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 VI.
(Resp.—Blessed be He Who was baptized that He might baptize you, that ye should be absolved from your offences.)
1. The Spirit came down from on high,—and hallowed the waters by His brooding.—In the baptism of John,—He passed by the rest and abode on One:—but now He has descended and abode,—on all that are born of the water.
2. Out of all that John baptized,—on One it was that the Spirit dwelt:—but now He has flown and come down,—that He may dwell on the many;—and as each after each comes up,—He loves him and abides on him.
3. A marvel it is that surpasses all!—To the water He went down and was baptized.—The seas declared it blessed,—that river wherein Thou wast baptized:—even the waters that were in heaven envied,—because they were not worthy to be Thy bath.
4. A marvel it is, O my Lord, now also,—that while the fountains are full of water,—it is the water of baptism,—that alone is able to atone.—Mighty is the water in the seas,—yet is it too weak for atonement.
5. Thy might, O my Lord, if it abides,—within the humble it exalts him;—like as royalty if it abide—within the desert gives it peace.—Water by Thy might has triumphed—over sin, for Life has encompassed it.
6. The sheep exulted when they saw—the hand draw nigh to baptize them.—Receive, O ye sheep, your sealing; enter and be mingled in the flock!—for more than over all the flock,—over you rejoice the Watchers to-day.
7. The Angels and the Watchers rejoice—over that which is born of the Spirit and of water:—they rejoice that by fire and by the Spirit,—the corporeal have become spiritual.—The Seraphins who sing “Holy” rejoice,—that they who are made holy have been increased.
8. For lo! the Angels rejoice—over one sinner if he repent:—how much more do they now rejoice—that in all churches and congregations,—lo! Baptism is bringing forth—the heavenly from the earthly!
9. The baptized when they come up are sanctified;—the sealed when they go down are pardoned.—They who come up have put on glory;—they who go down p. 274 have cast off sin.—Adam put off his glory in a moment;—ye have been clothed with glory in a moment.
10. A house that is of dust when it has fallen,—by means of water can be renewed:—the body of Adam that was of dust,—which had fallen by water has been renewed.—Lo! the priests as builders—afresh renew your bodies.
11. A great marvel is this of the wool,—that it can take every dye,—as the mind takes every discourse.—By the name of its dye it is called;—as ye who were—baptized when “Hearers,”—have gained the name of “Recipients.”
12. The common waters he sanctified—even Elisha through the Name that is secret.—In them washed the leper openly,—and was cleansed by the Power that is secret:—the leprosy was done away in the water, as transgressions in Baptism.
13. To-day, lo! your offences are blotted out,—and your names are written down.—The priest blots out in the water;—and Christ writes down in Heaven.—By the blotting out and the writing down—lo! doubled is your rejoicing.
14. Lo! mercy has dawned to-day;—and from bound to bound it stretches:—the sun has sunk and mercy has dawned.—Justice has drawn in her wrath; Grace has spread forth her love,—lo! she pardons and quickens freely.
15. The sheep that beforetime were in the fold—lo! they hasten forth to greet—the new lambs that have been added to it.—They are white and are clad in white;—within and without white are your bodies as your vestments.
16. From every mouth “Blessed are ye,”—on every side “Blessed are ye.”—Sin from you is driven out,—and the Holy Spirit on you is dwelling.—The Evil One is become sad of countenance;—the Good God makes glad your countenance.
17. The gift that ye have received freely,—cease not from watching over it:—this pearl if it shall be lost—cannot again be sought out,—for it is like to virginity—which if it be lost is not to be found.
18. May ye from all defilement—be kept by the power of your white robes!—and he whose freedom has defiled itself—may it be able to wash itself clean by his weeping!—For me who am servant of the community—may the supplication of the community win pardon!
19. To the author who has toiled in words,—be reconciliation in rest!—to the teacher who has toiled with voice,—be forgiveness through grace!—to the priest who has toiled in baptizing,—let there come the crown of righteousness!
20. From every mouth with one consent,—of those beneath and those above,—Watchers, Cherubin, and Seraphin,—the baptized, the sealed, and the hearers,—let each of us cry aloud and say,—“Glory to the Lord of our feasts!”
Next: Hymn VII.
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