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EXEGESIS - CANTICLES.

"Hail, full of grace, Gate of heaven, of whom in the Canticles the prophet plainly and openly utters those words: My sister, my spouse, is a garden enclosed, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed up."*

"God showed that the Virgin was His domicile, wherein, by His entering in, He would keep perpetual the column of chastity, by being born of her, without injury to His Mother's integrity, being conceived without corruption."+

"The Spouse who is sprung from thee, called thee a closed garden and a sealed fountain, and such He predicted thee in the Canticles. A closed garden, because no knife of corruption nor vintage has come nigh thee; but the flower that is set forth in its fair beauty to mankind from the root of Jesse,++ was cultured for thee by the pure and spotless Spirit. A fountain sealed, because the river of life that goes forth from thee has filled the earth; whilst, on the other hand, the nuptial branch has in no way exhausted thy fountain."**

"Arise, O north wind, and come, O south wind, blow through my garden, and let the aromatical spices thereof flow." -- v. 16.

"When Joseph had been delighted with these aromatical spices, he is marked out as son of the King by God. When Mary had been anointed with them, she conceived in her womb the Word; then she reveals new secrets, and a new truth, and a new kingdom, together also with other great and inexplicable mysteries."||

"O my sister, my spouse, open to Me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled." -- v. 1, 2.

'

"Mary is that beautiful spouse of the Canticles, who put off the old garment, washed her feet, and received the immortal Bridegroom within her own bride-chamber."***

"Hail Mary, of all things in the whole world most precious. Hail Mary, dove undefiled. Hail Mary, unextinguishable lamp; for of thee is born the Sun of Justice. Hail Mary, the place of Him who is not held by place."+++

"One is my dove, my perfect one is but one... The daughters saw her, and declared her most blessed: the queens and the concubines, and they praised her." -- vi. 8.


* Orat. de laudib. S. Mariae Deip. Int. Opp. S. Epiphanii.

+ S. Gaudentius, Serm. ix.De Evang. Lectione primus. Tom. 20, p. 888.

++ Is. xi. 1.

** Hesychius, Orat. de Deip. laudib.

|| S. Hippolytus, ap. Migne Patr. Gr. Tom. 10, p. 627. -- "S. Hippolytus," says Simon de Magestris (Acta Mart. Ostiens., p. 274, ex Cod. membr. Vatican. c. iii.), "wrote on the Canticle of Solomon, and shows that from of old God the Word sought his delights in the Church gathered from the Gentiles, but especially in His most holy Virgin Mother. Consequently the Syrians, who gloried in the Virgin as by birth their own, made a very early translation of this Commentary of S. Hippolytus from the Greek into their own tongue: and some fragments of this translation are still extant." He gives that in the text both in Latin and Syriac.

*** S. Proclus, Orat. vi. 17. De Deip. laudibus.

+++ S. Cyril of Alexandria, Encom. in Deip., at the Council of Ephesus.

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