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Psal. li. 5.—Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother con.
OF THE MISERIES OF MAN'S NATURAL STATE.
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.
OF MAN'S CHIEF END AND HAPPINESS.
1 Cor. x. 31.-Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do,
do all to the glory of God.
Psalm lxxiii. 25, 26.- Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my
heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Knowledge is a necessary foundation of faith and holiness; and where ignorance reigns in the mind, there is confusion in the heart and life. We have the word of truth in our hands, and many methodical systems of divine truths, amongst which the Shorter Catechism, composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster, in pursuance of the solemn league and covenant, as a part of the then intended uniformity between the three nations, is deservedly reckoned the chief. This I shall endeavour to explain with all possible brevity and perspecuity, that ye may have a view of those divine truths, with the reasons of them. And this I have thought it the more necessary to do, in order that your
may be established in the truth, as our time is like to be a time of trial, wherein ye may be exposed to many snares, and so be in danger of apostasy.
In the first of the texts which I have read, ye have,
1. The chief end of human actions, the glory of God: that is the scope of which all we think, or speak, or do, should tend; this is the point or common centre, in which all should meet.
2. The extent of it. It is not only some of our actions, but all of them, of what kind soever, that must be directed to this end. This, then, is man's chief duty.
In the second text we have,
1. The Psalmist's chief desire, and what he points at as his only true happiness; that is, the enjoyment of God. He takes God for and instead of all, that in him alone his soul may
rest. 2. The reason of this is taken from, (1.) The creature's emptiness, both in body and spirit, ver. 25. (2.) From God's fulness and sufficiency: and this is amplified by the eternity of it, my portion for
From both texts the following doctrine natively follows. Doct. "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever."
In handling this doctrine, I shall speak, I. to the glorifying of God, which is one part of man's chief end.
II. To the enjoyment of God for ever, wherein man's chief happiness consists, and which he is to seek as his chief good.
I. I shall speak to the glorifying of God, which is one part of man's chief end. And here I shall shew,
1. The nature of glorifying God.
First, I shall shew the nature of glorifying God. To glorify, is either to make glorious, or to declare to be glorious. God glorifies, t. e. makes angels or men glorious; but man cannot make God glorious, for he is not capable of any additional glory, being in himself infinitely glorious, Job xxxv. 7. Hence it is plain, that God gets no advantage to himself by the best works of men, the profit of our holiness redounding entirely to ourselves, Acts xvii. 25. Psal. xvi. 2.
God is glorified, then, only declaratively; he is glorified when his glory is declared. This is done two ways. Objectively, by the creatures inanimate and irrational. Thus the heavens declare the glory of God, Psal. xix. 1. This the creatures do, while they afford matter of praise to God, as a violin is fit to make music, though there must be a hand to play on it ere it can sound. Man declares his glory also actively. And this he ought to do,
1. By his heart, 1 Cor. vi. 20. Glorify God in your spirit. Honouring God with the lips, not with the heart, is but a very lame and unacceptable performance. He ought to be glorified by our understanding, taking him up in the glory which the scripture reveals him in, thinking highly of him, and esteeming him above all other