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wail, but God himself, no longer beholding and enjoying the joy and felicity of his people, and disappointed in the purest and sweetest desires and designs of his wisdom and love, would no longer be “God blessed forever. Nor does it at all' relieve the horror of this result, to suppose that the divine mind is indifferent to it. For, if his benevolence were so torpid as to be unmoved by such disappointment; if his desires and designs of kindness could be all erased from his mind, and he still remain unmoved and happy; if his perfections were so inactive and retired as never to be seen, and so dormant as never to be acted out, or be sensible of injury, then he would not be God.
But we have little need of hypotheses of this sort. God is infinitely happy, because he is, and will be infinitely glorified. Compared with the beauty and glory discoverable in the manifestation of his character, created excellence is lost sight of and forgotten. And in such beauty and glory, it is impossible but that the infinite mind should take supreme delight. He is happy because he is glorified, and he must be glorified to be happy. We venture no rash expression, we say nothing dishonourable, but what is most honourable to God, when we affirm, he would be the most wretched being in the universe, were he not glorified.
Thus would we vindicate the conduct of God in making himself his ultimate end. And let us ask in view of this exposition, what ultimate end can be compared with this? What higher consideration, what weightier inducement, what more benevolent impulse could move the eternal mind than this? We say, benevolent impulse; because there is no selfishness here. Selfishness regards its own, simply because it is its own, and not because it is supremely worthy of regard. It were a novel kind of selfishness that is gratified only in doing good; and this is all the selfishness discoverable in the ultimate end of Deity. It is true, that in all his vast operations, he makes himself first, himself midst, himself every thing; and the reason he does it is, that it is so unspeakably important, as we have seen, that he should be all in all. There is no end he could propose so benevolent as this. It is an end, which, from its very nature, cannot be accomplished without comprising a greater amount of good, than could be secured in any other way. There is no supreme end worthy of God but this. It had been a needless indifference to the best interests of his great empire, to have aimed ultimately, at any thing below himself. Never does the eternal God appear so excellent, so worthy of supreme love, confidence, and homage, as when the grand object of his pursuit is seen to rise far above all the minor interests of his creation, and he himself is beheld “decked with light, as with a garment,” and creating, upholding, and governing all things for his own glory.
There are several practical thoughts which we are loth to forego, though we have already greatly trespassed on the patience of our readers.
To us it appears, that the prominent truth contained in the preceding remarks, is one which ought to be frequently and faithfully exhibited. There is no principle of greater importance, either in a theoretical or practical view, than that God himself is the ultimate end of every thing he does. There is no truth with which we ought to be more familiar than this, and none which is capable of being more usefully employed, either in the confirmation and illustration of truth, the confutation of error, or the presentation of the most constraining inducements to elevated and consistent piety. No man can understand the doctrines of the Gospel, or discover their beauty and consistency, who does not see them in their relation to this important and fundamental truth; and no man can be led away by the subtilties of error who does. Establish this principle, and you give a mortal wound to every heresy that has distracted the Church and the world; relinquish this, and it is of little moment to which of all the variety of errors you give the preference. Once consent to come down from the lofty elevation that God is above all creatures, and that all things were made by him and for him, and no matter how low you fall. This truth is like a "moral perspective glass,” it brings distant objects near, and presents, in their true and real position, objects that are inverted. It presents also a telescopic vision of the works and ways of God, by which every thing that he does is magnified, and in which he seen forming his purposes and laying out his plans upon a scale of magnitude and grandeur, that overwhelms the human understanding. If he made all things for himself, then it became him to project and achieve a multitude of designs, the rectitude and magnificence of which, without this ultimate end, would not, and could not have been seen by mortal eyes. It became him to form all his purposes from eternity, and with the sublime view of demonstrating his own excellence and glory. It became him to give existenee to a world of moral agents, and to extend his government over them through interminable ages. “It became him by whom are all things and for whom are all things,” to make the captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings, and to devise a method of mercy, which, though to the Jew a stumbling block, and to the Greek foolishness, is the wisdom and power of God to salvation. It became him to reveal the operations of a mighty and invisible agent in the moral renovation of his people, and thus to produce impressions of the Deity upon their minds, which shall prostrate them in everlasting humiliation before his throne. And it becomes him, in his progressive administrations, to give no account of any of his matters; but to magnify his own august dominion, and make all intelligences understand, that he legislates, not for a province, but for the universe; and that he plans and governs, not for a day, but for an infinite lapse of ages. Nothing so allures a holy mind to adoring and humble piety, as the thought that God made all things for himself, and is governing all according to the counsel of his own will. “I know," saith the inspired preacher, “that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God doeth it that men should fear before him.” In a word, establish this principle, and you shed lustre over all the works of God; you have a clue to every labyrinth in providence, and a solution of every mystery in grace; you have the key stone of the arch, sprung by anseen hands, when they laid the beams of his chambers in the mighty waters, and stretched out the line upon the foundations of the earth.
