Ephraim, Apapphrat 1161
1161 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 perhaps 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 hear 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.
1162 1. Lo! Death, the King of silence, complains, my brethren: that we have filled his abode with the wailing, of Hope cut off.
2). R. To Him be great praise Who comest down, to us here below: and suffered and rose again and in His Body, raises our bodies!
3. While we weep like madmen, at the gates of Sheol: hearken what Death says, reproaching us.
4. It shames me, says Death, that ye, have overcome me: the half of Sheol suffices not, to contain your slain.
5. For alien corpses together, lie heaped in Sheol: there are two divisions there, the dead, the slain.
6, Whereas I should complain that ye have wronged me, lo! ye are weeping: ye have burst the gate of Sheol, and done me hurt.
7. For ye are like unto an infant, which while yet weeping: laughs again as ye also, over your dead.
8. For there is no discretion in your mourning, and no understanding: in your laughterfor to me ye seem like, to a weaned babe.
9. One hour weeping and wailing, and after a little: both jesting and wantonness, as of children.
10. For ye are unable to become, perfect men: that weep not yea and laugh not, as the discreet.
11. Touching your books we are grieved, that they have toiled over them: who should read them unto you, even the divine Scriptures.
12. The readers are crying aloud, for ye are deaf: this their crying proves concerning you, that ye are as stocks.
13. For since the reader and the interpreter, are crying aloud: your ears therefore are heavy, or else your hearts.
14. For if there were with you an ear, open to persuasion: it were meet to hear little, and to do much.
15. But because its hearing is closed, whoso knocks at it: the voice returns back to him, who sent it forth.
16. There is no crying with me of mine, I am not deaf: none that reads or interprets for me, I am not dull.
17. The breath that is from Him commands me, sons the God of truth: and with the command there follows, also the fulfilment.
18. With me is no holding back, no turn-tugs aside: I wot no arrow even, could outstrip me.
19. But your voices are scorned by me, when ye are weeping: over the graves of your departed, in the cutting off of hope.
20. Were it possible or permitted, when ye are weeping: I would go forth and tell you, to your faces.
21. I am endeavouring to give, an account of the death: and your voices disturb me, that I err in my count.
22. Ye nations, let not your understanding, become childish: like that nation whose intelligence, was never great.
23. In which prudence bestows not itself, as in a fool: for its thoughts are darkness, without discernment.
24. For your infants and your sons, in the resurrection: they shall be foremost to come forth, as the first fruits
25. Then after them shall come the just, as victorious: last shall come forth the sinner, as put to shame.
26. For although in the twinkling of an eye, they be quickened: yet is it in order that their ranks, come forth from Sheol.
27. Prophets come forth and Apostles, and holy Fathers: following them in due array, according to command.
28. Lo! that which now is sown, in random mixture: is yielded back in great order, as garden-herbs.
29. For though one in the sowing, should mix all seeds: that which is earlier than its fellow, prevents its fellow,
30. And not as their going down was confused, so disordered shall be: their coming up from the earth, for its order is fixed.
31. Lo! I have been against myself, in what I have said: for secret things which ye comprehended not, from me ye have learned.
32. Instead of the tears that profit not, which are at the tomb: pour them forth in your prayer, in the midst of the Church.
33. For to the dead there is profit in these, and likewise to the living: weep not with a weeping that afflicts, both dead and living!
1163 I. Who shall weigh the recompense of Abraham? whom I marvelled at when he bound, his only son.
2). R., To thee be glory, Voice that bringest to life the dead in Sheol: and they have come up as preachers, of His Son Who quickens all.!
