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persons or things, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. So they that know him not, can never glorify him: and they that esteem any person or thing more than, or as much as him, dishonour him. We glorify him by our wills, chusing him as our portion and chief good, as he really is in himself; by our affections loving him, and rejoicing and delighting in him above every other.
2. By his lips, Psal. l. 23. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.' Therefore man's tongue is called his glory, Psal. xvi. 9. not only because it serves him for speech, which exalts him above the brutes, but because it is given him as a proper instrument for speaking forth the glory of God. So that it must needs be a strange perverting of the tongue, to set it against the heavens, and let it loose to the dishonour of God, and fetter it as to his glory.
3. By his life, Mat. v. 16. 'Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' A holy life is a life of light; it is a shining light, to let a blind world see the glory of God. Sin darkens the glory of God, draws a veil over it. David's sin made the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. The study of holiness says, God is holy; mourning for every slip says, God is spotless; walking holily in all manner of conversation, within and without, &c. says, God is omniscient and omnipresent, &c. As when men find a well-ordered family, that tells what a man the master of it is.
Secondly, I proceed to show in what respects God's glory is man's chief end.
First, It is man's end,
1. It is the end which God aimed at when he made man, Prov. xvi. 4. 'The Lord hath made all things for himself,' Rom. xi. 36. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things.' Every rational agent proposes to himself an end in working, and the most perfect the highest end. Now God is the most perfect Being, and his glory the noblest end. God is not actively glorified by all men, and therefore he surely did not design it; but he designed to have glory from them, either by them or on them; and so it will be. Happy they who glorify him by their actings, that they may not glorify him by their eternal sufferings.
2. It is the end of man as God's work. Man was made fit for glorifying God, Eccl. vii. 29. God made man upright;' as a welltuned instrument, or as a house conveniently built, though never inhabited. The very fabric of a man's body, whereby he looks upward, while the beasts look down, is a palpable evidence of this. 3. It is that which man should aim at, the mark to which he should direct all he does, 1 Cor. x. 31, the text. This is what we
should continually have in our eye, the grand design we should be carrying on in the world, Psal. xvi. 8. 'I have set the Lord always before me,' says David.
Secondly, It is man's chief end, that which God chiefly aimed at, the chief end of man as God's work, and that which man should chiefly aim at. God made man for other ends, as to govern, use, and dispose of other creatures in the earth, sea, and air, wisely, soberly, and mercifully, Gen. i. 26. Man was fitted for these ends, and a man may propose them lawfully to himself, seeing God has set them before him; but still these are but subordinate ends to his glory.
There are some ends which men propose to themselves, which are simply unlawful, as to satisfy their revenge, their lust, their covetousness, &c. These are not capable of subordination to the glory of God, who hates robbery for burnt-offering. But there are other ends, which are indeed in themselves lawful, yet become sinful, if they be not set in their due place, that is, subordinate to the glory of God. Now, God's glory is made our chief end, when these three things concur.
1. When whatever end we have in our actions, the glory of God is still one of our ends in acting. We may eat and drink for the nourishment of our bodies; but this must not justle out our respect to the glory of God. If the nourishment of our bodies be the only end of our eating and drinking, it is sinful, and out of the due order.
2. It must not only be our end, but it must be our main and principal end, that which we chiefly design. When God's glory is our chief end, all other ends that we propose to ourselves will be downweighed by this; all other sheaves must bow to that sheaf: as a diligent servant designs to please both the master and his steward, but chiefly the master. But when, on the contrary, a man eats and drinks (for instance) more for the nourishment of his body than for God's glory, it is plain, that God's glory is not the chief end of the man in that action. Hence we read, 2 Tim. iii. 4. of some that are 'lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.'
3. When it is the ultimate end, the last end, the top and perfection of what we design, beyond which we have no more view, and to which all other ends are made subservient, and as means to that end. Thus we should eat that our bodies may be refreshed; we should desire that our bodies may be refreshed, 'that we may be the more capable to serve and glorify God in our stations. Thus we are obliged to seek our own salvation, that God may be glorified; and not to seek God's glory only that we may be saved; for that is to make the glory of God a stepping-stone to our own safety.
Thirdly, I come now to show the extent of this duty. Respect to the glory of God is as salt that must be served up with every dish. The great work of our life is to glorify him; it is the end of our first and of our second creation, Isa. xliii. 21. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.' We must be for God, Hos. iii. 3. and live to him. This must be the end.
1. Of our natural actions, 1 Cor. x. 31. eating, sleeping, walking, &c. we are under a law as to these things. We may not eat and drink as we please, more than pray as we please, Zech. vii. 6. All these things must be done in subserviency to the glory of God. These things must be done that we may live, and living may glorify God; and when we can do it without them in heaven, then none of these things shall be done.
2. Of our civil actions, working our work, buying and selling, &c. Eph. vi. 7. Prov. xxi. 4. It was one of the sins of the old world, that they were eating; the word is properly used of beasts eating their food: they had no higher end in it than beasts; and marrying, a thing in itself lawful, but they had no eye to God in it. 3. Of our moral and religious actions, Zech. vii. 5. We must pray, hear, &c. for God's glory.
