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 LIV.
1. Hear, O Freedom, the dispute of two servants: how they are convicted by each other, that they are powerless.—2. R., To Thee be glory by Whose humiliation Adam was exalted: and by Whose death he was raised, and regained Eden!—3. If then the Evil One overcome thee, great is the shame: Death his comrade has convicted him, as being weak.—4. And if again Death subdue thee, lo! what reproach: for the Evil One his comrade derides him, as but a shadow.—5. Their dispute is for thee a mirror, wherein thou mayest see: that they both are but as chaff, before thy breath.—6. Yea and Prophets and Apostles, in their promises: assure thee that they like flowers, shall fade at the rising.—7. S., Thou, Death, art he whom they hate, the quick and dead: for every combination thou dissolvest, and destroyest.—8. D., It is not open death that kills, O Satan: thy death which is secret kills the sons of men.—9. S., My name is not hateful as thine, for the angel: showed himself in Satans likeness to Balaam on the way.—10. D., How fit is this thy name, O Satan: who hast erred and made unwary Adam err, from the way!—11. S., Wander not like one ignorant, and lose thy cause: dispute, O Death, if thou are competent, for replying.—12.D., I know that thou art wily, O Satan: so that thou out of sand canst twist a snare.—13. S., Thy disputing, Death, is ended: for he who is worsted: when his words fail and are ended, begins to rail.—14. D., Among all I am conqueror, and by thee am I worsted? Let Adam persuade thee whom I have overcome, O Satan!—15. S., I am he who bound Adam, and cast him before thee: the mighty man whom my wiles had bound, thou didst come and subdue.—16. D., I am he who have been crowned anew, with a diadem in the world: for Adam, chief of the mighty, I hold captive in Sheol.—17. S., I killed him by secret death, even Adam when he sinned: thou, Death, hast slain one that was dead, killed by me.—18. D., In thy desire to conquer, Evil One, thou hast made thyself hated: for thou art Death as well as Satan, and this seems a little thing to thee.—19. S., Thou hast then been silenced, Death, as a weakling: for neither in words nor in deeds, hast thou strength to stand.—20. D., It is for thy evil thou conquerest, O Evil One, if thou discernest: thy crown is wholly of shame, if thou perceivest.—21. I shall be defeated and thou shalt be cursed, O Satan: it is well for me to be ignorant, and not mischievous.—22. Blessed be the Just One who divided them, though they were quite of one mind: Blessed be the Good One who made us of one mind, when we were divided.—23. I will overcome the Evil One through Thy forgiveness, O All-Merciful: and I shall overcome death through Thy Resurrection, O All-Life-giver!
Next: Hymn LV.
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