3. At that time I came forth in haste, to see the marvel: how that his knife was drawn out, against his beloved.
4. I gathered my manifold memories, from all quarters: and I collected my spirit to marvel, at that illustrious one.
5. How therefore can ye read, that great story? ye have despised the reading of it, in your very ears.
6. The sword of Jephthah rebukes, him that laments: his daughter was to him a mirror of life from the dead.
7. She gave herself for her father, so commend ye: your life to the Father of all, in the hope of your end.
8. In the womb then did ye not make trial, of a mystery of Sheol? yet in Sheol ye had more rest, than in the womb.
9. It is stubborn in you to stand up against, my mighty will: for lo! to succour them I take away, your departed.
10. By the king of Moab who slew, his son with his hands: he is put to shame who laments, for the departed one.
11. He was a profane man, lo! according, to what you read: but ye are doctors and teachers, as ye suppose.
12. He endured, but ye are furious, in your mourning: against the will of the Lord of all, while ye are weeping.
13. I fear however to let pass, the story of Job: through this feeble mouth of mine, for I am unworthy.
14. So in like manner I turn aside, from mention of their bones: though I praise Him who granted, that they should come to me.
15. Dishonour not your members, by your sins: for in Sheol the bones are despised, of evildoers.
16. Whenever I see the body of one of the evil: I trample on it and curse, even his memory.
17. But wherever I see a bone, of one of the just; I set it apart and honour it, and do it worship.
18. Ye feeble ones understand not, all my ordinances: with you orders are confused, for ye are blind.
19. It is Moses alone that I know, to have honoured like me: the bones of that Joseph whom I magnify.
20. But Moses did such honour, to one pure body: but I to the body and the bones, of all the righteous.
21. Brightly shine the bones of Prophets, and of Apostles: a lamp to me in darkness, are all the righteous.
22 I worship Him Who lightens for me, the darkness of Sheol: the splendour of Moses who was so great, was as the sun to me.
1164 1. O feeble ones, why weep ye, over your dead: who in death are at rest from sorrows and sins?
2. R., Glory to Him Who endured all, for the sake of all men: yea tasted death for the sake of all, to bring all to life
3. I reveal unto you, that even Satan, though much content: at your weeping, yet laughs much, at your mourning.
4. In mockery he winks at me and nods to me, as a jester: Come let us laugh at sinners, for lo! they are mad.
5. Truly they have given up remembrance of that fire, which I have hidden for them: and lo! the fools are drunken with weeping, for their departed.
6. Instead of weeping as though, without provision: I had plundered and sent forth their dead, lo! they are mad.
7. The souls of the evil are to be afflicted, till the judgment day: and these weep over the graves, like to madmen.
8. They care not for their own sins, that haply to-morrow: they must go in shame of face, to join their dead.
9. And thus shall all be put to shame alike, family by family: in Sheol the wretches shall repent without avail.
10. Leave the drunken and the madman, until that day: wherein each shall shake off his wine wherewith he was maddened.
11. I will go to gather them, like children: that they may play the wanton and the madman, until they perish.
12. Lo! I have revealed to you the mystery, the secret of my comrade: go forth therefore, depart, amend, in repentance.
13. Leave me, I too will depart, I will see to my affairs: that with open face I may give my account to my Lord.
14. I know that the wind as it blew, has borne away my words: for ye are the same whom I, ofttimes have proved.
15. I remember Jeremiah how he, compared boldness: to the Indian who changes not his skin, though it is of freedom.
16. For this too belongs to it, even to freedom: that it binds itself by the will, as though by nature.
17. For so powerful is the will, in them that are free: that it may be likened to nature, through its workings.5
1 An attempt is here made to represent by means of dashes the metrical versification of the Syriac hymns. See above, pp.147 sq.
2 I Esdr.
3 The verb is nsab,a play on the name of the city.
5 I.e). though boldness is matter of free will, it becomes a second nature).
1165 1). Man, O Death, despise thou it not, that image of Adam: which like a seed is committed to earth, till the Resurrection.
2). R. To thee be glory Who didst descend and plunge, after Adam: and draw him out from the depths of Sheol, and bring him into Eden!
3). Death, I marvel at this seed, and at your words: for lo! after five thousand years, it springs not yet.
