HappinessMiscellanies by Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
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f. Spiritual Happiness. As we have shown and demonstrated (contrary to the opinion of Hobbes that nothing is substance but matter) that no matter is substance but only God who is a spirit, and that other spirits are more substantial than matter, so also it is true that no happiness is solid and substantial but spiritual happiness, although it may seem that sensual pleasure is most real and spiritual only imaginary, as it seems as if sensible matter were only real and spiritual substance only imaginary.
3. Happiness. Happiness is the end of the creation as appears by this — because the creation had as good not be as not rejoice in its being. For certainly it was the goodness of the Creator that moved him to create; and how can we conceive of another end proposed by goodness, than that he might delight in seeing the creatures he made rejoice in that being that he has given them? It appears also by this — because the end of the creation is that the creature might glorify him. Now what is glorifying God but a rejoicing at that glory he has displayed? An understanding of the perfections of God, merely, cannot be the end of the creation, for he had as good not understand it as see it and not be at all moved with joy at the sight. Neither can the highest end of the creation be the declaring God’s glory to others, for the declaring God’s glory is good for nothing otherwise than to raise joy in ourselves and others at what is declared. Wherefore such happiness is the highest end of the creation of the Creator of the universe. And intelligent beings are the consciousness of the creation that is to be the immediate subject of this happiness. How happy, may we conclude, will be those intelligent beings that are to be made thus happy!
95. Happiness of Heaven. When the body enjoys the perfections of health and strength, the motion of the animal spirits are not only brisk and free but also harmonious. There is a regular proportion in the motion from all parts of the body that begets delight in the inner soul and makes the body feel pleasantly all over. God has so excellently contrived the nerves and parts of the human body. But few men since the fall, especially since the flood, have health to so great a perfection as to have much of this harmonious motion. When it is enjoyed, one whose nature is not very much vitiated and depraved is very much assisted thereby in every exercise of body or mind. And it fits one for the contemplation of more exalted and spiritual excellencies and harmonies, as music does. But we need not doubt but that harmony will be in its perfection in the bodies of the saints after the resurrection, and that, as every part of the bodies of the wicked shall be excruciated with intolerable pain, so every part of the saints’ refined bodies shall be as full of pleasure as they can hold, and that this will not take the mind off from but prompt, and help it in spiritual delights, to which even the delights of their spiritual bodies shall be but a shadow. [See also section on Happiness in Heaven.]
96. God’s Perfect Goodness. It appears that there must be more than a unity in infinite and eternal essence. Otherwise the goodness of God can have no perfect exercise. To be perfectly good is to incline to and delight in making others happy in the same proportion as it is happy itself — that is, to delight as much in communicating happiness to another as enjoying of it himself and an inclination to communicate all his happiness. It appears that this is perfect goodness, because goodness and this delight are the same. But this delight is not perfect except it be equal to the highest delight of that being, that is, except his inclination to communicate happiness be equal to his inclination to be happy himself. Goodness is the exercise in communication of happiness. But if that communication be imperfect, that is, if it be not of all the happiness enjoyed by the being himself, the exercise of the goodness is imperfect, inasmuch as the communication of happiness and the exercise of goodness is the same. But to no finite being can God either incline to communicate goodness so much as he inclines to be happy himself, for he cannot love a creature so much as he loves himself, neither can he communicate all his goodness to a finite being. But no absolutely perfect being can be without absolutely perfect goodness, and no being can be perfectly happy which has not the exercise of that which he sincerely inclines to exercise. Wherefore, God must have a perfect exercise of his goodness, and therefore must have the fellowship of a person equal with himself. No reasonable creature can be happy, we find, without society and communion, not only because it finds something in others that is not in himself, but because he delights to communicate himself to another. This cannot be because of our imperfection but because we are made in the image of God. For the more perfect any creature is, the more strong this inclination, so that we may conclude that Jehovah’s happiness consists in communion as well as the creature’s.
97. Happiness. As was said in M 96, that no being could be happy without the exercise of this inclination of communicating his happiness, now the happiness of society consists in this: in the mutual communications of each other’s happiness. Neither does it satisfy, in society, only to receive the other’s happiness without also communicating his own. Now it is necessary that to those whom we love most we should have the strongest desire of communicating happiness (to everyone but one that be infinite, and cannot receive additions of happiness). And although God is the object of the creature’s love (if a man be not depraved), yet God being infinitely happy, he cannot desire to communicate his happiness to him — which is nothing to the happiness God enjoys. But in the gospel, God is come down to us, and the person of God may receive communications of happiness from us. The man Christ Jesus loves us so much that he is really the happier for our delight and happiness in him.
198. Happiness. How soon do earthly lovers come to an end of their discoveries of each other’s beauty! How soon do they see all that is to be seen, are they united as near as it is possible and have communion as intimate as possible! How soon do they come to the most endearing expressions of love that it is possible to come to, so that no new ways can be invented, given, or received! And how happy is that love in which there is an eternal progress in all these things, wherein new beauties are continually discovered, and more and more loveliness, and in which we shall forever increase in beauty ourselves. When we shall be made capable of finding out, and giving, and shall receive more and more endearing expressions of love forever, our union will become more close and communion more intimate.
Consider the following two works by Edwards that have been updated and republished for easy reading:
Ripe for Damnation: Sermons on the Book of Revelation – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). Are you hungry for more of Edwards’ sermons? On the book of Revelation? These new works are not found anywhere on A Puritan’s Mind, and there are new ones not found in his large 2 volume works. 4 deal with the plight of the wicked, and 2 deal with the bliss of saints in heaven. These sermons are powerful, practical, and biblical, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and contain 2 never before published sermons.
Justification by Faith Alone – by Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758). In this classic work, Edwards covers the intricacies of how believers are made righteous only through Christ’s merits, and that this justifying righteousness is equally imputed to all elect believers. This is accomplished by the condition of faith as an instrument.