« AnteriorContinuar »
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 glory, 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 communicates 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 as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Thus we see that the great and last 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 narne it is most commonly called in scripture: And is fitly compared to an effulgence or emanation of light from a luminary, by which this glory of God is abundantly represented in scripture. 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 is quickened and 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. Psalm xix. 8, and cxix. 105, 130. Proy. vi. 23. Isaiah 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 manisest, is light.” And in other places of the New Testament innumerable.
It is used to signify virtue or moral good, Job xxv. 5, and other places. And it is abundantly used to signify comfort, joy and happiness, Esth. viii. 16, Job xviii. 18, and many oth er places.
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 extant externally, or 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 God, and joy in God, bas relation indeed both to God, and the creature ; but it has relation to God as its fountain, as it is an emanation from God; and as the communication itself, or thing com, municated, is something divine, something of God, something of his internal fulness, as the water in the stream is some. thing of the fountain, and as the beams of the sun, are something of the sun. And again, they have relation to God, as they have respeci to him as their object; for the knowledge communicated is the knowledge of God; and so God is the object of the knowledge, and the love communicated is the love of God; so God is the object of that love, and the hap: piness communicated is joy in God ; and so he is the object of the joy communicated. In the creature's knowing, ese teeming, loving, rejoicing in, and praising God, the glory of God is both exhibited and acknowledged ; his fulness is re. ceived and returned. Here is both an emanation and remandtion. The refulgence shines upon and into the creature, and is reflected back to the luminary. The beams of glory come from God, and 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 God is the beginning, middle and end in this affair.
And though it be true that God has respect to the creature in these things; yet his respect to himself and to the creature in this matter, are not properly to be looked upon, as a double and divided respect of God's heart. What has been said in 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 they are 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 conse. quence of the creation, just as it is with regard to all that belongs to it, both with regard to its relation to himself, and the creature. He had regard to it, as an emanation from himself, and 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 supreme regard to himself, and value for his own infinite, internal glory. It was this value for himself 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 and righteousness, &c. that he valued the proper exercise and effect of these perfections, in vise and righteous acts and effects. It was from his infinite val. ve for his internal glory and fulness, that he valued the thing itself, which is 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 him. self, 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 the true esteem and love of any person or being (suppose VOL. VI. .
a son or friend) that we should approve and value others' esteem of the same object, and disapprove and dislike the contrary. For the same reason is it the consequence of a being's esteem and love of himself, that he should approve 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 esteem. ing 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 which God intended in the creation, and which actually is the consequence of it, is to the creature as its object, and the creature is the subject of the fulness communicated, and is the creature's good ; and was also regarded as such, when God sought it as the end of his works; yet it does not necessarily follow, that even in so doing, he 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, ihe 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 inter. est is perfectly one. If the happiness of the creature be considered as it will be, in the whole of the creature's eternal duration, with all the infinity of its progress, and infinite increase of nearness and union to God; in this view the crea. ture must be looked upon as united to God in an infinite strictness.
If God has respect to something in the creature, which he views as of everlasting duration, and as rising higher and bigher through that infinite duration, and that not with constantly diminishing (but perhaps an increasing) celerity; then he has respect to it, as in the whole, of infinile height, though there never will be any particular time, when it can be said already to have come to such an height.
Let the most perfect union with God be represented by something at an infinite height above us ; and the eternally increasing union of the saints with God, by something that is ascending constantly towards that infinite height, moving upwards with a given velocity, and that is to continue thus to move to all eternity. God, who views the whole of this eternally increasing height, views it as an infinite height. And if he has respect to it, and makes it his end, as in the whole of it, he has respect to it as an infinite height, though the time will never come when it can be said it has already, arrived at this infinite height.
God jims at that which the motion or progression which he causes, aims at, or tends to. If there be many things supposed to be so made and appointed, that by a constant and eternal motion, they all tend to a certain centre ; then it appears that he who made them, and is the cause of their motion), aimed at that centre, that term of their motion, to which they eternally tend, and are eternally, as it were, striving after. And if God be this centre, then God aimed at himself. And herein it appears, that as he is the first author of their being and moiion, so he is the last end, the final term, to which is their ultimate tendency and aim.
We may judge of the end that the Creator aimed at, in the being, nature and tendency he gives the creature, by the mark or term which they constantly aim at in their tendency and eternal progress ; though the time will never come, when it can be said it is attained to, in the most absolutely perfect manner.
But if strictness of union to God be viewed as thus infinitely exalted, then the creature must be regarded as infinite