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Home > Fathers of the Church > Nisibene Hymns (Ephraim) > Nos. 52-68

The Nisibene Hymns

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Hymn 52.

Concerning Satan and Death.

1. I heard Death and Satan, as they disputed, which was the more powerful, among men. R., To You be glory, Son of the Shepherd of All, Who delivered His flock from the secret wolves that devoured it, the Evil One and Death!— 2. Death showed his power, that he conquers all; Satan showed his guile, that he makes all to sin.— 3. Death, To you, O Evil One, none hearkens save he that wills: to me he that wills and he that wills not, even to me they come.— 4. Satan, Yours, O Death, is but the force of tyranny: mine are snares and nets of subtlety.— 5. D., Hear, O Evil One, that who so is subtle breaks off your yoke: but none is there that is able to escape my yoke.— 6. S., You, Death, prove your might on him that is sick: but I over them that are whole, am exceeding powerful.— 7. D., The Evil One prevails not over all those that revile him: but for me he that has cursed me and he that curses me, come into my hands.— 8. S., You, Death, from God, hast gotten your might: I alone by none am I helped, when I lead men to sin.— 9. D., You, O Evil-One, like a weakling: while like a king I exercise my dominion.— 10. S., You are a fool, O Death, not to know how great am I: who suffice to capture free will, the sovereign power.— 11. D., You, O Evil One, like a thief, lo! You go round: I like a lion break in pieces and fear not.— 12. S., To you, O Death, none does service or worship: to me kings do service of sacrifice as to God.— 13. D., On Death there are many that call, as on a kind Power: on you, O Evil One, none has called or calls.— 14. S., Do you not mark this, O Death, how many there are: who in sundry fashions call on me and make oblation? — 15. D. Hated is your name, O Satan, nor can you clear it: your name every one curses, hide your reproach.— 16. S., Your ear, O Death, has waxed dull, that you hear not: how against you all men groan, conceal yourself.— 17. D., My face is shown to the world, for I am guileless: not like you who without guile cannot abide.— 18. S., You have not in anything surpassed me for it is true: that you are hateful as I to the sons of men. — 19. D., Of me all men are afraid as of a lord: but as for you they hate you as the Evil One.— 20. S., For you, O Death, they hate your name, and also your work: my name they hate but my delights they greatly love.— 21. D., To bitterness of teeth is turned, this your sweetness: penitence of soul cleaves ever unto your lusts.— 22. S., Sheol is hated because in her is no repentance: a pit that swallows and closes on all movements.— 23. D., Sheol is a gulf wherein whoever falls shall rise again: sin is hated because it cuts off the hope of man.— 24. S., Though I mislike penitents, I give place for repentance: you cut off hope from the sinner who dies in his sin.— 25. D., It was of you that at first his hope was cut off: for he whom you have not caused to sin dies happily.— 26. Blessed is He who raised against each other those cursed servants: that we might see them as they have seen us and mocked at us.— 27. This that we have seen of them is a pledge, my brethren: of what we shall see of them hereafter when we rise again.

Hymn 53.

