Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XIII:
Early Church Fathers
Selections from the Hymns and Homilies of Ephraim the Syrian and from the Demonstrations of Aphrahat the Persian Sage.: Hymn IV.
(Resp.—Blessed be He that blots out in water misdeeds that are without measure!)
1. Descend my sealed brethren, put ye on our Lord,—and be rejoined to His lineage, for He is son of a great lineage,—as He has said in His Word.
2. From on high is His Nature, and from beneath His Vesture.—Each that puts off his vesture, commingled is that vesture, with His Vesture forever.
3. Ye too in the water, receive from him the vesture,—that wastes not or is lost for it is the vesture that vests—them that are vested in it forever.
4. But the blessed Priest, is daysman between two:—the covenant shall be made before Him, He is daysman of his Lord,—and surety on our part.
5. The Godhead in the water, lo! has mingled His leaven;—for the creatures of dust, that leaven raises up,—and the Godhead joins them.
6. For it is the leaven of the Lord, that can glide into the bondman,—and raise him to freedom; it has joined the bondman to the lineage,—of Him the Lord of all.
7. For the bondman who has put on Him, Who makes all free in the waters,—though bondman he be on earth, is son of the free on high,—for freedom he has put on.
8. The freeman who has put on, that Angel in the waters,—is as the fellow of servants, that he may be made like to the Lord,—Who became bondman unto bondmen.
9. He Who enriches all came down, and put on poverty,—that He might divide to the poor, the stores that were hidden,—out of the treasure-house of the water.
10. The lowly one again that has put on, the Giver of all greatness, in the water,—even though he be base in the sight of fools, yet is great in the sight of the Watchers,—for that he is clad in greatness.
11. For like as He Who is great, Who became lowly in His love,—by the unbelievers was persecuted, and by the Watchers was worshipped,—was made lowly and makes the lowly great.
12. Thus let him be lowly who is great, that in him the lowly may be great:—Let p. 272 us be like to Him Who is greater than all, Who became less than all:—He was made lowly, and makes all men great.
13. The meek man who has put on Him Who is great, in the water,—though humble be his countenance, very great is his discernment,—for He Who is exalted above all dwells in him.
14. For who could be found to despise the bush of thorn,—the despised and humble, wherein the Majesty in fire,—made its dwelling within?
15. Who again could be found, to despise Moses,—the meek and slow of speech,—when that excelling glory—dwelt upon his meekness?
16. They that despised him despised his Lord; the wicked that despised him—the earth swallowed up in anger; the Levites who scorned Him,—the fire devoured in fury.
17. Of Him Christ commanded, “Thou shalt not call him Raca,” who is baptized and has put Him on; for whoso despises the despised, despises with him the Mighty.
18. In Eden and in the world, are parables of our Lord;—and what tongue can gather, the similitudes of His mysteries?—for He is figured all of Him in all things.
19. In the Scriptures He is written of; on Nature He is impressed;—His crown is figured in kings, in prophets His truth, His atonement in priests.
20. In the rod was He of Moses, and in the hyssops of Aaron,—and in the crown of David: to the prophets pertains His similitude, to the Apostles His Gospel.
21. Revelations beheld Thee, proverbs looked for Thee,—mysteries expected Thee, similitudes saluted Thee, parables showed types of Thee.
22. The Covenant of Moses looked forward to the Gospel:—all things of old time, flew on and alighted thereon, in the new Covenant.
23. Lo! the prophets have poured out on Him, their glorious mysteries;—the priests and kings have poured out upon Him, their wonderful types:—they all have poured them out on all of Him.
24. Christ overcame and surpassed, by His teachings the mysteries,—by His interpretations the parables; as the sea into its midst—receives all streams.
25. For Christ is the sea, and He can receive—the fountains and brooks, the rivers and streams, that flow from the midst of the Scriptures.
Next: Hymn V.