Ephraim, Apapphrat 1311
(Resp.—Let the bodies rejoice which the Evil One had made naked, that in the water they have put on their glory!)
1. Give thanks, O daughter, that thy crownings have been doubled;—for lo! thy temples and thy sons rejoice.—The dedication of thy temples is in the ministration;-The dedication of thy sons is in the anointing.—Blessed art thou that at once ......—...... the tabernacle for them that dwell in thee,—and the Spirit has abode upon thy sons!
2. Our Lord opened up Baptism—in the midst of Jordan the blessed river.—The height and the depth rejoiced in Him;—He brings forth the first fruits of His peace from the water,—for they are first fruits, the fruits of Baptism.—The good God in His compassion will bring to pass—that His peace shall be first fruits on earth.
3. Moses stretched out the temporal Tabernacle;—the priests bathed themselves in water,—and went in and ministered; and were stricken and punished,—because their heart within was not cleansed.—Blessed art thou that in the Passover of the great Passion,—the priests by the savour of their oblations,—lo! are cleansing souls in thee!
4. Great was the mystery that the Prophet saw,—the torrent that was mighty.—Into its depths he gazed and beheld—thy beauty instead of himself; thee it was he saw, for thy faith passes not away,—thou whose flood unseen shall overwhelm—the subtle-ties of idolatry.
5. Though John was great among them that are born of women,—yet he that is little is greater than he,—in this that his baptized were again baptized,—in the baptism that was of the Apostles.—Blessed art thou that thy priest is greater than he—in this alone that forever—abides his baptism.
6. The baptism that was of Siloam—did not bring mercy to the man that was laid there—who for thirty and eight years awaited it,—for he was a respecter of the persons of the Levites.—Blessed art thou that thy healing is in thee for all men,—and thy priests are devoted and ready—for all that are in need of thy help.
7. The Prophet healed the waters that were unwholesome,—and cured the disease of the land that was barren,—so that its death was done away and its region resounded, for its offspring increased and its bosom was filled.—Greater is Thy grace, Lord, than Elisha’s!—Multiply my lambs and my flocks—at the great stream of my fountain!8
8. Great is the marvel that is within thy abode;—the flocks together with the Shepherds,—those at the stream of the waters,—two unseen with one manifest who baptizes.—Blessed is he who is baptized in their fountains!—for three arms have upheld him,—and three Names have preserved him!
1 See p. 177.
2 Equivalent to Augustus.
3 (Ap 21,6.
4 (So in Peshitto, 1 Kin. I. 38; but Gihon in the Hebrew.
5 1M 1,19.
6 ’Arbo=ram; ’Arboyo=Arab.
7 The rendering of this line is very conjectural.
8 (Ez 47,1, sq).
(Resp.—Blessed is He Who went down and was baptized in Jordan, and turned back the People from error!)
1. In Baptism Adam found again—that glory that was among the trees of Eden.-He went down, and received it out of the water;—he put it on, and went up and was adorned therein.—Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
2. Man fell in the midst of Paradise,—and in baptism compassion restored him:-he lost his comeliness through Satan’s envy,—and found it again by God’s grace.-Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
3. The wedded pair were adorned in Eden;—but the serpent stole their crowns:-yet mercy crushed down the accursed one,—and made the wedded pair goodly in their raiment.—Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
4. They clothed themselves with leaves of necessity;—but the Merciful had pity on their beauty,—and instead of leaves of trees,—He clothed them with glory in the water.—Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
5. Baptism is the well-spring of life,—which the Son of God opened by His Life;-and from His Side it has brought forth streams.—Come, all that thirst, come, rejoice!—Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
6. The Father has sealed Baptism, to exalt it;—and the Son has espoused it to glorify it;—and the Spirit with threefold seal—has stamped it, and it has shone in holiness.—Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
7. The Trinity that is unsearchable—has laid up treasures in baptism.—Descend, ye poor, to its fountain!—and be enriched from it, ye needy!—Blessed be He that has mercy on all!