4). M., Its present state passes away, as winter does: and as a handful of corn it comes in the resurrection, to the garner of life.
5). D., That there is vintage-time, lo! I know, but I have not seen: the dead at any time sown, or yet reaped.
6). M., There is coming a reaping, O Death, that will leave thee bare: and the Watchers shall go forth as reapers, and make thee desolate.
7). D., When did I become husbandman, instead of vine-dresser? who has turned Sheol the wine-press, into a tilled field?
8). M., Does not the seed then teach thee, which decays and dies: and is cut off from hope, yet from the rain, recovers hope?
9). D., A dream have ye seen ye feeble ones, of life from the dead: for in waking time the resurrection, ye do not see.
10). M., Thy drowsiness hinders thee, that thou seest not: the multitudes of mysteries which cry aloud, of the resurrection.
11). D., I know that seeds come to life, but I have not seen: bones that grew in Sheol, and sprang and came up.
12.M., All thy discourse is like thyself, for lo! Ezekiel: has taught thee how in the valley, the dead come to life.
13). D., Trees have I seen how in summer, they put on their garments: but bones in their nakedness, are cast into Sheol.
14). M., Moses broke by his splendour, thy heart, O Death: the son of Adam has regained and put on, the glory of Adam.
15. D., Our law in Sheol is this, to keep silence: for you are words and for me deeds, O feeble ones.
16). M., How are the aged passed over if thou be vinedresser? He Who hindered thee from taking their lives, the same quickens all.
17.The babe in the womb confutes thee, which is as buried there: to me it proclaims life from the dead, but to thee despoiling.
18. The despised flower despises thee, for it is shut up and passed over: yet though lost it is not lost, but blossoms again.
19. The chick cries out from the egg, wherein it is buried: and the graves are rent by a Voice, and the body arises.
20. For a body too is the chick, that is in the egg: lo! its body to our body proclaims, the life from the dead.
21. With the locust thy plea is overthrown, and ended, O Death: for in coming forth from the dust it teaches, the life from the dead.
22). D., I had been content if already, the resurrection had been: for the day of resurrection had disturbed me less, than your judgments.
23. Merciful is the Son of the Highest, yea good and just: and will not harshly avenge on me, the death of Adam.
24. Have ye then no understanding, to perceive this: that your father laid on you, this retribution?
1166 1. Hold your peace, O mortals (said Death), a little while: and be like me who am so silent, in the midst of Sheol.2. R., To Thee be glory, Watcher, that didst come down, after them that slept : and utter the voice from the Tree, and waken them!3. Ye are grieving, yea, weeping, for him that has gone: as though he came to grind for me, the mill in Sheol.4. Great is the peace I give, unto the wearied: I wax not weary as you, nor weary them.5. I hear all manner of curses, from thankless men: the sons of Adam are like Adam, who was thankless to his Lord.
6. Contrary one to the other are your voices, and your doings: with your voices ye weep and in your doings, ye fight daily.
7. I heard weeping and I thought to myself, that none labours: I saw toiling and I thought to myself, that no man dies.
8. The struggles of man made me think, that he is not mortal: his great weeping made me think, that to-morrow he is not.
9. Hear and let me be your counsellor, if ye be willing: for these two, these burdens, are very bitter.
10. Cease a little while from this toil, and from this weeping: toil ye and weep as mortals, who to-morrow vanish.
11. Ye are frantic with weeping, for your departed: and ye struggle in toiling, for your possessions.
12. It is well with the infants that die, and blessed are they: for they are freed from the misery, whereunto ye are cast.
