The Nisibene Hymns
Contents1. THE SIEGE OF NISIBIS (I-III) Hymn 1 Hymn 2 Hymn 3 2. THE PERSIAN INVASION (IV-XII) Hymn 4 Hymn 5 Hymn 6 Hymn 7 Hymn 9 Hymn 10 Hymn 11 Hymn 12 3. THE BISHOPS OF NISIBIS (XIII-XVI) Hymn 13 Hymn 14 Hymn 15 Hymn 16 4. ABRAHAM THEIR SUCCESSOR (XVII-XXI) Hymn 17 Hymn 18 Hymn 19 Hymn 20 Hymn 21 5. CONCERNING SATAN AND DEATH (XXXV-XLII) Hymn 35 Hymn 36 Hymn 37 Hymn 38 Hymn 39 Hymn 40 Hymn 41 Hymn 42 6. CONCERNING SATAN AND DEATH (LII-LXVIII) Hymn 52 Hymn 53 Hymn 54 Hymn 55 Hymn 56 Hymn 57 Hymn 58 Hymn 59 Hymn 60 Hymn 61 Hymn 62 Hymn 63 Hymn 64 Hymn 65 Hymn 66 Hymn 67 Hymn 68
1. THE SIEGE OF NISIBIS (I-III)
1. O God of mercies Who refreshed Noah, he too refreshed Your mercies. He offered sacrifice and stayed the flood; he presented gifts and received the promise. With prayer and incense he propitiated You: with an oath and with the bow You were gracious to him; so that if the flood should essay to hurt the earth, the bow should stretch itself over against it, to banish it away and hearten the earth. As You have sworn peace so do You maintain it, and let Your bow strive against Your wrath!
R. Stretch forth Your bow against the flood, for lo! It has lifted up its waves against our walls!
2. In revelation, Lord! It has been proclaimed, that that lowly blood which Noah sprinkled, wholly restrained Your wrath for all generations; how much mightier then shall be the blood of Your Only Begotten, that the sprinkling of it should restrain our flood! For lo! It was but as mysteries of Him that those lowly sacrifices gained virtue, which Noah offered, and stayed by them Your wrath. Be propitiated by the gift upon my altar, and stay from me the deadly flood. So shall both Your signs bring deliverance, to me Your cross and to Noah Your bow! Your cross shall cleave the sea of waters; Your bow shall stay the flood of rain.
3. Lo! All the billows trouble me; and You have given more favour to the ark: for waves alone encompassed it, mounds and weapons and waves encircle me. It was unto You a storehouse of treasures, but I have been a storehouse of debts: it in Your love subdued the waves; I in Your wrath, am left desolate among the weapons; the flood bore it, the river threatens me. O Helmsman of that ark, be my pilot on the dry land! To it You gave rest in the haven of a mountain; to me give You rest also in the haven of my walls!
4. The Just One has chastened me abundantly, but it He loved even among the waves. For Noah overcame the waves of lust, which had drowned in his generation the sons of Seth. Because his flesh revolted against the daughters of Cain, his chariot rode on the surface of the waves. Because women defiled him not, he coupled the beasts, whereof in the ark he joined together, all pairs in the yoke of wedlock. The olive which with its oil gladdens the face, with its leaf gladdened their countenances: for me the river whereof to drink is wont to make joyful, lo! O Lord, by its flood it makes me mournful.
5. The foulness of my guilt Your righteousness has seen, and Your pure eyes abhor me. You have gathered the waters by the hand of the unclean, that You might make for me purification of my guilt; not that in them You might baptize and purify me, but that in them You might chasten me with fear. For the waves will stir up to prayer, which shall wash away my guilt. The sight of them which is full of repentance, has been to me a baptism. The sea, O Lord, which should have drowned me, in it let Your mercies drown my guilt. In the Red Sea You drowned bodies; in this sea drown my guilt instead of bodies!
6. An ark in Your mercy You prepared, that You might preserve in it all the remnants. That You should not desolate the earth in Your wrath, Your compassion made an earth of wood. You emptied them one into the other; You rendered them back one unto the other. But my lands have thrice been filled and emptied again; and now against me the waves rebel, to overwhelm the remnant that has escaped in me. In the ark You saved a remnant; save in me, O Lord, yea in me a leaven. The ark upon the mountain brought forth; let me in my lands bring forth my imprisoned ones!
7. O Lord, gladden in me the imprisoned ones of my fortresses, You Who gladdened those prisoners with the olive leaf! You sent healing by means of the dove to the sick ones that were drowning in every wave; it entered in and drove out all their pains. For the joy of it swallowed up their sorrow, and mourning vanished away in its consolation. And as the chief of a host gives heartening to the fugitives, so the dove disseminated courage among the forsaken. Their eyes tasted the sight of peace, and their mouth hasted to open in Your praise. As the olive leaf in the waves, save me, that You may gladden in me the prisoners of my fortresses!
8. The flood assails, and dashes against our walls: may the all-sustaining might uphold them! It falls not as the building of the sand, for I have not built my doctrine upon the sand: a rock shall be for me the foundation, for on Your rock have I built my faith; the secret foundation of my trust, shall support my walls. For the walls of Jericho fell, because on the sand she had built her trust. Moses built a wall in the sea, for on a rock his understanding built it. The foundation of Noah was on a rock; the dwelling place of wood it bore up in the sea.
9. Compare the souls which are in me, with the living things that were in the ark; and instead of Noah who mourned in it, lo! Your altar mourning and humbled. Instead of the wedded wives that were in it, lo! My virgins that are unmarried. Instead of Ham who went forth from it and uncovered his father's nakedness, lo! Workers of righteousness, who have nourished and clothed apostles. In my pains, O my Lord, I rave in my speech; blame me not if my words provoke You! You put to silence the prosperous when they murmured: have mercy on me as on them that were silenced aforetime!
10. Before Your wrath You made a house of refuge, and all the nations rebelled against it. Noah was refreshed in rest, that his dwelling-place should give rest according to his name. You closed the doors to save the righteous one; You opened the floods to destroy the unclean. Noah stood between the terrible waves that were without, and the destroying mouths that were within: the waves tossed him and the mouths dismayed him. You made peace for him with them that were within; You brought down before him them that were without: You speedily changed his troubles, for light to You, O Lord, are hard things.
11. Hear and weigh the comparison of me with Noah, and though my suffering be light beside his, let Your mercy make our deliverance alike; for lo! My children stand like him, between the wrathful and the destroyer. Give peace, O Lord, among them that are within, and humble before me them that are without; and give me twofold victory! And whereas the slayer has made his rage threefold, may He of the three days show me threefold mercy! Let not the Evil One overcome Your lovingkindness: seeing he has assailed me twice and You overcame him thrice! Let my victory fly abroad through the world, that it may earn You praise in the world! O You who rose on the third day, give us not over to death in our third peril!
1. This day are opened, our mouths to give thanks. They who opened the breaches, have opened my sons» mouths. Thank the Merciful, who has delivered the men of our city, nor thought at that time of exacting the debts that were due by us. When they rose up they that took us captive, the worlds in our deliverance, tasted of Your graciousness.
R. From all that have mouths, glory be to Your grace!
2. He has saved us without wall, and taught us that He is our wall: He has saved us without king and made us know that is our king: He has saved us, in each and all, and showed us that He is All: He has saved us in His grace and again reveals, that freely He has mercy and quickens. From every boaster, He takes away his boasting, and gives it to His own grace.
3. The sound of all mouths, is too little for Your praise: for lo! In the hour when our light was smoking, and was at the point to be quenched (seeing that all is easy to You) of a sudden it awoke and shone! Who has seen these two marvels, that for him whose hope was cut off, hope has sprung up and increased; the hour of mourning has been turned into good tidings?
4. This is a festival day, whereon hang the feasts: for if wrath had taken us captive, lo! Our feasts too had ceased. Whereas our peace has conquered and triumphed, lo! Our festivals resound. This blessed day supports all: upon it depends the city, on the city depends the people, on the people depends peace, on peace depends all.
5. Out of these breaches, You have multiplied triumphs. Praise unto the Triune God goes up from the three breaches; for that He descended and repaired them, in His mercy which restrains wrath. He smote the enemy who understood not that He was teaching us. He taught those within, for in His justice He made the breaches; He taught those without, for in His goodness He repaired them.
6. Speak and give glory, my delivered ones on this day; old men and boys, young men and maidens, children and innocents, and you, O Church, mother of the city! For the old men have been rescued from captivity, the youths from torture, the sucklings from being dashed in pieces, the women from dishonour, and the Church from mockery.
7. He came to us with hardness; we were afraid for a moment: He came in gentleness, and we rejoiced for an hour. He turned and left us for a little, we wandered without end; like a beast of prey which is trained by blandishments and by fear, but if so be that men turn from it, rebels and strays and becomes savage in the midst of peace.
8. He punished us and we feared not; He rescued us, and we were not shamed: He straitened us and our vows were multiplied; He enlarged us and our crimes were multiplied. When He constrained there was a covenant, when He gave breathing-space there was straying. Though He knew us He lowered Himself to establish us. In the evening we exalted Him; in the morning we rejected Him. When necessity left us, faithfulness left us.
9. He afflicted us by the breaches, that He might punish our crimes: He raised the mounds that thereby, He might humble our boasting. He made a breach for the seas that thereby, He might wash away our pollution. He shut us in that we might gather together in His Temple. He shut us in and we were quenched; He set us free and we went astray. We are like wool, which passes into every color.
10. We know that when the blessed sons of Nineveh repented, it was not because of mounds they repented, nor yet by means of waters, nor was it by reason of a breach, nor yet by reason of bows; it was not at the sound of the bowstring they feared and repented. They harkened to a feeble voice; they caused their little ones to fast; they made their youths chaste, they made their kings humble.
11. You smote us and we justified You, for it befell not by chance; You delivered us and we gave thanks, for it was not that we were worthy. You had mercy on us not because You erred, in hoping that we should repent. It was manifest to You that when You had mercy on us we strayed. You knew that we had sinned; You knew that we are sinners: with our iniquity that has been and is, You were acquainted when You had mercy on us.
12. Weigh our repentance, that it may outbalance our crimes! But not in even balance, ascends either weight; for our crimes are heavy and manifold, and our repentance is light. He had commanded that we should be sold for our debt: His mercy became our advocate; principal and increase, we repaid with the farthing, which our repentance proffered.
13. Ten thousand talents for that little payment, our debt He forgave us. He was bound to exact it, that He might appease His justice: He was constrained again to forgive, that He might make His grace to rejoice. Our tears for the twinkling of an eye we gave Him; He satisfied His justice, in exacting and taking a little; He made His grace to rejoice, when for a little He forgave much.
14. Ten thousand are the crimes that He has pardoned; ten thousand tongues, are unable to suffice, in presence of His goodness. He has pardoned us and we have not pardoned; we have requited to Him contrariwise; the guilt committed we write up afresh. Pardon, O Lord, we cry; Requite, O Lord, we pray: pardon verily when we have done wrong; requite verily when wrong is done us.
15. Yea not as those without, have we laboured for our lives. They have raised their mounds, but we not even our voices: they have broken through the wall, but we – not even the chains, the frail chains on our heart within have we broken. God has rejected the diligent, for the sake of the slothful; He has rejected the labour done without, though He was rejected from within.
16. He has set free them that talked, and smitten the silent; the wall was beaten, and the people were instructed: He spared them that can suffer, He smote that which knows no suffering. For instead of souls that feel, He smote the stones that feel not, that He might chasten us. In His love He spared our bodies, and hasted to smite our wall.
17. Who has ever seen, that a breach became as a mirror? Two parties looked thereinto; it served for those without and those within. They saw therein as with eyes, the Power that breaks down and builds up: they saw Him who made the breach and again repaired it. Those without saw His might; they departed and tarried not till evening: those within saw His help; they gave thanks yet sufficed not.
18. Let the day of your deliverance, arouse you from sloth! When the wall was broken through, when the elephants pressed in, when the javelins showered, when men did valiantly, then was there a sight for the heavenly ones. Iniquity fought there; mercy triumphed there; lovingkindness prevailed below; the watchers shouted on high.
19. And your enemy wearied himself, striving to smite by his wiles, the wall that encompassed you, a bulwark to your inhabitants. He wearied himself and availed not; and in order that he might not hope, that if He broke through He should also enter and take us captive, he broke it through and not once only; and was put to shame, nor was that enough, even unto three times, that he might be shamed thrice in the three.
20. Let my happiness by God's grace, be also multiplied in your midst! Whereas in you my crimes have been many, many be in you my fruits! Whereas in you I have sinned in my youth, in you let there be mercy for my old age! By the mouth of your sons pray for your son, for I have sinned beyond my ability, and have repented below my ability; I have scattered above measure, and have gathered below measure.
1. Fix our hearing, that it be not loosed and wander! For it is a-wandering if one enquire, who He is and what He is like. For how can we avail, to paint in us the likeness, of that Being which is like to the mind? Naught is there in it that is limited, in all of it He sees and hears; all of it as it were speaks; all of it is in all senses.
R., Praise to the One Being, that is to us unsearchable!
2. His aspect cannot be discerned, that it should be portrayed by our understanding: He hears without ears; He speaks without mouth; He works without hands, and He sees without eyes. Because our soul ceases not nor desists, in presence of Him Who is such; in His graciousness He put on the fashion of humankind and gathered us into His likeness.
3. Let us learn in what way that Being is spiritual and appeared as corporeal; and how it also is tranquil and appears as wrathful. These things were for our profit; that Being in our likeness was made like to us that we may be made like Him. One there is that is like Him, the Son Who proceeded from Him, Who is stamped with His likeness.
4. O Nisibis, hear these things, for, for your sake these things were written and spoken. Both to yourself and to others, you have been in the world a cause of strife and of disputations. Mouths over you, O you that were shut up, even over you mouths sang; when you triumphed and wast enlarged, in you mouths were opened, for lamentation and for thanksgiving.
5. The prayer of your inhabitants, sufficed for your deliverance; it was not that they were righteous, but that they were penitent: according as they were disgraced, so did they haste to submit to the rod. In transgressions and in triumphs they had like part. They whose crimes were great, so be their fruit great; they who triumphed in their sackcloth, have triumphed also in their crowns.
6. The day of your deliverance, is king of all days. The Sabbath overthrew your walls, it overthrew the ungrateful; the day of the Resurrection of the Son, raised again your ruins; the day of Resurrection raised you according to its name, it glorified its title. The Sabbath relaxed its watch; for the making of the breaches, it took blame to itself.
7. In Samaria hunger prevailed, but in you fullness prevailed. In Samaria there broke in and came on her, abundance of a sudden; but in you there roared and came in on you a sea of a sudden. In her was eaten a child, and it saved her alive; in you was eaten the body, living and all life-giving; of a sudden He delivered them, the Eaten delivered the eaters.