(Resp.—Brethren, sing praises, to the Son of the Lord of all; Who has bound for you crowns, such as king’s long for!)
1. Your garments glisten, my brethren, as snow;—and fair is your shining in the likeness of Angels!
2. In the likeness of Angels, ye have come up, beloved,—from Jordan’s river, in the armour of the Holy Ghost.
3. The bridal chamber that fails not, my brethren, ye have received:—and the glory of Adam’s house to-day ye have put on.
4. The judgment that came of the fruit, was Adam’s condemnation:—but for you victory, has arisen this day.
5. Your vesture is shining, and goodly your crowns:—which the Firstborn has bound for you, by the priest’s hand this day.6. Woe in Paradise, did Adam receive:—but you have received, glory this day.
7. The armour of victory, ye put on, my beloved:—in the hour when the priest, invoked the Holy Ghost.
8. The Angels rejoice, men here below exult:—in your feast, my brethren, wherein is no foulness.
9. The good things of Heaven, my brethren, ye have received:—beware of the Evil One, lest he despoil you.
10. The day when He dawned, the Heavenly King:—opens for you His door, and bids you enter Eden.
11. Crowns that fade not away, are set on your heads:—hymns of praise hourly, let your mouths sing.
12. Adam by means of the fruit, God cast forth in sorrow:—but you He makes glad, in the bride-chamber of joy.
13. Who would not rejoice, in your bridechamber, my brethren?—for the Father with His Son, and the Spirit rejoice in you.
14. Unto you shall the Father, be a wall of strength:—and the Son a Redeemer, and the Spirit a guard.
15. Martyrs by their blood, glorify their crowns:—but you our Redeemer, by His Blood glorifies.
16. Watchers and Angels, joy over the repentant:—they shall joy over you my brethren, that unto them ye are made like.
17. The fruit which Adam, tasted not in Paradise:—this day in your mouths, has been placed with joy.
18. Our Redeemer figured, His Body by the tree:—whereof Adam tasted not, because he had sinned.
19. The Evil One made war, and subdued Adam’s house:—through your baptism, my brethren, lo! he is subdued this day.
20. Great is the victory, but to-day you have won:—if so be ye neglect not, you shall not perish, my brethren.
21. Glory to them that are robed, glory to Adam’s house!—in the birth that is from the water, let them rejoice and be blessed!
22. Praise to Him Who has robed, His Churches in glory!—glory to Him Who has magnified, the race of Adam’s house).
(Resp.—Glory to Thee, my Lord, for Thee—with joy Heaven and earth worship!)
1. My thought bore me to Jordan,—and I saw a marvel when there was revealed—the glorious Bridegroom who to the Bride—shall bring freedom and holiness.
2. I saw John filled with wonder,—and the multitudes standing about him,—and the glorious Bridegroom bowed down—to the Son of the barren that he might baptize Him.
3. At the Word and the Voice my thought marvelled:—for lo! John was the Voice; —our Lord was manifested as the Word, that what was hidden should become revealed.
4. The Bride was espoused but knew not—who was the Bridegroom on whom she gazed:—the guests were assembled, the desert was filled,—and our Lord was hidden among them.
5. Then the Bridegroom revealed Himself;—and to John at the voice He drew near:—and the Forerunner was moved and said of Him—”This is the Bridegroom Whom I proclaimed.”
6. He came to baptism Who baptizes all,—and He showed Himself at Jordan.-Jn saw Him and drew back,—deprecating, and thus he spake:—
7. “How, my Lord, willest Thou to be baptized,—Thou Who in Thy baptism atonest all?—Baptism looks unto Thee;—shed Thou on it holiness and perfection?”
8. Our Lord said “I will it so;—draw near, baptize Me that My Will may be done.—Resist My Will thou canst not:—I shall be baptized of thee, for thus I will it.”
9. “I entreat, my Lord, that I be not compelled,—for this is hard that Thou hast said to me,—’I have need that thou shouldst baptize Me;’—for it is Thou that with Thy hyssop purifiest all.”
10. “I have asked it, and it pleases Me that thus it should be;—and thou, John, why gainsayest thou?—Suffer righteousness to be fulfilled,—and come, baptize Me; why standest Thou?”
11. “How can one openly grasp—in his hands the fire that burns?—O Thou that art fire have mercy on me,—and bid me not come near Thee, for it is hard for me!”
12. “I have revealed to Thee My Will; what questionest thou?—Draw near, baptize Me, and thou shalt not be burned.—The bridechamber is ready; keep Me not back—from the wedding-feast that has been made ready.”
13. “The Watchers fear and dare not—gaze on Thee lest they be blinded;—and I, how, O my Lord, shall I baptize Thee?—I am too weak to draw near; blame me not!”
14. “Thou fearest; therefore gainsay not—against My Will in what I desire:—and Baptism has respect unto Me.—Accomplish the work to which thou hast been called!”
15. “Lo! I proclaimed Thee at Jordan—in the ears of the people that believed not and if they shall see Thee baptized of me,—they will doubt that Thou art the Lord.”
16. “Lo! I am to be baptized in their sight,—and the Father Who sent Me bears witness of Me—that I am His Son and in Me He is well pleased,—to reconcile Adam who was under His wrath.”
17. “It becomes, me. O my Lord, to know my nature—that I am moulded out of the ground,—and Thou the moulder Who formest all things:—I, then, why should I baptize Thee in water?”
18. “It becomes thee to know wherefore I am come,—and for what cause I have desired that thou shouldst baptize Me.—It is the middle of the way wherein I have walked;—withhold thou not Baptism.”
19. “Small is the river whereto Thou art come,—that Thou shouldst lodge therein and it should cleanse Thee.—The heavens suffice not for Thy mightiness;—how much less shall Baptism contain Thee!”
20. “The womb is smaller than Jordan;—yet was I willing to lodge in the Virgin:—and as I was born from woman,—so too am I to be baptized in Jordan.”
21. “Lo! the hosts are standing!—the ranks of Watchers, lo! they worship And if I draw near, my Lord, to baptize Thee,—I tremble for myself with quaking.”
22. “The hosts and multitudes call thee happy,—all of them, for that thou baptizest Me.—For this I have chosen thee from the womb:—fear thou not, for I have willed it
23. “I have prepared the way as I was sent:—I have betrothed the Bride as I was commanded.—May Thy Epiphany be spread over the world—now that Thou art come, and let me not baptize Thee!”
24. “This is My preparation, for so have I willed;—I will go down and be baptized in Jordan,—and make bright the armour for them that are baptized,—that they may be white in Me and I not be conquered.”
25. “Son of the Father, why should I baptize Thee?—for lo! Thou art in Thy Father and Thy Father in Thee.—Holiness unto the priests Thou givest;—water that is common wherefore askest Thou?”
26. “The children of Adam look unto Me,—that I should work for them the new birth.—A way in the waters I will search out for them,—and if I be not baptized this cannot be.”
27. “Pontiffs of Thee are consecrated,—priests by Thy hyssop are purified;—the anointed and the kings Thou makest.—Baptism, how shall it profit Thee?”
28. “The Bride thou betrothedst to Me awaits Me,—that I should go down, be baptized, and sanctify her.—Friend of the Bridegroom withhold Me not—from the washing that awaits Me.”
29. “I am not able, for I am weak,—Thy blaze in my hands to grasp.—Lo! Thy legions are as flame;—bid one of the Watchers baptize Thee!”
30. “Not from the Watchers was My Body assumed,—that I should summon a Watcher to baptize Me.—The body of Adam, lo! I have put on,—and thou, son of Adam, art to baptize Me.”
31. “The waters saw Thee, and greatly feared ;—the waters saw Thee, and lo! they tremble!—The river foams in its terror;—and I that am weak, how shall I baptize Thee?”