13. Suffer me to go to Sheol, and there to say: Happy are ye silent dead, how tranquil are ye!
14. Hear the conclusion of our own words, If there be a resurrection: weep not ye, neither labour as though strangers.
15. Ye straggle as one who was to live, here forever: and ye weep as one who never, should rise again.
16. Hear my words, if there be with you place for hearing: and prepare you provision that when I call ye may answer.17. For I hearken even I, to Him that calls me: and will restore your bodies, with your treasures.18. Let there be peace between us, until that day: and when ye come forth I will cry and say, Depart in peace!19. Come ye, you and I even now, shall give glory: to Him that brings to death and to life, that He may give aid.20. Praise from us all be to thee, O Lord, the living Sacrifice! Who by the sacrifice of Thy Body hast given life to quick and dead.21. Praise to Him Who clothed Himself in our body, and died and rose again: He died in us and we live in Him, blessed be He Who sent Him!
1167 1. Come ye, let us hear how Death convicts the People: that harsher than Death was their sword, against the just.2). R., To Thee be glory, Who by Thy sacrifice, hast redeemed our disgrace: and Whose death was instead of all deaths, that Thou mightst raise all!3. It was not Death indeed that crucified Jesus, but it was the People: how-hateful then the People, that are yet more hateful than I!4. Into the pit they cast Jeremiah, the miry pit: but I in Sheol allotted, honour to his bones.5. Naboth they bruised to death with stones, as though he were a dog: how good am I who have never stoned, even a dog!
6. The Hebrew women in famine, ate their children: Sheol is good who delivers and gives them up, without difficulty.7. To the widow I gave her son, by the hand of Elijah: to the Shunamite her beloved, by the hand of Elisha.8. The Hebrew women in greed, ate their children: Sheol gave up the dead and learned, to fast soberly.9. Sheol was not indeed Sheol, but its semblance: Jezebel was the true Sheol, who devoured the just.10. The sons of the prophets and the prophets, she slew and cast down: to heaven Elijah escaped, from her fury.11. How many deaths instead of one Death, were among the People! and how many Sheols instead of one, were there also!12. Samaria and Jezrael her daughters, in Israel: and Zion and Jerusalem her sister, in Judea.13. Prophets and just men in Judea, and in Israel: in these two abysses, they were drowned.14. Why then is Sheol hated, and she alone: though there be many that are hateful, rather than she?15. The dead of the men of Judah, to me are right hateful: yea, abhorred by me are their bones, in the midst of Sheol.
16. Would that then I had a way to cast them out: to cast their bones thence from Sheol, for they cause her to rot.17. I wonder at the Holy Spirit, that He thus dwelt: in the midst of a People whose savour stank, as their conversation.18. Onions and garlic are the heralds of their doings: as is the food so is the understanding, of this defiled people.19. Through the supplication of all that bow, and worship Thy Father: have mercy on Thy worshipper, who is thankless for Thy love.20. From Hebrews and Aramasans, and also from the Watchers: to Thee be praise and through Thee to Thy Father, be also glory!21. For that I have a mouth to Death, who is without mouth: may the Son Who is all mouths, hold back my offence from His Father!
1168 1). Man. O, Death, be not thou boastful, over the just: the sons of thy Lord who at His command, come to dwell with thee.2). R., To thee be glory that by Thy command, Death has reigned: and by Thy Resurrection has been humbled to low estate Death. Herein am I exceeding great, according to thy saying: that though I be bond-man I trample on them that are free.4 M., Adam was chosen and ruler, and under his yoke: thou, Death, and the Evil One, thy fellow, became bondmen.5). D., This is our pride that lo! the slaves have become lords: Death, and Satan, his fellow, have trampled on Adam.