8. We know that the Blessed wills not the afflictions, that have been in all ages; though He has wrought them, it is our offenses that are the cause of our troubles. No man can complain against our Creator; it is for Him to complain against us, who have sinned and constrained Him, to be wrathful though He wills it not, and to smite though He desires it not.
9. The Earth, the vine, and the olive, are in need of chastisement. When the olive is bruised, then its fruit smells sweet; when the vine is pruned, then its grapes are goodly; when the soil is ploughed its yield is goodly. When water is confined in channels, desert places drink of it; brass, silver and gold, when they are burnished shine.
10. If then it be that man, by chastening makes all things goodly; and if he who despises and rejects chastening, is hated and all rebels against him; then by that which he chastens, let him learn Him that chastens him; since whoever chastens does so that he may profit thereby. For whoever chastens his servants, does so that he may possess them; the good God chastens His servants that they may possess themselves.
11. Let your afflictions be, books to admonish you, for the thrice-besieged, suffice to become for you, books to meditate therein, every hour on their histories. Because you despised the two Testaments, wherein you might read your life, therefore He wrote for you, three hard books wherein you should read your chastisements.
12. Let us avert by that which has been, the thing that is yet to be; let us be taught by that which has come, to escape that which is coming; let us remember that which is past, to avoid that which is future. Because we had forgotten the first stroke, the second fell on us; because we forgot the second, the third bore heavy on us. Who will yet again forget!
2. THE PERSIAN INVASION (IV-XII)
1. My God, without ceasing, I will tread the threshold of Your house; I who have rejected all grace, I will ask with boldness, that I may receive with confidence. R., Our hope, be our Wall!
2. For if, O Lord, the earth, enriches manifold, a single grain of wheat, how then shall my prayers, be enriched by Your grace!
3. Because of the voices of my children, their sighs and their groans, open to me the door of Your mercy! Make glad for their voices, the mourning of their sackcloth!
4. O firstborn that wast a weaned child, and wast familiar with the children, the accurst sons of Nazareth, hearken to my lambs that have seen the wolves, for lo! They cry.
5. For a flock, O my Lord, in the field, if so be it has seen the wolves, flees to the shepherd, and takes refuge under his staff, and he drives away them that would devour it.
6. Your flock has seen the wolves, and lo! It cries loudly. Behold how terrified it is! Let your Cross be a staff, to drive out them that would swallow it up!
7. Accept the cry of my little ones, that are altogether pure. It was He, the Infant of days, that could appease, O Lord, the Ancient of days.
8. The day when the Babe came down, in the midst of the stall, the Watchers descended and proclaimed, peace – may that peace be, in all my streets for all my offspring.
9. Seventy and two old men, the elders of that people, sufficed not for its breaches. The Babe it was, the Son of Mary, that gave peace on every side.
10. Have mercy, O Lord, on my children! In my children call to mind Your childhood, You Who wast a child! Let them that are like Your childhood, be saved by Your grace!
11. Mingled in the midst of the flock, are the cry of the innocents, and the voice of the sheep, that call on the Shepherd of all, to deliver them from all.
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13. There is a joy that is affliction, misery is hidden in it; there is a misery that is profit, it is a fountain of joys, in that new world.
14. The happiness that my persecutor has gained, woes are hidden in it; therefore I rejoice. The wretchedness that I have gained from him, happiness is concealed for me in it.
15. Who will not give praise, to Him that has begotten us, and can beget again, from the midst of evil rumours the voices of glad tidings!
16. You Healer of all, have visited me in my sicknesses! Payment for Your medicines, I cannot give You, for they are priceless.
17. Your mercies in richness, surpass Your medicines: they cannot be bought, they are given freely, it is for tears they are bartered.
18. How, O my Master, can a desolate city, whose king is far off, and her enemy near, stand firm without aid of mercy?
19. A harbour and refuge, are You at all times. When the seas covered me, Your mercy descended and drew me out. Again let Your help lay hold on me!
20. Apply to my afflictions, the medicine of Your salvation, and the passion of Your help! Your sign can become, a medicine to heal all.
21. I am greatly oppressed, and I hasten to complain, against him that troubles me. Let Your mercy, my Lord, take the bitterness from the cup, that my sins have mixed.
22. I look on all sides, and weep that I am desolate. Very many though be my chiefs and my deliverers, one is He that has delivered me.
23. My young men have fled, O Lord, and gone forth, and are like chickens, which an eagle pursues; lo! They hide in a secret place: may Your peace bring them back!
24. The sound of my grape-gatherers, lo! My ears miss it, for their voices fail. Let it resound with the glad tidings, O Blessed One of Your salvation!
25. A voice of terror, I have heard on my towers; as my defenders cry, while they guard my walls. Still it with the voice of peace!
26. The noise of my husbandmen, shall speak peace without my walls: the shouting of my dwellers shall speak peace within my walls, that I may give peace without and within.
27. Make an end, O Lord, of the mourning, of this Your pure altar, and of Your chaste priest, who stands clothed in mourning, covered over with sackcloth!
28. The Church and her ministers shall give praise for Your salvation; the city and its dwellers. Be the voice of peace, O Lord, the reward of their voices!
1. Cause to be heard in Your grace, the tidings of Your salvation: for an hearing has been made, a path of passage; our minds have been downtrodden, by messages of terror. R., Praises to Your victory! Glory to Your Dominion!
2. Comfort with profits, though small and scanty, those that have had harvest, of hurt by their labour: at a time of profit, they have gained but loss.
3. It is manifest that He has stood, portioning wrath upon earth: loss and profit in anger He divided. There are whom He has cast down of a sudden, and there are whom He has puffed up of a sudden.
4. To teach us that He can, chastise in all ways; when He saw the persecutors, were terrible before my eyes, He laid me out before my children, and they my beloved chastised me.
5. Lo! He taught me to fear, Himself and not man: for when there was none to smite us, His wrath gave command of a sudden, and every man stretched himself out, and chastised himself.
6. In like manner that Babylonian, who struck down all kings when he was confident and hoped that there was none to smite him, God caused that by his own hands, he should strike himself down.
7. His majesty and his mind, of a sudden became mad together: he rent and cast off his garments; he went forth and wandered in the desert; he drove himself out first, and then his servants drove him out.
8. He showed to all kings, whom he had led captive and brought down, that not by his own power, could he have overcome: the power that struck him down, was that which punished them.
9. I have stood and borne, O my Lord; the blows of my deliverers. You are able in Your grace, to make me profit by the smiters: You are able in Your justice to punish me by my helpers.
10. The day when the host was bold, to come up against Samaria; their plenty and their pleasure, their treasures and their possessions, they cast away and forsook and fled. He crowned her by her persecutors.
11. My beloved ones crowned me, and my deliverers healed me. Through the guilt of my dwellers, my helpers chastised me, give me drink from Your vines, of the cup of consolation!
12. The grain and the vine, preserve, O my Lord, by Your grace! Be the husbandman cheered, by the vine of the grape-gatherer; be the vinedresser glad, in the grain of the husbandman!
13. They are joined each to each, the grain and the grape. In the field the reapers, wine can make cheerful, in the vineyard the dressers, bread strengthens in turn.
14. These two things have power, to comfort my troubles: the Trinity has power, to comfort more exceedingly; whom I will praise because of a sudden, I was delivered through grace.
15. But the man whose life, is preserved through grace, if he goes away to murmur, at the loss of his goods, he is thankless for the grace, of Him who had pity on him.
16. Of His own will He destroys, one thing instead of another. He destroys possession, and spares the possessor: He destroys our plants, instead of our lives.
17. Let us fear to murmur, lest His own wrath be roused, and He spare the possessions, and smite the possessor; that we may learn in the end, His mercy in the beginning.
18. Let us learn against whom, it is meet for us to murmur. Learn to murmur, not against the Chastener, but against your own will, that made you sin and you were punished.
19. Let us put away murmuring, and turn unto prayer: for if the possessor dies, his possessions also cease for him; but while he survives, he seeks to recover his losses.
20. Let consolations be multiplied, in mercy to my dwellers: let the remainder and residue, console us in the midst of wrath; and cause us to forget in the residue, the mourning of our devastation!
21. Heal and increase O my Lord, the fruits Your wrath has left! They seem to me like sick ones, that have escaped in pestilence. Make me to forget in these weak ones, the suffering of the many!
22. While I speak, O my Lord, I call to mind that this too is the month, when the blossom pined, and dropped off in blight, may it return to soundness, to be a consolation!
23. For these escaped the pestilence, that carried off their brethren. The vines though voiceless, wept when before them, a multitude was cut down and felled, of trees that they loved.
24. The company of plants, lo! The earth misses! The roots for the husbandmen, weep and cause them to weep. Their beauty had spread and gave shade, and it was torn away in one hour.
25. The axe came near and struck; and struck the husbandman; the blow was on the trees, and it caused the husbandman to suffer; every axe that smote, he bore the pain of it.
1. I will run in my affections, to Him who heals freely. He who healed my sorrows, the first and the second, He who cured the third, He will heal the fourth. R., Heal me, You Son the First Born!
2. My sons, O my Lord, drank and were drunken, of the tidings which wrath had mixed; and they rushed on my adornments, and spoiled and cast away my ornaments; they rent and spared not, my garments and my crowns.
3. They uncovered me and I was made bare. Because I was shamed a little, by means of that stripping, the first and the second, because I was shamed a third time, lo! They have stripped me a fourth time.
4. For they have seized and taken away my garments, my ornaments and my gardens. On the sackcloth that girds my altar, look, O my Lord, and have pity on me! Let the sackcloth be to me, O my Lord, the breastplate of salvation!
5. Lo! It is not by the hand of the chaste, that You have chastised me, O my Master! For lo! His shame is before him, and behind him his disgrace; for as to his marriage, adultery is better than it.
6. Lo! His daughter is his wife, and his sister his consort; and his mother whence he came forth, he turns again and takes her to wife! The heavens are astonished that thus, he provokes You, and lo! He prospers.
7. And though, O my Lord, my crimes are many, are my offenses so heavy, that You should make over a chaste woman, mother of chaste daughters, to foul Assyria, mother of defiled daughters?
8. Restrain him that he come not, and wag at me his head, and stamp on me his heel, and rejoice that the voice of his fame, thus troubles the world; and be uplifted yet a little!
9. My sons, O my Lord, have seen my nakedness, yea have uncovered me and wept. Uncover me before my children, who are pained by my pain, and let not those mock at me, the accursed that have no pity!
10. My lands had brought forth fruits and pleasant things; good things in the vineyard, abundance in the fields. But as I rested secure, of a sudden wrath overtook me.
11. The husbandmen were plundered, the spoilers heaped the grain; what you had borrowed and sown these destroyed. With one's debt his hunger, haply will also remain unsatisfied, for his bread is snatched from him.
12. The husbandman, O my Lord, is plundered, for he lent to the earth; she has received the deposit, and given it to a stranger; she has borrowed it of the husbandman; and paid it to the spoiler.
13. Be jealous over me who am Yours, and to You, O my Lord: am I betrothed! The Apostle who betrothed me to You, told me that You are jealous. For as a wall to chaste wives is the jealousy of their husbands.
14. Samson stirred up seas, because he was mightily jealous over his wife, though she was greatly defiled, and was divided against him. Keep Your Church, for no other, has she beside You!
15. Whoever is not jealous, over his spouse despises her. Jealousy it is that can make known, the love that is within. You are called jealous, that you may show me Your love.
16. The nature of woman is this; it is weak and rash: it is jealousy keeps it, under fear every hour. You have been named among the jealous, that You might make known Your solicitude.
17. Every man has been master, of something that was not his own; every man has gone forth gathering, something that he scattered not. The day of confusion, I have prepared for myself by my crimes.
18. How shall they bear the suffering, the labourers and tillers? In the face of the vinedresser, they have cut down the vines and driven away the flocks of the husbandman; his sowing they have reaped and carried off.
19. They had yoked cattle sown and harrowed, they had ploughed, planted, nurtured. They stood afar and wept; and they went away bereft of all. The labour was for the toilers, the increase for the spoilers.
20. The rulers, O my Lord, maintained not, order in the midst of Your wrath. If they had willed it they might have kept order, but our iniquity suffered it not. Though wrath had greatly abated, wrath compelled them to spoil.
21. To whom on any side, shall I look for comfort, for my plantations that are laid low, and my possessions that are laid waste? Let the message of the voice of peace, drive away my sadness from me!
22. Give me not over; lest it be thought that You have given me a writing of divorce, and sent me away and driven me out! Let them not call me, O my Lord, the forsaken and the disgraced!
23. I have not anything, to call to mind before Your eyes, for I am wholly despised. Call to mind for me, O my God, this only that none other, have I set before me beside You!
24. Who would not weep for me, with voice and wailing? For before the days of full moon I was chaste and crowned; and after the days of full moon, I was uncovered and made bare.
25. My chaste daughters of the chambers, wander in the fields; for the wrath that makes all drunken, has caused my honourable women to be despised. Let Your mercy which gives peace to all, restore these beloved ones to honour!
26. My elder daughters and my younger, lo! They cry before You; the damsels with their voices, they that are aged with their tears; my virgins with their fasts, my chaste ones with their sackcloth!
27. My eyes to all the streets, I lift up and lo! They are deserted. There are left of a hundred ten, and a thousand of ten thousand. Give peace and fill my streets, with the tumult of my dwellers!
28. Bring back them that are without, and make them glad that are within! Mighty is Your grace, that You extend it within and without. Let the wings of Your grace gather my chickens together!
29. Let the prayer of my just men, save my fugitives! The unbelievers have plundered me, and the believers have sustained me. In them that believe put to shame them that believe not!
30. There came together on one day, two festivals as one: the Feast of Your Ascension, and the Feast of Your Champions; the feast that wove Your Crown, and the memorial of the crowning of Your servants.
31. Have mercy because there were doubled for us, these feasts on one day; and there were doubled for us instead of them, even the two feasts in one, suffering from the voice of ill tidings, and mourning from desolation!
32. Give peace to my festivals! For both my feasts have ceased; and instead of rejoicing, of my remnants in festivals, tremblings and desolations meet me in every place.
33. Bring home mine that are far off, make glad mine that are near; and in the midst of our land shall be preached, good tidings of joy; and I shall render in return for peace, praise from every mouth!
1. Wrath came to rebuke, the greedy who in the midst of peace, bargained, defrauded and plundered. In calamity the greedy have waxed rich: lo! What was theirs they have scattered, what was not theirs they have gathered. R., Give peace, O Son, to our land!
