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fubordinate mean to the former. Behold, then, the goodness and severity of God!, Towards some goodness; towards others severity. But the ultimate end that sovereign wisdom seems to have placed for the harmonious co-operation and tendency of all the parts of the human moral system is, THE PRAISE OF REDEEMING GLORIOUS GRACE IN JESUS CHRIST.* (Eph. i. 6.)
$ 6. The
* “ Since God can act only for his own glory, and can find this no where but in himself; he could have no other design in the creation of the world, than the establishment of his church. — But joining Jesus Christ to his church, and the church to the rest of the world it is taken from, you raise to the glory of God a temple fo majestic, magnificent and holy, that you will wonder perhaps he Jaid the foundations of it so late. God loving himself by the necessity of his being, and willing to procure an infinite glory, an honour on all hands worthy of himself, consults his wisdom for accomplishing his desires. This divine Wisdom, filled with love for him from whom he receives his being, by an eternal and ineffable generation, secing nothing in all possible creatures worthy of the majesty of his Father, offers himself, to establish to his honour an eternal worship, and to present him, as high priest, a facrifice which, through the dignity of his person, should be capable of contenting him. He represents to him infinite models for the temple to be raised to his glory; and, at the same time, all poffible ways to execute his designs. — The holy scripture teaches us, that it is Jesus Christ who ought to make all the beauty, the fanctity, the grandeur, and magnificence of this work. If holy writ compare it to a city, it is Jefius Christ who makes all the Instre; it not being the sun and the moon, but the glory of God and the light of the Lamb that shine upon it. When representing it as a living body, whereof all the parts have a wonderful proportion, it is Jesus Christ who is the head of it. 'Tis from him the spirit and life are communicated into all the members that compose it. Speaking of it as a temple, Jesus Christ is the chief corner ftone, which is the foundation of the building.. 'Tis he who is
$6. The attentive reader will observe, that our immediate inquiry is not, What is the chief end in the great system of the universe? or in that noble part of it, the plan of redeeming grace? This, I apprehend, is not a matter of choice, and therefore is no act of fovereignty. The reasons why I think so are the following. Rectitude requires that the highest value should be placed on the highest worth. GOD is possessed of infinite rectitude and infinite worth, and therefore must necessarily place the highest value on himself. But, to place the highest value on any given object, attainable in the prosecution of any plan, is the same as to make it such an end, in
the high priest and the facrifice of it. That which makes the beauty of a temple, is the order and variety of ornaments that are found in it. Thus to render the living temple of the divine majesty worthy of its inhabitant, and proportionate to the wisdom and infinite love of its author, all poslible beauties are to make it up. But it is not so with this temple, raised to the glory of God, as with material ones. For that which constitutes the beauty of the spiritual edifice of the church, is the infinite diversity of graces, communicated from him who is the head of it, to all the constitu. ent parts. 'Tis the order and admirable proportions among them, 'tis the various degrees of glory shining and reflecting on all fides round about it. — Lastly, it was requisite that God alone should have all the glory of the beauty and perfection of the future world. This work, which infinitely excels all others, ought to be a work of pure mercy. It was not for creatures to glory in having any other part in it, than that which the grace of Jesus Chrift had given them. In a word, it was fit that God should suffer all men to be involved in fin, that he might Mew them mercy in Jesus Chrift.” F. MALEBRANCHE, Concerning Nature and Grace, Discourse I. § 1, 3, 5, 6, 24. See also President Edwards's Hiftory of Redemption, p. 363-368. Edinb. 1774. And Rollin's Ancient History, Vol. viii. Conclufion.
comparison of which every other must be deemed inferior. Wherefore, Gon's chief end is himself, as far as he is capable of being fought and attained, not by mere choice but necessarily. That is, to do otherwise would seem inconsistent with infinite rectitude. These remarks, I conceive, clearly establish the distinction between an ultimate and a chief end. The former may be matter of choice and appointment, the latter not. Every chief is also an ultimate, but every ultimate is not a chief end.