6). M., Lo! the humbling of thee and thy fellow, accurst servants! how Enoch trampled on you both, and rose aloft and reigned.7). D., If so be Enoch made me grieve, yet have I comfort for on Noahs dust in Sheol, lo! I trample.8). M., Tremble, O Death, before man, for though a servant, the yoke of his dominion reigns on all creatures.9). D., I rejoice then that they are no mean foes that I have overcome: for according to the greatness of the vanquished, he is great that overcomes.10). M., Well does thy voice sing triumph, O Death, over the just: for Enoch and Elijah have broken thy pair of wings.11). D., I know how to weigh my sorrows with my comforts: in place of two, lo! many are come and coming.12). M., All that are come and coming to thee dwell as sojourners, and depart from thy abode as Lazarus.13). D., This thy saying hurts me not, rather it heals me: for Lazarus who rebelled against me, I again subdued.14). M., Make answer, O Death, and argue what constrained him, to be raised unless it were a mystery, showing forth his resurrection.15. D., Ye are famous in arguing as idle ones, while I labour in my task to discern and perform
16). M., Thou wast well prepared for argument, what has checked thee? The truth of our resurrection has constrained thee by its reputations.17). D., Ye have made me hated by you, though I be not hateful: I am he that gives rest to your aged, and your afflicted.18. Ye have made me as one that troubles, O ye mortals: Adam brought death upon you, and I bear the blame.19. Gently will I expose you, for I am a slave, and ye are they that by your sins have made me king.20. The will of Adam roused me for I was at rest: I was dead and ye quickened me, that ye might die by me.21. I accuse the lying ones, who slew and denied it: for Adam slew himself and charges me.22. The beginning of strife was the accursed serpent which has rightly been crippled: which crept, entered, and set enmity between me and you.23. Satan is passed by and it is against me that ye are roused: go, strive with the Evil One who made you transgress.24. He is my comrade and I deny it not, but though he be much hated, what need that I be blamed for him. I deny him henceforth.25. Hearken to my words, O mortals, and I will console you: I have afflicted you and I confess the life from the dead.
26. For there begins to steal into my ears a voice of preparation: of the trumpet that holds itself ready to sound.27. Hear my words and put much oil into your lamps: for hindrance from my part there is none for you.28). Yet, Know ye that even although I have said these things, dear is the sound of your voice in the solitude of Sheol.29. For man has been weighed by me, and great is his peace: for snakes and fishes and birds come to meet him.30. But it is a marvel that to the Watchers, too, his converse is dear: yea, the Evil One in Gehenua, desires his presence.31. Ye shall have life from the dead, O ye mortals, and I who am bereft shall be bereft in the midst of Sheol.32. Let praise ascend from all to Thee Who quickenest all, and from every quarter gatherest the dust of Adam!
(Translated, I.-XIII. By Rev. J. B. Morris, M.a., [Oxford Library of the Fathers]; XIV.-XIX. Byrev. A. Edward Johnston, B.D)..1201 This is the day that gladdened them, the Prophets, Kings, and Priests, for in it were their words fulfilled, and thus were the whole of them indeed performed! For the Virgin this day brought forth Immanuel in Bethlehem. The voice that of old Isaiah spake,1 to-day became reality. He was born there who in writing should tell the Gentiles number! The Psalm that David once sang, by its fulfilment came to-day!2 The word that Mi once spake,3 to-day was come indeed to pass! For there came from Ephrata a Shepherd, and His staff swayed over souls. Lo! from Jacob shone the Star,4 and from Israel rose the Head.5 The prophecy that Balaam spake had its interpreting to-day! Down also came the hidden Light, and from the Body rose His beauty! The light that spake in Zachary, to-day shined in Bethlehem!
