Jonathan Edwards.

Two dissertations : I. Concerning the end for which God created the world ; II. The nature of true virtue online

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I. Concerning the End for which GOD createil
the WoRL9.

IL The Nature o9(f^vz Virtue,

T— ^


By "the late Reverend, Learned snd Pious


President of the College in New- Jersey.



B O S 7 O N .^

?^Int€d and Sold by S. Kneeland, oppofite^ ro' t^fjT
Probate-Office in Queea^StK^t,


\ 41160 "^ " ^


P==^^ HE author had,defigned thefe d'tfertarions

([ 2" )) for ths puMgl viezu ; and wrote them out

\ ^_^^ as they ncu>'%ppear : though His probable,

tVat if* his life ^d" been f pared, he zuould have revifed

them, and rendmh them in fome refpe6ls more compleat.

Some new /ent'iments, here and there ^ might probably

have been added ; and fome paffages brightened zuitb

farther illulihtions. This may be conjectured f onr

Jom-^ubriefhinfs^ or fentiments minuted down, on loofe

papers /fmnd in the manufcripts,

BUT' thofe fentiments concifely fk etched out,
•which, Uis thought, the author intended to ^nlarge,

and digefl into the body of the work, cannot be

fo amplified by any other hand, as to do juflice to the
autbor ; 'tis therefore probably befl that nothing of
this kin4 foould be attempted, * '

^ S thefe di [TerfaiTons were wore efpecially defgnd

for the learned and inquifitive, 'tis expected that the

judicisus and candid zvill not be difpofed to object that

the manner in zuhich thefe fubje^s are treated-^ is

fometJfing above the level of commoi readers, . For

though a fuperficial way of difcourfe and loofe har^

rangues may well enough fuitjc?nefubjeLls,. and anfwer

fome valuable pnrpojes ; yet other fubjeils demand more

clofenefs and accuracy: ^nd if an author Jhould nc-

gleEl to do juflice to afubject, for fear that the fimpler

fort fJyould not fully under [land hi ju, he might expect

U bs dssmed a trifler by the raore inUlUgcnt,




«• E F A C E.

^ OUR autb^hadarme iaUnt it peretraf, dee*^
tr. fcarco ^f truth ; to take nn txterfi-ze furiey ^a
J^jfa, orui look thr.uib it Into rtmoU coriif^erces
Hcrrf ma-y tkt<fr,mr.tbat a-p eared lard and bar rfl>
iz:toers, uere U him plfafint and fruitftU fi^ldc
-iiorrc hii mtrd ^zuld txpntiate -^itb ptcuifur ta}e\
pTOj.t and enUrtaznment. Jbc/e jiudies, -which ic^f - ^
'Mere tjoJatigiungti> the mind, and -a^earin^ tottt

cpd ' k's m:r.d t^ifhrut^^^^u/d freely and

/-'""""'" ^^'f-rm. ^ chfi a^£onc{uf-e icay of
/.-.,.;;. a C7n:rcuerfial p^lnr%3 eafy and na-^
tWGi to b:m, ^

/T/Z/S may ferrr^, tis conceh'd, to tj^courA fer his

ua! 9' treating abjlrvfe and contnrcertedjub^

- ' - ^^J^rns haze thought has been fo^ ^aphy.

^ .: thr truth is, that his critical tfiHrj^d of

g through tbt nature of his fuhjecl / h'ls accuracy

zd pr^c:fion in ccmafing truth, comparing ideas,

• 'oriffquinces, punting cut and expofng ab/ur^

^ ^*'*^^ naturally led him to reduce the B-jtderce in

'^-" if truth into the form -f demonftraiiGn, IVhich
'tkfs, where It can be obtained^ is the mofl eligible^
'ffar the mofl fatisfying to great and noble mtrdi
'nd though f:m^ readers may find the labor hard, to
'ppace rvitb the writer, in the advances he makes,
-ere fheafcertis arduous ; yet in general all it- as
* . ,j tz hm : fuch zvas his peculiar love and dijcern-
-ment cf truth cui natural proper.fity to (earch^after
f^ hiscTin ideas -were clear to him, -u. here feme rea-
^MJre thcii^ht them cb/cure, Thus many thirds
gff the zrorkf 9f Kewrcn and Loclce^ -which apptat
t'other quite i-rirdeili^ihle, cr lery dfc-jre to the itlite-
tc.te -ere dear and bright tc. thofe tllujlrious authors^
4iYj *hi:r Itarr.ed readers*



