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CONCERNING THE END FOR WHICH GOD
CREATED THE WORLD.
INTRODUCTION : Containing Explanations of Terms, and general
10 ayoid all confusion in our inquiries and reasonings, concerning the end for which God created the world, a distinction should be observed between the chief end for which an agent or efficient exerts any act and performs any work, and the ultimate end. These two phrases are not always precisely of the same signification: And though the chief end be always an ultimate end, yet every ultimate end, is not always a chief end.
A chief end is opposite to an inferior end : An ultimate end is opposite to a subordinate end. A subordinate end is something that an agent seeks and aims at in what he does ; but yet does not seek it, or regard it at all upon its own account, but wholly on the account of a further end, or in order to some other thing, which it is considered as a means of. Thus, when a man that goes a journey to obtain a medicine to cure him of some disease, and restore his health, the obtaining that medicine is his subordinate end; because it is not an end that he seeks for itself, or values at all upon its own account, but wholly as a means of a further end, vią. his
health. Separate the medicine from that further end, and it is esteemed good for nothing; nor is it at all desired.
An ultimate end is that which the agent seeks in what he does, for its own sake: That he has respect to, as what he loves, values and takes pleasure in on its own account, and not merely as a means of a further end. As when a man loves the taste of some particular sort of fruit, and is at pains and cost to obtain it, for the sake of the pleasure of that taste, which he values upon its own account, as he loves his own pleasure ; and not merely for the sake of any other good, which he supposes his enjoying that pleasure will be the means of.
Some ends are subordinate ends, not only as they are subordinated to an ultimate end, but also to another end that is · itself but a subordinate end : Yea, there may be a succession or chain of many subordinate ends, one dependent on another....one sought for another : The first for the next, and that for the sake of the next to that, and so on in a long series before you come to any thing, that the agent aims at and seeks for its own sake : As when a man sells a garment to get money....to buy tools....to till his land....to obtain a crop....to supply him with food....to gratify the appetite. And he seeks to gratify his appetite, on its own account, as what is grateful in itself. Here the end of his selling his garment, is to get money ; but getting money is only a subordinate end : It is not only subordinate to the last end, his gratifying his appetite; but to a nearer end, viz. his buying husbandry tools ; and his obtaining these, is only a subordinate end, being only for the sake of tilling land ; And the tillage of land is an end not sought on its own account, but for the sake of the crop to be produced ; and the crop produced is not an ultimate end, or an end sought for itself, but only for the sake of making bread; and the having bread, is not sought on its own account, but for the sake of gratifying the appetite.
Here the gratifying the appetite, is called the ultimate end ; because it is the last in the chain, where a man's aim · and pursuit stops and rests, obtaining in that, the thing finally
aimed at. So whenever a man comes to that in which his desire terminates and rests, it being something valued on its own account, then he comes to an ultimate end, let the chain be longer or shorter; yea, if there be but one link or one step that he takes before he comes to this end. As when a man that loves hogey puts it into his mouth, for the sake of the pleasure of the taste, without aiming at any thing fur. ther. So that an end which an agent has in view, may be both his immediate and his ultimate end; his next and his last end. That end which is sought for the sake of itself, and not for the sake of a further end, is an ultimate end ; it is ultimate or last, as it has no other beyond it, for whose sake it is, it being for the sake of itself: So that here the aim of the agent stops and rests (without going further) being come to the good which he esteems a recompense of its pursuit for its own value.
Here it is to be noted that a thing sought, may have the Dature of an ultimate, and also of a subordinate end ; as it may be sought partly on its own account, and partly for the sake of a further end. Thus a man in what he does, may seek the love and respect of a particular person, partly on its own account, because it is in itself agreeable to men to be the objects of others' esteem and love : And partly, because he hopes, through the friendship of that person to have his assistance in other affairs ; and so to be put under advarttage for the obtaining further ends.