2. Twenty years my troubles, have been like branches, O my Saviour! Which are kept back throughout winter, but when it is time to shoot forth, my troubles shoot forth: with our fruit our heart ripens.
3. Nisan is the time of buds: in it the ill tidings budded. When our delights crowded on us, then crowded on us our ills. At the time of winnowing of wheat, came the winnowing of cities,
4. For the three brethren in Babylon fled not from the fire that men kindled, because they were steadfast: from lust they fled, because they were perfect.
5. The fire of them that have triumphed, is able to turn the black kids into white: the fire of vain men is able to make the lambs into spotted leopards.
6. How great will be my cries, to be cried at any alarm! How great my indignation to ripen at every ill tidings! How great my harvests, to perish every mouth!
7. For the crimes of my sons He has chastened me, in their struggling for my deliverance. The people who deliver me, bring chastisement upon me. Restrain your sins, and lo! My chastisements are restrained!
8. In ill tidings they are afflicted; in time of wrath they are tortured; in time of peace they are distressed; for when every man breathes freely, and all are unthankful for grace, they render thanks on behalf of every man.
9. Their sackcloth is humble for my sake; their ashes are sprinkled in my affliction; their prayer is for my victory; their fast for my deliverance: Lo! The debt is on my ascetics, the guilt with my nobles.
10. Great is in every age, the folly of the wise; the scribes and elders envied and killed the teacher, who taught all people the Law of Moses.
11. Wisdom in this age is a possession that brings loss: he who has a little folly, very small is his guilt; but he who has a little prudence, his iniquity passes measure.
12. They build with their words, and overthrow in their deeds; for the teachers were many and foolish, but the mouth of the judge is both of these things, the judge and the accuser.
Hymn 8 is missing, as also the first part of Hymn 9.
...My afflictions are as Job's. Your justice delivered him; let Your grace have mercy on me!
2. In these two things is profit; that neither should the just, be weary in supplication, nor should the rebellious, multiply transgression.
3. With the sons You labour, to chastise and help them; and that the fathers should not be grieved, by the sound of the scourge, they left me in peace.
4. Look, O my Lord, on my woods without, how they have been cut down! Behold, O my Lord, my breasts within, that they are too weak, for me to bear my beloved ones!
5. With swords they have cut off, my wings that are without; again the fire kindles, in my bosom within, the incense of burnt offering.
6. The sun-worshippers have killed, my sons in the plain: and they that offer to Baal, have sacrificed my bulls in the city, my sheep with my babes.
7. In my fields is lamentation; in my halls wailing; in my vineyards terror; in my streets confusion. Who can suffice for me?
8. The Evil One who dealt treacherously, and disturbed me with his words, stirred up trouble within, so that my inward part, is wholly as my outward part.
9. With what face, O my Lord, shall I call on You to send, a camp of holy ones, to guard my bosom, which is full of uncleanness?
10. With Your new leaven, You have chastened creation. Make the old leaven, which ensnares and humbles, to be like the new leaven!
11. By the manifest striving, of Your power let us conquer; lest error should crown, those that strive for You, cleaving to them with blandishment!
12. If we look into our time, it is like our deceit; – for in the years of truthfulness, we practised divinations, – and secretly used enchantments.
13. If I look into the time, it provokes and into light – brings secret things, that our deceit may be shamed – which wore the raiment of Truth.
14. Verily it is truth, that overcomes all; – and the sea with its bitterness, cannot trouble it – for it is pure in its nature.
15. In wisdom You have made it, O my Lord, that it has laid bare our lust.– That the foolish should come to nought, and should not be encouraged – Truth has withheld the crown.
16. On the tottering walls, whereon You have given me victory – the unthankful repay You, with sacrifice and libation, which provoke You openly.
17. If it were at that time, sacrifices had been offered;– there had been room even, for delusion to suppose – that in these I was delivered.
18. Through the multitude of deliverances, You have rebuked two things:– the delusion of graven images, and the teaching of magicians;– for in You, O my Lord, have I been delivered!
1. My children have been slain; and my daughters that are without me – their walls are overthrown, their children scattered – and their holy places trodden down. R., Blessed is Your chastisement!
2. The fowlers have taken, my doves out of my strongholds – which quitted their nests, and fled to the caves – in the net have they taken them.
3. After the manner of wax, that melts before the fire – thus melted and dissolved, the bodies, of my sons before the heat – and the drought of my strongholds.
4. And instead of streams, of milk that used to flow – for my sons and my little ones, milk fails the sucklings, and water the weaned children.
5. The suckling falls, from its mother and gasps – because it cannot suck, nor can she give suck:– they breathe out their spirit and die.
6. How is it possible, that Your grace can refrain – the welling of its stream, when it is not possible to restrain – the abundance of its flow?
7. And why has Your grace, shut up its mercies – and withheld its streams, from the people that cry – for one to moisten their tongue?
8. And there was a pit, between them and their brethren;– like the rich man who cried, and there was none to answer – to moisten his tongue.
9. And as into the midst of fire, the wretched ones were cast – and heat in the midst of thirst, the fire was blowing – and kindling upon them.
10. Their carcasses were melted, and dissolved by the heat – they that had thirsted gave in turn the earth to drink – of the reek of their bodies.
11. And the fort that with thirst, had killed, its dwellers – it drank in its turn of the flux from the corpses – that were melted by thirst.
12. Who has seen a people – that were burning with thirst – while there surrounded them a wall of water and they could not – moisten their tongue!
13. Surely with the judgment of Sodom, were my beloved judged, – and my children smitten, with the torment of Sodom – though that was but for one day.
14. The torment of fire, though it be for one hour, O my Lord, – in lingering thirst, is a lingering death, and a subtle punishment.
15. After my sorrows, O my Lord, and my bitter sufferings – this is the best comfort, wherewith You have comforted me – that You have multiplied my afflictions.
16. The medicine that I hoped, it is sorrow decreed;– the binding up that I looked for, it is bitter calamity – that it seeks to work for me.
17. And whereas I hoped to escape, from the midst of the storm – worse for me is the storm in it, even in the harbour – than that in the sea.
18. Whereas I thought in my folly, that I should anchor and escape – from the midst of the Gulf; my sins have cast me back – again into the midst of it.
19. Look, O my Lord, on my limbs, how the swords are thick in me – and have left their mark on my arms; and the scars of the spears – are planted in my sides!
20. Tears in my eyes, and in my ears ill rumours – wailing in my mouth, and mourning in my heart!– Add no more, O my Lord, to me!
1. Your chastening is, as a mother of our infancy:– her rebuke is merciful, in that You have restrained – the children from folly, and they have been made wise! R., Glory be to your justice!
2. Let us search out Your justice; for who is sufficient – to measure its help? Since by it the wanton – are oftentimes made chaste. –
3. Oftentimes Your hand, O my Lord, has made the sick whole – for it is the healer in secret of their diseases – and the fount of their life.
4. Exceeding gently, the finger of Your justice – in love and compassion, touches the wounds – of him that is to be healed.
5. Exceeding mild and merciful, is her cutting to him that is wise:– her sharp remedy, in its mighty love – consumes the corrupt part.
6. Exceeding welcome her wrath, to him that is discerning – but her remedies are hated, of the fool who has delight – in the trouble of his limbs.
7. Exceeding eager is she, to bind the cut she has made – when she has smitten she pities, that from between these two – she may breed healing.
8. Exceeding welcome her wrath, and her anger pleasant – and sweet her bitterness, sweetening bitter things – that they may be made pleasant.
9. A cause of negligence is Your indulgence to the careless – a cause of profit, is Your rod among the slothful– so that they become as traffickers.
10. The cause of our affliction, it is Your justice – the cause of our carelessness, it is Your graciousness – for our understanding has turned foolish.
11. Pharaoh hardened himself, because of Your graciousness;– for when the plagues were stayed, his cruelties waxed strong – and he lied to his promises.
12. Justice requited him, because he lied greatly against her – even Grace her freeborn sister; yea she restrained him again – that he should not again provoke.
13. Rebuke, O my Lord, my guide, for it has been false as Egypt – my prayers testify, that I am not as she – for Your door have I not forsaken.
14. Let Your cross, O my Lord, which stands, in my breaches that are open – repair again the breaches that are hidden; for instead of those without – those within have cleft me asunder!
15. A sea has broken through, and cast down, the watch tower wherein I had triumphed.– Iniquity has dared to set up, a temple wherein I am shamed: its drink-offering chokes me.
16. My prayers on my walls, my persecutors have heard:– the sun and his worshippers, are ashamed of their magicians – for I have triumphed by Your cross.
17. All creatures cried out, when they saw the struggle – while Truth with falsehood, on my battered walls, fought and was crowned conqueror.
18. The force of Truth, chastised falsehood:– in its chastisement it felt Truth, and through its own sins, it earned her victory.
19. I have great alarm; for since my deliverance – the honourable and mighty, who were devoted to my altar, have built in me high places.
20. My seven senses, O my Lord, even though they had been as fountains of tears, yet my tears were too little – to lament our ruin.
21. The streets that were in sackcloth, and ashes cried out – disturbed by the play, akin to that which was – in the wilderness before the calf.
22. Poison seeks and wears, the beauty of lilies – and though their buds may conceal, and hidden disguise it – it blossoms in their bitter flowers.
1. I will call in my affliction, on the Power that subdues all – that is able to subdue, the Captor in his wrath – as it overcame Legion. R., Glory to His grace!
2. The Evil One has repaid me my brethren, debts that he borrowed not of me:– the good God likewise has repaid me, mercies that I lent Him not.– Come and marvel at these two things!
3. The good God has divided and given, my misdeeds to His grace – my offenses to His justice; His mercy has blotted out my misdeeds – His judgment has requited my offenses.
4. Sin was exceeding angry, and abode in alarm – when she saw how grace, put restraint on freedom, that she might overcome transgressions.
5. Glow, O my Lord, and send down Your love, break out and pour forth Your wrath!– Your wrath to destroy, Your love to rescue – the captives from the captor!
6. The days wherein the Evil One, decreed to cast me forth – as with a sling into perdition, in them the good God has bound up and kept – my soul in the bundle of life.
7. The men of speech who keep not silence, from praising continually – who have kept me in the midst of waves, and supported me that I fell not, let them give praise in my stead, O my Lord!
8. For who has at any time sufficed, in presence of the grace – of the mercies which surrounded him, that I should suffice to praise – the mercies that encompass me?
3. THE BISHOPS OF NISIBIS (XIII-XVI)
Concerning Mar Jacob and his Companions.
1. Three illustrious priests, after the manner of the two great lights – have carried on and handed down one to another, the See and the Hand and the Flock. – To us whose mounting was great for the two, this last is wholly a consolation. R., Glory to You Who chose them!
2. He Who created two great lights, chose for Himself these three Lights – and set them in the three dark seasons of siege that have been.– When that pair of Lights was quenched, the other shone wholly forth.
3. These three priests were treasures, who held in their faithfulness – the key of the Trinity; three doors they opened for us – each one of them with his key, unlocked and opened his door.
4. In the first was opened the door, for the chastisement that befell us – in the next was opened the door, for the King's power that came down on us – in the last was opened the door, for the good tidings that came up for us.
5. In the first was opened the door, for battle between two hosts;– in the next were opened doors, for the kings from either wind – in the last was opened the door, for ambassadors from either side.
6. In the first was opened the door, for battle because of misdeeds;– in the next was opened the door – for the kings because of strife – in the last was opened the door, for ambassadors because of mercies.
7. Lo! In these three successions, as in a mystery and a figure –wrath is likened to the sun; it began under the first – it waxed strong under the next; it sank and was quenched under the last.
8. Three figures the Sun also, shows forth in the three quarters:– its rising is keen and bright; its meridian strong and overpowering – and like a torch that is burnt out, its setting is mild and pleasant.
9. Small yet bright is its rising, when it comes to waken sleepers – hot and overpowering its meridian, when it comes to ripen the fruits – tender and pleasant its setting, when it reaches its consummation.
10. Who is this daughter born of vows, enviable above all women – whose successions thus proceed, and her ranks are thus manifold – and her degrees thus ascend, and her teachers thus excel.
11. Do these similitudes belong, only to the daughter of Abraham – or to you too, O daughter, born of vows, whose adorning is according as your beauty?– for as your occasion, so was your help, and as your help so was its minister.
12. According to the measure of her need, there came to her the supply of her need.– Her fathers were as was her birth; her teachers were as was her understanding – her training as was her growth; her raiment as was her stature.
13. Grace weighed out to her and gave all these things as in the scales – she laid them in her balance, that therefrom there might be profit – she drew them into succession, that therefrom might be perfection.
14. In the days of him that was first, peace abounded and peace vanished – in the days of him that was next, kings came down and kings went back – but in the days of the last, hosts assailed and hosts retreated.–
15. By the first order came in, it came in with him and went out with him – by the next the diadem that gladdened our churches, came near and withdrew far away – but by the last there dawned on us, grace that was not thankfully received.
16. Against the wrath that was first, the labour of the first contended – against the heat that was at noon, the shade of the second stood up – against peace that was thankless, the last multiplied warnings.
17. For the first invader of the land was the first and illustrious priest – for the second invader of the land, was the second and merciful priest:– but the prayers of him that was last, repaired our breaches secretly.
18. Nisibis is set upon waters, waters secret and open:– living streams are within her; a noble river without her. The river without deceived her; the fountain within has saved her.
19. The first priest was her vinedresser; he made her branches to grow even unto heaven. – Lo! Being dead and buried within her, he has become fruit in the midst of her bosom:– when therefore the pruners came, the fruit that was in her midst preserved her.
20. The time of her pruning came; it entered and took from her her vinedresser – that there should not be one to pray for her. She made haste in her subtlety – He laid in her bosom her vinedresser, that she should be delivered through her vinedresser.
21. Be wise like Nisibis, O you daughters of Nisibis – for that she laid the body within her, and it became a wall without her.– Place within you the living body, that it be a wall for your lives!
1. Under the three pastors – there were manifold shepherds – the one mother that was in the city – had daughters in all regions.– Since Wrath has destroyed her dwellings – Peace shall build up her churches. R. Blessed be He who chose out those three!
2. The kindly labour of the first – bound up the land in her affliction:– the bread and wine of the next – healed the city when site was broken:– the sweet speech of the last – sweetened our bitterness in affliction.
3. The first tilled the land with his labour – he rooted out of her the briars and thorns:– the next fenced her round about – he made a hedge for her of them that were saved: – the last opened the garner of his Lord, – and sowed in her the words of her Lord.
4. The first priest by means of a fast, – closed up the doors of men's mouths:– the second priest for the captives, – opened the mouths of the purse:– but the last pierced through the ears – and fastened in them the ornament of life.