Risen is the Light of the kingdom, in Ephrata the city of the King. The blessing wherewith Jacob blessed, to its fulfilment came to-day! That tree likewise, [the tree] of life, brings hope to mortal men! Solomons hidden proverb6 had to-day its explanation! To-day was born the Child, and His name was called Wonder!7 For a wonder it is that God as a Babe should show Himself. By the word Worm did the Spirit foreshow Him in parable,8 because His generation was without marriage. The type that the Holy Ghost figured to-day its meaning was [explained.] He came up as a root before Him, as a root of parched ground.9 Aught that covertly was said, openly to-day was done! The King that in Judah was hidden, Thamar stole Him from his thigh; to-day arose His conquering beauty, which in hidden estate she loved. Rt at Boaz side lay down, because the Medicine of Life hidden in him she perceived. To-day was fulfilled her vow, since from her seed arose the Quickener of all. Travail Adam on the woman brought, that from him had come forth. She to-day her travail ransomed, who to her a Saviour bare! To Eve our mother a man gave birth, who himself had had no birth. How much more should Eves daughter be believed to have borne a Child without a man! The virgin earth, she bare that Adam that was head over the earth! The Virgin bare to-day the Adam that was Head over the Heavens. The staff of Aaron, it budded, and the dry wood yielded fruit! Its mystery is cleared up to-day, for the virgin womb a Child hath borne!10
Shamed is that people which holds the prophets as true; for unless our Saviour has come, their words have been falsified! Blessed be the True One Who came from the Father of the Truth and fulfilled the true seers words, which were accomplished in their truth. From thy treasure-house put forth, Lord, from the coffers of Thy Scriptures, names of righteous men of old, who looked to see Thy coming! Seth who was in Abels stead shadowed out the Son as slain, by Whose death was dulled the envy Cain had brought into the world! Noah saw the sons of God, saints that sudden waxed wanton, and the Holy Son he looked for, by whom lewd men were turned to holiness. The brothers twain, that covered Noah,11 saw the only Son of God who should come to hide the nakedness of Adam, who was drunk with pride. Shem and Japhet, being gracious, looked for the gracious Son, Who should come anti set free Canaan from the servitude of sin.
Melchizedek expected Him; as His vicegerent, looked that he might see the Priesthoods Lord whose hyssop12 purifies the world. Lot beheld the Sodomites how they perverted nature: for natures Lord he looked who gave a holiness not natural. Him Aaron looked for, for he saw that if his rod ate serpents up,13 His cross would eat the Serpent up that had eaten Adam and Eve. Moses saw the uplifted serpent that had cured the bites of asps, and he looked to see Him who would heal the ancient Serpents wound. Moses saw that he himself alone retained the brightness from God, and he looked for Him who came and multiplied gods by His teaching:14
Caleb the spy bore the cluster on the staff, and came and longed to see the Cluster, Whose wine should comfort the world. Him did Jesus son of Nun long for, that he might conceive the force of his own surname: for if by His name he waxed so mighty,15 how much more would He by His Birth? This Jesus that gathered and carried, and brought with him of the fruit, was longing for the Tree of Life to taste the Fruit that quickens all. For Him Rahab too was looking; for when the scarlet thread in type redeemed her from wrath, in type she tasted of the Truth. For Him Elijah longed, and when Him on earth he saw not, he, through faith most throughly cleansed, mounted up in heaven to see Him. Moses saw Him and Elijah; the meek man from the depth ascended, the zealous from on high descended, and in the midst beheld the Son. They figured the mystery of His Advent: Moses was a type of the dead, and Elijah a type of the living, that fly to meet Him at His coming.16 For the dead that have tasted death, them He makes to be first: and the rest that are not buried, are last caught up to meet Him.
