« السابقةمتابعة »
Thus Isai. xlviii. 11. "For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it. For how should my name be polluted; and I will not give my glory to another." Which is as much as to say, I will obtain my end; I will not forego my glory; another shall not take this prize from me. It is pretty evident here, that God's name and his glory, which seem to intend the same thing, as shall be observed more particularly afterwards, are spoken of as his last end in the great work mentioned; not as an inferior, subordinate end, subservient to the interest of others. The words are emphatical. The emphasis and repetition constrain us to understand, that what God does is ultimately for his own sake. "For my own sake, even for my own sake will I do it."
So the words of the apostle, in Rom. xi. 36. naturally lead us to suppose, that the way in which all things are to God, is in being for his glory. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." In the preceding context, the apostle observes the marvellous disposals of divine wisdom, for causing all things to be to him, in their final issue and result, as they are from him at first, and governed by him. His discourse shews how God contrived this and brought it to pass, by setting up the kingdom of Christ in the world; leaving the Jews, and calling the Gentiles; including what he would hereafter do in bringing in the Jews, with the fulness of the Gentiles; with the circumstances of these wonderful works, so as greatly to shew his justice and his goodness, to magnify his grace, and manifest the sovereignty and freeness of it, and the absolute dependence of all on him. And then, in the four last verses, he breaks out into a most pathetic exclamation, expressing his great admiration of the depth of divine wisdom, in the steps he takes for attaining his end, and causing all things to be to him: and finally, he expresses a joyful consent to God's excellent design in all to glorify himself, in saying, "to him be glory forever;" as much as to say, as all things are so wonderfully ordered for his glory, so let him have the glory of all, for evermore.
2. The glory of God is spoken of in holy scripture as the last end for which those parts of the moral world that are good, were made.
Thus in Isa. xliii. 6. 7. "I will say to the north give up, and to the south keep not back; bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth, even every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him, yea I have made him." Again, Isa. lx. 21. "Thy people also shall be all righteous. They shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hand, that I may be glorified;" also chap. lxi. 3. "That they may be
called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."
In these places we see that the glory of God is spoken of as the end of God's saints, the end for which he makes them i. e. either gives them being, or gives them a being as saints, or both. It is said, that God has made and formed them to be his sons and daughters, for his own glory: That they are trees of his planting, the work of his hands, as trees of righteousness, that he might be glorified. And if we consider the words, especially as taken with the context in each of the places, it will appear quite natural to suppose, that God's glory is here spoken of only as an end inferior and subordinate to the happiness of God's people. On the contrary, they will appear rather as promises of making God's people happy, that God therein might be glorified.
So is that in Isa. xliii. as we shall see plainly, if we take the whole that is said from the beginning of the chapter, ver. 1-7. It is wholly a promise of a future, great and wonderful work of God's power and grace, delivering his people from all misery, and making them exceeding happy; and then the end of all, or the sum of God's design in all, is declared to be God's own glory. "I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine-I will be with thee.-When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.-Thou art precious and honourable in my sight. I will give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not, I am with thee.-I will bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; every one that it called by my name: for I have created him for my glory.
So Isa. Ix. ver. 21. The whole chapter is made up of nothing but promises of future, exceeding happiness to God's church; but, for brevity's sake, let us take only the two preceding verses, 19, 20. "The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Thy people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands;" and then the end of all is added, "that I might be glorified." All the preceding promises are plainly mentioned as so many parts, or constituents, of the great and exceeding happiness of God's people; and God's glory is mentioned, as the sum of his design in this happiness.
In like manner is the promise in chap. Ixi. 3. "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. The work of God promised to be effected, is plainly an accomplishment of the joy, gladness, and happiness of God's people, instead of their mourning and sorrow; and the end in which God's design in this work is obtained and summed up, is his glory. This proves, by the seventh position, that God's glory is the end of the creation.
The same thing may be argued from Jer. xiii. 11. "For as a girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel, and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord: that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear." That is, God sought to make them to be his own holy people; or, as the apostle expresses it, his peculiar people, zealous of good works; that so they might be a glory to him; as girdles were used in those days for ornament and beauty, and as badges of dignity and honour.*
Now when God speaks of himself, as seeking a peculiar and holy people for himself, to be for his glory and honour, as a man that seeks an ornament and badge of honour for his glory, it is not natural to understand it merely of a subordinate end, as though God had no respect to himself in it; but only the good of others. If so, the comparison would not be natural; for men are commonly wont to seek their own glory and honour in adorning themselves, and dignifying themselves with badges of honour.
