Jesus Christ, the Pearl of Great Price (http://www.uncutmountainsupply.com/proddetail.asp?prod=11S20)
THE PEARL: SEVEN HYMNS ON THE FAITH by St. Ephraim of Syria Translated by J.B. Morris, re-edited by John Gwynn
HYMN I.1. On a certain day a pearl did I take up, my brethren;
I saw in it mysteries pertaining to the Kingdom;
Semblances and types of the Majesty;
It became a fountain, and I drank out of it mysteries of the Son.
I put it, my brethren, upon the palm of my hand,
I went to look at it on one side,
And it proved faces on all sides.
I found out that the Son was incomprehensible,
Since He is wholly Light.
And in its pureness a great mystery,
Even the Body of Our Lord which is well-refined:
In its undivideness I saw the Truth
Which is undivided.
The Church, and the Son within her.
The cloud was the likeness of her that bare Him,
And her type the heaven,
Since there shone forth from her His gracious Shining.
I saw His helpful and overflowing graces,
And His hidden things with His revealed things.
For I was astonied thereat:
I saw therein folds without shadow to them
Because it was a daughter of light,
Types vocal without tongues,
Utterances of mystery without lips,
A silent harp that without voice gave out melodies.
Be not thou daring then;
Leave things hidden, take things revealed.
Thou hast seen in the clear sky a second shower;
The clefts of thine ears,
As from the clouds,
They are filled with interpretations.
In the place of pleasant meats,
With its pleasantnesses,
So does this pearl fill me in the place of books,
And the reading thereof,
And the explanations thereof.
It had no mouth for me that I might hear from,
Neither any ears wherewith it might hear me.
O Thou thing without senses, whence I have gained new senses!
3. It answered me and said,
And from that sea whence I came up it is
That there is a mighty treasury of mysteries in my bosom!
Search thou out the sea, but search not out the Lord of the sea!
So that from the midst of the sea they returned to the dry ground;
For a few moments they sustained it not.
Who would linger and be searching on into the depths of the Godhead?
And with mischiefs too.
Have ye not seen, then, the waves of the sea,
Which if a ship should struggle with them would break her to pieces,
And if she yield herself to them, and rebel not against them,
Then she is preserved?
In the sea all the Egyptians were choked, though they scrutinised it not,
And, without prying, the Hebrews too were overcome upon the dry land,
And how shall ye be kept alive?
And the men of Sodom were licked up by the fire,
And how shall ye prevail?
And Leviathan also.
Have ye then a heart of stone
That ye read these things and run into these errors?
O great fear that justice also should be so long silent!"
4. "Searching is mingled with thanksgiving,
From the tongue
The incense of praise riseth
Along with the fume of disputation
And unto which shall we hearken?
Prayer and prying from one mouth,
And which shall we listen to?
The living things that were in the sea were affrighted,
Saying, 'Who shall flee from God?
And ye are obstinate at your scrutiny of Him!'"
HYMN II.1. Whereunto art thou like?
Let thy stillness speak to one that hears;
With silent mouth speak with us:
For whoso hears the stammerings of thy silence,
to him thy type utters its silent cry concerning our Redeemer.
She fell into his bosom, though he knew her not;
She conceived thee near him, though he did not know her.
Do thou, that art a type, reporach the Jewish women
That have thee hung upon them.
Thou art the only progeny of all forms
Which art like to the Word on High,
Whom singly the Most High begot.
The engraven forms seem to be the type of created things above.
This visible offspring of the invisible womb
Is a type of great things.
Thy goodly conception was without seed,
And without wedlock was thy pure generation,
And without brethren was thy single birth.
Since He was an Only-Begotten.
O solitary one, thou type exact of the Only-Begotten!
There is a type of thine in the crown of kings,
Wherein thou hast brothers and sisters.
Goodly gems are thy brethren,
With beryls and unions as thy companions:
May gold be as it were thy kinsman,
May there be unto the King of kings
A crown from thy well-beloved ones!
When thou camest up from the sea, that living tomb,
Thou didst cry out,
Let me have a goodly assmblage of brethren, relatives and kinsmen.
As the wheat is in the stalk,
So thou art in the crown with princes:
And it is a just restoration to thee, as if of a pledge,
That from the depth thou shouldest be exalted to a goodly eminence.
Wheat the stalk bears in the field;
Thee the head of the king upon his chariot carries about.
Who hast left the sea, wherein thou wert born,
And art gone up to the dry land, wherein thou art beloved:
For men have loved and seized and adorned themselves with thee,
Like as they did that Offspring Whom the Gentiles loved
And crowned themselves withal.
The divers put him off, and put on Christ.
In the sacrament of oil did the Apostles steal Thee away, and came up.