T^HKfuhjf^s here handled arefuhhme end impdr*
fant, l^ke end -zi^hicc God had ir. rVVtv in creating the
tt^orld, "Of as dmbtUfs zvorthy of him ; and confequentiy
the moil excellent and ^ior'iras fojfible, This there^
fore mul be -u; or thy to be kn:^n by al! tbf intelligent
creation, as excellent in iffelfMnd -worthy cf ib^ir pur ^
fd it. ^nd as truf vi '^fue i.v/' - -^ • - f j the inha bitantr
of heaven and all the h2pt>^ ci . . ites for that -world

^'^ ^lory, from all others ; ^ there cannot furcly he

a. Tno^e interefling fubjeci*

T'HH ri'tion: 'vh:ch fome men entertain c:rcernin9
God^s e::d in creating the zvorld, and concerning true
virtue, in c^r late author's opinion, have a natural
tendency to^corrupl chrijtianity, xtnd to deftroy tl
gzfpHof our divine redeemer. It-zvas therefore jio doubts
ii the ex'.'-cife of a pio'ds concern for the honor and
glory cf God, and a tender refpecl to the be (I inter efls
Qf his fell o'of men^ that this de-ocut and learned writer
undertook the foIhz:;ing -work,

Afy4 T the father of lights, fmile u^ontbe plsuf
and bcKtvoIeni airzs and labors of bis ferzc

Jf/,r*- 1 The Editor.


T>Ag« Inline 24.b€f3rc m^'f/ add 99. p.4* I.2«. f'n^'rve/sjrJe^ff.VL
4 3. '.29 afrer ap*mT.aj to,p 47 L^.f.f^j.ehMs.^ii2J.2^ju^^»
Jisni O- 1 2S.L 2 2 r.JM/ar* p. 1 5 1 Vz-j^Jbi^zTf.



TNTRODUCTION, containing explanations of terms

"°- and general poiitions'. ■ p. i.

Chap. I. Wherein is confidered what reafon teaches con-
cerning tliis affair.

Sect. I. Some things obferved in general, which reafon
dilates. p. II.

Sect. II. Some fuitncr obfervationr? concerning thofe

things which reafon leads us to fuppofe itod aimed at

^'"^*^ in the creation of the world — — P* J9'

Sect. III. Wherein it is confidered ^^Jty, on the fuppofiii-
on of God's making the forementioned things his lafl
end, he raanifefis a fupreme and uUimaie regard to him-
felf in all his works. p. 24.

Sect iV. Some objecftions confidered which may be made
againO: the reafonablenefs of what has been faid oi God's
making himfelf his laH: end. p. 32.

Chap, ll. Wheiein it is enquired what is to be /carncJ
^ ' holy fcriptures, concerning God's laft end in the
^^i'> ot the world,
1. 'i he feriptuTes repr^*"rri God as triaking

/ himje!/ his own laft end in the creation of the
world- p. 50.

Shct. II. Wherein feme pofitions are advanced concern-
ing a juft method ipt arguing in this afi'air, from wl\at we
find in holy fcriptures. p. 51.

Sect. lll.Particular texts of fcripture, which (hew ihatGod's
glory is-an ultimate end of the creation. p. 57.

Sect. IV. Places or fcripture that lead us to fuppofe ihat
God created the world for his Nawe, to tnake hisperfeS^i-
ons kncivn^ and that he made it_/cr bis praije, p. 75.

Sect. V. F^!r<ces of fcrjprurc frcm whence it may be argu-
ed, that nn^ivuniciitkn cfgcod to the aeature^ was one thing
which God had in view as-aa ultimate end cf the creati-
on of the world. p. 86.



