The Chief End of Man is to Glorify God – Thomas Watson
Q. What is it to glorify God?
A. Glorifying God consists in four things: 1. Appreciation, 2. Adoration, 3. Affection, 4. Subjection. This is the yearly rent we pay to the crown of heaven.
1. Appreciation. To glorify God is to set God highest in our thoughts, and, to have a venerable esteem of him. Psalm 92:8. “Thou, Lord, art most high for evermore.” Psalm 97:9, “Thou art exalted far above all gods.” There is in God all that may draw forth both wonder and delight; there is a constellation of all beauties; he is prima causa [the first cause], the original and spring-head of being, who sheds a glory upon the creature. We glorify God when we are God-admirers; admire his attributes, which are the glistening beams by which the divine nature shines forth; his promises which are the charter of free grace, and the spiritual cabinet where the pearl of price is hid; the noble effects of his power and wisdom in making the world, which is called “the work of his fingers.” Psalm 8:3. To glorify God is to have God-admiring thoughts; to esteem him most excellent, and search for diamonds in this rock only.
2. Glorifying God consists in adoration, or worship. Psalm 29:2. “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” There is a twofold worship: 1. A civil reverence which we give to persons of honour. Gen. 23:7, “Abraham stood up and bowed himself to the children of Heth.” Piety is no enemy to courtesy. 2. A divine worship which we give to God as his royal prerogative. Neh. 8:6,”they bowed their heads, and worshipped the Lord with their faces towards the ground.” This divine worship God is very jealous of; it is the apple of his eye, the pearl of his crown; which he guards, as he did the tree of life, with cherubims and a flaming sword, that no man may come near it to violate it. Divine worship must be such as God himself has appointed, otherwise it is offering strange fire, Lev. 10:1. The Lord would have Moses make the tabernacle, “according to the pattern in the mount.” Exod. 25:40. He must not leave out anything in the pattern, nor add to it. If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will he be about the matter of his worship! Surely here every thing must be according to the pattern prescribed in his word.
3. Affection. This is part of the glory we give to God, who counts himself glorified when he is loved. Deut. 6:5, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.” There is a twofold love: 1. Amor concupiscentiae, a love of concupiscence, which is self-love; as when we love another because he does us a good turn. A wicked man may be said to love God, because he has given him a good harvest, or filled his cup with wine. This is rather to love God’s blessing than to love God. 2. Amor amicitiae, a love of delight, as a man takes delight in a friend. This is to love God indeed; the heart is set upon God, as a man’s heart is set upon his treasure. This love is exuberant, not a few drops, but a stream. It is superlative; we give God the best of our love, the cream of it. Cant. 8:2,”I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.” If the spouse had a cup more juicy and spiced, Christ must drink of it. It is intense and ardent. True saints are seraphims, burning in holy love to God [from the Hebrew word saruph, to be burned up]. The spouse was amore perculsa, [an overwhelming love], in fainting fits, “sick of love,” Cant. 2:5. Thus to love God is to glorify him. He who is the chief of our happiness has the chief of our affections.
4. Subjection. This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for his service. Thus the angels in heaven glorify him; they wait on his throne, and are ready to take a commission from him; therefore they are represented by the cherubims with wings displayed, to show how swift they are in their obedience. We glorify God when we are devoted to his service; our head studies for him, our tongue pleads for him, and our hands relieve his members. The wise men that came to Christ did not only bow the knee to him, but presented him with gold and myrrh. Matt. 2:11. So we must not only bow the knee, give God worship, but bring presents of golden obedience. We glorify God when we falter at no service, when we fight under the banner of his gospel against an enemy, and say to him as David to King Saul, “Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine,” 1 Sam. 17:32.
A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience.