to illustrate incomparable mercy

John Cassian (360 – 435):

“And if we may illustrate the incomparable mercy of our Creator from something earthly, not as being equal in kindness but an illustration of mercy:

if a tender and anxious nurse carries an infant in her bosom for a long time in order sometime to teach it to walk, and first allows it to crawl, then supports it that by the aid of her right hand it may lean on its alternate steps;  presently leaves it for a little and if she sees it tottering at all catches hold of it and grabs at it when falling;  when down picks it up, and either shields it from a fall or allows it to fall lightly, and sets it up again after a tumble;  but when she has brought it up to boyhood or the strength of youth or early manhood, lays upon it some burdens or labors by which it may be not overwhelmed but exercised, and allows it to vie with those of it’s own age – 

how much more does the heavenly Father of all know whom to carry in the bosom of His grace and whom to train to virtue in His sight by the exercise of free will. And yet He helps him in his efforts, hears him when he calls, leaves him not when he seeks Him, and sometimes snatches him from peril even without his knowing it.”