The Joy of God
by S. M. Hutchens
I have little doubt that the authors of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, writing the famous response that the chief end of man is "to glorify God and enjoy him forever," meant this to be a powerful double-stroke. In their century, "to enjoy" meant the same thing as it does in ours: to experience pleasure from. But these seventeenth-century scholars must also have known that from the word's origin in Old French and Middle English (which was then still employed in certain expressions), it also meant "to cause pleasure for." Thus, they meant for us to learn not only that our chief end is to have God as the object of our joy, but also that we are to be the object of his.
S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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