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 IX.
p. 177 Hymn IX.
…My afflictions are as Jobs. Thy justice delivered him; let Thy grace have mercy on me!
2. In these two things is profit; that neither should the just, be weary in supplication, nor should the rebellious, multiply transgression.
3. With the sons Thou labourest, to chastise and help them; and that the fathers should not be grieved, by the sound of the scourge, they left me in peace.
4. Look, O my Lord, on my woods without, how they have been cut down! behold, O my Lord, my breasts within, that they are too weak, for me to bear my beloved ones!
5. With swords they have cut off, my wings that are without; again the fire kindles, in my bosom within, the incense of burnt offering.
6. The sun-worshippers have killed, my sons in the plain: and they that offer to Baal, have sacrificed my bulls in the city, my sheep with my babes.
7. In my fields is lamentation; in my halls wailing; in my vineyards terror; in my streets confusion. Who can suffice for me?
8. The Evil One who dealt treacherously, and disturbed me with his words, stirred up trouble within, so that my inward part, is wholly as my outward part.
9. With what face, O my Lord, shall I call on Thee to send, a camp of holy ones, to guard my bosom, which is full of uncleanness?
10. With Thy new leaven, Thou hast chastened creation. Make Thou the old leaven, which ensnares and humbles, to be like the new leaven!
11. By the manifest striving, of Thy power let us conquer; lest error should crown, those that strive for Thee, cleaving to them with blandishment!
12. If we look into our time, it is like our deceit; 350 —for in the years of truthfulness, we practised divinations,—and secretly used enchantments.
13. If I look into the time, it provokes and into light,—brings secret things, that our deceit may be shamed,—which wore the raiment of Truth.
14. Verily it is truth, that overcomes all; 351 —and the sea with its bitterness, cannot trouble it,—for it is pure in its nature.
15. In wisdom Thou hast made it, O my Lord, that it has laid bare our lust.—That the foolish should come to nought, and should not be encouraged,—Truth has withheld the crown.
16. On the tottering walls, whereon Thou hast given me victory,—the unthankful repay Thee, with sacrifice and libation, which provoke Thee openly.
17. If it were at that time, sacrifices had been offered;—there had been room even, for delusion to suppose,—that in these I was delivered.
18. Through the multitude of deliverances, Thou hast rebuked two things:—the delusion of graven images, and the teaching of magicians;—for in Thee, O my Lord, have I been delivered!
An attempt is here made to represent by means of dashes the metrical versification of the Syriac hymns. See above, pp. 147 sq.177:351
Next: Hymn X.
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