They snatched their souls from his mouth, bitter as it was.
Thy Nature is like a silent lamb in its sweetness,
Of which if a man is to lay hold,
He lifts it in a crucial form by its ears, as it was on Golgotha.
He cast out abundantly all His gleams upon them that looked upon Him.
Who clothed Himself with suffering when the nails passed through Him.
The awl passed in thee since they handled thee roughly,
As they did His hands;
And because He suffered He reigned,
As by they sufferings thy beauty increased.
Neither did they love thee:
Still suffer as thou mightest,
Thou has come to reign! Simon Peter showed pity on the Rock;
Whoso hath smitten it, is himself thereby overcome;
It is by reason of Its suffering
That Its beauty hath adorned the height and the depth.
With the love of thee is the merchant ravished also,
For he strips off his garments;
Not to cover thee --
(thy clothing is thy light, thy garment is thy brightness,
O thou that art bared!)
Cursed be he that deceived her and stripped her and left her.
The serpent cannot strip off thy glory.
In the mysteries whose type thou art,
Women are clothed with Light in Eden.
2. Very glistening are the pearls of Ethiopia, as it is written,
He that gave light to the Gentiles,
Both to the Ethiopians and unto the Indians did His bright beams reach.
The Lamb of Light met the dark man from out of the water.
While he was reading, the Ethiopian was baptised
And shone with joy, and journeyed on!
And out of black men he made men white.
And the dark Ethiopic women became pearls for the Son;
He offered them up to the Father, as a glistening crown from the
3. The Queen of Sheba
The lamp of truth did Solomon give her,
Who also married her when he fell away.
She was enlightened and went away,
But they were dark, as their manner was.
Held on its shining amid the darkness,
Till the new Day-spring came.
The bright spark met with this shining,
And illumined the place.
4. There are in the sea divers fishes of many cubits,
But by thy littleness the crown is made great,
Like as the Son, by whose littleness Adam was made great.
For the eye thy beauty,
For the ear thy goodliness.
Come up from the sea, thou neighbour to the dry land,
And come and sojourn by the [seat of] hearing.
Let the ear love the word of life as it loveth thee!
And without it is the pearl.
Let it as being warned by thee,
By thee get wisdom, and be warned by the word of truth.
Be thou its mirror:
The beauty of the Word in thine own beauty shall it see:
In thee it shall learn how precious is the Word on High!
The ear is the leaf:
The flesh is the tree,
And thou in the midst of it are a fruit of light,
And to the womb that brings forth Light,
Thou art a type that points.
As He did the virgins that entered into it, five in number,
Clothed with the light of their lamps!
To thee are those bright ones like, thou that art clad in light!
For when it hangs on her, it becomes her not.
Gain without price that faith, all of which becomes all the limbs of men.
But for no gold would a lady exchange her pearl.
If thou shouldst throw thy pearl away into the mire for nought!
Let us behold that of eternity;
For it is in the purse, or in the seal, or in the treasury.
Within the gate there are other gates with their locks and keys.
Thy pearl hath the High One sealed up as taking account of all.
And brought him up and placed him in paradise.
He saw in the Cross a tree of life;
That was the fruit,
He was the eater in Adam's stead.
Grazes the faith, as it were an eye,
By all manner of questions.
The probing of the finger blinds the eye,
And much more doth that prying blind the faith.
In it do all merchants rejoice
Without prying into whence it came ;
Even the king who is crowned therewith
Does not explore it.
A foolish beast in the ass spoke with him,
Because he despised God Who spoke with him.
Thee too let the pearl reprove
In the ass's stead.
By a Stone He set at nought,
For lo, a stone hears words.
Witness its work that has reproved them ;
And you, ye deaf ones,
Let the pearl reprove to-day.
With the ox, yea with the ass, did He put them to shame ;
Let the pearl reprove now,
O ye birds and things on earth and things below.
The Sun whose light is greater than all,
Lo! of Him it is that a type is shadowed out in thy little compass.
O type of the Son,
One spark of Whom is greater than the sun!
for its light is full ;
Neither is there any cunning worker who can steal from it ;
For its wall is its own beauty,
Yea, its guard also!
It lacks not,
since it is entirely perfect.
To take a part from thee,
Thou art like the faith which with the heretics perishes,
Seeing they have broken it in pieces and spoiled it :
For is it any better than this
To have the faith scrutinized?
That may not be corrupted.
The spoiler gets himself mischief by it:
The heretic brings ruin on himself thereby.
He that chases the light from his pupils
Light alone, of all creatures,
As its Creator, is not divided;
It is not barren, for that it also begets
Without losing thereby.
He errs greatly;
Thy nature proclaims that thou, as all stones,
Art not the framing of art;
and so thou art a type of the Generation
Which no making framed.
