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The hopes inspired by such exalted sentiments, while they soften, fortify the heart; render patience and resignation pleasant duties; and they have enabled the pious even to rejoice in their sufferings.
In contemplating the attributes of the power, wisdom, and goodness of Deity, as relative, we feel ourselves dignified, by the perception of the intimate connexion subsisting between God and his creatures. In consequence of which connexion, not only every motive of benevolence, but every plan of wisdom, every exertion of power, respects not himself but other existences: they diffuse blessings over all the creatures of God in his vast creation. We cannot form more exalted, or more just conceptions of the divine Felicity, than by the conviction that one essential and inexhaustible source of it, consists in the incessant communication of good; and that all the joys peculiar to benevolence, belong to him who inspired the principle of benevolence, in a supreme degree. The transcendant Attribute of the divinity is LovE.-Love, which delights in the contemplation, enjoyment, and communication of good; which diversifies its operations according to the exigencies of its objects; forms every plan for their benefit, and rejoices in the success. Benevolence thus operative, has Complacency for its eternal associate.
---Complacency in all that is known, in all that is planned, in all that is executed. It is the peculiar and exclusive characteristic of this Divine attribute, that it can look down upon what we denominate Evil, with satisfaction; can view temporary sufferings, endured by probationary creatures, with approbation; can anticipate the good which result from these sufferings; foreseeing that the sufferer himself, will, at a future period, rejoice in the distresses which once tormented his soul !*
* See Note C.
ON THE CHARACTERISTIC PECULIARITIES OF THE JEWISH DISPENSATION, RESPECTING RELIGION AND MORALS.
"These (the Bereans) were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things Therefore many of them believed.
Acts, ch. 17. v. 11, 12.
ON THE JEWISH DISPENSATION, &c.
WHEN We were treating of the progressive nature of Well-being,* we enumerated several insurmountable obstacles which presented themselves, during the early and uncultivated state of human nature, to the acquirement of rational, elevated, and influential conceptions of the being and attributes of Deity. It was remarked, that although such conceptions be of high importance, yet, according to the slow progress of intellectual improvement, they could not be formed by the power of unassisted reason, within the space of a long series of years. The asser
* See Vol. II. Disq. iii. Ch. iv. On the Progressive Nature of Well-being.