56
THE SECOND EVE

"What then? Is the female sex doomed to sentence of condemnation, kept in sorrows, and the bond not loosed? Christ has come, who looses the bond. She who brought forth the Lord has presented herself as advocate for the sex (uper tou genous apologoumene), the holy Virgin in place of the virgin. For Eve too was a virgin when she sinned. The former loosed the sorrow and the groaning of her who was condemned. For just as when any one is called to the regal court, he is eager to confer honours on those who belong to him, and should they be in distress, to deliver them. So the holy Virgin when called to the regal court to minister to the divine generation, and brought to an unexampled childbirth, asks this first favour, nay rather she is given it. For since it befitted not the woman under condemnation to bring forth the Innocent (ton aneuthunon), he comes, who first will loose Eve's sorrow by joy. The angel comes saying to the Virgin, Hail, full of grace. Thus then by the Hail, does he loose the bond of sorrow. Hail: he has come to loose the sorrow. Hail, full of grace: because until now, subject to the curse. Pay attention here to the grace of God. Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. For whereas, with her was the serpent, in sorrow: with thee is God. And see the word of the angel, how he interprets the whole economy of Christ. Hail, full of grace. Because she received a double curse, sorrow, and childbirth in pangs, he now brings in a childbirth that will loose that childbirth: Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus. For He shall save His people from their sins.* The sins of thy fathers He looses, who from thee blossoms forth the fruit. Henceforth all is changed. Hitherto, those who hear of Eve bewail her: Alas for the wretched one, from what glory has she fallen! Alas for the wretched one, how greatly has she suffered! And now every day is Mary in the mouth of all called Blessed: filled, verily, is she with the Holy Ghost. Hear, in fact, what the Virgin herself in prophecy says: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid: for from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. In order thus to show that she bears the person of Eve: Me, she says, until now despised, henceforth shall all generations call Blessed. But what difference, you may ask, will it make to her, if she does not hear? Nay, but she does most certainly hear, since she is now in a place that is all light, in the land of the living, the Mother of our salvation, the source of that Light that is perceptible both sensibly and intellectually, sensibly by reason of His Flesh, intellectually by reason of His Divinity. Thus, therefore, is she proclaimed altogether Blessed. Nay even whilst still living in the flesh, she was called blessed. For she heard of her blessedness while still in the flesh. She it was who first saw and then tasted of the tree; she first spoke, and then heard, her blessedness. For when the Saviour was teaching, a certain woman from the crowd lifted up her voice, and said to Him in the hearing of all, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the paps that Thou hast sucked."+


* Luke i. 28, 31. Matt. i. 21.

+ De Mundi Creatore, Orat. vi. 10. Int. Opp. S. Chrysost. Tom. vi. p. 497, Migne. It is considered certain that the author of this treatise was Severianus, Bishop of Gabala, in Syria, at one time the friend, afterwards the adversary of S. Chrysostom.

 

 

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