To Enjoy God Forever: Puritan Hedonism?

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
With all due apreciation and respect for Thomas Boston, I am constrained by a plain reading of the catechism to conclude that he is wrong. He is ignoring the syntax of the Catechism itself and reading his own theology into the text. The other Puritan and Reformed commentators on the catechism that I cited above disagree with Boston and they are to be preferred for the following reason:

The catechism places glorifying God before enjoying Him, so the syntax supports his view. The quotations you provided did not speak to the point in dispute, so their comments are irrelevant. John Brown, whom you quoted, follows Thomas Boston, and says the glorifying of God is placed before the enjoyment of Him because the glory of God is of more value than our happiness. Dr. Warfield, whom you quoted, agrees with Thomas Boston: "We say the whole Reformed conception. For justice is not done that conception if we say merely that man’s chief end is to glorify God. That certainly: and certainly that first. But according to the Reformed conception man exists not merely that God may be glorified in him, but that he may delight in this glorious God. It does justice to the subjective as well as to the objective side of the case." Dr. Warfield clearly makes glorfying of God first, as an objective end, and enjoying of Him secondly, as a subjective end. To this testimonmy may be added Fisher's Catechism, Willison's Explication, and nearly every reformed commentator who has taken the time to recognise the order of the words.

For the benefit of those interested in what Willison and some others have to say on this point, I have quoted them as follows:

John Willison:

Q. Do we not promote our happiness, by making God's glory our chief end?

A. Yes; and therefore glorifying God, and enjoying him for ever, are connected in the answer.

Joseph Alleine:

Q. What is mans chief duty?

A. To glorifie God.

Q. What is mans chief happinefs?

A. To enjoy God.

John Flavel:

Q. 9. Why are the glorifying and enjoying of God put together, as making up our chief End?

A. Because no man can glorify God, that takes him not for his God; and one takes him for his God, that takes him not for his supreme Good; and both these being essentially included in this Notion of the chief End, are therefore justly put together.

Thomas Vincent:

Q. 7. Why is the glorifying of God and the enjoyment of God joined together as one chief end of man?

A. Because God hath inseparably joined them together, so that men cannot truly design and seek the one without the other. They who enjoy God most in his house on earth, do most glorify and enjoy him. "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee." — Ps. 84:4. And when God shall be most fully enjoyed by the saints in heaven he will be most highly glorified. "He shall come to be glorified in his saints."— 2 The ss. 1:10.

A.S. Paterson:

Obs. 3. The glorifying of God, and the enjoyment of him, are inseparably connected.

The glorifying and the enjoyment of God are here connected as one chief end, because God hath inseparably connected them, and no one can truly design and seek the one, without, at the same time, designing and seeking the other. And we may here remark, that the glorifying of God is here set before the enjoyment of him for ever, to show that the former is the means by which the latter is obtained ; that holiness on earth must precede happiness in heaven ; and that none shall enjoy God for ever who have no desire to glorify him in this world. Heb. xii. 14; Matt. v. 8.

Thomas Doolittle:

Q. Is the principal to glorifie God? Yes.

Q. And the lefs principal to enjoy him for ever? Yes.

Q. Are thefe two joyned together with And? Yes.
...
Q. S.D. What is the firft Propofition?

A
. Man's chief End is to glorifie God, I Cor. 10. 31. Whether ye eat or drink, or whatfoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God: Rom. 11. 36.

Q. What is the fecond Propofition?

A
. Man's Chief End is, in, or next to to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever, Pfal. 73. 25, to the end. Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none upon Earth that I defire befides thee. 26. God is the ftrength of my Heart, and my Portion for ever: Joh. 17. 21, 22, 23.

Thomas Lye:

I. Mans chief end is,

1. To glorifie God; Proved out of 1 Cor. 10.31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatfoever ye do, Do all to the glory of God.

2. Next to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever. Proved out of Pfal. 73. 25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I defire befide thee, v. 26. My flefh, and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

From his 'Plain Directions,' ie., his preface to his exposition of the Catechism:

Q. How many Doctrines or diftinct Truths are there in this firft Anfwer?

A. There are Two.

Q. VVhat is the firft Doctrine in this Anfwer?

A. That Mans chief end is To glorify God.

Q. How is this Doctrine proved?

A. It is proved out of I Cor. 16.31. VVhether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatfoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Q. VVhere lies the force of this Text to prove this Doctrine?

A. In thefe words, Do all to the glory of God.

Q. How know you, that the force lies in thefe Words?

A. By two things.

1. By the fenfe of the words themfelves.

2. Becaufe thefe words are printed, with a different Character, or letter, from other words of the fame Text.

Q. Wherein lies the difference?

A. The words, wherein the force lies, are printed Text. with blacker, and lefs Characters: The others, in whiter, and bigger Letters.

Q. But what if at any time, as it is very often in the Catechifm, all the words of the Text are printed alike?

A. Then the Force lies not in any particular words of the Text, but in the whole.

Q. What is the fecond doctrine in this firft Anfwer?

A. Next to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever.

Q. Why fay you fo? This is no Doctrine: for A Doctrine muft be full, and perfect fenfe.

A. It is fo printed in my Catechifm.

Q. It is fo indeed. But here you muft note with all Care, That when ever you are bid to draw A Doctrine, either from the Anfwer, or Scripture, you be fure to give full, and compleat fenfe.

A. Thats but fit indeed. But I know not how to help my felf herein.

Q. To help you therefore, look narrowly into your Catechifm, and there you fhall find immediately after the Anfwer to the queftion, fome other words, which being added to what you have faid, will make the fenfe full, and compleat.

A. I now fee thefe words -- Mans chief end is -- standing juft under the Anfwer.

Q. Adde them then to the words you faid before: and now tell me, what is the fecond Doctrine in this firft Answer?

A. That Mans chief end is, next to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever.

Q. Now indeed you Anfwer rightly;
How is this Doctrine proved?

A. It is proved out of Pf. 73. 25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee! and there is none upon Earth that I defire befides thee. 26. My Flefh and my Heart faileth, but God is the ftrength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

Q. Where lies the force of this Text to prove this Doctrine?

A. In thefe words, -- Whom have I in Heaven but thee! none that I defire befides thee, 26. God is my portion for ever.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
Well since this thread got so severely sidetracked from happiness in God to beer I figured I would quote Benjamin Franklin, "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

The bible does on more than one occasion associate beer with happiness so maybe it was providence that one topic lead to another. :think:
 
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