Clearly, then, did the prophet behold in type Him Who was born of the holy virgin, whom thou, O holy...

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 Clearly, then, did the prophet behold in type Him Who was born of the holy virgin, whom thou, O holy...

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Clearly, then, did the prophet behold in type Him Who was born of the holy virgin, whom thou, O holy virgin, wouldest have had no strength to bear, hadst thou not beamed forth for that time with all that is glorious and virtuous. And with what words of laudation, then, shall we describe her virgin-dignity? With what indications and proclamations of praise shall we celebrate her stainless figure? With what spiritual song or word shall we honour her who is most glorious among the angels? She is planted in the House Of God like a fruitful olive that The Holy Spirit overshadowed; and by her means are we called sons and heirs of the Kingdom Of Christ. She is the ever-blooming paradise of incorruptibility, wherein is planted the tree that giveth life, and that furnisheth to all the fruits of immortality. She is the boast and glory of virgins, and the exultation of mothers. She is the sure support of the believing, and the succourer of the pious. She is the vesture of light, and the domicile of virtue. She is the ever-flowing fountain, wherein the Water Of Life sprang and produced The Lord's incarnate manifestation. She is the monument of righteousness; and all who become lovers of her, and set their affections on virgin-like ingenuousness and purity, shall enjoy the grace of angels. All who keep themselves from wine and intoxication, and from the wanton enjoyments of strong drink, shall be made glad with the products of the life-bearing plant. All who have preserved the lamp of virginity unextinguished shall be privileged to receive the amaranthine crown of immortality. All who have possessed themselves of the stainless robe of temperance shall be received into the Mystical Bride-Chamber Of Righteousness. All who have come nearer the angelic degree than others shall also enter into the more real enjoyment of their Lord's Beatitude. All who have possessed the illuminating oil of understanding, and the pure incense of conscience, shall inherit the promise of spiritual favour and the spiritual adoption. All who worthily observe the festival of the Annunciation Of The Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, acquire as their meet recompense the fuller interest in the message, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured!" It is our duty, therefore, to keep this feast, seeing that it has tilled the whole world with joy and gladness. And let us keep it with psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. Of old did Israel also keep their festival, but then it was with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, of which the prophet says: "I will turn their feasts into afflictions and lamentation, and their joy into shame." (Amos 8:10) But our afflictions our Lord has assured us He will turn into joy by the fruits of penitence. (Cf. Jeremiah 31) And again, the first covenant maintained the righteous requirements of a divine service, as in the case of our forefather Abraham; but these stood in the inflictions of pain in the flesh by circumcision, until the time of the fulfilment. "The Law was given to them through Moses" for their discipline; "but Grace and Truth" have been given to us by Jesus Christ. (Cf. John 1) The beginning of all these blessings to us appeared in the Annunciation to Mary, the highly-favoured, in the economy of The Saviour, Which is worthy of all praise, and in His Divine and supra-mundane Instruction. Thence rise the rays of the light of understanding upon us. Thence spring for us the fruits of wisdom and immortality, sending forth the clear pure streams of piety. Thence come to us the brilliant splendours of the treasures of Divine Gnosis. "For this is Life Eternal, that we may know The True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom He Hath Sent." (John 17:2) And again, "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have Eternal Life." (John 5:39)

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