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CHAPTER XCThat there is in God Delight and Joy

THERE are some passions which, though they do not befit God as passions, nevertheless, so far as their specific nature is considered, do not involve anything inconsistent with divine perfection. Of the number of these is Delight and Joy. Joy is of present good. Neither by reason of its object, which is good, nor by reason of the relation in which the object, good actually possessed, stands to the subject, does joy specifically contain anything inconsistent with divine perfection. Hence it is manifest that joy or Delight has being properly in God. For as good and evil apprehended is the object of the sensitive appetite, so also is it of the intellectual appetite, or will. It is the ordinary function of both appetites to pursue good and to shun evil, either real or apparent, except that the object of the intellectual appetite is wider than that of the sensitive, inasmuch as the intellectual appetite regards good and evil simply, while the sensitive appetite regards good and evil felt by sense; as also the object of intellect is wider than the object of sense. But the activities of appetite are specified by their objects. There exist therefore in the intellectual appetite, or will, activities specifically similar to the activities of the sensitive appetite, and differing only in this, that in the sensitive appetite they are passions on account of the implication of a bodily organ, but in the intellectual appetite they are simple activities.174174See Dr Maher’s Psychology, pp. 241, 470, 471, fourth edition, 1900, Longmans. For as by the passion of fear, coming over the sensitive appetite, one shuns evil looming in the future, so the intellectual appetite works to the same effect without passion.175175The man takes precautions, but is not afraid. Since then joy and Delight are not repugnant to God specifically, but only inasmuch as they are passions, it follows that they are not wanting even in the divine will.

2. Joy and Delight are a sort of rest of the will in its object. But God 67singularly rests in Himself as in the first object of His own will, inasmuch as He has all sufficiency in Himself.

3. Delight is the perfection of activity, perfecting activity as bloom does youth.176176Aristotle, Eth. Nic. x. 1174. b, 22 sq., a great saying and a potent solvent of all forms of hedonism. But the activity of the divine understanding is most perfect. If therefore our act of understanding, coming to its perfection, yields delight, most delightful must be the act whereby God understands.

4. Everything naturally feels joy over what is like itself, except accidentally, inasmuch as the likeness hinders one’s own gain, and ‘two of a trade’ quarrel. But every good thing is some likeness of the divine goodness, and nothing is lost to God by the good of His creature. Therefore God rejoices in good everywhere.

Joy and Delight differ in our consideration: for Delight arises out of good really conjoined with the subject; while Joy does not require this real conjunction, but the mere resting of the will on an agreeable object is sufficient for it.177177Delight would [be] ἠδονή and joy χαρά. The distinction between them is foreshadowed by that which Plato puts in the mouth of Prodicus between ἥδεσθαι (pleasure) and εὐφραίνεσθαι (gladness), Protag. 337 C. Hence, strictly speaking, Delight is at good conjoined with the subject: Joy over good external to the subject. Thus, in strict parlance, God takes delight in Himself: but has Joy both over Himself and over other things.


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