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Hymns And Homilies Of Ephraim The Syrian by Ephraim the Syrian

Hymn XV. In the Birth of the Son light dawned,--and darkness fled from the world,--and the earth was enlightened

1. In the Birth of the Son light dawned, -- and darkness fled from the world, -- and the earth was enlightened; then let it give glory -- to the brightness of the Father Who has enlightened it!

2. He dawned from the womb of the Virgin, -- and the shadows passed away when He was seen, -- and the darkness of error was strangled by Him, -- and the ends of the earth were enlightened that they should give glory.

3. Among the peoples there was great tumult, -- and in the darkness the light dawned, -- and the nations rejoiced to give glory -- to Him in Whose Birth they all were enlightened.

4. His light shone out over the east; -- Persia was enlightened by the star: -- His Epiphany gave good tidings to her and invited her, -- |He is come for the sacrifice that brings joy to all.|

5. The star of light hasted and came and dawned -- through the darkness, and summoned them -- that the peoples should come and exult -- in the great Light that has come down to earth.

6. One envoy from among the stars -- the firmament sent to proclaim to them, -- to the sons of Persia, that they might make ready -- to meet the King and to worship Him.

7. Great Assyria when she perceived it -- called to the Magi and said to them, -- |Take gifts and go, honour Him -- the great King Who in Judea has dawned.|

8. The princes of Persia, exulting, -- carried gifts from their region; -- and they brought to the Son of the Virgin -- gold and myrrh and frankincense.

9. They entered and found Him as a child -- as He dwelt in the house of the lowly woman; -- and they drew near and worshipped with gladness, -- and brought near before Him their treasures.

10. Mary said, |For whom are these? -- and for what purpose? and what is the cause -- that has called you to come from your country -- to the Child with your treasures?|

11. They said, |Thy Son is a King, -- and He binds crowns and is King of all; -- and great is His power over the world, -- and to His Kingdom shall all be obedient.|

12. |At what time did this come to pass, -- that a lowly woman should bring forth a King? I who am in need and in want, -- how then could a king come forth from me?|

13. |In thee alone has this come to pass -- that a mighty King from thee should appear; -- thee in whom poverty shall be magnified, -- and to thy Son shall crowns be made subject.|

14. |Treasures of Kings I have not; -- riches have never fallen to my lot. -- My house is lowly and my dwelling needy; -- why then proclaim ye that my Son is King?|

15. |Great treasure is in thy Son, -- and wealth that suffices to make all rich; -- for the treasures of kings are impoverished, -- but He fails not nor can be measured.|

16. |Whether haply some other be for you -- the King that is born, enquire ye concerning Him. -- This is the son of a lowly woman, -- of one who is not meet to look on a King.|

17. |Can it be that light should ever miss -- the way whereon it has been sent? It was not darkness that summoned and led us; -- in light we walked, and thy Son is King.|

18. |Lo! ye see a babe without speech, -- and the house of His mother empty and needy, -- and of that which pertains to a king nought is in it: -- how then in it is a king to be seen?|

19. |Lo! we see that without speech and at rest -- is the King, and lowly as thou hast said: -- but again we see that the stars -- in the highest He bids haste to proclaim Him.|

20. |It were meet, O men, that ye should enquire -- who is the King, and then adore him; -- lest haply your way has been mistaken, -- and another is the King that is born.|

21. |It were meet, O maiden, that thou shouldst receive it, -- that we have learned that thy Son is King, -- from the star of light that errs not, -- and plain is the way, and he has led us.|

22. |The Child is a little one, and lo! he has not -- the diadem of a king and of a throne; -- and what have ye seen that ye should pay honour to Him, -- as to a king, with your treasures?|

23. |A little one, because He willed it for quietness' sake, -- and meek now until He be revealed. -- A time shall be for Him when all diadems -- shall bow down and worship Him.|

24. |Armies he has none; -- nor has my Son legions and troops: -- in the poverty of His mother He dwells; -- why then King is He called by you?|

25. |The armies of thy Son are above; -- they ride on high, and they flame, -- and one of them it was that came and summoned us, -- and all our country was dismayed.|

26. |The Child is a babe, and how is it possible -- He should be King, unknown to the world? -- And they that are mighty and of renown, -- how can a babe be their ruler?|

27. |Thy babe is aged, O Virgin, -- and Ancient of Days and exalted above all and Adam beside Him is very babe, -- and in Him all created things are made new.|

