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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Dispensations

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DIVINE. These are otherwise called "the ways of God," and denote those schemes or methods which are devised and pursued by the wisdom and goodness of God, in order to manifest his perfections and will to mankind, for the purpose of their instruction, discipline, reformation, and advancement in rectitude of temper and conduct, in order to promote their happiness. These are the grand ends of the divine dispensations; and in their aptitude to promote these ends consist their excellence and glory. The works or constitutions of nature are, in a general sense, divine dispensations, by which God condescends to display to us his being and attributes, and thus to lead us to the acknowledgment, adoration, and love, of our Creator Father, and Benefactor. The sacred Scriptures reveal and record other dispensations of divine providence, which have been directed to the promotion of the religious principles, moral conduct, and true happiness of mankind. These have varied in several ages of the world, and have been adapted by the wisdom and goodness of God to the circumstances of his intelligent and accountable creatures. In this sense the various revelations which God has communicated to mankind at different periods, and the means he has used, as occasion has required, for their discipline and improvement, have been justly denominated divine dispensations. Accordingly, we read in the works of theological writers of the various dispensations of religion; that of the patriarchs, that of Moses, and that of Christ, called the dispensation of grace, the perfection and ultimate object of every other. All these were adapted to the conditions of the human race at these several periods; all, in regular succession, were mutually connected and rendered preparatory one to the other; and all were subservient to the design of saving the world, and promoting the perfection and happiness of its rational and moral inhabitants. See COVENANT .


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Dispensations'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/d/dispensations.html. 1831-2.

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