The same doctrine seems to be taught, Eph. i. 5. "Having predestinated us to the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ, unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace."-And the same may be argued from Isa. xliv. 23. "For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, he hath glorified himself in Israel." And chap. xlix. 3. "Thou art my servant Jacob, in whom I will be glorified." John xvii. 10. "And all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. 2 Thess. i. 10. "When he shall come to be glorified in his saints." Ver. 11, 12. "Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ."
3. The scripture speaks of God's glory, as his ultimate end of the goodness of the moral part of the creation; and that end, in relation to which chiefly the value of the ir virtue consists.
* See ver. 9. and also Isa, iii, 24, and xxii. 21. and xxiii. 10. 2 Sam. xviii. 11. Exod. xxviii, 8.
As in Phil. i. 10, 11. "That ye may approve things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere, and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." Here the apostle shews how the fruits of righteousness in them are valuable, and how they answer their end, viz. in being "by Jesus Christ to the praise and glory of God.". John xv. 8. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." Sig'nifying, that by this means it is that the great end of religion is to be answered. And in 1 Pet. iv. 11. the apostle directs the christians to regulate all their religious performances, with reference to that one end. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God: if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified; to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever, Amen."
And, from time to time, embracing and practising true religion, and repenting of sin, and turning to holiness, is expressed by glorifying God as though that were the sum and end of the whole matter. Rev. xi. 13. "And in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of Heaven." So Rev. XIV. 6,7. "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth; saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him." As though this were the sum and end of that virtue and religion, which was the grand design of preaching the gospel, every where through the world. Rev. xvi. 9. "And repented not to give him glory." Which is as much as to say, they did not forsake their sins and turn to true religion, that God might receive that which is the great end he seeks, in the religion he requires of men. (See to the same purpose, Psal. xxii. 21-23. Isa, lxvi. 19. xxiv. 15. xxv. 3. Jer. xiii. 15, 16. Dan. v. 23. Rom. xv. 5, 6.)
And as the exercise of true religion and virtue in christians is summarily expressed by their glorifying God, so, when the good influence of this on others is spoken of, it is expressed in the same manner. Matth. v. 16. "Let your light so shine before men, that others seeing your good works, may glorify your father which is in heaven." I Pet. ii. 12. "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak evil against you as evil-doers, they may, by your good works which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
That the ultimate end of moral goodness, or righteousness, is answered in God's glory being attained, is supposed in the objection which the apostle makes, or supposes some will make, Rom. iii. 7. "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my life unto his glory, why am I judged as a sinner?"
i. e. seeing the great end of righteousness is answered by my sin, in God being glorified, why is my sin condemned and punished: and why is not my vice equivalent to virtue?
And the glory of God is spoken of as that wherein consists the value and end of particular graces. As of faith, Rom. iv. 20. "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief: but was strong in faith, giving glory to God." Phil. ii. 11. "That every tongue should confess that Jesus is the Lord, to the glory of God the father." Of repentance. Josh. vi. 19. "Give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him." Of charity. 2 Cor. viii. 19. " With this grace, which is administered by us, to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind. Thanksgiving and praise." Luke vii. 18. "There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger." 1. 23. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of God." Concerning which last place may be observed, that God seems to say this to such as supposed, in their religious performances, that the end of all religion was to glorify God. They supposed they did this in the best manner, in offering a multitude of sacrifices; but God corrects their mistake, and informs them, that this grand end of religion is not attained this way, but in offering the more spiritual sacrifices of praise and a holy con
In fine, the words of the apostle in I Cor. vi. 20. are worhy of particular notice. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his." Here, not only is glorifying God spoken of, as what summarily comprehends the end of religion, and of Christ redeeming us; but the apostle urges, that inasmuch as we are not our own, we ought not to act as if we were our own, but as God's; and should not use the members of our bodies, or faculties of our souls, for ourselves, but for God, as making him our end. And he expresses the way in which we are to make God our end, viz. in making his glory our end. "Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are his." Here it cannot be pretended, that though christians are indeed required to make God's glory their end; yet it is but as a subordinate end, as subservient to their own happiness; for then, in acting chiefly and ultimately for their ownselves, they would use themselves more as their own than as God's; which is directly contrary to the design of the apostle's exhortation, and the argument he is upon; which is, that we should give ourselves as it were away from ourselves to God and use ourselves as his, and not our own, acting for his sake, and not our own sakes. Thus it is evident, by position the ninth, 17