Again: If the suggestions we have made are true, supreme selfishness constitutes neither the religion of the Gospel, nor the religion of heaven. It is very possible, that in all our religious affections, and in all our religious conduct, in all we do for God and our fellow men, we may have a supreme regard to ourselves. Not a few moral philosophers and grave divines have advocated the sentiment, that all religion consists in a well directed selfishness. But if God himself is the ultimate end of all things, this is not the religion of the Gospel, nor of heaven. It matters not how wisely, nor with how much discretion a man undertakes to exalt himself, so long as his supreme object is not to please and glorify God. It is impossible for hiin, from a supreme regard to himself, to love and honour God more than himself. Every thing he does
may be in itself lawful, it may be religious and devout, it may be very discreet and wise policy; but if self be his grand, his ruling object, his spirit will be found to differ essentially from the spirit of angels, and of the just made perfect. The mind illumined by the Spirit of God, sees things as they are, and appreciates them according to their intrinsic worth. It ceases, in some good degree, to regard those that are of no comparative moment, and has learned to estimate those that are of real and permanent importance. And since there is nothing of so much importance as that God should be glorified, the real Christian desires nothing so much as this. God has the first and highest place in his heart. And since he loves every attribute of the divine character, so he desires to behold it in its native beauty. Every new manifestation of the Deity, raises the Creator in his esteem, sheds lustre around all that God is, and all that he does, and often fills his heart with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The people of God may be frequently under the cloud; but let God appear, and the cloud vanishes away; let God be exalted, and they are happy. This is not selfishness. This is the religion of heaven. The religion which springs from selfishness never truly terminates on God. The religion of the Gospel and of heaven neither springs from self, nor terminates in self, but springs from God, and terminates in God. And the man who has the most of this spirit is the most godly man. There are those who see and rejoice that God will be glorified; and there are those that see he will be glorified, and rebel and mourn. And wide, very wide, is the difference between them! No sinful affections will amalgamate with the glory of God. No love, no faith, no submission, no hope, no joy, that has not a stronger affinity to the divine glory, than to any other and all other objects, will stand the test of that day that is to “ try every man's work of what sort it is."
Again: If the leading sentiment defended in these pages be true, most certain is it that all holy beings will be happy forever. There is no need of separating the glory of God and the eternal happiness of his people. We will not say that they are identified; for one is the effect, and the other the cause. The eternal, unchangable Jehovah has indissolubly bound the highest and eternal blessedness of all holy beings to the manifestation of his own glory. He cannot be glorified without making those who love him happy; and those who love him cannot be happy, unless he is glorified. If you would make a good man miserable; if you would torture the spirits of the just made perfect with agony, go, tell it in heaven, that God will not be glorified. But if God is glorified, they are safe, they are happy. Nothing can disturb their serenity, nothing diminish their rapture. So long as their highest love terminates on God, and their largest desires on his glory, they shall be gratified to the full. They shall
behold his glory, even the glory which the Son had with the Father, before the world was. They shall be filled with all the fullness of God.
And be it also remarked, that with equal certainty will the full manifestation of the divine glory be forever inseparable from the perdition of all the ungodly. If God is exalted, the wicked must die. It is a most fearful truth, that God cannot be glorified, without the perdition of the ungodly. And it is a truth which may well carry death to the hopes of every in. corrigible sinner. If there are those who will sin, and sin incorrigibly, let them know that God is able to glorify himself by it all. Their rebellion shall never disturb God. It shall not disturb one peaceful emotion throughout his holy and happy kingdom. Though they “mean not so, neither in their hearts do they think so;" their incorrigible wrath “shall praise the Lord, and the remainder thereof he will restrain.' The “expectation of the wicked shall perish," and their “ triumphing shall be short.” They shall sink forever under their disappointment and shame. They will eternally rebel and mourn, because they cannot maintain a successful controversy with God. And it will shame them, and it will fill them with despair and rage, that there is One above them who will turn all their iniquity into the means of his own and his people's advancement. This is the Hell to which the haters of God, and the despisers of his Son are destined. And nothing can deliver them from it, but the divine dishonour. No, nothing can exalt them, but what would humble God; nothing list them up, but what would cast him down; nothing save them, but what would ruin him. 0! “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” It will be a direful allotment to stand in the place of that man, on whom the great God undertakes to glorify his justice.
But we turn from this painful subject. Have we not, in view of the preceding illustration, the fullest assurance of the fact, that God will be abundantly and forever exalted? “He is of one mind, and none can turn him; and what his soul desireth, that he doeth.” The Infinite One must cease to be wise, good,
VOL. IV. No. I.-P