This is such a necessary ingredient in our actions, that none of them are truly good and acceptable to God without it, Zech. vii. 5. Do what we will, it cannot be service to God, if we do not make him our end; no more than a servant's working to himself is service to his master. God will never be the rewarder of a work, whereof he is not the end; for if a man should build houses to all the country, if he build not one to me, I owe him nothing. Alas! to what purpose serves a generation of good works all killed by a depraved end?
Though it is a duty frequently to have a formal and express intention of the glory of God in our actings, yet to have it in every action is impossible: neither are we bound to it; for then, for that very intention we should be obliged to have another, another for that, and another for that, in infinitum. But we should always habitually and interpretatively design the glory of God. And that is done when, (1.) The course of our lives is directed to the glory of God, Psal. l. ult. (2.) When we walk according to the rule of God's word, taking heed that we swerve not in any thing from it. And, (3.) When God's will is the reason as well as the rule of our actions; when we believe a truth, because God has said it; and do a duty, because God has commanded it. If we do not so, God loses his glory, and we lose our labour.
Fourthly, The reason of the point is, because he is the first prin
ciple, therefore he must be the last end. He is the first and the last, the Alpha, and therefore the Omega. God is the fountain of
our being; and therefore seeing we are of him, we should be to him, Rom. xi. ult. forecited. Man is a mere relative being; God is our Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor. Our being is but a borrowed being from him, as the rays or beams of the sun are borrowed from the sun therefore I AM is God's name. Whatever perfection we have is from him; hence he is called 'the only wise, none good but one, that is God:' he gives us the continuance of all these things, and it is on his cost that we live. As when the waters come from the sea unto the earth, and go back again unto it by brooks and rivers; so all we receive and enjoy comes from God, and ought to go back again to him, by being used for his glory. Wherefore to make ourselves our chief end, is to make ourselves a god to ourselves; for a creature to be a centre to itself, and that God should be a means to that end, is to blaspheme, John viii. 50.
II. I shall speak to the enjoyment of God for ever, wherein man's chief happiness consists, and which he is to seek as his chief good. Here I shall show,
1. The nature of this enjoyment.
2. The order of it.
3. That it is man's chief end in point of happiness.
First, I shall shew the nature of this enjoyment. There is a twofold enjoyment of God, imperfect and perfect.
First, There is an imperfect enjoyment of God in this life; which consists in two things.
1. In union with him, or a special saving interest in him, whereby God is their God by covenant. By this union Christ and believers are so joined, that they are one spirit, one mystical body. The whole man, soul and body, is united to him, and, through the Mediator, unto God. This is the foundation of all saving enjoyment of God.
2. In communion with God, which is a participation of the benefits of that saving relation, whereof the soul makes returns to the Lord in the exercise of its graces, particularly of faith and love. This is had in the duties of religion, prayer, meditation, &c. in which the Lord privileges his people with manifestations of his grace, favour, and love, bestows on them the influences of his Spirit, gives them many tokens of his kindness, and fills them with joy and peace in believing.
Secondly, There is a perfect enjoyment of God in heaven, when this world is no more. This consists in,
1. An intimate presence with him in glory Psal. xvi. 11, 'In his
presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore.' God himself shall be with them, and they shall ever be with the Lord, enjoying his glorious presence, brought near to his throne, and standing before him, where he shews his inconceivable glory.
2. In seeing him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. They shall have a fall, a satisfying, and never-ending sight of God, and of all his glorious perfections and excellencies, and they shall be ravished with the view thereof for ever.
He will be their by the Spirit and then only in part; There shall be a
3. In a perfect union with him, Rev. xxi. 3. God. They were united to God in Christ here faith, and made partakers of a divine nature, but but in heaven they shall perfectly partake of it. most close and intimate union between God and them: God shall be in them, and they in God, in the way of a glorious and most perfect union, never to be dissolved.
4. In an immediate, full, free, and comfortable communion with him, infinitely superior to all the communion they ever had with him in this world, and which no mortal can suitably describe.
5. Lastly, In full joy and satisfaction resulting from these things for ever, Mat. xxv. 21. The presence and enjoyment of God and the Lamb, shall satisfy them with pleasures for evermore. They shall swim for ever in an ocean of joy, and every object they see shall fill them with the most ecstatic joy, which shall be ever fresh and new to them, through all the ages of eternity.*
Secondly, Let us consider the order of this enjoyment.
1. It is a part of man's chief end, and, in conjunction with glorifying of God, makes it up. And these two are put together, because no man can glorify God, but he that takes God for his chief good and supreme happiness.
2. Glorifying of God is put before the enjoying of him, because the way of duty is the way to the enjoyment of God. Holiness on earth must necessarily go before felicity in heaven, Heb. xii. 14. There is an inseparable connexion betwixt the two, as between the end and the means; so that no person who does not glorify God here, shall ever enjoy him hereafter. The connexion is instituted by God himself, so that the one can never be attained without the other. Let no person, then, who has no regard for the glory and honour of God in this world, dream that he shall be crowned with glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life, in the heavenly man
The reader may see a more full account of the happiness od the sall a on seaven, to the author's book, Fourfold State, state 4, head 5, Vol.