by Jonathan Edwards
Introduction Containing Explanations of Terms and General Positions
To avoid all confusion in our inquiries concerning the end for which God created the world, a distinction should be observed between the chief end for which an agent performs any work, and the ultimate end. These two phrases are not always precisely of the same signification: and though the chief end be always an ultimate end, yet every ultimate end is not always a chief end. A chief end is opposite to an inferior end: an ultimate end is opposite to a subordinate end.
A subordinate end is what an agent aims at, not at all upon its own account, but wholly on the a account of a further end, of which it is considered as a means. Thus when a man goes a journey to obtain a medicine to restore his health, the obtaining of that medicine is his subordinate end; because it is not an end that he values at all upon its own account, but wholly as a means of a further end, viz. his health. Separate the medicine from that further end, and it is not at all desired.
An ultimate end is that which the agent seeks, in what he does, for its own sake; what he loves, values, and takes pleasure in on its own account, and not merely as a means of a further end. As when a man loves the taste of some particular sort of fruit, and is at pains and cost to obtain it, for the sake of the pleasure of that taste which he values upon its own account, as he loves his own pleasure; and not merely for the sake of any other good, which he supposes his enjoying that pleasure will be the means of. Some ends are subordinate, not only as they are subordinated to an ultimate end; but also to another end that is itself but subordinate. Yea, there may be a succession or chain of many subordinate ends, one dependent on another, one sought for another; before you come to anything that the agent aims at, and seeks for its own sake. As when a man sells a garment to get money — to buy tools — to till his land — to obtain a crop — to supply him with food — to gratify the appetite. And he seeks to gratify his appetite, on its own account, as what is grateful in itself. Here the end of his selling his garment to get money, is only a subordinate end; and it is not only subordinate to the ultimate end — gratifying his appetite — but to a nearer end — buying husbandry tools; and his obtaining these is only a subordinate end, being only for the sake of tilling land. And the tillage of land is an end not sought on its own account, but for the sake of the crop to be produced; and the crop produced is an end sought only for the sake of making bread; and bread is sought for the sake of gratifying the appetite.
Here gratifying the appetite is called the ultimate end; because it is the last in the chain where a man’s aim rests, obtaining in that the thing finally aimed at. So whenever a man comes to that in which his desire terminates and rests, it being something valued on its own account, then he comes to an ultimate end, let the chain be longer or shorter; yea, if there be but one link or one step that he takes before he comes to this end. As when a man that loves honey puts it into his mouth, for the sake of the pleasure of the taste, without aiming at anything further. So that an end which an agent has in view, may be both his immediate and his ultimate end; his next and his last end. That end which is sought for the sake of itself, and not for the sake of a further end, is an ultimate end; there the aim of the agent stops and rests. A thing sought may have the nature of an ultimate, and also of a subordinate end; as it may be sought partly on its own account, and partly for the sake of a further end. Thus a man, in what he does, may seek the love and respect of a particular person, partly on its own account, because it is in itself agreeable to men to be the objects of others’ esteem and love; and partly, because he hopes, through the friendship of that person, to have his assistance in other affairs; and so to be put under advantage for obtaining further ends.
A chief end, which is opposite to an inferior end, is something diverse from an ultimate end; it is most valued, and therefore most sought after by the agent in what he does. It is evident, that to be an end more 5 valued than another end, is not exactly the same thing as to be an end valued ultimately, or for its own sake. This will appear, if it be considered,
1. That two different ends may be both ultimate, and yet not be chief ends. They may be both valued for their own sake, and both sought in the same work or acts; and yet one valued more highly, and sought more than another. Thus a many may go a journey to obtain two different benefits or enjoyments, both which may be agreeable to him in themselves considered; and yet one may be much more agreeable than the other; and so be what he sets his heart chiefly upon. Thus a man may go a journey, partly to obtain the possession and enjoyment of a bride that is very dear to him; and partly to gratify his curiosity in looking in a telescope, or some newly invented and extraordinary optic glass; and the one not properly subordinate to the other; and therefore both may be ultimate ends. But yet obtaining his beloved bride may be his chief end; and the benefit of the optic glass his inferior end.
2. An ultimate end is not always the chief end, because some subordinate ends may be more valued and sought after than some ultimate ends. Thus, for instance, a man may aim at two things in his journey; one, to visit his friends, and another, to receive a large sum of money. The latter may be but a subordinate end; he may not value the silver and gold on their own account, but only for pleasure, gratification, and honor; the money is valued only as a means of the other. But yet, obtaining the money may be more valued, and so is a higher end of his journey than the pleasure of seeing his friends; though the latter is valued on its own account, and so is an ultimate end.
But here several things may be noted:
First, when it is said, that some subordinate ends may be more valued than some ultimate ends, it is not supposed that ever a subordinate end is more valued than that to which it is subordinate. For that reason it is called a subordinate end, because it is valued and sought not for its own sake, but only in subordination to a further end. But yet a subordinate end may be valued more than some other ultimate end that it is not subordinate to. Thus, for instance, a man goes a journey to receive a sum of money, only for the value of the pleasure and honor that the money may be a means of. In this case it is impossible that the subordinate end, viz. his having the money, should be more valued by him than the pleasure and honor for which he values it. It would be absurd to suppose that he values the means more than the end, when he has no value for the means, but for the sake of the end of which it is the means. But yet he may value the money, though but a subordinate end, more than some other ultimate end to which it is not subordinate, and with which it has no connection. For instance, more than the comfort of a friendly visit, which was one ultimate end of his journey.
Second, the ultimate end is always superior to its subordinate end, and more valued by the agent, unless it be when the ultimate end entirely depends on the subordinate. If he has no other means by which to obtain his last end, then the subordinate may be as much valued as the last end; because the last end, in such a case, altogether depends upon, and is wholly and certainly conveyed by it. As for instance, if a pregnant woman has a peculiar appetite to a certain rare fruit that is to be found only in the garden of a particular friend of hers, at a distance — and she goes a journey to her friend’s house or garden, to obtain that fruit — the ultimate end of her journey is to gratify that strong appetite; the obtaining that fruit, is the subordinate end of it. If she looks upon it, that the appetite can be gratified by no other means than the obtaining of that fruit; and that it will certainly be gratified if she obtain it, then she will value the fruit as much as she values the gratification of her appetite. But otherwise, it will not be so. If she be doubtful whether that fruit will satisfy her craving, then she will not value it equally with the gratification of her appetite itself. Or if there be some other fruit that she knows of, that will gratify her desire, at least in part, which she can obtain without such trouble as shall countervail the gratification — or if her appetite cannot be gratified without this fruit, nor yet with it alone, without something else to be compounded with it — then her value for her last end will be divided between these several ingredients, as so many subordinate ends, and no one alone will be equally valued with the last end. Hence it rarely happens, that a 6 subordinate end is equally valued with its last end; because the obtaining of a last end rarely depends on one single, uncompounded means, and infallibly connected with it. Therefore, men’s last ends are commonly their highest ends.
Third, if any being has but one ultimate end, in all that he does, and there be a great variety of operations, his last end may justly be looked upon as his supreme end. For in such a case, every other end but that one, is in order to that end; and therefore no other can be superior to it. Because, as was observed before, a subordinate end is never more valued than the end to which it is subordinate. Moreover, the subordinate effects, or events, brought to pass, as means of this end, all uniting to contribute their share towards obtaining the one last end, are very various; and therefore, by what has been now observed, the ultimate end of all must be valued more than any one of the particular means. This seems to be the case with the works of God, as may more fully appear in the sequel.
Fourth, whatsoever any agent has in view in anything he does, which is agreeable to him in itself, and not merely for the sake of something else, is regarded by that agent as his last end. The same may be said of avoiding that which is in itself painful or disagreeable; for the avoiding of what is disagreeable is agreeable. This will be evident to any bearing in mind the meaning of the terms. By last end being meant, that which is regarded and sought by an agent, as agreeable or desirable for its own sake; a subordinate, that which is ought only for the sake of something else.
Fifth, from hence it will follow, that, if an agent has in view more things than one that will be brought to pass by what he does, which he loves and delights in on their own account, then he must have more things than one that he regards as his last ends in what he does. But if there be but one thing that an agent seeks, on its own account, then there can be but one last end which he has in all his actions and operations. But only here a distinction must be observed of things which may be said to be agreeable to an agent, in themselves considered: (1.) What is in itself grateful to an agent, and valued on its own account, simply and absolutely considered; antecedent to, and independent of all conditions, or any supposition of particular cases and circumstances. And (2.) What may be said to be in itself agreeable to an agent, hypothetically and consequentially; or, on supposition of such and such circumstances, or on the happening of such a particular case.
Thus, for instance, a man may originally love society. An inclination to society may be implanted in his very nature; and society may be agreeable to him antecedent to all pre-supposed cases and circumstances; and this may cause him to seek a family. And the comfort of society may be originally his last end, in seeking a family. But after he has a family, peace, good order, and mutual justice and friendship in his family, may be agreeable to him, and what he delights in for their own sake; and therefore these things may be his last end in many things he does in the government and regulation of his family. But they were not his original end with respect to his family. The justice and the peace of a family was not properly his last end before he had a family, that induced him to seek a family, but consequentially. And the case being put of his having a family, then these things wherein the good order and beauty of a family consist, become his last end in many things he does in such circumstances.
In like manner we must suppose that God, before he created the world, had some good in view, as a consequence of the world’s existence, that was originally agreeable to him in itself considered, that inclined him to bring the universe into existence, in such a manner as he created it. But after the world was created, and such and such intelligent creatures actually had existence, in such and such circumstances, then a wise, just regulation of them was agreeable to God, in itself considered. And God’s love of justice, and hatred of injustice, would be sufficient in such a case to induce God to deal justly with his creatures, and to prevent all injustice in him towards them. But yet there is no necessity of supposing, that God’s love of doing justly to intelligent beings, and hatred of the contrary, was what originally induced God to create the world, and make intelligent beings; and so to order the occasion of doing either justly or unjustly. The justice of God’s nature makes a just regulation agreeable, and the contrary 7 disagreeable, as there is occasion; the subject being supposed, and the occasion given. But we must suppose something else that should incline him to create the subjects, or order the occasion. So that perfection of God which we call his faithfulness, or his inclination to fulfill his promises to his creatures, could not properly be what moved him to create the world; nor could such a fulfillment of his promises to his creatures be his last end in giving the creatures being. But yet after the world is created, after intelligent creatures are made, and God has bound himself by promise to them, then that disposition, which is called his faithfulness, may move him in his providential disposals towards them; and this may be the end of many of God’s works of providence, even the exercise of his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises, and may be in the lower sense his last end; because faithfulness and truth must be supposed to be what is in itself amiable to God, and what he delights in for its own sake. Thus God may have ends of particular works of providence, which are ultimate ends in a lower sense, which were not ultimate ends of the creation.
So that here we have two sorts of ultimate ends; one of which may be called, original and independent, the other, consequential and dependent; for it is evident, the latter sort are truly of the nature of ultimate ends; because though their being agreeable to the agent, be consequential on the existence, yet the subject and occasion being supposed, they are agreeable and amiable in themselves. We may suppose, that, to a righteous Being, doing justice between two parties, with whom he is concerned, is agreeable in itself, and not merely for the sake of some other end: And yet we may suppose, that a desire of doing justice between two parties, may be consequential on the being of those parties, and the occasion given. — It may be observed, that when I speak of God’s ultimate end in the creation of the world, in the following discourse, I commonly mean in that highest sense, viz. the original ultimate end.
Sixth, it may be further observed, that the original ultimate end or ends of the creation of the world is alone that which induces God to give the occasion for consequential ends, by the first creation of the world, and the original disposal of it. And the more original the end is, the more extensive and universal it is. That which God had primarily in view in creating, and the original ordination of the world, must be constantly kept in view, and have a governing influence in all God’s works, or with respect to every thing he does towards his creatures. And therefore,
Seventh, if we use the phrase ultimate end in this highest sense, then the same that is God’s ultimate end in creating the world, if we suppose but one such end, must be what he makes his ultimate aim in all his works, in every thing he does either in creation or providence. But we must suppose, that, in the use to which God puts his creatures, he must evermore have a regard to the end for which he has made them. But if we take ultimate end in the other lower sense, God may sometimes have regard to those things as ultimate ends, in particular works of providence, which could not in any proper sense be his last end in creating the world.
Eighth, on the other hand, whatever appears to be God’s ultimate end, in any sense, of his works of providence in general; that must be the ultimate end of the work of creation itself. For though God may act for an end that is ultimate in a lower sense, in some of his works of providence, which is not the ultimate end of the creation of the world, yet this does not take place with regard to the works of providence in general; for God’s works of providence in general, are the same with the general use to which he puts the world he has made. And we may well argue from what we see of the general use which God makes of the world, to the general end for which he designed the world. Though there may be some ends of particular works of providence, that were not the last end of the creation, which are in themselves grateful to God in such particular emergent circumstances, and so are last ends in an inferior sense; yet this is only in certain cases, or particular occasions. But if they are last ends of God’s proceedings in the use of the world in general, this shows that his making them last ends does not depend on particular cases and circumstances, but the nature of things in general, and his general design in the being and constitution of the universe.
Ninth, if there be but one thing that is originally, and independent on any future supposed cases, agreeable to God, to be obtained by the creation of the world, then there can be but one last end of God’s work, in this highest sense. But if there are various things, properly diverse one from another, that are absolutely and independently agreeable to the Divine Being, which are actually obtained by the creation of the world, then there were several ultimate ends of the creation in that highest sense.
Chapter I Wherein Is Considered, What Reason Teaches Concerning This Affair.
Section I Some things observed in general, which reason dictates
Having observed these things, to prevent confusion, I now proceed to consider what may, and what may not, be supposed to be God’s ultimate end in the creation of the world.
Indeed this affair seems properly to be an affair of divine revelation. In order to be determined what was designed, in the creating of the astonishing fabric of the universe we behold, it becomes us to attend to, and rely on, what HE has told us, who was the architect. He best knows his own heart, and what his own ends and designs were, in the wonderful works which he has wrought. Nor is it to be supposed that mankind — who, while destitute of revelation, by the utmost improvements of their own reason, and advances in science and philosophy, could come to no clear and established determination who the author of the world was — would ever have obtained any tolerable settled judgment of the end which the author of it proposed to himself in so vast, complicated, and wonderful a work of his hands. And though it be true, that the revelation which God has given to men, as a light shining in a dark place, has been the occasion of great improvement of their faculties, and has taught men how to use their reason; and though mankind now, through the long-continued assistance they have had by this divine light, have come to great attainments in the habitual exercise of reason; yet I confess it would be relying too much on reason, to determine the affair of God’s last end in the creation of the world, without being herein principally guided by divine revelation, since God has given a revelation containing instructions concerning this very matter. Nevertheless, as objections have chiefly been made, against what I think the Scriptures have truly revealed, from the pretended dictates of reason, I would, in the first place, soberly consider in a few things, what seems rational to be supposed concerning this affair; — and then proceed to consider what light divine revelation gives us in it.
As to the first of these, I think the following things appear to be the dictates of reason: 1. That no notion of God’s last end in the creation of the world, is agreeable to reason, which would truly imply any indigence, insufficiency, and mutability in God; or any dependence of the Creator on the creature, for any part of his perfection or happiness. Because it is evident, by both Scripture and reason, that God is infinitely, eternally, unchangeably, and independently glorious and happy: that he cannot be profited by, or receive anything from, the creature; or be the subject of any sufferings, or diminution of his glory and felicity, from any other being. The notion of God creating the world, in order to receive anything properly from the creature, is not only contrary to the nature of God, but inconsistent with the notion of creation; which implies a being receiving its existence, and all that belongs to it, out of nothing. And this implies the most perfect, absolute, and universal derivation and dependence. Now, if the creature receives its ALL from God, entirely and perfectly, how is it possible that it should have anything to add to God, to make him in any respect more than he was before, and so the Creator become dependent on the creature?
2. Whatsoever is good and valuable in itself, is worthy that God should value it with an ultimate respect. It is therefore worthy to be made the last end of his operation; if it be properly capable of being attained. For it may be supposed that some things, valuable and excellent in themselves, are not properly capable of being attained in any divine operation; because their existence, in all possible respects, must be conceived of as prior to any divine operation. Thus God’s existence and infinite perfection, though infinitely valuable in themselves, cannot be supposed to be the end of any divine operation; for we cannot conceive of them as, in any respect, consequent on any works of God. But whatever is in itself valuable, absolutely so, and is capable of being sought and attained, is worthy to be made a last end of the divine operation. — Therefore,
3. Whatever that be which is in itself most valuable, and was so originally, prior to the creation of the world, and which is attainable by the creation, if there be anything which was superior in value to all others, that must be worthy to be God’s last end in the creation; and also worthy to be his highest end. — In consequence of this it will follow,
4. That if God himself be, in any respect, properly capable of being his own end in the creation of the world, then it is reasonable to suppose that he had respect to himself, as his last and highest end, in this work; because he is worthy in himself to be so, being infinitely the greatest and best of beings. All things else, with regard to worthiness, importance, and excellence, are perfectly as nothing in comparison of him. And therefore, if God has respect to things according to their nature and proportions, he must necessarily have the greatest respect to himself. It would be against the perfection of his nature, his wisdom, holiness, and perfect rectitude, whereby he is disposed to do every thing that is fit to be done, to suppose otherwise. At least, a great part of the moral rectitude of God, whereby he is disposed to every thing that is fit, suitable, and amiable in itself, consists in his having the highest regard to that which is in itself highest and best. The moral rectitude of God must consist in a due respect to things that are objects of moral respect; that is, to intelligent beings capable of moral actions and relations. And therefore it must chiefly consist in giving due respect to that Being to whom most is due; for God is infinitely the most worthy of regard. The worthiness of others is as nothing to his; so that to him belongs all possible respect. To him belongs the whole of the respect that any intelligent being is capable of. To him belongs all the heart. Therefore, if moral rectitude of heart consists in paying the respect of the heart which is due, or which fitness and suitableness requires, fitness requires infinitely the greatest regard to be paid to God; and the denying of supreme regard here would be a conduct infinitely the most unfit. Hence it will follow, that the moral rectitude of the disposition, inclination, or affection of God Chiefly consists in a regard to Himself, infinitely above his regard to all other beings; or, in other words, his holiness consists in this. And if it be thus fit that God should have a supreme regard to himself, then it is fit that this supreme regard should appear in those things by which he makes himself known, or by his word and works, i.e. in what he says, and in what he does. If it be an infinitely amiable thing in God, that he should have a supreme regard to himself, then it is an amiable thing that he should act as having a chief regard to himself; or act in such a manner, as to show that he has such a regard that what is highest in God’s heart, may be highest in his actions and conduct. And if it was God’s intention, as there is great reason to think it was, that his works should exhibit an image of himself their author, that it might brightly appear by his works what manner of being he is, and afford a proper representation of his divine excellencies, and especially his moral excellence, consisting in the disposition of his heart; then it is reasonable to suppose that his works are so wrought as to show this supreme respect to himself, wherein his moral excellence primarily consists.
