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.: Letter of an Inquirer.
Letter of an Inquirer.
1. Beloved, I send thee inquiries and questions, for I am compelled to seek further instruction of thee on many points. Do not thou refuse to hear me. My spirit urges me to warn thee about many topics 647 that thou mayest unfold for me the spiritual perceptions of thy mind, and mayest show me of all that thou hast apprehended from the holy books, that so my deficiency may be supplied by thee and my hunger satisfied by thy doctrine, and that thou mayest assuage my thirst from the fountain of thine instruction. Yet though many things are set in my thought to ask thee, they all are notwithstanding reserved with me, that when I come to thee, thou mayest instruct me on all subjects.
2. But before all things I desire that thou wouldst write and instruct me concerning this that straitens me, namely, concerning our faith; how it is, and what its foundation is, and on what structure it rises, on what it rests, and in what way is its fulfilment and consummation, and what are the works required for it. For I of myself firmly believe that God is one, Who made the heavens and the earth from the beginning; that He adorned the world by His handiwork; that He made man in His image; He it is that accepted the offering of Abel. He translated Enoch because of his excellence. He preserved Noah because of his righteousness. He chose Abraham because of his faith. He spake with Moses on account of his meekness. He it is that spake in all the prophets, and furthermore He sent His Christ into the world. Since then, my brother, I thus believe in these things that so they are, I therefore, brother, request of thee that thou wouldest write and show me what are the works required for this our faith, that so thou mayest set me at rest.
The beginning to this point is lost in the Syriac but has been preserved in the Armenian translation. We have borrowed it thence through the Latin translation of Graffin (Patrologia Syriaca, Tom. I.).
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