Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:
Early Church Fathers
Selections from the Hymns and Homilies of Ephraim the Syrian and from the Demonstrations of Aphrahat the Persian Sage.: Hymn IV
1. My God, without ceasing, I will tread the threshold of Thy house; I who have rejected all grace, I will ask with boldness, that I may receive with confidence. R., Our hope, be thou our Wall!
2. For if, O Lord, the earth, enriches manifold, a single grain of wheat, how then shall my prayers, be enriched by Thy grace!
3. Because of the voices of my children, their sighs and their groans, open to me the door of Thy mercy! Make glad for their voices, the mourning of their sackcloth!
4. O firstborn that wast a weaned child, and wast familiar with the children, the accurst sons of Nazareth, hearken to my lambs that have seen the wolves, for lo! they cry.
5. For a flock, O my Lord, in the field, if so be it has seen the wolves, flees to the shepherd, and takes refuge under his staff, and he drives away them that would devour it.
6. Thy flock has seen the wolves, and lo! it cries loudly. Behold how terrified it is! Let thy Cross be a staff, to drive out them that would swallow it up!
7. Accept the cry of my little ones, that are altogether pure. It was He, the Infant of days, that could appease, O Lord, the Ancient of days.
8. The day when the Babe came down, in the midst of the stall, the Watchers descended and proclaimed, peace—may that peace be, in all my streets for all my offspring.
9. Seventy and two old men, the elders of that people, sufficed not for its breaches. The Babe it was, the Son of Mary, that gave peace on every side.
10. Have mercy, O Lord, on my children! in my children call to mind Thy childhood, Thou Who wast a child! Let them that are like Thy childhood, be saved by Thy grace!
11. Mingled in the midst of the flock, are the cry of the innocents, and the voice of the sheep, that call on the Shepherd of all, to deliver them from all.
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13. There is a joy that is affliction, misery is hidden in it; there is a misery that is profit, it is a fountain of joys, in that new world.
14. The happiness that my persecutor has gained, woes are hidden in it; therefore I rejoice. The wretchedness that I have gained from him, happiness is concealed for me in it.
15. Who will not give praise, to Him that has begotten us, and can beget again, from the midst of evil rumours the voices of glad tidings!
16. Thou Healer of all, hast visited me in my sicknesses! Payment for Thy medicines, I cannot give Thee, for they are priceless.
17. Thy mercies in richness, surpass Thy medicines: they cannot be bought, they are given freely, it is for tears they are bartered.
18. How, O my Master, can a desolate city, whose king is far off, and her enemy nigh, stand firm without aid of mercy?
19. A harbour and refuge, art Thou at all times. When the seas covered me, Thy mercy descended and drew me out. Again let Thy help lay hold on me!
20. Apply to my afflictions, the medicine of Thy salvation, and the passion of Thy help! Thy sign can become, a medicine to heal all.
21. I am greatly oppressed, and I hasten to complain, against him that troubles me. Let Thy mercy, my Lord, take the bitterness from the cup, that my sins have mixed.
22. I look on all sides, and weep that I am desolate. Very many though be my chiefs and my deliverers, one is He that has delivered me.
23. My young men have fled, O Lord, and gone forth, and are like chickens, which an eagle pursues; lo! they hide in a secret place: may Thy peace bring them back!
24. The sound of my grape-gatherers, lo! my ears miss it, for their voices fail. Let it p. 173 resound with the glad tidings, O Blessed One of Thy salvation!
25. A voice of terror, I have heard on my towers; as my defenders cry, while they guard my walls. Still Thou it with the voice of peace!
26. The noise of my husbandmen, shall speak peace without my walls: the shouting of my dwellers shall speak peace within my walls, that I may give peace without and within.
27. Make an end, O Lord, of the mourning, of this Thy pure altar, and of Thy chaste priest, who stands clothed in mourning, covered over with sackcloth!
28. The Church and her ministers shall give praise for Thy salvation; the city and its dwellers. Be the voice of peace, O Lord, the reward of their voices!
Next: Hymn V