When we are considering what would be most fit for God chiefly to respect, with regard to the universality of things, it may help us to judge with greater ease and satisfaction, to consider, what we can suppose would be determined by some third being of perfect wisdom and rectitude, that should be perfectly indifferent and disinterested. Or if we make the supposition, that infinitely wise justice and rectitude were a distinct disinterested person, whose office it was to determine how things shall be most 10 properly ordered in the whole kingdom of existence, including king and subjects, God and his creatures; and, upon a view of the whole, to decide what regard should prevail in all proceedings. Now such a judge, in adjusting the proper measures and kinds of regard, would weigh things in an even balance; taking care, that a greater part of the whole should be more respected, than the lesser, in proportion (other things being equal) to the measure of existence. So that the degree of regard should always be in a proportion of excellence, or according to the degree of greatness and goodness, considered conjunctly. Such an arbiter, in considering the system of created intelligent beings by itself, would determine, that the system in general, consisting of many millions, was of greater importance, and worthy of a greater share of regard, than only one individual. For, however considerable some of the individuals might be, no one exceeds others so much as to countervail all the system. And if this judge consider not only the system of created beings, but the system of being in general, comprehending the sum total of universal existence, both Creator and creature; still every part must be considered according to its importance, or the measure it has of existence and excellence. To determine then, what proportion of regard is to be allotted to the Creator, and all his creatures taken together, both must be as it were put in the balance; the Supreme Being, with all in him that is great and excellent, is to be compared with all that is to be found in the whole creation: and according as the former is found to outweigh, in such proportion is he to have a greater share of regard. And in this case, as the whole system of created beings, in comparison of the Creator, would be found as the light dust of the balance, or even as nothing and vanity; so the arbiter must determine accordingly with respect to the degree in which God should be regarded, by all intelligent existence, in all actions and proceedings, determinations and effects whatever, whether creating, preserving, using, disposing, changing, or destroying. And as the Creator is infinite, and has all possible existence, perfection, and excellence, so he must have all possible regard. As he is every way the first and supreme, and as his excellency is in all respects the supreme beauty and glory, the original good, and fountain of all good; so he must have in all respects the supreme regard. And as he is God over all, to whom all are properly subordinate, and on whom all depend, worthy to reign as supreme Head, with absolute and universal dominion; so it is fit that he should be so regarded by all, and in all proceedings and effects through the whole system: The universality of things, in their whole compass and series, should look to him, in such a manner, as that respect to him should reign over all respect to other things, and regard to creatures should, universally, be subordinate and subject.
When I speak of regard to be thus adjusted in the universal system, I mean the regard of the sum total; all intelligent existence, created and uncreated. For it is fit, that the regard of the Creator should be proportioned to the worthiness of objects, as well as the regard of creatures. Thus, we must conclude, that such an arbiter as I have supposed, would determine, that the whole universe, in all its actings, proceedings, revolution, and entire series of events, should proceed with a view to God, as the supreme and last end; that every wheel, in all its rotations, should move with a constant invariable regard to him as the ultimate end of all; as perfectly and uniformly, as if the whole system were animated and directed by one common soul. Or, as if such an arbiter as I have before supposed, possessed of perfect wisdom and rectitude, became the common soul of the universe, and actuated and governed it in all its motions. Thus I have gone upon the supposition of a third disinterested person. The thing supposed is impossible; but the case is, nevertheless, just the same, as to what is most fit and suitable in itself. For it is most certainly proper for God to act, according to the greatest fitness, and he knows what the greatest fitness is, as much as if perfect rectitude were a distinct person to direct him. God himself is possessed of that perfect discernment and rectitude which have been supposed. It belongs to him as supreme arbiter, and to his infinite wisdom and rectitude, to state all rules and measures of proceedings. And seeing these attributes of God are infinite, and most absolutely perfect, they are not the less fit to order and dispose, because they are in him, who is a being concerned, and not a third person that is disinterested. For being interested unfits a person to be an arbiter or judge, no otherwise, than as interest tends to mislead his judgment, or incline him to act contrary to it. But that God should be in danger of either, is contrary to the supposition of his being absolutely perfect. And as there must be some supreme judge of fitness and 11 propriety in the universality of things, or otherwise there could be no order, it therefore belongs to God, whose are all things, who is perfectly fit for this office, and who alone is so, to state all things according to the most perfect fitness and rectitude, as much as if perfect rectitude were a distinct person. We may therefore be sure it is and will be done.
I should think that these things might incline us to suppose, that God has not forgot himself, in the ends which he proposed in the creation of the world; but that he has so stated these ends (however self-sufficient, immutable, and independent), as therein plainly to show a supreme regard to himself. Whether this can be, or whether God has done thus, must be considered afterwards, as also what may be objected against this view of things.
5. Whatsoever is good, amiable, and valuable in itself, absolutely and originally (which facts and events show that God aimed at in the creation of the world), must be supposed to be regarded or aimed at by God ultimately, or as an ultimate end of creation. For we must suppose, from the perfection of God’s nature, that whatsoever is valuable and amiable in itself, simply and absolutely considered, God values simply for itself; because God’s judgment and esteem are according to truth. But if God values a thing simply and absolutely on its own account, then it is the ultimate object of his value. For to suppose that he values it only for some farther end, is in direct contradiction to the present supposition, which is, that he values it absolutely, and for itself. Hence it most clearly follows, that if that which God values for itself, appears, in fact and experience, to be what he seeks by anything he does, he must regard it as an ultimate end. And, therefore, if he seeks it in creating the world, or any part of the world, it is an ultimate end of the work of creation. Having got thus far, we may now proceed a step farther, and assert:
6. Whatsoever thing is actually the effect of the creation of the world, which is simply and absolutely valuable in itself, that thing is an ultimate end of God’s creating the world. We see that it is a good which God aimed at by the creation of the world; because he has actually attained it by that means. For we may justly infer what God intends, by what he actually does; because he does nothing inadvertently, or without design. But whatever God intends to attain, from a value for it, in his actions and works, that he seeks in those acts and works. Because, for an agent to intend to attain something he values by the means he uses, is the same thing as to seek it by those means. And this is the same as to make that thing his end in those means. Now, it being, by the supposition, what God values ultimately, it must therefore, by the preceding position, be aimed at by God, as an ultimate end of creating the world.
Section II Some further observations concerning those things which reason leads us to suppose God aimed at in the creation of the world
From what was last observed, it seems to be the most proper way of proceeding — as we would see what light reason will give us, respecting the particular end or ends God had ultimately in view in the creation of the world — to consider, what thing or things are actually the effect or consequence of the creation of the world, that are simply and originally valuable in themselves. And this is what I would directly proceed to, without entering on any tedious metaphysical inquiries, wherein fitness, or amiableness, consists; referring what I say to the dictates of the reader’s mind, on sedate and calm reflection.
1. It seems a thing in itself proper and desirable, that the glorious attributes of God, which consist in a sufficiency to certain acts and effects, should be exerted in the production of such effects as might manifest his infinite power, wisdom, righteousness, goodness, etc.
If the world had not been created, these attributes never would have had any exercise. The power of God, which is a sufficiency in him to produce great effects, must forever have been dormant and useless as to any effect. The divine wisdom and prudence would have had no exercise in any wise contrivance, any prudent proceeding, or disposal of things; for there would have been no objects of contrivance or disposal. The same might be observed of God’s justice, goodness, and truth. Indeed God might have known as perfectly that he possessed these attributes, if they never had been exerted or expressed in any effect. But then, if the attributes which consist in a sufficiency for correspondent effects, are in themselves excellent, the exercises of them must likewise be excellent. If it be an excellent thing, that there should be a sufficiency for a certain kind of action or operation, the excellency of such a sufficiency must consist in its relation to this kind of operation or effect; but that could not be, unless the operation itself were excellent. A sufficiency for any work is no further valuable, than the work itself is valuable. As God therefore esteems these attributes themselves valuable, and delights in them; so it is natural to suppose that he delights in their proper exercise and expression. For the same reason that he esteems his own sufficiency wisely to contrive and dispose effects, he also will esteem the wise contrivance and disposition itself. And for the same reason, as he delights in his own disposition to do justly, and to dispose of things according to truth and just proportion; so he must delight in such a righteous disposal itself.
2. It seems to be a thing in itself fit and desirable, that the glorious perfections of God should be known, and the operations and expressions of them seen, by other beings besides himself.
If it be fit that God’s power and wisdom, etc. should be exercised and expressed in some effects, and not lie eternally dormant, then it seems proper that these exercises should appear, and not be totally hidden and unknown. For if they are, it will be just the same, as to the above purpose, as if they were not. God as perfectly knew himself and his perfections, had as perfect an idea of the exercises and effects they were sufficient for, antecedently to any such actual operations of them, and since. If, therefore, it be nevertheless a thing in itself valuable, and worthy to be desired, that these glorious perfections be actually exhibited in their correspondent effects; then it seems also, that the knowledge of these perfections and discoveries is valuable in itself absolutely considered; and that it is desirable that this knowledge should exist. It is a thing infinitely good in itself, that God’s glory should be known by a glorious society of created beings. And that there should be in them an increasing knowledge of God to all eternity, is worthy to be regarded by him, to whom it belongs to order what is fittest and best. If existence is more worthy than defect and non-entity, and if any created existence is in itself worthy to be, then knowledge is; and if any knowledge, then the most excellent sort of knowledge, viz. that of God and his glory. This knowledge is one of the highest, most real, and substantial parts of all created existence, most remote from non-entity and defect.
3. As it is desirable in itself that God’s glory should be known, so when known it seems equally reasonable it should be esteemed and delighted in, answerably to its dignity.
There is no more reason to esteem it a suitable thing, that there should be an idea in the understanding corresponding unto the glorious object, than that there should be a corresponding affection in the will. If the perfection itself be excellent, the knowledge of it is excellent, and so is the esteem and love of it excellent. And as it is fit that God should love and esteem his own excellence, it is also fit that he should 13 value and esteem the love of his excellency. And if it becomes a being highly to value himself, it is fit that he should love to have himself valued and esteemed. If the idea of God’s perfection in the understanding be valuable, then the love of the heart seems to be more especially valuable, as moral beauty especially consists in the disposition and affection of the heart.
4. As there is an infinite fullness of all possible good in God — a fullness of every perfection, of all excellency and beauty, and of infinite happiness — and as this fullness is capable of communication, or emanation ad extra; so it seems a thing amiable and valuable in itself that this infinite fountain of good should send forth abundant streams.
And as this is in itself excellent, so a disposition to this in the Divine Being, must be looked upon as an excellent disposition. Such an emanation of good is, in some sense, a multiplication of it. So far as the stream may be looked upon as anything besides the fountain, so far it may be looked on as an increase of good. And if the fullness of good that is in the fountain, is in itself excellent, then the emanation, which is as it were an increase, repetition, or multiplication of it, is excellent. Thus it is fit, since there is an infinite fountain of light and knowledge, that this light should shine forth in beams of communicated knowledge and understanding; and, as there is an infinite fountain of holiness, moral excellence, and beauty, that so it should flow out in communicated holiness. And that, as there is an infinite fullness of joy and happiness, so these should have an emanation, and become a fountain flowing out in abundant streams, as beams from the sun.
Thus it appears reasonable to suppose, that it was God’s last end, that there might be a glorious and abundant emanation of his infinite fullness of good ad extra, or without himself; and that the disposition to communicate himself, or diffuse his own FULLNESS, was what moved him to create the world. For an inclination in God to communicate himself to an object, seems to presuppose the existence of the object, at least in idea. But the diffusive disposition that excited God to give creatures existence, was rather a communicative disposition in general, or a disposition in the fullness of the divinity to flow out and diffuse itself. Thus the disposition there is in the root and stock of a tree to diffuse sap and life, is doubtless the reason of their communication to its buds, leaves, and fruits, after these exist. But a disposition to communicate of its life and sap to its fruits, is not so properly the cause of its producing those fruits, as its disposition to diffuse its sap and life in general. Therefore, to speak strictly according to truth, we may suppose, that a disposition in God, as an original property of his nature, to an emanation of his own infinite fullness, was what excited him to create the world; and so, that the emanation itself was aimed at by him as a last end of the creation.
Chapter I, Section III Wherein it is considered how, on the supposition of God’s making the aforementioned things his last end, he manifests a supreme and ultimate regard to himself in all his works
In the last section I observed some things which are actually the consequence of the creation of the world, which seem absolutely valuable in themselves, and so worthy to be made God’s last end in his work. I now proceed to inquire, how God’s making such things as these his last end, is consistent with his making 14 himself his last end, or his manifesting an ultimate respect to himself in his acts and works. Because it is agreeable to the dictates of reason, that in all his proceedings he should set himself highest; therefore, I would endeavor to show, how his infinite love to and delight in himself, will naturally cause him to value and delight in these things: or rather, how a value to these things is implied in his value of that infinite fullness of good that is in himself.
Now, with regard to the first of the particulars mentioned above — God’s regard to the exercise of those attributes of his nature, in their proper operations and effects, which consist in a sufficiency for these operations — it is not hard to conceive that God’s regard to himself, and value for his own perfections, should cause him to value these exercises and expressions of his perfections; inasmuch as their excellency consists in their relation to use, exercise, and operation. God’s love to himself, and his own attributes, will therefore make him delight in that which is the use, end, and operation of these attributes. If one highly esteem and delight in the virtues of a friend, as wisdom, justice, etc. that have relation to action, this will make him delight in the exercise and genuine effects of these virtues. So if God both esteem and delight in his own perfections and virtues, he cannot but value and delight in the expressions and genuine effects of them. So that in delighting in the expressions of his perfections, he manifests a delight in himself; and in making these expressions of his own perfections his end, he makes himself his end.
And with respect to the second and third particulars, the matter is no less plain. For he that loves any being, and has a disposition highly to prize and greatly to delight in his virtues and perfections, must from the same disposition be well pleased to have his excellencies known, acknowledged, esteemed, and prized by others. He that loves anything, naturally loves the approbation of that thing, and is opposite to the disapprobation of it. Thus it is when one loves the virtues of a friend. And thus it will necessarily be, if a being loves himself and highly prizes his own excellencies; and thus it is fit it should be, if it be fit he should thus love himself, and prize his own valuable qualities; that is, it is fit that he should take delight in his own excellencies being seen, acknowledged, esteemed, and delighted in. This is implied in a love to himself and his own perfections; and in making this his end, he makes himself his end.
And with respect to the fourth and last particular, viz. God’s being disposed to an abundant communication, and glorious emanation, of that infinite fullness of God which he possesses, as of his own knowledge, excellency, and happiness, in the manner he does; if we thoroughly consider the matter, it will appear, that herein also God makes himself his end, in such a sense, as plainly to manifest and testify a supreme and ultimate regard to himself.
Merely in this disposition to cause an emanation of his glory and fullness — which is prior to the existence of any other being, and is to be considered as the inciting cause of giving existence to other beings — God cannot so properly be said to make the creature his end, as himself. For the creature is not as yet considered as existing. This disposition or desire in God, must be prior to the existence of the creature, even in foresight. For it is a disposition that is the original ground even of the future, intended, and foreseen existence of the creature. God’s benevolence, as it respects the creature, may be taken either in a larger or stricter sense. In a larger sense, it may signify nothing diverse from that good disposition in his nature to communicate of his own fullness in general; as his knowledge, his holiness, and happiness; and to give creatures existence in order to it. This may be called benevolence, or love, because it is the same good disposition that is exercised in love. It is the very fountain from whence love originally proceeds, when taken in the most proper sense; and it has the same general tendency and effect in the creature’s well-being. But yet this cannot have any particular present or future created existence for its object; because it is prior to any such object, and the very source of the futurities of its existence. Nor is it really diverse from God’s love to himself; as will more clearly appear afterwards.
But God’s love may be taken more strictly, for this general disposition to communicate good, as directed to particular objects. Love, in the most strict and proper sense, presupposes the existence of the object beloved, at least in idea and expectation, and represented to the mind as future. God did not love angels in 15 the strictest sense, but in consequence of his intending to create them, and so having an idea of future existing angels. Therefore his love to them was not properly what excited him to intend to create them. Love or benevolence, strictly taken, presupposes and existing object, as much as pity a miserable suffering object.
This propensity in God to diffuse himself, may be considered as a propensity to himself diffused; or to his own glory existing in its emanation. A respect to himself, or an infinite propensity to and delight in his own glory, is that which causes him to incline to its being abundantly diffused, and to delight in the emanation of it. Thus, that nature in a tree, by which it puts forth buds, shoots out branches, and brings forth leaves and fruit, is a disposition that terminates in its own complete self. And so the disposition in the sun to shine, or abundantly to diffuse its fullness, warmth, and brightness, is only a tendency to its own most glorious and complete state. So God looks on the communication of himself, and the emanation of his infinite glory, to belong to the fullness and completeness of himself; as though he were not in his most glorious state without it. Thus the church of Christ (toward whom and in whom are the emanations of his glory, and the communication of his fullness), is called the fullness of Christ; as though he were not in his complete state without her; like Adam without Eve. And the church is called the glory of Christ, as the woman is the glory of the man, 1 Cor. 11:7; Isa. 46:13. I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel MY GLORY — Indeed, after the creatures are intended to be created, God may be conceived of as being moved by benevolence to them, in the strictest sense, in his dealings with them. His exercising his goodness, and gratifying his benevolence to them in particular, may be the spring of all God’s proceedings through the universe; as being now the determined way of gratifying his general inclination to diffuse himself. Here God acting for himself, or making himself his last end, and his acting for their sake, are not to be set in opposition; they are rather to be considered as coinciding one with the other, and implied one in the other. But yet God is to be considered as first and original in his regard; and the creature is the object of God’s regard, consequently, and by implication, as being as it were comprehended in God; as it shall be more particularly observed presently.
But how God’s value for, and delight in, the emanations of his fullness in the work of creation, argues his delight in the infinite fullness of good in himself, and the supreme regard he has for himself; and that in making these emanations, he ultimately makes himself his end in creation; will more clearly appear by considering more particularly the nature and circumstances of these communications of God’s fullness. One part of that divine fullness which is communicated, is the divine knowledge. That communicated knowledge, which must be supposed to pertain to God’s last end in creating the world, is the creature’s knowledge of HIM for this is the end of all other knowledge; and even the faculty of understanding would be vain without it. And this knowledge is most properly a communication of God’s infinite knowledge, which primarily consists in the knowledge of himself. God, in making this his end, makes himself his end. This knowledge in the creature, is but a conformity to God. It is the image of God’s own knowledge of himself. It is a participation of the same; though infinitely less in degree: as particular beams of the sun communicated are the light and glory of the sun itself, in part.
