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THAT the chief and ultimate end which God had in view in creation, was a manifestation of his own true and proper character, may appear from these two coné siderations, viz.
I. We can conceive of no other end which the su preme Being could have in view in this great work. The motives for God to create, must, of necessity, all be within himself. No motive could be derived from any thing out of himself; for no such thing had any existence. And, to say that creation itself, or any thing created, was the motive in the divine mind, to creation; is but going in a circle; and leaves us as ignorant of the end of creation at the close of our inquiry, as at our first setting out.
To say that the happiness to be produced by creation, was God's primary end in giving birth to it, supposes that the Creator is essentially of a disposition to be pleased with the happiness of his creatures. This must be true, in order that the happiness of creatures might be a motive to him to create. And, if God is essentially possessed of a disposition of this kind of -sufficient strength to induce him to create; He neither needed, nor in the nature of things could have, any motive from without himself, to this great work. In this case the disposition to produce and diffuse happiness, must, itself, be the motive to the work of crea tion; and, not the hitherto uncreated happiness. And, if this disposition were not originally of such strength, as necessarily to flow out in its natural effects; there neither was, nor could be, any thing in the universe, to give it new strength, and draw it forth into action. If the disposition to produce and diffuse happiness were not, itself, the motive to creation; we can conceive of nothing to give spring to it, and set it in mo tion: And, it must, of course, remain utterly unaccountable that ever God made the world.
THE object of the divine mind, in creation, could not be really to add to himself, or increase his own ful ness: For, his being and fulness were already infinite; and, of course, beyond a possibility of increase. It remains, therefore, that to diffuse that infinite and unbounded fulness which he possesseth in himself, must have been the primary and original end of creation. And, this is nothing different from saying that a manifestation of his own true character, was the chief and ultimate end which God had in view, in creation.
II. THERE Could, in the nature of things, be no higher or more excellent end of Creation, than a manifestation of the true character of God. As the divine character is in itself, transcendently excellent; so are all the manifestations of it in the exercises of his perfections: And, in these exercises and manifestations, there is greater beauty, than in all created virtue together. And as there is a beauty in the exercises and displays of the divine perfections, infinitely superior to all created excellency and beauty; there is, also, proportionably greater felicity in the divine mind, in these exercises, than can possibly exist in all creatures. Consequently, it is, in itself, the most desirable thing that can be conceived, that God should exercise, and display his own glorious perfections. Every thing which is either desirable, or beautiful, in creatures, is found in an infinitely higher degree in the exercises of the inherent perfections of the divine mind. An, these exercises are naturally accompanied with infinitely great er good, than the united exercises of all created power and virtue together. To say that the beauty and worth of the exercises of God's perfections, consist principally in the virtue and happiness which they produce in creatures, is to make the virtue and happiness of God, himself, of less worth and importance than those of his creatures. And, this is the same as to say that finite virtue and happiness, are of more worth than in"finite.
THE effects of the exercise and display of God's perfection are the virtue and happiness of creatures. But if the virtue and happiness of creatures, are of real worth; that same kind of virtue and happiness existing in an infinitely higher degree, in the Creator, is infinitely more so. And therefore, the exercise and manifestation of the divine perfections is an object, in itself considered, of infinitely greater importance than the good of the creature.
THOUGH the created beauty and good which are the natural effects of the exercise and manifestation of the divine perfections, must of necessity be considered as connected with these manifestations: The objects, nevertheless, are two; and, capable of an entirely distinct consideration. And, as they are capable of being distinctly and separately considered, the virtue and good of the creature, must be considered only as the stream to the fountain, when compared with the vir tue and happiness of God. And, consequently, the good of the creature, considered as an object in and of itself, could no more give spring to the divine perfections, and put them into exercise; than the stream which proceeds from the fountain, could put the fountain itself into motion, and cause it to overflow.
As, therefore, there could be no other, or higher end of creation, than a manifestation of the true and proper character, the real perfection of God, we may safely conclude that this was the chief and primary end which God had in view, in creating the world: And, that the cause and reason of creation is to be sought no where but in the divine mind itselfin the real, essential perfection of God.
IT being evident, then, that a manifestation of his own true and proper character, was the chief and ul
timate end which God had in view, in creation; these several consequences will naturally follow from it, viz.
1. THAT, all God's government will be calculated, in the best manner, to discover to his creatures, his own true character; and, exhibit a genuine picture of it to the world. That this is, and ever will be, the ease, may certainly be concluded from the unchangeable nature of God. God's works will all be carried on with the same design with which they were originally begun. His purposes are all connected, uniform, and harmonious. With Him there is no variableness, nor even shadow of turning. As he gave birth to creation with a view to display the excellencies of his own glorious character; with the same view, and for the same desirable end, he continues, preserves and governs the world. For his pleasure they now are, All that God as well as originally were created. says, and all that he does, have one uniform and glorious object in view. And his government is as true a picture of his character, as his moral latu, which is frequently and justly stiled a transcript of the divine perfections. Accordingly, we may forever expect to see his mind written, and his character as indubitably expressed, in what he does, as in what he says-in the government which he exercises, as in the law which he has given. For, with the same uniform design he creates, gives law, and administers government.
THE same glorious design which is expressed in creation, will be invariably expressed in preservation For, in strictness of speech, preservation is no more than creation continued. What birth to the exgave istence of creatures, will direct in the government over them. And should we entertain a thought that God's moral government will not be eternally administered in such a manner as to express, to the best advantage, his true character; we must at once admit, either that
he has changed his original scheme, or that the gov ernment of so vast and complicated a system is become too unwieldy for its great and original Creator: Either of which suppositions is atheistical and absurd.
2. FROM the preceding observations it will follow that the good of the creature, in itself considered, was not the chief and principal end of creation. However closely a manifestation of the divine perfection and the good of the creature may be connected together: they are still capable of being viewed as distinct objects, in many respects infinitely diverse from each other. Though it be readily granted that God's ends are answered in the good of the creature; nevertheless, the designs and purposes of God, and that wherein these purposes and designs are accomplished, are as perfectly two, as any different objects whatever. A parent's whole pleasure may be in the good of the child: nevertheless, the parent's pleasure and the child's good, are two objects, capable of entirely distinct and separate consideration. And however closely they may be connected together, the very supposition of their connection implies that they are two; and therefore, capable of being separately considered. So, however closely the glory of God, or a manifestation of his true and proper character, and the good of the creature, may be connected together; the objects are, nevertheless, in nature really two; and entirely capable of distinct consideration. And, if in nature fuo, one may have a primary and original influence in the divine works, rather than the other. But, the more important one, or that in which there is the greatest degree of weight, excellency, and worth, every thing concurs to prove would indeed be the object of chief consideration. As much more beauty and worth, therefore, as there are in the real exercises and displays of the divine perfections and character, than in the created fruits of