The Happiness of God
1 Timothy 1:11
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.


1. Perfect knowledge, to understand what it is that constitutes happiness, and to know when one is really possessed of it. For as he is not happy, who is so only in imagination or a dream, without any real foundation in the thing; for he may be pleased with his condition, and yet be far enough from being truly happy: so, on the other hand, he that has all other necessary ingredients of happiness, and only wants this, that he doth not think himself so, cannot be happy.

2. To perfect happiness is likewise required a full power to do whatever conduceth to happiness, and likewise to check and control whatever would be a hindrance and disturbance to it; and therefore no being is as happy as it can be, that is not all-sufficient, and hath not within its power and reach whatever is necessary to a happy condition, and necessary to secure and continue that happiness against all attempts and accidents whatsoever.

3. There is wisdom also required to direct this power, and manage it in such a manner, as it may effectually conduce to this end; and this is very different from mere power abstractedly considered; for one may have all the materials of happiness, and yet want the wisdom and skill to put them so together, as to frame a happy condition out of them; and he is not happy, who doth not thoroughly understand the proper method and means of compassing and securing his own happiness.

4. Another most considerable and essential ingredient of happiness is goodness; without which, as there can be no true majesty and greatness, so neither can there be any felicity or happiness.

5. Perfect happiness doth imply the exercise of all other virtues, which are suitable to so perfect a Being, upon all proper and fitting occasions; that is, that so perfect a Being do nothing that is contrary to or unbecoming His holiness and righteousness, His truth and faithfulness, which are essential to a perfect Being.

6. Perfect happiness implies in it the settled and secure possession of all those excellences and perfections; for if any, of these were liable to fail, or be diminished, so much would be taken off from perfect and complete happiness.

7. In the last place, infinite contentment and satisfaction, pleasure and delight, which is the very essence of happiness.

II. I propose, to show, THAT THIS ATTRIBUTE OF PERFECTION DOTH BELONG TO GOD, AND THAT THE DIVINE NATURE IS PERFECTLY BLESSED AND HAPPY; and this is so universal an acknowledgment of natural light, that it would be a very superfluous and impertinent work to trouble you with particular citations of heathen authors to this purpose; nothing being more frequent in them than to call the Deity, "the most happy and most perfect Being," and therefore happy, because felicity doth naturally result from perfection. It shall suffice to take notice of these two things out of heathen writers, to my present purpose.

1. That they accounted happiness so essential to the notion of a God, that this was one of the ways which they took to find out what properties were fit to attribute to God, and what not; to consider, what things are consistent with happiness, or inconsistent with it.

2. Whatever differences there were among the philosophers concerning the perfections of the Divine nature, they all agreed in the perfect felicity of it; even Epicurus himself, who so boldly attempted to strip the Divine nature of most of its perfections, by denying that God either made or governed the world; whereby he took away at once His being the first cause and original of all things, and His goodness likewise, and wisdom, and power, and justice, or, at least, made all these useless, by taking away all occasion and opportunity for the exercise of them; yet this man does frequently own, and profess to believe, the happiness of the Divine nature. For thus Lucretius, the great disciple of Epicurus, describes his opinion of the Divine nature: — "It is necessary that the Divine nature should be happy, and therefore altogether unconcerned in our affairs; free from all grief and danger, sufficient for itself, and standing in need of nobody, neither pleased with our good actions, nor provoked by our faults." This was c very false notion both of God and happiness, to imagine that the care of the world should be a pain and disturbance to infinite knowledge, and power, and goodness.

III. HOW FAR .CREATURES ARE CAPABLE OF HAPPINESS, AND BY WHAT WAYS AND MEANS THEY MAY BE MADE PARTAKERS OF IT. As we are creatures of a finite power, and limited understandings, and a mutable nature, we do necessarily want many of those perfections, which are the cause and ingredients of a perfect happiness. We are far from being sufficient for our own happiness; we are neither so of ourselves, nor can we make ourselves so by our own power; for neither are we wise enough for our own satisfaction. All the happiness that we are capable of is, by communication from Him, who is the original and fountain of it. So that, though our happiness depend upon another, yet if we be careful to qualify ourselves for it (and God is always ready to assist us by His grace to this purpose), it is really and in effect in our own power; and we are every whir as safe and happy in God's care and protection of us, as if we were sufficient for ourselves. But to what purpose, may some say, is this long description and discourse of happiness? How are we the wiser and the better for it? I answer, very much, in several respects.

1. This plainly shews us that atheism is a very melancholy and mischievous thing; it would take away the fountain of happiness, and the only perfect pattern of it.

2. If the Divine nature be so infinitely and completely happy, this is a very great confirmation of our faith and hope concerning the happiness of another life, which the Scripture describes to us, by the sight and enjoyment of God. So that the goodness of God is the great foundation of all our hopes, and the firmest ground of our assurance of a blessed immortality.

3. From what hath been said concerning the happiness of the Divine nature, we may learn wherein our happiness must consist; namely, in the image and in the favour of God: in the favour of God, as the cause of our happiness; and in the image of God, as a necessary inward disposition and qualification for it. All men naturally desire happiness, and seek after it, and are, as they think, travelling towards it, but generally they mistake their way. In a word, if ever we would be happy we must be like "the blessed God," we must be holy, and merciful, and good, and just, as He is, and then we are secure of His favour; "the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and His countenance will behold the upright."

(Archbishop Tillotson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

WEB: according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

The Gospel, Glad Tidings
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