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what, he formed man at first, and to what end all his conduct ought still to be directed.
As the answer before us speaks of the chief end of man, this, you perceive, implies that there may be other inferior, subordinate, and subservient ends, * which, in consistency with the appointment of the Deity, we may and should regard. A careful attention to this is important, both on its own account, and for a right apprehension of the general subject.
It was clearly intended by the Creator that man should preserve his own life; that he should continue his species; that he should improve his faculties; that he should provide for his own comfortable subsistence in the world; and that he should sustain many relations and discharge many duties, which grow, as it were, out of his very nature as an intelligent, moral, and social being. All these, therefore, are ends or objects, at which man not only may, but ought to aim. By neglecting or refusing to do so, he would violate the law of his nature—the appointment of his God.
But it is to be carefully observed and remembered, that all these objects are to be regarded and pursued, as ends subordinate and subservient, to one which is unspeakably higher and more important, and which therefore is called the chief end.
All other ends or pursuits are to be considered and treated only as means, or steps of advance, to help and carry us forward to this chief end, which is, the glorifying and enjoying of our God. Whoever, therefore, makes it his chief end-an end beyond which he does not look-an object which he makes supreme and ultimate-to obtain wealth, or honour, or influence, or ease, or worldly good of any kind that individual contravenes the order of his Maker, violates his appointment, makes an ultimate end of what, if not absolutely unlawful in itself, should be regarded only as the means of serving, glorifying, and enjoying his Creator.
* A distinction has sometimes been stated between an ultimate and a chief end. Such a distinction may sometimes perhaps be made with justice; but it cannot be so made in the subject here discussed. Man's chief and ultimate end are here the same.
And in this very point it is, my young friends, that the sin and the folly of the great mass of mankind may be seen. They make a chief end of what should be only a subordinate one: they try to find substantial happiness where it never was, and never can be found; they give to creature objects that high regard and supreme affection, which belong only to the Creator. Hence they are chargeable with spiritual idolatry; and therefore of such it is said in Holy Scrip. ture, that they “worship and serve the creature, more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.”
The reasonableness of making it our chief end to glorify and enjoy God, is almost too obvious for argument. To Him we are indebted for our existence; he gave us all our powers and all our capacities of enjoyment; he constantly upholds our being, and crowns our lives with loving kindness and tender mercy; he is, in Himself, the underived fountain of all conceivable perfection and excellence; he has given his Son to be our Saviour, and his Spirit to be our Sanctifier, Guide, and Comforter; he is ableand he alone is able-to render us completely happy, by imparting to our souls an enjoyment which can entirely fill and satisfy them. The reasonableness of making it our chief end to glorify and enjoy such a Being as this, must be evident at once. and alas! they too generally do, forget and neglect their duty in this respect; but its reasonableness they do not often deny-It cannot be denied without the most glaring absurdity, and the most daring impiety. I shall, therefore, only add at present, to what you have heard on this point, the express command by which the duty is enjoined in Scripture:-“ Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
If, then, it be clearly the chief end of man to glorify and enjoy God, the important inquiry returnshow is this to be done? My dear youth, the glory of God and our own happiness are always promoted by
the same means, as I shall show in its place. They ought, however, to be viewed separately. And to unfold the subject, in as clear and practical a manner as I am able, let me first explain what is to be understood by man's glorifying God.
Here an old and just distinction is to be observed—the distinction between the essential and the declarative glory of God.
Let it be observed, that the glory of any being, or object, is something which renders such being or object worthy of very high admiration, esteem, and love. Whoever, or whatever, is thus worthy, we denominate glorious. Now God is, from his very nature and attributes, worthy, in the highest possible degree, of esteem, love, and admiration. Of these affections, in their most vigorous exercise, there is every thing in the Deity to render him the fit ob. ject.
It has been observed, that we form our ideas of the Supreme Being by adding infinity and perfection to whatever we can conceive of excellence, both natural and moral. Now, this infinitude and perfection of natural and moral excellence, constitutes the essential glory of God; and this, you will observe, can never be increased or diminished. It cannot be increased, because, by the supposition, it is already infinite and perfect. It cannot be diminished, because it is among the perfections of the Deity, that he is immutable and independent. If it should be supposed that not a creature in the universe was able to perceive, or was disposed to acknowledge, the glorious perfections of the blessed God, that plainly would not change their nature; or make them, in themselves, less worthy of the affections which they are proper to excite-They would remain exactly what they are; and what they were, in fact, eternal ages before any creature did exist. When, therefore, we are commanded to glorify God, the command has no relation to thïs his essential glory; because this is wholly unconnected, as we have seen, with the dispositions or actions of any of his creatures.—He is entirely independent on all creatures, in his essential glory and perfect happiness.
The command then relates altogether to the declarative glory of God. It has pleased the blessed God to make a declaration, manifestation, or display, of his glorious nature and attributes, in order that they may be perceived, admired, esteemed and loved, by his intelligent and moral creatures, whom he created for this very purpose. This declaration of the glorious nature and attributes of the Deity, is made even by the inanimate creation. « The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” In every part of creation, the boundless wisdont, power and goodness of the Deity are conspicuously manifested. But it is in the volume of inspiration, given by Himself, that we have the clearest revelation, or declaration of the nature and perfections of God. It is here alone, that we are taught to form conceptions which are entirely just-adequate they can never be—of his purity, holiness, and justice: and in no other way whatever, than by his own declaration, could we be assured of his mercy, or his readiness to pardon the guilty.
Now, this declarative glory of God, is not, you perceive, unconnected with his creatures. A declaration, indeed, necessarily implies a party to whom the declaration is made. Intelligent and moral beings are necessary, in order that this declarative glory of God may be perceived. It is to them, and for their sakes, that it is made. They were, as already intimated, created for the very purpose of perceiving, diffusing, and being made happy by it. And they are said to glorify God, when they duly admirè, esteem and love him, for whatever of his nature and attributes can be discerned, in his works and in his word. When, on the contrary, they refuse or fail to do this, they are said not to glorify, but to dishonour him. And when they are instrumental in bringing their fellow creatures to the knowledge, esteem, love, and obedience of God, they are then said to promote his glory; they, as it were, widen and enlarge the circle in which his declarative glory shines, and produces its proper effects.
This may serve for a general illustration of the point before us. I shall show, more particularly, how we are both to glorify and enjoy God, after disposing of some other inquiries and considerations which belong to the subject; and which, if rightly disposed of, will serve both to illustrate and enforce the duty of glorifying God, and of seeking happiness in Him, as the chief end of our being.
One of the inquiries to which I have referred, may be stated thus-If it be the chief end of man to glorify and enjoy God, will it not follow, that this must always be present to his mind, as the immediate and operative motive, in every voluntary action of his whole life? This inquiry I apprehend involves no real difficulty. We have already seen that a chief end, not only consists with intermediate and subordinate ends, but implies them. Having rightly fixed our chief end, and duly arranged whatever leads to it, every intermediate concern may occupy our attention, and be the proximate motive of action, so as not to interfere with what is ultimate, but constantly to carry us forward toward it, in all respects as much as if the ultimate object were every moment present to the mind -take a familiar illustration of this. Say that a man enters on a long journey, with a view to transact some very interesting and important concern. This important concern is his chief end. For this he takes the journey; with a view to this he makes every preparation; ascertains the best and most direct route; the best, and safest, and most speedy conveyance; and provides for the preservation of his health, comfort and accommodation on the way-while on the way he enjoys company; improves his mind by observation and reading; refreshes himself by food and sleep; and attends to numerous subordinate concerns, not incon