32. “The waters in My Baptism are sanctified,—and fire and the Spirit from Me shall they receive;—and if I be not baptized they are not made perfect—to be fruitful of children that shall not die.”
33. “Fire, if to Thy fire it draw near,—shall be burnt up of it as stubble.—The mountains of Sinai endured Thee not,—and I that am weak, wherein shall I baptize Thee?”
34. “I am the flaming fire;—yet for man’s sake I became a babe—in the virgin womb of the maiden.—And now I am to be baptized in Jordan.”
35. “It is very meet that Thou shouldst baptize me,—for Thou hast holiness to purify all.—In Thee it is that the defiled are made holy; but Thou that art holy, why art Thou to be baptized?”
36. “It is very right that thou shouldst baptize Me,—as I bid, and shouldst not gainsay.—Lo! I baptized thee within the womb;—baptize thou me in Jordan!”
37. “I am a bondman and I am weak.—Thou that freest all have mercy on me! Thy latchets to unloose I am not able;—Thy exalted head who will make me worthy to touch?”
38. “Bondmen in My Baptism are set free;—handwritings in My washing are blotted out ;—manumissions in the water are sealed ;—and if I be not baptized all these come to nought.”
39. “A mantle of fire the air wears,—and waits for Thee, above Jordan;—and if Thou consentest to it and willest to be baptized,—Thou shall baptize Thyself and fulfil all.”
40. “This is meet, that thou shouldst baptize Me,—that none may err and say concerning Me,—’Had He not been alien from the Father’s house,—why feared the Levite to baptize Him?’ “
41. “The prayer, then, when Thou art baptized,—how shall I complete over Jordan?—When the Father and the Spirit are seen over Thee,—Whom shall I call on, as priest?”
42. “The prayer in silence is to be completed:—come, thy hand alone lay thou on Me.—and the Father shall utter in the priest’s stead—that which is meet concerning His Son.”
43. “They that are bidden, lo! all of them stand;—the Bridegroom’s guests, lo! they bear witness—that day by day I said among them,—’I am the Voice and not the Word.’ “
44. “Voice of him that cries in the wilderness,—fulfil thou the work for which thou camest,—that the desert whereunto thou wentest out may resound—with the mighty peace thou preachedst therein.”
45. “The shout of the Watchers has come to my ears;—lo! I hear from the Father’s house—the hosts that sound forth the cry,—’In Thy Epiphany, O Bridegroom, the worlds have life.’ “
46. “The time hastes on, and the marriage guests—look to Me to see what is doing.—Come, baptize Me, that they may give praise—to the Voice of the Father when it is heard!”
47. “I hearken, my Lord, according to Thy Word:—come to Baptism as Thy love constrains Thee!—The dust worships that whereunto he has attained,—that on Him Who fashioned him he should lay his hand.”
48. The heavenly ranks were silent as they stood,—and the Bridegroom went down into Jordan;—the Holy One was baptized and straightway went up,—and His Light shone forth on the world.
49. The doors of the highest were opened above,—and the voice of the Father was heard,—” This is my Beloved in Whom I am well pleased.”—All ye peoples, come and worship Him.
50. They that saw were amazed as they stood, at the Spirit Who came down and bare witness to Him.—Praise to Thy Epiphany that gladdens all,—Thou in Whose revelation the worlds are lightened!
1. In the Birth of the Son light dawned,—and darkness fled from the world,—and the earth was enlightened; then let it give glory—to the brightness of the Father Who has enlightened it!
2. He dawned from the womb of the Virgin,—and the shadows passed away when He was seen,—and the darkness of error was strangled by Him,—and the ends of the earth were enlightened that they should give glory.
3. Among the peoples there was great tumult,—and in the darkness the light dawned,—and the nations rejoiced to give glory—to Him in Whose Birth they all were enlightened.
4. His light shone out over the east;—Persia was enlightened by the star:—His Epiphany gave good tidings to her and invited her,—” He is come for the sacrifice that brings joy to all.”