+ " When we are considering with ourselves, what would be “ most fit and proper for God to have a chief respect to, in his “ proceedings in general, with regard to the universality of 66 things, it may help us to judge of the matter with the greater " ease and satisfaction, to conlider what we can suppose would be " judged and determined by some third being of perfect wisdom 6 and rectitude, neither the Creator nor one of the creatures, " that should be perfectly indifferent and disinterested: or if we " make the supposition, that wisdom itself, or infinitely wise justice " and rectitude, were a distinct disinterested person, whose office 66 it was to determine how things shall be most fitly and properly " ordered in the whole system, or kingdom of existence, includ. “ ing king and subjects, God and his creatures ; and upon a view “ of the whole, to decide what regard should prevail and govern " in all proceedings. Now such a judge, in adjusting the proper “ measures and kinds of regard that every part of existence is to “ have, would weigh things in an even balance; taking care, that
greater more existence should have a greater share than less, “ that a greater part of the whole should be more looked at and " respected, than the lefler in proportion (other things being “ equal) to the measure of existence, that the more excellent “ should be more regarded than the less excellent : - so that the “ degree of regard should always be in a proportion compounded of " the proportion of existence, and proportion of excellence, or ac““ cording to the degree of greatness and goodness considered con
What God ultimately aimed at in the human moral system, was the praise of redeeming grace,* and what he chiefly aimed at was himself in the displays of his equity, and especially of his mercy. What is chief is determined by re&titude, which is invariable; but what is ultimate is determined by wisdom, which L 2
“ junctly. - Such an arbiter, in considering the system of created “ intelligent beings by itself, would determine, that the system in “ general, consisting of many millions, was of greater importance, " and worthy of a greater share of regard, than only one indi“ vidual. For however considerable some of the individuals “ might be, so that they might be much greater and better, and " have a greater share of the sum total of existence than another “ individual, yet no one exceeds others so much as to countervail “ all the rest of the system. And if this judge consider not only “ the system of created beings, but the system of being in general, s comprehending the sum total of universal existence, both creator " and creature ; ftill every part must be considered according to " its weight and importance, or the measure it has of existence " and excellence. To determine then what proportion of regard " is to be allotted to the Creator, and all his creatures taken together, both must be as it were put in the balance ;
the Supreme Being, with all in him that is great, confiderable, and
excellent, is to be estimated and compared with all that is to be “ found in the whole creation : and according as the former is « found to outweigh, in such proportion is he to have a greater “Share of regard. - And in this case, as the whole system of "created beings in comparison of the Creator, would be found as * the light dust of the balance, (which is taken notice of by him " that weighs) and as nothing and vanity ; fo the arbiter must " determine accordingly with respect to the degree in which GOD “ should be regarded by all intelligent existence, and the degree " in which he should be regarded in all that is done through the.
• Ifa. lx. 21. Ixi. 3. Jer. xiii. 11. 2 Theff. i. 10-12, Phil. i. 10, 11.
i Pet. iv. 11. 1 Cor. vi. 20.
is no less diversified in its divine fource than are the poslible plans in all-sufficiency.
$ 7. It will now be asked, How sovereignty ap. pears in fixing upon the praise of glorious grace in the salvation of the church, as the ultimate end of our moral system? It appears from several confiderations. Particularly,
whole universal system, in all actions and proceedings, deter6 minations and effects whatever, whether creating, preserving, “using, disposing, changing, or destroying. And as the Creator 66 is infinite, and has all possible existence, perfection and excel. " lence, so he must have all poflible regard. As he is every way “ the first and fupreme, and as his excellency is in all respects “ the supreme beauty and glory, the original good, and fountain “ of all good ; so he must have in all respects the supreme regard. 6 And as he is God over all, to whom all are properly subordin“ ate, and on whom all depend, worthy to reign as fupreme head " with absolute and universal dominion; so it is fit that he should “ be so regarded by all, and in all proceedings and effects through " the whole system : that universality of things in their whole " compass and series should look to him, and respect him in such a
manner, as that respect to him should reign over all respect to s other things, and that regard to creatures should universally be “ subordinate and subject.
“ When I speak of regard to be thus adjusted in the universal “ fyftem, or sum total of existence, I mean the regard of the sum « total; not only the regard of individual creatures, or all creatures, " but of all intelligent existence, created and uncreated. For it " is fit, that the regard of the Creator should be proportioned to “ the worthiness of objects, as well as the regard of creatures. 6. Thus we must conclude such an arbiter, as I have supposed “ would determine in this business, being about to decide how " matters should proceed most fitly, properly, and according to the « nature of things. He would therefore determine, that the