Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from A Body of Divinity.
…what is enjoying God for ever but to be put in a state of happiness? As the body cannot have life but by having communion with the soul, so the soul cannot have blessedness but by having immediate communion with God. God is the summum bonum, the chief good; therefore the enjoyment of him is the highest felicity.
He is a universal good; bonum in quo omnia bona, ‘a good, in which are all goods.’ The excellencies of the creature are limited. A man may have health, not beauty, learning, not parentage, riches, not wisdom; but in God are contained all excellencies. He is a good, commensurate fully to the soul; a sun, a portion, a horn of salvation; in whom dwells ‘all fulness.’ Col 1:19. God is an unmixed good. There is no condition in this life but has its mixture; for every drop of honey there is a drop of gall. Solomon, who gave himself to find out the philosopher’s stone, to search out for happiness here below, found nothing but vanity and vexation. Eccl 1:1. God is perfect, the quintessence of good. He is sweetness in the flower. God is a satisfying good. The soul cries out, I have enough. Psalm 17:15. ‘I shall be satisfied with thy likeness.’ Let a man who is thirsty be brought to an ocean of pure water, and he has enough. If there be enough in God to satisfy the angels, then sure there is enough to satisfy us. The soul is but finite, but God is infinite. Though God be a good that satisfies, yet he does not surfeit. Fresh joys spring continually from his face; and he is as much to be desired after millions of years by glorified souls as at the first moment. There is a fulness in God that satisfies, and yet so much sweetness, that the soul still desires. God is a delicious good. That which is the chief good must ravish the soul with pleasure; there must be in it rapturous delight and quintessence of joy. In Deo quadam dulcedine delectatur anima immo rapitur [There is a certain sweetness about God’s person which delights, nay, rather, ravishes the soul]: The love of God drops such infinite suavity into the soul as is unspeakable and full of glory. If there be so much delight in God, when we see him only by faith, 1 Pet 1:1, what will the joy of vision be, when we shall see him face to face! If the saints have found so much delight in God while they were suffering, oh what joy and delight will they have when they are being crowned! If flames are beds of roses, what will it be to lean on the bosom of Jesus! What a bed of roses that will be! God is a superlative good. He is better than anything you can put in competition with him: he is better than health, riches, honour. Other things maintain life, he gives life. Who would put anything in balance with the Deity? Who would weigh a feather against a mountain of gold? God excels all other things more infinitely than the sun the light of a taper. God is an eternal good. He is the Ancient of days, yet never decays, nor waxes old. Dan 7:7. The joy he gives is eternal, the crown fadeth not away. 1 Pet 5:5. The glorified soul shall be ever solacing itself in God, feasting on his love, and sunning itself in the light of his countenance. We read of the river of pleasure at God’s right hand; but will not this in time be dried up? No! There is a fountain at the bottom which feeds it. Psa 36:6. ‘With the Lord is the fountain of life.’ Thus God is the chief good, and the enjoyment of God for ever is the highest felicity of which the soul is capable.