5. Aaron stripped off from the ears – the earrings and made a calf.– That lifeless calf in secret – pierced and slaughtered the camp:– those who had fashioned his horns, – he ripped them up with his horns.
6. But our priest who was the third – pierced through the ears of the heart:– and fastened there the earrings he had fashioned – of the nails that were fixed in the cross, – whereon his Lord was crucified – and gave life to His fellow-men.
7. A son unto death the fire brought forth – Death feeds upon all bodies:– the son of Death who surpassed Death – upon the souls of men he fed.– The calf forsook his provender – for men's minds were the food for him.
8. To the first Tree that which killed, – to it grace brought forth a son.– O Cross offspring of the Tree – that fought against your sire!– The Tree was the fount of death – the Cross was the fount of life.
9. The son that was born to Death – all mouths were opened to curse him.– He devoured bodies and souls – and multiplied the disgrace of his father.– But the Cross caused to pass away the rebuke – of its father that first Tree.
10. The two sons were even as were – the two mothers that bare them.– The calf which the fire brought forth – the fire consumed in the midst of the people:– the Cross the offspring of grace – divided good gifts to all creation.
11. O my tongue hold your peace and be silent of the histories of the Cross that press to be told!– for my mind of a sudden has conceived – and lo! pangs of travail smite it:– it has conceived these among the last – and they strive to become the firstborn.
12. The babes struggled in the womb – the elder made haste to come forth:– the younger desiring the birthright – laid his hand upon his heel – that which he obtained not by birth – he obtained by the mess of pottage.
13. After the like sort these later histories – lo! They make light of the former ones – that themselves may come forth and take the birthright.– Let us bring forth the history of our fathers – for lo! The histories of the Cross – are the firstborn of all creatures.
14. For if that which has no beginning – is the first of all created things – its histories also are the firstborn – for they are elder than all creatures.– Let the histories of You, O my Lord, yield place – that we may tell of Your ministers!
15. The first in degree of doctrine, – His eloquence was like as was his degree – the next who was second in degree – his interpretation mounted to the height of his degree – the last who was third in degree – his eloquence was great as he was.
16. The first in his simple words – gave milk unto his infants – the next in his plain sayings – gave victual to his children – the third in his perfect sayings – gave meat to his that were of perfect age.
17. She too the daughter of instruction – mounted from degree to degree – along with her teachers and fathers.– A young child she was with the first; a simple maid was she with the next – she came to perfect age in the third.
18. The first dealing with her as a child – loved her and taught her to fear – the next as with a damsel, rebuked her and make her glad – the third as with one fully instructed – was to her a solace of pleasantness.
19. Even the Most High with the daughter of Jacob, – gave blandishment and the rod to her childhood – and in her frowardness and full age – gave part in the sword and the Law;– and according to her discipline and instruction – He came to her in mildness and pleasantness.
20. The first that begot the flock – his bosom bare her infancy – the next of glad-some countenance – cheered with song and made glad her childhood – the last grave of countenance – lo! He guards her chastity in her youth.
21. The first priest who begot her – gave milk to her infancy – the next priest interpreted – and gave victual to her childhood – the third priest nourished her, and gave meat to her perfect age.
22. The wealthy father who was first – laid up treasures for her childhood – the next for her maturity – multiplied provision for her journey – the third the goodly olive tree – multiplied oil in her vessels.
23. When she comes before Him who is rich, – she will show the treasure of the first – when she comes before the Saviour, she will show the saved ones of the next – when she goes forth to meet the Bridegroom – she will show the oil of her lamps.
24. Before Him who rewards the weary toilworn – she will offer the labour of the first – before Him who loves cheerful givers – she will show the almsgiving of the next – before Him who judges doctrines, – she will offer the discourse of the last.
25. And I the sinner who have striven to be – the disciple of these three – when they shall see Him of the Third Day – that he has closed the door of His chamber – may these three pray Him for me, that He keep the door open a little while for me!
26. May the sinner press into and enter – rejoicing and fearing to behold!– May the three masters call in – the one disciple in their grace!– May he gather up under the table – the crumbs that are full of life!
1. If the head had not been right – haply the members had murmured:– for when because of a perverse head – the course of the members is put astray – they are wont to lay the blame on the head. R. Blessed be He who chose you the pride of our people!
2. If now on one that is all goodly – on it we lay our hatred – how much more if we were hateful!– Yea even God though He is kind – bitter men complain against Him.
3. Be like the head O you members!– Get repose in his purity – and pleasantness in his tranquillity – in his sanctity renown – and in his wisdom learning!
4. Get discernment in his mildness – and chastity in his gravity – and bounty in his poverty! – As he is fully and altogether fair – let us be altogether fair with him!
5. See how meted and weighed – are his words and his actions! – Take heed how even his steps – keep the measure of peace!– With all his might he holds the bridle of all himself.
6. He was master over his youth – he bound it in the yoke of chastity:– his members were not enticed by lust – for they were kept under the rod:– his will he had in subjection.
7. For he was ready beforehand for his degree – as he was ready beforehand in his conversation – as he laid his foundations securely.– He became Head in his youth – when they made him preacher to the people.
8. Excellent was he among preachers – learned was he among scholars – and understanding was he among the wise:– chaste was he among his brethren – and grave among his familiar friends.
9. In two abodes was he – a solitary recluse from his early days – for he was holy within his body – and solitary within his dwelling – openly and secretly was he chaste.
10. But although we my brethren – have put astray those measures – and we have lost that savour, – and have become teachers to ourselves – unto the perfection that called us.
11. Yet that measure of Truth – preserves itself in its vessel:– Truth chose it because she saw it chose her – she has preserved in it her fragrance and savour, – from the beginning to the end.
12. The Head both chaste and grave – that was not wrathful nor hard – nor transgressed even as we did – set and kept his own measures – and cast a bridle on his thoughts.
13. He gave example in his person, – that as he kept the measure of his time – so was it meet that we should know our time.– We have become strangers to our time – for we have been witless in the time of discernment.
14. In the beginning the blast of the wind – in its might chastens the fruit – then in the meantime the might of the sun:– but when its mightiness is passed – its end gathers his sweetness.
15. But we – they that were first chastened us – and also they that came next rebuked us – and they that were last added sweetness to us:– then when the time of tasting us arrives – great was our savourlessness.
16. For we came to maturity – that we might wean the children from wantonness – and lead them to gravity:– but our old age stood in need – that we should be rebuked as youths.
17. Accordingly he in kindness endured, nor did he make use of force – that he might increase honour to our old age:– and even if it knew not its degree – let him be magnified who knew its time!
18. And if one say that for the multitude – force and the rod should govern it – even as for the thief fear – and for the spoiler threatening – and for fools open shaming.
19. Yet if with the head as first – the members had hasted to move as second – they would have drawn that which was third – and the whole body from the end – would have followed after them.
20. They that were second despised those that were first – and that were third those that were second:– the degrees were set at naught one by another.– While these within despised one another – they were trodden down likewise by those without.
1. Herein is a mirror to be blamed – if its clearness is darkened – because there are spots on its substance;– for the foulness that is on it becomes – a covering before them that look on it. R. Blessed be He Who polished our mirror!
2. For that comeliness is not adorned in it – and blemishes are not brought to view in it – it is altogether a damage to comely things – seeing that their comeliness gain not – adornments as their profit.
3. Blemishes are not rooted out by it – likewise adornments are not multiplied by it.– A blemish that remains is as a loss – that there is no adornment is a defect:– loss is met together with defect.
4. If our mirror be darkness – it is altogether joy to the hateful;– because their blemishes are not reproved:– but if polished and shining – it is our freedom that is adorned.
5. Twofold is the loss in defect – for the hateful and for the goodly – in that the goodly gain no crown – and likewise the hateful get no adorning:– the mirror divides the loss.
6. Never does the mirror drive – by compulsion him that looks therein:– so likewise grace which followed – upon the righteousness of the Law, – does not possess the compulsion of the Law.
7. Righteousness was unto childhood – its adorner of compulsion – for when mankind was in childhood – she adorned it by compulsion – while she robbed it not of its freedom.
8. Righteousness used blandishment – and the rod to deal with childhood – when she smote it she roused it; her rod restrained frowardness, her blandishment softened the minds.
* * * * * * * * * * *
9. [If one turn from the Gospel,] wherewith we are adorned today, my brethren – to another gospel he is a child:– in a time of greatness of understanding – he has become without understanding.
10. For in the degree of full age – he has gone down to childhood – and he loves the law of bondmen, – which when he is confident smites him – and when he rejoices buffets him.
11. Whatsoever ornament is compulsion – is not true but is borrowed.– This is a great thing in God's eyes – that a man should be adorned by himself:– therefore took He away compulsion.
12. For even as of His prudence– in its own time He employed compulsion – so likewise of His prudence – He took it away at a time – when gentleness was desired in its stead.
13. For as it is befitting to Youth – that it should be made to haste under the rod – so is it very hateful that under the rod – Wisdom should be brought to serve – that compulsion should be lord over her.
14. Behold therefore how likewise – God has ordered my successions – in the pastors I have had – and in the teachers He has given me – and in the fathers He has reckoned unto me!
15. For weighed out according to their times – were the helps of their qualities;– namely in him in whom it was needful, fear; and in whom it was profitable, heartening; and in whom it was becoming, meekness.
16. By measure He made my steps advance:– to my childhood He assigned terror; likewise to my youth, fear – to my age of wisdom and prudence – He assigned and gave meekness.
17. In the frowardness of the degree of childhood – my instructor was a fear to me:– his rod restrained me from wantonness – and from mischief the terror of him – and from indulgence the fear of him.
18. Another father He gave to my youth:– what there was in me of childishness – that was there in him of hardness; what there was in me of maturity – that was in him as meekness.
19. When I rose from the degrees – of childhood and of youth – there passed away the terror that was first – there passed away the fear that was second – He gave me a kind pastor.
20. Lo! For my full age his food – and for my wisdom his interpretations;– and for my peace his meekness – and for my repose his kindness – and for my chastity his gravity!
21. Blessed is He who as in a balance – weighed out and gave me fathers:– for according to my times were my helps – and according to my sicknesses my medicines – and according to my comelinesses my adornments!
22. We then are they that have disturbed – the succession and fair order – for in a time of mildness – lo! We crave for hardness – that You should rebuke us as though we were children!
4. ABRAHAM THEIR SUCCESSOR (XVII-XXI)
Concerning Abraham, Bishop of Nisibis .
1. Suffer, O Lord, that even my lowliness, should cast into Your treasury its farthing, even as the merchant of our flock, who made increase of his talent of Your doctrine, and has departed and entered Your haven. I will speak of the shepherd, under him who has become head of the flock; who was disciple of the Three, and has become our fourth master. R., Blessed be He Who has made him our comfort!
2. In one love will I cause them to shine, and as a crown will I weave them, the splendid blossoms, and the fragrant flowers of the teacher and of his disciple, who remained after him as Elisha; for the horn of his election and he was consecrated and became head, and he was exalted and became master. R., Blessed be He Who made him chief!
3. And they in heaven rejoiced for the flock, that by the pastor whom they fed, they feed it; the abode of the shepherds under him rejoiced, because they saw the succession of their degrees. He took and set him as a mind in the midst of the great body of the church, and his members came round him to buy of him life, doctrine, new bread. R., Blessed be He Who made him their treasury!
4. He chose him from the multitude of shepherds, because he had given trial of his steadfastness; the time tested him in the midst of the flock, and length of days proved him as a crucible; for that he gave proof in his person, He made him a wall for many. Let your fasting be armour to our country, your prayer a shield to our city, let your censer purchase reconcilement. R., Blessed be He Who has hallowed your sacrifices!
5. The Pastor who has been parted from his flock, fed them on spiritual pastures, and by his exalted staff, he defended them from secret wolves. Fill up the room of your master, which thirsts for the sound of his melody; set up yourself as a pillar, in the city of the trembling people; support her with your prayers. R., Blessed be He Who has made you our pillar!
6. He has committed the Hand to his disciple, the Throne to one that is worthy of it, the Key to one that is proved faithful, the Flock to one that has excelled. To your hand belongs the laying-on, to your offering propitiation, and to your tongue consolation. May peace adorn your Dominion; be the watchmen within and the congregations without. R., Blessed be He Who has chosen you for rejoicings!
7. May your doctrine abound, in deeds more than words! In saying few words, till our land with labour, that by much tillage the scanty seed may become rich, the increase of the old seed, may come among us thirtyfold, and your new seed sixtyfold. R., Blessed be He Who multiplies an hundredfold!
8. The wrath that was against you ceases, because peace flows over you altogether; the jealousy against you is quenched, for your love hourly flames forth: you have broken the string of envy, that it should smite none in secret; slander that confounds, to it your ear turns not, for open truth is pleasing to you. R., Blessed be He Who adorned your members!
9. You shall give counsel in the midst of your people, like Jethro among the Hebrews; you shall altogether go with him, who for your profit counsels you, you shall altogether flee from him, who otherwise counsels you: Rehoboam shall be a sign to you; you shall choose counsels of profit, you shall refuse counsels of envy. R., Blessed be He Who has counselled comfort!
10. The gift that has been given you, from on high it flew and came down: you shall call it by a name of man, you shall not bear it in another power, lest haply to its place there should come, Satan in his guile, supposing, that the sons of men have given it to you, so that this freeborn gift should serve in bondage to man. R., Blessed be He Who has handed down his gift!
11. Your master is painted in your person; lo! His likeness is on you altogether; parted from us one with us is he. In you we shall see those three, the excellent ones who are parted from us. You shall be unto us a wall as Jacob, and full of tenderness as Babu, and a treasury of speech as Valgesh. R., Blessed be He Who in one has painted them!
12. I, too, the offscouring of the flock, have not withholden anything that was meet: I have painted the similitude of these two, in the colors of these two; that the sheep may see their adornment, and the flock their beauties. And I who have become a lamb endowed with speech, unto You, O God of Abraham, in the posture of Abram will give You praise. R., Blessed be He Who has made me His harp!
1. O you who are made priest after your master, the illustrious after the excellent, the chaste after the grave, the watchful after the abstinent, your master from you has not departed; in the living we see the deceased: for lo! In you is his likeness painted; and impressed upon you are his footprints, and all of him shines from all of you. R., Blessed be He Who in His stead has given us you!
2. The fruit wherein its tree is painted, bears witness concerning the root. Hitherto there has not failed us, the savour of his sweetness. His words you show forth in bodily act, for you have fulfilled them in deed. In your conversation is painted his doctrine, in your conduct his exposition, in your fulfilment his interpretation. R., Blessed be He Who has made your lustre to excel!
