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Shewing, that the ultimate End of the Creation of the World is
but one, and what that one end is.
From what has been observed in the last section, it appears, if the whole of what is said relating to this affair be duly weighed, and one part compared with another, we shall have reason to think that the design of the Spirit of God is not to represent God's ultimate end as manifold, but as one. For though it be signified by various names, yet they appear not to be names of different things, but various names involving each other in their meaning; either different names of the same thing, or names of several parts of one whole ; or of the same whole viewed in various lights, or in its different respects and relations. For it appears, that all that is ever spoken of in the scripture as an ultimate end of God's works, is included in that one phrase, the glory of God; which is the name by which the ultimate end of God's works is most commonly called in scripture; and seems most aptly to signify the thing.
The thing signified by that name, the glory of God, when spoken of as the supreme and ultimate end of all God's works, is the emanation and true external expression of God's internal glory and fulness; meaning by his fulness, what has already been explained ; or, in other words, God's internal glory, in a true and just exhibition, or external existence of it. It is confessed, that there is a degree of obscurity in these definitions ; but perhaps an obscurity which is unavoidable, through the imperfection of language to express things of so sublime a nature. And therefore the thing may possibly be better understood, by using a variety of expressions, by a particular consideration of it, as it were, by parts, than by any short definition.
It includes the exercise of God's perfections to produce a proper effect, in opposition to their lying eternally dormant and ineffectual : as his power being eternally without any act or fruit of that power; his wisdom eternally ineffectual in any wise production, or prudent disposal of any thing, &c. The manifestation of his internal glory to created understandings. The communication of the infinite fulness of God to the creature. The creature's high esteem of God, love to him, and complacence and joy in him ; and the proper exercises and expressions of these.
These at first view may appear to be entirely distinct things : but if we more closely consider the matter, they will all appear to be one thing, in a variety of views and relations.
They are all but the emanation of God's glory ; or the excel. lent brightness and fulness of the divinity diffused, overflowing, and as it were enlarged ; or in one word, existing ad extra. God exercising his perfection to produce a proper effect, is not distinct from the emanation or communication of his fulness : for this is the effect, viz. bis fulness communicated, and the producing of this effect is the communication of his fulness; and there is nothing in this effectual exerting of God's perfection, but the emanation of God's internal glory.
Now God's internal glory is either in his understanding or will. The glory or fulness of his understanding is his knowledge. The internal glory and fulness of God, having its special seat in his will, is his holiness and happiness. The whole of God's internal good or glory is in these three things, viz. his infinite knowledge ; his infinite virtue or holiness, and his infinite joy and happiness. Indeed there are a great many attributes in God, according to our way of conceiving them: but all may be reduced to these ; or to their degree, circumstances and relations. We have no conception of God's power, different from the degree of these things, with a certain relation of them to effects. God's infinity is not properly a distinct kind of good, but only expresses the degree of good there is in him. So God's eternity is not a distinct good ; but is the duration of good. His immutability is still the same good, with a negation of change. So that, as I said, the fulness of the Godhead is the fulness of his understanding, consisting in his knowledge ; and the fulness of his will, consisting in his virtue and happiness.
And therefore, the external glory of God consists in the communication of these. The communication of his knowledge is chiefly in giving the knowledge of himself : for this is the knowledge in which the fulness of God's understanding chiefly consists. And thus we see how the manifestation of God's glory to created understandings, and their seeing and knowing it, is not distinct from an emanation or communication of God's fulness, but clearly implied in it. Again, the communication of God's virtue or holiness is principally in communicating the love of himself. And thus we see how, not only the creature's seeing and knowing God's excellence, but also supremely esteeming and loving him, belongs to the communication of God's fulness. And the communication of God's joy and happiness consists chiefly in communicating to the creature that happiness and joy which consists in rejoicing in God, and in his glorious excellency ; for in such joy God's own happiness does principally consist. And in these things, knowing God's excellency, loving God for it, and rejoicing in it ; and in the exercise and expression of these, consists God's honour and praise ; so that these are clearly implied in that
glory of God, which consists in the emanation of his internal glory.
