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 X.
(Resp.—Glory to Him Who came and restored it!)
1. Adam sinned and earned all sorrows;—likewise the world after His example, all guilt.—And instead of considering how it should be restored,—considered how its fall should be pleasant for it.—Glory to Him Who came and restored it!
2. This cause summoned Him that is pure,—that He should come and be baptized, even He with the defiled,—Heaven for His glory was rent asunder.—That the purifier of all might be baptized with all,—He came down and sanctified the water for our baptism.
3. For that cause for which He entered into the womb,—for the same cause He went down into the river.—For that cause for which He entered into the grave,—for the same cause He makes us enter into His chamber.—He perfected mankind for every cause.
4. His Conception is the store of our blessings;—His Birth is the treasury of our joys;—His Baptism is the cause of our pardon;—His Death is the cause of our life.—Death He alone has overcome in His Resurrection.
5. At His Birth a star of light shone in the air;—when He was baptized light flashed from the water;—at His Death the sun was darkened in the firmament;—at His Passion the luminaries set along with Him;—at His Epiphany the luminaries arose with Him.
6. Revealed was His Glory because of His Majesty;—revealed was His Passion because of His Manhood;—revealed was His Love because of His Graciousness;—revealed was His Judgment because of His Justice.—He has poured forth His attributes, on them that were His.
7. That whoso has looked on His Glory and despised Him,—may look again on His Glory and worship Him;—and whoso has scorned to taste of His Graciousness,—may fear lest he be made to feel His justice;—He has poured forth His helps on His worshippers.
8. Lo! the East in the morning was made light!—lo! the South at noonday was made dark!—The West again in turn at eventide was made light.—The three quarters represent the one Birth;—His Death and His Life they declare.
9. His Birth flowed on and was joined to His Baptism;—and His Baptism again flowed on even to His Death;—His Death led and reached to His Resurrection,—a fourfold bridge unto His Kingdom; and lo! His sheep pass over in His footsteps.
10. And like as, save by the door of birth,—none can enter into creation;—so, save p. 281 by the door of resurrection,—none can enter into the Kingdom,—and whoso has cut off his bridge, has brought to nought his hope.
11. He put on His armour and conquered and was crowned;—He left His armour on earth and ascended,—that if any man desires the crown,—he may resort to the armour and win by it—the crown of victory which he yearns after.
12. He fulfilled righteousness on earth, and ascended.—But if He, the All-cleanser, was baptized,—What man is there that shall not be baptized?—for grace has come to baptism—to wash away the foulness of our wound.
13. The compulsion of God is an all-prevailing force;—[but that is not pleasing to Him which is of compulsion,] 517 —as that which is of discerning will.—Therefore in our fruits He calls us—who live not as under compulsion, by persuasion.
14. Good is He, for lo! He labours in these two things;—He wills not to constrain our freedom—nor again does He suffer us to abuse it.—For had he constrained it, He had taken away its power;—and had He let it go, He had deprived it of help.
15. He knows that if He constrains He deprives us;—He knows that if He casts off He destroys us;—He knows that if He teaches He wins us.—He has not constrained and He has not cast off, as the Evil One does:—He has taught, chastened, and won us, as being the good God.
16. He knows that His treasuries abound:—the keys of His treasuries He has put into our hands.—He has made the Cross our treasurer—to open for us the gates of Paradise,—as Adam opened the gate of Gehenna.
The rendering of this line is very conjectural.
Next: Hymn XI.
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