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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 XX.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Hymn XX.

1.  O virgin-youth that art become bridegroom, move to a little jealousy thy mind, towards her who is the wife of thy youth:  cut off the attachments which she had, in her girlhood with many others; rebuke her and call together her affections, that she may know what she is and whose she is.  In thee may she desire yea love, Christ the Bridegroom of truth.  R., Blessed be He Who betrothes her to His Only Begotten!

2.  Be jealous O husbandman against the tares, which have sprung up and entangled themselves among the wheat.  Easy is it to root up the thicket, rather than the despised:  if a slight breeze bears it, it attacks the sowing and conquers it.  That which three husbandmen have sown, may it return in threefold measure! thirty-fold and sixty and an hundred!  R., Blessed be He Who makes rich thine increase!

3.  A new shepherd for him it is right, that he should oversee the flock in new wise, and should know what is the number of it, and should see what are its needs.  A flock it is that was purchased with the blood, of that chief of the shepherds.  Call thou and cause to pass each sheep by its name, for it is a flock whereof the name is written, and its reckoning in the Book of life.  R., Blessed be He Who will require the number thereof!

4.  Lo the spouse of thy Lord is with thee! keep her from all harm, and from men that deal corruptly, and call the congregations by their own names.  The name of her spouse is set on her; let her not go a whoring for another name, for she was not baptized in the name of man; with Names wherein she was baptized let her make confession, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  R., Blessed be He by Whose Name she is called!

5.  The Apostle her betrother was jealous over her, that she should not be corrupted by names, yet not by names that were false, but not even by names that were true; not by Cephas yea not by his name.  They who were true betrothers, set the Name of her betrothed upon her; the false betrothers like whoremongers, set their own names on the flock.  R., Glory be to Thy Name, our Creator!

6.  The stamp on living creatures, O my brethren, no man destroys openly; and a p. 191 name that is signed to a letter, no man adds to or alters:  whoso effaces the stamp is a thief; and whoso alters the name is a falsifier.  The name of Christ has been altered; names of falsehood lo! have been set, upon the congregations that have been corrupted.  R., Blessed be He Who has called His flock by His Name!

7.  Look at the Prophets and Apostles, how like they are each to the other!  By the Prophets the Name of God, was set on the flock of God; and by the Apostles the Name of Christ, was set on the Church of Christ.  The false betrothers also are like one another for by their names are called, the congregations who commit whoredom with them.  R., Blessed be He in Whose Name we were sanctified!


Next: Hymn XXI.

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