Tfie ; U IN 1' fc, N T S.

Sect VI. Wherein is confidered what is meant by the glo-

j^,ry of God, and the name of God in fcripture, when fpoken

of as God's end in his works. p. ^j.

Sf-CT. VII. Shewing that the uhimate end in the creation

of the world, is but one, and what that one

END IS. p. ic6.

C O N T E N T S of the II. DifTej tation.


Chap. L CHewing wherein the effence of true vir

*^ confifts. f }^^-

Chap. II. Shewing how that love whereiti true virtue
confifts, refpeds the divine Being and created Be-
ings. . P-. 1/5-^

Chap. III. .Concerning the fecandary ^ud inferior kind Oi
beauty. , P- ^34-

Chap. IV. 0(/elf-love and its variOiUS influence, to caufc^
love to others, or the contrary. \ P* 745.*

Chap. V. O^ natural confcience, znd thf,^^ moral fenfe, J! i^S*

Chap. VI. Of particular inftinds of n:V V.^ vvhich in fome
refpe<5ts refembjc virtue. p. r68.

Chap. VII. The reafon why thofe things which have been
mentioned, which have not the ej/ence of virtue have yet by
many been mijiaken for true virtue. p. 175.

Chap. VIII. In what refpecSls virtue or moral ^ood is ^u^«d-

ed 'wkfeniimeni, and how far it is founded in the reajon anV^^

nature of things. p. 184'^,^,







Concerning the End for which
GOD created the World.

Jsj &§A^ ^3!*&^>Sa&


Containing Explanations of Terms^ and
general Pofttton$<,


rn tt


®5^!^i®!©^ avoid all confufion in our inquiries ani
^^^^^^^ reafonings, concerning the end for which
^^T "^^ God created the world, a diftintflion fhoirid
"^V-^^<^' be obferved between the chief end for whicii
W-'&'^W^^ an agent or efficient exerts any acSl-^nd per-
©^i©©^ forms any work, and the ultimate trJ.
Thefe two phrafes are not always precifely of the fame fig-
nification : And tho' the chief end be always an ultimate end,
yet every ultimate end is not always a chief end.

A chief end is oppofite to an inferior end : An ultimate
end, is oppofite to a fubordinate end. A fubordinate end ir.
fomething that an agent feeks and aims at in what he does ;
but yet don^t fee<c it, or regard it at all upon it's own ac-
count, but wholly ©n the account of a further end, or in
order to fome other thing, v/hich it is confidered as a
means of. Thus when a man that goes a journey to ob-


- ^

tain a medicine to cure him of fome difeafe, and reflore his
health, — the obtaining that medicine is his fubordinate end ;
becaufe 'tis ret an end that he feeks for itfelf, or values at
all upon its own account ; but wholly as a means of a fur-
ther end, viz. his health : Separate the medicine from that
further end, and it is efteemed good for nothing 5 nor is it
at all defired.

An ultimate end is that which the agent fecks in what he
does, for it's own fake : That he has refpeft to, as what he
loves, values and takes pleafure in on it's own account, and
not merely as a means of a further end : As when a man
loves the tafte of fome particular fort of fruit, and is at pains
and coft to obtain it, for the fake of the pleafure of that
tafte, which he values upon it's own account, as he loves
his own pleafure ; and not merely for the fake of any other
good, which he fuppofes his enjoying that pleafure will be
the means of.

Some ends are fubordinate ends, not only as they are fub-
ordlnated to an ultimate end ; but alfo to another end that is
itfelf but a fubordinate end : Yea, there may be a fucceffion
or chain of many fubordinate ends, one dependent on ano-
ther, — one fought for another : The firft for the next ; and
that for the fake of the liext to that, — and fo on in a long
feries before you come to any thing, that the agent aims at
and feeks for it's own fake :■ — As when a man fells a gar-
ment to get money — to buy tools — to till his land — to ob-
tain a crop — to fupply him with food — to gratify the appetite.
And he feeks to gratify his appetite, on it's own account,
as what is grateful'in itfelf. Here the end of his felling his
garm.ent, is to get money ; but getting money is only a fub-
ordinate end : Tis not only fubordinate to the laft end, his
gratifying his appetite ; but to a nearer end, viz. his buying
hufbandry tools : And his obtaining thefe, is only a fubor-
dinate end, being only for the fake of tilling land : And the
tillage of land, is an end not fought on it's own account, but
for the fake of the crop to be produced : And the crop pro-
duced, is not an ultimate end, or an end fought for itfelf, but
only for the fake of making bread : And the having bread,
is not fought oh it's own account^ but for the fake of gratis
fying the appetite.


