Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.
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Having said above, “And Jacob begat Joseph,” to whom Mary being espoused bare Jesus; that none who heard should suppose that His birth was as that of any of the forementioned fathers, he cuts off the thread of his narrative, saying, "But Christ’s generation was thus.” As though he were to say, The generation ofall these fathers was as I have related it; but Christ’s was not so, but as follows, “His mother Mary being espoused.”.
He announces that he is to relate the manner of the generation, shewing therein that he is about to speak some new thing; that you may not suppose when you hear mention of Mary’s husband, that Christ was born by the law of nature.
Therefore both espoused and yet remaining at home; for as in her who should conceive in the house of her husband, is understood natural conception; so inher who conceives before she be taken to her husband, there is suspicion of infidelity.
Serm. 148: If you are not confounded when you hear of the birth of God, let not His conception disturb you, seeing the pure virginity of the mother removes all that might shock human reverence. And what offence against our awe and reverence is there, when the Deity entered into union with purity that was always dear to Him, where an Angel is mediator, faith is bridesmaid, where chastity is the giving away, virtue the gift, conscience the judge, God the cause; where the conception is inviolateness, the birth virginity, and the mother avirgin.
Mary was therefore betrothed to a carpenter, because Christ the Spouse of the Church was to work the salvation of all men through the wood of the Cross.
What follows, “Before they came together,” does not mean before she was brought to the bridegroom’s house, for she was already within. For it was a frequent custom among the ancients to have their betrothed wives home to their house before marriage; as we see done now also, and as the sons-in-law of Lot werewith him in the house.
That He should not be born of passion, of flesh and blood, who was therefore born that He might take away all passion of flesh and blood.
For, as a not incredible account relates, Joseph was absent when the things were done which Luke writes. For it is not easy to suppose that the Angel cameto Mary and said those words, and Mary made her answer when Joseph was present. And even if we suppose thus much to have been possible, yet it could not be that she should have gone into the hill country, and abode there three months when Joseph was present, because he must needs have enquired the causes of her departure and long stay. And so when after so many months he returned from abroad, he found her manifestly with child.
He says exactly “was found,” for so we use to say of things not thought of. And that you should not molest the Evangelist by asking in what way was this birth of a virgin, he clears himself shortly, saying, “Of the Holy Spirit.” As much asto say, it was the Holy Spirit that wrought this miracle. For neither Gabriel nor Matthew could say any futher.