Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Martyr, c.155
Rescue me from my enemies, O my God; set me high above those that rise up against me.
Save me from the evildoers and from murderous foes deliver me.
For see how they lie in wait for my soul and the mighty stir up trouble against me.
Not for any fault or sin of mine, O Lord;
for no offence, they run and prepare themselves for war.
Rouse yourself, come to my aid and see;
for you are the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel.
Awake, and judge all the nations; show no mercy to the evil traitors.
They return at nightfall and snarl like dogs and prowl about the city.
They pour out evil words with their mouths; swords are on their lips; 'For who’, they say, ‘can hear us?’
But you laugh at them, O Lord; you hold all the nations in derision.
For you, O my strength, will I watch; you, O God, are my strong tower.
My God in his steadfast love will come to me; he will let me behold the downfall of my enemies.
Slay them not, lest my people forget;
send them reeling by your might and bring them down, O Lord our shield.
For the sins of their mouth, for the words of their lips, let them be taken in their pride.
For the cursing and falsehood they have uttered, consume them in wrath, consume them till they are no more.
And they shall know that God rules in Jacob, and to the ends of the earth.
And still they return at nightfall and snarl like dogs and prowl about the city.
Though they forage for something to devour, and howl if they are not filled,
Yet will I sing of your strength and every morning praise your steadfast love;
For you have been my stronghold, my refuge in the day of my trouble.
To you, O my strength, will I sing;
for you, O God, are my refuge, my God of steadfast love.
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul is athirst for you.
My flesh also faints for you, as in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.
So would I gaze upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory.
Your loving-kindness is better than life itself and so my lips shall praise you.
I will bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your name.
My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
For you have been my helper and under the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.
My soul clings to you; your right hand shall hold me fast.
1But those who seek my soul to destroy it shall go down to the depths of the earth;
Let them fall by the edge of the sword and become a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God; all those who swear by him shall be glad, for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah, you that enter these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and let me dwell with you in this place. Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your ancestors for ever and ever.
Here you are, trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are safe!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the Lord. Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because you have done all these things, says the Lord, and when I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.
As for you, do not pray for this people, do not raise a cry or prayer on their behalf, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink-offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? says the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own hurt? Therefore thus says the Lord God: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, on human beings and animals, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” ’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’
Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’
who gave to your servant Polycarp
boldness to confess the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world
and courage to die for his faith:
grant that we also may be ready to give an answer for the faith that is in us
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.