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Matthew 1:24-25

24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25. And knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born Son: and he called his name JESUS.

REMIGIUS. Life returned by the same entrance through which death had entered in. By Adam’s disobedience we were ruined, by Joseph’s obedience we all begin to be recalled to our former condition; for in these words is commended to us the great virtue of obedience, when it is said, And Joseph rising from sleep, did as the Angel of the Lord had commanded him.

GLOSS. (ord. et ap. Anselm ex Beda cit.) He not only did what the Angel commanded, but as he commanded it. Let each one who is warned of God, in like manner, break off all delays, rise from sleep, and do that which is commanded him.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Took unto him, not took home to him; for he had not sent her away; he had put her away in thought only, and now took her again in thought.

REMIGIUS. Or, Took her so far, as that the nuptial rites being complete, she was called his wife; but not so far as to lie with her, as it follows, And knew her not.

JEROME. (Cont. Helvid. c. 5.) Helvidius is at much superfluous trouble to make this word know refer to carnal knowledge rather than to acquaintance, as though any had ever denied that; or as if the follies to which he replies had ever occurred to any person of common understanding. He then goes on to say, that the adverb ‘until’ denotes a fixed time when that should take place, which had not taken place before; so that here from the words, He knew her not until she had brought forth her first-born Son, it is clear, he says, that after that he did know her. And in proof of this he heaps together many instances from Scripture. To all this we answer, that the word ‘until’ is to be understood in two senses in Scripture. And concerning the expression, knew her not, he has himself shewn, that it must be referred to carnal knowledge, none doubting that it is often used of acquaintance, as in that, The child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem, and His parents knew not of it. (Luke 2:43.) In like manner ‘until’ often denotes in Scripture, as he has shewn, a fixed period, but often also an infinite time, as in that, Even to your old age I am He. (Isa. 46:4.) Will God then cease to be when they are grown old? Also the Saviour in the Gospel, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of this world. (Mat. 28:20.) Will He then leave His disciples at the end of the world? Again, the Apostle says, He must reign till He has put His enemies under His feel. (1 Cor. 15:25.) Be it understood then, that that which if it had not been written might have been doubted of, is expressly declared to us; other things are left to our own understandingc. So here the Evangelist informs us, in that wherein there might have been room for error, that she was not known by her husband until the birth of her Son, that we might thence infer that much less was she known afterwards.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. As one might say, ‘He told it not so long as he lived;’ would this imply that he told it after his death? Impossible. So it were credible that Joseph might have known her before the birth, while he was yet ignorant of the great mystery; but after that he understood how she had been made a temple of the Only-begotten of God, how could he occupy that? The followers of Eunomius think, as they have dared to assert this, that Joseph also dared to do it, just as the insane think all men equally mad with themselves.

JEROME. (cont. Helvid. 8.) Lastly, I would ask, Why then did Joseph abstain at all up to the day of birth? He will surely answer, Because of the Angel’s words, That which is born in her, &c. He then who gave so much heed to a vision as not to dare to touch his wife, would he, after he had heard the shepherds, seen the Magi, and known so many miracles, dare to approach the temple of God, the seat of the Holy Ghost, the Mother of his Lord?

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. It may be said, that know here signifies simply, to understand; that whereas before he had not understood how great her dignity, after the birth he then knew that she had been made more honourable and worthy than the whole world, who had carried in her womb Him whom the whole world could not contain.

GLOSS. Otherwise; On account of the glorification of the most holy Mary, she could not be known by Joseph until the birth; for she who had the Lord of glory in her womb, how should she be known? If the face of Moses talking with God was made glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look thereon, how much more could not Mary be known, or even looked upon, who bare the Lord of glory in her womb? After the birth she was known of Joseph to the beholding of her face, but not to be approached carnally.

JEROME. From the words, her firstborn Son, some most erroneously suspect that Mary had other sons, saying that first-born can only be said of one that has brethren. But this is the manner of Scripture, to call the first-born not only one who is followed by brethren, but the first-birth of the mother.

JEROME. (Cont. Helvid. 10.) For if he only was first-born who was followed by other brethren, then no first-birth could be due to the Priests, till such time as the second birth took place.

GLOSS. (Ord.) Or; He is first-born among the elect by grace; but by nature the Only-begotten of God the Father, the only Son of Mary. And called His name Jesus, on the eighth day on which the circumcision took place, and the Name was given.

REMIGIUS. It is clear that this Name was well known to the Holy Fathers and the Prophets of God, but to him above all, who spake, My soul fainted for Thy salvation; (Ps. 119:81.) and, My soul hath rejoiced in Thy salvation. Also to him who spake, I will joy in God my Saviour. (Ps. 13:5. Hab. 3:18.)

Matt 1:24-25

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