397. That innocence operates in the same way with beasts and birds as with men, and this also by contact, is well known. It operates in the same way because all that proceeds from the Lord pervades the universe in an instant; see above (nos. 388-90); and since it goes by degrees and by continual mediations, it passes over not only to animals but also beyond, to vegetables and minerals (no. 389). It passes also into the earth, which is the mother of all vegetables and minerals; for in the time of spring, the earth is in a state prepared for the reception of seeds as though into a womb, and when it receives them it conceives, as it were, cherishes them, carries them, brings them forth, gives them suck, nourishes, clothes, rears, and guards them, and, as it were, loves the offspring from them, and so on. Since the sphere of procreation goes so far, why not then to animals of every kind even to worms. That as the earth is the common mother of all vegetation, there is also a common mother of the bees in every hive, is an established fact.