And though all these things, which seem to be so various, are signified by that glory which the scripture speaks of as the ultimate end of all God's works ; yet it is manifest there is no greater, and no other variety in it, than in the internal and essential glory of God itself. God's internal glory is partly in his understanding, and partly in his will. And this internal glory, as seated in the will of God, implies both his holiness and his happiness : both are evidently God's glory, according to the use of the phrase. So that as God's external glory is only the emanation of his internal, this variety necessarily follows. And again, it hence appears that here is no other variety or distinction, but what necessarily arises from the distinct faculties of the creature to which the communication is made, as created in the image of God : even as having these two faculties of understanding and will.. God communi. cates himself to the understanding of the creature, in giving him the knowledge of his glory; and to the will of the creature, in giving him holiness, consisting primarily in the love of God : and in giving the creature happiness chiefly consisting in joy in God. These are the sum of that emanation of divine fulness called in scripture, the glory of God. The first part of this glory is called truth, the latter grace, John i. 14. “We beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Thus we see that the great end of God's works, which is so variously expressed in scripture, is indeed but ONE ; and this one end is most properly and comprehensively called, THE GLORY OF God; by which name it is most commonly called in scripture ; and is fitly compared to an effulgence or emanation of light from a luminary Light is the external expression, exhibition, and manifestation of the excellency of the luminary, of the sun for instance: It is the abundant, extensive emanation and communication of the fulness of the sun to innumerable beings that partake of it. It is by this that the sun itself is seen, and his glory beheld, and all other things are discovered: it is by a participation of this communication from the sun, that surrounding objects receive all their lustre, beauty, and brightness. It is by this that all nature receives life, comfort, and joy. Light is abundantly used in scripture to represent and signify these three things, knowledge, holiness, and happiness.*
* It is used to signify knowledge, or that manifestation and evidence by which knowledge is received. Psal. xix, 8. and cxix. 105, 135. Prov. vi. 23, Isa, viii. 20. and ix. 2. and xxix. 18. Dan. v. 11. Eph. v. 13. “But all things that are reproved, are made manifest by the light ; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light," &c.
What has been said may be sufficient to shew, how those things, which are spoken of in scripture as ultimate ends of God's works, though they may seem at first view to be distinct, are all plainly to be reduced to this one thing, viz. God's internal glory or fulness existing in its emanation. And though God in seeking this end, seeks the creature's good ; yet therein appears his supreme regard to himself.
The emanation or communication of the divine fulness, consisting in the knowledge of God, love to him, and joy in him, has relation indeed both to God and the creature : but it has relation to God as its fountain, as the thing communicated, is something of his internal fulness. The water in the stream is something of the fountain; and the beams of the sun are something of the sun. And again they have relation to God as their object : for the knowledge communicated is the knowledge of God; and the love communicated, is the love of God: and the happiness communicated, is joy in God. In the creature's knowing, esteeming, loving, rejoicing in, and praising God, the glory of God is both exhibited and acknowledged ; his fulness is received and returned. Here is both an emanation and remanation. The refulgence shines upon and into the creature, and is reflected back to the luminary. The beams of glory come from God, are something of God, and are refunded back again to their original. So that the whole is of God, and in God, and to God; and he is the beginning, and the middle, and the end.
And though it be true that God has respect to the creature in these things ; yet his respect to himself, and to the creature, are not properly a double and divided respect. What has been said (chap. I. sect. 3, 4.) may be sufficient to shew this. Nevertheless, it may not be amiss here briefly to say a few things; though mostly implied in what has been said already.
When God was about to create the world, he had respect to that emanation of his glory, which is actually the consequence of the creation, both with regard to himself and the creature. He had regard to it as an emanation from himself, a communication of himself, and, as the thing communicated, in its nature returned to himself, as its final term. And he had regard to it also as the emanation was to the creature, and as the thing communicated was in the creature, as its subject.
And God had regard to it in this manner, as he had a su
preme regard to himself, and value for his own infinite, internal glory. It was this value for bimself that caused him to value and seek that his internal glory should flow forth from himself. It was from his value for his glorious perfections of wisdom, righteousness, &c. that he valued the proper exercise and effect of these perfections, in wise and righteous acts and effects. It was from his infinite value for his internal glory and fulness, that he valued the thing itself communicated, which is something of the same, extant in the creature. Thus because he infinitely values his own glory, consisting in the knowledge of himself, love to himself, and complacence and joy in himself; he therefore valued the image, communication, or participation of these in the creature. And it is because he values himself, that he delights in the knowledge, and love, and joy of the creature; as being himself the object of this knowledge, love, and complacence. For it is the necessary consequence of true esteem and love, that we value others' esteem of the same object, and dislike the contrary. For the same reason, God approves of others' esteem and love of himself.
Thus it is easy to conceive, how God should seek the good of the creature, consisting in the creature's knowledge and holiness, and even his happiness, from a supreme regard to himself ; as his happiness arises from that which is an image and participation of God's own beauty : and consists in the creature's exercising a supreme regard to God, and complacence in him ; in beholding God's glory, in esteeming and loving it, and rejoicing in it, and in his exercising and testifying love and supreme respect to God: which is the same thing with the creature's exalting God as his chief good, and making him his supreme end.
And though the emanation of God's fulness, intended in the creation, is to the creature as its object; and though the creature is the subject of the fulness communicated, which is the creature's good; yet it does not necessarily follow, that even in so doing, God did not make himself his end. It comes to the same thing. God's respect to the creature's good, and his respect to himself, is not a divided respect; but both are united in one, as the happiness of the creature aimed at is happiness in union with himself. The creature is no further happy with this happiness which God makes his ultimate end, than he becomes one with God. The more happiness the greater union; when the happiness is perfect, the union is perfect. And as the happiness will be increasing to eternity, the union will become more and more strict and perfect; nearer and more like to that between God the Father and the Son ; who are so united that their interest is perfectly one.If the happiness of the creature be considered in the whole of the creature's eternal duration, with all the infinity of its pro