Part 4
Chapter 3—Of Original Sin

Section 3—Ignatius. A.D. 110.

Ignatius was no favorer of the doctrine of free will; he ascribes sanctification and illumination to the will of God. His epistle to the Romans[1] is inscribed, “To the church sanctified and enlightened, en qelhmasi Qeou to>u poihsantov ‘by the will of God who does,'” or according to another, tou qelhsantov, “who wills all things which are according to the faith and love of Jesus Christ our God and Savior.” He represents repentance as very hard to be obtained, when he warns[2] the members of the church at Smyrna against beasts in the forms of men, and advises them “not to receive them, and if possible, not meet them, only,” says he, “pray for them, if so be they may repent, oper duskolon, ‘which is very difficult; but Jesus Christ, our true life, has the power of this,” that is, of giving repentance. He roundly asserts,[3] that men in a carnal state, have not a power to anything that is spiritual, oi sarkikoi to pneumatika prawein ou dunantai, “They that are carnal,” says he, “cannot do the things that are spiritual, nor they that are spiritual do the things that are carnal, as neither faith the things of unbelief, nor unbelief the things of faith.” He denies Christianity to be the produce of moral suasion, but the effect of divine power; his words are these,[4] Ou peismonhv to ergonallamegeqouv estin o Cristianov, “The Christian is not the work of persuasion but of greatness;” that is, of the exceeding greatness of God's power, which is wonderfully displayed in making the Christian, in continuing, preserving, and supporting him as such, especially, as he observes, when he is hated by the world.


[1] Page 54, 298.

[2] Ep. ad Smyrn. p. 3.

[3] Ep. ad Ephesians p. 22.

[4] Ep. ad Romans p. 299.