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 XLII.
1. The Evil One wailed “Where now, is there a place for me to flee to from the righteous? I stirred up Death to slay the Apostles, that I might be safe from their blows. By their deaths now more exceedingly am I cruelly beaten. The Apostle whom I slew in India is before me in Edessa: he is here wholly and also there. I went there, there was he: here and there I have found him and been grieved.” R., Blessed is the might that dwells in the hallowed bones!
2. The bones that merchantmen carried, or was it then that they carried him? For lo! they made gain each of the other. But for me what did they profit me? yea they profited each by each, while to me from both of them there was damage. O that one would show me that bag of Iscariot, for by it I acquired strength! The bag of Thomas has slain me, for the secret strength that dwells in it tortures me.
3. Moses the chosen carried the bones, in faith as for gain. And if he a great prophet believed, that there is benefit in bones, the merchant did well to believe, and did well to call himself merchant. That merchant made gain, and waxed great and reigned. His storehouse has made me very poor: his storehouse has been opened in Edessa, and has enriched the great city with benefit.
4. At this storehouse of treasure I was amazed, for small was its treasure at first; and though no man took from it, poor was the spring of its wealth. But when multitudes have come round it, and plundered it and carried off its riches, according as it is plundered, so much the more does its wealth p. 206 increase. For a pent-up spring, if one seeks it out, when deeply pierced it flows forth mightily and abounds.
5. It is evident that Elisha was a fountain in a thirsting people: and because they that thirsted sought him not out, his outflow was not great. But when Naaman sought him out, he abounded and poured forth healing. The fountain into the midst of a fountain, he took him and plunged him; for in the river he cleansed the leper. Jesus the Sea of benefits, into Siloam sent the blind man whose eyes were opened.
6. Gehazi, with the staff that brought to life the dead, was unable to raise the child. And how could the famous prophet have been brought up by the sorceress? We were they that mocked Saul, for instead of one demon whom he questioned, two demons came up and mocked him. From the bones of Elisha learn also of the bones of Samuel; for though Elishas bones brought to life the dead, the sorcerers could not bring up the dead, the living and sacred bones.
7. And though I asked this petition, He who gives all gave it not to me. For though the demons were troubled, by the bones of some priest, or magician or wizard, of Chaldean or soothsayer, yet I was aware that this was but mockery. In two ways I cause men to err: either I make the Apostles to lie, or I make my Apostles like the Apostles.
8. The party of the demons lo! it is spoiled; the party of the devils endures stripes: though there be none that lifts the rod openly, the demons cry out with pain; though there be none that fetters and binds, the spirits hang bound. This silent judgment, which is calm and still, and works not even by questioning, the one power that is all sufficing, lo! it dwells in the bones of this second Elisha.
9. He gave judgment unto His Twelve, that they might judge the twelve Tribes. And if so be that they are to judge the sons of the great Abraham, this is then no great matter, that they shall judge demons now. And unless they make the crucifiers fulfil the judgment that is to be, by our judgment shall they be proved. For worse than we did they cry out, in presence of the Apostles the judges of the tribes.
10. For a wolf was Saul the Apostle, and on the blood of the sheep I reared him; and he waxed strong and became a singular wolf. But nigh to Damascus suddenly, the wolf was changed into a sheep. He said that the Apostles, are to judge Angels; for by the Angels he signified the priest as it is written. If so be then they are thus powerful, woe to the demons from the strokes of their bones!
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