"Christ is born of a woman, that as Adam was not able to take precautions against the devil's deception through Eve, so the devil might not discover the presence of God when He came by Mary. A woman therefore brought forth the world's salvation, that she who had shown herself the fosteress of iniquity might become the ministress of justice, and that she through whom death opened its way into this world might be for us the entrance to life."*

"He then who had been once reckoned amongst the first angels, but preferred to be changed into a devil, grudged man the possession of all these things [described as belonging to his original happy state], lest he should see man full of glory. And so kindled with this jealousy, he assails the woman with his guiles, and induced the virgin to taste of the forbidden apple: the virgin thus induced soon induces her virgin husband, and overthrows his estate of life, as she ministers to him the food of death, the aliment of sin; and thus becomes the occasion of his entire ruin, she who had been formed for his especial solace. Hence the first sin, hence the origin of death; hence toiling, hence sorrow, hence groans, hence was propagated the bitter condition of our slavery. Hence it is, brethren, hence it is that the order of Christ in His birth was as follows. The devil had come to a virgin, the angel came to Mary, that what the evil angel had overthrown, the good angel might raise up. The one persuaded perfidy, the other faith; one believed the tempter, whilst the other believed her Maker. Christ is born, that by His birth He may make corrupted nature whole again: He bears man (in His own person) that man may now no longer fall: him whom He had made earthly, He has made to be heavenly: him, who was animated with a human spirit, He quickens into a Divine spirit; and thus causes him to rise whole to God, so that whatever there is in him, of sin, of death, of labour, of sorrow, and of earth -- of all this He leaves nothing."+

* S. Maximus, Hom. Hiem. xv., De Nat. Dom. x.

+ S. Peter Chrysologus, Serm. 148, De Incarnationis Sacramento.



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