3. The last pastor who was exalted, and became head unto the members, the younger who obtained the birthright, not for price like Jacob, not in jealousy like Aaron, whose brethren the Levites envied him, but by love obtained he it like Moses, though he was older than Aaron. In you your brethren rejoiced as in him. R., Blessed be He Who chose you in unanimity!
4. There is no envy or jealousy, among the members of the body; for in love they give ear unto him, with tenderness they are visited by him. A watch tower is the head unto the members, for on every side he looks forth. Exalted is he yet meek in his graciousness, even to the feet he humbles himself, that he may turn away harm from them. R., Blessed be He Who instilled your love into us!
5. A small thing verily had this been, if by an old man apostasy were overcome. Old age in its prudence submitted; youth in its season conquered; for a youthful combatant endured, the hateful conflict waged, by force that was full of apostacy, which like smoke waxed and passed: with its beginning was its end. R., Blessed be He Who blew upon it that it vanished!
6. The voice of the cornet on a sudden amazed and called You to battle. You went up like a new David, by You was subdued a second Goliath. You were not untried in combat, for a secret warfare day by day, You are waging against the Evil One. Exercise in secret is wont to attain the crown openly. R., Blessed be He Who chose You for our glory!
7. In face of trial Job trained his body and his mind, and in temptation he was victorious. And Joseph conquered in the chamber; Ananias and his company in the furnace, and in the midst of the den Daniel. Satan did foolishly, when in tempting, he confirmed their victory openly. R., Blessed be He Who has multiplied shame on him!
8. And the husbandman who apostatized and was urgent, to sow thorns with his left hand; zealous against him was the righteous husbandman, stopped and cut off his left hand. He filled His own right hand and sowed in the heart the words of life; and lo! Our understanding is tilled, by His prophets and His apostles. By You may our souls be tilled! R., Blessed be He Who chose You for our husbandman!
9. And if so be Your words are too little, till our land with deeds, that amid much tillage, stock and root may be strengthened. Better is a goodly deed, than the hearing of ten thousand words. Your seed shall yield an hundredfold, and the after crop sixtyfold, yea that which grows of itself thirtyfold. R., Blessed be He Who multiplied Your increase!
10. That light should be darkened it is not meet, that salt should lose its savour it is not right; defilement for the head is not seemly, nor yet foulness for the mirror. Nor if medicines have lost their savour sicknesses also are not cured; and if so be the torch is quenched, the stumbling also are many. Your light shall chase away our darkness. R., Blessed be He Who has made You our lamp!
11. Appoint for you scribes and judges, exactors also and dispensers, overseers also and officers: to each assign his work, lest haply by care should be rusted, or by anxiety should be distracted, the mind and the tongue, wherewith you offer supplication, for the expiation of all the people. R., Blessed be He Who makes illustrious Your ministry!
12. That he should purge his mind, and cleanse also his tongue; that he should purify his hands, and make his whole body to shine; this is too little for the priest and his title, who offers the Living Body. Let him cleanse all himself at all hours; for he stands as mediator, between God and mankind. R., Blessed be He Who has cleansed His ministers!
1. You who answers to the name of Abraham, in that You are made father of many; but because to You none is spouse, as Sarah was to Abraham – lo! Your flock is Your spouse; bring up her sons in Your truth; spiritual children may they be to You, and the sons be sons of promise, that they may become heirs in Eden. R., Blessed be He Who foreshowed You in Abraham!
2. Fair fruit of chastity, in whom the priesthood was well pleased, youngest among Your brethren as was the son of Jesse; the horn overflowed and anointed You, the hand alighted and chose You, the Church desired and loved You; the pure altar is for Your ministry, the great throne for Your honour, and all as one for Your crown. R., Blessed be He Who multiplied Your crowning!
3. Lo! Your flock, O blessed one, arise and visit it, O diligent one! Jacob ranged the flocks in order; range the sheep that have speech, and enlighten the virgin-youths in purity, and the virgin-maids in chastity; raise up priests in honour, rulers in meekness, and a people in righteousness. R. Blessed be He Who filled You with understanding!
4. Guard the sheep that are whole, and visit them that are sick, and bind up them that are broken, and seek out them that are lost; feed them in the pastures of the Scriptures, and give them drink or the spring of doctrine: let the truth be a wall unto you, let the cross be a staff unto you, and truthfulness be peace unto you. R., Blessed be He Who multiplied Your virtues!
5. Let there be with You in Your flock, the power that was with David; for if he plucked a straying lamb, from the mouth of the lion, how meet is it for You, O exalted one, to be zealous to snatch from the Evil One the souls that are precious above all, for by nothing can they be bought, save by the blood of Christ! R., Blessed be He Who was sold and bought all!
6. Unto Moses Joshua ministered, and for the reward of his ministry, from him received the right hand. Because to an illustrious old man you have ministered, he too gave you the right hand. Moses committed unto Joshua, a flock of which half were wolves; but to you is delivered a flock, whereof a fourth yea a third is sanctified. R., Blessed be He who adorned your flock!
7. Let the love of Moses abide in you, for his love was a discerning love, his zeal a discreet zeal. When Korah and Dathan sundered themselves, he sundered the earth from beneath them; by sundering he made the sundering to cease. In Eldad and Medad he made known, that his good will was altogether this that all the people should prophesy. R., Blessed be He who in His good will was reconciled!
8. The poor estate of Elijah, Elisha loved above wealth; a poor man gave to a poor man, a gift that was great above all. Because you have loved the poverty, of your master who in secret was rich, the fountain of his words shall flow from you, that you may become a harp for the Spirit, and may sing to yourself inwardly His good will. R., Blessed be He who made you His treasure!
9. There is none that envies your election, for meek is your headship; there is none angered by the rebuke, for your word sows peace; there is none terrified by your voice, for pleasant in your visitation; there is none that groans against your yoke, for it labors instead of our neck, and lightens the burden of our souls. R., Blessed be He who chose you for our rest
10. Contend not with the mighty, despair not of the outcast; soften and teach the rich, exhort and win the poor; with the harsh join the forbearing, and the long suffering with the wrathful; catch them that are evil by them that are good, and them that spoil by them that give, and the defiled by means of the sanctified. R., Blessed be He who made you our hunter!
11. Take to you ten thousand medicaments, and arise and go forth among the sick; to the diseased offer medicine, and to him that is sound a preservative; not one medicine only shall you offer, for the sickness lest haply it be not meet: offer many remedies, that the sickness may find healing; likewise you shall learn experience. R., Blessed be He who laboured to heal our wounds!
12. May the land be according to your desire; may the vineyard be according to your husbandry; may the flock be in the midst of your dwelling, and the sheep sound under your staff! May you be a great Head, and we the jewels of your crown! May we be beautiful in you and you be beautiful in us! For they are goodly each in the other, people and priest when they are at one. R., Blessed be He who has sowed among us unity!
13. Hearken to the Apostle when he says, to that virgin whom he had espoused; I am jealous over you with jealousy, with a jealousy verily of God, not of the flesh but of the spirit. Be jealous therewith you also in pureness, that He may know what she is and whose she is. In you may she cherish, and in you may she love, Jesus the Bridegroom in truth. R., Blessed is he whose zeal is holy!
14. As are her masters, so are her manners: for with the teacher that lags a laggard is she, and with him that is noble, excellent is she. The Church is like a mirror, for according to the face that gazes into it, thus does it put on the likeness thereof. For as is the king so also his host, and as is the priest so also his flock; according as these are it is stamped on them. R., Blessed be He Who stamped her in His likeness!
15. Without a testament they departed, those three illustrious priests; who in Testaments used to meditate, those two Testaments of God. Great gain have they bequeathed to us, even this example of poverty. They who possessed nothing the blessed ones, made us their possessions; the Church was their treasure. R., Blessed is he who possessed in them his possessions!
16. The priest Jacob the noble, with him she was ennobled as he was: because he joined his love to his jealousy, with fear and love he was clothed. With Babes a lover of bounty, for money she redeemed the captives. With Valgesh a scribe of the law, her heart she opened to the Scriptures. With you then may her profit be manifold! R., Blessed be He Who has magnified her merchantmen!
1. O virgin-youth that art become bridegroom, move to a little jealousy your mind, towards her who is the wife of your youth: cut off the attachments which she had, in her girlhood with many others; rebuke her and call together her affections, that she may know what she is and whose she is. In you may she desire yea love, Christ the Bridegroom of truth. R., Blessed be He Who betrothes her to His Only Begotten!
2. Be jealous O husbandman against the tares, which have sprung up and entangled themselves among the wheat. Easy is it to root up the thicket, rather than the despised: if a slight breeze bears it, it attacks the sowing and conquers it. That which three husbandmen have sown, may it return in threefold measure! Thirty-fold and sixty and an hundred! R., Blessed be He Who makes rich your increase!
3. A new shepherd for him it is right, that he should oversee the flock in new wise, and should know what is the number of it, and should see what are its needs. A flock it is that was purchased with the blood, of that chief of the shepherds. Call and cause to pass each sheep by its name, for it is a flock whereof the name is written, and its reckoning in the Book of life. R., Blessed be He Who will require the number thereof!
4. Lo the spouse of your Lord is with you! keep her from all harm, and from men that deal corruptly, and call the congregations by their own names. The name of her spouse is set on her; let her not go a whoring for another name, for she was not baptized in the name of man; with Names wherein she was baptized let her make confession, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. R., Blessed be He by Whose Name she is called!
5. The Apostle her betrother was jealous over her, that she should not be corrupted by names, yet not by names that were false, but not even by names that were true; not by Cephas yea not by his name. They who were true betrothers, set the Name of her betrothed upon her; the false betrothers like whoremongers, set their own names on the flock. R., Glory be to Your Name, our Creator!
6. The stamp on living creatures, O my brethren, no man destroys openly; and a name that is signed to a letter, no man adds to or alters: whoever effaces the stamp is a thief; and whoever alters the name is a falsifier. The name of Christ has been altered; names of falsehood lo! Have been set, upon the congregations that have been corrupted. R., Blessed be He Who has called His flock by His Name!
7. Look at the Prophets and Apostles, how like they are each to the other! By the Prophets the Name of God, was set on the flock of God; and by the Apostles the Name of Christ, was set on the Church of Christ. The false betrothers also are like one another for by their names are called, the congregations who commit whoredom with them. R., Blessed be He in Whose Name we were sanctified!
1. John who was a torch, laid bare and rebuked the wanton ones: they made haste and quenched the torch, that they might let loose the desire of their lust. Be a lamp in brightness, and make the works of darkness cease, that whenever your doctrine shines, no man may dare at its rising, to give ear to the lusts of darkness. R., Blessed be He Who made you our lamp!
2. A great blessing was hidden in it, even in the reproof of Elijah. Elisha ministered unto him and sought, a twofold reward of his ministration. Twofold glory it gave to him, for in double measure was he clad with his virtues. You who has loved the reproof of Valgesh your master rich in gifts, may you inherit the treasure of his wisdom! R., Blessed be He Who makes your Doctrine rich!
3. May greediness be overcome by your fasting even as by the fasting of Daniel! May lust be confounded before your body, like as it was confounded before Joseph! May lust of money be overcome by you! like as it was overcome before Simeon, May you bind on earth even as he, and loose on high after his likeness; for your faith is even as his! R., Blessed is He Who committed to you His ministry!
4. Your chastity be as Elisha's, and your celibacy Elijah's, the covenant with your eyes as Job's, your tender mercies as David's; without envy as Jonathan, your firmness as Jeremiah's, your gentleness the Apostles»! Yours be the ancient things of the prophets, yours the new things of the Apostles. R., Blessed be He Who filled you with their treasures!
5. Be a crown to the priesthood, and in you be the ministry made to shine! Be a brother to the elders, likewise an overseer to the deacons; be a master to youth, a staff and a hand to old age; be a wall to the consecrated virgins. In your conversation may the covenant prevail, and the Church in your comeliness be adorned. R., Blessed be He Who chose you to be priest!
6. In your poverty be brought to nought, the hateful custom of the house of Gehazi; in your sanctity be abolished, the abominable custom of the house of Eli; in your unity be done away, the treacherous greeting of the lips of Iscariot the deceiver! Pour forth all our thought, and form it anew from the beginning! R., Blessed be He Who in your crucible refines us!
7. In your conversation let Mammon be put to shame, who has been lord over our freedom! Let the disease be done away from us, which is customary with us and pleasant to us; abolish the causes that have maintained, customs that are full of harm! Evil things have possessed us through custom: let good things possess us through custom! Be, O Lord, the cause of help to us. R., Blessed be He Who chose You in order to our life!
8. Let evil customs be cut off: let not the Church possess wealth; that she be sufficed let her possess souls, and if thus she be sufficed let it be in marvellous measure! And let not her deceased be buried in the cutting off of hope heathenishly, with vestments and wailing and lamentation; for the living is clothed in raiment, but the deceased his all is a coffin. R., Blessed be He Who to our dust turns us again!
9. A cause of evil is the lust, also the greediness of the house of Eli, and the thievishness of the house of Gehazi, and the reviling of Nabal. Close up these hateful well-springs, lest there be a great outpouring, and there come from it defilement, and even you are reached by its overflow. The Lord restrain their outpourings! R., Blessed be He Who dried up their over-flowings!
10. For the old man commit speech to him; for the young enjoin silence on him; for the stranger who comes in unto you, learns of you from your discipline, namely who speaks first, and who second and third: and if every man keeps his mouth, and every man knows his degree, they will call you happy. R., Our Lord perform your desire!
11. Let the voice of your truth be single and your assumed voices without number; the image of truthfulness on your heart, and on your face all aspects, sadness, gladness, and feebleness. To him that errs show that you are wrathful, to him that is chaste show that you are glad. Be single towards the Godhead, and to mankind be manifold. R., Blessed be He Who with all men is all things!
12. If you hear an evil report, from truthful men that deceive not, pour forth tears that you may quench the fire that burns in others; let them that are wise pray with you, and appoint a fast for them that have knowledge, and let your dwelling be in mourning, for him who is lost in sin, that he may turn back in repentance. R., Blessed be He Who found the sheep that was lost!
13. To every man give not your ear, lest liars overwhelm you; to every man lend not your foot, lest vile ones misguide you; to every man give not your soul, lest the insolent trample you. Keep your hand from the false man, lest he gather thorns into your hand. Be far off and near at hand. R., Blessed be He Who is near though far!
14. Lo the fame of the new king, resounds and comes into the world! To the spoiled he is a comfort, and to the spoilers a terror. On the covetous vomiting has come, that they may render up all that they have swallowed. Let them be put to fear from before you also, that between a priest and a righteous king, the former customs may be done away. R., Blessed be He Who was angry, and turns and has mercy!
