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Chapter V.—The Gifts of Virgins, Adorned with Which They are Presented to One Husband, Christ.

Now, those who sing the Gospel to senseless people seem to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land, of which Christ is not the husbandman; but those who have put on and shone in the most pure and bright, and unmingled and pious and becoming, ornament of virginity, and are found barren and unproductive of unsettled and grievous passions, do not sing the song in a strange land; because they are not borne thither by their hopes, nor do they stick fast in the lusts of their mortal bodies, nor do they take a low view of the meaning of the commandments, but well and nobly, with a lofty disposition, they have regard to the promises which are above, thirsting for heaven as a congenial abode, whence God, approving their dispositions, promises with an oath to give them choice honours, appointing and establishing them “above His chief joy;” for He says thus:26262626    Ps. cxxxvii. 5, 6. “If I forget thee, O Jerusa325lem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy;” meaning by Jerusalem, as I said, these very undefiled and incorrupt souls, which, having with self-denial drawn in the pure draught of virginity with unpolluted lips, are “espoused to one husband,” to be presented “as a chaste virgin to Christ”26272627    2 Cor. xi. 2. in heaven, “having gotten the victory, striving for undefiled rewards.”26282628    Wisd. iv. 2. Hence also the prophet Isaiah proclaims, saying,26292629    Isa. lx. 1. “Arise, shine,26302630    O Jerusalem. for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Now these promises, it is evident to every one, will be fulfilled after the resurrection.26312631    Commentators have remarked the allusion to Phil. iii. 11. See Migne’s note. The thought of the marriage of the heavenly bridegroom, Christ, to His virgin bride, the Church, at the second Advent, when “the dead shall be raised,” was obviously present to the mind of the writer. For the Holy Spirit does not speak of that well-known town in Judea; but truly of that heavenly city, the blessed Jerusalem, which He declares to be the assembly of the souls which God plainly promises to place first, “above His chief joy,” in the new dispensation, settling those who are clothed in the most white robe of virginity in the pure dwelling of unapproachable light; because they had it not in mind to put off their wedding garment—that is, to relax their minds by wandering thoughts.


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