1. Come, let us hear how they contend for victory: the guilty ones who never have conquered, nor will conquer.— 2. Death said to the Evil One, In the end the victory is mine: for Death is master of the close, as a conqueror.— 3. Satan, This were to be Death indeed, were you able: to bring to death a living man, by means of lusts.— 4. D., Lo! I who behold the dead, both good and bad: the righteous who despise you, O Evil One, me they despise not.— 5. S., This dying of the body, is sleep for a time: think not, O Death, that you are Death, who art as a shadow.— 6. D., You, O Evil One, the just have conquered, yea will conquer: but these that have conquered you, lo! I conquer.— 7. S., Even this that you bring to death the just, is not of yourself: because of Adam whom I conquered, they drink this cup.— 8. D., Lo! Sheol is full of the men of Sodom, and the Assyrians: and the giants who were in the flood, who is like me?— 9. S., These, O Death, all of them, by me were slain: I am he that caused them to sin so that they perished.— 10. D., Joseph who conquered you I conquered, O Satan: in the chamber he conquered you but I conquered, and cast him into the tomb.— 11. S., Moses who conquered you, O Death, by sprinkling of blood: he conquered you in Egypt, but at the rock, who conquered him?— 12. D., Elijah who feared you not, O Satan: fled before Jezebel's face, because he feared me.— 13. S., Aaron who withstood you, O Death, with smoke of incense: to him I gave earrings of gold: and he fashioned a calf.— 14. D., You went down to contend with Job, and he conquered you and came up: but I, after he had conquered you, then conquered him.— 15. S., David who by his sackcloth stayed that pestilence: him on the house-top I conquered, who had conquered Goliath.— 16. D., Jehu who destroyed the house of Baal, the temple of the Evil One: was unable to destroy Sheol, the stronghold of my realm.— 17. S., Solomon who snatched from your mouth, a child by his judgment: him in his old age I made a builder of idol-altars.— 18. D., Samuel who in respect of gold scorned you, O Satan: him I conquered, the conqueror, who conquered bribes.— 19. S., Samson who in respect of the lion's cub, scorned you, O Death: through Delilah, frail vessel, I yoked him to the mill.— 20. D., Josiah from his childhood despised you, Evil One: but me not even in his old age, could he withstand.— 21. S., Hezekiah withstood you, Death, when he overcame the bound of life: I misled him and he neglected the miracle, and showed his treasures.— 22. D., John who conquered you, Evil One, and absolved and baptized: I extinguished that torch, which had disclosed you.— 23. S., Simon overcame you, when he brought to life that blessed woman: in a woman he overcame you and by a woman I overcame him and made him deny.— 24. S., Apostles and prophets with one voice, curse you, O Death: Where is the victory of Death, and the sting of Sheol? — 25. Your Lord in Sheol you have shut up, O cursed servant: God hates you and also man, hold then your peace.— 26. S., It was the will of Him who gives life to all, that shut him in Sheol: it was you that called Him to this, when you made Adam sin.— 27. O comrade of Nabal who in the wilderness reproached his lord: abhorred be your mouth which said to Him, Fall down and worship me!

Hymn 54.

1. Hear, O Freedom, the dispute of two servants: how they are convicted by each other, that they are powerless.— 2. R., To You be glory by Whose humiliation Adam was exalted: and by Whose death he was raised, and regained Eden!— 3. If then the Evil One overcome you, great is the shame: Death his comrade has convicted him, as being weak.— 4. And if again Death subdue you, lo! What reproach: for the Evil One his comrade derides him, as but a shadow.— 5. Their dispute is for you a mirror, wherein you may see: that they both are but as chaff, before your breath.— 6. Yea and Prophets and Apostles, in their promises: assure you that they like flowers, shall fade at the rising.— 7. S., You, Death, art he whom they hate, the quick and dead: for every combination you dissolve, and destroy.— 8. D., It is not open death that kills, O Satan: your death which is secret kills the sons of men. — 9. S., My name is not hateful as yours, for the angel: showed himself in Satan's likeness to Balaam on the way.— 10. D., How fit is this your name, O Satan: who has erred and made unwary Adam err, from the way!— 11. S., Wander not like one ignorant, and lose your cause: dispute, O Death, if you are competent, for replying.— 12. D., I know that you are wily, O Satan: so that you out of sand can twist a snare.— 13. S., Your disputing, Death, is ended: for he who is worsted: when his words fail and are ended, begins to rail.— 14. D., Among all I am conqueror, and by you am I worsted? Let Adam persuade you whom I have overcome, O Satan!— 15. S., I am he who bound Adam, and cast him before you: the mighty man whom my wiles had bound, you came and subdue.— 16. D., I am he who have been crowned anew, with a diadem in the world: for Adam, chief of the mighty, I hold captive in Sheol. — 17. S., I killed him by secret death, even Adam when he sinned: you, Death, hast slain one that was dead, killed by me.— 18. D., In your desire to conquer, Evil One, you have made yourself hated: for you are Death as well as Satan, and this seems a little thing to you.— 19. S., You have then been silenced, Death, as a weakling: for neither in words nor in deeds, have you strength to stand.— 20. D., It is for your evil you conquer, O Evil One, if you discern, your crown is wholly of shame, if you perceive.— 21. I shall be defeated and you shall be cursed, O Satan: it is well for me to be ignorant, and not mischievous.— 22. Blessed be the Just One who divided them, though they were quite of one mind: Blessed be the Good One who made us of one mind, when we were divided.— 23. I will overcome the Evil One through Your forgiveness, O All-Merciful: and I shall overcome death through Your Resurrection, O All-Life-giver!

