126
EXEGESIS -- ANNUNCIATION AND INCARNATION (CONT.)

"Thy praise, most holy Virgin, surpasses all laudation, by reason of the God who took flesh and was born of thee. To thee every creature, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, offers the meet offering of honour. For thou hast been indeed shown forth to be the true cherubic throne. Thou shinest as the very brightness of light in the high places of the kingdoms of intelligence, where the Father, who is without beginning, and whose power thou hadst overshadowing thee, is glorified; where also the Son is adored, whom thou didst bear according to the flesh; and where the Holy Ghost is praised, who effected in thy womb the generation of the Mighty King. Through thee, O thou full of grace, is the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity known in the world. Together with thyself deem us also worthy to be made partakers in thy perfect grace in Jesus Christ Our Lord: with whom, and with the Holy Ghost, be glory to the Father, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen."*

FIRMICUS MATERNUS.

"Why God, that is, the Son of God condescended to become Man, we will with brevity and truth show. When God made the first man, Adam, to His likeness, He gave him the sure law of His commandments. He, being deceived, through the woman Eve, by the persuasions of the devil, lost the dignity of the glory that was promised him. There was in paradise a tree, through which he lost the grace of the rewards promised by God. Man was made from clay of virgin earth: for not yet, as says the Scripture, had it rained upon the earth. Despising God's commands he afflicted the human race with the snares of mortality. It was fitting, then, that all this should be reformed and corrected; and the reformation must needs reform the original beginnings. Adam, made from slime of virgin earth, had lost by his prevarication the promised life. Christ, born by the Virgin Mary and the Holy Ghost, recovered both immortality and kingdom. The tree of wood afforded pestilent food to those deceived, but the wood of the Cross restored life by an imperishable compact. Adam contemned, Christ regained. For after space of long time, in the last times, in almost the last week of the ages, the Word of God united Himself to a human body, that He might set man free, conquer death, and join the weakness of a human body to divine immortality... and so the Virgin Mary, descending from Abraham, conceived God, that the offspring of aforesaid men might be knit together by a bond of immortal fellowship, and thus the human race, conjoined by means of One who was Man and at the same time God, might by a perfect and adequate communion attain to the kingdom of immortality through the merit of obedience."+


* Homilies, i., ii., iii. On the Annunciation, Int. Opp. S. Greg. Thaum. Learned critics attribute them to the fifth century.

+ De errore profanarum religionum, cap. 25, Patr. Lat. Tom. 12, p. 1037.

 

 

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