The Mother Of Christ by Father Vassall-Phillips Part 11

Now, this thought of the undoing of the disobedience and work of Eve by the obedience and work of Mary—the one having her share in the Reparation, as the other in the Fall of humanity— cannot have come independently to Justin in Asia, to Tertullian in Africa and to Irenaeus in Europe. Their confident teaching—they took it for granted as known generally amongst Christians—must have had a common source. We may infer, then, without hesitation that this source can only have been a Tradition inherited from the Apostles. This will hardly be questioned with respect to Justin and Tertullian when we remember who were their instructors in the Faith; in the case of Irenaeus there is absolutely no room for any doubt. We know that Irenaeus was instructed in his youth at Smyrna by Polycarp, who had himself been instructed by St. John the Evangelist; we know also, that later in life, Irenaeus had studied in Rome, where he tells us himself that St. Clement, the Bishop of Rome at the time, " had seen the Apostles and conferred with them, and had their preaching still ringing in his ears and their Tradition before his eyes, and not Clement alone, but many in that Church still survived, who had been taught by the Apostles."

St. Irenaeus, then, gives us not only the Asiatic, but also the Roman Tradition, not only the Tradition of the holy Apostle John, but also that of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. It was from this source— the teaching of Peter, Paul and John—that Irenaeus learned that which he, in his turn, taught the Faithful in his Refutation of Heresies. But whence did Peter, Paul and John derive their teaching, save from that Deposit of Faith, from which St. Paul had drawn the doctrine of the Second Adam—from the Divine Revelation " made in the beginning to the Saints "?