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Nicene and Post-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 LXI.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Hymn LXI.

1. In wisdom let us hearken to Death, O my beloved:  how he accuses us for our weeping, and for our mourning.—2. R., To thee be praise Who cameth down, to follow Adam:  and foundest Adam and also in the children of Adam.—3. And rightly perp. 214 haps he says, “Ye slay:  without mercy and lo! ye weep, as though merciful.”—4. Ye have made me as a cruel one, O ye murderers:  for ye slay one another, without my help!—5. While Death was but desiring to come, the sword came before him:  let us see then against whom cries out, the blood of the slain.—6. Against you cry out the strangled, who were suffocated:  for it shames me of the rope, of their strangulations.—7. They take away from me even my rest, for without me:  how could the strangled and the slain, enter Sheol?—8. Lo! your infants are cast out, as those in Egypt:  your sons have ye sacrificed to demons, O demoniacs!—9. While Death was but desiring to taste, of your corpses:  Cain refreshed me beforehand, with blood of man.—10. While I was but desiring to wait patiently, till Adam should die:  before I had power ye gave me power, over your bodies.—11. Cain with his sword overthrew, the gate of Sheol:  for it was closed and before the time, he first opened it.—12. He by treading made the way of Sheol, without my help:  for in the way ye have trodden out for me, lo! I walk therein.—13. Nine hundred years I sat and waited, for Adam to die:  but Cain not even a day, endured his brother.—14. Robbers upon the highways, are worse than I:  I am slumbering while they, are watching to slay.—15. Lo! your slaughtered in the graves, and your murdered in your ways; and your strangled upon your stakes!—16. “If I rebelled against my lord, yea and slew him:  who was he that slew these here,” said Jehu.—17. And if I Death have taken, your departed:  the strangled, the slain, and the slaughtered, who was it slew them?—18. Ye are Satan to each other, and the Evil One is abhorred:  ye are pestilence to each other, and Death is blamed!—19. Your own will to you is Satan, yea and a murderer:  but of Death and of Satan, all men complain.—20. Poison of Death ye give also to drink, each to other:  lo! how many Deaths have ye, beside me.—21. Wiles, stratagems, yea and snares, sword and poison:  how many Deaths from you and in you, lo! are there born.—22. The judge in the judgment-hall, is a second Death:  he slays for secret reward, but I for naught.—23. I have seen bribery and marvelled at it, that ran and outran me:  how many slain does bribery, slay, and none perceives!—24. I am ashamed that so unskilfully, I conduct myself:  if I take even one corpse, all men perceive it.—25. In the houses weeping and in the streets, also wailing:  and even unto the gates of Sheol, they groan over me.—26. Groan over yourselves that ye are thus hateful, and ye hate me:  Sheol henceforth shall groan over you, O murderers!—27. With torture, scourging and fire, yea with stoning:  ye put to death the sons of men, and ye are proud!—28. I am more modest than you and merciful, also reverent:  for with reverence I bear away, your departed.—29. On the bed I deal gently, with him that is sick:  and quietly I lay him to sleep, for but a while.

Next: Hymn LXII.

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