28. |It is very seemly that ye should expound -- all the mystery and explain it; -- who it is that reveals to you the mystery of my Son, -- that He is a King in your region.|

29. |It is likewise seemly for thee to accept this, -- that unless the truth had led us we had not wandered hither from the ends of the earth, -- nor come for the sake of thy Son.|

30. |All the mystery as it was wrought -- among you there in your country, -- reveal ye to me now as friends. -- Who was He that called you to come to me?|

31. |A mighty Star appeared to us -- that was glorious exceedingly above the stars, -- and our land by its fire was kindled; -- that this King had appeared it bore tidings to us.|

32. |Do not, I beseech you, speak of -- these things in our land lest they rage, -- and the kings of the earth join together -- against the Child in their envy.|

33. |Be not thou dismayed, O Virgin! -- Thy Son shall bring to nought all diadems, and set them underneath his heel; -- and they shall not subdue Him Whom they envy.|

34. |Because of Herod I am afraid, -- that unclean wolf, lest he assail me, -- and draw his sword and with it cut off -- the sweet cluster before it be ripe.|

35. |Because of Herod fear thou not; -- for in the hands of thy Son is his throne placed: -- and as soon as He shall reign it shall be laid low, -- and his diadem shall fall on the earth beneath.|

36. |A torrent of blood is Jerusalem, -- wherein the excellent ones are slain; -- and if she perceives Him she will assail Him. -- In mystery speak ye, and noise it not abroad.|

37. |All torrents, and likewise swords, -- by the hands of thy Son shall be appeased; -- and the sword of Jerusalem shall be blunted, -- and shall not desire at all to kill.|

38. |The scribes of the priests of Jerusalem -- pour forth blood and heed not. -- They will arouse murderous strife -- against me and against the Child; O Magi, be silent!|

39. |The scribes and the priests will be unable -- to hurt thy son in their envy; -- for by Him their priesthood shall be dissolved, -- and their festivals brought to nought.|

40. |A Watcher revealed to me, when I received -- conception of the Babe, that my Son is a King; -- that His diadem is from on high and is not dissolved, -- he declared to me even as ye do.|

41. |The Watcher, therefore, of whom thou hast spoken -- is he who came as a star, -- and was shown to us and brought us good tidings -- that He is great and glorious above the stars.|

42. |That Angel declared to me -- in his good tidings, when he appeared to me, -- that to His Kingdom no end shall be -- and the mystery is kept and shall not be revealed.|

43. |The Star also declared again to us -- that thy Son is He that shall keep the diadem. -- His aspect was something changed, -- and he was the Angel and made it not known to us.|

44. |Before me when the Watcher showed himself, -- he called Him his Lord before He was conceived; -- and as the Son of the Highest announced Him to me: -- but where His Father is he made not known to me.|

45. |Before us he proclaimed in the form of a star -- that the Lord of the Highest is He Who is born; -- and over the stars of light thy Son is ruler, -- and unless He commands they rise not.|

46. |In your presence, lo! there are revealed -- other mysteries, that ye may learn the truth; -- how in virginity I bare my Son, -- and He is Son of God; go ye, proclaim Him!|

47. |In our presence the Star taught us -- that His Birth is exalted above the world and above all beings is thy Son, -- and is Son of God according to thy saying.|

48. |The world on high and the world below bear witness to Him, -- all the Watchers and the stars, -- that He is Son of God and Lord. -- Bear ye His fame to your lands!|

49. |All the world on high, in one star, -- has stirred up Persia and she has learnt the truth, -- that thy Son is Son of God, -- and to Him shall all peoples be subject.|

50. |Peace bear ye to your lands: -- peace be multiplied in your borders! -- As apostles of truth may ye be believed -- in all the way that ye shall pass through.|

51. |The peace of thy Son, it shall bear us -- in tranquillity to our land, as it has led us hither; -- and when His power shall have grasped the worlds, -- may He visit our land and bless it!

52. |May Persia rejoice in your glad tidings! -- may Assyria exult in your coming -- And when my Son's Kingdom shall arise, -- may He plant His standard in your country!|

53. Let the Church sing with rejoicing, -- |Glory in the Birth of the Highest, -- by Whom the world above and the world below are illumined!| -- Blessed be He in Whose Birth all are made glad!

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