XX. (85) Having now, therefore, discussed the place sufficiently in which the tree flourishes, let us now, in conclusion, examine also the subject of the fruit:–Now, what the fruit is, Moses will tell us himself: “For the Lord God everlasting,” says he, “called it by its Name.”{19}{#ge 21:33.} (86) Therefore the appellations already mentioned reveal the powers existing in the living God; for one title is that of Lord, according to which he governs; and the other is God, according to which he is beneficent. For which reason also, in the account of the creation of the world, according to the most holy Moses, the name of God is always assumed by him: for it was fitting that the power according to which the Creator, when he was bringing his creatures into the world, arranged and adorned them, should be invoked also by that creation. (87) Inasmuch, therefore, as he is a ruler, he has both powers, that, namely, of doing good, and that of doing harm; regulating his conduct on the principle of requiting him who has done anything. But inasmuch as he is a benefactor, he is inclined only to one of these two courses, namely, to do good. (88) And it would be the greatest possible advantage to the soul no longer to feel any doubt about the power of the King for both purposes, but steadily to emancipate itself from the fear, which is suspended over it, on account of the vastness of his authority, and to kindle and keep alive a most firm hope of the acquisition and enjoyment of blessings arising from his being beneficent by deliberate intention. (89) Now the expression, “everlasting God,” is equivalent to, God who bestows gifts, not sometimes giving and sometimes not, but always and incessantly; it is equivalent to, God who does good uninterruptedly; to God who, without intermission, is connecting a flow of benefits, coming one after the other; God, who pours forth blessings upon blessings, who is made up of mercies connected and united; God, who never omits any single opportunity of doing good; God, who is also the Lord, so that he is able to injure.

XXI. (90) This also Jacob, the practiser of virtue, asked at the end of his most holy prayers. For he said, “And the Lord shall be to me as God.” Which is equivalent to: He will no longer display towards me the despotic power of his absolute authority, but rather the beneficent influence of his universally propitious and saving power, utterly removing the fear with which he is regarded as a master, and filling the soul with affection and benevolence as felt towards a benefactor. (91) What soul could ever conceive thus that the master and ruler of the universe, without changing anything of his own nature, but remaining in the condition in which he always was, is continually kind and uninterruptedly bounteous? (92) owing to which he is, to those who are happy, the most perfect cause of unlimited and overflowing blessings. And to trust in a king who is not by reason of the magnitude of his authority elated so as to do injury to his subjects, but who, through his love to mankind, prefers that every one should enjoy happiness without fear, is the greatest possible bulwark of prosperity and security.