Hymn 55.

1. Lo! The Evil One reproached Death, and was in turn reproached: from each and to each and against each, were their taunts.— 2. R., To You be glory, Son of the Lord of All, Who died for all: for He was raised to give life to all, in the day of His Coming!— 3. S., Jonah who conquered you, and returned back from Sheol, became my advocate in asking, why sinners were spared?— 4. D., Slander not, O Evil One, the son of Amittai: he showed a face of anger, that they might praise you more.— 5. S., Quite powerless is all your persuasion, O tyrant Death: for there pleases me nothing, of all you have said.— 6. D., For when was the word of truth pleasing to you? A gulf is between you and truthfulness, O lying one.— 7. I am righteous all my days, with nought to repent: I am he that rescues from you the sons of men. — 8. S., Proclaim your repentance, Death, you are well come: lo! Saul also among the prophets, great cause of scorn.— 9. If you, Death, be justified, then for myself: I cut not off hope, likewise, of repentance. — 10. D., No idol with my Lord have I made, O hater of your Lord! lo! You by dead idols, slay the living. — 11. S., That you, Death, art half of me, I know, and I half of you: if half of me repents, it repents, but I marvel.— 12. D., Your partner am I in share, but not in sin: mine are the slain and yours the slayers, whom you made sin.— 13. S., My craftiness weeps for itself, when I dispute with you: my wiles mourn over me, when I meet you.— 14. D., Workers of witchcraft and soothsayers, with all their offenses: the fire that you kindled in the world, in Sheol I have quenched.— 15. S., You penitent who strains out gnats and swallows the just: the chaste shall rend you, who cry, from within your belly.— 16. D., It is the treasure-house where I keep all the righteous: their resurrection threatens ill to you, who persecuted them.— 17. S., The greedy one who carries all creatures, in his bowels: lo! He casts up to me that I am robbed, of my possessions. — 18. D., Before the stroke lament not, for it has not yet reached you: the day will come when you shall cry out, and I shall hear and rejoice.— 19. The fire will come that shall strip off you your very skin: as by the potsherd you stripped the skin of Job. — 20. D., The savour of sloth begins, as if to hover on me; it is then a dream that I ceased, for a short space.— 21. It was not that words failed me, and therefore I was silent: it is for the time I grieve, that has passed idly.— 22. The hurt done by your speech is very great: would I had not heard it! For my whole mind is intent upon my work.— 23. This humankind that is lost, was undone by wandering thought: slothfulness, with negligence, brought it under yoke.— 24. The madness of desire bid for wealth, and bought it: contention with boastfulness, were the sureties.— 25. With persistence for strength, I wage my war: and if I neglect but a little, my sway is naught.— 26. By continual dropping, I clean the rocks: for continual dropping can dissolve even a mountain.— 27. Habit even over nature, becomes master: it trains and leads even lions, as beasts of burden.— 28. Habit, repose, and increase, with persistence; by these is freedom conquered, though stubborn above all.— 29. If its will be firmly set, it breaks the fetters; but if lax, a fragile net, can capture it.— 30. If so be that Freedom shouts, we are scattered: but if she be silent we gather together, to mock at her.— 31. Let us cease from much speaking, lest it lead to much sloth: with one mind let us assail the wall, and lo! It is broken down.— 32. S., Go and see to diseases, and I to snares: for to me sins and to you pestilences, are great solace.— 33. And even though I have paused, I have not paused from my cares: for my will at no time rests, but is ready.

