How mysterious is the law of this transmission from our origin ! How unsearchable ! yet  how plain a proof that we are not made now as God first made us. Were some spirit of another  sphere to hear for the first time that in this  planet, on which his gaze was fixed, dwelt  beings made to God's image who multiplied  their kind ; struck with the gift of so sublime a  power, would he not conclude that the exercise  of a privilege so like unto creation, must be the  most exalted hour in the existence of those  beings ? Alas ! for the fall. We can only close  our lips in silence ; and then exclaim, " What is  born of flesh is flesh. For, behold I was conceived in iniquity, and in sin did my mother  conceive me." But this is not the conception  from which that Blessed one should be formed who shall give her flesh unto the Son of God.  Grace may remove the sin, and blot out the culpability, as day removes the darkness of the night ;  but as, when the night is gone, it leaves effects  behind the cold, the fogs, the frosts, and the  keen blasts, so, after original sin has departed,  there remain debilities, habits, depraved emotions, penalties, and, above all, that irreparable  loss of original innocence, which, like lost virginity, can never be restored. However atoned  for, that dishonour rests on the soul like the  stain on the escutcheon, which no after deeds  can succeed in erasing. And what is that stain,  but that the supernatural image of God had  been blotted out, but that the soul had been  beforetimes disinherited of life, but that she had  been hated of God, but that, in the language of  Scripture, she had been " a vessel of contumely" and of the " mass of corruption ?"   And if our faith will not allow that the  Blessed Mary ever contracted actual sin, though  but venial, though but the dust which touches  the beauty of the soul without wounding deeply,  etill less destroying, its charity ; if, as St. Thomas  says : " She would not have been a suitable  Mother of God if she had sinned at any time,  because, as in Proverbs it is written, ' the glory  of the children are their parents,' consequently  the ignominy of the mother is reflected on the  son."'* If then neither our faith nor our piety  will allow, that those motes and specks of sin  fell ever on the face of Mary, though quickly  brushed away, how can we suppose that she had been entirely covered and penetrated with  sin of another kind, as with a pestilential  leprosy ?  

To sum up the nature of this sin, in the  words of the Council of Trent, " Original sin,  which in its origin is one, and is transfused by  propagation, not by imitation, is in all and  belongs to each one" But is so in each of all  who contract it, that they are immediately " defiled, lose their innocence, are made by nature  children of wrath, become the servants of  sin, and are brought under the power of the  devil."   Let us now raise up our minds towards that  infinite purity of God. Let us invoke His  blessed light, that it may purify our vision,  and give the clear truth unto our sight. The  most pure spirit flies from sin, and will not  dwell in a soul that is subject to sin. Let us  contemplate now the eternal decree of the In-  carnation, the holiest and purest of created  mysteries. Let us consider that decree which  follows so close upon it, and is bound up with  it, that decree which provides a Mother for  the Eternal Son of God. Let us consider, that  if, as St. Paul says, Christ took the likeness  of sinful flesh, it was yet without sin, and that,  by an infinite distance, He was separated from  sinners. And then can we say, that the God,  who had the power, had not the will to make  His mother sinless and immaculate? When  we consider that Jesus and Mary for nine  months were one flesh ; can we say this ?  When we consider, that for thirty years the  will of Mary was the law of Jesus, can we say it? When we consider the compass of God's  power, and the height of His great plan, of  which that Incarnation wrought in Mary, is  the most unfathomable mystery ; when we consider how in accomplishing this deepest of mysteries, God surrounds it with exceptions which  rise above all nature's laws ; when we consider  that spirit of preparation, by which God turns  nature so often from its course, to ripen the  hour of its fulfilment ; when we consider that  the law of gradation needs the crowning of perfection in woman as in man, and that the accumulation of all the possible excellence of which  woman is capable, must be looked for in a  Mother of God, if there can be such a person,  and that Mary actually is that person ; when  we consider, once more, the infinite holiness of  Jesus, and His filial consanguinity with Mary ;  what other conclusion is open to us, than , that  He who could make His Mother immaculate,  did not abandon her to His enemy, but in the  view of His own merits did make her most pure,  and full of grace, and immaculate ?

Above all,  when we consider that the Eternal Word did,  in the splendour of the Most Holy, mirror  forth to the contemplation of the Father  and of the Holy Ghost, and of Himself, and  that from an eternity, the express form and  image of His predestined Mother, can we say  that He contemplated her as defiled, as unclean,  as a child of wrath, as the servant of sin, as  brought under the power of the devil?   But after a moment of sin she is cleansed  and sanctified, say certain objectors. But if  we grant to sin and the devil but that one moment, we give up everything, and abandon  her stainless honour. She comes to God from  the hands of Satan, and gives to Jesus what  once was Satan's. But for a moment ! With  God the first moments are supreme moments.  Lucifer fell from God in a moment, and with but  a thought. And of what moment was that mo-  ment ! For sin is measured not by time, but  by depth of defilement. And better is it to be  an exile from God for eternity, than to be the  sinner of that moment. Would not Mary have  preferred to have been neither the Virgin, nor  the Blessed One, nor the Mother of God, nor  the Queen of angels and saints, than to have  been for that moment graceless, stripped of  innocence, hateful to God, and defiled with sin?  On that one moment are all those treasures  staked, which alone are most dear and precious  to the Virgin Mother of God. Say anything  else of Mary, but do not say that she was ever  accursed, this only could grieve her beyond  all, that she had ever been corrupted and defiled.   But Christ alone is born without man's intervention. Mary is a child of Adam, and by  nature a child of wrath. Where, then, shall a  refuge be found her from the deluge of sin ?  Where but in the arms of her divine Son ?  Where but in His infinite power to save and  redeem? Where but in the inexhaustible  treasury of His grace? The law of transmission is accomplished ere the soul has joined the  body.

And the cause of original sin, which  comes with the body, is not a necessitating cause,  for it remains in that body still, after that baptism has repelled it from the soul. It is that pre-  vious absence of grace from the soul which  leaves her a prey to the corrupting flesh. But  let the soul of Mary be fall of grace, when her  union with the body is accomplished, and she is  not only preserved, but all laws are satisfied.  And He who in the face of the universal law-  gave sanctity to the soul of John the Baptist,  before he was born, could give sanctity to the  soul of Mary at the moment of its conception.   But in that case was Mary a child of redemption ? Did her Son die for her salvation ? Was  she the offspring of His glorious' blood ? Most  surely was she redeemed by His blood. Her  redemption was the very masterpiece of His  redeeming wisdom. It presents one instance  more, the very noblest, of that law of accumulation of excellence, as the one absolutely perfect work of redemption. For to enter upon  the celebrated argument of Scotus, our Lord is  the universal Redeemer and most perfect Medi-  ator. Must we not, then, look for some most  complete and exquisite example of His mediatorial and redeeming powers? an example of  such surpassing excellence that a greater cannot  be imagined ? And if He has not wrought that  absolutely perfect redemption in His Blessed  Mother, of whom alone it is predicated, has He  yet put forth in any case His full powers of  redemption ?