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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 LII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Hymn LII.

Concerning Satan and Death.

1. I heard Death and Satan, as they disputed, which was the more powerful, among men.  R., To Thee be glory, Son of the Shepherd of All, Who deliveredst His flock from the secret wolves that devoured it, the Evil One and Death!—2. Death showed his power, that he conquers all; Satan showed his guile, that he makes all to sin.—3. Death, To thee, O Evil One, none hearkens save he that wills:  to me he that wills and he that wills not, even to me they come.—4. Satan, Thine, O Death, is but the force of tyranny:  mine are snares and nets of subtlety.—5. D., Hear, O Evil One, that who so is subtle breaks off thy yoke:  but none is there that is able to escape my yoke.—6. S., Thou, Death, on him that is sick provest thy might:  but I over them that are whole, am exceeding powerful.—7. D., The Evil One prevails not over all those that revile him:  but for me he that has cursed me and he that curses me, come into my hands.—8. S., Thou, Death, from God, hast gotten thy might:  I alone by none am I helped, when I lead men to sin.—9. D., Thou, O Evil-One, like a weakling:  while like a king I exercise my dominion.—10. S., Thou art a fool, O Death, not to know how great am I:  who suffice to capture free will, the sovereign power.—11. D., Thou, O Evil One, like a thief, lo! thou goest round:  I like a lion break in pieces and p. 207 fear not.—12. S., To thee, O Death, none does service or worship:  to me kings do service of sacrifice as to God.—13. D., On Death there are many that call, as on a kind Power:  on thee, O Evil One, none has called or calls.—14. S., Markest thou not this, O Death, how many there are:  who in sundry fashions call on me and make oblation?—15. D. Hated is thy name, O Satan, nor canst thou clear it:  thy name every one curses, hide thy reproach.—16. S., Thine ear, O Death, has waxed dull, that thou hearest not:  how against thee all men groan, conceal thyself.—17. D., My face is shown to the world, for I am guileless:  not like thee who without guile canst not abide.—18. S., Thou hast not in aught surpassed me for it is true:  that thou art hateful as I to the sons of men.—19. D., Of me all men are afraid as of a lord:  but as for thee they hate thee as the Evil One.—20. S., For thee, O Death, they hate thy name, and also thy work:  my name they hate but my delights they greatly love.—21. D., To bitterness of teeth is turned, this thy sweetness:  penitence of soul cleaves ever unto thy lusts.—22. S., Sheol is hated because in her is no repentance:  a pit that swallows and closes on all movements.—23. D., Sheol is a gulf wherein whoso falls shall rise again:  sin is hated because it cuts off the hope of man.—24. S., Though I mislike penitents, I give place for repentance:  thou cuttest off hope from the sinner who dies in his sin.—25. D., It was of thee that at first his hope was cut off:  for he whom thou hast not caused to sin dies happily.—26. Blessed is He who raised against each other those cursed servants:  that we might see them as they have seen us and mocked at us.—27. This that we have seen of them is a pledge, my brethren:  of what we shall see of them hereafter when we rise again.

Next: Hymn LIII.

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