I've heard it said "every Christian is a first generation Christian". I think that statement is both true and false. From the very beginning it has been by the words of others that we have received the Word. It is through the faithfulness of others that we have been recipients of faith. The statement suggests that each person is their own island and no outside influence is necessary to find Christ. Even a hermit in the deepest darkest jungle with no human contact is still influenced by outside sources when contemplating God. The mountains declare His glory. All of creation points to the One true God.
Our faith is both individual and corporate. We are the Church, all together and individually. We all make up parts of the body of Christ, yet each part is recognized and will be judged based on how it functioned with and apart from the body. When we look at the priesthood we are looking at something like links in a chain. The links are not strewn here and there, they are all connected. It is true that each link has to be attached one at a time, but by adding them to the ones that were "linked" before the chain becomes stronger and stronger. It is that way within a family as well. I am a third generation Christian. I accepted the teaching of my family which led me to finally "attach" myself to that chain. It was passed down to to me...spoken to me...entrusted to me. It is true that I had the choice to accept it or not, but that doesn't lessen the influence and strength of the chains built by the generations that came before all the way back to those who first said "YES" to Christ. And now it is my responsibility and privilege to pass this heritage on to my children and they to their children. May the Chain continue to lengthen until the return of our Lord!