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 V
1. Cause to be heard in Thy grace, the tidings of Thy salvation: for an hearing has been made, a path of passage; our minds have been downtrodden, by messages of terror. R., Praises to Thy victory! Glory to Thy Dominion!
2. Comfort Thou with profits, though small and scanty, those that have had harvest, of hurt by their labour: at a time of profit, they have gained but loss.
3. It is manifest that He has stood, portioning wrath upon earth: loss and profit in anger He divided. There are whom He has cast down of a sudden, and there are whom He has puffed up of a sudden.
4. To teach us that He can, chastise in all ways; when He saw the persecutors, were terrible before mine eyes, He laid me out before my children, and they my beloved chastised me.
5. Lo! He taught me to fear, Himself and not man: for when there was none to smite us, His wrath gave command of a sudden, and every man stretched himself out, and chastised himself.
6. In like manner that Babylonian, who struck down all kings when he was confident and hoped that there was none to smite him, God caused that by his own hands, he should strike himself down.
7. His majesty and his mind, of a sudden became mad together: he rent and cast off his garments; he went forth and wandered in the desert; he drove himself out first, and then his servants drove him out.
8. He showed to all kings, whom he had led captive and brought down, that not by his own power, could he have overcome: the power that struck him down, was that which punished them.
9. I have stood and borne, O my Lord; the blows of my deliverers. Thou art able in Thy grace, to make me profit by the smiters: Thou art able in Thy justice to punish me by my helpers.
10. The day when the host was bold, to come up against Samaria; their plenty and their pleasure, their treasures and their possessions, they cast away and forsook and fled. He crowned her by her persecutors.
11. My beloved ones crowned me, and my deliverers healed me. Through the guilt of my dwellers, my helpers chastised me, give me drink from Thy vines, of the cup of consolation!
12. The corn and the vine, preserve, O my Lord, by Thy grace! Be the husbandman cheered, by the vine of the grape-gatherer; be the vinedresser glad, in the corn of the husbandman!
13. They are joined each to each, the corn and the grape. In the field the reapers, wine can make cheerful, in the vineyard the dressers, bread strengthens in turn.
14. These two things have power, to comfort my troubles: the Trinity has power, to comfort more exceedingly; whom I will praise because of a sudden, I was delivered through grace.
15. But the man whose life, is preserved through grace, if he goes away to murmur, at the loss of his goods, he is thankless for the grace, of Him who had pity on him.
16. Of His own will He destroys, one p. 174 thing instead of another. He destroys possession, and spares the possessor: He destroys our plants, instead of our lives.
17. Let us fear to murmur, lest His own wrath be roused, and He spare the possessions, and smite the possessor; that we may learn in the end, His mercy in the beginning.
18. Let us learn against whom, it is meet for us to murmur. Learn thou to murmur, not against the Chastener, but against thine own will, that made thee sin and thou wast punished.
19. Let us put away murmuring, and turn unto prayer: for if the possessor dies, his possessions also cease for him; but while he survives, he seeks to recover his losses.
20. Let consolations be multiplied, in mercy to my dwellers: let the remainder and residue, console us in the midst of wrath; and cause Thou us to forget in the residue, the mourning of our devastation!
21. Heal and increase O my Lord, the fruits Thy wrath has left! They seem to me like sick ones, that have escaped in pestilence. Make me to forget in these weak ones, the suffering of the many!
22. While I speak, O my Lord, I call to mind that this too is the month, when the blossom pined, and dropped off in blight, may it return to soundness, to be a consolation!
23. For these escaped the pestilence, that carried off their brethren. The vines though voiceless, wept when before them, a multitude was cut down and felled, of trees that they loved.
24. The company of plants, lo! the earth misses! The roots for the husbandmen, weep and cause them to weep. Their beauty had spread and gave shade, and it was torn away in one hour.
25. The axe came nigh and struck; and struck the husbandman; the blow was on the trees, and it caused the husbandman to suffer; every axe that smote, he bore the pain of it.
Next: Hymn VI.