5. The star of light hasted and came and dawned—through the darkness, and summoned them—that the peoples should come and exult—in the great Light that has come down to earth.
6. One envoy from among the stars—the firmament sent to proclaim to them,—to the sons of Persia, that they might make ready—to meet the King and to worship Him.
7. Great Assyria when she perceived it—called to the Magi and said to them,—”Take gifts and go, honour Him—the great King Who in Judea has dawned.”
8. The princes of Persia, exulting,—carried gifts from their region;—and they brought to the Son of the Virgin—gold and myrrh and frankincense.
9. They entered and found Him as a child—as He dwelt in the house of the lowly woman;—and they drew near and worshipped with gladness,—and brought near before Him their treasures.
10. Mary said, “For whom are these?—and for what purpose? and what is the cause—that has called you to come from your country—to the Child with your treasures?”
11. They said, “Thy Son is a King,—and He binds crowns and is King of all;-and great is His power over the world,—and to His Kingdom shall all be obedient.”
12. “At what time did this come to pass,—that a lowly woman should bring forth a King? I who am in need and in want,—how then could a king come forth from me?”
13. “In thee alone has this come to pass—that a mighty King from thee should appear;—thee in whom poverty shall be magnified,—and to thy Son shall crowns be made subject.”
14. “Treasures of Kings I have not;—riches have never fallen to my lot.—My house is lowly and my dwelling needy;—why then proclaim ye that my Son is King?”
15. “Great treasure is in thy Son,—and wealth that suffices to make all rich;—for the treasures of kings are impoverished,—but He fails not nor can be measured.”
16. “Whether haply some other be for your—the King that is born, enquire ye concerning Him.—This is the son of a lowly woman,—of one who is not meet to look on a King.”
17. “Can it be that light should ever miss—the way whereon it has been sent? It was not darkness that summoned and led us;—in light we walked, and thy Son is King.”
18. “Lo! ye see a babe without speech,—and the house of His mother empty and needy,—and of that which pertains to a king nought is in it:—how then in it is a king to be seen?”
19. “Lo! we see that without speech and at rest—is the King, and lowly as thou hast said:—but again we see that the stars—in the highest He bids haste to proclaim Him.”
20. “It were meet, O men, that ye should enquire—who is the King, and then adore him;—lest haply your way has been mistaken,—and another is the King that is born.”
21. “It were meet, O maiden, that thou shouldst receive it,—that we have learned that thy Son is King,—from the star of light that errs not,—and plain is the way, and he has led us.”
22 “The Child is a little one, and lo! he has not—the diadem of a king and of a throne;—and what have ye seen that ye should pay honour to Him,—as to a king, with your treasures?”
23. “A little one, because He willed it for quietness’ sake,—and meek now until He be revealed.—A time shall be for Him when all diadems—shall bow down and worship Him.”
24. “Armies he has none;—nor has my Son legions and troops:—in the poverty of His mother He dwells;—why then King is He called by you?”
25. “The armies of thy Son are above;—they ride on high, and they flame,—and one of them it was that came and summoned us,—and all our country was dismayed.”
26. “The Child is a babe, and how is it possible—He should be King, unknown to the world?—And they that are mighty and of renown,—how can a babe be their ruler?”
27. “Thy babe is aged, O Virgin,—and Ancient of Days and exalted above all and Adam beside Him is very babe,—and in Him all created things are made new.”
28. “It is very seemly that ye should expound—all the mystery and explain it;— who it is that reveals to you the mystery of my Son,—that He is a King in your region.”
29. “It is likewise seemly for thee to accept this,—that unless the truth had led us we had not wandered hither from the ends of the earth,—nor come for the sake of thy Son.”
30. “All the mystery as it was wrought—among you there in your country,—reveal ye to me now as friends.—Who was He that called you to come to me?”
31. “A mighty Star appeared to us—that was glorious exceedingly above the stars,—and our land by its fire was kindled;—that this King had appeared it bore tidings to us.”
