Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/493

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Dec. 6, 1833.]
[Price 1d.


No. IX.


The Martyrdom of Ignatius, the friend of St, Peter and St. John, and Bishop of Antioch, at Rome.

I. Not long after the accession of Trajan, Emperor of Rome, Ignatius, who had been the Disciple of St. John, the Apostle, and who himself shewn forth in his conduct all the features of the Apostolic character, was actively engaged in the task of superintending the Church of Antioch. He had been recently directing its affairs, when it was struggling through those frequent days of storm and persecution, which occurred during the reign of Domitian; and like a skilful Pilot, with rudder and with cable, he had borne up against the swelling and insurgent billows, by prayer, by fasting, by assiduous teaching, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, as one who was deeply concerned that not one soul should perish, among the weak and the simple, that were entrusted to his care. It was not, therefore, without satisfaction, that he witnessed the calm which the Church enjoyed, during the temporary cessation of persecution; though, at the same time, for himself he had much misgiving, that he as yet fell short of the perfect love of Christ, and had not arrived at the highest elevation, which is offered to a Disciple's hopes. He felt that, were he to make the confession of Martyrdom, he would attain a more close similitude to his Divine Master. For the few succeeding years he continued at the head of the Church, a burning and shining light; and truly the expositions which he gave of the Holy Scriptures spread a bright reflection upon the hearts of all around him. At length he attained the object of his hopes.

II. It was in the ninth year of Trajan, when that monarch, elated with his recent victories over the Scythians, Dacians, and several