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in this représentation, it is in fact only another method of saying that he is himself excellence
creatures. It is a regard to himself that disposes him to diffuse and communicate himself. It is such a delight in his own internal fulness * and glory, that disposes him to an abundant effusion and emanation of that glory. The same disposition that inclines him to delight in his glory, causes him to delight in the exhibitions, expressions and communications of it.
“In God, the love of himself and the love of the public are not to be distinguished as in man, because God's being, as it were, comprehends all. His existence being infinite, must be equivalent to universal existence. And for the same reason that public affection in the creature is fit and beautiful, God's regard to himself must be so likewise. In God the love of what is fit, cannot be a distinct thing from the love of himself, because the love of God is that wherein all holiness, primarily and chiefly consists, and God's own holiness must primarily, consist in the love of himself.
“Love to virtue itself, is no otherwise virtuous, than as it is implied in, or arises from, love to the Divine Being. Consequently, God's own love to virtue is implied in love to himself, and is virtuous no otherwise than as it arises from love to himself. Consequently, whensoever he makes virtue his end, he makes himself his end. In fine, God being as it were an allcomprehending Being, all his moral perfections, his holiness, justice, grace, and benevolence, are some way or other to be rendered into a supreme and infinite regard to himself; and, if so, it will be easy to suppose that it becomes him to make himself his supreme and last end in his works.” Edwards'. Dissertation concerning the End for which God created the world, Ch. i. Sect. iv.
* In the above phrase God's fulness, is comprehended all the good which is in God, natural and moral, either excellence or happiness. Edwards' Dissertation, &c., Ch. i. Sect. ii.
and happiness; that, being so, he diffuses excellence and happiness, and that he diffuses them because he loves them. These views, properly understood, seem to lead to no other than just conceptions of the Supreme Being: but they are too refined to be in general accurately conceived and followed: the language commonly employed to express them is apt to confuse and mislead: as far as they are intelligible and clear, they coincide entirely with the more usual opinion that God's ultimate end in the creation is the happiness of his creatures. This last proposition is universally intelligible, and cannot be misunderstood: it is therefore the better mode of speaking. It is then a truth as obvious as it is delightful, that the design of the Creator must have been the communication of happiness, and that nothing can possibly more effectually display the glory of a being who is infinitely wise, powerful, and good, than to contrive and effect the happiness of rational creatures.
OF THE UNIVERSALITY OF THE DIVINE BENEVOLENCE.
For the same reason that the Deity designed to make one human being happy, he must have purposed to bestow felicity ultimately upon all. For if there be a single individual whom he created without this design, since he must still have had some design, it must be different from that which we have already shown to be the only one which he could have had in view.
In reality, his purpose with respect to every individual, must have been either to make him happy or miserable. If it were not to make him happy, it must have been to make him miserable; but to suppose that he purposed to make any one miserable ultimately and upon the whole, is to suppose, that he purposed the production of misery for its own sake, which has already been shown to be impossible.
And if every principle of the human understanding revolt at the conclusion, that he is partial and capricious in his kindness, and has designed to make some individuals happy and others miserable, it is equally opposed by all the appearances in nature. It is refuted by
every object to which we can direct our attention. The sun, in the brightness of his glory, diffuses light and joy through all the nations of the earth. He has no favorite to bless. He regards not in his course the little distinctions which prevail among mankind. He shipes not on the lands of the great, forgetting to pour his beams on the lowly spot of the peasant. He lights up the Indies with a burning glow; he smiles upon the nations of Europe with a milder beam: and he shines upon the hoary path of the Laplander amidst his mountains of eternal snow. “ The Lord is good to all. He causes his sun to shine upon the evil and the good.”
The cloud, bearing in its bosom riches and fertility, pours its blessings upon every field, without regarding the name or rank of its owner. “ The Lord visiteth the earth with his goodness; he watereth it with the dew of heaven; he maketh it soft with showers : he blesseth the springing thereof.”
No where in nature are there traces of a partial God. Some inequalities indeed appear in the distribution of his bounty, but this must necessarily be the case if creatures are formed with different capacities and endowed with different degrees of excellence. There can be no degrees in excellence, there can be no variety of orders and ranks among intelligent beings, unless some are made higher and some lower, some
better and some worse than others. But how low in capacity, how dark and grovelling in apprehension, how little capable of estimating the benignity of the author of its mercies, must be that mind which dreams that the Deity is partial, because by diffusing every where a countless variety of capacity, excellence, and happiness, he has adopted the means of producing the greatest sum of enjoyment !
The great things which make us what we are, which minister to the primary wants, and which lie at the foundation of the happiness of all animal and intelligent natures, are always and every where the same. Life itself is the same, wherever that wondrous power which imparts to a mass of clay the amazing properties of sensation and intelligence, has operated. Wherever a vital fluid circulates, from the insect which we can discern only by the best artificial aids, up to the highest of the human race, it flows to diffuse enjoyment. To all, indeed, it does not impart an equal sum of happiness, because it could not do so, unless every object in nature were exactly alike; but to all it is the source of pleasure. Simple existence is a blessing ; simply to be, is happiness. And this is the case with every race of animals, and with
every individual of every race. The Deity has made no distinction in the nature of the existence which he has given to his creatures. He has not made the