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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 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 fulfil his promises to his creatures, could not properly be what moved him to create the world; nor could such a fulfilment 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 toward 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 are 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 origi nal ultimate end.
Sixthly, 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,
Seventhly, 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.
Eighthly, 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 doth 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 do 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.
Ninthly, 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.
Wherein is considered, what Reason teaches concerning this
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 seenis 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 any thing 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 any thing 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 any thing 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 opera tion.-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 any thing which was superior m 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, it 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 shew that he has such a regard: that what is highest in God's heart, may be highest in his