Fitly, of a truth, is she called both a mountain and a house, who -- resplendent, as she became, with incomparable merits -- prepared her holy womb for the Only-begotten of God wherein to repose. For Mary would not have become the mountain on the top of the mountains, had not divine fecundity raised her above the summit of the angels. And she would not be the House of the Lord, had not the Divinity of the Word lain in her womb, by His Humanity which He assumed. With just reason too is she called a fruitful mountain, since of her the best fruit, that is, the New Man is generated. And she verily it was that the prophet beheld in her beauty and adorned with the glory of her fecundity, when he said: There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise out of his root.* And of the fruit of this mountain David exulting before God, says, Let the people, O God, confess to Thee: let all the people give praise to Thee. The earth hath yielded her fruit.+ The earth hath indeed yielded her fruit, because whom the Virgin brought forth, she conceived not by material operation, but by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost.++ Hence to the same king and prophet was said by the Lord: Of the fruit of thy womb I will set upon My throne.** Rightly then is she called Mount Ephraim, since, whilst she is herself exalted to the ineffable dignity of the Divine Maternity, in her fruit the dry shoots of human nature begin once more to grow green.

"A man from Ramatha Sophim is thus made from Mount Ephraim: in that He who created the angels by the power of His Divinity, has taken the form of humanity from the flesh of the glorious Virgin."||

"I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated," etc. -- vi. 1-4.

"Behold, as a throne high and lifted up by the glory of Him who fashioned it, the Virgin Mother is made ready-prepared -- and that most evidently for the King, the Lord of hosts."***

"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign. Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel." -- vii. 14.

"The Lord the King of glory will Himself come down into the Virgin's womb, and will go in and out by the Eastern gate which is ever shut:+++ whereof Gabriel said to the Virgin: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

||| And in the Proverbs, Wisdom hath built herself a house."++++

* Is. xi. 1.

+ Ps. lxvi. 6, 7.

++ Luke i. 35.

** Ps. cxxxi. 11.

|| S. Gregory the Great, Exposit. in libros Regum. In 1. Reg. i., Patr. Lat. Tom. 79, p. 23. It is more generally held by the learned, that the Commentary on the First book of Kings was put together by S. Gregory's disciple Claudius, Abbot of the Monastery of Classa, from Homilies of the holy doctor which he had collected.

*** S. Methodius, Orat. de Simeon. et Anna iii., P.G. Tom. 18, p. 322.

+++ Ezech. xliv.

||| Luke i. 35.

++++ Prov. ix. 1., S. Jerome, Commentary in Is. Prophet., L. iii. In loc. He then goes on to show that the word Virgin here denotes emphatically in the Hebrew a young virgin, hidden and set apart (puellam, adolescentam, absconditam et secretam).



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