THE BLESSED VIRGIN IN THE FATHERS OF THE FIRST SIX CENTURIES.
THE PRIMITIVE PATRISTIC IDEA OF MARY AS THE SECOND EVE.
It has been already said that there is nothing in the nature of the case to prevent the less explicit knowledge of revealed truth in the first age of the Church being better in kind than that of theologians later on. What was wanting in explicitness and extension of detail might be more than compensated in intensity, by greater depth, a stronger impress, and a more lively energy. This is strikingly exemplified in the doctrinal teaching of three of the earliest Fathers with regard to the Blessed Virgin. The idea of Mary presented in the writings of S. Justin, S. Irenaeus, and Tertullian, in the second century -- from its fulness of conception, clearness of definition, and suggestion of a type of excellence, unique and without parallel -- is more perfect and complete than what appears in some Fathers of a subsequent period.
S. Justin, A.D. 120-165, thus writes: --