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it were comprehended in God; as shall be more particularly observed presently.
But how God's value for and delight in the emanations of his fulness in the work of creation, argues his delight in the infinite fulness of good there is in himself, and the supreme respect and regard he has for himself; and that in making these emanations of himself his end, he does ultimately make himself his end in creation, will more clearly appear by considering more particularly the nature and circumstances of these communications of God's fulness which are made, and which we have reason either from the nature of things, or the word of God to suppose shall be made.
One part of that divine fulness 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 this. 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. It is as much the same as it is possible for that to be, which is infinitely less in degree : As particular beams of the sun communicated, are the light and glory of the sun in part.
Besides, God’s perfections, or his 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 thing wherein the emanation of divine fulness that is, and will be made in consequence of the creation of the world, 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 the brightness of a jewel, held in the sun's beams, is a participation or derivation of the sun's brightness, though irnmensely 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 an high esteem of God, admiration of his perfections, complacency in them, and praise of them. All which things are nothing else but the hearts exalting, magnifying, or glorifying God; which as I shewed 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 fulness 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, as has been observed of the other, 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 fulness 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 united 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 the thing which 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 throughout all eternity. And if we attend to the nature and circumstances of this eternal emanation of divine good, it will more clearly shew 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 throughout 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 etermity, it must be an infimitely strict and perfect nearness, conformity, and oneness. For it will forever come nearer and nearer to that strictness and persection 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 fulfilment of Christ's request, in John xvii. 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 ine, that they may be made perfect in eme.” 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 persectly in him, and 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 consider God’s elect creatures with respect to their eternal duration, so they are infinitely dearer to God, than a man's family is to him. What has been said, shews tha' 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.
Some objections considered which may be made against the reasonableness of what has been said of God’s making himself his last end.
OBJEction 1. SOME may object against what has been said, as inconsistent with God’s absolute independence and immutability, particularly the representation that has been made, as though God were inclined to a communication of his fulness 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’s being selfexistent 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 reconcileable with his being happy, perfectly and infinitely happy in him
self. If it could be supposed that God needed any thing ;