Besides, God’s glory is the object of this knowledge, or the thing known; so that God is glorified in it, as hereby his excellency is seen. As therefore God values himself, as he delights in his own knowledge, he must delight in every thing of that nature: as he delights in his own light, he must delight in every beam of that light; and as he highly values his own excellency, he must be well pleased in having it manifested, and so glorified.
Another emanation of divine fullness, is the communication of virtue and holiness to the creature: this is a communication of God’s holiness; so that hereby the creature partakes of God’s own moral excellency; which is properly the beauty of the divine nature. And as God delights in his own beauty, he must necessarily delight in the creature’s holiness; which is a conformity to and participation of it, as truly as a brightness of a jewel. Held in the sun’s beams, is a participation or derivation of the sun’s brightness, 16 though immensely less in degree. And then it must be considered wherein this holiness in the creature consists, viz. in love, which is the comprehension of all true virtue; and primarily in love to God, which is exercised in a high esteem of God, admiration of his perfections, complacency in them, and praise of them. All which things are nothing else but the heart exalting, magnifying, or glorifying God; which, as I showed before, God necessarily approves of, and is pleased with, as he loves himself, and values the glory of his own nature.
Another part of God’s fullness which he communicates, is his happiness. This happiness consists in enjoying and rejoicing in himself; and so does also the creature’s happiness. It is a participation of what is in God; and God and his glory are the objective ground of it. The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God; by which also God is magnified and exalted. Joy, or the exulting of the heart in God’s glory, is one thing that belongs to praise. So that God is all in all, with respect to each part of that communication of the divine fullness which is made to the creature. What is communicated is divine, or something of God; and each communication is of that nature, that the creature to whom it is made, is thereby conformed to God, and untied to him: and that in proportion as the communication is greater or less. And the communication itself is no other, in the very nature of it, than that wherein the very honor, exaltation, and praise of God consists.
And it is farther to be considered, that what God aimed at in the creation of the world, as the end which he had ultimately in view, was that communication of himself which he intended through all eternity. And if we attend to the nature and circumstances of this eternal emanation of divine good, it will more clearly show HOW, in making this his end, God testifies a supreme respect to himself, and makes himself his end. There are many reasons to think that what God has in view, in an increasing communication of himself through eternity, is an increasing knowledge of God, love to him, and joy in him. And it is to be considered, that the more those divine communications increase in the creature, the more it becomes one with God: for so much the more is it united to God in love, the heart is drawn nearer and nearer to God, and the union with him becomes more firm and close: and, at the same time, the creature becomes more and more conformed to God. The image is more and more perfect, and so the good that is in the creature comes forever nearer and nearer to an identity with that which is in God. In the view therefore of God, who has a comprehensive prospect of the increasing union and conformity through eternity, it must be an infinitely strict and perfect nearness, conformity, and oneness. For it will forever come nearer and nearer to that strictness and perfection of union which there is between the Father and the Son. So that in the eyes of God, who perfectly sees the whole of it, in its infinite progress and increase, it must come to an eminent fulfillment of Christ’s request, in John 17:21, 23. That they all may be ONE, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be ONE in us; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in ONE. In this view, those elect creatures, which must be looked upon as the end of all the rest of the creation, considered with respect to the whole of their eternal duration, and as such made God’s end, must be viewed as being, as it were, one with God. They were respected as brought home to him, united with him, centering most perfectly, as it were swallowed up in him: so that his respect to them finally coincides, and becomes one and the same, with respect to himself. The interest of the creature is, as it were, God’s own interest, in proportion to the degree of their relation and union to God. Thus the interest of a man’s family is looked upon as the same with his own interest; because of the relation they stand in to him, his propriety in them, and their strict union with him. But God’s elect creatures, with respect to their eternal duration, are infinitely dearer to God, than a man’s family is to him. What has been said shows, that as all things are from God, as their first cause and fountain; so all things tend to him, and in their progress come nearer and nearer to him through all eternity which argues, that he who is their first cause is their last end.
Chapter I: Section IV Some objections considered, which may be made against the reasonableness of what has been said of God making himself his last end.
Object. I. Some may object against what has been said as being inconsistent with God’s absolute independence and immutability: particularly, as though God were inclined to a communication of his fullness, and emanations of his own glory, as being his own most glorious and complete state.
It may be thought that this does not well consist with God, being self-existent from all eternity; absolutely perfect in himself, in the possession of infinite and independent good. And that, in general, to suppose that God makes himself his end, in the creation of the world, seems to suppose that he aims at some interest or happiness of his own, not easily reconcilable with his being perfectly and infinitely happy in himself. If it could be supposed that God needed anything; or that the goodness of his creatures could extend to him; or that they could be profitable to him; it might be fit, that God should make himself, and his own interest, his highest and last end in creating the world. But seeing that God is above all need, and all capacity of being made better or happier in any respect; to what purpose should God make himself his end, or seek to advance himself in any respect by any of his works? How absurd is it to suppose that God should do such great things, with a view to obtain what he is already most perfectly possessed of, and was so from all eternity; and therefore cannot now possibly need, nor with any color of reason be supposed to seek! Ans. 1. Many have wrong notions of God’s happiness, as resulting from his absolute self-sufficiency, independence, and immutability.
Though it be true, that God’s glory and happiness are in and of himself, are infinite and cannot be added to, and unchangeable, for the whole and every part of which he is perfectly independent of the creature; yet it does not hence follow, nor is it true, that God has no real and proper delight, pleasure, or happiness, in any of his acts or communications relative to the creature, or effects he produces in them; or in anything he sees in the creature’s qualifications, dispositions, actions and state.
God may have a real and proper pleasure or happiness in seeing the happy state of the creature; yet this may not be different from his delight in himself; being a delight in his own infinite goodness; or the exercise of that glorious propensity of his nature to diffuse and communicate himself, and so gratifying this inclination of his own heart. This delight which God has in his creature’s happiness, cannot properly be said to be what God receives from the creature. For it is only the effect of his own work in and communications to the creature; in making it, and admitting it to a participation of his fullness. As the sun receives nothing from the jewel that receives its light, and shines only by a participation of its brightness. With respect also to the creature’s holiness; God may have a proper delight and joy in imparting this to the creature, as gratifying hereby his inclination to communicate of his own excellent fullness. God may delight, with true and great pleasure, in beholding that beauty which is an image and communication of his own beauty, an expression and manifestation of his own loveliness. And this is so far from being an instance of his happiness not being in and from himself, that it is an evidence that he is happy in himself, or delights and has pleasure in his own beauty. If he did not take pleasure in the expression of his own beauty, it would rather be an evidence that he does not delight in his own beauty; that he has not his happiness and enjoyment in his own beauty and perfection. So that if we suppose God has real pleasure and happiness in the holy love and praise of his saints, as the image and communication of his own 18 holiness, it is not properly any pleasure distinct from the pleasure he has in himself; but it is truly an instance of it.
And with respect to God’s being glorified in those perfections wherein his glory consists, expressed in their corresponding effects, — as his wisdom, in wise designs and well-contrived works, his power, in great effects, his justice, in acts of righteousness, his goodness, in communicating happiness, — this does not argue that his pleasure is not in himself, and his own glory; but the contrary. It is the necessary consequence of his delighting in the glory of his nature, that he delights in the emanation and effulgence of it.
Nor do these things argue any dependence in God on the creature for happiness. Though he has real pleasure in the creature’s holiness and happiness, yet this is not properly any pleasure which he receives from the creature. For these things are what he gives the creature. They are wholly and entirely from him. His rejoicing therein is rather a rejoicing in his own acts, and his own glory expressed in those acts, than a joy derived from the creature. God’s joy is dependent on nothing besides his own act, which he exerts with an absolute and independent power. And yet, in some sense, it can be truly said, that God has the more delight and pleasure for the holiness and happiness of his creatures. Because God would be less happy, if he were less good: or if he had not that perfection of nature which consists in a propensity of nature to diffuse his own fullness. And he would be less happy, if it were possible for him to be hindered in the exercise of his goodness, and his other perfections, in their proper effects. But he has complete happiness, because he has these perfections, and cannot be hindered in exercising and displaying them in their proper effects. And this surely is not, because he is dependent; but because he is independent on any other that should hinder him.
From this view, it appears, that nothing which has been said, is in the least inconsistent with those expressions in Scripture, that signify, “man cannot be profitable to God,” etc. For these expressions plainly mean no more, than that God is absolutely independent of us; that we have nothing of our own, no stock from whence we can give to God; and that no part of his happiness originates from man. From what has been said, it appears, that the pleasure God has in those things which have been mentioned, is rather a pleasure in diffusing and communicating to, than in receiving from, the creature. Surely, it is no argument of indigence in God, that he is inclined to communicate of his infinite fullness. It is no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain, that it is inclined to overflow. Nothing from the creature alters God’s happiness, as though it were changeable either by increase or diminution. For though these communications of God — these exercises, operations, and expressions of his glorious perfections, which God rejoices in — are in time; yet his joy in them is without beginning or change. They were always equally present in the divine mind. He beheld them with equal clearness, certainty, and fullness, in every respect, as he does now. They were always equally present; as with him there is no variableness or succession. He ever beheld and enjoyed them perfectly in his own independent and immutable power and will.
Ans. 2. If any are not satisfied with the preceding answer, but still insist on the objection, let them consider whether they can devise any other scheme of God’s last end in creating the world, but what will be equally obnoxious to this objection in its full force, if there be any force in it. For if God had any last end in creating the world, then there was something in some respect future, that he aimed at, and designed to bring to pass by creating the world; something that was agreeable to his inclination or will; let that be his own glory, or the happiness of his creatures, or what it will. Now, if there be something that God seeks as agreeable, or grateful to him, then, in the accomplishment of it, he is gratified. If the last end which he seeks in the creation of the world be truly a thing grateful to him (as certainly it is, if it be truly his end, and truly the object of his will), then it is what he takes a real delight and pleasure in. But then, according to the argument of the objection, how can he have anything future to desire or seek, who is already perfectly, eternally, and immutably satisfied in himself? What can remain for him to take any delight in, or to be further gratified by, whose eternal and unchangeable delight is in himself, as his own complete object of enjoyment. Thus the objector will be pressed with his own objection, let him embrace what notion he will of God’s end in the creation. And I think he has no way left to answer but that which has been taken above.
It may therefore be proper here to observe, that let what will be God’s last end, that he must have a real and proper pleasure in. Whatever be the proper object of his will, he is gratified in. And the thing is either grateful to him in itself, or for something else for which he wills it; and so is his further end. But whatever is God’s last end, that he wills for its own sake; as grateful to him in itself, or in which he has some degree of true and proper pleasure. Otherwise we must deny any such thing as will in God with respect to anything brought to pass in time; and so must deny his work of creation, or any work of his providence, to be truly voluntary. But we have as much reason to suppose, that God’s works in creating and governing the world, are properly the fruits of his will, as of his understanding. And if there be any such thing at all, as what we mean by acts of will in God; then he is not indifferent whether his will be fulfilled or not. And if he is not indifferent, then he is truly gratified and pleased in the fulfillment of his will. And if he has a real pleasure in attaining his end, then the attainment of it belongs to his happiness; that in which God’s delight or pleasure in any measure consists. To suppose that God has pleasure in things that are brought to pass in time, only figuratively and metaphorically; is to suppose that he exercises will about these things, and makes them his end only metaphorically.
Ans. 3. The doctrine that makes God’s creatures and not himself to be his last end, is a doctrine the furthest from having a favorable aspect on God’s absolute selfsufficiency and independence. It far less agrees therewith than the doctrine against which this is objected. For we must conceive of the efficient as depending on his ultimate end. He depends on this end, in his desires, aims, actions, and pursuits; so that he fails in all his desires, actions, and pursuits, if he fails of his end. Now if God himself be his last end, then in his dependence on his end, he depends on nothing but himself. If all things be of him, and to him, and he the first and the last, this shows him to be all in all. He is all to himself. He goes not out of himself in what he seeks; but his desires and pursuits as they originate from, so they terminate in, himself; and he is dependent on none but himself in the beginning or end of any of his exercises or operations. But if not himself, but the creature, were his last end, then as he depends on his last end, he would be in some sort dependent on the creature.
Object. II. Some may object, that to suppose God makes himself his highest and last end, is dishonorable to him; as it in effect supposes, that God does every thing from a selfish spirit.
Selfishness is looked upon as mean and sordid in the creature; unbecoming and even hateful in such a worm of the dust as man. We should look upon a man as of a base and contemptible character, who should in every thing he did, be governed by selfish principles; should make his private interest his governing aim in all his conduct in life. How far then should we be from attributing any such thing to the Supreme Being, the blessed and only Potentate! Does it not become us to ascribe to him the most noble and generous dispositions, and qualities the most remote from every thing private, narrow, and sordid?20 Ans. 1. Such an objection must arise from a very ignorant or inconsiderate notion of the vice of selfishness, and the virtue of generosity.
If by selfishness be meant, a disposition in any being to regard himself; this is no otherwise vicious or unbecoming, than as one is less than a multitude; and so the public weal is of greater value than his particular interest. Among created beings one single person is inconsiderable in comparison of the generality; and so his interest is of little importance compared with the interest of the whole system. Therefore in them, a disposition to prefer self, as if it were more than all, is exceeding vicious. But it is vicious on no other account, than as it is a disposition that does not agree with the nature of things; and that which is indeed the greatest good. And a disposition in anyone to forego his own interest for the sake of others, is no further excellent, no further worthy the name of generosity, than it is treating things according to their true value; prosecuting something most worthy to be prosecuted; an expression of a disposition to prefer something to self-interest, that is indeed preferable in itself. But if God be indeed so great, and so excellent, that all other beings are as nothing to him, and all other excellency be as nothing, and less than nothing and vanity, in comparison of his; and God be omniscient and infallible, and perfectly knows that he is infinitely the most valuable being; then it is fit that his heart should be agreeable to this — which is indeed the true nature and proportion of things, and agreeable to this infallible and all-comprehending understanding which he has of them, and that perfectly clear light in which he views them — and that he should value himself infinitely more than his creatures. Ans. 2. In created beings, a regard to self-interest may properly be set in opposition to the public welfare; because the private interest of one person may be inconsistent with the public good; at least it may be so in the apprehension of that person.
That which this person looks upon as his interest, may interfere with or oppose the general good. Hence his private interest may be regarded and pursued in opposition to the public. But this cannot be with respect to the Supreme Being, the author and head of the whole system; on whom all absolutely depend; who is the fountain of being and good to the whole. It is more absurd to suppose that his interest should be opposite to the interest of the universal system, than that the welfare of the head, heart, and vitals of the natural body, should be opposite to the welfare of the body. And it is impossible that God, who is omniscient, should apprehend his interest, as being inconsistent with the good and interest of the whole. Ans. 3. God seeking himself in the creation of the world, in the manner which has been supposed, is so far from being inconsistent with the good of his creatures, that it is a kind of regard to himself that inclines him to seek the good of his creature.
It is a regard to himself that disposes him to diffuse and communicate himself. It is such a delight in his own internal fullness and glory, that disposes him to an abundant effusion and emanation of that glory. The same disposition, that inclines him to delight in his glory, causes him to delight in the exhibitions, expressions, and communications of it. If there were any person of such a taste and disposition of mind, that the brightness and light of the sun seemed unlovely to him, he would be willing that the sun’s brightness and light should be retained within itself but they that delight in it, to whom it appears lovely and glorious, will esteem it an amiable and glorious thing to have it diffused and communicated through the world.
Here, by the way, it may be properly considered, whether some writers are not chargeable with inconsistency in this respect. They speak against the doctrine of God making himself his own highest and last end, as though this were an ignoble selfishness — when indeed he only is fit to be made the highest end, by himself and all other beings; inasmuch as he is infinitely greater and more worthy than all others — yet with regard to creatures, who are infinitely less worthy of supreme and ultimate regard, they suppose, that they necessarily, at all times, seek their own happiness, and make it their ultimate end in all, even their most virtuous actions; and that this principle, regulated by wisdom and prudence, as leading to that which is their true and highest happiness, is the foundation of all virtue, and every thing that is morally good and excellent in them.
Object. III. To what has been supposed, that God makes himself his end — in seeking that his glory and excellent perfections should be known, esteemed, loved, and delighted in by his creatures — it may be objected, that this seems unworthy of God.
It is considered as below a truly great man, to be much influenced in his conduct by a desire of popular applause. The notice and admiration of a gazing multitude, would be esteemed but a low end, to be aimed at by a prince or philosopher, in any great and noble enterprise. How much more is it unworthy the great God, to perform his magnificent works, e.g. the creation of the vast universe, out of regard to the notice and admiration of worms of the dust, that the displays of his magnificence may be gazed at, and applauded by those who are infinitely more beneath him, than the meanest rabble are beneath the greatest prince or philosopher.
This objection is specious. It has a show of argument; but it will appear to be nothing but a show, if we consider, 1. Whether it be not worthy of God, to regard and value what is excellent and valuable in itself; and so to take pleasure in its existence.
It seems not liable to any doubt, that there could be no future existence worthy to be desired or sought by God, and so worthy to be made his end, if no future existence was valuable and worthy to be brought to effect. If, when the world was not, there was any possible future thing fit and valuable in itself, I think the knowledge of God’s glory, and the esteem and love of it, must be so. Understanding and will are the highest kind of created existence. And if they be valuable, it must be in their exercise. But the highest and most excellent kind of their exercise, is in some actual knowledge, and exercise of will. And, certainly, the most excellent actual knowledge and will that can be in the creature, is the knowledge and the love of God. And the most true excellent knowledge of God, is the knowledge of his glory or moral excellence; and the most excellent exercise of the will consists in esteem and love, and a delight in his glory. — If any created existence is in itself worthy to be, or anything that ever was future is worthy of existence, such a communication of divine fullness, such an emanation and expression of the divine glory, is worthy of existence. But if nothing that ever was future was worthy to exist, then no future thing was worthy to be aimed at by God in creating the world. And if nothing was worthy to be aimed at in creation, then nothing was worthy to be God’s end in creation.
If God’s own excellency and glory is worthy to be highly valued and delighted in by him, then the value and esteem hereof by others, is worthy to be regarded by him: for this is a necessary consequence. To make this plain let it be considered, how it is with regard to the excellent qualities of another. If we highly value the virtues and excellencies of a friend, in proportion, we shall approve of others’ esteem of them; 22 and shall disapprove the contempt of them. If these virtues are truly valuable, they are worthy that we should thus approve others’ esteem, and disapprove their contempt of them. And the case is the same with respect to any being’s own qualities and attributes. If he highly esteems them, and greatly delights in them, he will naturally and necessarily love to see esteem of them in others, and dislike their disesteem. And if the attributes are worthy to be highly esteemed by the being who has them, so is the esteem of them in others worthy to be proportionally approved and regarded. I desire it may be considered, whether it be unfit that God should be displeased with contempt of himself? If not, but on the contrary it be fit and suitable that he should be displeased with this, there is the same reason that he should be pleased with the proper love, esteem, and honor of himself.