15. There is that finds opportunity and ventures, and there is that forces and compels his will. One thinks that judgment is reserved, and another that it is not to be at all. There is that steals and quenches his thirst, and there is that steals and thirsts to steal. The rich steal and the poor; but the hungry steal by measure, and the full steal without measure. R., Blessed be He Who has searched out all wills!
16. But now has He given opportunity, and every man has shown his will, of what kind it is and to what it is like, and what he has chosen for himself rather than what. He has removed temptation from every man, lest even he who is not hateful should deny him. He has given us opportunity that we may understand, that better think this power is chastisement which profits much. R., Blessed is He Who for our profit rebukes us!
17. For He wills not by compulsion, to cast his yoke on our neck; He gave us opportunity and we waxed proud, that so when we rebelled and were punished, we might love His light yoke, might choose His pleasant staff. Our rest is very wearisome to us, for in His compulsion is restfulness, and in His yoke is lightening. R., Blessed be He Whose labour is pleasantness!
18. The whole world like a body, had fallen into a heavy sickness; for in the fever of heathenism, it burned and pined and fell. The right hand of tender mercy touched it, and dealt with its soul in pity; and cut off speedily its heathenism, for that was the cause of its sickness, and it was purged and sweated and restored. R., Glory be to the Hand that has healed!
19. The land shall have peace in your days, for it has seen you that you are full of peace. In you shall the churches be built, and shall be clothed with their ornaments, and their books shall be opened in them, and their tables shall be spread, and their ministers shall be adorned; from them shall go up thanksgiving, as first fruits to the Lord of peace. R., Blessed is He Who revives our Churches!
20. Let your prayer go up to heaven, with it let reconciliation go up! May the Lord of Heaven rain down His blessings upon our , and His consolations upon our afflictions, and His gathering upon our dispersion: may He waken His jealousy with His love; may His righteousness avenge our disgrace, may His grace blot out our iniquity! R., Blessed is He Who blesses His flock!
21. The first priest and first king, even as if depicted each in the other, were balanced as if in scales. So too Valgesh and so too the son of that king, for they were gentle and calm. May these latter be like each to other; the priests be shining lights, the king be glowing lights, likewise illustrious judges! R., Blessed be He Who has enlightened our souls!
22. From the king's office laws, and from the priest's office propitiations. That both should be mild is hateful; that both should be strong is grievous. Let one be strong and one be tender; in prudence and in discretion, let fear with mercy be mingled. Let our priesthood be tender, likewise our king strong. R., Blessed be He Who has mingled our helps!
23. Let the priests pray for the kings, that they may be a wall to mankind! From beside the kings be victory; and from beside the priests faith! May victory save our bodies, and faith our souls! May kings put an end to war; priests put an end to strife! May disputing and quarrelling cease! R., Blessed be the Son of Him Who gives peace to all! Praise to You for Your gift!
5. CONCERNING SATAN AND DEATH (XXXV-XLII)
Concerning Our Lord, and Concerning Death and Satan.
1. The Voice made proclamation: and they gathered and came; the hosts of the Evil One, together with his ministers. The army of the tares was gathered altogether, for they saw that Jesus had triumphed, to the grief of all them on the left hand, for there was none of them but had been tormented. They began one by one to relate all whatsoever they had endured. Sin and Hell were terrified: Death trembled and the dead rebelled; and Satan because sinners rebelled against him. R., To You be glory because the Evil One saw You and was troubled!
2. Sin cried aloud; she gave counsel to her sons, to the demons and the devils, and unto them she said, Legion the head of your ranks is not, the sea has swallowed him and his company; and likewise ye my sons if you despise, this Jesus will destroy you. You who in a snare took Solomon, it is therefore a reproach to you, that you should be overcome by his disciples, takers of fish and ignorant men; for lo! They have taken the draught of men, which had been taken by us.
3. This is great, above all evils (says the Evil One, concerning our Saviour); for this suffices Him not that He has spoiled us, but likewise on us He has begun retribution for Jonah son of Amittai. On Legion therefore He was avenging him when He seized and cast him into the sea. Jonah emerged, after three days and came up; but Legion yea not after a long season, for the depth of the sea closed upon him at the command.
4. I tempted Him, after his fast, with pleasant bread, but He desired it not. To my grief I strove to learn a psalm, that by His psalm I might take Him as a prey: I paused and learned it a second time, but He made my second trial to be vain. I brought Him up to a mountain and showed Him all possessions; I gave them to Him and He was not moved. Better was it for me in the days of Adam, who gave me no great trouble in teaching him.
5. The Evil One ceased, from his activity and said, A cause of idleness to me, is this Jesus; for lo! The publicans and harlots take refuge in Him. What work shall I seek for myself? I who was master to all men, to whom shall I be a disciple? Sin again said, It must be, that I forsake, therefore, and change from that which I am; for this Son of Mary who has come, as a new creation, has created mankind.
6. Gluttonous Death, lamented and said, I have learned fasting, which I used not to know; lo! Jesus gathers multitudes, but as to me, in His feast a fast is proclaimed for me. One man has closed my mouth, mine who have closed the mouths of many. Hell said I will restrain my greed; hunger, therefore, is mine: this Man triumphs as at the marriage, when He changed the water into wine, so He changes the vesture of the dead into life.
7. And moreover, God made a flood, and washed the earth, and purged her crimes; fire and brimstone again He sent on her, that He might make white her stains. By fire He gave me the Sodomites, and by flood the Giants. He closed the mouth of the hosts of Sennacherib, and opened the mouth of Hell. These things and such as these, I loved. But now, in place of deadly visitations of justice, He has wrought in His Son, the quickening of the dead by grace.
8. Prophets and righteous men, said the Evil One, unto his companions, have been seen by me; and though their strength was exceeding mighty, there was in them a savour of that which is mine; for the stuff whereof the sons of man are made, is near akin to our heaven. This man has clothed Himself with the body of Adam, and is troubling us, for our leaven has no power on Him. He is man, therefore, and God; for His manhood in His Godhead is intermingled.
9. Adam was seen by me, that fountain from whence flowed all races of men; his children has been sought out by me, and proved one by one. Yet have I not seen from the beginning a man, of whom one part was of God, and the other half, man. Moses, who shone in his splendour, I tempted again, and in his tongue I made him to err; but this man, yea, not in His mind, for pure exceedingly is the fountain of His thoughts.
10. The lust of the body, is in all bodies; for even while they sleep, it wakes in them. Him, who in his waking hours keeps himself pure, by means of a dream, I disturb. The dregs of the body are stirred in him, by a shaking movement in secret inwardly. The sleeping and the waking besides, I trouble alike. This is He Who alone keeps Himself pure, Whom not even in a dream can I disturb, Who even in His sleep is pure and holy.
11. But separate was even His childhood, from that of the children who have been seen by me; for I have not seen in Him any part of that which is of me. I was afraid of His childhood; therefore, I stirred up Herod, that among the infants He might be slain. Because of this also that He escaped, I was greatly afraid, for our mystery how did He find out! He received the offerings of the Wise Men; He scorned us and departed and escaped from our sword.
12. Children have been seen by me, sons of righteous men; yea, also youths, sons of chaste women; and I have moved them from the womb, one by one, and I have seen in them our leaven. For they were wrathful men and revilers, yea, also furious and gluttonous; fruits were they that by instruction were to be ripened and sweetened. But this man from His first planting, was a good fruit that possessed sweetness, wherewith sinners were made sweet.
13. Even while He was an infant, He was a teacher of the sons of men, by the splendour that was upon Him. Even the priest as he carried Him was amazed at Him. In the prudence of old men was He clad. Joseph stood aloof from Him: His mother gloried in His presence. He was a help in His childhood, to every one that saw Him; He was a profit to them that knew Him from the day when He entered into the world, He was a helper of mankind by His excellencies.
14. From whence has it sprung up before me, this fruit of Mary, the grape whereof the wine is not according to nature? For lo! I stand between doubts. To turn away and leave Him, I am afraid, lest by His teaching, they should be sweetened, they, who have acquired by bitterness. But again to tread on Him and crush Him, is a terror to me, lest haply He turn and become new wine unto sinners, and when they are drunken therewith, lo! They forget their idols.
15. Lo! I am afraid of both things, as well His death, as also His life. Then unto the Evil One His ministers made answer and counselled Him. Though both these things be grievous, somewhat lighter to us is the trouble, that we should choose His death rather than his life. Let Death tell us whether any one from among the righteous, has ever from the first been aroused again. The sons of the Giants and the renowned ones, there is none that has issued forth from her, even Hell, the Devourer.
16. The blowing of the wind, a man may feel after; but the Son of Mary, who shall search him out? For when He wept, by His tears He robbed me; and again when I bid Him cast Himself, from the holy Temple, I thought, that it was through fear He cast Himself not: yet when they threw Him from the hill-top, He flew through the air. On the well again when He was weary He sat. His variableness I understand not, for on the dry land alike and on the water He walks.
17. I have seen Him that He hungered, as a Son of man; yet this was done away by the bread which He multiplied. From the beginning I proved Him and I came to Him; He questioned me as though He knew me not; but this, too, was done away, when He showed that He knew our secrets. Again He chose Iscariot, as though He knew him not; then He turned and showed that He knew him, though he was binding and loosing. I was mistaken in Him, for He was baptized and emerged and overwhelmed me.
18. But one token there is which I have seen in Him that heartens me exceedingly above all. For while He was praying I saw Him and was glad, because He changed color and was afraid: His sweat was as drops of blood, because He felt that His day had come. This is pleasant to me, exceedingly above all, if it be not that deceiving He has deceived me therein. But if beguiling He has beguiled me, this is both for me and for you alike, my ministers.
19. Then shouted the host of devils and said, Hateful is the sign that we see in you, for never from the beginning has it thus happened to you. In prompt counsels you were excellent: the Son of Mary captures our cities, while you are prolonging your discourse. Arise, go forth, let us fight with Him, for this were to us a reproach, that we being many should be overcome by one. And if you are in pain or fear, give us counsel for the battle and stay behind.
20. This Jesus out of His own words it is, that I shall teach Him, and war with Him; for He said that he, even Satan, is divided, himself against himself, and that he cannot stand. Though He desires to fight with us, He has given us arms which are against Himself, gage and divide for me His disciples, for if you divide them, with these you will conquer them, even with Eve and the serpent, the weak powers, whereby I conquered the first Adam.
21. Death unto the Evil One, made answer and said to him, Wherefore do you not tarry according to your wont? For lo! It is those that are despised and least, that you ensnare after your custom: Jesus Who is great above all, wherewith have you sought to ensnare Him? The experience of His weapons moves you to fear, which He hurled against you when he was tempted of you. You and I with your followers, the host of us is too little for the battle with Him, the Son of Mary.
22. I counsel, then, if this our strife permits us to do anything: go into that disciple, let yourself loose, that head may speak with heads; and let loose all your host, let it go and stir up the Pharisees. And beware, lest you speak contentiously as you are wont. If you are a god, descend from hence, with fondness kiss them and betray Him; and, lo! We will bring on Him the envy and the sword of the Levites.
1. Our Lord subdued His might and constrained it, that His living death might give life to Adam. His hands He gave to the piercing of the nails, instead of the hand that plucked the fruit: He was smitten on the cheek in the judgment hall, instead of the mouth that ate it in Eden. And because his foot bore Adam thence, His feet were pierced. Our Lord was stripped, that He might make us modest: with the gall and vinegar He made sweet the bitterness of the serpent, which he had poured forth into mankind. R. Blessed is He Who gave me the victory and quickened the dead to His glory!
2. (Death.)– If You are God show Your power; and if You are man, feel our power. And if it is Adam that You seek, go away! Because of his transgressions he is shut up here; Cherubim and Seraphim await not, in his stead to pay his debt. There is none among them mortal, so as to give his life in his stead. Who can open the mouth of hell, and plunge and bring him up from her, who has swallowed him and keeps a hold on him, and that forever!
3. I am He who has conquered all the wise men; and lo! In the corners they are heaped for me in hell. Come, enter, son of Joseph, and see terrible things; the limbs of the giants, the mighty corpse of Samson, and the skeleton of the stubborn Goliath; Og, moreover, the son of the giants, who made for himself a bed of iron and lay thereon, from whence I hurled him and cast him down; that cedar I laid low to the gate of hell.
4. I by myself alone have conquered multitudes, and one may single-handed seek to conquer me. Prophets and priests and men of renown have I carried off; I have conquered kings in their armies, and mighty men in their hunts, and righteous men in their excellencies. Streams of corpses are hurled by me into hell, and though they pour into her she is thirsty. Though one be near or though he be far off, the end brings him to the gate of hell.
5. Silver I despised at the hand of the rich, and their offerings corrupted me not. The lords of slaves never once persuaded me, to take a slave instead of his lord, and a poor man instead of a rich man, or an old man instead of a child. As for wise that are able to charm wild beasts, their charms enter not into my ears. Hater of persuasion all men call me; and I the thing that is commanded me that I do.
6. Who is this, or whose son is He, or what His lineage who has conquered me? The book of families is by me; lo! I went in and read and studied the names from Adam till now, and not one of the dead do I forget. Family by family, lo! They are written, upon my limbs. Because of You, O Jesus, I went in and made a reckoning, that I might show You that there is none that escapes my hands.
7. Yet were there two men (that I lie not) whose names have escaped me in Hell. For Enoch and Elijah came not to me. In all the world I have sought them; yea there where Jonah descended, I descended and sought and they were not. And though I suppose that into Paradise, they have entered and escaped, a mighty Cherub guards it. The ladder Jacob saw, what if haply by it they have entered into Heaven!
8. Who is there that has measured the sand of the sea, and has spilled only two grains? This harvest wherein every day there labour, diseases as harvesters, I alone carry the handfuls and gather them up; other gatherers in making haste, drop handfuls. Vintagers overlook clusters; but two grapes have escaped me, in that great vintage which I alone have plucked.
9. I am He that has taken (said Death), on sea and on dry land, all prey in chase. Eagles of the air come to me; yea and dragons of the deep: creeping things and fowl and cattle; old men, youths and children. These will convince You, O Son of Mary, that this my power rules over all. Your Cross how shall it conquer me, who by a tree lo! I have prevailed and conquered long ago?
10. But I was desirous to speak yet farther, for I am not wanting in words; yea words are not to be sought by me, for lo! deeds call on me close at hand. Not as you do I make promise, to the simple of secret things, that forsooth there is to be a resurrection at some time or other. If then You are very powerful, give a present pledge, that Your distant promise also may be believed.
11. Death ended his speech of derision: and the voice of our Lord sounded into Hell, and He cried aloud and burst the graves one by one. Tremblings took hold on Death; Hell that never of old had been lighted up, into it there flashed splendours, from the Watchers who entered in and brought out the dead to meet Him, who was dead and gives life to all. The dead came forth, and the living were ashamed, they who thought that they had conquered the Life Giver of all.