32. “Do not, I beseech you, speak of—-these things in our land lest they rage,—and the kings of the earth join together—against the Child in their envy.”
33. “Be not thou dismayed, O Virgin!—Thy Son shall bring to nought all diadems, and set them underneath his heel;—and they shall not subdue Him Whom they envy.”
34. “Because of Herod I am afraid,—that unclean wolf, lest he assail me,—and draw his sword and with it cut off—the sweet cluster before it be ripe.”
35. “Because of Herod fear thou not;—for in the hands of thy Son is his throne placed:—and as soon as He shall reign it shall be laid low,—and his diadem shall fall on the earth beneath.”
36. “A torrent of blood is Jerusalem,—wherein the excellent ones are slain;—and if she perceives Him she will assail Him.—In mystery speak ye, and noise it not abroad.”
37. “All torrents, and likewise swords,—by the hands of thy Son shall be appeased;—and the sword of Jerusalem shall be blunted,—and shall not desire at all to kill.”
38. “The scribes of the priests of Jerusalem—pour forth blood and heed not.— They will arouse murderous strife—against me and against the Child; O Magi, be silent!”
39. “The scribes and the priests will be unable—to hurt thy son in their envy;—for by Him their priesthood shall be dissolved,—and their festivals brought to nought.”
40. “A Watcher revealed to me, when I received—conception of the Babe, that my Son is a King;—that His diadem is from on high and is not dissolved,—he declared to me even as ye do.”
41. “The Watcher, therefore, of whom thou hast spoken—is he who came as a star,—and was shown to us and brought us good tidings—that He is great and glorious above the stars.”
42. “That Angel declared to me—in his good tidings, when he appeared to me,-that to His Kingdom no end shall be—and the mystery is kept and shall not be revealed.”
43. “The Star also declared again to us—that thy Son is He that shall keep the diadem.—His aspect was something changed,—and he was the Angel and made it not known to us.”
44. “Before me when the Watcher showed himself,—he called Him his Lord before He was conceived;—and as the Son of the Highest announced Him to me:—but where His Father is he made not known to me.”
45. “Before us he proclaimed in the form of a star—that the Lord of the Highest is He Who is born;—and over the stars of light thy Son is ruler,—and unless He commands they rise not.”
46. “In your presence, lo! there are revealed—other mysteries, that ye may learn the truth;—how in virginity I bare my Son,—and He is Son of God; go ye, proclaim Him!”
47. “In our presence the Star taught us—that His Birth is exalted above the world and above all beings is thy Son,—and is Son of God according to thy saying.”
48. “The world on high and the world below bear witness to Him,—all the Watchers and the stars,—that He is Son of God and Lord.—Bear ye His fame to your lands!”
49. “All the world on high, in one star,—has stirred up Persia and she has learnt the truth,—that thy Son is Son of God,—and to Him shall all peoples be subject.”
50. “Peace bear ye to your lands:—peace be multiplied in your borders apostles of truth may ye be believed—in all the way that ye shall pass through.”
51. “The peace of thy Son, it shall bear us—in tranquillity to our land, as it has led us hither;—and when His power shall have grasped the worlds,—may He visit our land and bless it!
52. “May Persia rejoice in your glad tidings!—may Assyria exult in your coming—And when my Son’s Kingdom shall arise,—may He plant His standard in your country!”
53. Let the Church sing with rejoicing,—” Glory in the Birth of the Highest,—by Whom the world above and the world below are illumined!”—Blessed be He in Whose Birth all are made glad!
1. On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren; I saw in it mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom; semblances and types of the Majesty; it became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son.
I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand, that I might examine it: I went to look at it on one side, and it proved faces on all sides. I found out that the Son was incomprehensible, since He is wholly Light.
In its brightness I beheld the Bright One Who cannot be clouded, and in its pureness a great mystery, even the Body of our Lord which is well-refined: in its undividedness I saw the Truth which is undivided.
It was so that I saw there its pure conception,—the Church, and the Son within her. The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him, and her type the heaven, since there shone forth from her His gracious Shining.
