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THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH.        201
Gnostics (disciples of science); one of this sect, named Bardesanes, founded a separate denomina­tion of these, and was the first who composed hymns in the native tongue, and adapted them to melodies. He composed one hundred and fifty psalms in imitation of David.
But greatest of all the musicians of the Ortho-dox Christian church of Syria, was Ephraem Syrus. He is still called " Harp of the Holy Spirit" in many churches who yet honor him and celebrate his feast.
He was a monk of Syria, born of poor parents, in a village of Mesopotamia. At eighteen years of age he was converted and baptized, and soon retired to a desert spot to practice penitence and piety. It was in this retreat that he composed his voluminous sermons, hymns, etc., all of which have much poetic beauty and oriental imagery.* He wrote fifteen hymns on the " Nativity," fifteen on "Paradise," fifty-two on "Faith," and "The Church," fifty-one on "The Virginity," eighty-seven against " Heresy," and " The Arians," eighty-five " Mortuary," fifteen moral hymns, etc. His writings on the Peshito or Syriac version of the scriptures are still of use to the theological student.
He arranged the music to his hymns, and he himself speaks of having arranged sixty-six of them in the style of Bardesanes.
•Some excellent German translations of the hymns, have been made by Zingerle, and are to be found in the " Zeitw'hrift d. Dentscheu Morgenl. Qesellschaft.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III