in the Creation of the World. 3

Here the gratifying the appetite, is called the ultimate
end ; becaufe 'tis the laft in the chain, where a man's ainn
and purfuit ftops and refts, obtaining in that, the thing finally
aimed at. So whenever a man comes to that in which his
defire terminates and rcfts, it being fomething valued on it's
own account, then he comes to an ultimate end, let the chain
be longer or fhorter ; yea, if there be but one link or one
flep that he takes before he comes to this end. As when
a man that loves honey puts it into his mouth, for the fake
of the pleafure of the tafte, without aiming at any thing fur-
ther. So that an end. which an agent has in view, may be
both his immediate ^(id his ultimate end ; his next and his
laft end. That end which is fought for the fake of itfelf,
and not for the fake of a further end, is an ultimate end ; it
is ultimate or laft, as it has no other beyond it, for whofe
fake it is, it being for the fake of itfelf: So that here, the
aim of the agent ftops and refts (without going farther) be-
ing come to the good which he efteems a recompence of it*s
purfuit for it's own value.

Here it is to be noted, that a thing fought, may have the
nature of an ultimate, and alfo of a fubordinate end , as it
may be fought partly on it's own account, and partly for the
fake of a further end. Thus a man in what he does, may
feek the love and refpe^t of a particular perfon, partly on it's
own account, becaufe 'tis in itfelf agreable to men to be the
objecls of other's efteem and love : ^nd partly, becaufe he
hopes, through the friendftiip of that perfon to have his affift-
ance in other affairs j and fo to be put under advantage for
the obtaining further ends.

A chief end or higheft end, which is oppofite not properly
to a fubordinate end, but to an inferior end, is fomething
diverfe from an ultimate end. The chief end is an end that
is moft valued ; and therefore moft fought after by the agent
in what he does. 'Tis evident, that to be an end more va-
lued than another end, is not exactly the fame thing as to
be an end valued u]timately,or for it's own fake. This will
appear, if it be confidered.

I. That two different ends may be both ultimate ends,-
and yet not be chief ends. They may be both valued for

B 2 their

4 GOD's lajl End

their own fake, and both fought in the fame work or a£ls,
and yet one valued more hfghly and fought more than ano-
ther : Thus a man may go a journey to obtain two different
benefits or enjoyments, both which may be agreabie to him
in themfelves confidered. and fo both may be what he values
on their own account and feeks for their own fake ; And )et
one may be much more agreabie than the other : And fo be
what he fets his heart chiefly upon, and feeks moft after in
his going a journey. Thus a man may go a journey partly to
obtain the pofleflion and enjoyment of a biide that is very
dear to him, and partly to gratify his curiofity in looking in
a telefcope, or fome new-invented and extraordinary optic
glafs : Both may be ends he feeks in hi5;^ourney, and the one , * *
not properly fubordinate or in order to another. One may
not depend on another ; and therefore both may be ultimate
ends : But yet the obtaining his beloved bride may be his
chief end, and the benefit of the optic glafs, his inferior
end. The former may be what he fets his heart vaftly moft
upon 3 and fo be properly the chief end of his journey.