I saw therein His trophies, and His victories, and His crowns. I saw His helpful and overflowing graces, and His hidden things with His revealed things.
2. It was greater to me than the ark, for I was astonied thereat: I saw therein folds without shadow to them because it was a daughter of light, types vocal without tongues, utterances of mysteries without lips, a silent harp that without voice gave out melodies.
The trumpet falters and the thunder mutters; be not thou daring then; leave things hidden, take things revealed. Thou hast seen in the clear sky a second shower; the clefts of thine ears, as from the clouds, they are filled with interpretations.
And as that manna which alone filled the people, in the place of pleasant meats, with its pleasantnesses, so does this pearl fill me in the place of books, and the reading thereof, and the explanations thereof.
And when I asked if there were yet other mysteries, it had no mouth for me that I might hear from, neither any ears wherewith it might hear me. O thou thing without senses, whence I have gained new senses!
3. It answered me and said, “The daughter of the sea am I, the illimitable sea! And from that sea whence I came up it is that there is a mighty treasury of mysteries in my bosom! Search thou out the sea, but search not out the Lord of the sea!
“I have seen the divers who came down after me, when astonied, so that from the midst of the sea they returned to the dry ground; for a few moments they sustained it not. Who would linger and be searching on into the depths of the Godhead?
“The waves of the Son are full of blessings, and with mischiefs too. Have ye not seen, then, the waves of the sea, which if a ship should struggle with them would break her to pieces, and if she yield herself to them, and rebel not against them, then she is preserved? In the sea all the Egyptians were choked, though they scrutinised it not, and, without prying, the Hebrews too were overcome upon the dry land, and how shall ye be kept alive? And the men of Sodom were licked up by the fire, and how shall ye prevail?
“At these uproars the fish in the sea were moved,1 and Leviathan also. Have ye then a heart of stone that ye read these things and run into these errors? O great fear that justice also should be so long silent!”2
4. “Searching is mingled with thanksgiving, and whether of the two will prevail? The incense of praise riseth along with the fume of disputation from the tongue, and unto which shall we hearken? Prayer and prying [come] from one mouth,3 and which shall we listen to?
“For three days was Jonah a neighbour [of mine] in the sea: the living things that were in the sea were aftrighted, [saying,] “Who shall flee from God? Jonah fled, and ye are obstinate at your scrutiny of Him!”
1. Whereunto art thou like? Let thy stillness speak to one that hears; with silent mouth speak with us: for whoso hears the stammerings of thy silence, to him thy type utters its silent cry concerning our Redeemer.
Thy mother is a virgin of the sea; though he took her not [to wife]: she fell into his bosom, though he knew her not; she conceived thee near him, though he did not know her. Do thou, that art a type, reproach the Jewish women that have thee hung upon them. Thou art the only progeny of all forms which art like to the Word on High, Whom singly the Most High begot. The engraven forms seem to be the type of created things above. This visible offspring of the invisible womb is a type of great things.4 Thy goodly conception was without seed, and without wedlock was thy pure generation, and without brethren was thy single birth.
Our Lord had brethren and yet not brethren, since He was an Only-Begotten. O solitary one, thou type exact of the Only-Begotten! There is a type of thine in the crown of kings,[wherein] thou hast brothers and sisters.
Goodly gems are thy brethren, with beryls and unions as thy companions: may gold be as it were thy kinsman, may there be unto the King of kings a crown from thy well-beloved ones! When thou camest up from the sea, that living tomb, thou didst cry out. Let me have a goodly assemblage of brethren, relatives, and kinsmen. As the wheat is in the stalk, so thou art in the crown with princes: and it is a just restoration to thee, as if of a pledge,5 that from that depth thou shouldest be exalted to a goodly eminence. Wheat the stalk bears in the field; thee the head of the king upon his chariot carries about.
