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dah, saith the Lord: that they might be unto me for a name, and for a praise, and a glory."
It is spoken of as the end of the moral world. Matt. xxi. 16. "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise." That is, so hast thou in thy sovereignty and wisdom ordered it, that thou shouldest obtain the great end for which intelligent creatures are made, more especially from some of them that are in themselves weak, inferior, and more insufficient." (Compare Psal. viii. 1, 2.)
And the same thing that was observed before concerning the making known God's excellency, may also be observed concerning God's praise. That it is made use of as an argument in deprecating a state of destruction; that in such a state this end cannot be answered, in such a manner as seems to imply its being an ultimate end, for which God had made man. Psal. lxxxviii. 10. "Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave?Shall thy wonders be known in the dark?" Psal. xxx. 9. "What profit is there in my blood? When I go down to the pit, shall the dust praise thee? Shall it declare thy truth?" Psal. cxv. 17, 18. "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence: but we will bless the Lord, from this time forth and for evermore. Praise ye the Lord." Isa. Xxxviii. 18, 19. "For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee." And God's praise is spoken of as the end of the virtue of God's people, in like manner as his glory. Phil. i. II. "Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God."
God's praise is the end of the work of redemption. In Eph. i. where that work in its various parts is particularly insisted on, and set forth in its exceeding glory, this is mentioned, from time to time, as the great end of all, that it should be " to the praise of his glory." As in ver. 6, 12, 14. By which we may doubtless understand much the same thing with what in Phil. i. 11. is expressed," his praise and glory." Agreeably to this, Jacob's fourth son, from whom the great Redeemer was to proceed, by the special direction of God's Providence, was called PRAISE. This happy consequence, and glorious end of that great redemption, Messiah one of his posterity, was to work out.
In the Old Testament this praise is spoken of as the end of the forgiveness of God's people, and their salvation, in the same manner as God's name and glory. Isa. xlviii. 9, 10, 11. "For my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold I have refined thee- -for mine own sake, even for mine own
sake will I do it; for how should my name be polluted? and my glory will I not give to another." “And I Jer. xxxiii. 8, 9. will cleanse them from all their iniquity,—and I will pardon all their iniquities. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honour."
And that the holy part of the moral world express desires of this, and delight in it, as the end which holy principles in them tend to, reach after, and rest in, in their highest exercises -just in the same manner as the glory of God is abundantly manifest. It would be endless to enumerate particular places wherein this appears; wherein the saints declare this, by expressing their earnest desires of God's praise; calling on all nations, and all beings in heaven and earth to praise him; in a rapturous manner calling on one another, crying "Hallelujah; praise ye the Lord, praise him for ever." Expressing their resolutions to praise him as long as they live through all generations, and for ever; declaring how good, how pleasant and comely the praise of God is, &c. And it is manifest, that God's praise is the desirable and glorious consequence and effect of all the works of creation, by such places as these. Psal. cxlv. 5-10. and cxlviii, throughout, and ciii. 19-22.
Places of Scripture from whence it may be argued, that communication of good to the Creature, was one thing which God had in View, as an ultimate End of the Creation of the World.
1. According to the scripture, communicating good to the creatures is what is in itself pleasing to God. And this is not merely subordinately agreeable, and esteemed valuable, on account of its relation to a further end, as it is in executing justice in punishing the sins of men; but what God is inclined to on its own account, and what he delights in simply and ultimately. For though God is sometimes in scripture spoken of as taking pleasure in punishing men's sins, Deut. xxviii. 63. "The Lord will rejoice over you, to destroy you." Ezek. v. 13. "Then shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted." Yet God is often spoken of as exercising goodness and shewing mercy, with delight, in a manner quite different, and opposite to that of his executing wrath. For the latter is spoken of as what God proceeds to with backwardness and reluctance; the misery of the creature being not agreeable to him on its own account, Neh. ix. 17. "Thou art a God
ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness." Psal. ciii. 8. "The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy." Psal. cxlv. 8. "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and of great mercy." We have again almost the same words. Jonah iv. 2. Mic vii. 18. "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, &c.-He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy." Ezek. xviii. 32. "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Lam. iii. 33. "He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." Ezek. xxxiii. 11. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel !" 2 Pet. iii. 9. "Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2. The work of redemption wrought out by Jesus Christ, is spoken of in such a manner as, being from the grace and love of God to men, does not well consist with his seeking a communication of good to them, only subordinately. Such expressions as that in John iii. 16. carry another idea. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." And 1 John iv. 9, 10. "In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only be gotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." So Eph. ii. 4. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us," &c. But if indeed this was only from a regard to a further end, entirely diverse from our good; then all the love is truly terminated in that, its ultimate object, and therein is his love manifested, strictly and properly speaking, and not in that he loved us, or exercised such high regard to wards us. For if our good be not at all regarded ultimately, but only subordinately, then our good or interest is, in itself con sidered, nothing in God's regard.