The matter may be also cleared, by considering what it would become us to approve of and value with respect to any public society we belong to, e.g. our nation or country. It becomes us to love our country; and therefore it becomes us to value the just honor of our country. But the same that it becomes us to value and desire for a friend, and the same that it becomes us to desire and seek for the community, the same does it become God to value and seek for himself; that is, on supposition, that it becomes God to love himself as it does men to love a friend or the public; which I think has been before proved. Here are two things that ought particularly to be adverted to: (1) That in God, the love of himself and the love of the public are not to be distinguished, as in man; because God’s being, as it were, comprehends all. His existence, being infinite, must be equivalent to universal existence. And for the same reason that public affection in the creature is fit and beautiful, God’s regard to himself must be so likewise. — (2) In God, the love of what is fit and decent, cannot be a distinct thing from the love of himself; because the love of God is that wherein all holiness primarily and chiefly consists, and God’s own holiness must primarily consist in the love of himself. And if God’s holiness consists in love to himself, then it will imply an approbation of the esteem and love of him in others. For a being that loves himself, necessarily loves love to himself. If holiness in God consist chiefly in love to himself, holiness in the creature must chiefly consist in love to him. And if God loves holiness in himself, he must love it in the creature. Virtue, by such of the late philosophers as seem to be in chief repute, is placed in public affection, or general benevolence. And if the essence of virtue lies primarily in this, then the love of virtue itself is virtuous no otherwise, than as it is implied in, or arises from, this public affection, or extensive benevolence of mind. Because if a man truly loves the public, he necessarily loves love to the public. Now therefore, for the same reason, if universal benevolence in the highest sense, be the same thing with benevolence to the Divine Being, who is in effect universal Being, it will follow, that love to virtue itself is no otherwise virtuous, than as it is implied in, or arises from, love to the Divine Being. Consequently, God’s own love to virtue is implied in love to himself: and is virtuous no otherwise than as it arises from love to himself. So that God’s virtuous disposition, appearing in love to holiness in the creature, is to be resolved into the same thing with love to himself. And consequently, whereinsoever he makes virtue his end, he makes himself his end. In fine, God being as it were an all-comprehending Being, all his moral perfections — his holiness, justice, grace, and benevolence — are some way or other to be resolved into a supreme and infinite regard to himself; and if so, it will be easy to suppose that it becomes him to make himself his supreme and last end in his works.
I would here observe, by the way, that if any insist that it becomes God to love and take delight in the virtue of his creatures for its own sake, in such a manner as not to love it from regard to himself; this will contradict a former objection against God taking pleasure in communications of himself; viz. that inasmuch as God is perfectly independent and self-sufficient, therefore all his happiness and pleasure consists in the enjoyment of himself. So that if the same persons make both objections, they must be inconsistent with themselves.
2. I would observe, that it is not unworthy of God to take pleasure in that which is in itself fit and amiable, even in those that are infinitely below him. If there be infinite grace and condescension in it, yet these are not unworthy of God; but infinitely to his honor and glory.
They who insist, that God’s own glory was not an ultimate end of his creation of the world; but the happiness of his creatures; do it under a color of exalting God’s benevolence to his creatures. But if his love to them be so great, and he so highly values them as to look upon them worthy to be his end in all his great works, as they suppose; they are not consistent with themselves, in supposing that God has so little value for their love and esteem. For as the nature of love, especially great love, causes him that loves to value the esteem of the person beloved; so, that God should take pleasure in the creature’s just love and esteem, will follow from God’s love both to himself and to his creatures. If he esteem and love himself, he must approve of esteem and love to himself, and disapprove the contrary. And if he loves and values the creature, he must value and take delight in their mutual love and esteem.
3. As to what is alleged, that it is unworthy of great men to be governed in their conduct and achievements by a regard to the applause of the populace; I would observe, What makes their applause worthy of so little regard, is their ignorance, giddiness, and injustice. The applause of the multitude very frequently is not founded on any just view of things, but in humor, mistake, folly, and unreasonable affections. Such applause deserves to be disregarded. — But it is not beneath a man of the greatest dignity and wisdom, to value the wise and just esteem of others, however inferior to him. The contrary, instead of being an expression of greatness of mind, would show a haughty and mean spirit. It is such an esteem in his creatures, that God regards; for, such an esteem only is fit and amiable in itself.
Object. IV. To suppose that God makes himself his ultimate end in the creation of the world, derogates from the freeness of his goodness, in his beneficence to his creatures; and from their obligations to gratitude for the good communicated. For if God, in communicating his fullness, makes himself, and not the creatures, his end; then what good he does, he does for himself, and not for them; for his sake, and not theirs. Answer. God and the creature, in the emanation of the divine fullness, are not properly set in opposition; or made the opposite parts of a disjunction.
Nor ought God’s glory and the creature’s good, to be viewed as if they were properly and entirely distinct, in the objection. This supposes, that God having respect to his glory, and the communication of good to his creatures, are things altogether different: that God communicating his fullness for himself, and his doing it for them, are things standing in a proper disjunction and opposition. Whereas, if we were capable of more perfect views of God and divine things, which are so much above us, it probably would appear very clear, that the matter is quite otherwise: and that these things, instead of appearing entirely distinct, are implied one in the other. God in seeking his glory, seeks the good of his creatures; because the emanation of his glory (which he seeks and delights in, as he delights in himself and his own eternal glory) implies the communicated excellency and happiness of his creatures. And in communicating his 24 fullness for them, he does it for himself; because their good, which he seeks, is so much in union and communion with himself. God is their good. Their excellency and happiness is nothing, but the emanation and expression of God’s glory: God, in seeking their glory and happiness, seeks himself: and in seeking himself, i.e. himself diffused and expressed (which he delights in, as he delights in his own beauty and fullness), he seeks their glory and happiness.
This will the better appear, if we consider the degree and manner in which he aimed at the creature’s excellency and happiness in creating the world; viz. during the whole of its designed eternal duration; in greater and greater nearness, and strictness of union with himself, in his own glory and happiness, in constant progression, through all eternity. As the creature’s good was viewed, when God made the world, with respect to its whole duration, and eternally progressive union to, and communion with him: so the creature must be viewed as in infinitely strict union with himself. In this view it appears, that God’s respect to the creature, in the whole, unites with his respect to himself. Both regards are like two lines which at the beginning appear separate, but finally meet in one, both being directed to the same center. And as to the good of the creature itself, in its whole duration and infinite progression, it must be viewed as infinite; and as coming nearer and nearer to the same thing in its infinite fullness. The nearer anything comes to infinite, the nearer it comes to an identity with God. And if any good, as viewed by God, is beheld as infinite, it cannot be viewed as a distinct thing from God’s own infinite glory. The apostle’s discourse of the great love of Christ to men (Eph. 5:25, etc.) leads us thus to think of the love of Christ to his church; as coinciding with his love to himself, by virtue of the strict union of the church with him. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it — that he might present it to himself a glorious church. So ought men to love their wives, as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself — even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Now I apprehend, that there is nothing in God’s disposition to communicate of his own fullness to the creatures, that at all derogates from the excellence of it, or the creature’s obligation.
God’s disposition to cause his own infinite fullness to flow forth, is not the less properly called his goodness, because the good he communicates is what he delights in, as he delights in his own glory. The creature has no less benefit by it; neither has such a disposition less of a direct tendency to the creature’s benefit. Nor is this disposition in God, to diffuse his own good, the less excellent, because it is implied in his love to himself. For his love to himself does not imply it any otherwise, but as it implies a love to whatever is worthy and excellent. The emanation of God’s glory is in itself worthy and excellent, and so God delights in it; and this delight is implied in his love to his own fullness; because that is the fountain, the sum and comprehension of every thing that is excellent. Nor does God’s inclination to communicate good from regard to himself, or delight in his own glory, at all diminish the freeness of his beneficence. This will appear, if we consider particularly, in what ways doing good to others from self-love, may be inconsistent with the freeness of beneficence. And I conceive there are only these two ways, 1. When any does good to another from confined selflove, which is opposite to a general benevolence. This kind of self-love is properly called selfishness. In some sense, the most benevolent, generous person in the world, seeks his own happiness in doing good to others; because he places his happiness in their good. His mind is so enlarged as to take them, as it were, into himself. Thus when they are happy, he feels it; he partakes with them, and is happy in their happiness. This is so far from being inconsistent with the freeness of beneficence, that, on the contrary, free benevolence and kindness consists in it. The most free beneficence that can be in men, is doing good, not from a confined selfishness, but from a disposition to general benevolence, or love to being in general.
But now, with respect to the Divine Being, there is no such thing as confined selfishness in him, or a love to himself opposite to general benevolence. It is impossible, because he comprehends all entity, and all excellence, in his own essence. The eternal and infinite Being, is in effect, being in general; and comprehends universal existence. God, in his benevolence to his creatures, cannot have his heart enlarged, in such a manner as to take in beings who are originally out of himself, distinct and independent. This cannot be in an infinite Being, who exists alone from eternity. But he, from his goodness, as it were enlarges himself in a more excellent and divine manner. This is by communicating and diffusing himself; and so, instead of finding, he makes objects of his benevolence — not by taking what he finds distinct from himself, and so partaking of their good, and being happy in them, but — by flowing forth, and expressing himself in them, and making them to partake of him, and then rejoicing in himself expressed in them, and communicated to them.
2. Another thing, in doing good to others from self-love, that derogates from the freeness of the goodness, is acting from dependence on them for the good we need or desire.
So that, in our beneficence, we are not self-moved, but as it were constrained by something without ourselves. But it has been particularly shown already, that God making himself his end, argues no dependence; but is consistent with absolute independence and self-sufficiency. And I would here observe, that there is something in that disposition to communicate goodness, that shows God to be independent and self-moved in it, in a manner that is peculiar, and above the beneficence of creatures. Creatures, even the most excellent, are not independent and self-moved in their goodness; but in all its exercises, they are excited by some object they find: something appearing good, or in some respect worthy of regard, presents itself, and moves their kindness. But God, being all, and alone, is absolutely self-moved. The exercises of his communicative disposition are absolutely from within himself; all that is good and worthy in the object, and its very being, proceeding from the overflowing of his fullness.
These things show that the supposition of God making himself his ultimate end, does not at all diminish the creature’s obligation to gratitude for communications of good received. For if it lessen its obligation, it must be on one of the following accounts. Either, that the creature has not so much benefit by it; or, that the disposition it flows from, is not proper goodness, not having so direct a tendency to the creature’s benefit; or, that the disposition is not so virtuous and excellent in its kind; or, that the beneficence is not so free. But it has been observed, that none of these things take place, with regard to that disposition, which has been supposed to have excited God to create the world. I confess there is a degree of indistinctness and obscurity in the close consideration of such subjects, and a great imperfection in the expressions we use concerning them; arising unavoidably from the infinite sublimity of the subject, and the incomprehensibleness of those things that are divine. Hence revelation is the surest guide in these matters: and what that teaches shall in the next place be considered. Nevertheless, the endeavors used to discover what the voice of reason is, so far as it can go, may serve to prepare the way, by obviating cavils insisted on by many; and to satisfy us, that what the Word of God says of the matter is not unreasonable.
Chapter II Wherein If It Is Inquired, What Is To Be Learned From Holy Scriptures, Concerning God’s Last End In The Creation Of The World
Section I The Scriptures represent God as making himself his own last end in the creation of the world
It is manifest, that the Scriptures speak, on all occasions, as though God made himself his end in all his works; and as though the same being, who is the first cause of all things, were the supreme and last end of all things. Thus in Isa. 44:6, “Thus saith the Lord, the king of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of hosts, I am the first, I also am the last, and besides me there is no God.” Chap. 48:12, “I am the first and I am the last.” Rev. 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and was, and which is to come, the almighty.” Verse 11, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” Verse 17, “I am the first and the last.” Rev. 21:6, “And he said unto me, it is done; I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” Chap. 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
When God is so often spoken of as the last as well as the first, the end as well as the beginning, it is implied, that as he is the first, efficient cause and fountain, from whence all things originate; so, he is the last, final cause for which they are made; the final term to which they all tend in their ultimate issue. This seems to be the most natural import of these expressions; and is confirmed by other parallel passages; as Rom. 11:36, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” Col. 1:16, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.” Heb. 2:10, “For it became him, by whom are all things, and for whom are all things.” And in Pro. 16:4, it is said expressly, “The Lord hath made all things for himself.”
And the manner is observable, in which God is said to be the last, to whom, and for whom, are all things. It is evidently spoken of as a meet and suitable thing, a branch of his glory; a meet prerogative of the great, infinite, and eternal Being; a thing becoming the dignity of him who is infinitely above all other beings; from whom all things are, and by whom they consist; and in comparison with whom all other things are as nothing.
CHAPTER II: Section II Wherein some positions are advanced concerning a just method of arguing in this affair, from what we find in the Holy Scriptures
We have seen, that the Scriptures speak of the creation of the world as being for God, as its end. What remains therefore to be inquired into, is, which way do the Scriptures represent God as making himself his end? It is evident, that God does not make his existence or being the end of the creation; which cannot be supposed without great absurdity. His existence cannot be conceived of but as prior to any of God’s designs. Therefore he cannot create the world to the end that he may have existence; or may have certain attributes and perfections. Nor do the Scriptures give the least intimation of any such thing. Therefore, 27 what divine effect, or what in relation to God, is that which the Scripture teaches us to be the end he aimed at, in his works of creation, and in designing which he makes himself his end? In order to a right understanding of the Scripture doctrine, and drawing just inferences from what we find said in the Word of God, relative to this matter; and so to open the way to a true and definite answer to the above inquiry, I would lay down the following positions.
Position 1. That which appears to be God’s ultimate end in his works of providence in general, we may justly suppose to be his last end in the work of creation. This appears from what was observed before, under the fifth particular of the introduction, which I need not now repeat.
Position 2. When anything appears, by the Scripture, to be the last end of some of the works of God, that thing appears to be the result of God’s works in general. And although it be not mentioned as the end of those works, but only of some of them; yet as nothing appears peculiar in the nature of the case, that renders it a fit, beautiful, and valuable result of those particular works, more than of the rest; we may justly infer that thing to be the last end of those other works also. For we must suppose it to be on account of the value of the effect, that it is made the end of those works of which it is expressly spoken as the end; and this effect, by the supposition, being equally, and in like manner, the result of the work, and of the same value, it is but reasonable to suppose, that it is the end of the work, of which it is naturally the consequence, in one case as well as in another.
Position 3. The ultimate end of God in creating the world being also the last end of all his works of providence, we may well presume that, if there be any particular thing, more frequently mentioned in Scripture, as God’s ultimate aim in his works of providence, than anything else, this is the ultimate end of God’s works in general, and so the end of the work of creation.
Position 4. That which appears, from the Word of God, to be his ultimate end with respect to the moral world, or the intelligent part of the system, that is God’s last end in the work of creation in general. Because it is evident, from the constitution of the world itself, as well as from the Word of God, that the moral part is the end of all the rest of the creation. The inanimate, unintelligent part, is made for the rational, as much as a house is prepared for the inhabitant. And it is evident also from reason and the Word of God, that it is for the sake of some moral good in them, that moral agents are made, and the world made for them. But it is further evident, that whatsoever is the last end of that part of creation, which is the end of all the rest, and for which all the rest of the world was made, must be the last end of the whole. If all the other parts of a watch are made for the hand of the watch, in order to move that aright, then it will follow, that the last end of the hand is the last end of the whole machine. Position 5. That which appears from the Scripture to be God’s ultimate end in the chief works of his providence, we may well determine is God’s last end in creating the world. For, as observed, we may justly infer the end of a thing from the use of it. We must justly infer the end of a clock, a chariot, a ship, or water-engine, from the main use to which it is applied. But God’s providence is his use of the world he has made. And if there be any works of providence which are evidently God’s main works, herein appears and consists the main use that God makes of the creation. — From these two last positions we may infer the next, viz.
Position 6. Whatever appears, by the Scriptures, to be God’s ultimate end in his main works of Providence towards the moral world, that we may justly infer to be the last end of the creation of the world. Because, as was just now observed, the moral world is the chief part of the creation, and the end of the rest; and God’s last end in creating that part of the world, must be his last end in the creation of the whole. And it appears, by the last position, that the end of God’s main works of Providence towards moral beings, or the main use to which he puts them, shows the last end for which he has made them; and consequently the main end for which he has made the whole world.
Position 7. That which divine revelation shows to be God’s ultimate end with respect to that part of the moral world which are good, in their being, and in their being good, this we must suppose to be the last end of God’s creating the world. For it has been already shown, that God’s last end in the moral part of creation must be the end of the whole. But his end in that part of the moral world that are good, must be the last end for which he has made the moral world in general. For therein consists the goodness of a thing, its fitness to answer its end; at least this must be goodness in the eyes of its author. For goodness in his eyes, is its agreeableness to his mind. But an agreeableness to his mind, in what he makes for some end or use, must be an agreeableness or fitness to that end. For his end in this case is his mind. That which he chiefly aims at in that thing. And therefore, they are good moral agents who are fitted for the end for which God has made moral agents. And consequently, that which is the chief end to which good created moral agents, in being good, are fitted, this is the chief end of the moral part of the creation; and consequently of the creation in general.
Position 8. That which the Word of God requires the intelligent and moral part of the world to seek, as their ultimate and highest end, that we have reason to suppose is the last end for which God has made them; and consequently, by position fourth, the last end for which he has made the whole world. A main difference between the intelligent and moral parts, and the rest of the world, lies in this, that the former are capable of knowing their Creator, and the end for which he made them, and capable of actively complying with his design in their creation, and promoting it; while other creatures cannot promote the design of their creation, only passively and eventually. And seeing they are capable of knowing the end for which their author has made them, it is doubtless their duty to fall in with it. Their wills ought to comply with the will of the Creator in this respect, in mainly seeking the same, as their last end, which God mainly seeks as their last end. This must be the law of nature and reason with respect to them. And we must suppose that God’s revealed law, and the law of nature, agree; and that his will, as a lawgiver, must agree with his will as a Creator. Therefore we justly infer, that the same thing which God’s revealed law requires intelligent creatures to seek, as their last and greatest end, that God their Creator had made their last end, and so the end of the creation of the world.
