THE SECOND EVE
S. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS.
In a mystical interpretation of the raising of Lazarus, John xi., the Saint says as follows: --
"Christ had care of woman first, since the tempter infected her first. He banishes perfidy from woman, and restores faith to woman, that she who had wrought perdition might be also ministress of salvation; and at length, through God she might be the mother of the living, who so long, through the devil, had been mother of the dead. And since woman had been the beginning of evil, He deals with death in such wise as first to do away with the charge before granting pardon, and annul the prosecution, before pronouncing sentence. He takes precaution too, lest man should refuse to admit woman, by whom he had been once deceived, to have her share with him in life; and so woman should perish, to the loss of many, had Christ the Lord reached man first.* Hence it is, brethren, that Christ is born by means of woman; hence it is that woman raises man up from the sepulchre of her womb, that with dolours she may recall him whom she made an exile of by her blandishments; and by her weeping restore whom she ruined by her eating. At last when Martha had confessed to Christ,+ and by her holy confession blotted out whatever there was of fault in the person of woman, she is sent to Mary, because without Mary neither death could be done away, nor life restored. Let Mary come, let her come who bears the name of Mother, that man may know that Christ dwelt in the secret of her virginal womb, to the end that the dead might go forth from hell, that the dead might go out from the sepulchres."++
* "Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of the Father, restored what was lost, in the same order wherein it had fallen. Woman fell by sin before man; it was therefore fitting that woman should be restored before man. S. Augustine says: 'The commandment from the Lord was by Adam, and thence to woman; but sin from the devil was by woman, and thence to man' (De Gen. ad lit. L. ii. c. 54), and again: 'The penalty was given first to woman, and then to man' (c. 37). So, if the Redeemer had come to man before woman, the woman would have remained on in her sick state, and the wonted order of reparation would not have been kept. Or at any rate man in displeasure might have refused to have as partner, in the life acquired by divine reparation, her whom he had experienced to be the source of evil unto death... But how, thou askest, or when did Christ come first to woman before man? When through the aforeseen merits of Christ who was to come, the Eternal Word chose for Himself the Blessed Virgin for His Mother, and made her exempt from all stain of sin. Or then, it was, Christ the Lord came to the woman, when the Angel Gabriel was sent by God. For then the Blessed Virgin was earnestly praying to God, that He would come down to redeem the human race, as He had promised by the Prophets," etc. (Mita in loc. ap. Migne.)