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 II.
(Nearly identical with Hymn XIII. On the Nativity.)
(Resp.—To Thee be praise Who in this feast makest all to exult!)
1. In the time of the King whom they called by the name Semha 510 —our Lord was manifested among the Hebrews.—Thus Semha and Denha 511 reigned together,—the King on earth and the Son on high—blessed be His power!
2. In the days of the King who wrote down men in the taxing,—our Saviour came down and wrote down men in the Book of Life; He wrote and was written;—on high He wrote us, on earth He was written; glory to His Name!
3. His Birth was in the days of the King whose name was Semha.—Symbol and truth met one another;—King and King, Semha and Denha.—That kingdom bore His Cross; blessed be He Who took it up!
4. Thirty years abode He on earth in poverty.—Voices of praise in all measures,—let us weave my brethren for our Lords years;—thirty crowns for thirty years; Blessed be His number!
5. In the first year, mistress of treasure and filled with blessings,—let the Cherubin give thanks with us, they who bear—the Son in glory Who gave up His glorious state,—and toiled and found the sheep that was lost;—to Him be thanksgiving!
p. 267 6. In the second year let the Seraphin multiply thanksgiving with us;—they who cried “Holy” to the Son, and turned and saw Him—among unbelievers put to shame.—He endured scorn and taught us glory; to Him be glory given!
7. In the third year let Michael and his hosts give thanks with us;—they who were wont to serve the Son on high,—and saw Him on earth doing service.—He washed mens feet and cleansed mens souls; blessed be His meekness!
8. In the fourth year let all the heavens give thanks with us! Too narrow for the Son it shall burst to see—how He lay on the couch of despised Zaccheus.—He filled the couch and had filled the heavens;—to Him be thanksgiving!
9. In the fifth year let the Sun that burns the earth with its heat—give thanks to our Sun that He straitened His largeness,—and tempered His force that the eye might endure to see Him;—the inward eye of a pure soul; blessed be His radiance!
10. In the sixth year again let all the air give thanks with us,—in the vastness whereof all things exult.—It saw its great Lord that He became—a little babe in a lowly bosom; blessed be His honour!
11. In the seventh year let the clouds and winds sound the trumpet with us,—they whose dew sprinkles the faces of the flowers,—yet saw they the Son that He subdued His brightness,—and endured scorn and shameful spitting;—blessed be His salvation!
12. Yet again in the eighth year let Creation give glory,—from whose fountain the fruits draw nurture.—She adored when she saw the Son at the breast,—pure babe nurtured by pure milk; blessed be His good pleasure!
13. In the ninth year let the earth give glory, which when her lap is watered then brings forth the root.—She saw Mary an unwatered soil—whose fruit that she yielded is a mighty sea; to Him be exultation!
R., To Thee be glory, Son of the Lord of all, Who givest life to all!
14. In the tenth year let Mount Sinai give glory, which melted—before its Lord! It saw against its Lord—stones taken up: but He took stones—to build the Church upon the Rock; blessed be His building!
15. In the eleventh year let the great sea give thanks—to the hand of the Son Who measured it! And it wondered to see how He came down and was washed—in humble waters, He that cleanses Creation; blessed be His triumph!
16. In the twelfth year let the holy Temple give thanks—which beheld the Child as He sat—among the elders: the doctors were silenced—as the Lamb of the feast bleated in the feast; blessed be His atonement!
17. In the thirteenth year let diadems with us give thanks—to the King Who triumphed and was crowned—with a crown of thorns: He wove for man—a mighty diadem at His right hand; blessed be He That sent Him!
18. In the fourteenth year let the Passover of Egypt give thanks—to the Passover that came and made passover for all,—and instead of Pharaoh overwhelmed Legion,—and instead of horsemen drowned demons; blessed be His retribution!
19. In the fifteenth year let the lamb of the flock give thanks,—that our Lord slew it not as did Moses,—but redeemed by His Blood mankind.—He the Shepherd of all died for all; blessed be He That begat Him!
20. In the sixteenth year let the seed-corn in mystery give thanks—to that Husbandman Who gave His Body for seed—in a barren soil that corrupts all things.—It proved fertile and yielded new bread; blessed be He that is pure!
21. In the seventeenth year let the Vine give thanks to our Lord,—the Vineyard of truth, wherein souls were—as the scions. He gave peace to this vineyard, but laid waste that vineyard which bare wild grapes; blessed be the Uprooter!
p. 268 22. In the eighteenth year let our leaven give thanks—to the leaven of truth that penetrates and draws—all minds and makes them to become—one mind in one doctrine; blessed be His doctrine!
23. In the nineteenth year let the Salt give thanks for Thy Body.—O blessed Babe it is the soul—that is the salt of the Body, and Faith—the salt of the soul whereby it is preserved; blessed be Thy preservation!
R., Glory to Thy Epiphany, O God and Man!
24. In the twentieth year let temporal wealth with us give thanks,—which men that are perfect have cast off and abandoned—because of the “Woe”; and have gone and loved—poverty because of its beatitude; blessed be He Who desired it!
25. In the one-and-twentieth year let the waters give thanks that were sweetened—in a mystery of the Son. In the honey of Samson—the nations tasted bitterness therein that destroyed them:—they had life in the Cross that redeemed them; blessed be its pleasantness!
26. In the two-and-twentieth year let arms and the sword give thanks,—for they could not slay our Adversary.—Thou art He Who slew him as Thou art He Who restored—the ear that Simons sword cut off; blessed be Thy healing!
27. In the three-and-twentieth year let the ass likewise give thanks,—that gave the colt whereon He should ride;—He opens likewise the mouth of wild asses,—the offspring gave Him praise; blessed be the praise of Thee!
28. In the four-and-twentieth year let wealth give thanks to the Son!—Treasures were amazed at the Lord of treasures,—how He grew up among the poor.—He made Himself poor that He might make all rich; blessed be His participation!
29. In the five-and-twentieth year let Isaac give thanks to the Son—Who in the mount saved him from the knife,—and became in his stead the lamb to be slain.—The mortal escaped, and He died Who gives life to all; blessed be His offering!
30. In the six-and-twentieth year let Moses with us give thanks,—who feared and fled from the slayers;—let him give thanks to the Son, for He it was Who on His feet—entered Sheol and spoiled it and came forth; blessed be His Resurrection!
[31. In the seven-and-twentieth year let the eloquent Orators—give thanks to the Son, for they could not find—means whereby we should prevail in our judgment:—He was silent in judgment and made our judgment prevail; to Him be applause!]
32. In the seven and twentieth year let all Judges give thanks,—who as being just have put to death illdoers;—let them give thanks to the Son Who instead of the evil—died as being good, though He was Son of the Just One; blessed be His mercies!
33. In the eight-and-twentieth year let them give thanks to the Son,—all the mighty men who saved us not—from the captors. One is to be worshipped,—Who was slain and laid hold and saved us; blessed be His deliverance!
34. In the nine-and-twentieth year let Job with us give thanks,—who bare sufferings in his own behalf:—but our Lord bare on our behalf—the spitting and the stripes, the thorns and the nails; blessed is His compassion!
35. In the year that is the thirtieth let them give thanks with us;—the dead that have lived through His dying,—the living that were converted in His Crucifixion,—and the height and the depth that have been reconciled in Him! Blessed be He and His Father!
Equivalent to Augustus.266:511
Next: Hymn III.
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