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chiefly consist in a respect or 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 amiaable thing that he should act as having a chief regard to 'himsell; or act in such a manner, as to shew that he has such a regard ; thạt 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 shew this supreme respect to himself, wherein his moral excellency does primarily consist.
When we are considering with ourselves, what would be most fit and proper for God to have a chief respect to, in his proceedings in general, with regard to the universality of things, it may help us to judge of the matter with the greater ease and satisfaction to consider, what we can suppose would be judged and determined by some third being of perfect wis. dom and rectitude, neither the Creator nor one of the creatures, that should be perfectly indifferent and disinterested. Or if we make the supposition, that wisdom itself, or infinitely wise justice and rectitude were a distinct, disinterested person, whose office it was to determine how things shall be most fitly and properly ordered in the whole system, or kingdom of existence, including king and subjects, God and his creatures ; and upon a view of the whole, to decide what regard should prevail and govern in all proceedings. Now such a judge in adjusting the proper measures and kinds of regard that every part of existence is to have, would weigh things in
an even balance ; taking care, that greater, or more existence should have a greater share than less, that a greater part of the whole should be more looked at and respected, than the lesser in proportion (other things being equal) to the measure of existence, that the more excellent should be more regarded than the less excellent: So that the degree of regard should always be in a proportion, compounded of the proportion of existence, and 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 so that they might be much greater and better, and have a greater share of the sum total of existence and excellence than another individual, yet no one exceeds others so much as to countervail all the rest of 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 weight and 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, considerable and excellent, is to be estimated and compared with all that is 10 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, (which is taken no notice of by him that weighs) and 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, and the degree in wbich he should be regarded in all that is
done through the whole universal system ; 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 sys. tem : That this universality of things in their whole compass and series should look to him and respect him in such a man. ner as that respect to him should reign over all respect to other things, and that regard to creatures should universally be subordinate and subject.
When I speak of regard to be thus adjusted in the universal system, or sum total of existence, I mean the regard of the sum total; not only the regard of individual creatures, or all creatures, but of 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 such an arbi
er, as I have supposed, would determine in this business, being about to decide how matters should proceed most fitly, properly, and according to the nature of things. He would therefore determine that the whole universe, including all creatures, animate and inanimate, in all its actings, proceedings, revolutions, and entire series of events, should proceed from a regard and with a view, to God, as the supreme and last end of all: That every wheel, both great and small, in all its rotations, should move with a constant, invariable regard to him as the ultimate end of all; as perfectly and uni. formly, as if the whole system were animated and directed by one common soul ; or, as if such an arbiter as I have before supposed, one 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 per. son, neither creator nor creature, but a disinterested person stepping in to judge of the concerns of both, and state what is most fit and proper between them. 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, in his proceedings, and he knows what the greatest fitness is, as much as if perfect rectitude were a distinct person to direct him. As therefore there is no third being, be. side God and the created system, nor can be, so there is no need of any, seeing God himself is possessed of that perfect discernment and rectitude wbich have been supposed. It belongs to him as supreme arbiter, and co 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 bim, who is a being concerned, and not a third person that is disinterested. For being interested unfits a person to be arbiter or judge, no otherwise than as interest tends to blind and 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 possessed of discerning and justice absolutely perfect. And as there must be some supreme judge of fitness and propriety in the uni. versality of things, as otherwise there could be no order nor regularity, 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 fiiness 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 he is selfsufficient, immutable, and independent) as therein plainly to shew 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 shew 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 ami. able in itself, simply and absolutely considered, God values simply for itself; it is agreeable to him absolutely on its own account, because God's judgment and esteem are according to truth. He values and loves things accordingly, as they are worthy to be valued and loved. But if God values a thing simply, and absolutely, for itself, and on its own account, then it is the ultimale object of his value; he does not value it merely for the sake of a further end to be attained by it. 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 ultimately and for itself, appears in fact and experience, to be what he seeks by any thing 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 further, and assert,
6. Whatsoever thing is actually the effect or consequence of the creation of the world, which is simply and absolutely good and valuable in itself, that thing is an ultimate end of God's creating the world. We see that it is a good that God aimed at by the creation of the world; because he has actually attained it by that means. This is an evidence that he intended to attain, or aimed at it. For we may justly infer what God intends, by what he actually does ; because he does nothing inadvertently, or without design. But what. ever God intends to attain from a value for it ; or in other words, whatever he aims at in his actions and works, that he