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all uniting to contribute their share towards obtaining the one last end, are very various; and therefore, by what has been now observed, the ultimate end of all must be valued more than any one of the particular means. This seems to be the case with the works of God, as may more fully appear in the sequel.

Fourthly, Whatsoever any agent has in view in any thing he does which is agreeable to him in itself, and not merely for the sake of something else, is regarded by that agent as his last end. The same may be said of avoiding that which is in itself painful or disagreeable; for the avoiding of what is disagreeable is agreeable. This will be evident to any bearing in mind the meaning of the terms. By last end being meant, that which is regarded and sought by an agent, as agreeable or desirable for its own sake; a subordinate that which is sought only for the sake of something else.

Fifthly, From hence it will follow, that, if an agent has in view more things than one that will be brought to pass by what he does, which he loves and delights in on their own account, then he must have more things than one that he regards as his last ends in what he does. But if there be but one thing that an agent seeks on its own account, then there can be but one last end which he has in all his actions and operations.

But only here a distinction must be observed of things which may be said to be agreeable to an agent, in themselves considered (1.) What is in itself grateful to an agent, and valued on its own account, simply and absolutely considered; antecedent to, and independent of all conditions, or any supposition of particular cases and circumstances. And, (2.) What may be said to be in itself agreeable to an agent, hypothetically and consequentially; or on supposition of such and such circumstances, or on the happening of such a particular

case.

Thus, for instance, a man may originally love society. An inclination to society may be implanted in his very nature; and society may be agreeable to him antecedent to all presupposed cases and circumstances; and this may cause him to seek a family. And the comfort of society may be originally his last end, in seeking a family. But after he has a family, peace, good order, and mutual justice and friendship in his family, may be agreeable to him, and what he delights in for their own sake; and therefore these things may be his last end in many things he does in the government and regulation of his family. But they were not his original end with respect to his family. The justice and the peace of a family was not properly his last end before he had a family, that induced him to seek a family, but consequentially: And the case being put of his having a family, then these things wherein the good order and

VOL. III.

2

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 original 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.

CHAP. I.

Wherein is considered, what Reason teaches concerning this

Affair.

SECT. I.

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 seems rational to be supposed concerning this aftair;-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 operation. Therefore,

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