"Who in any generation ever dared to utter the name of holy Mary, and did not at once, without being asked, add the title of Virgin? ...How then do they dare attack that spotless Virgin, who merited to be the dwelling of the Son -- she who was chosen for this out of the tens of thousands of Israel, that she might be made a worthy vessel and dwelling-place for a unique prodigy of childbirth?"*

"And Joseph... knew her not till she brought forth her first-born Son." -- Matt. i. 25.

"Mary, therefore, brought forth her Son, the First-born, not what was the first-born of her, as though she were to bear another. And he (Joseph) knew her not.+ For how did he know that a woman should receive so great grace? Aye, how, verily, should he know that a Virgin would be glorified with such-like glory? He knew, indeed, that she was woman by formation, and of the female sex by nature, and from the womb of Anne, and from a father, Joachim; that she was too cousin of Elisabeth, and of the house and lineage of David. But he knew not that with such-like glory any one on earth should be honoured, least of all a woman. He knew her not, in truth, until he saw the wonder. He knew not the marvel, until what time he saw that which was borne of her. But when she brought forth, he knew both the honour of God bestowed upon her, that she it was who had heard, Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee."++


"Joseph knew not that the Prophet like to Moses was to be born of a Virgin inviolate. He did not bear in mind that the temple of God she might be made, who had been fashioned of pure mould. He was ignorant that the Second Adam was to be fashioned by the all-pure hands of God from a once-more virginal paradise."**


"A Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph." -- Luke i. 27.

"Why was Mary espoused before she was with child? Perhaps it was, lest it should be said that she had conceived by adultery.... The Lord preferred that some should have doubts as to His own origin, rather than they should doubt of His Mother's chastity.... There is nothing that need disturb us in what the Evangelist Matthew says: He knew her not till she brought forth her first-born Son.|| For this is either merely an idiom which we find in other places of Scripture, as for example: Even until you grow old, I am;*** where we are not to suppose that after their old age God would cease to be. And again, in the Psalm, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool;+++ where there is not though that after that event He should no longer thus sit. Or, it is so expressed, because, when any one is treating of some particular matter, he considers it sufficient to speak to the point without redundancy, and unnecessary to go outside what he has in hand, by entering upon what is merely incidental.

* Haer. 78, 6. Patr. Gr. Tom. 42, p. 708.

+ Matt. i. 25.

++ Haer. 78, 17. Patr. Gr. Tom. 42, p. 728.

** Hom. vi. Laudat. Deip. v. 8.

|| Matt. i. 25.

*** Is. xlvi. 4.

+++ Ps. cix. 1.



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