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St Ephrem the Syrian on Free Will.

Oct 30, 2015
St Ephrem the Syrian is the most important Saint in the West Syriac Christian tradition but is venerated through out the Christian East from the Assyrians to the Copts to the Russians. I admit to being a bit wary of Jesuits but one Jesuit scholar declared him to be the equal of Dante in poetic genius, a judgement I whole heartedly agree with (he is mostly known for his poems and hymns which are justly famed for their rich use of imagery and fervour). However I came across this by him today and it made me pretty uncomfortable, I would like to know other people's comments if they have any on it, I will comment further if anyone of you do have any.

"The nature of our free will is the same in everyone:
If it's power is weak in one, it is weak in all,
If it's power is strong in one, it is the same in all.

The nature of sweetness seems sweet to someone in
Good health,
But bitter to anyone who is sick; so to it is with free will;
It is sickly in sinners, but in good health with the

When someone wants to test the nature of sweetness
He does not test or try it out in the mouths of people
Who are ill:
It is the healthy mouths that provides the furnace to
Assay tastes.

When again someone wants to test the power of free will
He should not test it in the impure, who are sick in with
Ugly deeds,
No, a pure person, who is healthy, should provide the furnace
In which to assay it.

If a sick person should say to you that the taste of
Is bitter, observe how strong his sickness has grown,
So that he has abused the sweetness, that source of

If again some impure person should say to you
That the power of free will is feeble, observe how he
Has cut off his hope
By impoverishing free will, the treasury that humanity

Hymns to the Church 2:18-23.