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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 V.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Hymn V.

1.  O gift that camest up without price 539 with the diver!  Thou laidest hold upon this visible light, that without price rises for the children of men:  a parable of the hidden One that without price gives the hidden Dayspring!

And the painter too paints a likeness of thee with colours.  Yet by thee is faith painted in types and emblems for colours, and in the place of the image by thee and thy colours is thy Creator painted.

O thou frankincense without smell, who breathest types from out of thee! thou art not to be eaten, yet thou givest a sweet smell unto them that hear thee! thou art not to be drunk, yet by thy story, a fountain of types art thou made unto the ears!

2.  It is thou which art great in thy littleness, O pearl!  Small is thy measure and little thy compass with thy weight; but great is thy glory:  to that crown alone in which thou art placed, there is none like.

And who hath not perceived of thy littleness, how great it is; if one despises thee and throws thee away, he would blame himself for his clownishness, for when he saw thee in a king’s crown he would be attracted to thee.

3.  Men stripped their clothes off and dived and drew thee out, pearl!  It was not kings that put thee before men, but those naked ones who were a type of the poor and the fishers and the Galileans.

For clothed bodies were not able to come to thee; they came that were stript as children; they plunged their bodies and came down to thee; and thou didst much desire them, and thou didst aid them who thus loved thee.

Glad tidings did they give for thee:  their tongues before their bosoms did the poor [fishers] open, and produced and showed the new riches among the merchants:  upon the wrists of men they put thee as a medicine of life.

4.  The naked ones in a type saw thy rising again by the sea-shore; and by the side of the lake they, the Apostles 540 of a truth, saw the rising again of the Son of thy Creator.  By thee and by thy Lord the sea and the lake were beautified.

p. 298 The diver came up from the sea and put on his clothing; and from the lake too Simon Peter came up swimming and put on his coat; 541 clad as with coats, with the love of both of you, were these two.

5.  And since I have wandered in thee, pearl, I will gather up my mind, and by having contemplated thee, would become like thee, in that thou art all gathered up into thyself; and as thou in all times art one, one let me become by thee!

Pearls have I gathered together that I might make a crown for the Son in the place of stains which are in my members.  Receive my offering, not that Thou art shortcoming; it is because of mine own shortcoming that I have offered it to Thee.  Whiten my stains!

This crown is all spiritual pearls, which instead of gold are set in love, and instead of ouches in faith; and instead of hands, let praise offer it up to the Highest!


Footnotes

297:539

Is. lv. 1.

297:540

The same word in Syriac means naked and Apostle.

298:541

John xxi. 7.


Next: Hymn VI.

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