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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter V.—The praise of unity.

For if I in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop —I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature—how much more do I reckon you happy who are so joined to him as the Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses518518    Matt. xviii. 19. such power, how much more that of the bishop and the whole Church! He, therefore, that does not assemble with the Church, has even519519    Or, “already.” by this manifested his pride, and condemned himself. For it is written, “God resisteth the proud.”520520    Prov. iii. 34; Jas. iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5. Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God.

For if I, in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop —I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature—how much more do I reckon you happy, who so depend521521    Some read, “mixed up with.” on him as the Church does on the Lord Jesus, and the Lord does on God and His Father, that so all things may agree in unity! Let no man deceive himself: if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two possesses522522    Matt. xviii. 19. such power that Christ stands in the midst of them, how much more will the prayer of the bishop and of the whole Church, ascending up in harmony to God, prevail for the granting of all their petitions in Christ! He, therefore, that separates himself from such, and does not meet in the society where sacrifices523523    Literally, “in the assembly of sacrifices.” are offered, and with “the Church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven,” is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,524524    Matt. vii. 15. while he presents a mild outward appearance. Do ye, beloved, be careful to be subject to the bishop, and the presbyters and the deacons. For he that is subject to these is obedient to Christ, who has appointed them; but he that is disobedient to these is disobedient to Christ Jesus. And “he that obeyeth not525525    Or, “believeth not” (John iii. 36). the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” For he that yields not obedience to his superiors is self-confident, quarrelsome, and proud. But “God,” says [the Scripture] “resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble;”526526    Prov. iii. 34; Jas. iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5. and, “The proud have greatly transgressed.” The Lord also says to the priests, “He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that heareth Me, heareth the Father that sent Me. He that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me.”


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