Polycarp wrote his epistle before he had heard of St. Now, supposing the passage just quoted to have been aimed at Marcion (whom, on one occasion, as we shall presently see, St. When Lightfoot wrote it was necessary to vindicate the authenticity of the Ignatian epistles and that of St. If the former were forgeries, the latter, which supports it might almost be said presupposes them, must be a forgery from the same hand.
Irenæus; (4) the Letter of the Smyrnaeans recounting the martyrdom of St. Others tried to make out that the passages which told most in favour of the Ignatian epistles were interpolations.
Polycarp's own Epistle to the Philippians; (3) sundry passages in St. Polycarp to address them some words of exhortation; to forward by his own messenger a letter addressed by them to the Church of Antioch; and to send them any epistles of St. In consequence some extremists, anti-episcopalians in the seventeenth century, and members of the Tübingen School in the nineteenth, boldly rejected the Epistle of Polycarp.
In two of these Magnesians and Ephesians he speaks of Polycarp. It contains little or nothing of historical interest in connexion with St. It seems hardly safe to infer, with Pearson and Lightfoot, from these words that the two had never met before. Polycarp was a reply to one from the Philippians, in which they had asked St. This is one of the many respects in which there is such complete harmony between the situations revealed in the Epistles of St. Polycarp, that it is hardly possible to impugn the genuineness of the former without in some way trying to destroy the credit of the latter, which happens to be one of the best attested documents of antiquity.
Ignatius gives glory to God "that it hath been vouchsafed to me to see thy face". Ignatius had asked the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia to send a messenger to congratulate the Church of Antioch on the restoration of peace; presumably, therefore, when at Philippi, he gave similar instructions to the Philippians.
Polycarp called to his face "the first-born of Satan"), the choice lies between rejecting the epistle as spurious on account of the anachronism, or bringing down its date, and the date of St. But a comparison between Ignatius and Polycarp shows that this is an impossible hypothesis.