From a comparison with the Stone [which is] the Son.
For thy own generation is from the midst of the deep,
That of the Son of thy Creator is from the highest height;
He is not like thee,
In that He is like His Father.
Two wombs bare thee also.
Thou camest down from on high a fluid nature;
Thou camest up from the sea a solid body.
By means of thy second birth
Thou didst show thy loveliness to the children of men.
Into thy receptacles ;
For thou art in the crown as upon the cross,
And in a coronet as in a victory ;
Thou art upon the ears, as if to fill up what was lacking ;
Thou extendest over all.
Christ appearing to His Disciples after His Resurrection at the Sea of Tiberias (http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Gracanica/exhibits/digital/n1-w1e5/large/n1-w1e5-24.jpg)
HYMN V.1. O gift that camest up without price for the diver!
Thou laidest hold upon this visible light,
That without price rises for the children of men:
A parable of the hidden One
That without price gives the hidden Dayspring!
Yet by thee is faith painted in types and emblems for colours,
And in the place of the image
By thee and thy colours is thy Creator painted.
Who breathest types from out of thee!
Though art not to be eaten,
Yet thou givest a sweet smell unto them that hear thee!
Though art not to be drunk,
Yet by thy story, a fountain of types art thou made unto the ears!
Small is thy measure and little thy compass with thy weight;
But great is thy glory:
To that crown alone in which thou art placed, there is none like.
If one despises thee and throws thee away,
He would blame himself for his clownishness,
For when he saw thee in a king's crown he would be attracted to thee.
It was not kings that put thee before men,
But those naked ones who were a type of the poor
And the fishers and the Galileans.
They came that were stript as children;
They plunged their bodies and came down to thee;
And thou didst much desire them,
And thou didst aid them who thus loved thee.
Their tongues before their bosoms did the poor [fishers] open,
And produced and showed the new riches among the merchants:
Upon the wrists of men they put thee as a medicine for life.
And by the side of the lake they,
The Apostles of a truth,
Saw the rising again of the Son of thy Creator.
By thee and by thy Lord the sea and the lake were beautified.
And from the lake too Simon Peter came up swimming on his coat;
Clad as with coats, with the love of both of you, were these two.
I will gather up my mind
And by having contemplated thee,
Would become like thee,
In that thou art all gathered up into thyself;
And as thou in all times art one,
One let me become by thee!
Pearls have I gathered together that I might make a crown for the Son
In the place of stains which are in my members.
Receive my offering, not that Thou art shortcoming;
It is because of mine own shortcoming that I have offered it to Thee.
Whiten my stains!
Which instead of gold are set in love,
And instead of ouches in faith;
And instead of hands, let praise offer it up to the highest!
Who were very simple as being wise;
And reverend as believing.
They without cavilling searched for, and came to the right path.
The mountains melted away;
Fools broke through it.
By unclean ravens He fed Elijah at the desert stream;
And moreover gave from the skelton honey unto Samson.
They judged not, nor inquired why it was unclean,
The feeble Gentiles were clothed with health.
Samson took the daughter of the aliens,
And there was no disputing among the righteous;
The prophet also took a harlot,
And the just held their peace.
And He held up and lifted up their delinquencies:
He pitied sinners,
And restored them without cost:
And made low the mountains of their sins:
He proved God is not to be arraigned by men,
And as Lord of Truth.
That His servants were His shadow;
And whatsoever way His will looked,
They directed also their own wills;
And because Light was in Him,
Their shadows were enlightened.
For when He plainly foreshadowed this New Testment
By that of the Prophets,
Those pitiable men rose, as though from sleep,
And shouted out and made a disturbance.
And the Way, wherein the righteous held straight on,
And by their truths had gone forth therein,
That [Way] have these broken up, because they were besotted:
This they left and went out of;
Because they pried into it, it fell, and was lost.
Of the pearl they made a stone, that they might stumble upon it.
4. O Gift, which fools have made a poison!
The People were for separating Thy beauteous root from Thy fountain,
Though they separated it not:
Teachings estranged Thy beauty also from the stock thereof.
Who wished to estrange Thee.
By Thee the tribes were cut off,
And scattered abroad from out of Sion,
And also the teachings of the seceders.
O Thou Gift of ours.
For if love cannot find Thee out on all sides,
It cannot be still and at rest.
Make Thyself small,
Thou Who art too great for all,
Who comest unto all!
Because instead of love,
Strife has come in and dared to essay to unveil thy beauty.
It was not graven,
Since it is a progeny which cannot be interpreted.
To show whereto thou are like,
Thou Pearl that art all faces.
The beholders were astonied and perplexed at thee.
The separatists separated thee in two,
And were separated in two by thee,
Thou are of one substance throughout.
