70
EXEGESIS - GENESIS.

So also Origen:--

"The serpent made of old a compact with Eve. She was friendly to him, and the serpent friendly to the woman. But God, being good, had care that this compact should be dissolved, and this evil friendship destroyed, and, as the good God, says: I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. Let us then piously hear by what means God puts enmity between him and her, so as to bring about friendship between her and Christ. For it cannot be, that one should be at the same time a friend of those who are mutually opposed. And as no one can serve two masters, so no one can be a friend of God and of mammon, a friend of Christ and the serpent. But it must needs be that the friendship of Christ should generate enmities with the serpent, and the friendship of the serpent bring forth enmities with Christ."*

"All things here cannot, in truth, be entirely and perfectly applied to Eve, but have their real and full accomplishment in that most holy, unique, and peerless stem, which sprung from the Virgin Mary alone without human generation. For this her Son came down here below in order to extinguish the force and power of the serpent. For this cause the Only Son of God came forth from a woman, to overthrow the serpent."+

"The Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ was therefore then already promised in that woman: for she it was who was made the opponent of the serpent's enmities. God says, I will put enmities between thee and the woman. He says not, I put, lest it might seem to refer to Eve. The word is one of promise relating to the future. The woman spoken of was assuredly she who was to give birth to the Saviour, and not she who was to bear a fratricide. I will put enmity between thee and the woman. That is to say, I will raise up a woman who, setting aside credulity, will not only not listen to thee, though thou shouldst point to the sweetness of apples for opening her eyes, or promise her that she should be like to God, but one who, when even Gabriel shall deliver his message, will demand a reason for the strangeness of his promise. How, she will ask, shall this be done, because I know not man?++

For while a golden modesty at the sight of the Angel caused her to fear, yet the fervour of her faith, and her constancy, gave her unfaltering courage to inquire the reason. The angel charges her not with unbelief, as he did Zachary, but at once instructs her concerning the marvel of the Divine operation, saying, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."**


* In Jerem., Hom. xi. v. 7. See also In Matt. xiv. v. 19.

+ S. Epiphanius, Haer. 58, 19. See also Haer. 78, 19, quoted above, Mary the Second Eve.

++ Luke i. 34.

** Epist. vi. 6, Ad amicum aegrotum, int. Opp. S. Hieron., Appendix. This Epistle is commonly ascribed to S. Maximus.

 

 

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