51
THE SECOND EVE
S. Epiphanius.

"She it is who is signified by Eve, who received in figure the appellation of Mother of all living. For Eve was called Mother of the living even after having heard the words: Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return, subsequent to the transgression. It is, indeed, a marvel that after the fall she had this great title given to her. True it is, according to the exterior, the whole race of man upon earth was born from this Eve; but in reality it is from Mary that Life is truly born to the world, so that by giving birth to the Living One, Mary might also become the Mother of all living. Thus then in a mystical sense Mary is called Mother of the living. Concerning these two women it was said: Who hath given to woman wisdom, or knowledge of weaving?* Since, on the one hand, the first wise Eve devised material garments for Adam, whom she had made to be naked -- for to her was given this toil. And because through her it was that the nakedness was discovered, to her it was given to clothe that body thus exposed to visible nakedness. But to Mary was it given by God to bear for us a lamb and sheep, that out of the glory of that same lamb and sheep might be wrought for us, as from a fleece, in wisdom through its virtue, a garment of immortality.

"There is, moreover, something else wonderful to contemplate here about Eve and Mary. Eve became an occasion of death to man, since through her it was that death entered into the world; but Mary an occasion of life, for through her was born to us Life, so that instead of death there might be life, to ward off that death which came by woman, through the birth of Him -- once more by woman -- who has thus become life to us. And as Eve in the garden whilst still a virgin fell into the sin of disobedience, so again by the Virgin came the obedience of grace, when she received the glad tidings of the coming down from heaven of the Incarnate Word and of life eternal. For there God says to the serpent: And I will put enmity between thee and between her, and between thy seed and between her seed. But nowhere is (such) seed of woman to be found. Hence evidently to Eve mystically must be referred the enmity to her posterity, of the serpent and the devil, and that envy of his contained in the serpent."+

"Eve brought ruin on God's creatures by means of the transgression: allured as she was by the serpent's speech and promise, led astray from the commandment and perverted in mind. For this cause the Lord and Saviour of all, wishing to heal the sore, build up what was fallen to ruin, and redress what was gone wrong, of a Virgin woman Himself was born, that He might banish death, supply what was wanting, and perfect what was impaired."++

S. AMBROSE.

"It is well to recall to mind, how from paradise the first Adam was cast forth into the desert, that thou mayest remark how the Second Adam returned to paradise... From virgin earth Adam, Christ from the Virgin... By the woman folly, by the Virgin wisdom. Death by the tree, life by the cross."**...

"What hast thou gained, O devil, by hiding the wood, but again to be vanquished? Mary vanquished thee when she conceived the Conqueror... Christ visited woman in Mary... Mary was visited that she might liberate Eve."||


* Jobxxxviii. 36. An ancient Greek rendering of the text, quite different from the Vulgate.

+ Haer. 78, n. 19. Patr. Gr. Tom. 42, p. 728.

++ Haer. 69, 9.

** Exposit. in Luc. Lib. iv. n. 7.

|| De obitu Theodosii, n. 44-46.

 

 

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