12. But who gave me the day of Moses, (said Death) who made a feast for me? For that lamb that was slain in Egypt gave me, from every house the first fruit: heaps and heaps of the first born, at the gate of Hell he piled me them. But this Lamb of the festival, has robbed Hell; of the dead He has taken title and carried them off from me. That lamb filled the graves for me; but this has emptied the graves that were full.
13. The death of Jesus to me is a torment; I prefer for myself His life rather than His death. This is the Dead whose death (lo!) is hateful to me; in the death of all men else I rejoice, but His Death, even His, I detest; that He may come back to life I hope. While He was living He brought to life and restored three that were dead; but now by His death, at the gate of Hell they have trampled on me, the dead who have come to life, whom I was going to shut in.
14. I will haste and will close the gates of Hell, before this Dead, Whose death has spoiled me. Whoever hears will wonder at my humiliation, that by a dead man who is without I am overcome. All the dead seek to go forth, but this one presses to enter in. A medicine of life has entered into Hell, and has restored life to its dead. Who then has brought in and hidden from me, that living fire wherein have reposed, the cold and dark recesses of Hell?
15. Death has seen the Watchers in Hell; the immortal instead of the mortal; and he said Confusion has entered our abode, for in these two things is torment to me: That the dead have come forth out of Hell, and the Watchers that die not have entered therein. Lo! One at the pillow in this tomb, has entered and sat down by it, and a second his companion at His feet. I will entreat of Him and will persuade Him, with His pledge to ascend and go to His Kingdom.
16. Be not angry against me, gracious Jesus, for the words that my pride has spoken before You! Who is there that when seeing Your Cross, shall have doubted that You are man? Who is there that shall have seen Your Power, and shall not believe that You are also God? Lo! Thus by these two things I have learned to confess that You are man and likewise art God! For as much as the dead in Hell repent not, go up among the living, O Lord, and preach repentance.
17. O Jesus King, receive my supplication, and with my supplication take to Yourself a pledge, even Adam the great pledge accept for Yourself, him in whom are buried all the dead; even as when I received him, in him were hidden all the living. The first pledge I have given You, the body of Adam; go up therefore and reign over all; and when I shall hear Your trumpet, I with mine own hand will lead forth the dead at Your Coming.
18. Our King living has gone forth and gone up, out of Hell, as Conqueror. Woe He has doubled to them that are of the left hand; to evil spirits and demons He is sorrow, to Satan and to Death He is pain, to Sin and Hell mourning. Joy to them that are of the right hand, has come today. On this great day therefore, great glory let us give to Him, who died and is alive that, unto all He may, give life and resurrection!
1. Death was weeping for her, even for Sheol, when he saw her treasury that it was emptied. And he said, Who, then, has plundered your riches? Gehazi stole and was discovered; I am stealing every day, but theft has not been laid to my charge. I am sent to Kings, in their sicknesses, their guards are set around them, guards are also at their gate. The soul of kings I snatch and I go forth. R., Blessed is He Who has broken the sting of Death by His Cross!
2. All women grieve that are barren; Sheol rejoices because of her barrenness; she is desolate if so be that she brings forth. The all-compelling Power constrained it, even the bosom that was barren and cold, and it rendered back though wont to deny its debts. Rebekah, when the two babes afflicted her, asked for death. How great then the pain of Sheol, when there smote her strange pangs; the dead were roused and broke forth and came out from her bowels.
3. Is this then perchance that saying, which was heard by me from Isaiah? (but I despised it) when he arose and said, Who has heard such a thing as this? That the earth should travail in one day, and bring forth a nation in one hour. Is it this that has come to pass? Or else, is it reserved for us hereafter? And if it be this it is a vain shadow that I thought I am a king; I knew not it was but a deposit I was keeping.
4. Two utterances that were different, have I heard from him, even this Isaiah. For he said that a virgin should conceive and bring forth; and he said again that the earth should bring forth. But lo! The Virgin has brought Him forth, and Sheol the barren has brought Him forth; two wombs that contrary to nature, have been changed by Him; the Virgin and Sheol both of them. The Virgin in her bringing forth He made glad; but Sheol He grieved and made sad in His Resurrection.
5. I saw in the valley that Ezekiel, who quickened the dead when he was questioned; and I saw the bones that were in heaps and they moved. There was a tumult of bones in Sheol, bone seeking for his fellow, and joint for her mate. There was there none that questioned, or that was questioned, whether those bones lived. Unquestioned, the voice of Jesus, the Master of all creatures quickened them.
6. Sheol was made sorrowful when she saw them, even the sorrowful dead made to rejoice. She wept for Lazarus when he went forth, Go in peace you dead that live, bewailed by two houses of mourning. Within and without were lamentations for him; for his sisters wept for him when he came into the grave unto me, and I wept for him as he went forth. In his death there was weeping among the living; likewise in Sheol is great mourning at his resurrection.
7. Now it is that I have tasted the taste of his sorrow, even of him who weeps over his beloved. The dead that are thus beloved of Sheol, how dear were they to their fathers! The limbs which I severed and carried away, lo! They are shorn away and carried off from me. If I thus suffer for the departure of him, the youth who was restored to life, blessed is He Who had compassion on the widow; in her only son He gave peace to her dwelling that had been made desolate.
8. Lo! This suffering which I cause men to suffer in their beloved ones, in the end on me it gathers itself altogether. For when the dead shall have left Sheol, for every man there will be resurrection, and for me alone torment. And who is he then that shall bear for me all these things, that I shall see Sheol left alone, because this voice which has rent the graves, makes her desolate and sends forth the dead that were in her midst?
9. If a man reads in the Prophets, he hears there of righteous wars. But if a man meditate in the story of Jesus, he learns of grace and tender mercy. And if a man think of Jesus, that He is a strange God it is a reproach against me. No other strange key into the gate of Sheol could ever be fitted. One is the key of the Creator, that which has opened it, yea, is to open it at His Coming.
10. Who is he that is able to join the bones, save that Power which created them? What is it that shall reunite the shreds of the body, save the hand of the Maker? What is it that shall restore the forms, save the finger of the Creator? He, who created and turned and destroyed, is He that is able also to renew and raise up. Another God is unable to enter in and restore creatures not his own.
11. But were he another Power, I should be very joyful that He is coming to me. Into the bosom of Sheol He would descend and learn that One alone is God. Mortals that have erred and preached that there are Gods many, lo! They are bound for me in Sheol, and their Gods have never grieved because of them. One God do I know, and His Prophets and His Apostles do I acknowledge.
1. My throne was set for me in Sheol: and one arose that was dead, and hurled me from it. Every man feared me alone, and I feared no man. Terror and trouble were among the living, rest and peace among the dead. In a man that was slain lo! There has entered into Sheol He that takes her captive. I used to take all men captive: the Son of Captivity Whom I took captive has taken me captive. He Whom I took captive has led her away and is gone to Paradise. R., Blessed is He Who has quickened the dead of Sheol by His Cross!
2. All men complain much against me; and I against one only have complained. Who is there among men so just as I? Has corruption touched my integrity? I held all men in affection, and whoever hates me knows it; I know not all my days what a bribe is. The person of a king have I not accepted. By me is preached equality, for bondman and his lord in Sheol I make equal.
3. Before God it is that I minister, with Whom is no acceptance of persons. What other is there that endures as I do, I that am cursed when I do good? Perversely are requited to me the benefits I have rendered. Though my deeds are goodly, my name is not goodly. Yet my mind rests in its integrity: in God it is that I comfort myself; for though He is good He is denied every day and endures it.
4. The old I remove from all sufferings, likewise the young from all sins. Secret contention I quell in Sheol; in our land there is no iniquity: it is Sheol and Heaven alone, that are removed from all sins; this earth that lies between, in her iniquity dwells. He therefore that is prudent will either go up into Heaven, or, if that be too hard, will go down to Sheol which is easy.
5. To one man because of one that is dead, every man hastes to comfort him. But for me though many of my dead have come to life, there is none that comes in and comforts me. Satan came in, against Whom, had been proclaimed seven woes even against him; though mightily the Son of Mary had trodden on him, yet uplifted is his spirit; for he is the serpent that strives though bruised. Better is it for me to fall and worship, before this Jesus Who has conquered me by His Cross.
6. When He enters at the gate of Sheol, in place of John who preached before His coming, then will I cry Lo! He that quickens the dead has come; Your servant am I from henceforth, Jesu! Because of The Body I reviled You, for it covered Your Godhead. Be not angry, O Son of the King, against Your treasury; at Your command I have opened and closed. Though my wings be very swift it is at your nod I haste to every quarter.
7. All that have been raised were not first born; for our Lord is the First-born of Sheol. How can any that is dead go before Him, that power whereby he was raised? There are last that are first, and younger that have become first-born. For though Manasseh was first-born, how could it be that Ephraim should take the birthright? And if the second born was set before him, how much rather shall the Lord and Creator prevent all in His Resurrection!
8. Lo! John as a herald declares that he is later, though he was elder-born; for he said, Behold a man comes after me, and yet He was before me. For how could he be before Him, that Power in Whom he preached? For everything that comes to pass because of another thing, is after that other even though it seem to be before. For the cause which called it into being, is elder than it and before it in all things.
9. The cause of Adam was elder than all creatures, which were made for him, for to him even to Adam He had respect continually, the Creator even while he was creating. Thus though Adam as yet was not, he was elder than all creatures. How much more then, my Lord, must this Your manhood be elder, which in Your Godhead is, from eternity with Him that begot You! To You be praise and through You to Your Father from us all!
10. To You be praise for You are the first, in Your Godhead and in Your manhood! For even though Elijah was first to go up, he was not able to prevent Him, for whose sake he was taken up. For his type depended on Your verity: and even though the types apparently are before Your fulfilment, it is before them secretly. Creatures were before Adam; he was before them because for his sake they were made.
11. O my Lord, work for me this resurrection, not of Your compulsion but of Your love. For Your compulsion gives life to sinners also: Iscariot would rather again choose for himself the death of Sheol, than the life of Gehenna. Work for me then the resurrection that is of Your mercy; and even though Your justice permits not, let there be occasion for Your grace. This only let it remember for me, that in it I have sought refuge.
1. There have come to me ransomers from among the saints, but none has plundered me like the Son of Mary. For lo! Elijah brought a dead man to life; and even though he himself escaped from my hands, yet had I consolation after him, for the dead man whom he quickened, I carried off from him. By Elisha son of Shaphat, I was beaten as with rods, for he brought two dead men to life. By one staff I in turn bore away both the prophet and the dead whom he had raised. R., Blessed is He Who cleft the tombs of Sheol by His voice!
2. I feared him even Gehazi when I saw, him lay the staff upon the youth. The thief took the staff away and returned; Elisha came and bowed himself; laid himself low as the child and raised himself up, and walked hither and there. I marvelled at the new mysteries which I saw there, which restored but one youth to life. It was well with me then when those were but mysteries, and not now when the dead have rebelled and conquered me.
3. Moses when I saw the mighty splendour upon his face, I feared him: yet not according to what I feared befell it me. Nisan in Sheol he caused to spring for me; for a pasture, a pasture of corpses, of six hundred thousand fell.– This lowly and despised whom I contemned, has healed the sick and the diseased: to others He has multiplied bread, but our bread even ours from our mouths He snatches.
4. A mighty feast there was in Sheol, when I swallowed up Korah and his company. A great delight Satan made for me, when he made strife among the Levites. A fount of milk and honey, made he flow for me in a dry place, when the congregation of transgressors went down to Sheol. – Lo! The righteous have lived and come forth: Moses sent down the living there, but Jesus has revived and brought up the dead.
5. It was well with me then, in the day of the zealous, those in whose swords I had delight. Phinehas the zealous pierced and gave me, on the head of his spear for my delight, Zimri and Cozbi both together; on the head of his lance he presented them to me. To whom then were there ever two fatted oxen, offered on the head of a spear?– But instead of Cozbi, daughter of princes, the daughter of Jairus has Jesus rescued from my hands.
6. The censer of Aaron caused me to fear, for he stood between the dead and the living and conquered me. The Cross causes me to fear more exceedingly, which has rent open the graves of Sheol. The Crucified Whom on it I slew, now by Him am I slain. Not very great is his reproach, who is overcome by a warrior in arms. Worse to me is my reproach than my torment, in that by a crucified man my strength has been overcome.
7. The lance of Phinehas again has caused me to fear, for by the slaughter he wrought with it he hindered the pestilence. The lance guarded the tree of life, it made me glad and made me sad; it hindered Adam from life, and it hindered death from the people. But the lance that pierced Jesus, by it I have suffered; He is pierced and I groan. There came out from Him water and blood; Adam washed and lived and returned to Paradise.
8. The Sadducees were as a mouth for me, and disputed with Him after my mind, that there is no rising of the dead at all. Jesus answered them in a saying, which I alone understood; He spoke aloud the hateful word and saddened me, I am the God of him even of Abraham, and God is not the God of the dead. It was well with me then these were but words, and He had not yet showed me the life of the dead indeed.
9. Jesus son of Nun, slew thirty kings, and filled the graves and pits for me; he laid waste Jericho and filled Sheol. But this Jesus who has come, has wasted the graves of their dead, and has filled the cities of the upper world. Wherefore thus when lo! They are like in their names, are they unlike in their doings? That gave me the body of Achor, but this snatched from me the body of Lazarus.
10. Moses trod down that Egyptian, with his meekness he mingled justice. Whence has this new law sprung for me, If one smite you on your cheek, turn to him your other cheek, and see that you hate him not? Instead of the strong man of zeal who trod down and slew, a new man of mercy has risen for us. Samuel hewed Agag in pieces, but Jesus healed the paralytic.
11. Tender mercy which had as it were waxed less, lo! In this time has waxed great. And moreover it was then detested, lest through it one should transgress the commandment; for without mercy Saul and Ahab, were slain because they desired, to have mercy on the evil ones, and they were not slain who were deserving of punishment. In my time Jesus has changed this, by giving life to all men and having compassion on His slayers.
12. I remember Samson that lion's cub, who broke and gave me the pillars of Philistia; also that mighty man of valor Abner son of Ner, took for me that fleet wild roe, Asahel son of Zeruiah, and smote him and cast him on the ground. Benaiah in the holy temple slew Jacob, justly as it is written.– Because justice has restrained her sword, henceforth penitents shall rejoice in grace.
13. David measured the Edomites, by line and line and destroyed them. How merciful then are You, O Son of David! David's justice was twofold, when he put to death two lines, and saved one full line alive.– Lo! The Son of David teaches us, Forgive your brother even unto seventy times seven. There justice was measured; but here clemency is without measure.
