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Hymns And Homilies Of Ephraim The Syrian by Ephraim the Syrian

Hymn XVIII. Praise be to Him Who sent Him!

Resp. -- Praise be to Him Who sent Him! (bis)

1. Blessed art thou, O Church, for lo! in thee is the sound, -- of the great feast the festival of the King! -- Sion is deserted, her gates are sore athirst, -- and forsaken of festivals. -- Blessed thy gates that are open yet not filled, -- and thy halls that are enlarged yet suffice not! -- In the midst of thee lo! is the sound, of the nations that cry out, and have put to silence the People.

2. Blessed art thou, O Church, that in thy festivals, -- the Watchers rejoice amid thy festivity! -- for one night the Watchers gave praise, -- on the earth which withheld and refused praise. -- Blessed thy voices that have been sown and reaped, -- and in Heaven stored up in garners! -- Thy mouth is a censer, and thy voices as perfumes, breathing vapour in thy festivals.

3. Blessed art thou, O Church, that all oblations, -- are brought unto thee in this feast. -- The Magi once among traitors, offered them to the Truth. -- Blessed thy abode that He bowed Himself and dwelt therein, Son of the King Who is worshipped with gifts! -- Gold from the West, and spices from the East, -- are offered in Thy Festivals.

4. Blessed art thou, O Church, that there is not with thee, -- a tyrant King slayer of babes! for he killed in Bethlehem the little ones at random, -- that he might put to death the Child that gives life to all. -- Blessed thy children that are envied and worshipped, -- by Kings, for those are promised for Thy worship, -- the crowns of the East: -- he who trod down thy dear ones, shall be trodden down by thy beloved.

5. Blessed art thou, O Church, for lo! over thee, -- Isaiah too exults in his prophecy, -- |Lo a Virgin shall conceive and bear, -- a Son| Whose name is great mystery! -- O interpretation revealed in the Church! -- two names that were joined and became one; -- |Emmanuel,| -- God be with thee ever, Who joined thee with His members!

6. Blessed art thou, O Church, in Micah who cried out, -- |A Shepherd shall come forth from Ephrata|: -- for He came to Bethlehem to take -- from thence the rod of Jesse and to rule the nations. -- Blessed thy lambs that are sealed with His seal, -- and thy sheep that are kept by His sword! -- Thou art, O Church, -- the abiding Bethlehem, -- for in thee is the Bread of Life!

7. Blessed art thou, O Church, for lo! in thee rejoices, -- Daniel also the man beloved, -- who foretold that the glorious Messiah shall be killed, -- and the city of holiness be laid desolate at His killing! -- Woe to the People that was rejected and is not converted -- Blessed the nations that were called and turned not away! -- The bidden guests refused, -- and others in their stead enjoyed their banquet.

8. Blessed art thou, O Church, for on thy, lute, lo! King David sings psalms in thee! In the Spirit he sings of Him |Thou art My Son and I -- this day have begotten Thee| in the glories of holiness. -- Blessed thy ears that have been purged to hear! -- On His day watch thou as His Body and call on Him; -- be taught by Sion, -- which saddened His Feast; make Him glad Who has gladdened thee.

9. Blessed art thou, O Church, that all festivals -- have taken flight from Sion and sheltered with thee! -- In the midst of thee the wearied Prophets have found rest, -- from the labour and the reproachthey bore in Judah. -- Blessed the books unrolled in thy temples, -- and the festivals celebrated in thy shrines! -- Sion is forsaken, -- and lo! today the nations shout in thy festivals.

10. Blessed art thou, O Church, in ten blessings, -- which our Lord has given as a mystery complete: -- for on ten all the numbers hang, therefore art thou perfect by ten blessings. -- Blessed thy crowns that are twined -- with all blessings mixed in every crown! -- O blessed one, -- with every blessing crowned, on me too send thy blessing!

11. Blessed art thou, Ephrata, mother of Kings, that from thee sprang the Lord of diadems! -- Micah gave thee tidings that He is from everlasting, and the span of His times is not comprehended. -- Blessed thine eyes which first of all discerned Him! -- thee He deemed worthy to see Him when He appeared, -- Chief of benediction, -- and Beginning of gladness, thou didst receive first of all.

12. Blessed art thou, Bethlehem, that the towns envy thee, -- and the fortified cities! -- As they envy thee, so the women envy Mary, -- and the virgins daughters of princes. -- Blessed the maiden in whom He deigned to abide, -- and the city wherein He deigned to sojourn; -- a poor maiden, -- and a small city, He chose Him to humble Himself.

13. Blessed art thou, Bethlehem, that in thee was the beginning, -- for Him the Son Who from everlasting is in the Father! -- It is hard to comprehend, that before Time He is, -- Who in thee made Himself subject to Time. -- Blessed thine ears, for in thee first was heard the cry -- of the Lamb of God who exulted in thee! -- Narrow though thy manger, -- He spread Himself on all sides, and was worshipped of every creature.

14. Blessed art thou too, Mary, that thy name -- is great and exalted because of thy child! -- Thou canst tell then how and how long -- and where He dwelt in thee, the great One in small room. -- Blessed thy mouth that praised and enquired not, -- and thy tongue that glorified and questioned not! -- For His Mother was uncertain concerning Him, -- even while she carried Him in the womb; who then shall suffice to comprehend Him?

15. O Woman, thou whom no man knew, -- how can we behold the Son thou hast borne? -- For no eyes suffice to stand -- before the transfigurations of the glory, that is on Him. -- For tongues of fire abide in Him -- Who sent tongues by His Ascension. -- Be every tongue warned, -- that our questioning is as stubble, and as fire our scrutiny.

16. Blessed is he the priest who in the sanctuary, -- offers to the Father the Son of the Father, -- the fruit that is plucked from our tree, though it be wholly of the Divine Majesty! -- Blessed the hands that are hallowed and offer Him! -- and the lips that are spent in kissing Him! -- The Spirit in the Temple -- longed for His embrace; and at His Crucifixion rent the veil and went forth.

17. The Archangel gave thee greeting, -- as the earnest of holiness -- Earth became to him new Heavens, -- when the Watcher came down and sang glory on it. -- The sons of the Highest encompassed thy habitation -- because of the Son of the King that dwelt in thee. -- Thy abode below, -- to the Heaven above was made like by the host of Watchers.

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