54
THE SECOND EVE

"The first man, by persuasion of a virgin, fell; the Second Man, with consent of a Virgin, triumphed. By a woman the devil brought in death; by a woman the Lord brought in life. An evil angel of old seduced Eve, a good angel likewise encouraged Mary. Eve believed, so as to ruin her husband; Mary, so as to prepare her womb to be a habitation worthy of the Son of God, that Him whom she had as Lord, she might have also as Son. Eve perished by a word; to the Word likewise did Mary commit herself; and what had perished she repaired. What Eve did by her ill-believing, Mary by her good-believing blotted out. From a woman was the beginning of sin, and on her account we all die; from a woman was the beginning of faith, and on her account are we repaired unto everlasting life."*

"It is a great sacrament that, whereas through woman death became our portion, so to us by woman life was born: that in the case of both sexes male and female, the baffled devil might be tormented, who on their overthrow had rejoiced. Since his punishment had been small, if in us both sexes had been liberated, without our being liberated by means of both."+

"Elisabeth conceived a man, and Mary a Man -- Elisabeth the mother of John, Mary the Mother of Christ -- but Elisabeth one who was only a man, Mary one who was both God and Man. A marvel it is how a creature could conceive the Creator. What then are we to understand, my brethren, but that He made for Himself flesh from a mother alone, He who made the first man without father or mother. That first man was our ruin, when the woman through whom we died, conceived in her heart the serpent's poison. For the serpent tempted to sin, and through his evil tempting obtained admission. If the first man was our ruin, when the woman conceived in her heart the serpent's poison; we should not wonder that our salvation was wrought, when a woman conceived in her womb the flesh of the Omnipotent. Both sexes had fallen; both had to be repaired. By a woman we had been given over to destruction; by a woman was salvation restored to us."++

"Since the devil through the serpent spoke to Eve, and through the ears of Eve brought death to the world; God, through the Angel, brought the word to Mary, and thus shed life on all ages. The Angel cast the word, and the Virgin conceived Christ... With this splendour is the Son of God conceived, with this purity is he generated... The Physician from heaven passing through the Virgin, after His passing, caused the Virgin to remain unscathed. For He who was able to restore the dislocated bodily members in others by His touch, how much more could He not by His birth preserve inviolate in His own Mother what He found intact? For through her childbirth her corporeal integrity increased rather than diminished; and her virginity was rather greatly enhanced than impaired."**


* Serm. 28, In Nat. Dom. xx. See also xxi. and xxvi.

+ De Agon. Christi, c. 24.

++ Serm. 289. In Nat. Joan. Bapt., iii. 2.

** Serm. 123 In Nat. Dom. vii. 1. Append.

 

 

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