A chief end or highest end, which, is opposite not properly to a subordinate end, but to an inferior end, is something diverse from an ultimate end. The chief end is an end that is most valued; and therefore most sought after by the agent in what he does. It is evident, that to be an end more valued than another end, is not exactly the same thing as to be an end valued ultimately, or for its own sake. This will appear, if it be considered.
1. That two different ends may be both ultimate ends, and yet not be chief ends. They may be both valued for their own sake, and both sought in the same work or acts, and yet one valued more highly and sought more than anoth
er: Thus a man may go a journey to obtain two different benefits or enjoyments, both which may be agreeable to him in themselves considered, and so both may be what he values on their own account and seeks for their own sake ; and yet one may be much more agreeable than the other ; and so be what he sets his heart chiefly upon, and seeks most after in his going a journey. Thus a man may go a journey partly to obtain the possession and enjoyment of a bride that is very dear to him, and parily to gratify his curiosity in looking in a telescope, or some new invented and extraordinary optic glass : Both may be ends he seeks in his journey, and the one not properly subordinate or in order to another. One may not depend on another, and therefore both may be ultimate ends ; but yet the obtaining his beloved bride may be his chief end, and the benefit of the optic glass, his inferior end. The former may be what he sets his heart vastly most upon, and so be properly the chief end of his journey. .
2. An ultimate end is not always the chief end, because some subordinate ends may be more valued and sought after than some ultimate ends. Thus for instance, a man may aim at these two things in his going a journey ; one may be to visit his friends, and another to receive a great estate, or a large sum of money that lies ready for him at the place to which he is going. The latter, viz. his receiving the sum of money may be but a subordinate end : He may not value the silver. and gold on their own account, but only for the pleasure, gratifications and honor ; that is the ultimate end, and not the money which is valued only as a means of the other. But yet the obtaining the money, may be what is more valued, and so an higher end of his journey, than the pleasure of seeing his friends; though the latter is what is valued on its own account, and so is an ultimate end.
But herc several things may be noted :
First, That when it is said, that some subordinate ends may be more valued than some ultimate endy, it is not supposed that ever a subordinate end is more valued than that ultimate end or ends to which it is subordinate ; because a subordinate end has no value, but what it derives from its ultimate end :
For that reason it is called a subordinate end, because it is valued and sought, not for its own sake, or its own value, but only in subordination to a further end, or for the sake of the alimate end, that it is in order to. But yet a subordinate end may be valued more than some other ultimate end that it is not subordinate to, but is independent of it, and does not belong to that series, or chain of ends. Thus for instance : If a man goes a journey to receive a sum of money, not at all as an ultimate end, or because he has any value for the silver and gold for their own sake, but only for the value of the pleasure and honor that the money may be a means of. In this case it is impossible that the subordinate end, viz. his having the money should be more valued by him than the pleasure and honpor, for which he values it. It would be absurd to suppose that he values the means more than the end, when he has no value for the means but for the sake of the end, of which it is the means: But yet he may value the money, though but a subordinate end, more than some other ultimate end, to which it is not subordinate, and with which it has no connexion. For instance, more than the comfort of a friendly visit ; which was one end of his journey.
Secondly, Not only is a subordinate end never superior to that ultimate end, to which it is subordinate ; but the ultimate end is always (not only equal but) superior to its subordinate end, and more valued by the agent; unless it be when the ultimate end entirely depends on the subordinate : So that he has no other means by which to obtain his last end, and also is looked upon as certainly connected with it....then the subordinate end may be as much valued as the last end; because the last end, in such a case, docs altogether depend upon, and is wholly and certainly conveyed by it. As for instance, if a pregnant woman has a peculiar appetite to a certain rare fruit that is to be found only in the garden of a partic. ular friend of her's, at a distance ; and she goes a journey to go to her friend's house or garden, to obtain that fruit....the ultimate end of her journey, is to gratify that strong appetite : The obtaining that fruit, is the subordinate end of it. If she looks upon it, that the appetite can be gratified by no other