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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 fulness. 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 happincss 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 bath not his happiness and cnjoyment 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 holiness, it is not properly ony pleasure distinct from the pleasure he has in himself; but is truly an instance of it. And with respect to God's being glorified in this respect, that those perfoctions wherein his glory consists, are exercised and exi re-scq in their proper and corresponding effects; as his wisdom in wise designs and welicontrived works....his power in go cat effects....his justice in acts of righteousness ...his goodhess in co: municating happiness ; and so his shewing forth the glory of his own nature, in its being excrcised, exhibited, coin municatcd, known, and estcenned; his having delight hercin does not argue that his pleasure or happiness is not in himself, and his own glory ; but the contrary. This is the necessary consequence of his delighting in the glory of his nature, that he delights in the enlanation and efful, cace of it. T Nor do any of 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 propelly any pleasure which he receives from the creature. For these things are who he gives the creature.
They are wholly and entirely from him. Therefore they are nothing that they give to God by which they add to him. His rejoicing therein, is rather a rejoicing in his own acts, or 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 was less good : Or if he had not that perfection of nature which consists in a propensity of nature to diffuse of his own fulness. 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 thus, because he is dependent; but because he is independent on any other that should hinder him. From this view it appears, that nothing that has been said is in the least inconsistent with those expressions in the scripture that signify that man cannot be profitable to God ; that he receives nothing of us by any of our wisdom and righteousness. 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 bcen said it appears, that thc pleasure that God hath in those things which have been mentioned, is rather a pleasure in diffusing and communicating to the creature, than in receiving from the creature. Surely, it is no argument of indigence in God, that he is inclined to communicate of his infinite fulness. It is no argument of the comptiness or deficiency of a sountain, that it is inclined to overflow ...Another thing signified by these expressions of scripture is, that nothing that is from the creature, adds to or alters God's happiness, as though it werc changeable either by increase or diminution. Nor does any thing that has been
advanced in the least suppose or infer that it does, or is it in the least inconsistent with the eternity, and most absolute immutability of God’s pleasure and happiness.....For though these communications of God, these exercises, operations, effects 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 ego clearness, certainty and fulness in every respect, as he doth 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. And his view of, and joy in the on is eternally, absolutely perfect unchangeable and independent. It cannot be added to or diminished by the power or will of any creature ; nor is in the least dependent on any thing mutable or contingent. 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 las, 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 he can have any thing 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 bcen 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 which is the same thing ; it is that which he truly delights in ; 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 any thing 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 fulfilment of his will : Or which is the same thing, he has a pleasure in it. 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, his happiness in some 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 makcs them his end only metaphorically. 3. The doctrine that makes God’s creatures and not himself, to be his last end, is a doctrine the farthest from having a favorable aspect on God’s absolute selfsufficience 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 cnd, 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 shews him to be all in all : He is all to himself. He goes not out of himself in what he scoks; 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, be his last end, then as he depends on his last end, he is in some sort dei cindent on the creature. OBJEction 2. Some may object, that to suppose that 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. Seifishness 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, that 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 : I}oes it not become us to ascribe to him, the most noble and generous dispositions ; and those qualities that are the most remote from cvery thing that is private, narrow and sordid : ANswer: 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 must be looked upon as inconsiderable in comparison of the generality; and so his interest as 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