Because there was not in them the eye of truth.
For the veil of prophecy,
Full as it was of the mysteries,
To them was a covering of thy glistering faces:
They thought that thou wast other [than thou art],
O thou mirror of ours!
And therefore these blind schismatics defiled thy fair beauty.
Or have lowered thee too much,
Bring them to an even level.
Descend a little that height of infidelity and heathendom;
And come up from the depth of Judaism, though thou art in Heaven.
Let the Prophets be as it were His heralds!
Let the Just One, as being His Father, rejoice!
That Word it is which conquered both Jews and Heathen!
The circumsized have troubled Thee,
In that they are vain babblers,
And so have the [false] doctrines in that they are contentious.
Blessed be He that gave Thee a good company which bears Thee about!
In the new covenant Thou dartest forth:
From those first Thy light shineth forth unto those last.
Blessed be He that gave us Thy gleam
As well as Thy bright rays.
Christ carrying His Cross to Golgotha (http://www.srpskoblago.org/Archives/Decani/exhibits/Collections/PassionChrist/CX4K2756_l.html)
The children of strife,
To taste fire,
To see the air,
To handle the light:
They were troubled at the gleaming,
And struggled to make divisions.
Who is too subtle for the mind,
Did they seek to feel:
And the Holy Ghost
Who cannot be explored,
They sought to explore with their questionings.
Who never at any time was searched out,
Have they explained and disputed of.
And our repentance is from Nineveh and the house of Rahab,
And ours are the expectations of the Prophets,
Ours of the Apostles.
The evil usage of the evil calf is from the Egyptians.
The hateful sight of the hateful image of four faces is from the Hittites.
Accursed disputation, that hidden moth, is from the Greeks.
And subverted them;
He saw hateful things,
And sowed them;
He saw hope,
And he turned it upside down and cut it off.
The disputation that he planted,
Lo! it has yielded a fruit bitter to the tooth.
And united himself to the tares,
And secreted his frauds,
And spread his snares for the faith,
And cast upon the priests the darts of the love of pre-eminence.
To see which should first obtain it.
There was that meditated in secret and kept it close:
There was that openly combated for it:
And there was that with a bribe crept up to it:
And there was that with fraud dealt wisely to obtain it.
Ths scope was one,
And they were alike.
Him that was young, and could not even think of it,
Because it was not time for him;
And him that was hoary and shaped out dreams
For time beyond;
All of them by his craftiness did the wicked one persuade and subdue.
Old men, youths, and even striplings, aim at rank!
And put on others:
The People who was grown old
Had the moth and the worm devoured and eaten and left and deserted:
The moth came into the new garment
Of the new peoples:
He made of those of the household, pryers;
And of worshippers, they became disputants.
From that garment
The moth gendered
And wound it up and deposited it.
And sat and looked on:
And lo! the pure wheat was mildewed,
And devoured were the garments of glory!
He made a mockery of us,
And we of ourselves, since we were besotted!
And the bramble shot up in the pure vinyard!
He infected the flock,
And the leprosy broke out,
And the sheep became hired servants of his!
He began in the People,
And came unto the Gentiles, that he might finish.
Others have dared with their reed to write in their tracts
That He is only a Son of man.
Reed for reed does the wicked one exchange against our Redeemer,
And instead of the coat of many colours, wherewith they clothed Him,
Titles has he dyed craftily.
With diversity of names he clothed Him;
Either that of creature or of a thing made, when He was the Maker.
Thorns from the mind has he plaited [now] by the voice, as hymns;
And concealed the spikes amid melodies
That they might not be perceived.
That the spitting was discovered, and vinegar,
And thorns, nails and wood,
Garments and reed and spear,
Which smote him, and were hated and openly known;
He changed his frauds.
He brought in distractions;
And instead of the spitting,
Cavilling entered in;
And instead of garments,
And instead of the reed,
Came in strife to smite us on the face.
And there answered and came envy,
And wrath, and pride, and fraud.
They have taken counsel against our Redeemer
As on that day when they took counsels at His Passion.
A hidden wood hath strife become;
And instead of the nails,
Questionings have come in;
And instead of hell, apostasy:
The pattern of both Satan would renew again.
He gave prying, the whole of which is cankered with death.
The gall which they gave Him did our Lord put away from Him;
The subtle questionings, which the rebellious one hath given,
To fools is sweet.
Lo, the judges are, as it were, against us,
And instead of a handwriting are their commands.
Priests that consecrate crowns,
Set snares for kings.
That wars may cease from among men,
They teach wars of overthrow,
Which set kings to combat with those round about.
That in one Church priests may pray for their kings,
And kings spare those round about them;
And may the peace which is within Thee become ours, Lord,
Thou that art within and without all things!