« AnteriorContinuar »
existence of the object, at least in idea. But the diffusive disposition that excited God to give creatures existence, was rather a communicative disposition in general, or a disposition in the fulness of the divinily to flow out and diffuse itself. Thus the disposition there is in the root and stock of a tree to diffuse and send forth its sap and life, is doubtless the reason of the communication of its sap and life to its buds, leaves and fruits, after these exist. But a disposition to communicate of its life and sap to its fruits, is not so properly the cause of its producing those fruits, as its disposition to communicate itself, or diffuse its sap and life in general. Therefore to speak more strictly according to truth, we may suppose, that a disposition in God, as an original property of his nature, to an emanation of his own infinite fulness, was what excited him to create the world ; and 80 that the emanation itself was aimed af by him as a last end of the creation.
Wherein il is considered how, on the supposition of God's mak
ing the forementioned things his last end, he manifests a 84preme and ultimate regard to himself in all his works.
IN the last section I observed some things, which are actually the consequence of the creation of the world, which seem absolutely valuable in themselves, and so worthy to be made God's last end in this work. I now proceed to inquire, how God's making such things as these his last end is consiste ent with his making himself his last end, or his manifesting an ultimate respect to himself in his acts and works. Because this is a thing I have observed as agreeable to the dictates of reason, that in all his proceedings he should set himself highest.... Therefore I would endeavor to shew with respect to each of the forementioned things, that God, in making them his end, makes himself his end, so as in all to shew a supreme and ultimate respect to himself; and how his infinite love to himself and delight in himself, will naturally cause him to value and delight in these things: Or rather how a value to these things is implied in his love to hiniself, or value of that infinite fulness of good that is in himself.
Now with regard to the first of the particulars mentioned above, viz. God's regard to the exercise and expression of those attributes of his nature, in their proper operations and effects, which consist in a sufficiency for these operations, it is dot hard to conceive that God's regard to himself, and value for his own perfections, should cause him to value these ex. ercises and expressions of his perfections ; and that a love to them will dispose him to love their exhibition and exertment: Inasmuch as their excellency consists in their relation to use, exercise and operation ; as the excellency of wisdom consists in its relation to, and sufficiency for, wise designs and effects. God's love to himself, and his own attributes, will therefore make him delight in that, which is the use, end and operation of these attributes. If one highly esteem and delight in the yirtues of a friend, as wisdom, justice, &c. that have relation to action, this will make him delight in the exercise and genuine effects of these virtues : So if God both esteem; and delight in his own perfections and virtues, he cannot but value and delight in the expressions and genuine effects of them. So that in delighting in the expressions of his perfections, he manifests a delight in his own perfections themselves : Or in other words, he manifests a delight in himself; and in making these expressions of his own perfections his end, he makes himself his end.
And with respect to the second and third particulars, the matter is no less plain. For he that loves any being, and has a disposition highly to prize, and greatly to delight in his virtues and perfections, must, from the same disposition, be well pleased to have his excellencies known, acknowledged, esteemed and prized by others. He that loves and approves any being or thing, he naturally loves and approves the love and approbation of that thing, and is opposite to the disapprobation and contempt of it. Thus it is when one loves
another, and highly prizes the virtues of a friend. And thue it is fit it should be, if it be fit that the other should be beloved, and his qualification prized. And therefore thus it will necessarily be, if a being loves himself and highly prizes his own excellencies : And thus it is fit it should be, if it be fit ho should thus love himself, and prize his own valuable qualities. That is, it is fit that he should take delight in his own excel. lencies being seen, acknowledged, esteemed, and delighted in. This is implied in a love to himself and his own perfections. And in seeking this, and making this his end, he seeks himself, and makes himself his end.
And with respect to the fourth and last particular, viz. God's being disposed to an abundant communication, and glorious emanation of that infinite fulness of good which he possesses in himself; as of his own knowledge, excellency, and happiness, in the manner which he does ; if we thoroughly and properly consider the master, it will appear, that herein also God makes himself his end, in such a sense, as plainly to manifest and testify a supreme and ultimate regard to himself.