Position 9. We may well suppose, that what is in Holy Scripture, stated as the main end of the goodness of the moral world — so that the respect and relation their goodness has to that end, is what chiefly makes it valuable and desirable — is God’s ultimate end in the creation of the moral world; and so, by position the fourth, of the whole world. For the end of the goodness of a thing, is the end of the thing. Position 10. That which persons who are described in Scripture as approved saints, and set forth as examples of piety, sought as their last and highest end, in the instances of their good and approved behavior; that, we must suppose, was what they ought to seek as their last end: and consequently by the preceding position, was the same with God’s last end in the creation of the world.
Position 11. What appears by the Word of God to be that end, in the desires of which the souls of the best, and in their best frames, most naturally and directly exercise their goodness, and in expressing their desire of this end, they do most properly and directly express their respect to God; we may well suppose that end to be the chief and ultimate end of a spirit of piety and goodness, and God’s chief end in making the moral world, and so the whole world. For, doubtless, the most direct tendency of a spirit of true goodness, in the best part of the moral world, is to the chief end of goodness, and so the chief end of the creation of the moral world. And in what else can the spirit of the true respect and friendship to God be expressed by way of desire, than in desires of the same end which God himself chiefly and ultimately desires in making them and all other things.
Position 12. Since the Holy Scriptures teach us that Jesus Christ is the Head of the moral world, and especially of all the good part of it; the chief of God’s servants, appointed to be the Head of his saints and angels, and set forth as the chief and most perfect pattern and example of goodness; we may well suppose, 29 by the foregoing positions, that what he sought as his last end, was God’s last end in the creation of the world.
Chapter II: Section III Particular texts of Scripture, that show that God’s glory is an ultimate end of the creation
1. What God says in his Word, naturally leads us to suppose, that the way in which he makes himself his end in his work or works, which he does for his own sake, is in making his glory his end.
Thus Isa. 48:11, “For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it. For how should my name be polluted; and I will not give my glory to another.” Which is as much as to say, I will obtain my end; I will not forego my glory; another shall not take this prize from me. It is pretty evident here, that God’s name and his glory, which seem to intend the same thing, as shall be observed more particularly afterwards, are spoken of as his last end in the great work mentioned; not as an inferior, subordinate end, subservient to the interest of others. The words are emphatical. The emphasis and repetition constrain us to understand, that what God does is ultimately for his own sake: “For my own sake, even for my own sake will I do it.” So the words of the apostle, in Rom. 11:36, naturally lead us to suppose, that the way in which all things are to God, is in being for his glory. “For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” In the preceding context, the apostle observes the marvelous disposals of divine wisdom, for causing all things to be to him, in their final issue and result, as they are from him at first, and governed by him. His discourse shows how God contrived this and brought it to pass, by setting up the kingdom of Christ in the world; leaving the Jews, and calling the Gentiles; including what he would hereafter do in bringing in the Jews, with the fullness of the Gentiles; with the circumstances of these wonderful works, so as greatly to show his justice and his goodness, to magnify his grace, and manifest the sovereignty and freeness of it, and the absolute dependence of all on him. And then, in the four last verses, he breaks out into a most pathetic exclamation, expressing his great admiration of the depth of divine wisdom, in the steps he takes for attaining his end, and causing all things to be to him: and finally, he expresses a joyful consent to God’s excellent design in all to glorify himself, in saying, “to him be glory for ever;” as much as to say, as all things are so wonderfully ordered for his glory, so let him have the glory of all, for evermore.
2. The glory of God is spoken of in Holy Scripture as the last end for which those parts of the moral world that are good were made.
Thus is Isa. 43:6, 7, “I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from afar; and my daughters from the ends of the earth, even every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, yea I have made him.” Again, Isa. 60:21, “Thy people also shall be all righteous. They shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand, that I may be glorified.” Also chap. 61:3, “That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
In these places we see, that the glory of God is spoken of as the end of God’s saints, the end for which he makes them, i.e. either gives them being, or gives them a being as saints, or both. It is said, that God has 30 made and formed them to be his sons and daughters, for his own glory: That they are trees of his planting, the work of his hands, as trees of righteousness, that he might be glorified. And if we consider the words, especially as taken with the context in each of the places, it will appear quite natural to suppose, that God’s glory is here spoken of only as an end inferior and subordinate to the happiness of God’s people. On the contrary, they will appear rather as promises of making God’s people happy, that God therein might be glorified.
So is that in Isa. 43 as we shall see plainly, if we take the whole that is said from the beginning of the chapter, verse 1-7. It is wholly a promise of a future, great, and wonderful work of God’s power and grace, delivering his people from all misery, and making them exceeding happy; and then the end of all, or the sum of God’s design in all, is declared to be God’s own glory. “I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine. — I will be with thee. — When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. — Thou art precious and honourable in my sight. I will give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not, I am with thee. — I will bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory.”
So Isa. 60:21. The whole chapter is made up of nothing but promises of future, exceeding happiness to God’s church; but, for brevity’s sake, let us take only the two preceding verses 19, 20, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands;” and then the end of all is added, “that I might be glorified.” All the preceding promises are plainly mentioned as so many parts, or constituents, of the great and exceeding happiness of God’s people; and God’s glory is mentioned, as the sum of his design in this happiness. In like manner is the promise in Isa. 61:3, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” The work of God promised to be effected, is plainly an accomplishment of the joy, gladness, and happiness of God’s people, instead of their mourning and sorrow; and the end in which God’s design in this work is obtained and summed up, is his glory. This proves, by the seventh position, that God’s glory is the end of the creation.
The same thing may be argued from Jer. 13:11, “For as a girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord: that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.” That is, God sought to make them to be his own holy people; or, as the apostle expresses it, his peculiar people, zealous of good works; that so they might be a glory to him; as girdles were used in those days for ornament and beauty, and as badges of dignity and honor. (See Jer. 13:9, and also Isa. 3:24, and 22:21, and 23:10; 2 Sam. 18:11; Exo. 28:8.)
Now when God speaks of himself, as seeking a peculiar and holy people for himself, to be for his glory and honor, as a man that seeks an ornament and badge of honor for his glory, it is not natural to understand it merely of a subordinate end, as though God had no respect to himself in it; but only the good of others. If so, the comparison would not be natural; for men are commonly wont to seek their own glory and honor in adorning themselves, and dignifying themselves with badges of honor. The same doctrine seems to be taught, Eph. 1:5, “Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” — And the same may be argued from Isa. 44:23, “For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, he hath glorified himself in Israel.” And chap. 49:3, “Thou art my servant Jacob, in whom I will be glorified.” 31 John 17:10, “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.” 2 Thes. 1:10, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints.” Verse 11, 12, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
3. The Scripture speaks of God’s glory, as his ultimate end of the goodness of the moral part of the creation; and that end, in relation to which chiefly the value of their virtue consists.
As in Phil. 1:10, 11, “That ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere, and without offense, till the day of Christ: being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Here the apostle shows how the fruits of righteousness in them are valuable, and how they answer their end, viz. In being “by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.” John 15:8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” Signifying, that by this means it is that the great end of religion is to be answered. And in 1 Pet. 4:11, the apostle directs the Christians to regulate all their religious performances with reference to that one end. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified; to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
And, from time to time, embracing and practicing true religion, and repenting of sin, and turning to holiness, is expressed by glorifying God, as though that were the sum and end of the whole matter. Rev. 11:13, “And in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” So Rev. 14:6, 7, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth; saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him.” As though this were the sum and end of that virtue and religion, which was the grand design of preaching the gospel, everywhere through the world. Rev. 16:9, “And repented not to give him glory.” Which is as much as to say, they did not forsake their sins and turn to true religion, that God might receive that which is the great end he seeks, in the religion he requires of men. (See to the same purpose, Psa. 22:21-23; Isa. 66:19; 24:15; 25:3; Jer. 13:15, 16; Dan. 5:23; Rom. 15:5, 6.) And as the exercise of true religion and virtue in Christians is summarily expressed by their glorifying God, so, when the good influence of this on others is spoken of, it is expressed in the same manner. Mat. 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that others seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 1 Pet. 2:12, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak evil against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
That the ultimate end of moral goodness, or righteousness, is answered in God’s glory being attained, is supposed in the objection which the apostle makes, or supposes some will make, Rom. 3:7, “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why am I judged as a sinner?” i.e. seeing the great end of righteousness is answered by my sin, in God being glorified, why is my sin condemned and punished? and why is not my vice equivalent to virtue?
And the glory of God is spoken of as that wherein consists the value and end of particular graces. As of faith. Rom. 4:20, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” Phil. 2:11, “That every tongue should confess that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Of repentance. Jos. 7:19, “Give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him.” Of charity. 2 Cor. 8:19, “With this grace, which is administered by us, to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind.” Thanksgiving and praise. Luke 17:18, “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Psa. 50:23, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.” 32 Concerning which last place may be observed, that God seems to say this to such as supposed, in their religious performances, that the end of all religion was to glorify God. They supposed they did this in the best manner, in offering a multitude of sacrifices; but God corrects their mistake, and informs them, that this grand end of religion is not attained this way, but in offering the more spiritual sacrifices of praise and a holy conversation.
In fine, the words of the apostle in 1 Cor. 6:20 are worthy of particular notice. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his.” Here, not only is glorifying God spoken of, as what summarily comprehends the end of religion, and of Christ redeeming us; but the apostle urges, that inasmuch as we are not our own, we ought not to act as if we were our own, but as God’s; and should not use the members of our bodies, or faculties of our souls, for ourselves, but for God, as making him our end. And he expresses the way in which we are to make God our end, viz. In making his glory our end. “Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his.” Here it cannot be pretended, that though Christians are indeed required to make God’s glory their end; yet it is but as a subordinate end, as subservient to their own happiness; for then, in acting chiefly and ultimately for their own selves, they would use themselves more as their own than as God’s; which is directly contrary to the design of the apostle’s exhortation, and the argument he is upon; which is, that we should give ourselves as it were away from ourselves to God, and use ourselves as his, and not our own, acting for his sake, and not our own sakes. Thus it is evident, by position the ninth, that the glory of God is the last end for which he created the world.
4. There are some things in the Word of God which lead us to suppose, that it requires of men that they should desire and seek God’s glory, as their highest and last end in what they do.
As particularly, from 1 Cor. 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And 1 Pet. 4:11, — “That God in all things may be glorified.” And this may be argued, that Christ requires his followers should desire and seek God’s glory in the first place, and above all things else, from that prayer which he gave his disciples, as the pattern and rule for the direction of his followers in their prayers. The first petition of which is, Hallowed be thy name. Which in scripture language is the same with glorified be thy name; as is manifest from Lev. 10:3; Eze. 28:22, and many other places. Now our last and highest end is doubtless what should be first in our desires, and consequently first in our prayers; and therefore, we may argue, that since Christ directs that God’s glory should be first in our prayers, that therefore this is our last end. This is further confirmed by the conclusion of the Lord’s prayer, For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory. Which, as it stands in connection with the rest of the prayer, implies, that we desire and ask all the things mentioned in each petition, with a subordination, and in subservience, to the dominion and glory of God; in which all our desires ultimately terminate, as their last end. God’s glory and dominion are the two first things mentioned in the prayer, and are the subject of the first half of the prayer; and they are the two last things mentioned in the same prayer, in its conclusion. God’s glory is the Alpha and Omega in the prayer. From these things we may argue, according to position the eighth, that God’s glory is the last end of the creation.
5. The glory of God appears, by the account given in Scripture, to be that event, in the earnest desires of which, and in their delight in which, the best part of the moral world, and when in their best frames, most naturally express the direct tendency of the spirit of true goodness, the virtuous and pious affections of their heart.
This is the way in which the holy apostles, from time to time, gave vent to the ardent exercises of their piety, and breathed forth their regard to the Supreme Being. Rom. 11:36, “To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Chap. 16:27, “To God only wise, be glory, through Jesus Christ, for ever. Amen.” Gal. 1:4, 5, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Tim. 4:18, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me to his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Eph. 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end.” Heb. 13:21. — “Through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Phil. 4:20, “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 2 Pet. 3:18, “To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Jude 25, “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Rev. 1:5, 6, “Unto him that loved us, etc. — to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
It was in this way that holy David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, vented the ardent tendencies and desires of his pious heart. 1 Chr. 16:28, 29, “Give unto the Lord, ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength: give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name.” We have much the same expressions again, Psa. 29:1, 2, and 69:7, 8. See also, Psa. 57:5; 72:18, 19; 115:1. So the whole church of God through all parts of the earth, Isa. 42:10-12. In like manner the saints and angels in heaven express the piety of their hearts, Rev. 4:9-11, and 7:12. This is the event that the hearts of the seraphim especially exult in, as appears by Isa. 6:2, 3, “Above it stood the seraphim — And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.” So at the birth of Christ, Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest,” etc.
It is manifest that these holy persons in earth and heaven, in thus expressing their desires of the glory of God, have respect to it, not merely as a subordinate end, but as that which is in itself valuable in the highest degree. It would be absurd to say, that in these ardent exclamations, they are only giving vent to their vehement benevolence to their fellow creatures, and expressing their earnest desire that God might be glorified, that so his subjects may be made happy by that means. It is evident, it is not so much their love, either to themselves, or their fellow creatures, which they express, as their exalted and supreme regard to the most high and infinitely glorious Being. When the church says, Not unto us, not unto us, O Jehovah, but to thy name give glory, it would be absurd to say, that she only desires that God may have glory, as a necessary or convenient means of their own advancement and felicity. From these things it appears by the eleventh position, that God’s glory is the end of the creation. 6. The Scripture leads us to suppose, that Christ sought God’s glory, as his highest and last end.
John 7:18, “He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” When Christ says, he did not seek his own glory, we cannot reasonably understand him, that he had no regard to his own glory, even the glory of the human nature; for the glory of that nature was part of the reward promised him, and of the joy set before him. But we must understand him, that this was not his ultimate aim; it was not the end that chiefly governed his conduct: and therefore, when in opposition to this, in the latter part of the sentence, he says, “But he that 34 seeketh his glory that sent him the same is true,” etc. It is natural from the antithesis to understand him, that this was his ultimate aim, his supreme governing end.
John 12:27, 28, “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour, Father, glorify thy name.” Christ was now going to Jerusalem, and expected in a few days there to be crucified: and the prospect of his last sufferings, in this near approach, was very terrible to him. Under this distress of mind, he supports himself with a prospect of what would be the consequence of his sufferings, viz. God’s glory. Now, it is the end that supports the agent in any difficult work that he undertakes, and above all others, his ultimate and supreme end; for this is above all others valuable in his eyes; and so, sufficient to countervail the difficulty of the means. That end, which is in itself agreeable and sweet to him, and which ultimately terminates his desires, is the center of rest and support; and so must be the fountain and sum of all the delight and comfort he has in his prospects, with respect to his work. Now Christ has his soul straitened and distressed with a view of that which was infinitely the most difficult part of his work, and which was just at hand. Now certainly, if his mind seeks support in the conflict from a view of his end, it must most naturally repair to the highest end, which is the proper fountain of all support in this case. We may well suppose, that when his soul conflicts with the most extreme difficulties, it would resort to the idea of his supreme and ultimate end, the fountain of all the support and comfort he has in the work.
The same thing, Christ seeking the glory of God as his ultimate end, is manifest by what he says, when he comes yet nearer to the hour of his last sufferings, in that remarkable prayer, the last he ever made with his disciples, on the evening before his crucifixion; wherein he expresses the sum of his aims and desires. His first words are, “Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” As this is his first request, we may suppose it to be his supreme request and desire, and what he ultimately aimed at in all. If we consider what follows to the end, all the rest that is said in the prayer, seems to be but an amplification of this great request. — On the whole, I think it is pretty manifest, that Jesus Christ sought the glory of God as his highest and last end; and that therefore, by position twelfth, this was God’s last end in the creation of the world.
7. It is manifest from Scripture, that God’s glory is the last end of that great work of providence, the work of redemption by Jesus Christ.
This is manifest from what is just now observed, of its being the end ultimately sought by Jesus Christ the Redeemer. And if we further consider the texts mentioned in the proof of that, and take notice of the context, it will be very evident, that it was what Christ sought as his last end, in that great work which he came into the world upon, viz. to procure redemption for his people. It is manifest, that Christ professes in John 7:18. that he did not seek his own glory in what he did, but the glory of him that sent him. He means, in the work of his ministry; the work he performed, and which he came into the world to perform, which is the work of redemption. And with respect to that text, John 12:27, 28, it has been already observed, that Christ comforted himself in the view of the extreme difficulty of his work, in the prospect of the highest, ultimate, and most excellent end of that work, which he set his heart most upon, and delighted most in. And in the answer that the Father made him from heaven at that time, in the latter part of the same verse, John 12:28, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The meaning plainly is, that God had glorified his name in what Christ had done, in the work he sent him upon; and would glorify it again, and to a greater degree, in what he should further do, and in the success thereof. Christ shows that he understood it thus, in what he says upon it, when the people took notice of it, wondering at the voice; some saying, that it thundered, others, that an angel spoke to him. Christ says, “This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.” And then he says (exulting in the prospect of this glorious end and success), “Now is the judgment of this world; now is the prince of this world cast out; and I, if I be lift up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” In the success of the same work of redemption, he places his 35 own glory, as was observed before. John 12:23, 24, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
So it is manifest, that when he seeks his own and his Father’s glory, in that prayer, John 17. he seeks it as the end of that great work he came into the world upon, and which he is about to finish in his death. What follows through the whole prayer, plainly shows this; particularly the 4th and 5th verses, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self.” Here it is pretty plain, that declaring to his Father he had glorified him on earth, and finished the work given him to do, meant that he had finished the work which God gave him to do for this end, that he might be glorified. He had now finished that foundation that he came into the world to lay for his glory. He had laid a foundation for his Father’s obtaining his will, and the utmost that he designed. By which it is manifest, that God’s glory was the utmost of his design, or his ultimate end in this great work. And it is manifest, by John 13:31, 32, that the glory of the father, and his own glory, are what Christ exulted in, in the prospect of his approaching sufferings, when Judas was gone out to betray him, as the end his heart was mainly set upon, and supremely delighted in. “Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.”
That the glory of God is the highest and last end of the work of redemption, is confirmed by the song of the angels at Christ’s birth. Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men.” It must be supposed that they knew what was God’s last end in sending Christ into the world: and that in their rejoicing on the occasion, their minds would most rejoice in that which was most valuable and glorious in it; which must consist in its relation to that which was its chief and ultimate end. And we may further suppose, that the thing which chiefly engaged their minds was most glorious and joyful in the affair; and would be first in that song which was to express the sentiments of their minds, and exultation of their hearts.
The glory of the Father and the Son is spoken of as the end of the work of redemption, in Phil. 2:6-11. (very much in the same manner as in John 12:23, 28, and 13:31, 32, and 17:1, 4, 5), “Who being in the form of God, — made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross: wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name, etc. that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, — and every tongue confess, that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” So God’s glory, or the praise of his glory, is spoken of as the end of the work of redemption, in Eph. 1:3, etc. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him. Having predestinated us to the adoption of children, to the praise of the glory of his grace.” And in the continuance of the same discourse, concerning the redemption of Christ, God’s glory is once and again mentioned as the great end of all.
