EXEGESIS -- ISAIAS -- JEREMIAS.
"...If holy conversation alone and good works and fasts, without virginity, might merit the coming of the Holy Ghost to her, Anna the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Aser, so renowned for her chastity, and always giving herself to prayers and fastings in God's Temple, might have been the Mother of the Lord. Then again it is said: The Virgin the daughter of Sion hath despised thee.* Her whom the prophet had spoken of as daughter, he also called a virgin: lest if he had only named a daughter, thou mightest suppose her also married. She is the virgin daughter to whom is elsewhere said: Rejoice, thou barren, that bearest not: break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for many are the children of the desolate, more than of her that hath a husband.+ She it is of whom God speaks by Jeremias saying: Will a bride forget her ornament, or a virgin her pectoral band?++ Concerning her in the same Prophecy is a great miracle, viz., that a woman should compass a man,** and the womb of a virgin enclose the Parent of the universe."||
"And I went down to the potter's house, and behold he was doing a work on the wheel. And the vessel was broken which he was making of clay with his hands: and turning he made another vessel, as it seemed good in his eyes to make it." -- xviii. 3, 4.
"And thus, when renovating things which were from the beginning, and forming them again of the Virgin by the Spirit, He fashions the same (i.e., the first man, Adam) anew. Just as at the beginning, when the earth was yet virgin and untilled, God, taking mould, formed therefrom, without any sowing, the living creature perfectly endowed with reason. And here I may adduce the prophet Jeremias as a trustworthy and lucid witness, who speaks thus: And I went down to the potter's house, and behold he was doing a work on the wheel. And the vessel was broken which he was making of clay with his hands: and turning he made another vessel, as it seemed good in his eyes to make it. For when Adam, having been fashioned out of clay, was still soft and moist, and not yet, like a tile, hard and incorruptible, sin ruined him, flowing and dropping down upon him like water. And therefore God, moistening him afresh, and forming anew the same clay to His honour, having first hardened and fixed it in the Virgin's womb, and united it and mixed it with the Word, brought it forth into life, no longer soft and broken."***
"A woman shall compass a man." -- xxxi. 22.
"O woman blessed above women, who both knew not man, and compassed a man in thy womb.... Mary compassed a man by giving faith to the Angel, whereas Eve lost a man by consenting to the serpent."+++
* Is. xxxvii. 32.
+ Is. liv. 1, Gal. iv. 27.
++ Jer. ii. 32.
** Jer. xxxi. 22.
|| S. Jerome, Advers. Jovinian., Lib. i. 32.
*** S. Methodius, Conviv. Dec. Virg. cap. iv. et v. Patr. Gr. Tom. 18, p. 67.
+++ Serm. 119, In Nat. Dom. iii. 3. Int. Opp. S. August. In Append.