Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Selections from the Hymns and Homilies of Ephraim the Syrian and from the Demonstrations of Aphrahat the Persian Sage.: Hymn LXII.
1. Lo! Death, the King of silence, complains, my brethren: that we have filled his abode with the wailing, of Hope cut off.—2. R., To Him be great praise Who comest down, to us here below: and suffered and rose again and in His Body, raises our bodies!—3. While we weep like madmen, at the gates of Sheol: hearken what Death says, reproaching us.—4. It shames me, says Death, that ye, have overcome me: the half of Sheol suffices not, to contain your slain.—5. For alien corpses together, lie heaped in Sheol: there are two divisions there, the dead, the slain.—6. Whereas I should complain that ye have wronged me, lo! ye are weeping: ye have burst the gate of Sheol, and done me hurt.—7. For ye are like unto an infant, which while yet weeping: laughs again as ye also, over your dead.—8. For there is no discretion in your mourning, and no understanding: in your laughter—for to me ye seem like, to a weaned babe.—9. One hour weeping and wailing, and after a little: both jesting and p. 215 wantonness, as of children.—10. For ye are unable to become, perfect men: that weep not yea and laugh not, as the discreet.—11. Touching your books we are grieved, that they have toiled over them: who should read them unto you, even the divine Scriptures.—12. The readers are crying aloud, for ye are deaf: this their crying proves concerning you, that ye are as stocks.—13. For since the reader and the interpreter, are crying aloud: your ears therefore are heavy, or else your hearts.—14. For if there were with you an ear, open to persuasion: it were meet to hear little, and to do much.—15. But because its hearing is closed, whoso knocks at it: the voice returns back to him, who sent it forth.—16. There is no crying with me of mine, I am not deaf: none that reads or interprets for me, I am not dull.—17. The breath that is from Him commands me, sons the God of truth: and with the command there follows, also the fulfilment.—18. With me is no holding back, no turnings aside: I wot no arrow even, could outstrip me.—19. But your voices are scorned by me, when ye are weeping: over the graves of your departed, in the cutting off of hope.—20. Were it possible or permitted, when ye are weeping: I would go forth and tell you, to your faces.—21. “I am endeavouring to give, an account of the death: and your voices disturb me, that I err in my count.”—22. Ye nations, let not your understanding, become childish: like that nation whose intelligence, was never great.—23. In which prudence bestows not itself, as in a fool: for its thoughts are darkness, without discernment.—24. For your infants and your sons, in the resurrection: they shall be foremost to come forth, as the first fruits—25. Then after them shall come the just, as victorious: last shall come forth the sinner, as put to shame.—26. For although in the twinkling of an eye, they be quickened: yet is it in order that their ranks, come forth from Sheol.—27. Prophets come forth and Apostles, and holy Fathers: following them in due array, according to command.—28. Lo! that which now is sown, in random mixture: is yielded back in great order, as garden-herbs.—29. For though one in the sowing, should mix all seeds: that which is earlier than its fellow, prevents its fellow,—30. And not as their going down was confused, so disordered shall be: their coming up from the earth, for its order is fixed.—31. Lo! I have been against myself, in what I have said: for secret things which ye comprehended not, from me ye have learned.—32. Instead of the tears that profit not, which are at the tomb: pour them forth in your prayer, in the midst of the Church.—33. For to the dead there is profit in these, and likewise to the living: weep not with a weeping that afflicts, both dead and living!
Next: Hymn LXIII.
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