Who is there that can count me up the just that looked for the Son, whose number cannot be determined by the mouth of us weak creatures? Pray ye for me, O beloved, that another time with strength endued, I in another legend may so set forth their foretaste, as I am able. Who is adequate to the praising of the Son of the Truth that has risen to us? For it was for Him the righteous longed, that in their generation they might see Him. Adam looked for Him, for He is the Cherubs Lord, and could minister an entrance and a residence hard by the branches of the Tree of life. Abel longed after Him, that in his days He might come; that instead of that lamb that he offered, the Lamb of God he might behold. For Him Eve also looked; for womans nakedness was sore, and He capable to clothe them; not with leaves, but with that same glory that they had exchanged away. The tower that the many builded, in mystery looked for One, who coming down would build on earth a tower that lifts up to Heaven. Yea the ark of living creatures looked in a type for our Lord; for He should build the Holy Church, wherein souls find a refuge. In Pelegs days earth was divided into tongues, threescore and ten.17 For Him Who by the tongues, to His Apostles divided earth. Earth which the flood had swallowed up, in silence cried to her Lord. He came down and opened Baptism, and men were drawn by it to Heaven. Seth and Enos, Cainan too, were surnamed sons of God; for the Son of God they looked, that they by grace might be His brethren. But little short of a thousand years did Methuselah live: He looked for the Son Who makes heirs of life that never ends! Grace itself in hidden mystery was beseeching on their behalf that their Lord might come in their age and fill up their shortcomings. For the Holy Spirit in them, in their stead, besought with meditation:18 He stirred them up, and in Him did they look on that Redeemer, after whom they longed.19
The soul of just men perceive in the Son a Medicine of life; and so it felt desires that He might come in its own days, and then would it taste His sweetness. Enoch was longing for Him, and since on earth the Son he saw not, he was justified by great faith, and mounted up in Heaven to see Him. Who is there that will spurn at grace, when the Gift that they of old gained not by much labour, freely comes to men now? For Him Lamech also looked who might come and lovingly give Him quiet from his labour and the toiling of his hands, and from the earth the Just One had cursed.20 Lamech then beheld his son, Noah,him, in whom were figured types relating to the Son. In the stead of the Lord afar off, the type at hand afforded quiet. Yea Noah also longed to see Him, the taste of whose assisting graces he had tasted. For if the type of Him preserved living things, Himself how sure to bestow life upon souls! Noah longed for Him, by trial knowing Him, for through Him had the ark been established. For if the type of Him thus saved life, assuredly much more would He in person. Abraham perceived in Spirit that the Sons Birth was far of; instead of Him in person he rejoiced to see even His day.21 To see Him Isaac longed, as having tasted the taste of His redemption;22 for if the sign of Him so gave life, much more would He by the reality.
Joyous23 were to-day the Watchers,24 that the Wakeful came to wake us! Who would pass this night in slumber, in which all the world was watching? Since Adam brought into the world the sleep of death by sins, the Wakeful came down that He might awake us from the deep sleep of sin. Watch not we as usurers, who thinking on money put to interest, watch at night so oft, to reckon up their capital, and interest. Wakeful and cautious is the thief, who in the earth hath buried and concealed his sleep. His wakefulness all [comes to] this, that he may cause much wakefulness to them that be asleep. Wakeful likewise is the glutton, who hath eaten much and is restless; his watching is to him his torment, because he was impatient of stint. Wakeful likewise is the merchant; of a night he works his fingers telling over what pounds are coming, and if his wealth doubles or trebles. Wakeful likewise is the rich man, whose sleep his riches chase away: his dogs sleep; he guards his treasures from the thieves. Wakeful also is the careful, by his care his sleep is swallowed: though his end stands by his pillow, yet he wakes with cares for years to come. Satan teaches, O my brethren, one watching instead of another; to good deeds to be sleepy, and to ill awake and watchful. Even Judas Iscariot, for the whole night through was wakeful; and he sold the righteous Blood, that purchased the whole world. The son of the dark one put on darkness, having stripped the Light from off him: and Him who created silver, for silver the thief sold. Yea, Pharisees, the dark ones sons, all the night through kept awake: the dark ones watched that they might veil the Light which is unlimited. Ye then watch as [heavens] lights in this night of starry light. For though so dark be its colour yet in virtue it is clear.
For whoever is like this clear One, wakeful and prayerful in darkness, him in this darkness visible a light unseen surrounds! The bad man that in daylight stands, yet as a son of darkness deals; though with light clad outwardly, inly is with darkness girt. Be we not deceived, beloved, by the fact that we are watching! For whoso does not rightly watch, his watch is an unrighteous watch. Whoso watches not cheerfully, his watching is but a sleeping: whoso also watches not innocently, even his waking is his foe. This is the waking of the envious one! a solid mass, compact with harm. That watch is but a trafficking, with scorn and mockery compact. The wrathful man if he wakes, fretful with wrath his wake will be, and his watching proves to him full of rage and of cursings. If the babbler be waking, then his mouth becomes a passage which for sins is ready but for prayers shows hindrance.
