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An Ecclesiastical History To The 20th Year Of The Reign Of Constantine by Eusebius

ABOUT this time, when Anicetus was at the head of the Roman church, lrenæus says that Polycarp was yet living, and coming to Rome, had a conference with Anicetus, on a question respecting the day of the passover. He also gives another account of Polycarp, which should be added to what is already related respecting him. The story is taken from the third book of Irenæus against the heresies, and is as follows: “And Polycarp, a man who had been instructed by the apostles, and had familiar intercourse with many that had seen Christ, and had also been appointed bishop by the apostles in Asia, in the church at Smyrna; whom we also have seen in our youth, for he lived a long time, and to a very advanced age; after a glorious and most distinguished martyrdom, departed this life. He always taught what he had learned from the apostles, what the church had handed down, and what is the only true doctrine. All the churches bear witness to these things, and those that have succeeded Polycarp, to the present time, testify that he was a witness of the truth much more worthy of credit and much more certain than either Valentine or Marcion, or the rest of those perverse teachers. The same Polycarp, coming to Rome under the episcopate of Anicetus, turned many from the aforesaid heretics to the church of God, proclaiming the one and only true faith, that he had received from the apostles, viz., that which was delivered by the church. And there are those still living who heard him relate, that John the disciple of the Lord went into a bath at Ephesus, and seeing Cerinthus within, ran out without bathing, and exclaimed, ‘Let us flee lest the bath should fall in, as long as Cerinthus, that enemy of truth, is in it.’ And the same Polycarp, once coming and meeting Marcion, who said, ‘Acknowledge us,’ replied, ‘I acknowledge the first-born of Satan.’ Such caution did the apostles and their disciples use, so as not even to have any communion, even in word, with any of those that thus mutilated the truth, according to the declaration of Paul: ‘An heretical man after the first and second admonition avoid, knowing that such an one is perverse, and that he sins, bringing condemnation upon himself.’ There is, also, an excellent epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, from which those that wish, and that have any concern for their salvation, may perceive both the character of his faith, and the doctrine of the truth.” Such is the account of Irenæus. But Polycarp, in the epistle to the Philippians, still extant, has made use of certain testimonies taken from the first epistle of Peter. About this time Antonine, surnamed the Pious, having completed the twenty-second year of his, reign, was succeeded by his son Marcus Aurelius Verus, also called Antoninus, together with his brother Lucius.








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