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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:
Selections from the Hymns and Homilies of Ephraim the Syrian and from the Demonstrations of Aphrahat the Persian Sage.: Hymn VII.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Hymn VII.

1.  Wrath came to rebuke, the greedy who in the midst of peace, bargained, defrauded and plundered.  In calamity the greedy have waxed rich:  lo! what was theirs they have scattered, what was not theirs they have gathered.  R., Give peace, O Son, to our land!

2.  Twenty years my troubles, have been like branches, O my Saviour! which are kept back throughout winter, but when it is time to shoot forth, my troubles shoot forth:  with our fruit our heart ripens.

3.  Nisan is the time of buds:  in it the ill tidings budded.  When our delights crowded on us, then crowded on us our ills.  At the time of winnowing of wheat, came the winnowing of cities,

4.  For the three brethren in Babylon fled not from the fire that men kindled, because they were steadfast:  from lust they fled, because they were perfect.

5.  The fire of them that have triumphed, is able to turn the black kids into white:  the fire of vain men is able to make the lambs into spotted leopards.

6.  How great will be my cries, to be cried at any alarm!  How great my indignation to ripen at every ill tidings!  How great my harvests, to perish every mouth!

7.  For the crimes of my sons He has chastened me, in their struggling for my deliverance.  The people who deliver me, bring chastisement upon me.  Restrain ye your sins, and lo! my chastisements are restrained!

8.  In ill tidings they are afflicted; in time of wrath they are tortured; in time of peace they are distressed; for when every man breathes freely, and all are unthankful for grace, they render thanks on behalf of every man.

9.  Their sackcloth is humble for my sake; their ashes are sprinkled in my affliction; their prayer is for my victory; their fast for my deliverance:  Lo! the debt is on my ascetics, the guilt with my nobles.

10.  Great is in every age, the folly of the wise; the scribes and elders envied and killed the teacher, who taught all people the Law of Moses.

11.  Wisdom in this age is a possession that brings loss:  he who has a little folly, very small is his guilt; but he who has a little prudence, his iniquity passes measure.

12.  They build with their words, and overthrow in their deeds; for the teachers were many and foolish, but the mouth of the judge is both of these things, the judge and the accuser.


Next: Hymn XIII.

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