Imágenes de páginas

Fourthly, Whatsoever any agent has in view in any thing he does, which he loves, or which is an immediate gratification of any appetite or inclination of nature; and is agreea- ¦ ble to him in itself, and not merely for the sake of something else, is regarded by that agent as his last end. The same may be said, of avoiding of that which is in itself painful or disagreeable: For the avoiding of what is disagreeable is agreeable. This will be evident to any bearing in mind the meaning of the terms. By last end being meant, that which is regarded and sought by an agent, as agreeable or desirable for its own sake; a subordinate that which is sought only for the sake of something else.

Fifthly, From hence it will follow, that, if an agent in his works has in view more things than one that will be brought to pass by what he does, that are agreeable to him, considered in themselves, or what he loves and delights in on their own account....then he must have more things than one that he regards as his last ends in what he does. But if there be but one thing that an agent seeks, as the consequence of what he does that is agreeable to him, on its own account, then there can be but one last end which he has in all his actions and operations.

But only here a distinction must be observed of things which may be said to be agreeable to an agent, in themselves considered in two senses. (1.) What is in itself grateful to an agent, and valued and loved on its own account, simply and absolutely considered, and is so universally and originally, antecedent to, and independent of all conditions, or any supposition of particular cases and circumstances. And (2.) What may be said to be in itself agreeable to an agent, hypothetically and consequentially: Or, on supposition or condition of such and such circumstances, or on the happening of such a particular Thus, for instance: A man may originally love society. An inclination to society may be implanted in his very nature: And society may be agreeable to him antecedent to all presupposed cases and circumstances: And this may cause him to seek a family. And the comfort of society may be originally his last end, in seeking a family. But after he has


[ocr errors]

a family, peace, good order and mutual justice and friendship in his family, may be agreeable to him, and what be delights in for their own sake; and therefore these things may be his last end in many things he does in the government and regulation of his family. But they were not his original end with respect to his family. The justice and peace of a family was not properly his last end before he had a family, that induced him to seek a family, but consequentially. And the case being put of his having a family, then these things wherein the good order and beauty of a family consist, become his last end in many things he does in such circumstances. In like manner we must suppose that God before he created the world, had some good in view, as a consequence of the world's existence that was originally agreeable to him in itself considered, that inclined him to create the world, or bring the universe, with various intelligent creatures into existence in such a manner as he created it. But after the world was created, and such and such intelligent creatures actually had existence, in such and such circumstances, then a wise, just regulation of them was agreeable to God, in itself considered. And God's love of justice, and hatred of injustices would be sufficient in such a case to induce God to deal just ly with his creatures, and to prevent all injustice in him towards them. But yet there is no necessity of supposing, that God's love of doing justly to intelligent beings, and hatred of the contrary, was what originally induced God to create the world, and make intelligent beings; and so to order the occasion of doing either justly or unjustly. The justice of God's Hature makes à just regulation agreeable, and the contrary disagreeable, as there is occasion, the subject being supposed, and the occasion given: But we must suppose something else that should incline him to create the subjects or order the occasion.

So that perfection of God which we call his faithfulness, or his inclination to fulfil his promises to his creatures, could not properly be what moved him to create the world; nor could such a fulfilment of his promises to his creatures, be his last end, in giving the creatures being. But yet after the

world is created, after intelligent creatures are made, and God has bound himself by promise to them, then that disposition which is called his faithfulness may move him in his providential disposals towards them: And this may be the end of many of God's works of providence, even the exercise of his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises. And may be in the lower sense his last end. Because faithfulness and truth must be supposed to be what is in itself amiable to God, and What he delights in for its own sake. Thus God may have ends of particular works of providence, which are ultimate ends in a lower sense, which were not ultimate ends of the creation.

So that here we have two sorts of ultimate ends; one of which may be called an original, and independent ultimate end; the other consequential and dependent. For it is evident, the latter sort are truly of the nature of ultimate ends: Because, though their being agreeable to the agent, or the agent's desire of them, be consequential on the existence, or supposition of proper subjects and occasion; yet the subject and occasion being supposed, they are agreeable and amiable in themselves. We may suppose that to a righteous being, the doing justice between two parties, with whom he is concerned, is agreeable in itself, and is loved for its own sake, and not merely for the sake of some other end: And yet we may suppose, that a desire of doing justice between two parties, may be consequential on the being of those parties, and the occasion given.

Therefore, I make a distinction between an end that in this manner is consequential, and a subordinate end.

It may be observed, that when I speak of God's ultimate end in the creation of the world, in the following discourse, I commonly mean in that highest sense, viz. the original ultimate end.

Sixthly, It may be further observed, that the original ulfimate end or ends of the creation of the world is alone, that which induces God to give the occasion for consequential ends, by the first creation of the world, and the original disposal of it. And the more original the end is, the more exVOL. VI. 3 C

tensive and universal it is. That which God had primarily in view in creating, and the original ordination of the world, must be constantly kept in view, and have a governing influ ence in all God's works, or with respect to every thing that he does towards his creatures.

And therefore,

Seventhly, If we use the phrase ultimate end in this highest sense, then the same that is God's ultimate end in creating the world, if we suppose but one such end, must be what he makes his ultimate aim in all his works, in every thing he does either in creation or providence. But we must suppose that in the use, which God puts the creatures to that he hath made, he must evermore have a regard to the end, for which he has made them. But if we take ultimate end in the other lower sense, God may sometimes have regard to those things as ultimate ends, in particular works of providence, which could not in any proper sense be his last end in creating the world.

Eighthly, On the other hand, whatever appears to be God's ultimate end in any sense, of his works of providence in general, that must be the ultimate end of the work of creation itself. For though it be so that God may act for an end, that is an ultimate end in a lower sense, in some of his works of providence, which is not the ultimate end of the creation of the world: Yet this doth not take place with regard to the works of providence in general. But we may justly look upon whatsoever has the nature of an ultimate end of God's works of providence in general, that the same is also an ultimate end of the creation of the world; for God's works of providence in general, are the same with the general use that he puts the world to that he has made. And we may well argue from what, we see of the general use which God makes of the world, to the general end for which he designed the world. Though there may be some things that are ends of particular works of providence, that were not the last end of the creation, which are in themselves grateful to God in such particular emergent circumstances; and so are last ends in an inferior sense : Yet this is only in certain cases,

or particular occasions. But if they are last ends of God's proceedings in the use of the world in general, this shews that his making them last ends does not depend on particular cases and circumstances, but the nature of things in general, and his general design in the being and constitution of the universe.

Ninthly, If there be but one thing that is originally, and independent on any future, supposed cases, agreeable to God, to be obtained by the creation of the world, then there can be but one last end of God's work, in this highest sense: But if there are various things, properly diverse one from another, that are, absolutely and independently on the supposition of any future given cases, agreeable to the divine being, which are actually obtained by the creation of the world, then there were several ultimate ends of the creation, in that highest


« AnteriorContinuar »