And therefore does the Law bless him: Give to Levi his trusty ones: give to Levi his lots.*

"Hence too it was he received the Lord's Mother. For we find it written that from that hour the disciple took her to his own.+ But what means it, to his own, when the Apostles had themselves said: Behold we have left all things, and have followed Thee?++ What of his own had John, who had no earthly or worldly things, who moreover was not of the world? What things then had he his own, but those which he had received from Christ? A good possessor of the word and of wisdom was he, a good recipient of grace.... Nor, for that matter, would the Mother of the Lord Jesus betake herself save to a possessor of grace, with whom Christ had His dwelling.

"Do you then, my children, give yourselves also to that true Levi, the Prince of priests, the true Aaron, the true Melchisedech, to be His trusty ones. Be yourselves also clouds, but light ones. And this you will really be, if virginity lighten the burdens of your condition, and illumine the darkness of this flesh of clay. Hence says she, I am black, and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem,** black by reason of the flesh, beautiful through virginity.... Give yourselves to Him; show forth in yourselves that Adam who was before sin, that Eve as she was before she drank of the serpent's slimy venom; before they were supplanted by his snares, and when they had not whereof to be ashamed...."||

"Mary was that light cloud which bore our Lord into Egypt."***

"He shall grow up as a tender plant (virgultum) before Him, and as a root out of a thirsty (sitienti) ground." -- liii. 2.

"He poured forth dew and living rain upon Mary, the thirsty earth."+++

"Symmachus, says S. Jerome, interprets the Hebrew word here, instead of virgultum, ramus a branch, in order to show the humanity assumed by the Divine Word which came forth from the Virgin's womb, whereof he says: Sicut radix de terra sitienti. Aquila instead of sitienti gives invia, i.e., pathless, or without way, untrodden, to denote the privilege of virginity, and that He was created, not by any human generation, but as though from unsown virgin soil; of whom too the prophet said before, There shall come forth a rod," etc. (Ch. xi. 1); "to signify His birth and rising in the world."|||

"I will give to them in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name, and they shall not fail." -- lvi. 5.

"God promises to others that they shall not fail; and will He suffer His Mother to fail? But Mary does not fail: the teacher (magistra, mistress) of virginity hath not failed," etc.++++

* Deut. xxxiii. 8.

+ John xix. 29.

++ Matt. xix. 27.

** Cant. i. 4.

|| S. Ambrose, Exhortatio Virginitatis, cap. v. 31-33, vi. 34-36.

*** Procopius Gazaeus, Comment. in Isai., Tom. 87, p. 2144.

+++ S. Ephrem, Comment. in loc., Lamy, vol. ii. p. 145, and Hymn ii. 13, on the Epiphany, Ibid.

||| S. Jerome, Comment in Is. Proph., Lib. xiv., in loc.

++++ S. Ambrose, De Inst. Virg., cap. vi. 45.



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