2. An ultimate end is not always the chief end, becaufe
fome fubordinate ends may be more valued and fought after
than fome ultimate ends. Thus for inftance, a man may
aim at thefe two things in his going a journey j one may be to
vifit his friends, and another to receive a great eftate, or a
large fum of money that lies ready for him, at the place to
which he is going. The latter, viz. his receiving the fum
of money may be but a fubordinate end : He may not value
the filver and gold on their own account, but only for the
pleafure, gratifications and honor ; that is the ultimate end,
and not the money which is valued only as a means of the
other. But yet the obtaining the money, may be what is
inore valued, and fo an higher end of his journey, than the
pleafure of feeing his friends ; tho' the latter is what is valued
on its own account, and fo is an ultimate end,

But here feveral things may be noted :

First, That when it is faid, that fome fubordinate ends
iTiay be more valued than fome ultimateends, 'tis not fuppofed
that ever a fubordinate end is more valued than that ultimate
^pA or ends to which it is fubordinate , becaufe a fubordinate


in the Creation of the World, 5

end has no value, but what it derives from its ultimate end :
For that reafon it is called a fubordinate end, becaufe it is va-
lued and fought, not for it's own fake, or it*s own value, but
only in fub®rdination to a further end, or for the fake of the
ultimate end, that it is in order to. But yet a fubordinate en4
maybe valued more than fome other ultimate end that it is not
fubordinate to, but is independent of it, and don't belong to
that feries, or chain of ends. Thus for inflance : If a man
goes a journey to receive a fum of mGney,not at all as an ulti-
mate end, or becaufe he has any value for the filver and gold
for their own fake, but only for the value of the pleafure and
honor that the money may be a means of. In this cafe it is
impoflible that the fubordinate end, viz. his having the money
fhould be more valued by him than the pleafure and honor,
for which he values it. It would be abfurd to fuppofe that he
Values the means more than the end, when he has no value
for the means but for the fake of the end, of which it is the
means : But yet he may value the money, tho' but a fubor-
dinate end, more than fome other ultimate end, to which it
is not fubordinate, and with which it has no connedlion.
For inftaDce,more than the comfort of a friendly vifit 3 which
Was one end of his journey.

Secondly, Not only is a fubordinate end never fuperior
to that ultimate end5to which it is fubordinate ; but the ulti-
mate end is always (not only equal but) fuperior to it's
fubordinate end, and more valued by the agent ; unlefs it
be when the ultimate end entirely depends on the fubordi-
nate : So that he has no other means by which to obtain
his laft end,* and alfo is looked upon as certainly connected
with it," — then the fubordinate end may be as much valued
as the lafl end ; becaufe the laft end, in fuch a cafe, does
altogether depend upon, and is wholly and certainly convey-
ed by it. As for inftance, if a pregnant woman has a pecu-
liar appetite to a certain rare fruit that is to be found only in
the garden of a particular friend of her's, at a diftance ; and
fhe goes a journey to go to her friend's houfe or garden,
to obtain that fruit — the ultimate end of her journey, is to
gratify that ftrong appetite : The obtaining that fruit, is the
fubordinate end of it. If fhe looks upon it, that i\i.t appetite
can be gratified by no other means than the obtaining that
fruit 5 and that it will certainly be gratified if Ihe obtains it,


6 GOD's lajl End

then fhe will value the fruit as much as ftie values the grati-
fication of her appetite. But otherwife, it will not be (o :
If (he be doubtful whether that fruit will fatisfy her craving,
then Ihe will not value it equally with the gratification of
her appetite itfelf ; or if there be fome other fruit that fhe
knows of, that will gratify her defire, at leaft jn part ; v/hich
fhe can obtain without fuch inconvenience or trouble as
fhall countervail the gratification ; which is in efFedl, fruftra-
ting her of her laft end, becaufe her laft end is the pleafure
of gratifying her appetite, without any trouble that fhall
countervail, and in effect deftroy it. Or if it be fo, that
her appetite cannot be gratified without this fruit, nor yet
with it alone, without fomething elfe to be compounded
with it, — then her value for her laft end will be divided be-
tween thefe feveral ingredients as fo many fubordinate, and
no one alone will be equally valued with the laft end.

Hence it rarely happens among mankind, that a fubordi-
nate end is equally valued with it's laft end ; becaufe the
cbtaining of a laft end rarely depends on one fingle, uncom-
pounded means, and is infallibly connedled with that means :
Therefore, mens laft ends are commonly their higheft ends.