Hymn 56.

1. With Freedom is your struggle, O Evil One: it can cast on you a muzzle, if it so please.— 2. R., To You be glory in whose victory we have gained strength: and in whose resurrection we defy even Death itself!— 3. Lo! Again these two exposed each other, how weak both are: Death reminded the Evil One of your mightiness (O Freedom). — 4. Your fire is in your nest, O Death, and you perceive not: the fate of the departed, to you is overthrow.— 5. Lo! Death and the Evil One proclaim your mightiness (O Freedom): yea, the Evil One calls to mind your faith.— 6. If then these that were against you are on your side: this is a great thing that your persecutors have become your heralds —7. D., I confess, O Evil One, that as usury: I lay up the King's treasures, till His Coming. — 8. S., I, O Death, rather deny that this belongs to God: this treasure of subtlety, which I have stored.— 9. D., Your coinage is fraudulent, then, O Satan: that into the treasuries of God, is not received.— 10. S., A new coinage do I coin, in kingly wise: lo! My merchantmen bring loss, into the world.— 11. God created everything out of nothing: and I created great sin out of nothing — 12. D., Closed and bound be your mouth, Evil One, who art thus bold: to set yourself, lo! In comparison with the Creator. — 13. S., To me, O Death, it is lawful to dare and speak: your tongue, even yours, is a slave, and under fear.— 14. D., A gulf is henceforth between us, O Satan: for madly against your Lord, lo! You assail.— 15. S., Wherefore do you doubt, O Death, of our concord? Be to us comrade and member: and lo! We reign.— 16. Come, draw we our pair of swords, against mankind: I secretly, you openly, and lo! We end them.— 17. Sin and Sheol they too gave counsel to those two: saying If you be divided, you are undone.— 18. See the waters how if dispersed, they run low: but if gathered they gain strength, and thus you likewise.— 19. If divided you perish, as the feeble: but yoked together you reign, as the mighty.— 20. Love melts down many, as in a furnace: and makes one powerful mass, that overcomes all.— 21. In it are wisdom and cunning, and force and power: it is greater far than an image of sixty cubits.— 22. Be reconciled, let us assemble and go, against that party: which if it be at one can never be defeated.— 23. These things the troublers discoursed, and gathered and came: Your day, Lord, will gather them, into Gehenna. — 24. Through Your mercy, Lord, will I worship You, when I have risen: at Your trumpet I will praise Your Son, when I am purged.

Hymn 57.

1. Listen, my brethren, to Death, mocking the Evil One: that caused the head of our race to sin, and its mother.— 2. R., To You be glory that by Your humiliation, Satan is subdued: and that Your abasement has exalted Adam, who was abased.— 3. D., Your great nakedness shall be seen, by the sons of Adam; as you mocked his nakedness, when you made him sin.— 4. Eve will cease from that serpent, and rail at you: for you, O Dragon, wast he that beguiled her simpleness.— 5. Abel will see him, even, Cain, who has come to you: the disciple of his wrath will blame his cursed master.— 6. S., Noah who conquered the flood, as it were death: by the mouth of Ham I laughed at, when wine overcame him.— 7. D., Noah was not harmed, but your garment, wherewith you clothed him: even cursings, he put on, and became a slave. — 8. S., Lot who overcame anger which is, your likeness, Death: to his daughters I gave such counsels, as were pleasing to me.— 9. D., And Lot's wife who was your vessel hearkened, to your counsel: may half of you be dried up, as your whole vessel was dried up!— 10. Gehenna be overturned, upon your head: as your malice overturned Sodom, its dwellers!— 11. Floods of fire be stirred against you, in the resurrection: who against Moses and Elijah, stirred the people!— 12. Let the just mock you at the last, and Joseph rejoice! Whose brethren mocked him, set on by you!— 13. Let vapour of smoke come in, and choke your senses: as the waters of the sea choked, the senses of the wicked! — 14. Let chaste women also mock you, by whose counsel: the daughters of Midian mocked, the foolish people!— 15. Flame be kindled on your head, for Samson's sake: for by a woman you shaved his locks, that lion of strength!— 16. S., Saul whom I conquered by envy, by witchcraft conquered you: for he asked for and brought up Samuel, out of his grave.— 17. D., Slander not the living dead, for he came not up: you were he that came up in the phantom for you were worthy.— 18. Let the commandment hang you over the flame, you Evil One! For by you they hanged Absalom, upon a tree.— 19. In the fire may you see yourself humbled, among vile women! For Solomon by you was degraded, among profane women.— 20. Justice be measured to you, as you inflamed her! even Jezebel who devoured the prophets, you kindled her.— 21. In fire may you justly burn, who made them drunken! The two whom Elijah burnt up, when they went up and assailed him.— 22. On you also be coals heaped! May he see and rejoice: that Naboth in whom you heaped a pile of stones!— 23. Be clad in scorn in the day of judgment, before all beholders! Who clothed Gehasi in a leprosy, by means of your theft.— 24. With lightning for a dart be pierced, O Satan! Who in the heart of Josiah, fixed your darts.— 25. Sink in the dregs of Gehenna, O Satan! Who sank Jeremiah in the mire of the pit.— 26. Daniel escaped from the pit, whither you cast him: may he have comfort in seeing you, in the furnace for ever!— 27. Be your wickedness returned on your head, Hater of man: as his wickedness was returned on the head, of Haman your fellow! — 28. May the King's Bride mock you, as did Esther: when you beseech her in the judgment-day, to plead for you!— 29. Fire released the righteous ones, whom you had bound: a mighty bond be to you, the flame of fire!— 30. Be torn in sunder, and may the seven brothers, see your defeat: the sons of Shemuni who by your wolves, were torn in sunder!— 31. May fire triumph over your pate, as you mocked: the two heads of Nazarites, sons of the barren!— 32. May fire make mock of your head, for mother and daughter: triumphed over John's head, when you maddened them!— 33. Flame triumphed over your head, O Evil One: for on the charges you triumphed, over John's head!

Hymn 58.

1. Lo! Death was prompt beforehand, to mock Satan: him who was doomed to become a mockery at the last.— 2. R., Glory to You Who by Your crucifixion, conquered the Evil One: and by Your resurrection gain victory, likewise over Death!— 3. And for our Lord's sake Death spoke curses on him: who was the cause of His shame, and crucifixion.— 4. D., The fiery pit be your grave, O Satan: who blasphemed the Voice from the grave, that rent the graves — 5. My Lord I know, and the Son of my Lord, O you Satan! You have denied your Lord, and crucified the Son of your Lord. — 6. This is the name that fits you, Slayer of your Lord: when He appears Whom you slew, He shall slay you.— 7. At you shall every one shake the head, for by you the chiefs: shook their heads at Him, the Lord of life.— 8. A bruised reed under the feet, of the just shall you be: for through you they put a reed in His hand, Who upholds all.— 9. With a crown of thorns was He crowned, to signify: that He took the diadem of the kingdom, of the house of David. — 10. With a crown of thorns was He crowned, the King of kings: but He took the diadem of the king, of those that shamed him.— 11. In the robes of mockery that they gave him, in those He mocked them: for He took the raiment of glory, of priests and kings.— 12. To vinegar is your memory akin, O you Satan: who offered vinegar for the thirst, of the Fount of Life.— 13. The hand shall every man lift against you who strengthened the hand that smote Him by Whose hand, all creatures stand.— 14. He was smitten by the hand and He cut off the hand, of Caiaphas: the hand of the priesthood is cut off, in the cutting off of the unction. — 15. On the pillar again they stretched Him, as for scourging: Him Whose pillar went before, to guide their tribes.— 16. The pillar on the pillar, He was scourged: He removed Himself from out of Zion, and its fall came.— 17. When they put two beams together, to form the Cross: He broke them, even the two staves, the guardians of them.— 18. Ezekiel put together the sticks, the two in one: in the two beams of the Cross, their staves have ceased.— 19. The two sticks, as it were wings, bore the people: lo! His two staves were broken, even as his wings.— 20. The bosom and wings of the Cross, He opened in mercy: its pinions bowed and bore the nations, to go to Eden.— 21. It is akin to the Tree of Life, and unto the son of its stock: it leads its beloved that on its boughs, they may feed on its fruits.— 22. Go howl and weep, Evil One, for me and for you: for not one of us shall enter the Garden of Life.— 23. S., Now that you have confessed O Death, come let me tell you: that all this discourse of yours, to me is idle talk.— 24. I will go and watch the snares, which I have set: you too, Death, fly and look after, all that are sick.— 25. Our Lord has brought both to nought, on either hand: the Evil One shall be brought to nought here, and Death hereafter there.