The wise man, if so be he that watches, one of two things chooseth him; either takes sweet, moderate, sleep, or a holy vigil keeps.25 That night is fair, wherein He Who is Fair26 rose to come and make us fair. Let not aught that may disturb it enter into our watch! Fair be kept the ears approach,27 chaste the seeing of the eye! hallowed the musing of the heart! the speaking of the mouth be cleared. Mary hid in us to-day leaven that came from Abraham. Let us then so pity beggars as did Abraham the needy. To-day the rennet fell on us from the gentle Davids house. Let a man show mercy to his persecutors, as did Jesses son to Saul.28 The prophets sweet salt29 is to-day sprinkled among the Gentiles. Let us gain a new savour30 by that whereby the ancient people lost their savour. Let us speak the speech of wisdom; speak we not of things outside it, lest we ourselves be outside it!
In this night of reconcilement let no man be wroth or gloomy! in this night that stills all, none that threatens or disturbs! This night belongs to the sweet One; bitter or harsh be in it none! In this night that is the meek Ones, high or haughty be in it none! In this day of pardoning let us not exact trespasses! In this day of gladnesses let us not spread sadnesses! In this day so sweet, let us not be harsh! In this day of peaceful rest, let us not be wrathful in it! In this day when God came to sinners, let not the righteous be in his mind uplifted over sinner! In this day in which there came the Lord of all unto the servants, let masters too condescend to their servants lovingly! In this day in which the Rich became poor for our sakes, let the rich man make the poor man share with him at his table. On this day to us came forth the Gift, although we asked it not! Let us therefore bestow alms on them that cry and beg of us. This is the day that opened for us a gate on high to our prayers. Let us open also gates to supplicants that have transgressed, and of us have asked [forgiveness.] To-day the Lord of nature was against His nature changed; let it not to us be irksome to turn our evil wills. Fixed in nature is the body; great or less it cannot become: but the will has such dominion, it can grow to any measure. To-day Godhead sealed itself upon Manhood, that so with the Godheads stamp Manhood might be adorned).
1 (Is 10,19,
2 (Ps 87,6.
3 (Mi 5,2,
4 (Nb 24,17,
5 (Os 1
6 (Pr 3,18,
7 (Is 9,6,
8 (Ps 22,6,
9 (Is 53,2,
10 Notice here, how St. Ephraim (in common with others) speaks of the celebration of the day as if it was the day itself, partly in exhibiting his intense realization through faith of the mystery and the re-presentation of it, to use the word in its ancient sense partly as evincing, perhaps, a belief in the unabidingness of our conceptions of timea belief resulting, it may be, from the mystical union with God in Christ which the saints enjoy. For to God time is as nothing, and those who through grace are one with Him, begin to view things as He views them.
11 (Gn 9,23.
12 (Lv 14,52,
13 Ex 7,12.
14 St. E. refers here to St. Jn 10,34, where the Word Himself teaches us that it was by His coming to them that Saints of old were called Gods.
15 (He 4,8,
16 1Th 4,17.
17 This in round numbers is the received account of the number of languages at the dispersion.
18 (Rm 8,26,
19 1P 1,11.
20 (Gn 5,29,
21 (Jn 8,56,
22 (He 11,19,
23 (Da 4,23,
24 I. e. the Angels; as usually in St. E.s writings.
25 (Ps 45,5,
26 Ct 1,15.
27 St. E. here alludes to the early days of David ; he brought cheeses to his brethren ; these were made by separating the curd from the whey with rennet, a small quantity of which will curdle much milk, as a little leaven leavens the whole lump.
28 1S 26,26.
29 (2R 2,20,
30 (Mt 5,13,
Ephraim, Apapphrat 1161