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EXEGESIS - ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION (CONT.)

Our Saviour, on the other hand, had so disposed, that the devil should not know his dispensation, and His taking to Himself a body,* and hence even, in His generation, He concealed it; and afterwards charged His disciples not to make Him known. And when He was being tempted by the devil himself, He at not time confessed that He was the Son of God, but only answered: 'It is not right that I should adore thee, or that I should make these stones bread, or that I should cast myself down from on high.'+ And in thus speaking, He always refrained from saying that He was the Son of God. Look, too, in another Scripture, and thou wilt find that it was Christ's will, that the devil should not know the coming of the Son of God. For the Apostle, when affirming that the powers of wickedness were ignorant of His Passion, says: We speak wisdom among the perfect. But not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world who come to nought; but we speak the wisdom of God hidden in mystery, which none of the princes of this world know. For, if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of Glory.++ Hence the mystery of the Saviour was hidden from the princes of this world... So much as to why Mary had a spouse."**

"Now since the Angel saluted Mary in new language, such as I have not been able to find elsewhere in Scripture, some few words must be said on this. For in saying, Hail, full of grace -- in Greek, kecharitomene|| -- there is what I nowhere else remember to have read in the Scriptures. For to no one else is speech such as this addressed, Hail, full of grace. For Mary alone is this salvation reserved. For if Mary had known that to any one else a like address had been made -- since she had knowledge of the Law, was holy, and knew the predictions of the Prophets from daily meditation -- the salutation would never have caused her to fear, as being strange. Therefore it was that the Angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace before God. Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High."***

"I think it accords with reason, that of that cleanliness which consists in chastity, the first-fruits of men was Jesus, and of women, Mary. For it is not seemly (euphemon) that any other but she should be enrolled (epigrapsasthai) as the first-fruits of virginity."+++


* See S. Ambrose, Expos. Ev. sec. Luc., Lib. ii. 2, 3.

+ Matt. iv. 3-10.

++ 1 Cor. ii. 6-8.

** In Luc. Hom. vi., S. Hieron. Translatio.

|| "The Protestant rendering Highly favoured would naturally lead the uninstructed to assume that some high favour was then given, whereas the Greek implies past action. The Coptic, Syriac, and some other versions agree with the Latin in the rendering, Full of grace, because they had no word which would exactly express the Greek, and so they rendered it by a periphrasis." Morris, Jesus the Son of Mary, vol i., p. 347.

*** Ib.

+++ In Matt. x. 17, Patr. Gr. Tom. 13, p. 878.

Digital Editor's Note: In the sentence "For to Mary alone is this salvation reserved", I think "salvation" must be a typo for "salutation", but that's what's on the page.

 

 

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