 8.