THE HISTORY OF THE GENERATION AND HEAVENLY BIRTH OF DIVINE LOVE.
THAT HEAVENLY PROVIDENCE HAS PROVIDED MEN WITH A MOST ABUNDANT REDEMPTION
Now when saying, Theotimus, that God had seen and willed first one thing and
then secondly another, observing an order in his wills: I meant this in the
sense I declared before, namely, that though all this passed in a most
singular and simple act, yet in that act the order, distinction and
dependence of things were no less observed than if there had been indeed
several acts in the understanding and will of God. And since every
well-ordered will which determines itself to love several objects equally
present, loves better and above all the rest that which is most lovable; it
follows that the sovereign Providence, making his eternal purpose and design
of all that he would produce, first willed and preferred by excellence the
most amiable object of his love which is Our Saviour; and then other
creatures in order, according as they more or less belong to the service,
honours and glory of him.
Thus were all things made for that divine man, who for this cause is called
the first-born of every creature:  possessed by the divine majesty in
the beginning of his ways, before he made anything from the beginning. 
For in him were all things created in heaven, and on earth, visible, and
invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers:
all things were created by him and in him: And he is the head of the body,
the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from among the dead: that
in all things he may hold the primacy.  The principal reason of planting
the vine is the fruit, and therefore the fruit is the first thing desired
and aimed at, though the leaves and the buds are first produced. So our
great Saviour was the first in the divine intention, and in that eternal
project which the divine providence made of the production of creatures, and
in view of this desired fruit the vine of the universe was planted, and the
succession of many generations established, which as leaves or blossoms
proceed from it as forerunners and fit preparatives for the production of
that grape which the sacred spouse so much praises in the Canticles, and the
juice of which rejoices God and men.
But now, my Theotimus, who can doubt of the abundance of the means of
salvation, since we have so great a Saviour, in consideration of whom we
have been made, and by whose merits we have been ransomed. For he died for
all because all were dead, and his mercy was more salutary to buy back the
race of men than Adam's misery was to ruin it. Indeed Adam's sin was so far
from overwhelming the divine benignity that on the contrary it excited and
provoked it. So that by a most sweet and most loving reaction and struggle,
it received vigour from its adversary's presence, and as if re-collecting
its forces for victory, it made grace to superabound where sin had abounded.
 Whence the holy Church by a pious excess of admiration cries out upon
Easter-eve: "O truly necessary sin of Adam which was blotted out by the
death of Jesus Christ! O blessed fault, which merited to have such and so
great a Redeemer!" Truly, Theotimus, we may say as did he of old, "we were
ruined had we not been undone:" that is, ruin brought us profit, since in
effect human nature has received more graces by its Saviour redeeming, than
ever it would have received by Adam's innocence, if he had persevered
For though the divine Providence has left in man deep marks of his severity,
yea, even amidst the very grace of his mercy, as for example the necessity
of dying, diseases, labours, the rebellion of sensuality,â€”yet the divine
favour floating as it were over all this, takes pleasure in turning these
miseries to the greater profit of those who love him, making patience spring
from labours, contempt of the world from the necessity of death, a thousand
victories from out of concupiscence; and, as the rainbow touching the thorn
aspalathus makes it more odoriferous than the lily, so Our Saviour's
Redemption touching our miseries, makes them more beneficial and worthy of
love than original innocence could ever have been. I say to you, says Our
Saviour, there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance,
more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance,  and so the state
of redemption is a hundred times better than that of innocence. Verily by
the watering of Our Saviour's blood made with the hyssop of the cross, we
have been replaced in a whiteness incomparably more excellent than the snow
of innocence. We come out, like Naaman, from the stream of salvation more
pure and clean than if we had never been leprous, to the end that the divine
Majesty, as he has ordained also for us, should not be overcome by evil, but
overcome evil by good,  that mercy (as a sacred oil) should keep itself
above judgment,  and his tender mercies be over all his works. 
 Col. i. 15.
 Prov. viii. 22.
 Col. i. 16.
 Rom. v. 20.
 Luke xv. 7.
 Rom. xii. 21.
 James ii. 13.
 Ps. cxliv. 9.