Merely in this disposition to diffuse himself, or to cause - an emanation of his glory and fulness, which is prior to the existence of any other being, and is to be considered as the inciting cause of creation, or giving existence to other beings, God cannot so properly be said to make the creature his end, as himself....For the creature is riot as yet considered as existing. This disposition or desire in God, must be prior to the existence of the creature, even in intention and foresight. For it is a disposition that is the original ground of the existence of the creature ; and even of the future intended and foreseen existence of the creature. God's love, or benevolence, as it respects the creature, may be taken either in a larger, or stricter sense. In a larger sense it may signify nothing diverse from that good disposition in his naiure to communicate of his own fulness in general; as his knowledge, his holiness, and happiness; and to give creatures existence in order to it. This may be called benevolence or lore, because it is the same good disposition that is exercised in love ; it is the very fountain from whence love originally proceeds, when taken in the most proper sense ; and it has the same general tendency and effect in the creature's well being....But yet this cannot have any particular present or future created existence for its object; because it is prior to any such object, and the very source of the fu. turition of the existence of it. Nor is it really diverse from God's love to himself; as will more clearly appear after.. wards.
But God's love may be taken more strictly, for this general disposition to communicate good, as directed to particular objects. Love, in the most strict and proper sense, presupposes the existence of the object beloved, at least in idea and expectation, and represented to the mind as future. God did not love angels in the strictest sense, but in consequence of his intending to create them, and so having an idea of future existing angels. Therefore his love to them was not properly what excited him to intend to create them. Love or benevolence strictly taken, presupposes an existing object, as much as pity, a miserable, suffering object.
This propensity in God to diffuse himself, may be considered as a propensity to himself diffused; or to his own glory existing in its emanation. A respect to himself, or an infinite propensity to, and delight in his own glory, is that which causes him to incline to its being abundantly diffused, and to delight in the emanation of it. Thus that nature in a tree, by which it puts forth buds, shoots out branches, and brings forth leaves and fruit, is a disposition that terminates in its own complete self. And so the disposition in the sun to shine, or abundantly to diffuse its fulness, warmth and brightness, is only a tendency to its own most glorious and complete state. So God looks on the communication of himself, and the emanation of the infinite glory and good that are in himself to belong to the fulness, and completeness of himself; as though he were not in his most complete and glorious state without it. Thus the church of Christ (toward whom, and in whom are the emanations of his glory and communications of his fulness) is called the ful
ness of Christ : As though he were not in his complete state without her, as Adam was in a defective state without Eve, And the church is called the glory of Christ, as the woman is the glory of the man, 1 Cor. xi. 7. Isaiah xlvi. 13. “ I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.” Very remarkable is that place, John xii. 23, 24. “ And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.” He liad respect herein, to the blessed fruits of Christ's death, in the conversion, salvation, and eternal happiness and holiness of those that should be redeemed by him. This consequence of his death he calls his glory; and his obtaining this fruit he calis his being glorified; as the flourishing beautiful produce of a corn of wheat sown in the ground is its glory. Without this he is alone as Adam was before Eve was created; but from him by his death proceeds a glorious offspring, in which he is communicated, that is his fulness and glory : As from Adam in his deep sleep proceeds the woman, a beautiful companion to fill his emptiness, and relieve his solitariness. By Christ's eleath, his fulness is abundantly diffused in many streams ; and expressed in the beauty and glory of a great multitude of his spiritual offspring.... Indeed, after the creatures are intendo ed to be created, God may be conceived of as being moved by benevolence to these creatures, in the strictest sense, in his dealings with, and works about them. His exercising his goodness, and gratifying his benevolence to them in particular, may be the spring of all God's proceedings through the universe, as being now the determined way of gratifying his general inclination to diffuse himself. Here God's acting for himself, or making himself his last end, and his acting for their sake, are not to be set in opposition, or to be consid. ered as the opposite parts of a disjunction. They are rather to be considered as coinciding one with the other, and implied one in the other. But yet God is to be considered as first and original in his regard; and the creature is the object of God's regard consequentially and by implication as