When God made man so perfectly, when he wished to make dependent on him alone the being and the life of all nations, all races, each man to the infinite, if God wished; at the same time, he set up such a unity between himself and his children, that he could be punished and rewarded in them as he would be in himself, and perhaps more. For God has inspired parents with such love for their children, that children’s ailments are more sensitive and painful to them than theirs, and that they prefer to leave them alive rather than to outlive them, so that lives of their children are more valuable than their own. Nature, that is to say God, thus formed the hearts of fathers and mothers; and this feeling is so intimate and so natural that one can even see a vestige and an impression in animals, when they expose themselves to their little ones and let themselves be snatched away rather than abandon their care.
This paternal character must have been found chiefly in him who is not only the first of all fathers, but also father par excellence, since he has been established as the father of the human race. After that, from the beginning and newly out of the hands of God, he had transgressed this easy command by which God wanted to test his submission and caution him about his freedom, it was right that he punished him not only in himself, but also in his children, as one of the dearest parts of his substance, and something more intimately joined to him than his own members. So that the future children of this first father, that is to say, the whole human race, who had existence or sustenance only in this first father, became the just object of hatred and divine vengeance; all is in one, and all is cursed in one, and this unhappy father is punished in all children that are contained in himself, from the first to the last generation.
If God is just to be punished, he is even more rewarded. Had Adam persevered, he would have been rewarded in all his children, and original justice would have been their common heritage. Now they have lost in their father what he had received for him and for them; and deprived of this great gift, human nature becomes wicked and cursed in its branches, because it is in its trunk.
Let us consider human justice; we will see an image of this justice of God. A degraded father loses his nobility for himself and for his children, especially for those who are to be born. They lose in him all their goods, when he deserves to lose them. If he is banished and excluded from the society of his citizens and from the maternal womb of his native land, they are banished with him forever. Weep, unfortunate children of a father justly proscribed, degraded race and disinherited by the supreme law of God, and banished eternally as well as precisely from the holy city that was destined for us in our origin, adore with trembling the severe and impenetrable rules of the the righteousness of God, of which we see vestiges in righteousness, though inferior, of men. But here is the sum of our ills.