Several things belonging to that great redemption, are mentioned in the following verses: Such as God’s great wisdom in it, Eph. 1:8. The clearness of light granted through Christ, verse 9. God’s gathering together in one, all things in heaven and earth in Christ, verse 10. God’s giving the Christians that were first converted to the Christian faith from among the Jews, an interest in this great redemption, Eph. 1:11. Then the great end is added, verse 12. “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” And then is mentioned the bestowing of the same great salvation on the Gentiles, in its beginning or first fruits in the world, and in completing it in another world, in the two next verses. And then the same great end is added again. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise 36 of his glory.” The same thing is expressed much in the same manner, in 2 Cor. 4:14, 15. — “He which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundance of grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God.”
The same is spoken of as the end of the work of redemption in the Old Testament, Psa. 79:9, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; deliver us and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.” So in the prophecies of the redemption of Jesus Christ. Isa. 44:23, “Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains: O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel!” Thus the works of creation are called upon to rejoice at the attaining of the same end, by the redemption of God’s people, that the angels rejoiced at when Christ was born. See also Isa. 48:10, 11; and 49:3. Thus it is evident, that the glory of God is the ultimate end of the work of redemption; which is the chief work of providence towards the moral world, as is abundantly manifest from Scripture. For the whole universe is put in subjection to Jesus Christ; all heaven and earth, angels and men, are subject to him, as executing this office; and are put under him to that end, that all things may be ordered by him, in subservience to the great designs of his redemption. All power, as he says, is given to him, in heaven and in earth, that he may give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him; and he is exalted far above all principality and power, and might and dominion, and made head over all things to the church. The angels are put in subjection to him, that he may employ them all as ministering spirits, for the good of them that shall be the heirs of salvation: and all things are so governed by their Redeemer, that all things are theirs, whether things present or things to come: and all God’s works of providence in the moral government of the world, which we have an account of in scripture history, or that are foretold in scripture prophecy, are evidently subordinate to the great purposes and ends of this great work. And besides, the work of redemption is that, by which good men are, as it were, brought into being, as good men, or as restored to holiness and happiness. The work of redemption is a new creation, according to Scripture, whereby men are brought into a new existence, or are made new creatures.
From these things it follows, according to the 5th, 6th, and 7th positions, that the glory of God is the last end of the creation of the world.
8. The Scripture leads us to suppose that God’s glory is his last end in his moral government of the world in general.
This has been already shown concerning several things that belong to God’s moral government of the world. As particularly in the work of redemption, the chief of all his dispensations in his moral government of the world. And I have also observed it, with respect to the duty which God requires of the subjects of his moral government, in requiring them to seek his glory as their last end. And this is actually the last end of the moral goodness required of them, the end which gives their moral goodness its chief value. And also, that it is what that person which God has set at the head of the moral world, as its chief governor, even Jesus Christ, seeks as his chief end. And it has been shown, that it is the chief end for which that part of the moral world which are good are made, or have their existence as good. I now further observe, that this is the end of the establishment of the public worship and ordinances of God among mankind. Hag. 1:8, “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.” This is spoken of as the end of God’s promises of rewards, and of their fulfillment. 2 Cor. 1:20, “For all he promises of God in him, are yea, and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us.” And this is spoken of as the end of the execution of God’s threatenings, in the punishment of sin. Num. 14:20, 21, 22, 23, “And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word. But, as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah.” The glory o Jehovah is evidently here spoken of, as that to which he had regard, as his highest and ultimate end, which therefore 37 he could not fail of; but must take place everywhere, and in every case, through all parts of his dominion, whatever became of men. And whatever abatements might be made, as to judgments deserved; and whatever changes might be made in the course of God’s proceedings from compassion to sinners; yet the attaining of God’s glory was an end, which, being ultimate and supreme, must in no case whatsoever give place. This is spoken of as the end of God executing judgments on his enemies in this world. Exo. 14:17, 18, “And I will get me honour (I will be glorified) upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host,” etc. Eze. 28:22, “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I am against thee, O Zidon, and I will be glorified in the midst of thee: And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have executed judgments in her, and shall be sanctified in her.” So Eze. 39:13, “Yea, all the people of the land shall bury them; and it shall be to them a renown, the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord God.” And this is spoken of as the end, both of the executions of wrath, and in the glorious exercises of mercy, in the misery and happiness of another world. Rom. 9:22, 23, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long-suffering, the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” And this is spoken of as the end of the day of judgment, which is the time appointed for the highest exercises of God’s authority as moral Governor of the world; and is as it were the day of the consummation of God’s moral government, with respect to all his subjects in heaven, earth, and hell. 2 Thes. 1:9, 10, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” Then his glory shall be obtained, with respect both to saints and sinners. — From these things it is manifest, by the fourth position, that God’s glory is the ultimate end of the creation of the world. 9. It appears, from what has been already observed, that the glory of God is spoken of in Scripture as the last end of many of his works: and it is plain that this is in fact the result of the works of God’s common providence, and of the creation of the world.
Let us take God’s glory in what sense so that, consistent with its being a good attained by any work of God, certainly it is the consequence of these works: and besides, it is expressly so spoken of in Scripture. This is implied in the eighth psalm, wherein are celebrated the works of creation: the heavens, the work of God’s fingers; the moon and the stars, ordained by him; and man, made a little lower than the angels, etc. the first verse is — ”O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who has set thy glory above the heavens,” or upon the heavens. By name and glory, very much the same thing is intended here, as in many other places, as shall be particularly shown afterwards. The psalm concludes as it began, “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” So, in the Psalm 148, after a particular mention of most of the works of creation, enumerating them in order, the psalmist says, verse 13, “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is excellent, his glory is above the earth and the heaven.” And in the Psalm 104, after a very particular, orderly, and magnificent representation of God’s works of creation and common providence, it is said in the verse 31, “The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.” Here God’s glory is spoken of as the grand result and blessed consequence, on account of which he rejoices in these works. And this is one thing doubtless implied in the song of the seraphim, Isa. 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The glory of God, in being the result and consequence of those works of providence that have been mentioned, is in fact the consequence of the creation. The good attained in the use of a thing, made for use, is the result of the making of that thing; as signifying the time of day, when actually attained by the use of a watch, is the consequence of making the watch. So it is apparent, that the glory of God is actually the result and consequence of the creation of the world. And from what has been already observed, it 38 appears, that it is what God seeks as good, valuable, and excellent in itself. And I presume none will pretend, that there is anything peculiar in the nature of the case, rendering it a thing valuable in some of the instances wherein it takes place, and not in others: or that the glory of God, though indeed an effect of all God’s works, is an exceeding desirable effect of some of them; but of others, a worthless and insignificant effect. God’s glory therefore must be a desirable, valuable consequence of the work of creation. Therefore it is manifest, by position the third, that the glory of God is an ultimate end in the creation of the world.
Chapter II: Section IV Places of Scripture that lead us to suppose, that God created the world for his name, to make his perfections known; and that he made it for his praise.
1. Here I shall first take notice of some passages of Scripture that speak of God’s name as being the object of his regard, and the regard of his virtuous and holy intelligent creatures, much in the same manner as has been observed of God’s glory.
God’s name is, in like manner, spoken of as the end of his acts of goodness towards the good part of the moral world, and of his works of mercy and salvation towards his people. As 1 Sam. 12:22, “The Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake.” Psa. 23:3, “He restoreth my soul, he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.” Psa. 31:3, “For thy name’s sake, lead me, and guide me.” Psa. 109:21, “But do thou for me, — for thy name’s sake.” The forgiveness of sin in particular, is often spoken of as being for God’s name’s sake. 1 John 2:12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Psa. 25:11, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” Psa. 79:9, “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.” Jer. 14:7, “O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake.”
These things seem to show, that the salvation of Christ is for God’s name sake. Leading and guiding in the way of safety and happiness, restoring the soul, the forgiveness of sin; and that help, deliverance, and salvation, that is consequent therein, is for God’s name. And here it is observable, that those two great temporal salvations of God’s people, the redemption from Egypt, and that from Babylon, often represented as figures and similitudes of the redemption of Christ, are frequently spoken of as being wrought for God’s name’s sake.
Thus that great work of God, in delivering his people from Egypt, and conducting them to Canaan. 2 Sam. 7:23, “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name.” Psa. 106:8, “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake.” Isa. 63:12, “That led them by the right hand of Moses, with his glorious arm, dividing the waters before them, to make himself an everlasting name.” In Ezekiel 20, God, rehearsing the various parts of this wonderful work, adds, from time to time, “I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen,” as in verse 9, 14, 22. (See also Jos. 7:8, 9; Dan. 9:15.)
So is the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. Isa. 48:9, 10, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it; for how should my name be polluted?” In Eze. 36:21, 22, 23, the reason is given for God’s mercy in restoring Israel, “But I had pity for my holy 39 name. Thus saith the Lord, I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name’s sake; — And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen.” And chap. 39:25, “Therefore, thus saith the Lord God, now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name.” Daniel prays, that God would forgive his people, and show them mercy for his own sake. Dan. 9:19.
When God, from time to time, speaks of showing mercy, and exercising goodness, and promoting his people’s happiness for his name’s sake, we cannot understand it as of a merely subordinate end. How absurd would it be to say, that he promotes their happiness for his name’s sake, in subordination to their good; and that his name may be exalted only for their sakes, as a means of promoting their happiness! especially when such expressions as these are used, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it; for how should my name be polluted?” and “Not for your sakes do I this, but for my holy name’s sake.” Again, it is represented as though God’s people had their existence, at least as God’s people, for God’s name’s sake. God’s redeeming or purchasing them, that they might be his people, for his name, implies this. As in that passage mentioned before, 2 Sam. 7:23, “Thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name.” So God making them a people for his name, is implied in Jer. 13:11, “For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, etc. — that they may be unto me for a people, and for a name.” Acts 15:14, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” This also is spoken of as the end of the virtue, religion, and holy behavior of the saints. Rom. 1:5, “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations for his name.” Mat. 19:29, “Every one that forsaketh houses, or brethren, etc. — for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” 3 John 7, “Because, that for his name’s sake, they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.” Rev. 2:3, “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured and hast not fainted.”
And we find that holy persons express their desire of this, and their joy in it, in the same manner as in the glory of God. 2 Sam. 7:26, “Let thy name be magnified for ever.” Psa. 76:1, “In Judah is God known, his name is great in Israel.” Psa. 148:13, “Let them praise the name of the Lord; for his name alone is excellent, his glory is above the earth and heaven.” Psa. 135:13, “Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever, and thy memorial throughout all generations.” Isa. 12:4, “Declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.”
The judgments God executes on the wicked, are spoken of as being for the sake of his name, in like manner as for his glory. Exo. 9:16, “And in very deed, for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Neh. 9:10, “And showedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land; for thou knewedst that they dealt proudly against them: so didst thou get thee a name, as at this day.” And this is spoken of as a consequence of the works of creation, in like manner as God’s glory. Psa. 8:1, “O Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” And then, at the conclusion of the observations on the works of creation, the psalm ends thus, verse 9, “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” So Psa. 148:13, after a particular mention of the various works of creation. “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is excellent in all the earth, his glory is above the earth and the heaven.”
2. So we find the manifestation of God’s perfections, his greatness and excellency, is spoken of very much in the same manner as God’s glory.
There are several scriptures which would lead us to suppose this to be the great thing that God sought of the moral world and the end aimed at in moral agents, wherein they are to be active in answering their end. This seems implied in that argument God’s people sometimes made use of, in deprecating a state of death and destruction: that, in such a state, they cannot know, or make known, the glorious excellency of God. Psa. 88:11, 12, “Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark, and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?” So Psa. 30:9; Isa. 38:18, 19. The argument seems to be this: Why should we perish? and how shall thine end, for which thou hast made us, be obtained in a state of destruction, in which thy glory cannot be known or declared?
This is the end of the good part of the moral world, or the end of God’s people in the same manner as the glory of God. Isa. 43:21, “This my people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise.” 1 Pet. 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into marvellous light.” And this seems to be represented as the thing wherein the value, the proper fruit and end of their virtue appears. Isa. 60:6, speaking of the conversion of the Gentile nations to true religion, “They shall come and show forth the praises of the Lord.” Isa. 66:19, “I will send — — unto the nations — and to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.” — To which we may add, the proper tendency and rest of true virtue, and holy dispositions. 1 Chr. 16:8, “Make known his deeds among the people.” Verse 23, 24, “Show forth from day to day thy salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen.” (See also, Psa. 9:1, 11, 14, and 19:1, and 26:7; and Psa. 71:18, and 75:9, and 76:1, and 79:13; and Psa. 96:2, 3, and 101:1, and 107:22, and 118:17, and 145:6, 11, 12; Isa. 42:12, and 64:1, 2; Jer. 51:10)
This seems to be spoken of as a great end of the acts of God’s moral government; particularly, the great judgments he executes for sin. Exo. 9:16, “And in very deed, for this cause have I raised thee up, to show in thee my power; and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” Dan. 4:17, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, etc. to the intent, that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will; and setteth up over it the basest of men.” But places to this purpose are too numerous to be particularly recited. See them in the margin. (Exo. 14:17, 18; 1 Sam. 17:46; Psa. 83:18; Isa. 45:3; Eze. 6:7, 10, 13, 14, and 7:4, 9, 27, and 11:10, 11, 12; and Eze. 12:15, 16, 20, and 13:9, 14, 21, 23, and 14:8; and Eze. 15:7, and 21:5, and 22:16, and 25:7, 11, 17; and Eze. 26:6, and 28:22, 23, 24, and 29:9, 16, and 30:8, 19, 25, 26; and Eze. 32:15, and 33:29, and 35:4, 12, 15, and 38:23, and 39:6, 7, 21, 22)
This is also a great end of God’s works of favor and mercy to his people. 2 Kin. 19:19, “Now, therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only.” 1 Kin. 8:59, 60. — “That he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel, at all times, as the matter shall require, that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.” See other passages to the same purpose referred to in the margin. (Exo. 6:7, and 8:22, and 16:12; 1 Kin. 8:43, and 20:28; Psa. 102:21; Eze. 23:49, and 24:21, and 25:5, and 35:9, and 39:21, 22).
This is spoken of as the end of the eternal damnation of the wicked, and also the eternal happiness of the righteous. Rom. 9:22, 23, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath afore prepared unto glory?” 41 This is spoken of, from time to time, as a great end of the miracles which God wrought (See Exo. 7:17, and 8:10, and 10:2; Deu. 29:5, 6; Eze. 24:17). And of the ordinances he has established. Exo. 29:44, 45, 46, “And I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priests’ office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God,” etc. Chap. 31:13, “Verily, my sabbaths shall ye keep; for it is a sign between me and you, throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” We have again almost the same words, Eze.20:12, and verse 20.
This was a great end of the redemption out of Egypt. Psa. 106:8, “Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.” (See also Exo. 7:5, and Deu. 4:34, 35) And also of the redemption from the Babylonish captivity. Eze. 20:34-38, “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries whither ye are scattered. — And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people; and there I will ill plead with you, as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt. — And I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. And I will purge out the rebels. — And ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Eze. 20:42, “And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel.” Verse 44, “And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have wrought with you for my name’s sake.” (See also Eze. 28:25, 26, and 36:11, and 37:6, 13.) This is also declared to be a great end of the work of redemption by Jesus Christ: both of its purchase, and its application. Rom. 3:25, 26, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness. — To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus.” Eph. 2:4-7, “But God, who is rich in mercy, etc. That he might show the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us through Jesus Christ.” Chap. 3:8, 9, 10, “To preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see, what is the fellowship of that mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Psa. 22:21, 22, “Save me from the lion’s mouth. I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” (Compared with Heb. 2:12, and John 17:26.) Isa. 64:1-2, “O that thou wouldest rend the heavens — to make thy name known to thine adversaries.”
And it is pronounced to be the end of that great, actual salvation, which should follow Christ’s purchase of salvation, both among Jews and Gentiles. Isa. 49:22, 23, “I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, — and they shall bring thy sons in their arms — and kings shall be thy nursing-fathers — and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.” (See also, Eze. 16:62, and 29:21, and 34:27, and 36:38, and 39:28, 29; Joel 3:17) This appears to be the end of God’s common providence, Job 37:6, 7, “For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth. Likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man, that all men may know his work.” And of the day of judgment, that grand consummation of God’s moral government of the world, and the day for bringing all things to their designed ultimate issue. It is called, “The day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Rom. 2:5. And the declaration, or openly manifesting of God’s excellency, is spoken of as the actual, happy consequence and effect of the work of creation. Psa. 19:1, etc. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, night unto night showeth knowledge. — In them hath he placed a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run his race,” etc.
3. In like manner, there are many scriptures that speak of God’s PRAISE, in many of the aforementioned respects, just in the same manner as of his name and glory.
This is spoken of as the end of the very being of God’s people, in the same manner as before, Jer. 13:11, “For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord: that they might be unto me for a name, and for a praise, and a glory.”
It is spoken of as the end of the moral world. Mat. 21:16, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise.” That is, so have you in your sovereignty and wisdom ordered it, that you should obtain the great end for which intelligent creatures are made, more especially from some of them that are in themselves weak, inferior, and more insufficient. (Compare Psa. 8:1, 2.)
And the same thing that was observed before concerning the making known God’s excellency, may also be observed concerning God’s praise. That it is made use of as an argument in deprecating a state of destruction; that, in such a state, this end cannot be answered, in such a manner as seems to imply its being an ultimate end, for which God had made man. Psa. 88:10, “Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave? — Shall thy wonders be known in the dark?” Psa. 30:9, “What profit is there in my blood? When I go down to the pit, shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth? Psa. 115:17, 18, “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence: but we will bless the Lord, from this time forth and forevermore. Praise ye the Lord.” Isa. 38:18, 19, “For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee.” And God’s praise is spoken of as the end of the virtue of God’s people, in like manner as his glory. Phil. 1:11, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.”
God’s praise is the end of the work of redemption. In Eph. 1, where that work in its various parts is particularly insisted on, and set forth in its exceeding glory, this is mentioned, from time to time, as the great end of all, that it should be “to the praise of his glory.” As in Eph. 1:6, 12, 14. By which we may doubtless understand much the same thing with what in Phil. 1:11, is expressed, “his praise and glory.” Agreeably to this, Jacob’s fourth son, from whom the great Redeemer was to proceed, by the special direction of God’s providence, was called PRAISE. This happy consequence, and glorious end of that great redemption, Messiah, one of his posterity, was to work out.
