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POLYCARPUS.

supposed difficulty of reconciling them with the more trustworthy statements of Irenaeus, who, in his boyhood, had known, perhaps lived with Polycarp (Iren. Epistola ad Florinum, apud Euseb. //. E. v. 20), and of other writers. According to Irenaeus (Epist. ad Victorem Papam, apud Euseb. H. E. v. 24), Polycarp had intercourse with " John and others of the Apostles:" or still more expressly (Adv. Haeres. iii. 3, et apud Euseb. //. E. iv. 14), he was instructed (perhaps converted, jua0rjTev0e!s) by the Apostles, and conversed familiarly with many who had seen Christ ; was by the Apostles appointed (KarcuTTaOels} bishop of the church at Smyrna ; and always taught what he had learned from the Apostles. Tertullian (De Praescriptionibus Hae-retic, c. 32), and Jerome (De Virls Illustribus, c. 17), distinctly mention John as the Apostle by whom Polycarp was ordained. But we question if the expressions of Irenaeus, when critically exa­mined and stripped of the rhetorical exaggeration with which his natural reverence for Polycarp has invested them, will prove more than that Polycarp had enjoyed opportunities of hearing some of the Apostles ; and was, with their sanction, appointed bishop of the church at Smyrna. That John was one of the Apostles referred to by Irenaeus, there is not the slightest reason to doubt ; and we are disposed, with Tillemont, to regard Philip, whom Poly crates of Ephesus (apud Euseb. H. E. v. 24) states to have ended his days in the Phrygian Hierapolis, as another of those with whom Poly­carp had intercourse. We believe that intercourse with these apostles, and perhaps with some other old disciples who had seen Jesus Christ, is sufficient to bear out the statements of Irenaeus, and is not inconsistent with the general truth of the ancient narrative given by Bollandus. His statement of the ordination of Polycarp by the Apostles, may perhaps be reduced to the fact that John, of whom alone Tertullian (/. c.) makes mention, was among " the bishops of the neighbouring churches," who came, according to the narrative, to the consecration of Polycarp. This circumstance enables us to fix that consecration in or before a. d. 104, the latest date assigned to the death of the venerable Apostle, and which is not inconsistent with the narrative. It must be borne in mind,too, that the whole subject of the ordination of these early bishops is perplexed by ecclesiastical writers utterly neglecting the cir­cumstance, that in some of the larger churches there was in the Apostolic age a plurality of bishops (comp. Philippians, i. 1), not to speak of the grave and much disputed question of the iden­tity of bishops and presbyters. The Apostolic ordination mentioned by Irenaeus and Tertullian may, therefore, have taken place during the life­time of Bucolus, and have been antecedent to the precedency which, on his death, Polycarp obtained. We are the more disposed to admit the early origin and the truth of the leading statements embodied in the narration, as the natural tendency of a forger of a later age would have been to exaggerate the opportunities of Apostolic intercourse, and the sanctions of Apostolic authority, which Polycarp certainly possessed.

Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna at the time when Ignatius of Antioch passed through that city on his way to suffer death at Rome, some time jsetween A. d; 107 and 116. [ignatius, No. 1.] Ignatius seems to have enjoyed much this inter­course with Polycarp, whom he had known, appa-

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rently, in former days, when they were both hearers of the apostle John. (Martyr. Ignatii, c. 3.) The sentiment of esteem was reciprocated by Polycarp, who collected several of the epistles of Ignatius, and sent them to the church at Philippi, accom­panied by an epistle of his own. (Polyc. Epistol. ad Phllipp. c. 13.) Polycarp himself visited Rome while Anicetus was bishop of that city, whose episcopate extended, according to Tillemont's cal­culation, from a. d. 157 to 168. Irenaeus has re­corded (Epiatol. ad Victor, apud Euseb. H. E. v. 14) the difference of opinion of these two holy men on the time of observing Easter, and the steadfast­ness of Polycarp in adhering to the custom of the Asiatic churches, derived, as they affirmed, from the Apostles ; as well as their mutual kindness and forbearance, notwithstanding this difference. In­deed, the character of Polycarp appears to have attracted general regard: Irenaeus retained for him a feeling of deepest reverence (Epistola ad Florin, apud Euseb. H. E. v. 21) ; Jerome speaks of him (De Viris Ilhixtr. c. 17) as " totius Asiae princeps," the most eminent man in all proconsular Asia. An anecdote given elsewhere [marcion] shows that even reputed heretics, notwithstanding his decided opposition to them, desired to possess his esteem ; and it is not improbable that the reverence excited by his character conduced to his success in restoring them to the communion of the church. It has been conjectured that ,he was the angel of the church of Smyrna to whom Jesus Christ directed the letter in the Apocalypse (ii. 8—11); and also that he was the bishop to whom the apostle John, according to a beautiful anecdote recorded by Clement of Alexandria (Liber "Quis Dives salve-tur 1" c.42), committed the care of a young man, who, forsaking his patron, became a chief of a band of robbers, and was re-converted by the apostle: but these are mere conjectures, and of little pro­bability.

was

, The martyrdom of Polycarp occurred, according to Eusebius (H. E. iv. 15), in the persecution under the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus ; and is recorded in a letter of the Church at Smyrna to the Churches of Philomelitim and other places, which is still extcint, and of which Eusebius (ibid.) has given the chief part. The perse­cution began : one Germanicus, an ancient man, thrown to the wild beasts, and several

others, including some who were brought from Phi­ladelphia, were put to death at Smyrna. Polycarp had at first intended to remain in the citv and brave

«/

the danger of martyrdom ; but the intreaties of his flock led him to withdraw to a retreat in the adja­cent country, where he passed his time in prayer. Here, three days before his apprehension, he had a remarkable dream, which his anticipation of his fate led him to interpret as an intimation that he should be burnt alive, a foreboding but too exactly verified by the event. Messengers having been sent to apprehend him, he withdrew to another hiding place ; but his place of retreat was discovered by the confession of a child, who had been forced by torture to make known where he was. Polycarp might still have escaped by leaving the place on the approach of those sent to apprehend him ; but he refused, saying, " The will of God be done." His venerable figure and calm and courteous deport­ment commanded the respect of his captors ; and a prayer offered by him affected some of them with remorse for their share in his apprehension. The

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