EXEGESIS -- EZECHIEL.
As King was He sitting in the regal court of the virginal womb, or in the boiling pot, as it is written: Moab is the court of hope (aula spei), or the pot of my hope (olla spei meae):* for both readings are found in different Codices. This regal court is the Virgin; for she is not subject to man, but to God. The pot too is the womb of Mary; for she has filled the whole world with the fervid Spirit, who came upon her when she brought forth the Saviour."+
S. Ambrose, in a sermon on Christmas Day, cited by John Cassian, whom his friend Leo, afterward Pope, had employed to confute Nestorianism in the West, says again:--
"Behold the miracle of Our Lord's mother. She conceived, a Virgin; she brought forth, a Virgin. A Virgin was she when she conceived, a Virgin when pregnant, a Virgin after childbirth: as it is said in Ezechiel: And the gate was shut, and it was not opened, for the Lord passed through it."++
"S. Gregory Nyssen," writes Fr. J. Brande Morris, "in his Texts against Jews,** avails himself of this text to prove the miraculous birth of Our Saviour. This would show that it was a very common interpretation in the Greek Church, though we happen to have no Greek commentators upon Ezechiel left except Theodoret: who says in his commentary that, 'it is likely that in this passage the womb of the Virgin also is hinted at, through which no one ever entered or went out, except the Lord Himself.' This is a strong admission from a person of Nestorian bias, as all the Nestorian party hated anything in the shape of allegory, as the Adoptionists did afterwards."
"I see the miracles, and proclaim the Godhead. I see the sufferings and deny not the Manhood. But Emmanuel would have opened the gates of nature as man, but the bars of virginity as God He burst not through. But so He came forth from the womb, as He entered in through the hearing. So was He born as He was conceived. Impassibly He entered, incorruptibly He came forth according to the prophet Ezechiel, who said: The Lord turned me to the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which looked toward the east, and it was shut. And the Lord said to me, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no one shall pass through it, but the Lord God of Israel alone. He shall enter in and come forth. And the gate shall be shut. Behold a clear demonstration of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Silenced therefore be all contradictions. And let us be enlightened with the knowledge of the Scriptures, that we may obtain the kingdom of heaven for ever and ever. Amen."||
* Ps. lxix. 10.
+ S. Ambrose, De Inst. Virg., cap. vii. 52-56, viii., xi., xii., 79. See also Epist. xcii. 6, S. Jerome, Comment in Ezech. c. xliv. S. Ephrem too speaks in the same sense.
++ Cassian , De Incarnat., L. vii., p. 12, 92.
** Cap. iii., p. 303, Zacagni.
|| S. Proclus, ap. Mercat. ii., p. 24. This sermon was preached before the assembled Bishops at Ephesus.