In the Old Testament this praise is spoken of as the end of the forgiveness of God’s people, and their salvation, in the same manner as God’s name and glory. Isa. 48:9, 10, 11, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold I have refined thee — for mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it; for how should my name be polluted? and my glory will I not give to another.” Jer. 33:8, 9, “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity — and I will pardon all their iniquities. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour.” And that the holy part of the moral world express desires of this, and delight in it, as the end which holy principles in them tend to, reach after, and rest in, in their highest exercises — just in the same manner as the glory of God, is abundantly manifest. It would be endless to enumerate particular places wherein this appears; wherein the saints declare this, by expressing their earnest desires of God’s praise; calling on all nations, and all beings in heaven and earth, to praise him; in a rapturous manner calling on one another, crying “Hallelujah; praise the Lord, praise him for ever.” Expressing their resolutions to praise him as long as they live through all generations, and forever; declaring how good, how pleasant and comely the praise of God is, etc. And it is manifest, that God’s praise is the desirable and glorious consequence and effect of all the works of creation, by such places as these. Psa. 145:5-10, and chap. 148 throughout, and 103:19-22.
Chapter II: Section V Places of Scripture from whence it may be argued, that communication of good to the creature, was one thing which God had in view, as an ultimate end of the creation of the world.
1. According to the Scripture, communicating good to the creatures is what is in itself pleasing to God. And this is not merely subordinately agreeable, and esteemed valuable on account of its relation to a further end, as it is in executing justice in punishing the sins of men; but what God is inclined to on its own a account, and what he delights in simply and ultimately. For though God is sometimes in Scripture spoken of as taking pleasure in punishing men’s sins, Deu. 28:63, “The Lord will rejoice over you, to destroy you.” Eze. 5:13, “Then shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted.” Yet God is often spoken of as exercising goodness and showing mercy, with delight, in a manner quite different, and opposite to that of his executing wrath. For the latter is spoken of as what God proceeds to with backwardness and reluctance; the misery of the creature being not agreeable to him on its own account. Neh. 9:17, “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” Psa. 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Psa. 145:8, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy.” We have again almost the same words, Jon. 4:2; Mic. 7:18, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, etc. — He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” Eze. 18:32, “I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” Lam. 3:33, “He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” Eze. 33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel!” 2 Pet. 3:9, “Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2. The work of redemption wrought out by Jesus Christ, is spoken of in such a manner as, being from the grace and love of God to men, does not well consist with his seeking a communication of good to them, only subordinately.
Such expressions as that in John 3:16, carry another idea. “God so loved the world, that he gave his onlybegotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And 1 John 4:9, 10, “In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” So Eph. 2:4, “But God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,” etc. But if indeed this was only from a regard to a further end, entirely diverse from our good; then all the love is truly terminated in that, its ultimate object, and therein is his love manifested, strictly and properly speaking, and not in that he loved us, or exercised such high regard towards us. For if our good be not at all regarded ultimately, but only subordinately, then our good or interest is, in itself considered, nothing in God’s regard.
The Scripture everywhere represents it, as though the great things Christ did and suffered, were in the most direct and proper sense from exceeding love to us. Thus the apostle Paul represents the matter, Gal. 2:20, “Who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Eph. 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it.” And Christ himself, John 17:19, “For their sakes I sanctify 44 myself.” And the Scripture represents Christ as resting in the salvation and glory of his people, when obtained as in what he ultimately sought, as having therein reached the goal, obtained the prize he aimed at, enjoying the travail of his soul in which he is satisfied, as the recompense of his labors and extreme agonies, Isa. 53:10, 11, “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” He sees the travail of his soul, in seeing his seed, the children brought forth as the result of his travail. This implies, that Christ has his delight, most truly and properly, in obtaining the salvation of his church, not merely as a means, but as what he rejoices and is satisfied in, most directly and properly. This is proved by those scriptures which represent him as rejoicing in his obtaining this fruit of his labor and purchase, as the bridegroom, when he obtains his bride, Isa. 62:5, “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” And how emphatic and strong to the purpose, are the expressions in Zep. 3:17, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will rejoice over thee with singing.” The same thing may be argued from Pro. 8:30, 31, “Then was I by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.” And from those places, that speak of the saints as God’s portion, his jewels and peculiar treasure, these things are abundantly confirmed, John 12:23-32. But the particular consideration of what may be observed to the present purpose, in that passage of Scripture, may be referred to the next section.
3. The communications of divine goodness, particularly forgiveness of sin, and salvation, are spoken of, from time to time, as being for God’s goodness’ sake, and for his mercies’ sake, just in the same manner as they are spoken of as being for God’s name’s sake, in the places observed before.
Psa. 25:7, “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me, for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.” In verse 11, the psalmist says, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity.” Neh. 9:31, “Nevertheless, for thy great mercies’ sake, thou hast not utterly consumed them, nor forsaken them; for thou art a gracious and a merciful God.” Psa. 6:4, “Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercies’ sake.” Psa. 31:16, “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake.” Psa. 44:26, “Arise for our help; redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.” And here it may be observed, after what a remarkable manner God speaks of his love to the children of Israel in the wilderness, as though his love were for love’s sake, and his goodness were its own end and motive. Deu. 7:7, 8, “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you.”
4. That the government of the world in all its parts, is for the good of such as are to be the eternal subjects of God’s goodness, is implied in what the Scripture teaches us of Christ being set at God’s right hand, made king of angels and men; set at the head of the universe, having all power given him in heaven and earth, to that end that he may promote their happiness; being made head over all things to the church, and having the government of the whole creation for their good (Eph. 1:20-23; John 17:2; Mat. 11:27, and 28:18, 19; John 3:35). Christ mentions it, Mark 2:28, as the reason why the Son of man is made Lord of the sabbath, because “the sabbath was made for man.” And if so, we may in like manner argue, that all things were made for man, because the Son of man is made Lord of all things.
5. That God uses the whole creation, in his government of it, for the good of his people, is most elegantly represented in Deu. 33:26, “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven.” The whole universe is a machine, or chariot, which God has made for his own use, as is represented in Ezekiel’s vision. God’s seat is heaven, where he sits and governs, Eze. 1:22, 26-28. The inferior part of the creation, this visible universe, subject to such continual changes and revolutions, are the wheels of the chariot. God’s providence, in the constant revolutions, alterations, and successive events, is represented by the motion of the wheels of the chariot, by the spirit of him who sits on his throne on the heavens, or above the firmament. Moses tells us for whose sake it is, that God moves the wheels of this chariot, or rides in it, siting in his heavenly seat; and to what end he is making his progress, or goes his appointed journey in it, viz. The salvation of his people.
6. God’s judgments on the wicked in this world, and also their eternal damnation in the world to come, are spoken of, as being for the happiness of God’s people. So are his judgments on them in this world. Isa. 43:3, 4, “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour. I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou hast been precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.” So the works of God’s vindictive justice and wrath are spoken of as works of mercy to his people, Psa. 136:10, 15, 17-20. And so is their eternal damnation in another world. Rom. 9:22, 23, “What if God, willing to show his wrath and make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.” Here it is evident the last verse comes in, in connection with the foregoing, as giving another reason of the destruction of the wicked, viz. showing the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy: higher degrees of their glory and happiness, in a relish of their own enjoyments, and a greater sense of their value, and of God’s free grace in bestowing them.
7. It seems to argue, that God’s goodness to them who are to be the eternal subjects of his goodness, is the end of the creation; since the whole creation, in all its parts, is spoken of as theirs. 1 Cor. 3:21-23, “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours.” The terms are very universal; and both works of creation and providence are mentioned; and it is manifestly the design of the apostle to be understood of every work of God whatsoever. Now, how can we understand this any otherwise, than that all things are for their benefit; and that God made and uses all for their good?
8. All God’s works, both of creation and providence, are represented as works of goodness or mercy to his people; as in Psalm 136. His wonderful works in general. Verse 4, “To him who alone doth great wonders; for his mercy endureth for ever.” The works of creation in all its parts. Psa. 136:5-9, “To him that by wisdom made the heavens; for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters; for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that made great lights; for his mercy endureth for ever. The sun to rule by day; for his mercy endureth for ever. The moon and stars to rule by night; for his mercy endureth for ever.” And God’s works of providence, in the following part of the psalm.
9. That expression in the blessed sentence pronounced on the righteous at the day of judgment, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” seems to hold forth thus much, that the fruits of God’s goodness to them, was his end in creating the world, and in his providential disposals: that God in all his works, in laying the foundation of the world, and ever since the foundation of it, had been preparing this kingdom and glory for them. 10. Agreeable to this, the good of men is spoken of as an ultimate end of the virtue of the moral world.
Rom. 13:8, 9, 10, “He that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, etc. — And If there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Gal. 5:14, “All the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Jam. 2:8, “If ye fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, thou shalt do well.”
If the good of the creatures be one end of God in all he does; and in all he requires moral agents to do; an end by which they should regulate all their conduct; these things may be easily explained: but otherwise, it seems difficult to be accounted for, that the Holy Ghost should thus express himself. The Scripture represents it to be the spirit of all true saints, to prefer the welfare of God’s people to their chief joy. This was the spirit of Moses and the prophets of old: the good of God’s church was an end by which they regulated all their conduct. And so it was with the apostles. 2 Cor. 4:15, “For all things are for your sakes.” 2 Tim. 2:10, “I endured all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” And the Scriptures represent it, as though every Christian should, in all he does, be employed for the good of the church, as each particular member is employed for the good of the body; Rom. 12:4, 5, etc. Eph. 4:15, 16; 1 Cor. 12:12, 25, etc. To this end, the Scripture teaches us, the angels are continually employed, Heb. 1:14.
Chapter II: Section VI Wherein is considered what is meant by the glory of God and the name of God in Scripture, when spoken of as God’s end in his works
Having thus considered, what are spoken of in the Holy Scriptures, as the ends which God had ultimately in view in the creation of the world, I now proceed particularly to inquire what they are, and how the terms are to be understood?
I. Let us begin with the phrase, the Glory of God— And here I might observe, that it is sometimes used to signify the second person in the Trinity; but it is not necessary, at this time, to prove it from particular passages of Scripture. Omitting this, I proceed to observe some things concerning the Hebrew word which is most commonly used in the Old Testament, where we have the word glory in the English Bible. The root it comes from, is either the verb, which signifies to be heavy, or make heavy, or from the adjective which signifies heavy or weighty. These, as seems pretty manifest, are the primary signification of these words, though they have also other meanings, which seem to be derivative. The 47 noun signifies gravity, heaviness, greatness, and abundance. Of very many places it will be sufficient to specify a few. Pro. 27:3; 2 Sam. 14:26; 1 Kin. 12:11; Psa. 38:4; Isa. 30:27. And as the weight of bodies arises from two things, density and magnitude; so we find the word used to signify dense, Exo. 19:16. (nubes gravis, Vulg. densissima), a dense cloud; and is very often used for great. Isa. 32:2; Gen. 5:9; 1 Kin. 10:2; 2 Kin. 6:14; and 18:17; Isa. 36:2. etc.
The Hebrew word which is commonly translated glory, is used in such a manner as might be expected from this signification of the words from whence it comes. Sometimes it is used to signify what is internal, inherent, or in the possession of the person: and sometimes for emanation, exhibition, or communication of this internal glory: and sometimes for the knowledge, or sense of these, in those to whom to exhibition or communication is made; or an expression of this knowledge, sense, or effect. And here I would note, that agreeable to the use of this word in the Old Testament, is the Greek word (δ ) in the New. For as the word is generally translated by the just mentioned Greek word (δ ) in the Septuagint; so it is apparent, that this word is designed to be used to signify the same thing in the New Testament with the other in the Old. This might be abundantly proved, by comparing particular places of the Old Testament; but probably it will not be denied. I therefore proceed particularly to consider these words, with regard to their use in Scripture, in each of the fore-mentioned ways.
1. The word glory denotes sometimes what is internal. When the word is used to signify what is within, or in the possession of the subject, it very commonly signifies excellency, dignity, or worthiness of regard. This, according to the Hebrew idiom, is, as it were, the weight of a thing, as that by which it is heavy; as to be light, is to be worthless, without value, contemptible. Num. 21:5, “This light bread.” 1 Sam. 18:23, “Seemeth it a light thing.” Jdg. 9:4, “Light persons,” i.e. worthless, vain, vile persons. So Zep. 3:4. To set light by is to despise, 2 Sam. 19:43. Belshazzar’s vileness in the sight of God, is represented by his being Tekel, weighed in the balances and found light, Dan. 5:27. And as the weight of a thing arises from its magnitude, and its specific gravity conjunctly; so the word glory is very commonly used to signify the excellency of a person or a thing, as consisting either in greatness, or in beauty, or in both conjunctly; as will abundantly appear by considering the places referred to below.
Sometimes that internal, great and excellent good, which is called glory, is rather in possession, than inherent. Anyone may be called heavy, that possesses an abundance; and he that is empty and destitute, may be called light. Thus we find riches are sometimes called glory. Gen. 31:1, “And of that which was our fathers’ hath he gotten all this glory.” Est. 5:11, “Haman told them of the glory of his riches.” Psa. 49:16, 17, “Be not afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased. For when he dieth, he shall carry nothing away, his glory shall not descend after him.” Nah. 2:9, “Take ye he spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold; for there is none end of the store and glory out of the pleasant furniture.” And it is often put for a great height of prosperity, and fullness of good in general. Gen. 45:13, “You shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt.” Job 19:9, “He hath stripped me of my glory.” Isa. 10:3, “Where will you leave your glory.” Verse 16, “Therefore shall the Lord of hosts send among his fat ones leanness, and under his glory shall he kindle a burning, like the burning of a fire.” Isa. 17:3, 4, “The kingdom shall cease from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel. And in that day, it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall be made lean.” Isa. 21:16, “And all the glory of Kedar shall fail.” Isa. 61:6, “Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.” Chap. 66:11, 12, “That ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. — I will extend peace to her, like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.” Hos. 9:11, “As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away as a bird.” Mat. 4:8, “Showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” Luke 24:26, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” John 17:22, “And the glory which thou gavest me, have I given them.” Rom. 5:2, “And rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Chap. 8:18, “The sufferings 48 of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (See also Rom. 2:7, 10, and 3:23, and 9:23.) 1 Cor. 2:7, “The hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world, unto our glory.” 2 Cor. 4:17, “Worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Eph. 1:18, “And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” 1 Pet. 4:13, “But rejoice inasmuch as ye are made partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” Chap. 1:8, “Ye rejoice, with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (See also, Col. 1:27, and 3:4; 1 Thes. 2:12; 2 Thes. 2:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:10; Heb. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:11, 21, and 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:3; Rev. 21:24, 26; Psa. 73:24, and 149:5; Isa. 6:10.)
2. The word glory is used in Scripture often to express the exhibition, emanation, or communication of the internal glory.
Hence it often signifies an effulgence, or shining brightness, by an emanation of beams of light. Thus the brightness of the sun, and moon, and stars, is called their glory, in 1 Cor. 15:41. But in particular, the word is very often thus used, when applied to God and Christ. As in Eze. 1:28, “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” And chap. 10:4, “Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory.” Isa. 6:1, 2, 3, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim — And one cried to another and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.” Compared with John 12:41, “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory and spake of him.” Eze. 43:2, “And behold the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. — And the earth shined with his glory.” Isa. 24:23. “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Isa. 60:1, 2, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” Together with verse 19, “The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.” Luke 2:9, “The glory of the Lord shone round about them.” Acts 22:11, “And when I could not see for the glory of that light.” In 2 Cor. 3:7. The shining of Moses’s face is called the glory of his countenance. And to this Christ’s glory is compared, verse 18, “But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.” And so 2 Cor. 4:4, “Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Verse 6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Heb. 1:3, “Who is the brightness of his glory.” The apostle Peter, speaking of that emanation of exceeding brightness, from the bright cloud that overshadowed the disciples in the mount of transfiguration, and of the shining of Christ’s face at that time, says, 2 Pet. 1:17, “For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Rev. 18:1, “Another angel came down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory.” Rev. 21:11, “Having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Verse 23, “And the city had no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it.” See the word for a visible effulgence or emanation of light in the places to be seen below. (Exo. 16:12, and 24:16, 17, and 40:34, 35; Lev. 9:6, 23; Num. 14:10, and 16:19; 1 Kin. 8:11; 2 Chr. 5:14, and 7:1, 2, 3; Isa. 58:8; Eze. 3:23, and 8:4, and 9:3; Eze. 10:18, 19, and 11:22, 23, and 43:4, 5, and 44:1; Acts 7:55; Rev. 15:8)
The word glory, as applied to God or Christ, sometimes evidently signifies the communications of God’s fullness, and means much the same thing with God’s abundant goodness and grace. So Eph. 3:16, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” The expression, “According to the riches of his glory,” is apparently equivalent to that in the same epistle, chap. 1:7, “According to the riches of his grace.” And Eph. 2:7, “The exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus.” In like manner is the word glory used in Phil. 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.” And Rom. 9:23, “And that he might make known the riches of his glory, on the vessels of his mercy.” In this and the foregoing verse, the apostle speaks of God’s making known two things, his great wrath, and his rich grace. The former on the vessels of wrath, verse 22. The latter, which he calls the riches of his glory, on the vessels of mercy, verse 23. So when Moses says, “I beseech thee show me thy glory;” God granting his request, makes answer, “I will make all my goodness to pass before thee.” Exo. 33:18, 19. What we find in John 12:23-32 is worthy of particular notice in this place. The words and behavior of Christ, of which we have here an account, argue two things.
(1.) That the happiness and salvation of men, was an end that Christ ultimately aimed at in his labors and sufferings. The very same things which were observed before (chapter second, section third), concerning God’s glory, are in the same manner observable, concerning the salvation of men. Christ, in the near approach of the most extreme difficulties which attended his undertaking, comforts himself in a certain prospect of obtaining the glory of God, as his great end. And at the same time, and exactly in the same manner, is the salvation of men mentioned, as the end of these great labors and sufferings, which satisfied his soul in the prospect of undergoing them. (Compare the 23rd and 24th verses; and also the 28th and 29th verses; verses 31 and 32.)