O daughter of the water, who hast left sea, wherein thou wert born, and art gone up to the dry land, wherein thou art beloved: for men have loved and seized and adorned themselves with thee, like as they did that Offspring Whom the Gentiles loved and crowned themselves withal.
It is by the mystery of truth that Leviathan is trodden down of mortals: the divers put him off, and put on Christ. In the sacrament of oil did the Apostles6 steal Thee away, and came up. They snatched their souls from his mouth, bitter as it was).
Thy Nature is like a silent lamb in its sweetness, of which if a man is to lay hold, he lifts it in a crucial form by its ears, as it was on Golgotha. He cast out abundantly all His gleams upon them that looked upon Him.
2. Shadowed forth in thy beauty is the beauty of the Son, Who clothed Himself with suffering when the nails passed through Him. The awl passed in thee since they handled thee roughly, as they did His hands; and because He suffered He reigned, as by thy sufferings thy beauty increased.
And if they showed no pity upon thee, neither did they love thee: still suffer as thou mightest, thou hast come to reign I Simon Peter7 showed pity on the Rock; whoso hath smitten it, is himself thereby overcome; it is by reason of Its suffering that Its beauty hath adorned the height and the depth.
1. Thou dost not hide thyself in thy bareness, O pearl! With the love of thee is the merchant ravished also, for he strips off his garments; not to cover thee,[seeing] thy · clothing is thy light, thy garment is thy brightness, O thou that art bared!
Thou art like Eve who was clothed with nakedness. Cursed be he that deceived her and stripped her and left her. The serpent cannot strip off thy glory. In the mysteries whose type thou art, women are clothed with Light in Eden.8
2. Very glistening are the pearls of Ethiopia, as it is written, Who gave thee to Ethiopia [the land] of black men.9 He that gave light to the Gentiles, both to the Ethiopians and unto the Indians did His bright beams reach.
The eunuch of Ethiopia upon his chariot10 saw Philip: the Lamb of Light met the dark man from out of the water. While he was reading, the Ethiopian was baptised and shone with joy, and journeyed on!
(He made disciples and taught, and out of black men he made men white.11 And the dark Ethiopic women12 became pearls for the Son; He offered them up to the Father, as a glistening crown from the Ethiopians.
3. The Queen of Sheba13 was a sheep14 that had come into the place of wolves; the lamp of truth did Solomon give her, who also married15 her when he fell away. She was enlightened and went away, but they were dark as their manner was.
The bright spark which went down home with that blessed[Queen], held on its shining amid the darkness, till the new Day-spring came. The bright spark met with this shining, and illumined the place.
4. There are in the sea divers fishes of many cubits, and with all their greatness they are very small; but by thy littleness the crown is made great, like as the Son, by whose littleness Adam was made great.
For the head is thy crown intended: for the eye thy beauty, for the ear thy goodliness. Come up from the sea, thou neighbour to the dry land, and come and sojourn by the [seat of] hearing. Let the ear love the word of life as it loveth thee!In the ear is the word, and without it is the pearl. Let it as being warned by thee, by thee get wisdom, and be warned by the word of truth. Be thou its mirror: the beauty of the Word in thine own beauty shall it see: in thee it shall learn how precious is the Word on High! The ear is the leaf: the flesh is the tree, and thou in the midst of it are a fruit of light, and to the womb that brings forth Light, thou art a type that points.
Thee He used as a parable of that kingdom, O pearl! as He did the virgins that entered into it, five in number, clothed with the light of their lamps! To thee are those bright ones like, thou that art clad in light!
5. Who would give a pearl to the daughter of the poor? For when it hangs on her, it becomes her not. Gain without price that faith, all of which becomes all the limbs of men. But for no gold would a lady exchange her pearl.
It were a great disgrace if thou shouldst throw thy pearl away into the mire for nought!
In the pearl of time let us behold that of eternity; for it is in the purse, or in the seal, or in the treasury. Within the gate there are other gates with their locks and keys. Thy pearl hath the High One sealed up as taking account of all.
Ephraim, Apapphrat 1311