Blessed is He who Atoned Your Sins, that Ye Might Receive his Body Worthily! – St.Ephraim the Syrian

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Blessed is He who Atoned Your Sins, that Ye Might Receive his Body Worthily!

St.Ephraim the Syrian

1. The flock of Jacob came down — and stood round the well of water. — In the water they put on the similitude of the wood that was covered by it. — Mysteries these and types of the Cross, — wherein the parables are interpreted.

2. There are shown in these rods similitudes, — and in the sheep, parables. — The Cross in the rods is figured, and in the sheep the souls of men. — His wood was a mystery of our Wood; — likewise his sheep a mystery of our flock.

3. The sheep of Christ rejoice, — and stand round the laver of baptism; — in the water they put on the likeness — of the living and goodly Cross — whereon gaze all things created, — and all of it is stamped on them all.

4. At the well Rebecca received — in her ears and hands the jewels. — The Spouse of Christ has put on — precious things that are from the water: — on her hand the living Body, — and in her ears the promises.

5. Moses drew water and watered the sheep — of Jethro the priest of sin. — But our Shepherd has baptized His sheep — Who is the high priest of truth. — At the well the flocks were dumb, — but here the sheep have speech.

6. The People passed through the water and were baptized: — the People came up on dry land and became as heathen. — The Commandment was savourless in their ears; — the manna corrupted in their vessels. — Eat ye the living Body, — the medicine of life that gives life to all!

7. To the sons of Lot Moses said, — “Give us water for money, — let us only pass by through your border.” — They refused the way, and the temporal water. — Lo! the living water freely given, — and the path that leads to Eden!

8. From the water Gideon chose for himself — the men who were victorious in the battle. — Ye have gone down to the victorious waters: — come ye up and triumph in the fight! — receive from the water atonement, — and from the fight the crowning!

9. Ye baptized, receive your lamps, — like the lamps of the house of Gideon; — conquer the darkness by your lamps, — and the silence by your hosannas! — Gideon likewise in the battle — triumphed by the shout and the flame.

10. David the King longed after — the water of the well, and they brought it him; — but he drank it not, for he saw that with blood of men it was bought. — In the midst of the water ye have revelled — that was bought with the blood of God.

11. Out of Edom the prophet saw — God coming as one that presses the grapes. — He made ready the winepress of wrath, — He trod down the peoples and delivered the People. — He has turned and ordained Baptism; — the peoples live, the People is come to nought.

12. In the river Jeremiah buried — the linen girdle that was marred; — and [the People] waxed old and decayed. — … — The peoples that were decayed and marred, — by the waters have been clad in newness.

13. In Siloam, the blessed stream — the priests anointed Solomon. — His youth was had in honour; — his old age was despised. — Through the pure waters ye have been clad — in the purity of Heaven.

14. The fleece that was dry from the dew, — Jerusalem was figured in it: — the bason that was filled with water, — Baptism was figured in it. — That was dry after the manner of its type; — this was full after the manner of its symbol.

15. The wearied body in water — washes and is refreshed from its toil. — Lo! the laver in which are hidden — refreshing and life and delights. — In it wearied Adam had rest — who brought labour into the creation.

16. The fountain of sweat in the body — is set to protect against fever: — the fountain of Baptism — is set to protect against the Flame. — This is the water that avails — for the quenching of Gehenna.

17. He who journeys through the desert, — as armour takes to himself water — against all-conquering thirst. — Go ye down to the fountain of Christ, — receive life in your members, — as armour against death.

18. Again, the diver brings up — out of the sea the pearl. — Be baptized and bring up from the water — purity that therein is hidden, — the pearl that is set as a jewel — in the crown of the Godhead.

19. Sweet water in his vessel — the seaman lays up as a store; — in the midst of the sea he lays up and keeps it, the sweet in the midst of the bitter. — So amidst the floods of sin, — keep ye the water of Baptism.

20. The woman of Samaria said to our Lord, — “Lo! verily the well is deep.” — Baptism though it be high, — in its mercy has stooped down with us: — for the atonement is from above — that has come down unto sinners.

21. “He that drinks the water that I shall give him, — verily never again shall he thirst.” — For this holy Baptism, — for it be ye athirst, my beloved; — never again shall ye be athirst, — so that ye should come to another baptism.

22. In the baptism of Siloam — the blind man washed, and his eyeballs — were opened and enlightened by the water; — he cast off the darkness that was on them. — The hidden darkness ye have cast off; — from the water ye have been clad in light.

23. His hands Pilate washed — that he might not be of them that slew. — Ye have bathed your bodies, — your hands together with your mouths. — Go in and be of them that eat, — for this medicine of life gives life to all.

24. “Come after Me and verily I will make you — fishers of men.” — For instead of a draught of that which perishes, — they fished for the draught that is forever. — They who had taken fishes for death, — baptized and gave life to them that were to die.

25. An hundred and fifty fishes were taken — by Simon’s net from the water; — but there were taken by his preaching, — out of the bosom of Baptism, — ten thousands and thousands of men, — a draught of the sons of the Kingdom.

26. Lo! our priest as a fisher — over the scanty water is standing; — he has taken thence a great draught — of every shape and of every kind; — he has drawn up the draught to bring it near — to the King of kings, most high.

27. Simon took the fishes and drew them up, — and they were brought near before our Lord: — Our priest has taken from out of the water, — by the Hand which he received from Simon, — virgins and chaste men who are brought near — in the festival of the Lord of feasts.

28. In Thy mercy I adjure Thee pardon me, — for in mercy Thou too hast sworn, — Rabboni, “In the death of him that dieth, — I have no pleasure, but in his life.” — Thou hast sworn and I have adjured: — O Thou Who hast sworn, pardon him who has adjured!

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