THE SECOND EVE
But if Mary's advocacy in behalf of sinners had by anticipation so great avail, even before she had herself any real existence at all, how much more powerful must that advocacy be now, after she has acquired her rich store of virtues, after the consummation of that intimate union which she has, as His Mother, with the Incarnate Word; after her actual co-operation in the work of man's Redemption, after her realised motherhood of the redeemed, and her exaltation to glory -- now, too, that that advocacy is everywhere so fully known, and so constantly and fervently invoked by her children.
Had Eve, instead of sinning and contributing to our ruin, borne her part with Adam in securing to us the heritage of original innocence and grace, how should we not all, as children of such a mother, have cherished her memory with grateful veneration and love! Now it is precisely because Mary, God's own virgin Mother, is become, as the Second Eve, our spiritual Mother and advocate of peace, and because, as such, she has done and still does so much for our salvation that the Church has decreed to her so great honour, and proclaims so loudly the power of her intercession. Hence it is that her faithful children in every generation are wont to bless and praise her with filial love and ardent devotion, profess such lively confidence in her powerful protection, seek continually graces and favours through her mediation, and invoke her in their straits and dangers as their Mother of Mercy, the Advocate, Hope, and Refuge of sinners, Consoler of the Afflicted, and Help of Christians.
In thus developing the primitive idea of Mary as the Second Eve, we have given the sum of all those titles and prerogatives which have at any time furnished matter for the Church's explicit doctrinal teaching on Our Blessed Lady, and been the ground of that veneration and devotion which the faithful have shown to Mary in every age.
We purpose in succeeding chapters to dwell more at length on the several points contained in this summary, and to illustrate their recognition and place in the early Church by quotations from the Fathers of the first six centuries.
Besides those which we now append on Mary as the Second Eve many others bearing on this point will be found in the course of our work.
Besides the passages already cited from S. Justin, S. Irenaeus and Tertullian, we give the following from other Fathers.
THE AUTHOR OF THE EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS.
After likening the Church to the garden of paradise, the writer goes on to say: --