The doctrine of the incarnation was very hard to receive. For the exceeding measure of His lovingkindness and the magnitude of His condescension were full of awe, and needed much preparation to be accepted. For consider what a great thing it was to hear and to learn that God the ineffable, the incorruptible, the unintelligible, the invisible, the incomprehensible, in whose hand are the ends of the earth, who looketh upon the earth, and causeth it to tremble, who toucheth the mountains, and maketh them smoke, the weight of whose condescension not even the Cherubim were able to bear but veiled their faces by the shelter of their wings, that this God who surpasses all understanding, and baffles all calculation, having passed by angels, archangels, and all the spiritual powers above, deigned to become man, and to take flesh formed of earth and clay, and enter the womb of a virgin, and be borne there the space of nine months, and be nourished with milk, and suffer all things to which man is liable. Inasmuch then as that which was to happen was so strange as to be disbelieved by many even when it had taken place, He first of all sends prophets beforehand, announcing this very fact. For instance the patriarch predicted it saying “Thou didst spring from a tender shoot my son: thou didst lie down and slumber as a lion;” and Esaias saying “Behold the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son and they shall call His name Emmanuel;” and elsewhere again “We beheld Him as a young child, as a root in a dry ground;” and by the dry ground he means the virgin’s womb. And again “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,” and again “there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall spring out of his root.” And Baruch in the book of Jeremiah says “this is our God: no other shall be reckoned by the side of Him: He found out every path of knowledge and gave it to Jacob His servant, and Israel his beloved. After these things also He appeared upon the earth, and held converse with men.” And David signifying His incarnate presence said “He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool, and like the drop which distills upon the earth” because He noiselessly and gently entered into the Virgin’s womb.