(2.) The glory of God, and the emanations and fruits of this grace in man’s salvation, are so spoken of by Christ on this occasion in just the same manner, that it would be quite unnatural to understand him as speaking of two distinct things. Such is the connection, that what he says of the latter, must most naturally be understood as exegetical of the former. He first speaks of his own glory, and the glory of his Father, as the great end that should be obtained by what he was about to suffer; and then explains and amplifies this, in what he expresses of the salvation of men that shall be obtained by it. Thus, in the 23d verse, he says, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.” And in what next follows, he evidently shows how he was to be glorified, or wherein his glory consisted: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” As much fruit is the glory of the seed, so is the multitude of redeemed ones, which should spring from his death, his glory. 3. Again, the word glory, as applied to God in Scripture, implies the view or knowledge of God’s excellency. The exhibition of glory is to the view of beholders. The manifestation of glory, the emanation or effulgence of brightness, has relation to the eye. Light or brightness is a quality that has relation to the sense of seeing; we see the luminary by its light. And knowledge is often expressed in Scripture by light. The word glory very often in Scripture signifies, or implies, honor, as anyone may soon see by casting his eye on a concordance (See particularly, Heb. 3:3). But honor implies the knowledge of the dignity and 50 excellency of him who has the honor; and this is often more especially signified by the word glory, when applied to God. Num. 14:21, “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord,” i.e. All the inhabitants of the earth shall see the manifestations I will make of my perfect holiness and hatred of sin, and so of my infinite excellence. This appears by the context. So Eze. 39:21, 22, 23, “And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity.” And it is manifest in many places, where we read of God glorifying himself, or of his being glorified, that one thing, directly intended, is making known his divine greatness and excellency. 4. Again, glory, as the word is used in Scripture, often signifies or implies praise. This appears from what was observed before, that glory very often signifies honor, which is much the same thing with praise, viz. high esteem and the expression of it in words and actions. And it is manifest that the words glory and praise, are often used as equivalent expressions in Scripture. Psa. 50:23, “Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me.” Psa. 22:23, “Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye seed of Israel, glorify him.” Isa. 42:8, “My glory I will not give unto another, nor my praise to graven images.” Verse 12, “Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands.” Isa. 48:9-11, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger; for my praise will I refrain for thee. — For mine own sake will I do it; for — I will not give my glory unto another.” Jer. 13:11, “That they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory.” Eph. 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of his grace.” Verse 12, “To the praise of his glory.” So verse 14. The phrase is apparently equivalent to this, Phil. 1:11, “Which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.” 2 Cor. 4:15, “That the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God.”
It is manifest the praise of God, as the phrase is used in Scripture, implies the high esteem and love of the heart, exalting thoughts of God, and complacence in his excellence and perfection. This is manifest to everyone acquainted with the Scripture. However, if any need satisfaction, they may, among innumerable other places which might be mentioned, turn to those below (Psa. 145:1-12, and 34:1, 2, 3, and 44:8, and 21:14, and 99:2, 3, and 107:31, 32, and 108:3, 4, 5, and 119:164, and 148:13, and 150:2; Rev. 19:1, 2, 3 — ).
It also implies joy in God, or rejoicing in his perfections, as is manifest by Psa. 33:1, “Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, for praise is comely for the upright.” Other passages to the same purpose, see below (Psa. 9:1, 2, 14, and 28:7, and 35:27, 28, and 42:4; and Psa. 63:5, and 67:3, 4, 5, and 71:22, 23, and 104:33, 34; and Psa. 106:47, and 135:3, and 147:1, and 149:1, 2, 5, 6; Acts 2:46, 47, and 3:8; Rev. 19:6, 7). How often do we read of singing praise! But singing is commonly an expression of joy. It is called, making a joyful noise (Psa. 66:1, 2, and 96:4, 5). And as it is often used, it implies gratitude or love to God for his benefits to us (Psa. 30:12, and 35:18, and 63:3, 4, and 66:8, 9, and 71:6, 7, 8, and 79:13, and 98:4, 5, and 100:4, and 107:21, 22, and 138:2, and many other places).
II. Having thus considered what is implied in the phrase, the glory of God, as we find it used in Scripture; I proceed to inquire what is meant by the NAME of God.
God’s name and his glory, at least very often, signify the same thing in Scripture. As it has been observed concerning the glory of God, that it sometimes signifies the second person in the Trinity; the same might be shown of the name of God, if it were needful in this place. But that the name and glory of God are 51 often equipollent expressions, is manifest by Exo. 33:18, 19, When Moses says, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” and God grants his request, he says, “I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” Psa. 8:1, “O Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens,” Psa. 79:9, “Help us! O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name; and deliver us, and purge away our sins for thy name’s sake.” Psa. 102:15, “So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord; and all the kings of the earth thy glory.” Psa. 148:13, “His name alone is excellent, and his glory is above the earth and heaven.” Isa. 48:9, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee.” Verse 11, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another.” Isa. 59:19, “They shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” Jer. 13:11, “That they might be unto me for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory.” As glory often implies the manifestation, publication, and knowledge of excellency, and the honour that anyone has in the world; so does name. Gen. 11:4, “Let us make us a name.” Deu. 26:19, “And to make thee high above all nations, in praise, in name, and in honour.” (See also, 2 Sam. 7:9, and 8:13, and 23:18; Neh. 9:10; Job 30:8; Pro. 22:1. Many other places import the same thing.) So it is evident, that by name is sometimes meant much the same thing as praise, by several places which have been just mentioned (as Isa. 48:9; Jer. 13:11; 26:19). And also by Jer. 33:9, “And it shall be unto me for a name, a praise, and an honour, before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear of all the good I do unto them.” Zep. 3:20, “I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth.” And it seems that the expression or exhibition of God’s goodness is especially called his name, in Exo. 33:19, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” And chap. 34:5, 6, 7, “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, the Lord, the Lord God, gracious and merciful, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands,” etc.
And the same illustrious brightness and effulgence in the pillar of cloud that appeared in the wilderness, and dwelt above the mercy-seat in the tabernacle and temple (or rather the spiritual, divine brightness and effulgence represented by it), so often called the glory of the Lord, is also often called the name of the Lord. Because God’s glory was to swell in the tabernacle, therefore he promises, Exo. 29:43, “There will I meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.” And the temple was called the house of God’s glory, Isa. 60:7. In like manner, the name of God is said to dwell in the sanctuary. Thus we often read of the place that God chose, to put his name there: or, as it is in the Hebrew, to cause his NAME to inhabit there. So it is sometimes rendered by our translators. As Deu. 12:11, “Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there.” And the temple is often spoken of as built for God’s name. And is Psa. 74:7. the temple is called the dwelling-place of God’s name. The mercy-seat in the temple was called the throne of God’s name or glory, Jer. 14:21, “Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake do not disgrace the throne of thy glory.” Here God’s name and his glory seem to be spoken of as the same.
Chapter II: Section VII Showing that the ultimate End of the Creation of the World is but one, and what that one end is.
From what has been observed in the last section, it appears, if the whole of what is said relating to this affair be duly weighed, and one part compared with another, we shall have reason to think that the design of the Spirit of God is not to represent God’s ultimate end as manifold, but as one. For though it be signified by various names, yet they appear not to be names of different things, but various names 52 involving each other in their meaning; either different names of the same thing, or names of several parts of one whole; or of the same whole viewed in various lights, or in its different respects and relations. For it appears, that all that is ever spoken of in the Scripture as an ultimate end of God’s works, is included in that one phrase, the glory of God; which is the name by which the ultimate end of God’s works is most commonly called in Scripture; and seems most aptly to signify the thing.
The thing signified by that name, the glory of God, when spoken of as the supreme and ultimate end of all God’s works, is the emanation and true external expression of God’s internal glory and fullness; meaning by his fullness, what has already been explained; or, in other words, God’s internal glory, in a true and just exhibition, or external existence of it. It is confessed, that there is a degree of obscurity in these definitions; but perhaps an obscurity which is unavoidable, through the imperfection of language to express things of so sublime a nature. And therefore the thing may possibly be better understood, by using a variety of expressions, by a particular consideration of it, as it were, by parts, than by any short definition.
It includes the exercise of God’s perfections to produce a proper effect, in opposition to their lying eternally dormant and ineffectual: as his power being eternally without any act or fruit of that power; his wisdom eternally ineffectual in any wise production, or prudent disposal of any thing, etc. The manifestation of his internal glory to created understandings. The communication of the infinite fullness of God to the creature. The creature’s high esteem of God, love to him, and complacence and joy in him; and the proper exercises and expressions of these.
These at first view may appear to be entirely distinct things: but if we more closely consider the matter, they will all appear to be one thing, in a variety of views and relations. They are all but the emanation of God’s glory; or the excellent brightness and fullness of the divinity diffused, overflowing, and as it were enlarged; or in one word, existing ad extra. God exercising his perfection to produce a proper effect, is not distinct from the emanation or communication of his fullness: for this is the effect, viz. his fullness communicated, and the producing of this effect is the communication of his fullness; and there is nothing in this effectual exerting of God’s perfection, but the emanation of God’s internal glory.
Now God’s internal glory is either in his understanding or will. The glory or fullness of his understanding is his knowledge. The internal glory and fullness of God, having its special seat in his will, is his holiness and happiness. The whole of God’s internal good or glory is in these three things, viz. his infinite knowledge; his infinite virtue or holiness, and his infinite joy and happiness. Indeed there are a great many attributes in God, according to our way of conceiving them: but all may be reduced to these; or to their degree, circumstances and relations. We have no conception of God’s power, different from the degree of these things, with a certain relation of them to effects. God’s infinity is not properly a distinct kind of good, but only expresses the degree of good there is in him. So God’s eternity is not a distinct good; but is the duration of good. His immutability is still the same good, with a negation of chance. So that, as I said, the fullness of the Godhead is the fullness of his understanding, consisting in his knowledge; and the fullness of his will, consisting in his virtue and happiness.
And therefore, the external glory of God consists in the communication of these. The communication of his knowledge is chiefly in giving the knowledge of himself: for this is the knowledge in which the fullness of God’s understanding chiefly consists. And thus we see how the manifestation of God’s glory to created understandings, and their seeing and knowing it, is not distinct from an emanation or communication of God’s fullness, but clearly implied in it. Again, the communication of God’s virtue or holiness is principally in communicating the love of himself. And thus we see how, not only the creature’s seeing and knowing God’s excellence, but also supremely esteeming and loving him, belongs to the communication of God’s fullness. And the communication of God’s joy and happiness consists chiefly in communicating to the creature that happiness and joy which consists in rejoicing in God, and in his glorious excellency; for in such joy God’s own happiness does principally consist. And in these things, 53 knowing God’s excellency, loving God for it, and rejoicing in it; and in the exercise and expression of these, consists God’s honor and praise; so that these are clearly implied in that glory of God, which consists in the emanation of his internal glory.
And though all these things, which seem to be so various, are signified by that glory which the Scripture speaks of as the ultimate end of all God’s works; yet it is manifest there is no greater, and no other variety in it, than in the internal and essential glory of God itself. God’s internal glory is partly in his understanding, and partly in his will. And this internal glory, as seated in the will of God, implies both his holiness and his happiness: both are evidently God’s glory, according to the use of the phrase. So that as God’s external glory is only the emanation of his internal, this variety necessarily follows. And again, it hence appears that here is no other variety or distinction, but what necessarily arises from the distinct faculties of the creature to which the communication is made, as created in the image of God: even as having these two faculties of understanding and will. God communicates himself to the understanding of the creature, in giving him the knowledge of his glory; and to the will of the creature, in giving him holiness, consisting primarily in the love of God: and in giving the creature happiness chiefly consisting in joy in God. These are the sum of that emanation of divine fullness called in Scripture, the glory of God. The first part of this glory is called truth, the latter grace, John 1:14. “We beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Thus we see that the great end of God’s works, which is so variously expressed in Scripture, is indeed but one; and this one end is most properly and comprehensively called, THE GLORY OF GOD; by which name it is most commonly called in Scripture; and is fitly compared to an effulgence or emanation of light from a luminary. Light is the external expression, exhibition, and manifestation of the excellency of the luminary, of the sun for instance: It is the abundant, extensive emanation and communication of the fullness of the sun to innumerable beings that partake of it. It is by this that the sun itself is seen, and his glory beheld, and all other things are discovered: it is by a participation of this communication from the sun, that surrounding objects receive all their luster, beauty, and brightness. It is by this that all nature receives life, comfort, and joy. Light is abundantly used in Scripture to represent and signify these three things, knowledge, holiness, and happiness.
What has been said may be sufficient to show, how those things, which are spoken of in Scripture as ultimate ends of God’s works, though they may seem at first view to be distinct, are all plainly to be reduced to this one thing, viz. God’s internal glory or fullness existing in its emanation. And though God in seeking this end, seeks the creature’s good; yet therein appears his supreme regard to himself. The emanation or communication of the divine fullness, consisting in the knowledge of God, love to him, and joy in him, has relation indeed both to God and the creature: but it has relation to God as its fountain, as the thing communicated, is something of his internal fullness. The water in the stream is something of the fountain; and the beams of the sun are something of the sun. And again they have relation to God as their object: for the knowledge communicated is the knowledge of God; and the love communicated, is the love of God: and the happiness communicated, is joy in God. In the creature’s knowing, esteeming, loving, rejoicing in, and praising God, the glory of God is both exhibited and acknowledged; his fullness is received and returned. Here is both an emanation and re-emanation. The refulgence shines upon and into the creature, and is reflected back to the luminary. The beams of glory come from God, are something of God, and are refunded back again to their original. So that the whole is of God, and in God, and to God; and he is the beginning, and the middle, and the end.
And though it be true that God has respect to the creature in these things; yet his respect to himself, and to the creature, are not properly a double and divided respect. What has been said (chap. I. sect. 3, 4.) may be sufficient to show this. Nevertheless, it may not be amiss here briefly to say a few things; though mostly implied in what has been said already.
When God was about to create the world, he had respect to that emanation of his glory, which is actually the consequence of the creation, both with regard to himself and the creature. He had regard to it as an emanation from himself, a communication of himself, and, as the thing communicated, in its nature returned to himself, as its final term. And he had regard to it also as the emanation was to the creature, and as the thing communicated was in the creature, as its subject.
And God had regard to it in this manner, as he had a supreme regard to himself, and value for his own infinite, internal glory. It was this value for himself that caused him to value and seek that his internal glory should flow forth from himself. It was from his value for his glorious perfections of wisdom, righteousness, etc. that he valued the proper exercise and effect of these perfections, in wise and righteous acts and effects. It was from his infinite value for his internal glory and fullness, that he valued the thing itself communicated, which is something of the same, extant in the creature. Thus because he infinitely values his own glory, consisting in the knowledge of himself, love to himself, and complacence and joy in himself; he therefore valued the image, communication, or participation of these in the creature. And it is because he values himself, that he delights in the knowledge, and love, and joy of the creature; as being himself the object of this knowledge, love, and complacence. For it is the necessary consequence of true esteem and love, that we value others’ esteem of the same object, and dislike the contrary. For the same reason, God approves of others’ esteem and love of himself.
Thus it is easy to conceive, how God should seek the good of the creature, consisting in the creature’s knowledge and holiness, and even his happiness, from a supreme regard to himself; as his happiness arises from that which is an image and participation of God’s own beauty: and consists in the creature’s exercising a supreme regard to God, and complacence in him; in beholding God’s glory, in esteeming and loving it, and rejoicing in it, and in his exercising and testifying love and supreme respect to God: which is the same thing, with the creature’s exalting God as his chief good, and making him his supreme end. And though the emanation of God’s fullness, intended in the creation, is to the creature as its object; and though the creature is the subject of the fullness communicated, which is the creature’s good; yet it does not necessarily follow, that even in so doing, God did not make himself his end. It comes to the same thing. God’s respect to the creature’s good, and his respect to himself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of the creature aimed at is happiness in union with himself. The creature is no further happy with this happiness which God makes his ultimate end, than he becomes one with God. The more happiness the greater union; when the happiness is perfect, the union is perfect. And as the happiness will be increasing to eternity, the union will become more and more strict and perfect; nearer and more like to that between God the Father and the Son; who are so united that their interest is perfectly one. — If the happiness of the creature be considered in the whole of the creature’s eternal duration, with all the infinity of its progress, and infinite increase of nearness and union to God; in this view, the creature must be looked upon as united to God in an infinite strictness.
If God has respect to something in the creature, which he views as of everlasting duration, and as rising higher and higher through that infinite duration, and that not with constantly diminishing (but perhaps an increasing) celerity; then he has respect to it, as, in the whole, of infinite height; though there never will be any particular time when it can be said already to have come to such a height.
Let the most perfect union with God be represented by something at an infinite height above us: and the eternally increasing union of the saints with God, by something that is ascending constantly towards that infinite height, moving upwards with a given velocity; and that is to continue thus to move to all eternity. God who views the whole of this eternally increasing height, views it as an infinite height. And if he has respect to it, and makes it his end, as in the whole of it, he has respect to it as an infinite height, though the time will never come when it can be said it has already arrived at this infinite height. God aims at that which the motion or progression which he causes, aims at, or tends to. If there be many things supposed to be so made and appointed, that by a constant and eternal motion, they all tend to a55 certain center; then it appears that he who made them, and is the cause of their motion, aimed at that center; that term of their motion, to which they eternally tend, and are eternally, as it were, striving after. — And if God be the center, then God aimed at himself. And herein it appears, that as he is the first author of their being and motion, so he is the last end, the final term to which is their ultimate tendency and aim.
We may judge of the end that the Creator aimed at, in the being, nature, and tendency he gives the creature, by the mark of term which they constantly aim at in their tendency and eternal progress; though the time will never come, when it can be said it is attained to, in the most absolutely perfect manner. But if strictness of union to God be viewed as thus infinitely exalted; then the creature must be regarded as nearly and closely united to God. And viewed thus, their interest must be viewed as one with God’s interest; and so is not regarded properly with a disjunct and separate, but an undivided respect. And as to any difficulty of reconciling God’s not making the creature his ultimate end, with a respect properly distinct from a respect to himself; with his benevolence and free grace, and the creature’s obligation to gratitude, the reader must be referred to chap. I. sect. 4. obj. 4. where this objection has been considered and answered at large.
If by reason of the strictness of the union of a man and his family, their interest may be looked upon as one, how much more so is the interest of Christ and his church, — whose first union in heaven is unspeakably more perfect and exalted, than that of an earthly father and his family — if they be considered with regard to their eternal and increasing union? Doubtless it may justly be esteemed so much one, that it may be sought, not with a distinct and separate, but an undivided respect. It is certain that what God aimed at in the creation of the world, was the good that would be the consequence of the creation, in the whole continuance of the thing created.
It is no solid objection against God aiming at an infinitely perfect union of the creature with himself, that the particular time will never come when it can be said, the union is now infinitely perfect. God aims at satisfying justice in the eternal damnation of sinners: which will be satisfied by their damnation, considered no otherwise than with regard to its eternal duration. But yet there never will come that particular moment when it can be said, that now justice is satisfied. But if this does not satisfy our modern free-thinkers, who do not like the talk about satisfying justice with an infinite punishment; I suppose it will not be denied by any, that God, in glorifying the saints in heaven with eternal felicity, aims to satisfy his infinite grace or benevolence, by the bestowment of a good infinitely valuable, because eternal: and yet there never will come the moment when it can be said, that now this infinitely valuable good has been actually bestowed.