The holiness and happiness of the rational creature consisteth in these two: his holiness, in conformity to God; his happiness, in communion with him. And these two have a dependence on each other. They only who are like him, can enjoy him. ‘If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and the truth is not in us,’ 1 John 1:6. Holiness, or the image of God, is not only an indispensable condition, without which no man shall enjoy God, Heb. 12:14; John 3:3; but withal an absolutely necessary disposition, without which no man can enjoy God, Col. 1:12; 2 Cor. 5. And as conformity disposeth for communion, so communion increaseth conformity; vision causeth assimilation in nature, Gen. 31:38, 39; grace, 2 Cor. 3:18; and glory, 1 John 3:2.

Though the motions of the understanding and will are in some respect circular, yet the understanding is the first mover and the leading faculty, and so the knowledge of the blessed God is both antecedent to, and productive of, this image.


Our hatred of sin and contempt of the world proceed from our acquaintance with God. He only hath hateful thoughts of sin, and self-loathing apprehensions because of it, who hath seen the great and glorious, the good and gracious God, whose authority is contemned, whose law is violated, whose name is dishonoured, whose image is defaced, and whose love is abused by it, Job 42:6; Isa. 6:5. He only lives above this present evil world, and all the riches and honours and pleasures thereof, who can look beyond it to the infinite God, and those unsearchable riches and weights of glory, and rivers of pleasures that are in and with him.

From the Introduction to The Incomparableness of God