Hymn 59.

1. Lo! Death for us on Satan, inflicts vengeance: come let us hear his shame and rejoice, for he rejoiced in our shame.— 2. R., To You be glory from Your flock, from You: are subdued both Death and Satan, under Your Feet!— 3. D., Evil ones shall be hung upright, but you, head downward: for, reversely, you crucified Simon on the tree.— 4. S., Touching all else I am silent, Death, for my time wanes: Simon himself conjured me, Crucify me thus.— 5. Were it the just that cursed me, I had not grieved: the curse of Death unto me, is worse than hell.— 6. D., The shame of our Lord I have not spoken of, it is too great for my mouth: that I should weigh and compare His Passion, with Your torment.— 7. Twelve judgment thrones shall He set, for His Twelve: for by the twelve tribes you, even you, shall be condemned.— 8. A halter unbought shall you hang you, O you Satan: as that Your disciple hung him, a halter for a price.— 9. Haply yon hell in mercy, shall be emptied: and you shall dwell there alone, with Your ministers. — 10. Manifold are Your curses, and how shall I count them? Lo! The sum of all your curses, is on your members.— 11. The evil in the fire shall stab you, who made them evil: they shall upbraid you why did you bring us here?— 12. Sinners shall rail against you, and haply their threats: shall be worse to you than the torment, of yonder hell.— 13. These shall be unto you there, all of them Satans: as you have been to them here, the one Satan.— 14. The Watchers shall seize and hurl you down, calling to mind: how through you men hurled their Lord, from the height to the depth.— 15. All men will run to stone you, not forgetting that through you the maddened people ran, to stone their Maker.— 16. On you, Evil One, from all mouths shall be, the spitting of wrath: for through you they spat on Him Whose spittle, gave sight to the blind.— 17. On you, Evil One, from all tongues, shall be all curses: for through you men blasphemed Him, Who opened dumb mouths.— 18. Blessed is He Who avenged our wrong, though in silence: and stirred up Death against the Evil One, to fall upon him!— 19. Sound we Hosannas, my brethren, as did Gideon: Judges 7:18-22 who when he sounded, the oppressors, fell on one another!

Hymn 60.