14. Of zeal and strength David was possessed; the lion and the bear he slew together. He left that mighty lion and hasted, to meet the strong giant. With a stone he quenched his light, and his soul left him and he perished. But Jesus cried to the young man that was dead Young man! Even the dead to Him are sleepers. That young man He brought to life and rescued from me. The despised swine He drowned for me in the sea.
15. The Levites slew because of the calf, their fathers and their brethren. Jephthah by his own hands was ready to slay his daughter. The King of Moab on the wall, was sacrificing his first-born son: In presence of his sword I rejoice.– By Jesus the sword was blunted; yea the fever was rebuked, the sister of Sheol: the mother-in-law of Simeon was healed, but the fame of her healing smote Sheol with pain.
16. This Jesus though he be the Son of the Just One, all that He preaches is grace. But to me this His grace is torment. Envy is the cause of pleasure to us, for Envy at the beginning mixed for me the first shedding of blood. Why is it guilty in the sight of the Son of Mary Who has come commanding, You shall not be angry against your brother? He has taken away the sword from between brethren; while in the sword of Cain I had pleasure from the beginning.
17. An honeycomb in the midst of the skeleton, Samson found – was it then a mystery? This Jesus has multiplied for us mysteries. Amid billows of mysteries have I fallen, which show me in parable the life of the dead, in all mysteries and in all types. Out of the eater came forth meat was Samson's parable. But to me it has befallen contrariwise; for the eater has come forth to me out of the meat, for out of Adam lo! has come the Son of Adam Who has destroyed me.
18. Just men likewise have robbed me manifold, when by them was preached the rising of the dead: but they mingled with my sorrows great consolation. By the prayer of Asa and Hezekiah, I was fed upon the dead, yea I feasted upon corpses. Elijah slew the prophets of Baal and gave them to me, who on the bread of Jezebel had waxed fat. The righteous has constrained me to devour, but Jesus has compelled me to disgorge all that I had eaten.
19. I was afraid because of the sprinkled blood, which Moses sprinkled on every door; for though the blood of the slain, it was that which saved the living. Blood from of old I feared not, save that blood that was on the doors, and this moreover that was on the Tree. The blood of the slain is a delight, and is as sweet perfume: but the blood of Jesus is to me a terror; for whenever I come and smell His blood, the savour of life that lurks therein terrifies me.
20. Priests and pontiffs, anointed men and kings, who foreshow types of the rising of the dead, have never triumphed through their crosses. Crowns and diadems were set on them; and when I engaged in struggles with them, I was smitten sometimes and sometimes also I smote. But this carpenter's son with his crown of thorns, has humbled and cast down my pride, in His shame and His dying: Sheol has seen Him, yea, and fled from before Him.
21. When the sea saw Moses and fled, it feared because of his rod, and likewise because of his glory. His splendour and his rod and his power, the rock also saw which was cleft. But Sheol when her graves were rent, what saw she in Him even in Jesus? – Instead of splendour He put on the paleness of the dead and made her tremble. And if His paleness when slain slew her, how shall she be able to endure, when He comes to raise the dead, in His Glory!
1. The Evil One perceived his great humiliation, and boasted himself in the presence of his servants: he spoke great words to persuade them and said: The knowledge which I possess, little of it is by nature; and much of it, yea all of it, is by learning. I to myself have been master, and have exercised my understanding. Without a teacher I have learned all; I have armed myself with every weapon, and have won by it the crown which I desired among mankind. R., Blessed is He that has come and undone the snares of sin!
2. Among the Pharisees I clothed myself in hatred, that I might contend with Him, even the Son of Mary. Wrath like a bow rained shafts; boldness railed upon Him; fury rebelled against Him; ingratitude slandered Him; envy and jealousy in their wrath, strove with Him; and blasphemy took up stones. The Healer came in and stood among the sick, and I stirred up the diseased in contention against Him.
3. Because He fell not under reproach, it was in questions that I took refuge. Many times did I stir up occasions, but I saw that my falsehood was rebuked, and my impudence was made known, and my vain babbling was despised. To the windings of contention I betook myself. Everywhere that I disputed with Him, all my labor was as chaff, and the word of truth scattered it on every side.
4. I saw that there is a warrior and a mighty lord, in cunning within man: [and the snake that is without makes it fear.] His lusts within him is coiled continually; his jealousy hisses like a serpent. Deadly desires he begets, and of a fever he is in dread. Command as a drug, is able to quell derision, which smites unto destruction. It is love that avails to break the sting secret and bitter of the tongue.
5. Who is more foolish than men, who rather than for himself cares for his dwelling! The garments that are in his chest he examines daily, and a worm is lurking in his members. The rents that are in his clothes he mends, but a rent is made in his soul. His house is lighted up but his heart is dark. He shuts up his senses but opens his windows. He closes his door and guards his money; his mouth is open and the treasure of his thought is stolen.
6. The fool makes more of his beasts than of himself, for he cares for his possessions rather than for his soul. Good seed he sows in his ground; in his heart he sows tares. His understanding is thrown open and cast down; but at the fences of his vineyard he labours. He chooses and plants vine-plants; while his mind is a vine of the vines of Sodom. He keeps off the wild ass from his sowing; but the wild boar of the wood devours his thoughts.
7. I am a furnace to the sons of men, and in me are tried their counsels. Therefore is it lawful to me to weave deceit. I teach the Chaldean art: by reason of the true things that befall, the false things are believed. In the midst of Egypt I closed men's eyes; I showed insects, men thought they were though they were not. By closing men's eyes I teach the signs of the Zodiac, though they are not in the heavens.
8. By reason of my swiftness I fly and see, and I show beforehand to the soothsayer; they who err concerning me count me a prophet. But sometimes I make bold; and I ask that for an hour, secret things be revealed to me, that true men may be proved by me even as Job, likewise deceivers as Saul. For the one I revealed his sorcery; and for the other I purged his truth and he was praised.
1. The Evil One said, I fear Him, even Jesus, lest He destroy my arts. For lo! I am thousands of years old, and never have I had repose. I have seen nothing established, that I have turned from and left. There has come One making the unchaste pure: there is sorrow since He has destroyed all that I had built. Many have been my labours and my teachings, that I might cover all creation with all evils. R., Blessed is He Who came and laid bare the wiles of the Crafty One!
2. I matched my speed with the swift, and I outstripped them: I waged war; the tumult of multitudes was armour to me. In the tumult of the people I rejoiced, because it gave me ready room, for grievous is the onslaught of multitudes. By the strength of multitudes I raised a great mountain, a tower I stretched unto heaven. If they waged war with the Height, how much more shall they conquer Him whose warfare is on earth?
3. As time serves and as help offers, I wage war, but cautiously. The people used to hear that God is one; they made for themselves a multitude of gods. And when they saw the Son of God, they made haste to the One God, that as though confessing God they might deny Him, and as though in zeal might flee from Him; so that they in all times perverse shall be found to be without God.
4. Lo! I am ancient of many years, and no infant have I ever rejected. The burden of children have I ofttimes borne, so that from the beginning I might make them acquire habits that are not goodly, that their faults might grow up with them. But there are foolish fathers, who do not crush the seed that I have sown in their sons; and there are some who like good husbandmen, root up faults from the mind of their children.
5. As with a chain I have bound men with sloth, and they sat in idleness. I have drawn away their senses from all good things; their eyes from reading, their mouths from singing praise, their understanding from doctrine. For hurtful and vain fables how eager are they; for empty talk how ready! If the word of life fell among them, they either thrust it from them, or rose and went forth from its presence.
6. How many Satans are there among men! And me even me alone every man curses. For lo! The anger of men – it is a devil that grinds him every day. Demons are like wayfarers, who depart if they are compelled: but against anger though all righteous men adjure, it is not rooted out from its place. Instead of pernicious envy, every one hates a weak and wretched demon.
7. The enchanter is put to shame with the wizard, who every day tames serpents. The viper that is within him is out of his power; for the lust that is within him he tames not. Secret sin like an asp, when it breathes on him he is scorched. Even when he takes the viper through his cunning, delusion smites him secretly. He lulls the snake by his incantations: he wakens against himself mighty wrath by his incantations.
8. I set my stings and I sat and waited: who is long-enduring as I with all? Beside the patient-spirited I sat, and step by step I bewitched him, so that he came unto despair. Him who was ashamed of his transgressions, habits subdued him: little by little I mastered him, till he became under the yoke, till he came in to it and was used to it and did not even wish to go forth.
9. I perceived and saw that the long-enduring is he that can subdue all. At the time when I conquered Adam, he was but one. I left him till he had begotten children, and I sought for myself another task, for idleness is not to my taste. I counted the sands of the sea, that thereby I might make my spirit patient, and might prove my memory whether it would suffice, for the sons of men when they were multiplied. Before they were multiplied, I proved them in many things.
10. The servants of the Evil One disputed with him, and they refuted his words with their rejoinder. But lo! Elisha brought the dead to life, and conquered death in the upper chamber, and brought to life the widow's son. Lo! now is he in bondage in Sheol. But because the reasoning of the Evil One was very powerful, with their own words he refuted their words. How has Elisha been overcome? Lo! In Sheol he brought the dead to life by his bones.
11. If Elisha, who was of small power, was great in might in the midst of Sheol, and if so be he brought one dead to life therein, how many dead then will be raised therein, by the death of Jesus the mighty! Hence even from this consider how much greater therefore is Jesus, than we my comrades. For lo! By His craftiness He deceived you, and you sufficed not to determine His greatness when you compared Him to the prophets.
12. Your consolations are of small power, said the Evil One to them of his company. For He Who brought Lazarus to life though dead, how can Death suffice against Him? And if Death conquers Him, it is that He wills to be subdued unto him; and if so be He wills to be subdued, fear greatly, for He dies not in vain. He has wrought in us great terror, lest when dying He may enter in to raise Adam to life.
13. Death looked forth from within his den, and marvelled when he saw our Lord crucified, and he said O raiser of the dead to life where are you! You shall be to me for meat, instead of the sweet Lazarus, whose savour lo! It is still in my mouth. Jairus» daughter shall come and see this Your cross. The widow's son gazes on You. A tree caught Adam for me: blessed be the Cross which has caught for me the Son of David!
14. Death opened his mouth and said, Have You not heard, O Son of Mary, how Moses was great and excellent above all? Became a God and wrought the works of God? slew the first-born and saved the first-born? Turned aside the pestilence from the living? To the mount I went up with Moses, and He Whose glory be blessed gave him to me from hand to hand. For however great the son of Adam becomes, dust he is and to his dust returns, because he is of the ground.
15. Satan came with his servants, that he might see our Lord cast into Sheol, and might rejoice with Death his Counsellor; and he saw Him sorrowful and mourning, because of the dead who at the voice of the Firstborn, lived and came forth thence even from Sheol. The Evil One arose to console Death his kinsman. You have not destroyed as much as you were able. Even as Jesus is in your midst, to your hand shall come they that have lived and that live.
16. Open for us to see Him, yea and mock Him: let us answer and say, "Where is Your power? For lo! Three days have passed for Him, and let us say to Him, O You of three days, Who raised Lazarus, when he had lain four days, raise Your own self.» Death opened the gates of Sheol, and there shone from it the splendour of the face of our Lord; and like the men of Sodom they were smitten; they groped and sought the gate of Sheol, which they had lost.
1. The Evil One wailed Where now, is there a place for me to flee to from the righteous? I stirred up Death to slay the Apostles, that I might be safe from their blows. By their deaths now more exceedingly am I cruelly beaten. The Apostle whom I slew in India is before me in Edessa: he is here wholly and also there. I went there, there was he: here and there I have found him and been grieved. R., Blessed is the might that dwells in the hallowed bones!
2. The bones that merchantmen carried, or was it then that they carried him? For lo! They made gain each of the other. But for me what did they profit me? Yea they profited each by each, while to me from both of them there was damage. O that one would show me that bag of Iscariot, for by it I acquired strength! The bag of Thomas has slain me, for the secret strength that dwells in it tortures me.
3. Moses the chosen carried the bones, in faith as for gain. And if he a great prophet believed, that there is benefit in bones, the merchant did well to believe, and did well to call himself merchant. That merchant made gain, and waxed great and reigned. His storehouse has made me very poor: his storehouse has been opened in Edessa, and has enriched the great city with benefit.
4. At this storehouse of treasure I was amazed, for small was its treasure at first; and though no man took from it, poor was the spring of its wealth. But when multitudes have come round it, and plundered it and carried off its riches, according as it is plundered, so much the more does its wealth increase. For a pent-up spring, if one seeks it out, when deeply pierced it flows forth mightily and abounds.
5. It is evident that Elisha was a fountain in a thirsting people: and because they that thirsted sought him not out, his outflow was not great. But when Naaman sought him out, he abounded and poured forth healing. The fountain into the midst of a fountain, he took him and plunged him; for in the river he cleansed the leper. Jesus the Sea of benefits, into Siloam sent the blind man whose eyes were opened.
6. Gehazi, with the staff that brought to life the dead, was unable to raise the child. And how could the famous prophet have been brought up by the sorceress? We were they that mocked Saul, for instead of one demon whom he questioned, two demons came up and mocked him. From the bones of Elisha learn also of the bones of Samuel; for though Elisha's bones brought to life the dead, the sorcerers could not bring up the dead, the living and sacred bones.
7. And though I asked this petition, He who gives all gave it not to me. For though the demons were troubled, by the bones of some priest, or magician or wizard, of Chaldean or soothsayer, yet I was aware that this was but mockery. In two ways I cause men to err: either I make the Apostles to lie, or I make my Apostles like the Apostles.
8. The party of the demons lo! It is spoiled; the party of the devils endures stripes: though there be none that lifts the rod openly, the demons cry out with pain; though there be none that fetters and binds, the spirits hang bound. This silent judgment, which is calm and still, and works not even by questioning, the one power that is all sufficing, lo! It dwells in the bones of this second Elisha.
9. He gave judgment unto His Twelve, that they might judge the twelve Tribes. And if so be that they are to judge the sons of the great Abraham, this is then no great matter, that they shall judge demons now. And unless they make the crucifiers fulfil the judgment that is to be, by our judgment shall they be proved. For worse than we did they cry out, in presence of the Apostles the judges of the tribes.
10. For a wolf was Saul the Apostle, and on the blood of the sheep I reared him; and he waxed strong and became a singular wolf. But near to Damascus suddenly, the wolf was changed into a sheep. He said that the Apostles, are to judge Angels; for by the Angels he signified the priest as it is written. If so be then they are thus powerful, woe to the demons from the strokes of their bones!
6. CONCERNING SATAN AND DEATH (LII-LXVIII)
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!