St Polycarp's letter to the Philippians
|Let us arm ourself with justice|
Brethren, I am writing to you about righteousness, not of my own initiative but because you asked me. I am not able — no-one like me is able — to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who, when he was among you in the presence of the men of that time, taught accurately and steadfastly the word of truth, and also when he was absent wrote letters to you. Study those letters and you will be able to build yourselves up into the faith given you. Faith is the mother of us all, going forward with hope following and with love of God and Christ and neighbour leading the way. If a man is among these then he has fulfilled the commandment of righteousness, for he who has love is far from all sin.
But the beginning of all evils is the love of money. Therefore, knowing that we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it, let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness, and let us first of all teach ourselves to walk in the commandment of the Lord. Next let us teach our wives to remain in the faith given to them, in love and purity, tenderly loving their husbands in all truth, and loving all others equally in all chastity, and to educate their children in the fear of God. Let us teach the widows to be discreet in the faith of the Lord, praying ceaselessly for all men, being far from all slander, evil speaking, false witness, love of money, and all evil, knowing that they are the altar of God, and that all offerings are tested, and that nothing escapes him: not reasoning, not thought, not the secret things of the heart.
Knowing then that God is not mocked we ought to journey through life in a way that is worthy of his precepts and his glory. In the same way, the deacons must be blameless before his righteousness, being the servants of God and Christ and not of man —not slanderers, not double-tongued, not lovers of money, temperate in all things, compassionate, careful, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who was the servant of all. If we please him in this present world we shall receive from him the world which is to come; for he promised us to raise us from the dead. If we are worthy citizens of his community, we shall also reign with him, if only we have faith.