1. O what amazement befell the Evil One, of a sudden, my brethren: when the sinful woman was corrected, and gained Wisdom!— 2. R., Glory to the One Who alone, conquered the Evil One; and to Him yea Him be also confession, Who vanquished Death!— 3. The Evil One marvelled Where is her laughter? Where her perfumes? Where her dancing and outward ornament, and inward wickedness?— 4. Instead of that light laughter, she is given up to tears: She has cut off her hair to wipe the dust, off the feet of Jesus. — 5. Naught lasts in her of any doctrine, nor abides in her: from our instruction she has escaped and cast away, all that I taught her.— 6. She has denied us and our acquaintance, and even as though: she had never seen me she has blotted my image, out of her mind. — 7. The living leaven of Jesus flew to her, Jesus was silent: but she made bold to press and enter, though none called her.— 8. She forgot our love of many years, and in the twinkling of an eye: from between me and her she removed it, and set Death there.— 9. For instead of laughter weeping delights her, and instead of paint: a shower of tears, and instead of ornament, a sad countenance.— 10. Zaccheus I made chief of extortioners, and her I made: chief of wantons; my two wings, Jesus has broken.— 11. If so be Zaccheus becomes his disciple, and if so be she: becomes his hearer, henceforth they fetter, my craftiness.— 12. Carved images henceforth are a mockery and the carvers: a derision, and the worshippers a laughing-stock. — 13. I shut men's eyes that they might not perceive, that they are carved images: Jesus opens their eyes to see that they are the works of men's hands. — 14. If Jesus has chosen for Himself preachers, then our preaching: whereof the whole world is full, is put to silence.— 15. For lo! The Chaldeans with the soothsayers, and lo! The wizards: with the diviners they are smitten and the priests, with all evil ones!— 16. You priests are ended and have given up the Ghost from henceforth, depart you diviners! Become husbandmen, the Chaldeans likewise, shall close their books.— 17. If the Hebrews have become His disciples, who by all miracles: were not subdued, who of the nations, shall not obey him?— 18. If he begins to set straight the reverse, He brings to naught our speech: henceforth He will not hesitate against us, He who rebukes all men.— 19. In that I was worshipped in all temples, our disgrace is greater: than our honour was, for all men spit, upon our altars.— 20. Flesh of sacrifice becomes abhorred, into fragments: idols are broken, and carven images burn, under their pots.— 21. All our work becomes a laughing-stock, and a ruin: all that we have built, and a mockery, all that we have taught.— 22. The secret mysteries that I taught them, laboriously: are about to be spread abroad, on the housetops.— 23. Of the Egyptians I was more proud, than of any nation: for they used to worship even, the onions and garlic. — 24. Lo! I fear lest even here, where delusion was so great: truth shall prevail that there exceedingly, Jesus may reign.— 25. And if when He was an infant, and fled and went down, Egypt marvelled: yea lulled him — this strangler of babes, loved their Babe. — 26. Was it a pledge He went down to give her, as a betrother: giving assurance that when of full age, He will also take her to wife? — 27. Pharaoh cannot set his foot firm, for this is no stammerer: that he should deceive Him, and no bondman, that he should lie unto Him.— 28. Moses smote and the Egyptians rebelled, and he chastised the people: and the Hebrews rebelled — Jesus is smitten, and gives life to all.— 29. This is hard to understand that not by force; lays He His yoke: on the rebellious: He was rebuked, and He instructs others.— 30. The spittle of His mouth, wiped off and took away, the shame of Adam: by the smiting of His cheeks, He rooted out our wrathfulness, from His disciples.— 31. By the nails which he received, He made me to suffer. I rejoiced when I crucified Him: and I knew not that He was crucifying me, in His crucifixion.

Hymn 61.

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 you be praise Who came down, to follow Adam: and foundest Adam and also in the children of Adam.— 3. And rightly perhaps he says, You slay: without mercy and lo! You weep, as though merciful.— 4. You have made me as a cruel one, O you murderers: for you 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 you 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 you 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 you 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. You are Satan to each other, and the Evil One is abhorred: you 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 you give also to drink, each to other: lo! How many Deaths have you, 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 you are thus hateful, and you hate me: Sheol henceforth shall groan over you, O murderers!— 27. With torture, scourging and fire, yea with stoning: you put to death the sons of men, and you are proud!— 28. I am more modest than you and merciful, also reverent: for with reverence I bear 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.

Hymn 62.

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 came 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 you, 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 you have wronged me, lo! You are weeping: you have burst the gate of Sheol, and done me hurt.— 7. For you are like an infant, which while yet weeping: laughs again as you also, over your dead.— 8. For there is no discretion in your mourning, and no understanding: in your laughter — for to me you 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 you 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 you are deaf: this their crying proves concerning you, that you 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, whoever 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 turnings aside: I know no arrow even, could outstrip me.— 19. But your voices are scorned by me, when you are weeping: over the graves of your departed, in the cutting off of hope. — 20. Were it possible or permitted, when you 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. You 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 you comprehended not, from me you 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!

Hymn 63.