Thirdly, If any being has but one ultimate end, in all
that he does, and there be a great variety of operations, his laft
end may juftly be looked upon as his fupreme end : For in
fuch a cafe, every other end but that one, is an end to that
€nd ; and therefore no other end can be fuperior to it.
Becaufe, as was obferved before, a fubordinate end is never
more valued, than the end to which it is fubordinate.

Moreover, the fubordinate effefts, events or things
brought to pafs, v/hich all are means of this end, all uniting
to contribute their fhare towards the obtaining the one laft
^nd, are very various ; and therefore, by what has been now
obferved, the ultimate end of all muft be valued, more thaa
any one of the particular means. This feems to be the cafe
with the works of God,as may more fully appear in the fequel.

From what has been faid, to explain what Is intended by
an ultimate end, the following things may be obferved con-
cerning ultimate ends in the fexifs explained.


in the Creation of the Worlds 7

Fourthly, Whatfoever any agent has in view in any
thing he docs, which he loves, or which is an immediate
gratification of any appetite or inclination of nature ; and is
agreable to him in itfelf, and not meerly for the fake of fome-
thing elfe, is regarded by that agent as hi^ laft end. The
fame may be faid, of avoiding of that which is in itfelf pain-
ful or difagreable ; For the avoiding of what is difagreable
is agreable. This will be evident to any bearing in mind
the meaning of the terms. By laft end being meant, that
which is regarded and fcught by an agent, as agreable or de-
fireable for it's own fake ; a fubordinate that which is fought
only for the fake of fomething elfe.

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 pafs by what he does, that are agreable to him,
confider'd in themfelves, or what he loves and delights in on
their own account, — then he muft have more things than
one that he regards as his laft ends in what he does. But if
there be but one thing that an agent feeks, as the confe-
quence of what he does that is agreable to him, on it's own
account, then there can be but one laft end which he has in
all his adiions and operations.

But only here a diftin6^1on muft be obferved of things
which may be faid to be agreable to an agent, in themfelves
confider'd in two fenfes. ( i.) What is in itfelf grateful to
an agentf and valued and loved on its own account, y7w/»/v
and abfolutely confidered, and is fo univerfally and originally,
antecedent to, and independent of all conditions, or any fup-
pofition.of particular cafes and circumftances. And (2.)
What may be faid to be in itfelf agreable to an agent,
hypothetic ally ?nd confequentially : Or, on fuppofition or con-
dition of fuch and fuch circumftances or on the happening
of fuch a particular cafe. Thus, for inftance : A man may
originally love fociety. An inclination to fociety may be
implanted in his very nature : And fociety may be agreable
to him antecedent to all prefuppofed cafes and circumftances :
And this may caufe him to feek a family. And the comfort
of fociety may be originally his laft end, in feeking a family.
But after he has a family, peace, good order and mutual
juftice and fricndfhip in his family, may be agreable to him,


8 god's lajl End

and what he delights in for their own fake : and therefore
thefe things may- be his laft end in many things he does in
the government and regulation of his family. But they
were not his original end with refpeiSt to his family. The
juftice and pesfce of a family was not properly his laft end
before he had a family, that induced him to feck a family,
but confequentiaily. And the cafe being put of his having a
family, then thefe things wherein the good order and beauty
of a family confift, become his laft end in many things he
does in fuch circumftances. In like manner we muft fuppofe
that God before he created the world, had feme good in
view, as a confequence of the world's exiftence that was ori-
ginally agreable to him in itfelf confidered, that inclined
him to create the world, or bring the univerfe, with various
intelligent creatures into exiftence in fuch a manner as he
created it. But after the world was created, and fuch and
fuch intelligent creatures actually had exiftence, in fuch and
luch circumftances, then a wife, juft regulation of them was
agreable to God, in itfelf confidered. And God's 'love of
juftice, and hatred of injuftice, would be fufficient in fuch a

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Online LibraryJonathan EdwardsTwo dissertations : I. Concerning the end for which God created the world ; II. The nature of true virtue → online text (page 1 of 18)