The scripture every where represents it, as though the great things Christ did and suffered were in the most direct and proper sense from exceeding love to us. Thus the apostle Paul represents the matter, Gal. ii. 20. "Who loved me, and gave himself for me." Eph. v. 25. Eph. v. 25. "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it." And Christ himself, John xvii. 19. "For their sakes I sanctify my. self." And the scripture represents Christ as resting in the sal vation and glory of his people, when obtained, as in what he ultimately sought, as having therein reached the goal, obtained
the prize he aimed at, enjoying the travail of his soul in which he is satisfied, as the recompense of his labours and extreme agonies, Isa. liii. 10, 11. "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities." He sees the travail of his soul, in seeing his seed, the children brought forth as the result of his travail. This implies, that Christ has his delight, most truly and properly, in obtaining the salvation of his church, not merely as a means, but as what he rejoices and is satisfied in, most directly and properly. This is proved by those scriptures which represent him as rejoicing in his obtaining this fruit of his labour and purchase, as the bridegroom when he obtains his bride, Isaiah Ixii. 5. "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." And how emphatical and strong to the purpose, are the expressions in Zeph. iii. 17. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will rejoice over thee with singing.' The same thing may be argued from Prov. viii. 30, 31. "Then was I by him, as one brought up with him and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him: rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men." And from those places that speak of the saints as God's portion, his jewels and peculiar treasure, these things are abundantly confirmed, John xii. 23-32. But the particular consideration of what may be observed to the present purpose, in that passage of scripture, may be referred to the next section.
3. The communications of divine goodness, particularly forgiveness of sin and salvation, are spoken of from time to time, as being for God's goodness' sake, and for his mercy's sake, just in the same manner as they are spoken of as being for God's name's sake, in the places observed before. Psal. xxv. 7. “Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me, for thy goodness' sake, O Lord." In the 11th verse, the psalmist says, "For my name's sake, O Lord pardon mine iniquity." Neh. ix. 31. "Nevertheless, for thy great mercy's sake, thou hast not utterly consumed them, nor forsaken them; for thou art a gracious and a merciful God." Psal. vi. 4. "Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercy's sake." Psal. xxxi. 16. "Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercy's sake.” Psal. xliv. 26. "Arise for our help; redeem us for thy mercy's sake." And here it may be observed, after what a remarkable manner God speaks of his love to the children of Israel in the wilderness, as though his
love were for love's sake, and his goodness were its own end and motive. Deut. vii. 7. 8. "The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the fewest of all people: but because the Lord loved you."
4. That the government of the world in all its parts, is for the good of such as are to be the eternal subjects of God's goodness, is implied in what the scripture teaches us of Christ being set at God's right hand, made king of angels and men; set at the head of the universe, having all power given him in heaven and earth, to that end that he may promote their happiness; being made head over all things to the church, and having the government of the whole creation for their good.* Christ mentions it, Mark ii. 28. as the reason why the Son of man is made Lord of the Sabbath, because "the Sabbath was made for man." And if so, we may in like manner argue, that all things were made for man, because the Son of man is made Lord of all things.
5. That God uses the whole creation, in his government of it, for the good of his people, is most elegantly represented in Deut. xxxiii. 26. "There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven." The whole universe is a machine, or chariot, which God hath made for his own use, as is represented in Ezekiel's vision. God's seat is heaven, where he sits and governs, Ezek. i. 22, 26-28. The inferior part of the creation, this visible universe, subject to such continual changes and revolutions, are the wheels of the chariot. God's providence, in the constant revolutions, alterations, and successive events, is represented by the motion of the wheels of the chariot, by the spirit of him who sits on his throne on the heavens, or above the firmament. Moses tells us for whose sake it is, that God moves the wheels of this chariot, or rides in it, sitting in his heavenly seat; and to what end he is making his progress, or goes his appointed journey in it, viz. the salvation of his people.
6. God's judgments on the wicked in this world, and also their eternal damnation in the world to come, are spoken of as being for the happiness of God's people. So are his judg ments on them in this world. Isa. xliii. 3, 4. " For I am the Lord thy God, the holy one of Israel, thy Saviour. I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou hast been precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee; therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life." So the works of God's vindictive justice and wrath, are spoken of as works of mercy to his people, Psal. cxxxvi. 10, 15, 17-20. And so is their eternal damnation in another world. Rom. ix. 22, 23. "What if God, willing to
Eph. i. 20-23. John xvii. 2. Matt. xi. 27. and xxviii. 18, 19. John iii. 35.