In like manner, let all reverence the deacons as an appointment 737 of Jesus Christ, and the bishop as Jesus Christ, who is the Son of the Father, and the presbyters as the sanhedrim of God, and assembly of the apostles. Apart from these, there is no Church. 738 Concerning all this, I am persuaded that ye are of the same opinion. For I have received the manifestation 739 of your love, and still have it with me, in your bishop, whose very appearance is highly instructive, 740 and his meekness of itself a power; whom I imagine even the ungodly must reverence, seeing they are 741 also pleased that I do not spare myself. But shall I, when permitted to write on this point, reach such a height of self-esteem, that though being a condemned 742 man, I should issue commands to you as if I were an apostle?
And do ye reverence them as Christ Jesus, of whose place they are the keepers, even as the bishop is the representative of the Father of all things, and the presbyters are the sanhedrim of God, and assembly 743 of the apostles of Christ. Apart from these there is no elect Church, no congregation of holy ones, no assembly of saints. I am persuaded that ye also are of this opinion. For I have received the manifestation 744 of your love, and still have it with me, in your bishop, whose very appearance is highly instructive, and his meekness of itself a power; whom I imagine even the ungodly must reverence. Loving you as I do, I avoid writing in any severer strain to you, that I may not seem harsh to any, or wanting [in tenderness]. I am indeed bound for the sake of Christ, but I am not yet worthy of Christ. But when I am perfected, perhaps I shall then become so. I do not issue orders like an apostle.
Literally, “commandment.” The text, which is faulty in the ms., has been amended as above by Smith.67:738
Literally, “no Church is called.”67:739
Literally, “great instruction.”67:741
Some here follow a text similar to that of the longer recension.67:742
Both the text and meaning are here very doubtful; some follow the reading of the longer recension.67:743