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Chapter VII.—The Virgins,26982698    This word, as being that employed in the E. T. of the Canticles, is adopted throughout. It must be remembered, that, in this connection, it stands for νεάνιδες, and not for παρθένοι.— Tr. the Righteous Ancients; The Church, the One Only Spouse, More Excellent Than the Others.

Now he calls by the name of virgins, who belong to a countless assembly, those who, being inferior to the better ones, have practised righteousness, and have striven against sin with youthful and noble energy. But of these, neither the queens, nor the concubines, nor the virgins, are compared to the Church. For she is reckoned the perfect and chosen one beyond all these, consisting and composed of all the apostles, the Bride who surpasses all in the beauty of youth and virginity. Therefore, also, she is blessed and praised by all, because she saw and heard freely what those desired to see, even for a little time, and saw not, and to hear, but heard not. For “blessed,” said our Lord to His disciples,26992699    Matt. xiii. 16, 17. “are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” For this reason, then, the prophets count them blessed, and admire them, because the Church 334was thought worthy to participate in those things which they did not attain to hear or see. For “there are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled, is but one.”27002700    Cant. vi. 8, 9.


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