On the passage from, "But the boy grew and was strengthened in spirit," up to the point where it says, "This is the first census that was made under Cyrinus, the governor of Syria."
IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, something is said to "grow" in two senses. One sense is corporeal, that is, when the human will contributes nothing. The other sense is spiritual, that is, when human effort is the cause of the growth. The evangelist now speaks of this latter sense, that is, the spiritual one--which we laid out second--when he says, "But the boy grew and was strengthened in spirit."1. What it means follows: "He grew in spirit." His spirit did not remain in the same condition in which it had begun, but always kept growing in him. In each hour and each moment, as the spirit grew, his soul too kept developing. And not only his soul, but also his senses and his mind kept following the growth of his spirit. The Lord commanded, "Grow and multiply."2. do not know how those who take this passage simply and literally can explain it. Granted that "multiply" refers to numbers, when they become more in number than they were previously, they "multiply." But what precedes, to "grow," that is not in our power.
2. For, what man would not want to "add to his stature,"3. to become miler? Something is commanded so that it will be done; it is stupid to command what the one you command cannot do. We are commanded to grow. Hence we are able____________________