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end, he makes himself his end..... In fine, God; being, as it were, an all comprehending Being, all his moral perfections, as his lioliness, 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, and that it supposeth too much selfishness to suppose that all God's delight in virtue is to be resolved into delight in himself: This will contradict a former objection against God's taking pleasure in communications of himself, viz. that inasmuch as God is perfectly independent and selfsufficient, therefore all his happiness and pleasure consists in the enjoyment of himself. For in the present objection it is insisted that it becomes God to have some pleasure, love or delight in virtue distinct from his delight in himself. So that if the same persons make both objections, they must be inconsistent with themselves.
2. In answer to the objection we are upon, as to God's creatures whose esteem and love he seeks, being infinitely inferior to God as nothing and vanity ; I would observe that it is not unworthy of God to take pleasure in that which in itself is 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 that all that he had any ultimate regard to was the happiness of his creatures; and suppose that he made his creatures, and not himself, his last end, do it under a color of exalting and magnifying God's benevolence and love 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 them
selves, 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 estcem will follow both from God's love to himself and his love 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, because he loves not because he needs them.
3. As to what is alleged of its being 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 to be 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 and understanding of things, but on humor, mistake, folly and unreasonable affections. Such applause is truly worthy to be disregarded. But it is not beneath a man of the greatest dignity and wisdom, to value the wise and just estcem of others, however inferior to him. The contrary, instead of being an expression of greatness of mind, would shew an haughty and mean spirit. It is such an es. teem in his creatures only, that God hath any regard to : For it is such an esteem only that is fit and amiable in itself.
OBJECTION 4. 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 fulness, makes himself, and not the creatures, his end; then what good he does, he does for himself, and not for them ; for his own sake, and not their's.
Axswer. Cod and the creature, in this affair of the cmanation of the divine fulness, 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 spoken of as if they were properly and entirely distinct, as they are in the objection. This supposeth, that God's having respect to his glory, and the communication of good to his creatures, are things altogether different : That God's communicating his fulness for himself, and his doing it for them, are things standing in a proper disjunction and opposition. Whereas if we were capable of having more full and perfect views of God and divine things, which are so much above us, it is probable it would appear very clear to us, that the matter is quite otherwise ; and that these things, instead of appearing entirely distinct, are implied one in the other. That God, in seeking his glory, therein seeks the good of his crea. tures. 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 creature. And that in communicating his fulness for them, he does it for himself. Because their good, which be 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 fulness) 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 his creating the world ; viz. the degree and manner of the creature's glory and happiness during the whole of the designed eternal duration of the world, he was about to create ; which is in greater and greater nearness and striciness of union with himself, and greater and greater communion and participation with him in his own glory and happiness, in constant progression, throughout all eternity. As the creature's good was viewed in this manner when God made the world for it, viz. with respect to the whole of the eternal duration of it, and the eternally progressive union and communion with him ; so the creature
must be viewed as in infinite 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 seem at the beginning to be separate, but aim finally to meet in one, both being directed to the same centre. And as to the good of the creature itself, if viewed in its whole duration, and infinite progression, it must be viewed as infinite ; and so not only being some communication of God's glory, but as coming nearer and nearer to the same thing in its infinite fulness. The nearer any thing 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 10 men, Eph. v. 25, to the end, 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. Thus, “ Hushands, love your wives, as Crist 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 loveth his wife loveth bimself, 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 this manner of God's se king the good of the creatures, or in his disposition to communicate of his own fulness to them, that at all derogates from the excellence of it, or the creature's obligation.
God's disposition to communicate good, or to cause his own infinite fulness to flow forth, is not the less properly called God's goodness, because the good that he commu. nicates, is something of himself; a communication of his own glory, and 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 ; or the less of a tendency to love to the creature, when the creature comes to exist. Nor is this disposition in
God to communicate of and diffuse his own good, the less excellent, because it is implied in his love and regard to himself. For his love to himself does not imply it any otherwise, than 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 his delight in this xcellent thing, is implied in his love to himself, or his own fulness; because that is the fountain, and so the sum and comprehension of every thing that is excellent. And the matter standing thus, it is evident that these things cannot derogare from the excellency of this disposition in God, to an cmanation of his own fulness, or communication of good to the creature.
Nor does God's inclination to communicate good in this manner, i. e. from regard to himself, or delight in his own glory, at all diminish the freeness of his beneficence in this communication. This will appear, if we consider particularly in what ways doing good to others from selflove, 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, that is opposite to a general benevolence. This kind of selflove 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 hap. py, he feels it, he artakes 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 beings in general.
But now, with respeet to the Divine Being, there is no such thing as such confined selfishness in him, or a love to himself, opposite to general benevolence. It is impossi. ble, because he comprehends all entity, and all excellence