1. Who shall weigh the recompense of Abraham? Whom I marvelled at when he bound, his only son.— 2. R., To you be glory, Voice that brings 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 you read, that great story? You 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 you not make trial, of a mystery of Sheol? Yet in Sheol you 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 you are doctors and teachers, as you suppose.— 12. He endured, but you are furious, in your mourning: against the will of the Lord of all, while you 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. You feeble ones understand not, all my ordinances: with you orders are confused, for you 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.

Hymn 64.

1. O feeble ones, why do you weep 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 tomorrow: 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 you 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.

Hymn 65.

1. Man, O Death, despise it not, that image of Adam: which like a seed is committed to earth, till the Resurrection. — 2. R., To you be glory Who descended 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 grain 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 you bare: and the Watchers shall go forth as reapers, and make you 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 you, which decays and dies: and is cut off from hope, yet from the rain, recovers hope? — 9. D., A dream have you seen you feeble ones, of life from the dead: for in waking time the resurrection, you do not see.— 10. M., Your drowsiness hinders you, that you see 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 your discourse is like yourself, for lo! Ezekiel: has taught you 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, your 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 you be vinedresser? He Who hindered you from taking their lives, the same quickens all.— 17. The babe in the womb confutes you, which is as buried there: to me it proclaims life from the dead, but to you despoiling.— 18. The despised flower despises you, 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 your 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 you then no understanding, to perceive this: that your father laid on you, this retribution?

Hymn 66.

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 You be glory, Watcher, that came down, after them that slept: and utter the voice from the Tree, and waken them!— 3. You 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 you weep and in your doings, you 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 tomorrow he is not.— 9. Hear and let me be your counsellor, if you be willing: for these two, these burdens, are very bitter.— 10. Cease a little while from this toil, and from this weeping: toil and weep as mortals, who tomorrow vanish.— 11. You are frantic with weeping, for your departed: and you 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 you are cast.— 13. Allow me to go to Sheol, and there to say: Happy are you silent dead, how tranquil are you!— 14. Hear the conclusion of our own words, If there be a resurrection: weep not, neither labour as though strangers.— 15. You straggle as one who was to live, here forever: and you 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 you 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 you come forth I will cry and say, Depart in peace!— 19. Come, 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 you, O Lord, the living Sacrifice! Who by the sacrifice of Your 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!

Hymn 67.

1. Come, let us hear how Death convicts the People: that harsher than Death was their sword, against the just. — 2. R., To You be glory, Who by Your sacrifice, hast redeemed our disgrace: and Whose death was instead of all deaths, that You might 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 Your Father: have mercy on Your worshipper, who is thankless for Your love.— 20. From Hebrews and Aramæans, and also from the Watchers: to You be praise and through You to Your 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 offense from His Father!

Hymn 68.

1. Man., O, Death, be not boastful, over the just: the sons of your Lord who at His command, come to dwell with you.— 2. R., To you be glory that by Your command, Death has reigned: and by Your Resurrection has been humbled to low estate!— 3. Death., Herein am I exceeding great, according to your 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: you, Death, and the Evil One, your 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 you and your 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 Noah's 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 your voice sing triumph, O Death, over the just: for Enoch and Elijah have broken your pair of wings.— 11. D., I know how to weigh my sorrows with my comforts: in place of two, lo! Many have come and coming.— 12. M., All that have come and coming to you dwell as sojourners, and depart from your abode as Lazarus. — 13. D., This your 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., You are famous in arguing as idle ones, while I labour in my task to discern and perform — 16. M., You were well prepared for argument, what has checked you? The truth of our resurrection has constrained you by its reputations.— 17. D., You have made me hated by you, though I be not hateful: I am he that gives rest to your aged, and your afflicted.— 18. You have made me as one that troubles, O you mortals: Adam brought death upon you, and I bear the blame.— 19. Gently will I expose you, for I am a slave, and you 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 you quickened me, that you 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 you 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 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 Gehenna, desires his presence.— 31. You shall have life from the dead, O you mortals, and I who am bereft shall be bereft in the midst of Sheol. — 32. Let praise ascend from all to You Who gives life to all, and from every quarter gathers the dust of Adam!

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Source. Translated by J.T. Sarsfield Stopford. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 13. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

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